David is treated on a daily/nightly schedule called “cluster care.” Care is given at 8, 4 and 12 to minimize the amount of disturbance to him in his incubator. During cluster care his diaper is changed and his urine is weighed, his gases (oxygen levels in his blood) and lines are all checked, his mouth is cleaned out, and he is made more comfortable through repositioning. This is a time when Graham and I touch and talk to David, because he is awake anyway. We are encouraged to learn how to provide this care so that we can eventually do it ourselves. Between cluster care sessions we try to let him sleep. He needs about 20 hours per day. Dinner with Dad!
I try to get to the hospital by 9:30am to be present during doctor rounds at 10am. The group (10 or so) includes a rotating head neonatologist, a handful of residents, a dietician, a respiratory therapist and many others I still have not identified. They discuss David’s progress during the night and develop a plan for the day. They meet every morning and night at 10. I have already learned so much from listening to these rounds. I’m encouraged to ask questions and express concerns at any time. Words like “room air” at first sounded to me like a french term I would never understand, “roumairre.” What happens to David in the incubator is very calculated and complicated, but it’s amazing how quickly terms and procedures become normal and understandable.
Looking forward, David will have a head ultrasound either today or tomorrow. It’s routine, and they use it to check for bleeding in his brain. He has been receiving my colostrum through a tube and his feeding will gradually increase until he is big enough to breastfeed.
Bill Edwards said in yesterday’s round that “it’s all about balance.” The doctors know what to expect. They know all the complications and signs and stages a preemie will go through. The external support David receives right now is just helping him to develop self-sufficiency.
More to come.
J & G & D