Sunday, February 22, 2009

Evening Update (Sunday 2/22)

Max had a quiet and restful day at the NICU. He's still on a 60 minute feeding schedule, with decreased volume. The result is that he had a comfortable weekend. Even in the frantic 24/7 world of high-tech medicine, the NICU team still like to decrease the pace around the weekends. No doubt Monday will herald an onslaught of tests (a CT scan and and MRI for his fluctuating head circumference) and some further thinking about his reflux.

But today at least was quiet. I came in around 11:00 AM and stuck around for an attempt to bottle feed Max (see picture below). Max didn't do particularly well, and nurse R. didn't force the issue. He then switched Max to a more normal pump feed, and I held him during this feed and for some time afterwards (to let the food settle). Max was awake and playful for the first hour I was there, but once his bottle feeding attempt was over and the tube feeding started, he burrowed into my armpit and fell deeply asleep.

Nurse R. was the first male nurse I'd seen in the NICU. He was a floater assigned, I believe, by an agency. I didn't ask too many questions. He was quite good. He told me that NICU nursing was dominated by women as the result of, he thought, strong negative reactions to male nurses by some parents. He was a pretty cool guy, and I'm glad Max got to spend some time around fellow men today, as a change from normal team, who are almost all women.

Otherwise the NICU felt empty, without anyone else that I recognized. It's odd not to see familiar faces in that place after so many months (four down and counting). Odd, and disquieting. I hadn't realized how much I'd come to rely on personal connections with the NICU team until I was thrust in amongst strangers. I felt very lonely.

Max, on the other hand, took it all in stride.

Getting a bottle feeding