Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rub a Dub

Today's quick stats:


Weight - 4 lbs 14 ozs (2.21 kilos for you metric types)
Oxygen - nasal cannula, 4 litre volume (decreasing soon hopefully), 26 - 30 percent
Feeds - 43 mls breast milk w/Prolacta every 3 hrs along w/ an electrolyte supplement


Weight - 4 lbs 6 ozs. (1.985 kilos)
Oxygen - nasal cannula, 2 litre volume, 22-26% (every so often 21%!)
Feeds - 40 mls breast milk w/ Prolacta every 3 hrs.

Elaine has bathed the babies a couple times now, but yesterday was the first day that Dad was an active participant -- instead of just acting as the staff photographer. That's not for lack of wanting -- the problem is that Dad has hands like catcher's mitts, fingers like sausages, and the dexterity of a rhino -- a blind, deaf rhino. Yes, all attached to that skinny body. That means when you're looking to perform a delicate operation quickly (such as bathing a premature baby with a lot of gizmos attached), you probably want someone else. But, now that the babies are getting a little more durable, Dad can be trusted (mostly and with supervision). So how'd Dad do? Passable.

Dad bathes Milo with help from Aneko.

Washing Milo's back and bottom.

Dad's general impression is that bathing a baby is akin to wrestling a small, very fragile, greased pig. They're stronger than you think, they generally don't like being put in the water, they squirm like heck, and they taste like bacon (just kidding -- chicken actually). Add to all this the fact that the babies have their nasal cannula and feeding tubes, and you've got delicate mayhem. To keep the babies warm, the nurses prepare a bath with water at 100 degrees, and there is also a nice warming lamp present. Once all the preparations were complete, we delicately placed Milo in his bath where he immediately peed. We've decided to spare you all the photos of that fun, but we will save them so we can embarrass him when he's a teenager.

Maddy post-bath and pulling Daddy's finger.

In other news... You may have noticed above that Milo is getting an electrolyte supplement in his breast milk -- basically the neonatal equivalent of Gatorade. Unfortunately, the little guy is having a tough time shedding all the fluid he's retaining while keeping up his essential minerals. The eminent Dr. Tannenbaum, who treats our little sprouts these days (and knows funny when she sees it!) has been working on striking the right balance with Milo. The problem goes something like this: retaining extra fluid can cause Milo to have to work harder to breath and is generally just not so great for him. To fix it, the doc gives him diuretics, which help him to excrete (i.e., tinkle out) the extra fluids. But, the more Milo pees, the more his essential electrolytes go along for the ride. For now, the strategy is to get his electrolytes back in balance and as he continues to recover from his PDA surgery (remember that?) he should have an easier time eliminating the fluids.

By the way, the twins turn ten weeks old -- 35 weeks corrected age -- on Sunday.

Milo (right) snoozes with little sister.


Krista said...

Rob--do you realize one of your babies actually just broke the 5 pound mark? 16 oz = 1 lb. :)

Glad you got to give a bath.


Rob Stiles said...

My bad! Unfortunately it was a a typo and I meant to say "4 lb 14 ozs." He's close though! Pretty soon he'll have to go up a weight class in baby fight club. ;)

Matt said...

Adorable! First time to check this out. Glad to see that Milo and Madeline are doing well. Hopefully Dad will be taught to have better hands!

Dani said...

You guys are by far the strongest people I know. I just spent 4 days in the hospital w/ Matthew for a fever and it killed me. I just wanted to wrap him up and take him home. I have absolutely no idea how you have done it for 10 weeks! Keep up the good work and get those kids home.

Rob Stiles said...

Hi Dani! Wow, I'm really sorry to hear about your hospital stay. It's tough going anytime you have a baby in the NICU, regardless fo the stay. The longer you're in NICU limbo, the more relative things become. It's not so much strength as bitter resolution. I find I cope best by using lots inappropriate humor -- much of which Elaine edits from the blog. ;)

anthea said...

hi everyone in the M&M blogsphere-of-love,

i realize many of you don't live nearby and haven't seen the bunnies yet, or for that matter, even elaine and rob. so from one who is lucky enough to live in the bay area with the foursome, i wanted to share a bit about the past ten weeks.

yes, elaine and rob are a remarkable couple, and each a remarkable individual who even after having their lives turned upside down (and their heads bashed on life's sidewalk--that was for you, rob :))--they can laugh, cry, worry, obsess, care, and love. and loves those earlybirds they do.

maddie and milo are beautiful little ones, arriving so early and fighting so hard to live. elaine and i were noting today the dramatic differences in each of them since their birth, which you can get a sense of from this wonderful blog.

as rob noted, even a sausage-fingered daddy has started actively caring for his children :) we of full-term babies can barely imagine how hard it is and has been not to be able to actively care for your little ones--to soothe them, touch them, nurse them, to parent with all its joys and frustrations. yet elaine and rob have loved and cared for their twins in ways and with strength that makes your eyes tear and your heart ache and sing all at the same time.

it's late at night and i'm probably not being terribly articulate, but to all who read this post, know how much you mean to rob and elaine. rob and elaine and your madeline and milo, know how much you mean to all of us.