Today we had a follow up appointment with the Neonatal Clinic at the hospital. The clinic tracks all NICU 'graduates' after discharge to ensure proper development based on actual age and adjusted age. Adjusted age is the age Charlie would be if he were born on his due date. Today he is -3 days old..as W likes to say, he isn't even born yet!
The appointment was VERY helpful to me. We met with a nurse practioner and a dietician. Without even asking us, she voiced and eased EVERY concern that I have had over the last four weeks of Charlie being home!! She obviously sees many many parents that have the same worries and must see patterns. Although it makes me wonder...if ALL the parents coming out of NICU have the same fears and same tendencies that are probably hammered into us by the nurses, shouldn't they change their approach? Or give us a bit more guidance from the beginning??
So here's what I learned:
- Feedings: They last only 30 minutes. No longer. If he eats it faster that's great, but any longer than that and we run into a 'snacking' cycle. And he has to wait 2.5 to 3 hours before getting more food. It takes about 2 hours for all the food to get out of his stomach so if we start any earlier than 2.5 hours, he really isn't hungry enough to eat a full bottle. And it was suggested that we make a pitcher of formula instead of one bottle at a time to 1)minimize the air that is added to the mixture during shaking or stirring (it will settle eventually) and 2) to enable us to give him more or less than the instructed ratios (scoops of powder to ozs of water).
-Pooping: It's ok for him to go up to 4 days without having a dirty diaper! That's a long time!! We are going on another 24 hours of no poops, so I am scared to see what it's going to be like...but we don't have to worry.
-Sleeping: when he gets drowsy he is supposed to go in hs bed so he gets used to putting himself to sleep in bed..not on us! This does not mean though that we shouldn't snuggle, hold and cuddle him! However, it will still be a few weeks before we can start letting him sleep through the night. Now we start at the newborn milestones/guidelines...as if he was just coming home with us today.
Now for his stats!! He weighs 8lbs 4oz without a diaper! This puts him in the 5oth percentile; length is 20 3/4, 75th percentile and head is 34.8cm, 25th percentile. he is going to be tall and skinny!!
The dietician also told us that the standard weight gain is 15-30 grams per day...Charlie is averaging 51.1 grams per day! They were impressed and we no longer have to use the extra calorie formula.
The NP also did alot of movement and reflex tests. He is very strong and is doing more than what they expected; For instance, if you stand him up he will bare weight on his legs and hold it for a few secs before collapsing.
Overall..they just kept saying he looks great!! And he does! He is thriving and growing as if he was a full term baby! And I feel TONS better about everything. I am going to try really, really hard to not worry so very much!