Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Ma and Pa came to see me today. It's been a long time since they last saw me: they were last here on the day I moved out of my Incubator into a Hot Cot. I think I must have changed a lot since then, as apart from anything else I'm now at least a pound heavier. We all went out for a walk in the afternoon as it was a really nice day, and somehow the walk ended in the beer garden of our local pub.

Also, a really cool play mat arrived for me from Aunty Vonny today:

I don't know if you can see from the photo, but she's somehow managed to get her sewing machine to embroider lots of pictures all over it (she's really very clever). I really like playing on it, but I'm afraid that The Mog also finds it very comfortable, and it's become a bit of a battle to keep her away from it when I'm not around.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Mum and Dad have discovered a mean trick: they've noticed that if they keep me awake during the day, I don't wake up hardly at all during the night. I only woke up a couple of times last night and Mum and Dad were much less grouchy today.

Mum and Dad enjoy having me awake during the day as it's still something of a novelty. I think it's partly to do with me being so small: there were many weeks in the Unit where I would find it hard to stay awake long enough to eat properly (hence the feeding tube). Now that I'm bigger and stonger, I'm finding it much easier to stay awake. Part of the fun in staying awake is in watching Mum and Dad try to think of ways to entertain me: yesterday they made me listen to the entire Best of Manfred Man CD. I kinda liked the harmonica, but I'm not sure I really enjoyed Dad making me do the hand-jive to "Do-wah-diddy".

Sunday, May 29, 2005

It was really warm today, and Mum, Dad and me went for a walk. Everyone was a bit tired and grouchy because I had refused to go to sleep the night before: Mum and Dad were really sleepy at bedtime, but I wasn't, and I had to keep reminding them that I get really bored when I'm awake and there's noone to entertain me. I think I must have gone to sleep eventually though.

When we got back from the walk I met lots of our neighbours and their children: they all thought I was Very Cute and Really Small. All the children were playing on their bikes; it looked like fun but I think it'll be a few years before I'm able to join them.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

This is one of my favourite toys:

I'm fascinated by the black and white checks on Big Bug's hands and feet. And if you get Mum or Dad to pull Little Bug in the right way, then Big Bug plays a funny tune (but for some reason they don't make it play very often).

I had a quiet day today: the highlight was going for a really long walk all the way to the Library. Mum likes the Library, and she thinks the pushchair is great as it can carry loads of books (that was its main selling point, I think). It was really windy, and I could hear all the trees waving about.

I forgot to mention that I'd put on loads of weight yesterday: when the Health Visitor weighed me, I was 4 pounds and 11 ounces (or 2.15kg). Everyone seems very pleased that I'm putting on so much weight.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I saw the Health Visitor today. She popped in to the Unit once or twice to see how I was doing, but today was her first visit to see me at home. She's a very nice lady and she's very knowledgable about babies. She was able to give Mum and Dad an alarming number of hints and tips about how to look after me, and I was a bit worried that she'd give away all my secrets. However, I reckon I've got a few tricks up my sleeve that even she doesn't know about, and I'm looking forward to trying them out soon.

It was really warm and sunny in the afternoon, so we all went out for a walk. Mum played the "Don't let the sun shine on the baby" game, which mostly involves moving a small piece of cloth around the pushchair, and rearranging it everytime the wind blows. I don't know what it is about pushchairs: as soon as the wheels start turning I'm asleep. Perhaps it's genetic, as Ma says that Mum was just the same when she was small.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Today was the day of the singathon at Mum's school. It was a great success, and I'd like to say a huge thank you to the entire school on behalf of all the babies in the Unit for running it:

I wasn't allowed to go, but Mum said everyone sang really well and that she was very proud of them. A Nurse from the Unit also went along to help explain what the Unit does to everyone, and I think she enjoyed herself even though the Teachers persuaded Mum and the Nurse to join in with the singing. (Mind you, I don't think they had to try too hard to convince Mum to help as she likes singing, and she can sing very loudly when she wants).

