Yesterday was a loooooooong day. However, both babies did exceptionally well, and their visit with the neonatologist this morning was great! He decided to remove all tube feedings for both babies. They now take all of their feedings by nursing or by bottle when I am not able to be there. So now I just have to figure out how to balance being at home, and going in feed them. Today I went in for the 8 am and 11 am feeding, they are being fed by bottle for the 2 pm and 5 pm feeding, and then I return for them to nurse again for the 8 and 11 pm feedings, and they get bottles for their 2 and 5 am feedings. While I would love for them to nurse all the time, it just isn't feasible for me to hang around the hospital for 24 hrs at a time. Nor do we live close enough to come home between feedings. And since I am pumping anyhow, they aren't getting any formula. WHen Emily was a wee one she took a bottle or two to allow Scott to feed her (and allowed me to sleep!) and this was a great thing. Luckily, Eli and Elsie have no problem going back and forth between bottles and nursing. Not much holds them back from feeding! :)
ALso, the doctor is taking them both off IV fluids tomorrow, and they will also be done with their photo-therapy lights for the jaundice tomorrow morning. They will also be weened off the isolettes, which until now have maintained their body temperature so they don't have to waste precious calories keeping themselves warm. We don't think they ever had a problem maintaining them temperature, but just didn't want them to lose weight in the process. Now they are at a steady weight and this hopefully won't be a problem.
So all of those things above will be done on Thursday from 8 am to 8 am on Friday. Beginning 8 am on Friday they will be off of everything! They will then start at 48 hour observation time where their weight will be monitored. As long as they remain the same or gain, they will be sent home either Sunday or Monday. If they lose any weight we will have to talk about a bottle supplementation and they may have to stay another couple of days.
Please pray specifically that these two precious ones gain weight over the next three days... especially over the Friday and Saturday observation time. Elsie was born at 4 lbs 7 oz and has steadily gained slowly to 4 lbs 11 oz which is fabulous, and rare. Hopefully her pattern continues. Eli was born at 5 lbs 5 oz and has steadily dropped to 4 lbs 15 oz. While it is normal for babies to lose 10-15% of their birth weight, the doctor just wants to make sure he is gaining and not continuing to lose. The nurses tell me not to worry because he is such fabulous eater, and normally babies will go through a spurt where they will gain quite a bit in a short time after they have lost. Let's hope this is true in Eli's case!
Anyhow, I am very excited to be home for dinner tonight with my family. I miss that so much! But of course there is still part of me that really feels bad about not being with them right now. No matter where I am (home or hospital) it feels like I'm split and missing the other part of my precious family who isn't with me. Thank goodness we're looking towards the end, and how horrible for the mom across the hospital nursery who has already been doing this for almost three weeks, and has a couple more weeks to go. She lives almost an hour away. I don't know how families do it, but somehow they do!