As I wrote in the last post, Cooper went off all respiratory support on Monday. It did not last long though. He is such an eager eater that he sometimes forgets to breathe which causes bradycardia (low heart rate.) He had several episodes of bradycardia on Monday that required stimulating to start breathing again, so they put the nasal cannula back in with a flow of 1L. The constant flow helps keep the airway open and helps remind him to breathe. It has since been bumped down to 1/4L. They tell me that some preemies need that constant flow for 3-6 months, some even longer. The doctor feels that Cooper may be one of those babies that needs that extra help. If respiratory support is the only thing keeping him at the hospital, they will send him home on oxygen. The good thing about home oxygen is that he would also have to be on a monitor. The monitor would alarm any time he drops his heart rate, so I would know immediately. I think it will give me peace of mind, so I won't feel the need to check if he's breathing every 5 minutes.
Nurse J moved Cooper into an open bassinet on Wednesday and has been regulating his own temperature perfectly. He is also doing great with eating. He has taken to breast feeding so well! And he switches back and forth from breast to bottle with no issues. When I am not at the hospital, the nurse feeds him by bottle, but when I'm here I breast feed him. He acts like an old pro. He latches on perfectly and usually nurses a full 30 minutes. Most of the time he doesn't even want to stop at 30 minutes. I call him my little piggy. We have found that if we let him nurse longer than 30 minutes, he gets too full and throws up. He is alert for longer periods of time and is very social. I think he would love to be held all the time, and sometimes throws a fit when I put him in his bassinet, but I am determined to start good habits now, like falling asleep in bed, not in mom's arms. We still have plenty of time to cuddle while he is awake.
With Cooper eating all of his milk by mouth and regulating his own temperature, he is pretty much ready to go home. On Tuesday the nurse told me to bring in his car seat for inspection, watch the required training videos, and make sure the house is ready, because he might go home soon. Yesterday morning Nurse S told me that that Dr K had ordered the home oxygen equipment with the thought that Cooper might go home this weekend! I brought the car seat in, finished organizing the nursery, and took home some of the books and blankets we had stored in Cooper's NICU room. I even picked out the outfits I want him to wear for the hospital photo and for going home.
I may have gotten a little ahead off myself. This morning Cooper had two bradycardia episodes. The doctor decided not to send him home until 5 days after his last bradycardia episode that requires simulation, so it looks like he is here until at least Tuesday. He has also lost weight the last couple of days (down to 3 lbs 12 oz) and they would really like to see him gain consistently before going home. I'm okay with that, a few days more isn't too long in the grand scheme of things, plus this gives me more time to deep clean the house. I think someone must have told Cooper that Saturday is opening day for archery season. Jake has plans to camp out tomorrow night and hunt first thing Saturday. Maybe Cooper is delaying his trip home so his dad can hunt this weekend.
Here is a photo of Cooper's new bed, the open bassinet.