Kieran is 37 weeks gestational age today - full term! And he is celebrating being full term by being wide-eyed, alert & nursing for very long periods of time! Or, that could just be the caffeine ;) Either way, Josh and I are loving it! At 5 lbs, 9 oz, he is feeling like a newborn-sized baby in our arms and interacting with us more and it's so wonderful!
Speaking of the caffeine, we have a new plan of action, a bit different then I posted about the other day. Yesterday it was decided that Kieran would go home with an apnea monitor. Initially Josh and I were a little worried about the prospect of bringing Kieran home on a monitor; at first I pictured him needing to wear it all the time and it going off constantly like the ones in the hospital. But this monitor is different in that it has no numbers, just lights to indicate if Kieran's heart rate is low (bradycardia) or he stops breathing for 20 seconds or more (apnea.) The apnea monitor will be connected to a strap around his chest, and he will need to wear it at all times of sleep and any time we are not directly watching him or with him. It can be off for feedings, bathtime, playtime, tummy time...anything like that. But if we're holding him and watching a movie or having a conversation, not paying as much attention to him, he should be hooked up to the monitor. He should have the belt off his body twice a day for a few hours each time to prevent skin breakdown.
This morning Josh and I were trained on the alarm, and he started wearing the monitor after that - it hasn't gone off yet! I have heard that the loose leads alarm can go off a lot, which is the alarm that tells us a wire is disconnected or something of that sort - hopefully that won't be the case because that thing is LOUD! If something is wrong with the machine or leads it has a super loud, long beep alarm. If Kieran has an apnea episode it's also loud, but it's a beep per second. We are to go to Kieran if it goes off, and he gets 10 seconds/beeps to resolve the breathing on his own. If at 11 seconds he has not resolved it, we're supposed to start gently stimulating him to breathing with gentle touch and then onto more vigorous stimulation if need be.
Kieran is going home on the monitor + caffeine for at least 4 weeks, and after that it will be decided if he needs either any longer. We're supposed to send the apnea monitor results to the Apnea Program out of Children's Hospital, as well as send them our journals that mark the alarm occurrences. And with this new plan we have an estimated discharge date - Sunday or Monday! Isn't that the most amazing news!? (And a nice Mother's Day present to boot!) They are re-doing his carseat test tomorrow and hopefully he passes since he's now on the caffeine, but if he doesn't, he will go home in a car bed, which is a type of car seat that allows him to recline more. (And it's kind of pricey and he will outgrow it quickly, so please pass the carseat test, Kieran! Ha.)
Wow, in just a few days our son will be home with us! It's been such a long time coming!