Well, the first big news - we can dress Jossie now. Bring on the pink! Dear friends sent a bunch of preemie clothes their daughter wore three years ago, so we have a lot of things to dress her in. She's had a good day today - she had one episode where her heartbeat dropped down to the 80s for mere seconds (when it's typically 140-160) but again the doctors were not worried. Her feedings remain at 28 ml but they are adding a bit of supplement to the breastmilk to pack on the calories. The nurse said it was a baby milkshake.
The doctor just stopped by for a check-up and said at this point, Jossie is a preemie feeder and grower - she's just eating her way out of the NICU and the doctor noted she was doing remarkably well for a preemie her age.
The head of the NICU, who is a friend of one of my Openlands' board members, called me at home last night to check in on us and to see if we had any questions. She was very kind and told me to remember that a baby's time in the NICU is not a sprint but a marathon. I am trying to remember this as we face each new day. I do feel a touch of sadness when I see a mommy waiting in the discharge waiting room with her big, healthy baby. That should be me, I selfishly think. But then I remember that I have a small, healthy baby, and even being here in the NICU, I see little ones with bigger battles to fight than our Joss. And I'm grateful.
Whether it was my wedding, my first child or my first time in the NICU, I always turn to my reading and research to provide me with understanding. I'm currently reading The Preemie Primer by Jennifer Gunter. There's a chapter devoted to parents' emotional health. I like her thoughts on mind-body medicine. "Mind-body medicine is the idea that our thoughts and emotions influence physical health, and harnessing this connection improves both emotional and physical well-being." I definitely believe that my hope has helped me to physically heal quickly and for both Jeremy and me to be emotionally available and secure for Jossie. A large heaping of friend and family support has given us strength too. My mom has been by my side since the weekend, and I've also benefited from having my good friend Emily here too for the past couple of days, along with a sprinkling of other visitors.
Each day, Joss is more and more alert. Hoping this works - here's Jossie's very first video (including a few sneezes).
I see one of her friends went home today - he weighed 4 lbs 1 oz. Our nurse reiterated our milestones today to get Jossie home:
1. No episodes (heartrate drop) for five days in a row (she just had one this morning);
2. 24 hours of taking all feedings by mouth (and not the feeding tube); and
3. A nice weight gain (within the 4-lb range).