Elliott Hodgins - 9:18am on 3/14/16, 2lbs 4 oz.
One of the most common questions we get about the boys is “where do their names come from?” So, as we’re coming up on their 6-month birthday, it’s confession time. They are not named after other family members. That is generally the first conclusion made by people. Where else would two lesbians come up with boy names after all? Ha ha! In actuality, their names are just ones that we ‘like’ – either from hearing on the street or from a book, tv show, or movie. Those of you who know me (Connie) know that I’m a huge Law and Order SVU fan. Elliott is taken from that show. Another favorite show is Bones, and Hodgins is taken from that show. Two of my favorite male characters on tv. I told Diane that as long as I got to name one boy Elliott Hodgins, I’d be very compromising on the other two, as long as they weren’t obnoxious or something that would get them beat up on the playground. :-)
Elliott had a bit of a rough start. While he came out breathing room air, not requiring oxygen, he still had a long road ahead before he could leave the NICU. The first very scary thing for us moms was that the central line that they put in was placed in the opening where the umbilical cord was attached. Because of this we had to wait 24 hours before we could hold him. The reason for this was that the line needed to be stable. Instructions for holding him the first time included “if you tug on that line even just a little bit your baby could bleed to death”. I’ve never been so scared in my life. The line was eventually removed from the umbilical cord opening and placed in a regular vein. Still scary as it was threaded through his vein and stopped close to his heart, but it was secured to him in a way that made holding him less life threatening from our perspective.
Because he was born at 30 weeks and 6 days, he was too early to have the suck-swallow-breathe skill that would allow him to eat by mouth. As such he was fed through a tube for the first several weeks of his life. At first he was given donor breast milk through the tube, but as Diane’s supply came in he was fed exclusively her breast milk while in the NICU. It wasn’t long after they started feeding him breast milk that he started having trouble with his bowels. He just wasn’t passing the meconium plug that all babies have. So, they stopped feeding him breast milk, and began a regimen to help him get passed this hurdle. Once he cleared that meconium it was back to the good stuff and he was basically considered a “feeder and grower”.
For us this meant long days and nights in the NICU. He passed his hearing test and his initial eye exam. He was a lazy bottle eater and had to be prompted quite a bit during bottle-feeding. There were four big hurdles he had to cross before we got to bring him home. (1) He had to gain enough weight that he could maintain his body temp – this was over 4lbs. (2) He had to take 16 feeds by mouth. This took awhile. We learned that babies this little actually burn calories when they eat. So, we could only work with him for 30 minutes by mouth during a feeding, otherwise he burned more calories than he was getting from his milk. (3) He had to stop having apneic and bradycardic episodes referred to as As and Bs. Apneic episodes are when they drop their breathing rate. Bardycardic is when they drop their heart rate. Premature and even some newborn babies have As and Bs. Most newborns self stimulate so typically parents don’t even know it happens. But, premature infants sometimes drop their rates so low without recovering themselves that they require stimulation to pick up the rhythms. The boys had to go 5 days in a row with no As and Bs that required stimulation. (4) He had to pass his car seat test. This meant sitting strapped in his car seat for twice the amount of time it would take us to drive home, without having any As or Bs that required stimulation while he was in it.
Obviously he is a rock star! He left Cardinal Glennon NICU on Sunday, May 1st and has continued to amaze us every day. He is our boy that does things at his own pace. So, while he was the last one to smile socially, he has the sweetest little smile – especially when he gets his tongue involved. He loves to sit in the chair in the picture above and rock himself. He learned pretty quickly how to do that by kicking his legs. Also he is our night owl – and by that I mean we try to get him sleeping in his crib by 9-10pm…which is several hours after his brothers. We think he considers it his only child time and wants to hang with his mommas. He has mastered the skill of rolling from front to back and is so close to making it from back to front. If he could only figure out how to get that pesky arm out of his way he’d be in business. Currently one of his favorite pass times is to flirt with his friend Noelle. He is crushing on her, but her husband doesn’t seem to feel threatened. (chuckle)
We are excited to continue getting to know this little human.