The Kat in the Hat

Zak caught this shot last night when we visited Kat; the mother of the baby in the crib next to Kat’s was learning how to evaluate her son’s oxygen intake while he fed from a bottle by observing his facial skin tone, and so the nurse had brightened the overhead lights.

Kat doesn’t care for bright lights, so Zak, who was holding her on his lap, pulled the brim of her little hat over her eyes so she could go on snoozing unfazed by the brilliance.

And since she looked so cute, he took a picture.

As for how Kat is doing–she is gaining some weight–her cheeks have rounded out and her abdomen is a good centimeter larger.

She is still having troubles feeding from a nipple, however.

She has the rooting reflex, and while she is completely disinterested in a pacifier, she sucks quite strongly and capably on my fingers, and I can tell when she does it that her tongue, lower gum and jaw are all in the right position to nurse effectively.

However, when she is put to the breast, she cannot coordinate the three things that must happen simultaneously: sucking, swallowing and breathing. Her attempts to nurse, once she gets a semi-effective latch on, go like this: suck, suck suck, pause, breathe, breathe, breathe, swallow, swallow. This gets her very little milk, and the first time she tried it–yesterday, she got SO frustrated she started to cry. Today, she was more patient, and tried for longer, but, as is typical of many preemies, she ended up getting tired and just going to sleep without getting much in the way of food.

She was worse on the bottle yesterday–Zak tried to feed her and she sucked really hard, like she had at the breast, and since bottles spurt milk more easily, she got a huge mouthful of milk, which choked her. She choked like this twice, and was quite scared by it, and then clamped her mouth shut and refused to try again.

So, she is still being tube-fed. But, we are very slowly still trying to work with her to get the nipple-feeding to work; I am confident that she will get it eventually. It is just going to take her time.

In other news, she is awake more often and has been interacting more and more with us. We’ll try to get a good picture of her with her eyes open as they are very pretty, but she really doesn’t like the flash much.

And as for us–we are now in a Residence Inn, which has a kitchen in it. Wonder of wonders! I’ll start cooking us some good food starting tomorrow. It is amazing how tiring restaurant food can get, no matter if it is good, bad or indifferent, when that is all one has to eat. I much prefer my own food to anyone else’s, so I am glad that I am feeling well enough to be able to cook for us at least some of the time.

And yes, I am healing nicely. My energy level still fluctuates, but I am still doing the breastpump and am in danger of filling up the refrigerator and freezer at the NICU with milk for Kat. I think that my body is convinced that I gave birth not to one preemie but a small island nation of them, because of all the milk it is producing!

Thank goodness for good breastpumps is all I have to say!

More news later, and maybe some pictures of my home-away-from-home dinners soon.

12 Comments

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  1. Look at those little fingers and such a cute nose. This is really an adorable picture – all tucked in and snoozing. Am happy to hear you are all doing well and settling into a routine. Best to all of you.

    Comment by Maureen — September 26, 2006 #

  2. She is so cute & lovely.

    Wishing you all the best.

    Thanks for the update.
    I had found myself checking your blog
    six times a day, before I finally thought to myself that you had more pressing things to attend to. :-)

    I am so very happy for you.

    Comment by Dan Jenkins — September 26, 2006 #

  3. I am so glad that both you and Kat are doing better. I am sure she will figure out how to eat very soon! Looks like she’s on the right track! I will keep hoping that she will be able to go home sooner than expected!

    Comment by Kitarra — September 26, 2006 #

  4. She’s adorable! Good for you for being so patient with the breastfeeding. I’m sure it will get better in time.

    Comment by Kate — September 26, 2006 #

  5. Aww what an adorable baby! She looks so warm and snuggly that I feel all cosy just looking at her.

    I hope that she picks up nipple feeding soon but I’m sure she will. Baby steps, so to speak!

    Comment by Stephanie — September 26, 2006 #

  6. So. Cute!

    And yay for having a kitchen at your hotel. You must be dying to make something for yourself. It gets so old after a while, eating entirely from restaurants and vending machines.

    Comment by Bomboniera — September 26, 2006 #

  7. She is adorable! Glad you’re feeling better.

    Continued best wishes for both of you. :)

    Comment by veuveclicquot — September 26, 2006 #

  8. Aww, poor Kat, how frustrating to be trying so hard to eat and being unable to get it right. It sounds like you’re aware that this isn’t unusual, though. My Maggie was born a week late and had some trouble, although that seemed to be more with (a) her latch and (b) my supply than with coordinating her breathing. She’ll get there, little fighter.

    Congratulations on finding a kitchen to use! I’m glad you’re feeling well. Best wishes are still coming your way from Oregon!

    Comment by Kristi — September 26, 2006 #

  9. Sitting here smiling, remembering doing this all with Jessie. How good it felt to finally take her home and how happy I was when she finally stopped being “boob-stoopid” as we called it.

    Jessie as we speak is a 5’5″ 11 year old, sprawled across the couch, watching X Files and critiquing the acting. I hope you guys get home soon.

    Comment by Sarah — September 26, 2006 #

  10. Better that she have too much food than not enough :). It sounds like she’s doing well, and you sound like you have much more energy. As her lungs get stronger, the breathing should get easier. And well, the best way to make lungs get stronger is to use ‘em. I’m sure the doctors have told you that.

    It’s good to hear you’re all doing well.

    Comment by Emily Cartier — September 27, 2006 #

  11. We had very similar nursing woes with DS, who was born with breathing issues. A nipple “shield” worked wonders after many frustrating days of both DS and I in tears after nursing attempts. I’ve heard mixed messages about them but it worked for us and we were able to phase it out eventually. Hang in there. Best wishes to you all and sincere congratulations!

    Comment by Mia — September 27, 2006 #

  12. Oh, what a sweety… I have the same darling at home, she is so tender and affectionate:-)
    I remember my wife Celine and me decided to give a birth to our baby after holydays in Cyprus… We are knowing each other for a long time and my sweet wife couldn’t get pregnant but this maritime air and constant sunshine helped her, I think.

    Comment by Jess — September 30, 2006 #

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