Launch Pad

Posted Sep 20, 2012 7:41pm

As I sit here pumping away while Colton plays himself in chess and Lucca tries to play Batman on his Leapster I realize that letting go of the rules is good sometimes. Our schedule is much more flexible than I normally aim for, and the boys don’t always get to bed right on time, but there is an insane amount to manage right now and I’m figuring it out as I go.
This morning’s visit was great, Oscar had gained 28 grams overnight and was maintaining his temps beautifully in the open air crib. He nursed well and fell asleep in the crook of my neck. I had the hardest time putting him down. His cheek was on mine and I whispered in his ear all the wonderful things in his room at home and how he was going to be there very soon. Dr Banerjee came by to reaffirm my good feelings about Oscar’s progress. She said the he never spits up after nursing, only after tube feedings and bottle feedings. It seems Oscar was born to breastfeed, and that’s great since the work to pump would be that much harder if he were never going to be able to nurse. Its a real reward.
After Sunan’s noontime visit, I returned around 2:30 for the 3pm feed. I changed him and took his temp, and got everything ready to feed. He latched on quickly and went at it. After about 8 minutes Amerisa came in to say I had to take him off. The ophthalmologist was on his way to do his eye exam and they didn’t want him over full. I was to finish the feed after the exam.
When a Dr tells you to leave the area so as not to witness a procedure that would haunt you forever, its not a very good feeling. Oscar’s exam was to rule out ROP, or Retinopathy of Prematurity.

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is abnormal blood vessel development in the retina of the eye in a premature infant.
The blood vessels of the retina begin to develop 3 months after conception and complete their development at the time of normal birth. If an infant is born very prematurely, eye development can be disrupted. The vessels may stop growing or grow abnormally from the retina into the normally clear gel that fills the back of the eye. The vessels are fragile and can leak, causing bleeding in the eye.

Scar tissue may develop and pull the retina loose from the inner surface of the eye. In severe cases, this can result in vision loss.

In the past, routine use of excess oxygen to treat premature babies stimulated abnormal vessel growth. Currently, oxygen can be easily and accurately monitored, so this problem is rare.

Today, the risk of developing ROP depends on the degree of prematurity. Generally, the smallest and sickest premature babies have the highest risk.

While I did leave his bedside, I wasn’t far enough away to miss the blood curdling cries. Those I won’t soon forget. They had to dilate his pupil and then retract his eyelids to look into his eyes with very bright light. Poor Oscar.
But the results were normal. Oscar’s eyes are developing properly. One less thing to worry about. Thank God.
The Dr told me his eyes would be swollen the rest of the day. Boy were they ever. I rushed to put him back on and finish nursing. He did so and quickly fell asleep in my arms. He was calm again. I was less so but pleased that I had made things as good for him as I could.
Then the nurse came by to say that they would be there momentarily from ultrasound to do Oscar’s follow up brain scan.
So Oscar was subjected to more prodding, on the heels of a very uncomfortable though mercifully quick procedure. My little man couldn’t go back to sleep after that, try as I might to help him settle. It was now 5:15 and I would be lucky to make it home before my nanny was off at 6. I had to leave. An awful feeling to say the least.
But one lovely thing that Lisa, the nurse for the afternoon shift said to make me feel better, resonated.
“He’s on the launch pad now. Almost ready to come home.”
On our way home from school Lucca asked “Mom, can I watch a show?” (his mantra)
I said “But Lucca, I like to talk to you. Can’t we…”
He interrupted me and said “I know Mom, I know. But I just can’t talk anymore.”

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