After the tubes came out of Joey's stomach and he began feeding from a bottle, we were moved to Room E of the NICU. Most of the babies in that room were there for problems with feeding and to gain weight before going home. While Joey had lost some weight from the intestinal blockage and surgery, and was down to about 6.5 pounds from his birthweight of 7.5 pounds, he was still one of the larger babies in the NICU. I believed that feeding, if that was indeed the only reason he was still in the hospital, was something that I could work on with him at home. After all, it was not like he was not eating at all, he was just slow at it and would get sleepy. Because of this the NICU nurses kept threatening to place another NG tube in him to finish his feedings that way. Most of the babies in Room E had one. But I was horrified at the thought of them putting another tube in my baby. I saw it as regressing and told them that I would not authorize it. If he needed to learn how to eat I did not see how feeding him through a tube was going to accomplish anything. One nurse even went as far as getting an order from the doctor to do it. The doctor later told me that she reluctantly signed the order but she did not think it was necessary just yet. But I refused to allow it unless it was absolutely medically necessary. And it never became medically necessary so we were able to avoid it.
As a result, my husband Tony and I tried to be the ones to feed him whenever possible. Granted it did take a lot of time and energy and I know the nurses did not have the time to dedicate to just feeding Joey....but I was determined not to let them put another tube in my baby. So my husband and I fed him. I would hold the bottle while my husband tickled and rubbed his feet, held a cold washcloth to his cheeks or arms, all while we both talked to him. Looking back it was probably quite the sight. But it worked. And he slowly began to eat more and more.
Now I wanted to take him home. But no one would tell me when we could do that. When he got back up, past his birthweight, I began telling the neonatologist and the nurses that if the only reason we were there was for feedings, I wanted to take him home by the end of the week even if it meant signing him out against medical advice. At first my demands were met with statements like "it's nice to have goals." So I became more persistent... I told everyone who asked "how we were doing" that I wanted to take him home and if feeding was the only reason we were still in the hospital... I could feed him at home. On February 24, 2009 I asked them to please do whatever they needed to do to clear him to go home.
Finally, on February 25, 2009, I was sitting there holding him when the Neonatologist came in. With tears in my eyes I said "I'm begging you...please let me take my baby home..." I was absolutely exhausted from running back and forth between home and the hospital, and pumping every four hours throughout the night, and ready to let the tears start flowing. And she said "ok... just please don't cry." She had been home the last few days with her own sick child and said that she could not take anymore crying. She then removed his PICC line and said we could take him home so long as I agreed to take him to the pediatrician for follow-up in two days.
I was absolutely thrilled. Here are some pics.
Joey looking more and more alert on February 23 and ( in my mind) ready to go home.
Stopping by to feed Joey before heading to his baby shower (remember he was born five weeks early). We were bummed that he could not join us.
Joey was obviously happy about the PICC line being removed...he's almost smiling.
Ready to go home!!!
Joey looking so tiny in his carseat.
And last but not least my favorite...yeah that's right baby... hold on for dear life... we are going home!!
Your mom and dad my not have a clue what they are doing..it is going to be an adventure for all... but one thing is for sure... YOU ARE LOVED!