Of all three of my children, Brian has probably had the toughest start in life. Personality wise, he is the most easy-going and laid back baby. He just likes to sit around, observe, and smile at everything he sees. While in my womb, he was the one causing all the trouble as his head nestled right in the birthing canal ready to come out way too early. At birth his umbilical cord and placenta came out of me before he did.
So he was the one that started all the commotion.
Brian was born at 28 weeks 5 days gestation a healthy 3 lb 1 oz baby boy but did need some assistance with breathing. They placed a mask over him and gave him oxygen right away and wrapped his body in a plastic bag to keep him warm. He was placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). He did not need to be intubated which means they didn`t need to place a tube down his throat to help with breathing. I think the two doses of steroids I had injected while in the hospital on bed rest really helped with his lung development. The hospital did place him on a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine for a week or so but they said he didn`t need it but that it would just assist him with his breathing. So for the first week or so Brian was in the incubator with a mask on his face and a tube that went to his stomach. Because he was so premature, the nurse would just inject some breast milk into the tube that went right down to his stomach. He also had three wires taped to his chest area to monitor I think it was heart rate, blood and respiratory levels. These were attached to machines that indicated his levels and would make beeping sounds if they ever went above or below a certain marker. While you are in the NICU ward you can hear all the monitors intermittently going off at all times. There was also a bandage type piece wrapped around his foot which also measured rates. I don`t remember what each wire measured. Over time, as he grew and matured, they removed the CPAP machine and he was breathing on his own. After about four weeks, he started breastfeeding and took onto it very well. By five weeks he was able to come out of the incubator and slept in a cot on his own. By six weeks he was sharing a crib with his sister Jean.
After seven weeks in the NICU at the hospital, Brian was healthy enough to come home.
From the day Brian came home till about the following three months, he had many respiratory concerns. He shared a crib with his sister which I placed in my room and I had to keep the humidifier on constantly because he was having such a difficult time breathing. My room was like a sauna. I had to regularly inject water up his nostrils just so he could breath and on many occasions stay up holding him upright all night. I later moved him out of the crib and into a swing that propped him upright.
When Brian was home for about six weeks he had to return to the hospital for some day surgery to have an inguinal hernia operation. This is quite common in premature babies, it`s where an opening between the abdominal cavity and the scrotum did not have a chance to close properly so they have to just close it. He had to have this surgery on both sides of his groin area and was only supposed to be in the hospital for a full day. Unfortunately, he caught a virus and was then admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). He stayed in the hospital for another ten days.
At around five months old Brian grew out of any respiratory concerns.
From a couple of weeks of being home and every couple of months till now, I receive a visit from the Development Disabilities Association that assesses the development of the twins. Brian has always been developmentally capable of doing all the tasks assessed to a very good to excellent level. They do not seem to have any concerns at this time. However, recently a physiotherapist has noticed some preemie tendencies such as he doesn’t like to bend his knees and when he stands, he prefers being on his toes with one leg. She recommended that I place his toys on top of a cushion and have him kneel while playing with it. Her explanation was that most babies that develop in the wound to full term are tightly squished in their mother’s womb and their legs get used to being tightly bent. With premature babies, they are in incubators listening to many stressors and their tendency is to straighten out. They are just not used to bending their knees. In order for them to learn to crawl and walk properly, they need to learn to comfortably bend at the knees. I have been working at this with him since meeting the physiotherapist.
Other than this concern which can be learned and corrected, so far Brian is a happy and healthy little baby. He loves to watch everything around him and does not like to nap when we are not home as he doesn’t want to miss a thing. He only cries when he’s teething, tired or hungry. He smiles and responds to anyone and is very social. He is a sweet and wonderful son.
I am so fortunate.
I hope you enjoyed this episode on Brian, birth till now. If you have any questions, please go to our website at choicemomma.com and click on “ask me.” Thanks to those of you who have already been sending in questions; I look forward to answering them starting at episode 16.
Thanks so much for listening and please join me on the next episode on Jean, birth till now.