Karen mentioned to us that she had given Zach a little bit of Kimmie's breast milk and he had taken it readily, so just before lunch (and just before a big visitor arrived) we got to feed Zach his first bottle of breast milk!! It was a small start, only 20mL, but he drank the whole thing and even let out a loud burp before we we even picked him up to finish! This was such a huge blessing. Not only was he breathing on his own, but he was also readily taking the food he so desperately needs!! This also marked the point Mommy and Daddy had anticipated so much, being able to pick Zachary up and hold him!!
After the doctors made their morning rounds (and had only positive and encouraging things to say about his progress) our big visitor of the day arrived in the NICU. As you can see in the pictures below Santa was a big hit, and he even gave Zach an early Christmas gift, a blue blanket with cars, trucks, boats, and motorcycles on it. We have to give a HUGE thank you to Wanda and Hank for the reindeer outfit, and Ana for the hat, they matched perfectly and all the nurses loved the little guy all dressed up for Santa! As you can also see in the picture Zach is wearing the hat, which means his IV was finally removed as well!! Praise GOD!!! He now has no tubes attached to him, only a couple of sensors that read heart rate, temperature, and pulse oxygen, he's doing absolutely everything on his own, and doing a great job at it!!
Mommy checked out of the hospital after lunch and Daddy fed Zach at 2pm, this time 40mL!! He got right back in the saddle and drank as much milk as we would give him. The doctors and nurses decided if he continues to eat so well, and responds well to being off of his stomach and onto his back tomorrow, he may be able to come home by Sunday or Monday, we cannot believe it!
We have returned home to drop off our things, eat a good meal, and relax a little. We're heading back to St. Joseph's around 7 to feed Zachary again, speak with the doctors during their evening rounds, then return home for some much needed rest in our OWN bed!! When you only get three hours between pumping/feeding you learn to appreciate a comfortable bed to sleep in! Enjoy the pictures of our little reindeer, and keep praying for Zach's continued improvement and homecoming. Praise God for our beautiful blessing! With Love - Brian + Kimmie