I also want to say thank you to Ma's Brownie Group, as they raised some money for the Unit this week by having a Sponsored Kangarooing. They learnt how to do Kangaroo Care with their Teddy Bears, and ran hopping races and things, and it sounds like everyone had lots of fun.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I was supposed to be born today, so I guess I'm officially Nought Yearas Old! I've been wondering if premature babies like me should be like the Queen and have two birthdays: I could have my actual birthday on the 8th of March, and then I could have an offical birthday on the 25th of May. I've also been wondering what my star-sign should be: being born on the 8th of March would make me a Pisces (like Grandpa, Aunty Emma and Uncle Dave), but I was supposed to be born on the 25th of May, which would make me a Gemini (like Dad). It's all a bit confusing; perhaps I should seek guidance from some who knows more about thing sort of thing than me.

I'm obvously settling in to life at home as I've been spendin more time awake during the day. Today I had a good long look at the natty mobile that Aunty Cheryl gave me:

I particularly like looking at Zebra as he's in black and white and I've yet to develop proper colour vision. The mobile plays a song as it goes round. Mum and Dad think it's a bit monotonous, but I love it.

Later on, I had bath with Mum. I'm getting better at tolerating all the fuss that's needed to put me on the bath. Why can't they just put me in fully-dressed?

A Sponsored Sing!

Some people have been asking Mum and Dad about how they could help the Special Care Baby Unit. So I thought I'd tell you about the special fundraising event that Mum's school is running on Thursday the 26th of May: The class she used to teach (and some others) are going to raise some money by singing lots of songs.

The doctors and nurses here work very hard looking after us, but sometimes they don't have all the equipment that they need to do their job effectively. Any extra money they can get from events like this sponsored sing can help a great deal. At the moment, the Unit is short of the following things:

As you can see, some of these items are very expensive. But even small amounts of money are useful to the Unit, as they also need to buy things like cotton wool balls and baby-grows. If you're interested, you might like to have a look at the Bliss website, where you can find out more about babies like me and the equipment we need.

If you'd like to help the Unit out by sponsoring the singing event, all us babies would be really grateful. The simplest method is probably to send a cheque payable to the "South Glamorgan Special Care Baby Association" to Mum and Dad, as they can deliver it direct to the Unit. Alternatively, you can also donate online at the Bliss website.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I'm eleven weeks old today. Mum and Dad said they couldn't believe how fast the time has gone (I keep telling them that memory-loss is a recognised symptom of old age, but they keep forgetting I've told them).

It's been a busy day. The Neonatal Outreach Nurse came to see me this morning: her job is to smooth the transition from living in the Unit to living at home, and she's a very nice lady. She took some blood to make sure all my medicines were working properly, weighed me (I'm now 4 pounds 8 ounces, or 2.05kg), and spent a long time chatting to Mum and Dad about how we'd all coped over the last few days. She seemed very pleased by my progress so far, and I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of her over the next several weeks.

Later in the day, Mum and me did some playing on our tummies. Lying on my tummy helps strengthen my arms which will help me learn to crawl. I can't wait until I'm mobile: there are lots of things in my house (like The Mog) that I'd like to get a closer look at.

Then we all went out for a short walk, as Mum has been itching to try out the pushchair since I came home. It's pretty big, and I get a bit lost in it at the moment. Anyway, the excitement of being outside was all a bit much, and I was alseep before we reached the end of the road.

Just before tea time Mum and Dad decided that I was a bit stinky and that I needed a bath. I tried to tell them that they were wrong, but there were two of them and they're bigger than me.

Finally, here's the picture of Mum and me that was in the Echo last Thursday. The smart lady next to Mum runs a pub whos regulars managed to raise more than a thousand pounds for the Special Care Baby Unit.

Monday, May 23, 2005

We spent the whole day following the Routine and I think Mum and Dad are enjoying looking after me proactively instead of reactively. It's been working quite well: I only woke up twice last night which was a huge improvement on the night before when I woke up every five minutes. Mum and Dad are following the Routine in spirt rather than to the letter, as I'm a bit small to do it exactly as it's written. For example, I'm supposed to stay awake for about 1.5 hours around feeding time, but once my belly is full I'm usually fast asleep within ten minutes.

