Saturday, 22 January 2011

Home Sweet Home

After 18 days in the NICU, Ivy was finally discharged on January 21. She had originally taken her carseat test on the 19th, but to our dismay, she did not pass. Part of that was because the carseat we had, although it is an infant carrier, does not have adjustments small enough for a 4 lb baby. She was swimming in it!
So Tony and I decided to go out and buy a new carseat, and to our great elation, she passed her second carseat test with flying colours. I called Tony at work and told him the good news, and he jumped into his car and drove to Grande Prairie to pick us up. We would surprise the boys when we got home.
The trip home was a bit of a muck up, not because of Ivy, but the roads were altogether NOT cooperative. Ivy slept the whole way, only starting to root around when we were about 10 minutes from home.
We walked in the door and Sacha and Kees were ecstatic! Kees ran around, dancing, wanting to show me Ivy's room all set up. He wanted to show me all of the trains (Thomas trains) that a friend of Sacha's had passed down to him. Sacha kept hugging me and telling me how much he loved me and how glad he was that we were home. It was one of the most amazing feelings I have ever felt, finally being reunited as a family.
Ivy had a good first night at home. She wakes up about every 3-4 hours to eat, then falls quickly back to sleep. Preemies need a lot of sleep for their development, and she seems to know that. She also seems to know how to let off some good burps and poops to make room for all the milk she consumes!

I will post more details in the next few days. Thank you all for your prayers and concern in this time.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Milk Machine Returns

So after yesterday's bump in the road with nursing, Ivy has made a full comeback. Immediately after I posted on here, her feeding went back to normal. In fact, this morning has been exceedingly good. In the last 3 feeds, she has taken in 50 mL, 45 mL and 30 mL. Oh, and did I mention that she is waking herself for her feeda and not even waiting the "prescribed" 3 hours between feeds, only waiting 2 hours between these good meals!
Ivy also gained another ounce yesterday, putting her at 3 lbs 15 oz. I think the nurses were being overly cautious yesterday, which is their job, I guess. But I am just going to leave that NG tube in for now! Don't want to jinx ourselves! And we just learned that Ivy has graduated to the next level of breastfeeding supremacy. She is doing so well that she doesn't need to be pre- and post-feed weighed any more! Yay! Crossing our fingers for a weekend discharge.

Monday, 17 January 2011


Little Miss Ivy has become a stellar nurser. Unfortunately, she and I may have gotten a little ahead of ourselves. After over 24 hours of exclusively breastfeeding with no gavage feeds, Ivy pulled out her own NG tube. Since she had been nursing so well, the nurses did not put one back in. Then at her next feed, she decided that she only wanted a little milk, after which she pursed her little lips together and did not want anymore! Well, in a NICU, people get panicky when a preemie baby decides not to eat as much as the doctor says she should, so in went a new NG tube. Ivy was livid, so much so that when I tried to nurse her at her next feed, she started to drink a bit and then she came off and screamed. That was the first time for that sort of reaction. I am pretty sure the NG tube was bothering her, which is not good. But as she was not wanting to nurse, the nurses got some of my pumped milk and gave her a gavage feed. It was discouraging
after such a great day and 2 nights of feeds.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Jersey Girl

Ivy is nearly 2 weeks old now. She is 3 lbs 14 oz and in the last 12 hours has really shown that she is a superstar nurser: she breastfed full feeds 4 times of the last 5, taking in even more than what the dr considers for her to be a "full feed." This improvement means she is one step closer to getting her NG tube removed. Usually oncer the tube is out, you are looking at a carseat test within 24 to 48 hours and then, if all goes well, discharge! Ivy is not on any medications, her vitals have been stable since she was extubated shortly after birth, and she is gaining weight each day. She was moved out of her incubator and into a big-girl bed (ha!) 2 days ago, since she is now able to regulate her own body temperature. I am hopeful that we can go home in a week or so.
On a crappier note, my camera and 2 lenses were stolen from my hospital room when I was upstairs with Ivy on Thursday. The camera had all the newborn pics and videos of Ivy. What a horrible thing for ssomeone to do!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Settling in

