Sunday, September 13, 2009

Life with Bryce

I'm happy to report that, so far, caring for baby Bryce has been reminiscent of caring for baby Logan. Of course, we've only been sleeping a few hours at night, but that's to be expected with a newborn; in fact, if Logan would let us sleep during the day, we might both be fairly well rested! :-P

The most notable difference so far is feeding-related. With Logan, mealtimes were easy. He nursed consistently from day one, and he didn't dawdle; during the night, Christie could more or less feed him in her sleep. For Bryce, mealtimes are a major stressor for everyone. Like many preemies, he is struggling to maintain the calorie surplus he needs to gain weight -- while nursing, he often works too hard to take in a small quantity of milk. As a consequence, we've been bottling him for at least half his feedings.

Unfortunately, bottling requires the complete concentration of at least one adult for about an hour. The milk comes out of the bottle more easily, requiring less work from Bryce (i.e., more calories conserved); however, sometimes he gets more milk than he expects, which causes him to choke. Thus, whenever we bottle him, we have to pay very close attention to his breathing to ensure that he isn't getting overwhelmed. To make matters worse, Bryce came home on several medications, and judging from his reaction, they're definitely not bubblegum flavored. To get him to take them, we mix them with a little milk in his bottle, but he still chokes every time we give him the meds. Hopefully, we can get him to put on some weight, because as Sandra Moore so eloquently put it (see "The Preemie Experience" in an earlier post), "the (severity of the) constant fight to gain weight is in direct proportion to the preemie's ability to do so".

Another major difference, which hasn't affected us too much yet, is Bryce's frailty. I've mentioned in earlier posts that the ventilators that saved Bryce's life in the early days also damaged his lungs. As a consequence, Bryce has been diagnosed with a condition called Chronic Lung Disease (CLD). Hopefully, his lungs will heal over the next year or so, but since they are so fragile right now, any type of respiratory infection could be very serious for Bryce. There is one strain of cold in particular, called Respiratory Synctial Virus (RSV), that most babies catch before age 2. Unfortunately, the doctors have warned us that if Bryce catches this cold during the coming winter, he'll very likely wind up in the hospital. In fact, the doctor said that both of the boys should steer clear of any type of childcare for the first year, and that they should avoid other places where they might come in contact with large groups of children. That, combined with the coming cold/flu season, means that you probably won't see us out and about too much during the next few months. Also, everyone in the Sonnek household is learning to be very conscientious when it comes to proper hand-washing and hygiene, and we'll be asking the same of anyone who comes to visit.

I suppose that by now our readers must feel like living with Bryce is all doom and gloom, but we just want everyone to understand that we're not actually weird, overprotective hermits. In truth, these past forty eight hours have been a dream come true. Sitting with Bryce as he dozes, listening to him breathe, inhaling that baby smell, smiling as Logan runs over with yet another toy car for him, and imagining our future together -- these are just a few of the things we've experienced in the past two days that have made the first 108 all worthwhile. Print this post

1 comment:

  1. I have thought of you and the family often this weekend...wondering how everything was going...and resisting the temptation to text, e-mail or call you to see how life was in the Sonnek household. Logan is so sweet to bring Bryce the toy cars for him--he will be an awesome big brother!!! Thanks for the post:) Love you all!!