There's not much else to report. I'm slowly getting used to my new surroundings, and The Mog has decided deal with the situation by ignoring me. The Health Visitor was supposed to come and say hello this morning, but she couldn't make it and will come on Friday instead. I'd love to show you some more pictures of me at home, but silly Daddy forgot to take any, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

None of us slept very well last night, and we were all very tired by morning. The main problem was that I was very windy, and I couldn't find a comfortable position to settle in. I think I was also a bit upset by being home, as it's very different to living in the Hospital (it's a lot colder and quieter, and there are far fewer people around than I'm used to). When they weren't trying to console me, Mum and Dad spent the rest of the time listening to me. I think they worried every time I made a noise, and they worried even more when I was quiet.

Mum and Dad spent the rest of the day sorting things out in the house. Aunty Cheryl came round briefly to say hello, and she brought some more jungly things for my Nursery. It looks pretty good now that I've got all my cuddly toys in there:

In an effort to try and get some sleep tonight, Mum borrowed the Contented little baby book from her friend. Mum and Dad aren't sure if it will work, but they seem willing to give it a try.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I left the Special Care Baby Unit today. Mum and Dad came in at about 11am to feed me and to sort out a few last things. Just before my feed, the Doctors gave me a "discharge checkover" which was very quick: they counted my fingers and toes, weighed me (I'm now four pounds and six ounces, or 1.99kg) and checked my eyes and so on. One of the Nurses went through all my medicines with Mum and Dad to make sure they understood how to give them all to me. I currently have about five different drugs added to my morning bottle, and it's important for me to carry on taking them.

While Mum and Dad dressed me in my Going Home Outfit, the Doctors and Nurses did all the discharge paperwork. This took a little while, as after nearly eleven weeks here, my file weighs more than I do! However, by 2pm it was all done and I was ready to leave:

I was toasty warm and fast alseep when I left (mostly because I had about eight layers on), so I said goodbye to the Nurses with my eyes closed. Mum and Dad were a bit nervous, but they said it felt good to finally leave the hospital with me. We will all miss the staff in the Special Care Baby Unit: not only did they make it possible for me to be here at all, they made it possible to be here for ten and a half weeks. I don't think Mum and Dad would have made it through without their support.

I stayed asleep the whole way home, so Mum and Dad put me in my cot as soon as we got there (this cot is one that Mum and Aunty Ceri used to sleep in when they were small; I'm very privileged to sleep in it!)

The Mog was a bit surprised to see me. I don't think anyone had told her I was coming. She spent most of the day either outside or looking at Mum and Dad with huge saucer eyes, as if to say "What did you do?". She really doesn't like it when I cry, and I hope she gets used to me before she does something drastic.

I made it through the rest of the day without too much fuss. But by bedtime (after Mum and Dad had celebrated their first night in by watching Eurovision), I'd started to grumble a lot. I don't know what my Mum has been eating, but it gave me a really windy tummy. Every five minutes, I'd make really uncomfortable grumbly noises followed by some explosive sounds in my nappy. I manged to I keep this up all night, and I don't think Mum and Dad had any sleep at all. By 3am, I think they were wishing they'd left me at the hospital!

Friday, May 20, 2005

The leaving countdown accelerated today when one of the Consultants asked: "It's been 48 hours since his operation; why is he still here?". Everyone looked at each other, shrugged, and suddenly I was due to come home on Saturday instead of Sunday. Mum and Dad were pleased, but a bit spooked as they're not really prepared yet (they'd planned on spending Saturday getting everything ready). Like a lot of new parents, I think Mum and Dad had an idealistic dream of bringing me home to a pristine house where everything was laid out and ready. But from Mum and Dad's expressions last night I gather the house isn't quite as ready as they'd like. But I don't mind. Besides, I'm pretty sure it's normal to feel unprepared when a baby comes home for the first time.

Mum and Dad are also a bit concerned about The Mog. She's been the baby of the house for about eight years now, and she really doesn't like having competition for Mum and Dad's attention. She doesn't like babies (or "kittens" in her view) at all, and will run away and hide when she hears children screaming on the TV. But I'm hoping she'll get used to me quickly, as I'm looking forward chasing her round the garden when I learn how to crawl.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I was a bit grouchy today, but I reckon I'm entitled to be after yesterday. I'm a still tired and sore, and I've developed a rasp in my throat that Darth Vader would be proud of, but otherwise I'm fine (and in fact my snuffle has been great for getting sympathy cuddles from Mum and Dad).

