Hunter was luckily born at 36 weeks and 3 days! At 37 weeks, a baby is consider full term. 36 week old babies are considered late preterm. At this point, the baby has fully developed. If you make it to 36 weeks, they will not try to prevent you from going into labor anymore.Hunter was born healthy. He didn’t have any health problems to need Neonatal Intensive Care. As many preterm babies, Hunter was low weight. He had hypoglycaemia and had jaundice.
Because Hunter was born only at 5lbs 10oz, they had to monitor his weight. They had to make sure that he would gain weight before we could leave the hospital. In the first few days after birth, babies loose weight. Eventually after a week to 10 days, they will gain it back.To make sure that Hunter would gain weight, they put him on a feeding schedule. I had to feed him every 2 hours. I breast fed him for 15-20 minutes. After, I had to feed him formula from a bottle. The first couple of days 15-20 ml and once we came home 20-30 ml. It can be difficult for preterm babies to feed. Sucking can be difficult for them and it can also be very tiring. I was told to manually express my milk onto a spoon to ensure Hunter was actually getting something from my breast. The first couple of days, I had to supplement with formula. After a couple of days, my milk came in and I was able to supplement half breast milk and half formula. By the 4th day, I was able to fully pump and supplement completely with my breast milk. Once he started to gain weight, it was easier. I did not have to wake him up in the middle of the night to feed him if he was sleeping. This made the nights much easier! I only had to ensure that he was having 8 feedings in total.
Hypoglycaemia means that his blood sugar was low when he was born. As soon as he was born, they had to give him a sugar solution. This regulated his sugar levels right away. However, he was checked consistently for the next few days to make sure the level stayed right. They would poke his foot with a needle each day to check his blood levels. Many Asian and Latino babies are born with Jaundice. This is yellowing of the skin and eyes which is caused by too much bilirubin. They also monitored this while we stayed at the hospital and once we came home. It takes a few weeks to go away. As long as the skin is not getting more yellow instead of starting to disappear we don’t have to worry. We had to give him vitamin D and put him under the sunlight.They also told us to do as much skin to skin as possible. Holding him would help to regulate his body temperature and his breathing. It’s very important to help them to keep warm. This way, they won’t burn calories trying to do it themselves. We were also advised not to let Hunter be around other children or in contact with new people. The doctor told us that because he was a premature baby, his immune system was not as strong. We would have to wait for him to be 40 weeks before he could be exposed to other people. We were also asked not to send Vera to daycare because she could get sick or bring home viruses.
After 5 days, Hunter stoped loosing weight! He had to do 2 consecutive check ups showing he gained weight. Finally after this, we we’re allowed to go home. We still had to go back to the hospital 2 more days for check ups. After this, we had to take him to our walk in clinic for a 1 week and a 2 week check up. We will have to go to the Paediatrician for a 1 month and 2 month check up. We are so lucky to have been able to come home with Hunter only after 5 days. I can not imagine having to leave Hunter in the NICU. It would have been so hard, specially with having Vera to take care of! Spending the days and nights in the hospital with out our own room or a bed would have been exhausting.