David is now 45 days old; he’s also 33 weeks and 3 gestational days old, which means I should still be carrying him for almost another 7 weeks. I’m not sad about this anymore. I’m not thinking in terms of absence, of something that is no longer “in there.” It’s just language, I know, but there was a point this weekend when I stopped thinking of David as gestating, and started thinking of him as simply growing. This might not seem like a big difference, but it is, because my no longer longing to scoop him up and tuck him back in has had a profound effect on how I approach the everyday. What I mean to say is that, this weekend, in a quick, epiphanic moment, I realized that he’s out. He’s out on his own in the open air, and he’s growing, just like a newborn baby should.
This shift in perspective probably has something to do with the fact that David graduated to the carpet on Saturday night. Yep. He moved in with the big babies. He has his own room now (sort of), with his own space and a window view. He’s also been moved to an open crib. The days of Mr. Toaster Head and the Incubator Adventures are over. I will admit, when Graham and I found out on Saturday evening that David would be moving, we felt a slight sense of nostalgia. Strange as it may sound, we had grown accustomed to David’s generic, uniform bedspace on the tile floor, because we had spent 42 days there with him, and the announcement of his relocation came on sudden enough that we actually missed it for the first few hours.
Saturday was a big day to begin with. We started out with a lesson in infant massage and stretching techniques with the developmental therapist. We learned ways to stimulate David’s digestion and to help strengthen his bone growth. David had a test done last week that showed he’s at risk for slightly less than adequate bone development at this point. His feedings are now being enhanced with extra calories, vitamins and minerals, and we’re trying to give him the therapeutic touch he needs to help him grow.
Later in the day we gave David his first real bath in a bathtub. He needed it. We went to Dan and Whit’s mid afternoon and bought him some miniature rubber duckies for the occasion. The nurses rolled the tub right up to his bedside, plopped him in and away we scrubbed.
He didn’t love it. We had to scrub then oxygenate then scrub again and the whole process was a little cumbersome. But after the bath he fell into a deep, restful sleep and while he slept we wheeled him into his new neighborhood. And when he woke up nurse Sam was back on duty, so all was good. And he liked the new air so much that he came off his CPAP yesterday and was placed on high-flow oxygen. This is a big step forward. For one thing it frees up his mouth considerably, and although he’s still so small and young, this will allow us to start the initial introductions to breastfeeding.
We do feel more at ease now, but we’re still cautious with our enthusiasm. And we have to expect another 45 days here. But what I tell myself is that although we might wish to be home, we’re experiencing many of our “firsts” in the ICN, and we’re learning much more about David at this stage than we would have otherwise learned.
And with him doing pretty well, having him out now feels like bonus time.
J & G & D