The sharp-eyed amongst you will notice that Bear isn't in my cot anymore. Bear had to be removed for a jolly good clean following a rather nasty accident at nappy-changing time. However, I'm not alone as Lamb has bravely stepped in to fill the void. Bear should be back soon though.

Finally, we found out today that I might be allowed out of here on Sunday. We're all looking forward to it and it's going to be very exciting. I think Mum and Dad are really looking forward to spending some quiet time at home, as they've spent most of the past ten weeks with me in the Unit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What a busy day! Mum and Dad came in Really Early this morning to hold my hand and to meet someone from the Surgical team who was going to talk them through the whole thing. They looked a bit nervous to be back in the High Dependency Unit, so I did the old "Spit the Emergency Dummy on the Floor" trick to keep them busy. However, the Nurses said I was a very good boy, as I'd barely grumbled dispite haing nothing to eat since 2am.

At 8:30, the porter came to take me over to the Surgical Unit. It was a long journey - the furtest I've ever been - and I even had a go in a special lift. I found it all fascinating (especially the Big Lights). A lot of people came to coo over me when I arrived - I don't think they get many small babies over there - but they were all very friendly. When everyting was ready, Mum and Dad left and they took me off to the Theatre. It all went a bit hazy after that.

The operation took about two hours. Apparently, the Sister made Mum and Dad go home during the operation, but she rang them when she heard I was all done and they came back in again. They gave both a general and a local anaesthetic: I think the general one was to stop me wriggling and the local one was to stop it hurting. Anyway, because I had the two, they only needed to give me a small amount of the general anaesthetic so it wore off pretty fast.

By the time Mum and Dad arrived back here, I was pretty much awake and absolutely starving. But I was really a bit too sleepy to feed straight away, so we all had to wait for me to wake up properly. This was a all bit fraught, but we got there in the end and by midday I'd had a small feed and a lot of burps. Lots of Nurses that have looked after me over the past few weeks dropped in to see how the operation had gone; it was really nice to see them again.

Once I was asleep, Mum and Dad went to get some lunch. I didn't wake up until 3pm, when Mum and Dad got the chance to look at my wound. The Surgeons are very clever: not only does the entire thing fit under a plaster that's barely 2cm long, they also somehow managed to stitch it up from the inside (and no, I've no idea how - I was alseep at the time). I fed really well this time, and Mum said I was almost back to normal. By the time I'd finished feeding the Nurses had transferred me back to the Nursery.

Now that I've had my operation, the big question on everyone's lips is "When am I coming out?" I heard several different possibilities today: The Doctor's said I might be ready to leave tomorrow, but the Nurses said that it would be more likely to be the weekend. I guess the real answer is that we don't really know, but it's likely to be decided tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Today was a much better day. I was weighed last night: I'm now 4 pounds and 3 ounces (or 1.91 kg). And the transfusion has obviously worked as I've gone a lovely pink colour. The Nurses have somehow managed to get me from a three-hour to a four-hour feeding cycle, and it's suiting me much better. Four hours between feeds means that I've got time to guzzle all I want and still fit in a nice long sleep before I have to wake up for the next one.

The eye man came back again today. I thought I'd got away with it yesterday, but it seems he rescheduled things when my operation was cancelled. I didn't enjoy it, but the good news is that my eyes haven't changed since last time and he doesn't want to see me again for a whole year. (A year gives me plenty of time to plan my escape).

The Surgeons have also found me a slot for my operation: it's going to be tomorrow at 8:30am. Mum is a bit worried about it all, but the Surgeons are excellent and I don't think there's anything really to get too worked up about. The worst thing is that I'm not allowed to have anything to eat for six hours beforehand, so I'm sure the Nurses on the night shift are going to enjoy looking after me tonight. However, they've said that they'll move me into the High Dependency Unit later on, and I'm quite looking forward to seeing some old friends again.

