Week number four was the first one where my weight went continuously upward - no dives, no dips, no declines, no downslides, no dropoffs, no downturns ... (at this point I've exhausted my thesaurus for synonyms that begin with the letter D).  I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that week five will go similarly well.  Do I look bigger?


Day 29

I forgot to mention at the beginning of last week about one particular fence I was able to hurdle.  Up until day twenty-two, the air temperature inside the incubator had been regulated by my skin temperature via a sensor taped to my body.  Now that I am better able to regulate my own temperature, the nurses now simply set a target temperature (27 degrees Celsius or about 81 degrees Fahrenheit) and an alarm gets triggered only when the air temperature deviates too far from the target: 


Once a week they move me to a newly-cleaned and sterilized incubator. Check out the different look and feel of the Giraffe Omnibed they switched me to today:



Nighttime view of my beloved Giraffe:


Speaking of giraffes, the next day Mom and Dad went to get some things at Buy Buy Baby - a baby store that doesn't actually sell babies.  Downstairs on the lower level they have a giraffe who guards over the furniture:


He may have a big bark, but he's really an old softie at heart:

Did I mention that I got my first eye exam yestday? Every two weeks the eye doctor will be monitoring the entire vascularization process.  It was a bit unpleasant, but the ophthalmologist was very quick about it I have to admit.  Dad watched the whole thing (most parents opt out) and told me how amazingly well behaved I was.  Brave, too.


On day thirty-one I knew something was up when I spied a bottle of milk being warmed up next to my bed:


As it turned out, my parents were given a choice:  I could be fed either from a bottle or directly from the source itself - Mom.  My folks chose the latter.  Here's a photo taken mere seconds before I attempted to breastfeed for the first time:

                           

The next day my parents were really knocked for a loop when they arrived at the hospital only to find me in an open-air crib for the first time - surprise! Graduating to an open-air bed means that I get to play with the big boys now.  This is a big fat hairy deal.  To celebrate I took my cow beanie baby for a ride:


Baba came to visit again with my folks today - this makes it her third vist to the hospital thus far.  Still riding high from the news about the open-air crib, I didn't even mind when Mom poked me in the armpit with the thermometer for the umpteenth time:

                   

The next day my parents arrived to find me covered in a sporty new blanket:


Life is an endless series of lessons to be learned. Sometimes, for instance, people need help understanding boundaries.  Here's a photo showing Cow-ie and I attempting to stare down the photographer for interrupting yet another private moment:


The next day (thirty-three for those who are counting) was another one for the record books:  today I received my first ever bottle feed.  Dad served as the dispensing agent.  I drank about 12 milliliters before I started drifting off to sleep. It's exhausting work - not as easy as one might think:


I guess it's pretty apparent by now that the photographer and I have a running feud not unlike the catfight on "American Idol" between Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest. Here's a photo where I'm giving Dad the international symbol for "Loser" - chalk up another win in the victory column:


In retaliation, however, Dad snapped this photo of Mom changing my diaper.  No fair. Low blow!


Last week I started out at 3 pounds even and gained 7 ounces by week's end.  This week I ended up adding 6 more ounces to this growing body.  One other piece of good news:  the nurse switched my feeding tube to a much smaller one that actually goes into my nose, thus making it easier for me to feed from the bottle or breast.  Also, the doctor continues to bring down the flow rate on the high-flow nasal cannula.  Flow rate is now 2 liters, down from a high of 5.  Things continue to keep looking up! 

Wait - time for a nap:

                     


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The beginning of week six finds me at three pounds fourteen ounces.  The question on everyone's minds: how long before I break four pounds?  My daily feed is up to 33 milliliters now. Dad was in again today feeding me from the bottle.  He's starting to get the hang of it, but even still I have to pace myself.  Milk can be work.

Nurse Trish tells me that at this point in my development I need to start sleeping strictly on my back - not my stomach or side.  It's for my own good she promises. "Back to sleep" as the adage goes:


This week on Movie Night in the hospital cafeteria they'll be showing "Lawrence of Arabia."  In anticipation of the film I'm trying somewhat of an urban bedouin look:


Here's a game I like to play called "Now You See Me, Now You Don't":


Things are pretty casual here at the hospital I have to say. Sometimes you might find a baby, for instance, just hanging out on one of the nurse's carts:



Day thirty-six finds me alive and well and in my Mother's loving arms:


The rumor here in the neonatal ward is that Mad Hot Ballroom will be next week's pick for Movie Night. In preparation for this film I've been fine-tuning some of my famous flamenco moves:


Day thirty-seven finds me taking new meds for reflux, which is strictly no fun let me tell you. Sometimes I try to cope by sleeping through the discomfort:

Ah, the old bunny-ears-behind-the-head routine. Real mature, Dad. Had no idea what you were up to back there:



Another view from the toe cam:


The many moods of Baby Nick:




Here I am letting Dad in on a secret - it's a doozy:



Now I see you ... now I don't:


As it turns out, the secret I had told Dad earlier was that I had surpassed the four-pound mark.  Today is my second day in a row comfortably ensconced in this new weight class.  This afternoon my Dad came by to give me a bottle feed - he managed to get down about 20 milliliters before I eventually cried out, "No mas!"


The next day I awoke to the news that I had experienced a considerable jump in weight gain from the previous day. Day thirty-nine finds Baby Nick tipping the scales at four pounds seven ounces. To celebrate I stayed warm under the covers:


Later that afternoon I got a surprise visit from my Mom's brother and his wife - Uncle Jon and Aunt Lilla.  Sadly, their two children - my cousins Henry and Mary - were not allowed in the neonatal facility.  Here they all are in family photos:



The next day my carrier pigeons brought back news of my folks planning to paint my room periwinkle.  Scouts later returned with pictures of my parents' progress - alas, the news was true!

Here I am later that day receiving medicine for my respiratory system in the form of a liquid mist delivered via a nebulizer.  Curiously, I am not bothered by this activity but in fact find it pleasant and almost soothing:


Day forty-one finds me ending the week at about the 2000-gram mark or still about four pounds seven ounces and change.  Things are going well - I really can't complain:
But reflux, unfortunately, is still giving me a hard time. When the pain and discomfort is at its worst, I barely have the energy to do much else besides say - talk to the cow:

Day 42: squeezing in some shut-eye before my next feeding.