On Monday, December 1st, Conan was transferred safely from Kaiser Downey to Kaiser Riverside. We were so pleased to have him moved so much closer to home! Not only will we not be spending as much time in the car, we will be able to visit him for longer periods of time and far more frequently than we were before. No more sitting in traffic on the 91 for an hour and a half at a time just to visit our son! However, it was bitter-sweet to leave Downey; we had come to love the staff there, including many of the nurses, the neonatologists, the respiratory therapists, the full-time NICU lactation consultants, and the social worker. The professionals at Kaiser Downey will always hold a special place in the heart of our family and in the story of Conan’s life. While we are happy to have Conan closer to home, we are regretful that the care team that Conan began with will not ultimately watch him complete his NICU stay and be discharged to come home. We will just have to be sure to keep them updated with pictures when Conan is ready to come home.
On Tuesday, December 2nd, Conan turned six weeks old. It is hard to believe that it has been six weeks since his birth! At the time of our last update on Thanksgiving Day, Conan was exactly 4lbs, was receiving 15 breaths-per-minute at 21% oxygen and had just had his first eye exam, which revealed two healthy eyes thus far. As of today, December 5th, Conan weighs 4lbs 14oz and has downgraded to a CPAP machine at between 21-23% oxygen. He is being fed 40mls of fortified breastmilk every three hours which comes out to a little more than 10.5oz of milk a day—quite a lot for such a tiny baby! He also had a second eye exam at Riverside yesterday and again his eyes were looking perfect. He will have a re-exam in two more weeks as ROP can manifest itself during later weeks of a preemie’s life.
Conan has also reached 33 weeks (gestational age) today, which means the SLP/OT/PT team will be assessing him three times a week for bottle/nipple feeding readiness. At this point he is not quite ready, since he is still dependent upon a CPAP to breath and maintain proper oxygen saturation levels. Once he weans off of the CPAP and is onto a low-flow cannula, he should be able to learn to suck/swallow/breath in order to get a growing number of feeds through a bottle nipple as opposed to his feeding tube. Shannon is really looking forward to being able to work on breastfeeding with Conan!
We continue to be so very grateful for the incredible support we have received from friends and family over these past many weeks. Having a micro-preemie is a life experience we never imagined and won’t soon forget. At this point, Conan has been in the hospital for so long that it has become disorienting, almost as though his pregnancy and birth were all a dream… but reality sets in and we remember that we have a baby in the hospital that is very real and is going to be ready to come home to live with us permanently before we know it!