Finally, Mum and me are going to be in our local paper! A man from the Echo turned up to take some publicity photos of the Special Care Baby Unit, and they chose Mum and me to be in them. We should be in Wednesday's edition.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Today was a day of much proding and poking. It seemed like every time I drifted off to sleep, someone would come along and rudely wake me to poke my tummy, collect some blood, or on one occasion to draw big arrows on my belly with a marker pen. I was also passed between several different specialists over the morning and by the end of it all I was feeling like the ball in a game of Consultant ping-pong. Needless to say, I wasn't very happy about all of this and neither was Mum.

However, it's all necessary preparation for my hernia operation, now scheduled for Wednesday (maybe). The operation booking schedule is rather like the takeoff roster at an airport: if you miss your assigned slot then they have to try and fit you in somewhere else. I'm not an emergency so I'm probably pretty low on the list, but it would be good to know when it's all supposed to happen.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

My haemoglobin levels are a bit down, and I've been feeling a bit pale these past few days. It's not anything to worry about as it's correcting itself, but the Surgeons weren't keen to do my hernia operation with the levels being as they are. So they've given me an infusion to raise my levels a bit and they've postponed my operation until Tuesday instead of tomorrow. Depending on how it goes, I might not be out now until the weekend. Another downside is that the nasty man who pokes cameras in my eyes now will be coming to look at me again on Monday instead of in a few week's time.

I had fun winding Mum up today though. The infusion takes around four hours to complete, and as I'm not allowed to feed while it's going in. I normally want feeding every three hours or so, so you can see that the Nurses were very keen for me to have a feed just before it started. Mum came to feed me at 2pm, but I was fast asleep working off my last feed (I had been a bit of a greedy-guts). I didn't really want to be woken up at all, and I was far too sleepy to eat anything. Mum was getting worried up as she knew what I'd be like later if I didn't feed now, and it was all getting a bit tense. I couldn't keep it up long though, as Aunty Cheryl arrived. She threatened to turn me upside down and tickle me if I didn't wake up right now and start eating, so I didn't really have any choice but to get on with it.

I saw Mum and Dad later in the evening after the transfusion had finished. The Nurse said I was a very good boy as I'd managed to get all the way through without too much complaining. She also said that I'd drained my bottle in record time afterwards. I had a cuddle with Dad later, but he smelt a bit funny as he'd been decorating my room all day. It's pretty much done now, although it's going to take a while for the paint fumes to dissapear. I can't wait to see it.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Aunty Ceri came back to see me again this morning and watched while Mum and Dad gave me a bath. Dad displayed a bit more control this time: I didn't feel like I was going to be drowned, but it was still a bit worrying. I'm still not convinced by the whole bathing thing; the Nurse said I was "a stinky boy" and said that I'd been spoilt by not having a bath for eight weeks in ITU.

Later in the morning, the Consultants came round for a quick chat with Mum and Dad about sending me home. Depending on what the Surgeons decide to do on Monday, I might be home by Wednesday, or Sunday if I need a bit longer to recover (they don't like to send babies home at the end of the week because the Outreach Nurses don't work weekends). It's all very exciting!

Friday, May 13, 2005

I cracked the four-pound barrier last night: I'm now four pounds and 1 ounce (or 1.85kg). I'm also doing really well with my feeds, and I've not needed a top-up through the feeding tube for several days. In fact, I've not had a feeding tube since I pulled it out yesterday, as I'm managing to get enough milk from Mum and from bottles.

Aunty Ceri has come down to stay with Mum and Dad for a day or so to see me. She was allowed to come and help feed me at lunchtime, and I made her laugh by pulling funny faces at her while Mum winded me. Mum says Aunty Ceri is their family's best burper, but I reckon she might face some stiff competition from me now. However, I don't think she was very impressed by my noisy complaining when she was left in charge so Mum could go and express: I think I embarrassed her a bit with my screaming. In the end, she had to resort to singing at me to get me to be quiet.