We are now settled in at the QE II hospital in GP. Ivy continues to gain weight and exceed the nurses' expectations, particularly when it comes to feeding. Ivy nurses on alternate feeds, getting every other feed from her NG tube. When she does nurse. She usually takes in 10mL from me, and then they top her up with the remaining 20 mL through her tube. I was a little discouraged that she only takes 10 mL until the nurse told me that for her gestational age, she would really only expecct her to nurse once for every 2-3 gavage (ng tube) feeds, and the fact that she takes in 10 mL each time is even better. So that reassured me quite a bit.
I am being fed hospital food for free while I am here in a boarding room. It is a new thing they are trying out for mothers who are nursing their babies in the NICU. It may not be great food, but I don't have to cook!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


We are still waiting for a plane, so I am going to go rest at Talia's until we get the call. Ivy is being transfered because the NICU here is full and she is a good candidate for transfer because she is doing so well.
She gained weight again today: she is now 3 lbs 11 oz. She is also starting to regulate her body temperature better, which is one step closer to being out of the incubator (isolette). Yea!


I was discharged today and Ivy is being transfered to the QE II hospital in Grande Prairie. The staff had previously told me that she would NOT be transfered, but this morning, the doctor told me that they were going to transfer her to the Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton. I then said if they were going to transfer her at ALL, could it be GP, simply because then Tony and the boys could come and see us on his days off.
So as it stands right now, we are waiting for an airplane to take us to GP.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

General NICU FAQ

I have had a few people ask questions about our stay at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, so I thought I would address those here:

Although Ivy is under 24-hour care, I am allowed to visit her and be with her whenever I like and as often as I like. I spent 3 hours cuddling with her and doing Kangaroo care this morning (and nursing), then I was back there two more times, both in time for her feeds.

I am still an inpatient at the hospital because of my blood pressure, but I am hoping to be discharged tomorrow. My blood pressure is more stable now, although I am still on 2 different medications for that. At its peak, I was on a total of 17 blood pressure pills per day. That's right, 17. 3 different prescriptions, but the total number of pills was 17. Now I am down to 11. The doctors are trying to rework my medication to put me on a dosing and scheduling that will be more manageable once I am discharged. To be honest, there is one medication that I really do not think I need in the dose they are giving me, but we shall see what they decide tomorrow.

Once I am discharged, I will be staying in a boarding room at the hospital. There are 14 boarding rooms specifically for moms who have babies in the NICU who are from out of town and/or who are nursing. My name was already put on the list for a room upon discharge. While I stay there, I am responsible for my own meals and such. I am hoping they have a little fridge so I can get groceries, because I do not want to eat out 3 meals a day for the next 2 weeks, or however long Ivy needs to be here.

While in the boarding room, the NICU will call me whenever Ivy needs (wants) to eat, and I make my way to the NICU to feed her. They said if I want to, I can give them permission to take a bottle at night so I can sleep. I am not keen on that, since the goal is to get her exclusively nursing and I think a bottle will mess that up.

The criteria for Ivy's discharge are these: she must be taking all her feeds orally, either by breast of bottle, she must be gaining weight, she must have no "events" in 24 hours, and she has to pass the carseat test. Events mean instances of bradycardia and/or apnea. Ivy has had only 2 of these since being admitted on Monday, both of which she spontaneously recovered and no interventions were necessary. The carseat test is that she has to be able to sit in a carseat for 90 minutes without having any apneas or losing oxygen saturation in her blood.

So far, Ivy's nursing is going well. She gets better every time. In fact, the last time I nursed her, I thought she was finished, and when I took the breast away, she got mad and had her mouth wide open looking for it!

Ivy is going to have a bath tonight. That should be fun!


