Week number three started off auspiciously enough when my nurse offered to take a photo of the three of us - Mom, Dad & me. The first ever - a Baby Nick exclusive!
All along the doctors have been describing this initial period as a "honeymoon phase," meaning that my situation has basically stabilized, and I have been eating and sleeping without incident. Apnea is still a problem, though. During and after feeding is when my breathing takes a little dip. The doctor describes me condition as CPIP - Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency of Prematurity - so they're bringing in a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine given that my trusty ol' nasal canulla isn't quite doing the trick. I always knew I was a pip - the doctor's diagnosis now makes it official. Mom and Dad, incidentally, have a friend and fellow apnea sufferer, who brings his own CPAP apparatus when he spends the night.
This is a condition commonly referred to as "glow toe." It's perfectly normal for people my age - don't be alarmed:
Here's another photo of me in my new head gear, which - by the way - chafes my nose. Baby Nick not happy!
This pair of photos shows my Mom immediately before and after receiving her instructions from the nurse:
On day sixteen I awoke to discover that my feedings would no longer be dispensed by gravity, which only takes about 15-20 minutes to complete, but by a machine that delivers the same amount of food over the course of an hour. Secretly I was happy about the news since my feedings up to this point have felt a little rushed, almost like a college freshman must feel after trying to down beers in a rapid manner. A tip of the hat from Baby Nick's gastrointestinal tract to the doctor who signed the order!
Here's a shot of the "syringe pump" that the nurses use for my feedings - the Medfusion 2001, a name that sounds really advanced ... for 1990:
On day seventeen I was happily surprised by the news that I would be switching back to the nasal cannula for about half the time each day. Apparently someone did read the rather pointed message I left in the hospital suggestion box. Relieved of the nose cone and feeling a a little playful, I began doing impressions - here's a shot of me doing my best impersonation of Greta Garbo:
Today I also received a visit from my Mom's Mom (who likes to be called Baba) and her husband, Jim (who I'd like to call Jaba). I tried in vain to get a photo of me with my Baba but she insisted on remaining behind, not in front, of the camera. Consequently, I was forced to dig out a file photo from the family archive:
This photo of me in half-shade was inspired by the cover for the Beatles' 1st album:
Here's a photo of me sawing wood on day eighteen:
Here's the same shot of me about five minutes later when I was dreaming about my Mom and Dad - a scene that was somehow amazingly captured on camera:
Me again later in the same dream at the point where I magically morphed into a dog:
Gel-E Donuts anyone? A little hospital humor for you:
This may be the first officially documented instance of me playing Peek-a-Boo:
Day 19: today's dream happily included my beloved cow beanie baby:
I really like this shot of me in my Mother's arms:
Wait - could this be another smile?
Baby Nick on day twenty-one in sepia tone (1) as well as black-and-white (2):
When I get older, I expect to be wearing boxers. For now, it's strictly Swaddlers:
This week, medically speaking, has been an interesting one. Doc put me on the CPAP on day fifteen and off by day nineteen. Due to concern about fluid in the lungs, the hospital staff have given me Pulmicort, a steroid that was actually blown into my lungs (thus, no I.V. line); Lasix (a diuretic to help flush my system); and good old vitamin E. To cap off the week, I had a blood transfusion using my Dad's blood. All went well!
Photo above taken by Dad at the office building where he gave blood. Okay, put down the camera, Dad, and slowly back away...
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Three pounds! That's right, the first of March saw me hit the three-pound mark for the first time. My weight, as you may know, took a little dip during that first week. Even though this was to be expected, it still feels good to be packing a little more heat these days. It has been interesting to see the rate at which my feeds have increased: from 1 cc on the first day and then slowly steadily upward - 12 cc by the beginning of week two and then eventually up to my current feed of 27 cc. That's eight meals today, each of them 27 cc. You do the math - I'm too tired.
Today someone came along and placed a colorful new blanket on my incubator. Isn't it nice the way they mix things up here at the hospital? I really love the farm motif but find the idea of a bear driving a tractor to be a tad incongruous, don't you think?
Just to give you some perspective, here's what my bed looks like when you pull back the curtains:
And here's what it looks like when the camera pulls back to reveal my little corner of the neonatal unit:
Let's try this again but with more of an Andy Warhol-like flair:
Day twenty-four proved to be an exciting one. My Dad's mum (who answers to Maya) stopped by for a visit. At one point I remember shaking hands with her:
Here I am later that same day making preparations for the big potato sack race:
The next day Mom snapped this nice shot of Dad and me:
Mom also took this photo of me wearing my tiny T-shirt and prized knit cap, which has lately become a bit of a tight fit:
Maya stopped by for another visit - she even held me for a few minutes before I went back into my nap pad to catch a few more Z's:
Here's a head scratcher: look at the "image shard" below and see if you can tell what's going in the rest of the photo. What exactly are we looking at? Go back to the Menu and click on "Photo of the Month" for the answer to this riddle.
Day 26: weight gain starting to go up after a curious one-day dip. I went from 3 pounds 3 ounces (two days ago) to 3 pounds 2 ounces (yesterday) to 3 pounds 4 ounces (ta daa! I mean, today). Exhausted from this yo-yo experiment in weight gain, I decided to take a nap:
The next day Dad caught me in a reflective moment with my pacifier:
Week number four really ended on a nice note. First of all, my weight really took a jump overnight - three ounces. Jeepers! Thank goodness I'm wearing stretch pants. Here's a shot of my Dad giving me five upon hearing the news of my weight gain:
I also thought it fortuitous when I learned today that the brand of incubator which currently houses Baby Nick is named for the coolest animal in the world:
Dad and I spent about an hour today just hanging out - it was really nice and casual. He hums pretty well, but he really should stop singing all the harmony parts himself:
It's a nice routine: diaper change followed by supper followed by quality time with the folks and then capped off by a good old-fashioned nap. Here I am taking stock: