We got to hold him for the first time! Before this we have only been allowed to touch his hand or rest a hand on his back. On Monday, Josh spent the whole day with no breathing tubes, meaning he was breathing room air naturally rather than having oxygen delivered to his lungs.
Also, on Sunday, he had started being fed through a feeding tube (rather than just having nutrients delivered through an IV). I had provided about 6 milliliters of colostrum at that point, but his nutrition needs are about 120 milliliters a day, so the majority of what he was given was formula. He did not digest it very well, which caused his breathing to be more stressed out - his breaths per minute increased from the food, which is not what we want. On Monday, which is only the 3rd day, I was able to give him about 60 milliliters of pumped milk, so half of what they gave him was from me. At each feeding they would mix half my milk with half of a different type of formula meant for sensitive babies, and he digested that just fine with no stress to his breathing.
As long as he tolerated his 9 pm feeding well (he's fed every 3 hours), we were told we could hold him. We got there at about 9 (thank you family for coming to watch Maia for us!) and sat with him for a half hour while he digested that feeding, and since all went well we were able to hold our little boy for the first time. He is so much bigger than Maia but also very calm just like his sister:
The plan on Tuesday, so long as he has continued to tolerate feedings well, is to bottle feed him. I would actually be allowed to try to nurse him at this point, but since we have a big day of tests and meetings with doctors at CHOC with Maia and I am not getting a lot of sleep, we decided we will continue to deliver as much pumped milk as possible but hold off on adding one more thing to our schedule (learning to breast-feed him) until we have things worked out with Maia. Holding him was the best part of my day but at the same time it will make it a lot harder to leave him in the NICU when we discharge on Tuesday. Something about holding him increases my attachment to him more than words can describe.
Maia also had a good day. She actually gained a little weight back (very good for only day 3, many babies are still losing) which will be a huge blessing if she ends up having surgery this week. Every little ounce counts when you are that small. She had dropped down to 4 lbs 15 oz on Sunday and was back up to 5 lbs 1 oz on Monday (original weight was 5 lbs 4 oz). She also had a couple of feedings where she exclusively breast-fed with no formula supplements, which I really do think is better for her at this point as she needs every immunity benefit she can get from my milk because of her size and her potential surgery.
Because we won't get to take them home, we put her in her little take-home outfit, it's newborn size but she swims in it! She's such a little doll.
Also we had two different friends who have connections/experience in the Orange County medical arena ask around about our pediatric neurologist. We referred by Josh and Maia's pediatrician, whom we obviously don't know very well yet, so just wanted to find out who the best of the best is and anything we should be aware of about the CHOC system. Both friends came back with similar information that makes us feel very confident about the doctor we will be meeting today and also gave us some good ideas of questions and concerns to ask/express. We have had very little time to do any of our own research or learning and really appreciate others jumping in and doing it for us, if nothing else to give us peace of mind.