Saturday, 8 January 2011


There are two things that the nurses all say about Ivy: that she has gorgeous blond hair, and that she is feisty! She protests when the nurses start poking and proding, usually by swatting her arm at them and yelling. That being said, she really does not cry that much.
She had another great day today: she nursed 3 times, the evening feed being the most successful. She gets right down to business and does not muck around. Gulp gulp gulp! At the evening feed, she was wide awake, and took in about 15 mL from me, which I determined by pumping right after and I had about half an ounce less than I usually get. Pretty good for a few minutes of work!
Ivy is almost at full feeds, and once she is at full feeds, her IV can come out. I am ridiculously happy about that, because they have had to redo her IV 3 times since birth because her veins give out. And each time they have to redo it, it takes the nurses (and doctor) multiple attempts. She has very dainty veins, even for a preemie and they have difficulty threading the IV. I have the same problem whenever I get IVs put in, too.
Ivy is also back up to her birth weight now. She did not poop today, though, so her weighing may be a little off from that. All in all, her weight is on the upswing, which is exactly what we want.
She is also out of the phototherapy lights, although she may have to go back under tomorrow depending on her bloodwork. She really does not like those lights and was so glad to be rid of them.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Great Success!

Yippee! Ivy gained 20 grams today!
AND the best news was that I got to nurse my daughter for the first time. And she actually nursed. Of course, all that work tired her out very quickly, but she had some good audible swallowing happening, and I could hear her breathing between big gulps. Afterward, we just cuddled int he chair, skin-to-skin, for about an hour. She was so relaxed, I hated to put her back in her isolette. But I have to get back to my room to get my blood pressure meds and check my blood pressure. And Ivy needed to go back under the lights (for jaundice). It will be nice when I am not on a nurse's schedule for meds and assessment and I can stay with her as long as I like.

Yummy in her Tummy

Tony and the boys had to head back to Peace River today. Before he left, I made sure that Tony had some one-on-one time with his little girl. He did kangaroo care with her. He said she was fussing on his chest and rooting around, trying to find his boobs! Since she was getting a feed of milk through her NG tube, they put a little milk on her soother and put it in her mouth and she LOVED it. She was satisfied with that and settled onto his chest. That excites me a lot, because now she will know that mommy's milk is good for her AND yummy. I get to try nursing tonight for the first time. She is doing really well with her increased feeds through her tube, and is getting 16 mL (a little over half an ounce) ever 3 hours. So much more than the 3mL per feeding they started with on Tuesday! They are increasing her feeds by 2mL every 6 hours now, so it will not take long for her to start gaining weight.

I also changed her diaper for the first time yesterday. That is tricky with all those leads and wires and cords! And then, just like any baby, as soon as I changed her, they took off her diaper to weigh her, she peed all over the nurse, and they had to change her again.

My blood pressure has been more stable today and in more of a normal range (130s/90s at the highest, 119/76 at the lowest) so I was taken off of one of my meds. Yippee! I was also moved to a private room for medical reasons (reduce stress while I try to get my blood pressure under control) and will be here until at least Monday as an inpatient. And best of all, my IV was removed today! No more pushing that darn thing around when I want to see Ivy, and now when I hold her, I only have her cords to contend with and not my own.
Praying for a good weekend (blood pressure-wise) and safe travels for Tony, the boys, and his mom (who will be helping him out in Peace River for the week).

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Ivy the Kangaroo

I just had my first session of Kangaroo care with Ivy - skin-to-skin contact with her. She settled right onto my chest and relaxed into an amazing sleep. And how great does that feel for Mommy?! Only 3 days ago she was in my tummy, hearing my heartbeat all day, and she has been without that familiar sound for 3 days. Now, against my chest, it was all familiar to her and she loved it.
I am going to get Tony to do it tomorrow before he leaves. We used to do lots of skin-to-skin with Sacha, since that was the only way he would sleep at night. It will be a great way for Tony and Ivy to bond before he has to go back to Peace River with the boys.