Aunty Ceri has also been helping to decorate my new room. She's bought me a lovely jungly duvet and cot bumper, and she's painted some amazing pictures that match the cot stuff perfectly. She's very talented, and I'm looking forward to doing lots of messy craft activities with her when I'm older.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I managed to pull out my feeding tube today. Unfortunately, I forgot about the sticky-tape that attaches it to my cheek, and pulling it off has left me with a big red patch:

Mum came in really early to feed me today, because she was going off to a Bliss meeting to see some other Mums with small babies like me. She had a good time, but I think it was hard for her to get up so early. Dad has been busy too: he's taken a couple of days off work to sort out my room. It's going to have a jungle theme, although I was dissapointed to hear that it won't have an en-suite Nurse like my room here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mum said I was "a little tinker" today. I've found that if I scream blue murder, someone will eventually come and pick me up for a cuddle. Everytime Mum came into the Unit, one of the Nurses met her at the door with me looking a bit red-eyed and tearful, and I think she's been a bit embarrassed by all the fuss I've been causing. In my defence, I've been feeling a bit fragile from the jabs I had yesterday; having a cuddle makes me feel much better.

It also looks like they might let me out of here soon. I'm due to have an operation to fix my hernias on Monday, but once I'm recovered from that the Doctors said that I would probably be ready to leave in a week or so. Mum and Dad are very excited (but also a bit scared), and they've been rushing round in a frenzy trying to get everything ready. Leaving here is going to be a bit strange for all of us, and I think it's going to take us all a while to get used to it. I've been in here all my life, and right now the Unit is my home. All the staff in here are amazing, and I'm going to miss them all terribly when I leave.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Last night was weighing night: I'm now 3 pounds 14 ounces (that's 1.76kg), so Mum and me are obviously doing something right during all our feeding sessions. I'm also nine weeks old today. However, all babies over two months old need to have their immunisations, and they chose today to do mine. It wasn't too bad though, and I was much braver than Mum. As a reward for being good, Mum gave me a bath and she did a much better job than Dad did on Sunday. I'm still not keen on the whole getting undressed bit, but actually being in the bath isn't too bad and I really enjoyed having my head washed and dried.

The Surgeons had another look at me this morning. They decided that I'll need an operation to sort my hernia out after all, and they've booked me in for Monday. It's only a small operation, but I'll have to go back into High Dependency for a day or so to recover. The bit that's really worrying me (and my parents) is that I'm not allowed to eat anything for six hours beforehand. I don't think I'm going to enjoy that at all.

Nana came to see me today (she came today as she has to go back into hospital tomorrow). In Intensive Care and High Dependency, only Mum, Dad and the medical staff are allowed to touch me. But it turns out that in the Nursery Grandparents are allowed a quick cuddle too, so Nana and me had a go. It was very comfortable and I went straight to sleep, which Mum thought boded well for future babysitting.

Monday, May 09, 2005

I had to endure a lot of poking and proding today. It all started early this morning when they came to test my eyes again. Everyone said I was very brave, but I didn't like it very much (would you like having your eyes frozen and a camera placed on them so they can see the retina?). The good news is that the little bit of damage they found last time is still small and they're hopeful it will clear up on its own, but the bad news is that they want to have another look in another week or so.

Later in the morning they came to have a look at my hernia. I like the Doctors: they're really very gentle and friendly but I don't like it when they examine my bits (especially when they're rather sore). And after all that they came to do some blood tests. By the Mum arrived to feed me I was rather tired. She took me down to the feeding room but I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to do anything, and I went straight to sleep as soon as she put me back in my cot.

I'd pretty much recovered by the evening though: the restorative powers of a good sleep are amazing. I must have been starving as I fed for over twenty minutes (normally I manage about fifteen), and then I had a nice long cuddle with Mum and Dad until I fell asleep again. It's not a bad life really!

Finally, I'd like to congratulate Kate and Dave on the birth of their first child Jack. Aunty Sal and Dad used to play with Kate when they were children, and I'm looking forward to playing with Jack when we're both a bit bigger.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I had another bath today. The Nursery must be a pretty stink place because they make you have a bath every other day. This time Mum and Dad did all the washing and I think they were a bit nervous. Fortunately we were under the watchful eye of an experienced Nurse, and there were no major mishaps. Being in the bath was fun, but I really don't like all the fuss and bother it takes to get there. I was pretty tired afterwards, and I could barely stay awake long enough to have my feed.

