Week number seven did not get off to a great start, unfortunately, due to my old nemesis:  reflux.  Dad tried to give me a bottle tonight, but forget it - he wasn't passing Go, and he certainly wasn't collecting two hundred dollars.  Nothing personal. Here I am on day forty-three trying to escape the misery of reflux using sleep, my old trusted pal, as the primary vehicle:

              

The next day saw me lose a little weight from the previous day - close to an ounce. Still not feeling too perky.  My folks stopped by later in the day.  Mom tried to bottle feed, bless her heart, but I just wasn't feeling it.  No dice.  But at least, as Merle Haggard once sang, Mama tried:



I sure do love my cow companion, have I mentioned that already?


 Day forty-five finds me losing yet another ounce, can you believe it?  I'm down to about four pounds five ounces now.  The good news is that I'm eating pretty well. Yesterday was the first time I did three bottle feeds in a row.  Ever.  And today they increased my feed up to 38 milliliters.  But still feeding takes a lot out of me. Today the doctor made the decision to increase the flow on my nasal cannula to three liters in response to my discomfort.  At least I have my cow to keep me company:


The next day I learned that my weight jumped over 100 grams or about four ounces literally overnight.  Holy smokes!  Later this evening I hear I'll be getting another fill-up with Dad's blood while it's still fresh.  The great thing is that I don't have to go to the filling station - the filling station comes to me.  Pretty sweet.  In the meantime you can try filling me up with some milk - that's the stuff:


Hey, look who traveled all the way from southwestern Ohio just to see li'l old me - Dad's older brother, Uncle Bryan, and his wife, Aunt Patti. Neat-o!



Whose hands do you think are bigger - Uncle Bryan's or mine?


The next day my folks and I received the stunning news that the hospital has given me their two-weeks notice.  Baby Nick did not see this coming at all.  Hospital staff suggested I look for new accomodations - I bought a newspaper from the box next to the cafeteria and thumbed through the real estate listings.  Later that day I also got my second eye exam.  For some reason, I enjoyed this examination a whole lot less than the first one.  I wasn't shy about expressing that opinion.


Day forty-seven was also a big day in that, with the removal of my nasal feeding tube, I am now officially getting all feedings by mouth.  This is a major milestone. Cheers, mate!

The following day the filling station returned for a third and final time to "top me off" before my Dad's blood expires in three days.  Meanwhile, the nurses tell me that the size of each meal will be determined on an "ad lib" basis - 35 milliliters minimum, 45 milliliters maximum.  Here's Mom implementing the new policy:


Two pieces of good news as I end week number seven:  reduced airflow in my nasal cannula (1.5 liters) and no more caffeine in my diet.  Day forty-nine now finds me tipping the scales at four pounds ten ounces.  The cow and I rejoice:


Mom later sung me to sleep with lullabies including "Take Me Out to the Ball Game":


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Week number eight began with a bang as today I celebrate the big five-oh: day number fifty.  Here's a photo of me chuckling to myself after one of my neighbors called me an old-timer.  I later shook my fist at him and told him to stay out of my yard:


Meanwhile Dad can't be bothered to wash the paint off his hands before coming to see me here in the NICU.  Hello, hygiene?


This is the third day they've instituted an "ad lib" policy with regard to my feeds. Today with Dad I sucked down about 30 milliliters - the bare minimum they'll let me get away with around here.  Sometimes it's fun to just kick up your feet when eating:


Here's a nice shot of me hanging with my Mom. Isn't she pretty?


Day fifty-one finds me at four pounds twelve ounces - two ounces heavier than the day before.  Unfortunately, the doctor thought it necessary to put my nasal feeding tube back in given the difficulties I've been having with some of my feeds.  Could it be the work of my archenemy, reflux?  Mom and I were discussing this very issue at the time the photo below was taken:


Despite my difficulties I was able to take about 30 milliliters for Dad when he stopped by to give me a bottle feeding.  I think it was his rowsing pep talk that won me over - something about winning one for "the gipper":


The next day I was happy to discover that the doctor thinks I'm ready for a low-flow nasal cannula where I'll be getting less than one liter of pressure.  The kids now call me Lo Flo.  Here I am taking out the new canulla for a test drive:


I know a little tyke like me needs his calories, so I'm doing my best to take all my feeds.  Really, I am.  Nurses sure do have me on a strict schedule though.  I can't wait till I go home where I'll get to determine my own feeding schedule.  Ha!



Sometimes when Cow-ie gets cold, I lend him my cap to use as a sleeping bag:


Meanwhile back at the homestead, there are signs that big changes are a-brewing for the parents of Baby Nick.  Down in the laundry room, for instance, one finds tiny togs for tots out on the drying rack:


Today is Saturday, April 1st - commonly referred to as April Fool's Day here in the United States.  The day before I hit the almighty five-pound mark, so as a gag I lost an ounce - pushing my weight back to four pounds fifteen ounces.  My folks didn't find it nearly as funny as I did.


Funnily enough, I did not survive April Fool's Day without getting pranked.  At one point someone somehow photographed me eyeing myself warily and with much suspicion. It was a rather unsettling experience:



The next day was a big one, and not just because it was number fifty-five.  As it turns out I gained a whopping three ounces from the previous night pushing me firmly into the five-pound zone.  Graduating to an open-air crib was the first major milestone.  Getting all feeds by mouth was the second.  My entrance into the five-pound infant class is the third of three major milestones - I even overheard one of the nurses say I'll be going home before too long.  As the great philosopher Popeye would say, blow me down!


Today when Mom and Dad stopped by for a visit, I actually woke up in anticipation of my usual three-hour feeding.  The doctor said this was yet another important milestone in my growth and development.  Today while Dad fed me my bottle, I contemplated just how far I had come since arriving here:


The next day I learned that I had gained an ounce from the night before, ending the week at five pounds three ounces.  That's great news.  Today's weather report, however, called for a tornado watch for the entire metro area - yikes!  I guess that means spring is officially here.  I decided it best to just lay low in my crib:


Dad stopped by for a visit.  I chugged 50 milliliters from his bottle at feeding time - my best one yet for dear ol' Dad.  Later we played a game called "Stick 'em Up":



Sometimes in life you just gotta stop and laugh at the absurdity of it all: