Time is flying by here in the Madison NICU. The V-5 are now 7 weeks old, and a corrected gestational age of 36 weeks, or 9 months.
Our family has been very busy the last few weeks. The quints spend their days learning to eat by mouth, snoozing and growing. They are all approaching the 10th percentile for weight-for-age with an increasing trajectory. The ladies and Theo are at or near 5lbs:
We are so excited to watch their progress as they learn how to take a bottle and breastfeed. Theo takes the cake…literally, for being the bottle and breastfeeding champ! We are fairly certain that if we let him, he would chug his bottle down in 3 seconds flat. The ladies are also progressing in their pre-feeding and feeding skills. Lily is by far the most interested, followed closely by Bella. Ellie and Kali are still quite content with having their food trickle into their bellies. The quints have to be able to meet 80% or more of their nutritional needs by mouth before they can have their feeding tubes pulled. They also have to be able to sustain their weight and continue to grow appropriately on p.o. (by mouth) feeds before they can come home.
There are other goals that they must meet prior to coming home. They must outgrow their apnea and bradycardia of prematurity, or their “A’s and B’s”. Currently, they are all attached to monitors that measure their heart and respiration rates, as well as, their oxygen saturation. All of the kids continue to have moments when their heart rates drop (bradycardia) and their respiration rates continue to fluctuate. The only quint that is truly struggling with this task is Kali.
The medical team has assured us that this is due to her GERD (Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease) and not lung or heart disease. We did find out via an ECHO last week that Kali does have a small PDA (Patent ductus arteriosis) and a muscular Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), but again they have told us that these are unrelated to her difficulties maintaining her oxygen saturation and that both will close as she ages.
The quints have successfully accomplished the third task required for coming home- maintaining their temperatures outside of the isolette. All of V-wall 5 are in cribs! Ellie and Theo have larger cribs because they are in a larger room. The other ladies are in smaller tub-like cribs. Nevertheless, they are champs at regulating their temperature. This means they can come out to play more often!!
Daddy and Mommy have been busy, too. We have been finishing up their nursery with all five cribs, sorting and color-coding outfits and blankies, and cleaning and child-proofing the house. We also recently bought a 2012 Honda Odyssey from Zimbrick Honda, here in Madison. They were fantastic and met us at our price-point. We are very happy with our baby mobile; complete with 8 seats, and five of which have a LATCH for car-seat safety. Many thanks to Justin and the Gurnee Police Department for helping us to install our seats!
It will still be a few more weeks before anyone comes home for the reasons mentioned above. Ellie and Theo will have their bowel surgeries, anastomosis, the first week in October and then will have to stay in the hospital until they heal and can eat normally again. While we wait to welcome our five little miracles home, we spend our days at the NICU doing what we can to support their growth and development.