Aunty Cheryl came to see me today too. She had some funny clothes on as she was going off to do some Morris dancing at a festival. She's says she's looking forward to taking me dancing in a few years time; I think it might be quite fun.

Finally, a number of people have been wanting to know how big I am. Dad says the time-hounoured way of doing this is to stand against a wall with a book on your head, but my legs stick out sideways at the moment and it would be hard to straighten me out to get an accurate reading. But by cunning use of a piece of string, they've managed to calculate that I'd be about 35cm if I could stand up tall. In the breakdown that's about 10cm for my head, 15cm for my body and another 10 cm or so for my legs.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I had my first bath today. I wasn't convinced about the whole thing to start with, but then I really don't like being fussed about. The odd cuddle and feeding with Mum is fine, but I start to complain if people change my baby grow or try to change my nappy, so you can imagine what it was like when the Nurse stripped me down for a bath.

Bathtime is a bit complex while I'm attached to a monitor and wearing a feeding tube, so Mum and Dad watched while the nice Nurse showed them how to do it for next time. They washed my head and face out of the bath first of all (probably to maximise the time I spent in my nappy), and I complained bitterly the whole time. But I stopped grumbling as soon as they put me in the water. I particularly liked it when the Nurse swooshed a tidal wave of water all over my tummy:

I also quite liked having my head rubbed dry afterwards:

(Mum and Dad have some more revealing photos of me in the bath, but you'll have contact them to see them 'cos I'm not letting anyone put them up here!)

Richard and Ann came to see me today: they're some of Mum and Dad's friends from their badminton class. They wanted to know when I would be joining the Tuesday class; although I wondered if I could persuade Uncle Paul to give me a few extra lessons first. I'm also not sure if they make badminton rackets in my size.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Last night was weighing night: I'm now 3 pounds 12 (that's 1.71 kg: I think I'll have to give up quoting my weight in kilos as it doesn't make any sense to anyone but the Doctors). Dad says I'll be a big fat boy if I'm not careful, but I reckon I've still got some growing room spare.

I've been having fun with my feeding. Mum says I spend the first five minutes "messing about" and "treating her like an ice-cream", but after that I settle down. I usually manage about ten minutes before I get tired or until I need to burp (this always makes my Mum smile; I think it reminds her of Aunty Ceri).

Aunty Aimee came to see me again today; she came on her own as Uncle Mark was recovering down in the Ante-natal clinc. Aunty Aimee is having a baby, but they wanted some of Uncle Marks' blood to do some tests with. Poor Uncle Mark fell over after this, but Aunty Aimee said he was being very well looked after by a whole load of Nurses, so I think he enjoyed it all really. Meg and Keith also came: they're some old friend of Ma and Pa, and they knew Mum and Aunty Ceri when they were little.

Mum tells me that some people at her school and at her old church are thinking of raising some money for the Unit. Me and the rest of the babies in here think this is an excellent idea, as the Unit is always short of something or other and the special equipment that they use to make us better is very expensive. We'd all like to say thankyou very much in advance for your kind thoughts.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Today was nice and quiet. I had a good long cuddle with Mum when she arrived, and then we went off to practise feeding. They would normally give me my whole feed of 35ml through the tube afterwards, but when I've done well they cut down the amount they top me up with. This afternoon, they only gave me half my feed through the tube, and I fed so well this evening that they gave me nothing at all afterwards. Admittedly, I was pretty hungry before my next feed, but it's good to act like a normal baby for a while. Tonight is weighing night, so we'll soon find out if I've been getting enough to eat.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I had a hearing test today. Most babies have a hearing test at some stage, but it's quite common for small babies like me to have hearing problems, so they like to test the babies while they're on the Unit if they can. However, it's quite tricky to tell if I can hear properly, as I can't really tell you what I've heard. So they did it by measuring my brainwaves: they stuck sticky pads all over my head, popped some funky headphones on my ears and then made me listen to some clicks from a funny machine. I was a very good boy and didn't complain at all when they were doing the test (although I think I would have preferred to listen to Radio 1 rather than the clicks). The test turned out fine as the measurements said that there was no problem at all with my hearing.

Mum and Dad came back in the evening to see me as usual. I had a really good but frustrating go at feeding with Mum: I was really hungry and drank so fast that the milk must have bounced when it hit the bottom. Most of it came back up and went everywhere, and then I was hungry all over again, so all our hard work was wasted. But it's all progress of sorts.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I'm eight weeks old today. Last night was weighing night again (it seems to come round so fast): I'm now 3 pounds 10 ounces (or 1.65kg), so I'm quite a bit heavier than I was last week.

I'm slowly getting used to being in the Nursery. It's rather different to the High Dependency Unit, mainly as there are fewer babies and Nurses and the timetable is a bit less flexible (Nursery Nurses take no nonsense from anyone; bedtime in the Nursery is strictly enforced). I think Mum and Dad are enjoying it as they're able to help look after me more: Mum and me can spend more time learning to feed properly, and they can help with things like bathing me. Even though there are fewer Nurses stationed in here, I've been able to stay in touch as the Nursery is on the way to their coffee room. It's good to see some old friends.

Finally, I'd like to say "Happy Birthday" to Ma, as it's her birthday today.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I've made it to the Nursery!

Just as the High Dependency Unit was much quieter than the Intensive Care Unit, the Nursery is much quieter than High Dependency. It's a lot cooler too, which must be a big relief for Mum and Dad although it means I have to be wrapped up in about four blankets all the time.

I arrived in the Nursery a few hours before my friend left to go home. For a while it was like the old times in the Intensive Care, and we lay in our cots and made noises at each other. His Mum and Dad looked very happy, and I think all the Nurses were too (although some of them were a bit sad to see them go because they're such nice people). It's good to see babies going home from here, and I'm very pleased for them all.

Mum and Dad have been putting off doing a lot of things by saying "We'll wait until he's in the Nursery". I think they didn't want to sort things out for me in case I didn't do quite as well as I have. Looks like they're going to be busy now though.

Aunty Cheryl and Aunty Jan also came to see me today. Aunty Cheryl was very surprised to see me in the Nursery, and they stayed until Mum and me had to go off to feed. I've been doing pretty well with my feeding; the main problem is that I'm easily distracted. This afternoon, I was captivated by a fascinating set of beads in the curtain just beyond Mum's shoulder, and it took a good five minutes before I remembered I was hungry. After my feed I was very sleepy and couldn't stop yawning.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Look! I've got a new cot:

It's just like the cots that the big babies have. The kind Nurses put me in here late last night, as there was no reason to keep me in the cast-iron one now that I've beaten the evil breathing machine (hurrah!). They're also taken away the heated water bed, as now that I can control my body temperature a bit I was getting a bit hot. Even better, they've replaced the large and noisy heart/oxygen/respiration monitor with the smaller and quieter model they normally use on bigger babies. This one doesn't wake the entire room up when an alarm goes off; I'm sure the Nurses are enjoying the peace too.

I went on a very exciting field trip today. Mum came in the morning to feed me as normal, but instead of feeding me beside the cot she was allowed to carry me down to the Mum's Room, where some of the bigger babies go to be fed. Mum was a bit scared, as they have to disconnect me from the monitors to take me to the Mum's Room, but the Nurse said that I would be OK. All the new surroundings were a bit distracting, and I don't think I've ever been so far from my cot, but I managed to have quite a good feed. Afterwards, Mum was a bit giddy and took me on a quick trip to the Nursery to visit a baby and I used to be next to in ITU. He's done exceptionally well and might be allowed to go home tomorrow; I'm very pleased for him.

In the evening Mum and Dad came back to feed me. They took me down to the Mum's Room again but I was really a bit too sleepy to do it properly and they had to give up and give me my feed through the tube. I woke up soon after though, and I tried to tell them for about two hours that I had a really stinky nappy but they weren't listening. I think I got myself into a bit of a state, because I carried on screaming even after they'd changed me. I made such a fuss that the nice Nurses fetched a bright mobile and put it above my cot: it plays the "Old Mac Donald" song as it goes round and I find it fascinating.

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