Well sort of answered!
First, a quick update. He is doing well. He has had more "incidents" again and so they are going to keep working to find out what is going on in his body that makes him do this when he is off the C-pap.
I wish there was more to update, but like it has been said before, "no news is good news" when it comes to these things.
So...........the question. This has been posed to us a bunch so I figured we would cover it here and let everyone know the "checkilist" needed to fulfill the question of "when will he be able to go home?"
In most cases, as we have been told, babies that are born premature are held until their original due date. This to make sure that all vital functions develop properly such as lung development, brain, heart, kidney, etc.
Babies are developing in the womb almost all the way up to birth. The last thing to develop is the lungs. Since babies do not need to breathe in the womb, the lungs are not vital immediately and, thus, do not develop in full early on.
So, typically, premature babies lung functions are the most underdeveloped and are monitored closely to ensure that babies will be able to breathe normally when they go home.
Which brings me to the question, "When will he be able to go home?"
The stock answer is sometime around late December (since that was his original due date, Dec. 25th). The medical answer is a bit more difficult. A variety of people have asked how much weight he has to gain to go home and I can tell you that weight has very little, if anything, to do with it.
The "checklist" for "checkout" is as follows;
1) He has to be able to breathe on his own. No help from C-paps, no oxygen all night, his lungs have to function naturally. To this point, he has not been able to do this for stretches of more than a few hours and he must go 5 complete days with out one single apnea episode before we can cross this one off the list.
2) He must be able to hold his own body temperature. So far he is doing this very well.
3) He must be able to eat on his own. While he has kept food down, he is still being fed through a tube into his stomach. The doctors are very optimistic that when the time comes, he will be able to eat on his own. This means that he will have to be able to perform the "sucking" technique to take milk from a nipple, be it a bottle or a breast.
4) He must be able to sleep on his back. To this point, the doctors and nurses rotate him from belly to back. While it is widely considered a terrible thing to put a baby on their belly, because he is so closely monitored, he can sleep on his stomach with close supervision. It does seem that he does not do as well with his breathing on his back so the nurses default him to his stomach if he has a few episodes in a row, but he seems to be able to do this if need be. Again, it will be in time that he will be able to do this with no issue at all.
So there you have it. Those are the check points that he will have to clear to be sent home to us. He can weigh anything at all, but most likely, they say he will be in the 4 or 4 1/2 pound range when he can do all these things.
I hope that clears things up and gives you all some perspective when we talk about how things are going. All signs point to late December and a wonderful Christmas with our family in tact, but his progress is in the hands of God. We would sure like it to be today that he comes home, but we can not properly care for him the way he requires.
Well, if any questions arise, please feel free to put them in the comments and I will do all I can to answer them. For now, bedtime. We will see him later tomorrow as President Obama is in town and is speaking right down by the hospital. The area will be on lockdown for a large portion of the day.
I will report back tomorrow night!