Hope was transferred to a different “pod” today (room of baby beds in the NICU). She’s now in the overflow pod which is on a separate floor, the mom-and-baby unit downstairs where I lived for two-and-a-half weeks. Back to my old stomping grounds! (Minus the stomping… remember the quasi-bed-rest part of the equation). Some of my favorite nurses were working today when we transferred downstairs, so I got to catch up with them for a few minutes and let them know how Hope is doing. It’ll be nice to see familiar faces in the next few weeks; although we’ve also quickly gotten familiar with the staff upstairs in the main NICU. We’ll still see some of them down in our new pod when they’re scheduled to work down there.
Everyone on the staff who had the chance to comment told me what a good sign it is that we got moved downstairs. It’s still part of the NICU, but only very stable babies move down there. Hope won’t move back upstairs unless she gets sick, so pray that doesn’t happen!
Our new nurse down in the new pod remarked several times on how small Hope is. I was/am a bit baffled by that; why would someone feel the need to repeatedly point out to the mom of a preemie that her baby is small? Duh. But she’s growing. She’s been gaining weight all week. So please stop telling me how small she is. It’s not exactly encouraging. To the same nurse’s credit, she also said at least as many times how cute Hope is.
Another new thing happening for Hope is that she’s now receiving physical therapy. That’s another sign that she’s reached a certain threshold of stability. The PTs aren’t allowed to start therapy until babies are stable. They’ll see her 3-5 times per week and monitor/work on positioning to mimic the womb and improve muscle tone and flexion, orient her limbs toward her midline (rather than letting them lie floppy out to her sides), head shaping (they gave her a special memory foam pillow to prevent getting flat spots), and skin integrity (I may have missed things in this list; that’s what I remember). She’ll probably also have an occupational therapy evaluation in the next few days now that she has reached 32 weeks gestation (which I read in a fairly outdated book is called “postconceptional age” because “gestation” refers to the age of a baby still in the womb; I also hear people say “corrected age” about preemies. Not sure which is the correct lingo!) I’ve been told OT will mainly focus on eating, and both the OTs are also lactation consultants. I’m excited to meet them and get started with OT and figure out the game plan to work toward breastfeeding. The PT today told me we may be able to get orders to let Hope do “non-nutritive sucking” while in kangaroo care. That would mean I would pump before kangaroo care so that Hope can suckle at the breast if she wants to without the nurses or me having to worry about her choking.
So far since Hope started gaining weight she has only gone back down once. But a nurse quickly made me feel better about that by explaining that they look at her overall growth from week to week, not day to day. Her weight on a given day may fluctuate depending on whether she just pooped or ate. As long as she continues upward along her own growth curve (following the average rate of growth for babies in her percentile at her age) from week to week, that’s good.
Some pictures from the last few days: