Mateo Week 1

I decided I would give a weekly update on Mateo’s progress until we have the little guy home. So here’s how things went down during week 1.


Since Nicole had a C-section, we were able to stay in the hospital for a full four days. The nursing staff was awesome and the room was more like a hotel than a hospital. Despite having a nice big TV, our laptops, comic books, iPhones, and iPads, we spent the vast majority of the time talking. This proved to be a much needed break from “reality” that gave us time to really process and comprehend our newfound roles in life. After all, we are no longer just Nicole and Marc. We are now Mom and Dad. For two confirmed DINKS, that’s a lot to digest!

The four-day hospital stay was a blur but there were some notable events and milestones. First, Nicole started pumping breast milk. At this sensitive stage in Mateo’s growth, mother’s milk is truly the best medicine as it is packed with nutrients and antibodies that are specifically designed for his particular needs. This is biology at its best and it reminds me of why I fell in love with science. In the first few days, all we were able to get were tiny amounts of colostrum. Although we knew this was normal and it would still be a few days before Nicole’s milk came in, it was tough for her not to become discouraged. Fortunately, I was able to entertain her by doing an old lab trick called the “human centrifuge”. When she only produced about .25 mL of colostrum, it was really difficult to collect anything at all. The colostrum tends to coat the sides of the pump chute and never really makes it to the reservoir. Daddy to the rescue! By holding the assembled collection vial in my hand and spinning my arm like a windmill, I was able to extract a few precious drops. I would then collect these drops with a small syringe and run the sweet baby nectar down to the nursery. Now we will never know just how much this extra effort will impact baby Mateo’s recovery, but it certainly made a new dad feel like he was contributing to the process. And the new mom was encouraged because she was providing the thing her instincts told her her baby needed the most. By day 3, her milk came in and we now have a significant frozen surplus!

We came home from the hospital on Tuesday and Nicole was pleasantly surprised by her mommy sanctuary. Little did she know I snuck away each day for about an hour while she napped, and with the help of my mom and cousin Traci we cleaned and organized the nursery. The baby shower took place less than a week before Mateo’s big entrance and obviously we weren’t quite ready for all this. As always, family is there when you need them most. So all Nicole had to do was come home, relax, and heal.


How’s the boy doing? In a word, great! He made significant progress in just seven days.

His breathing was pretty good to start, but he did have an occasional spike in respiration rate. As a result, he was given CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) via those little nostril prongs. Essentially, Mateo was taking every breath on his own, but the positive pressure kept his airsacs open. Every day, the pressure was decreased until exactly seven days later (Friday) when the prongs were removed. He is now breathing comfortably and steadily and we can see his entire face. w00t!

Although neither of us saw any yellowing of his skin, blood tests showed that he did have a touch of jaundice. So there were several days when he slept in his little tanning bed. This is pretty standard stuff even for full-term babies. In Mateo’s case, it was completely expected because he isn’t receiving full feedings yet. Excess bilirubin (a by-product of old red blood cells) usually passes through the gut and comes out in the poop. Since there is no poop yet, the bilirubin builds up causing the condition known as jaundice. Phototherapy is the answer as it breaks down the bilirubin into products the baby can get rid of. As the feedings increased, so did the poopy diapers and as a result, he is done with his phototherapy.

Since Mateo’s gastrointestinal system is so new, he isn’t quite ready to take on full milk feedings. So over the course of the week, the nurses slowly introduced milk with only 1 mL every three hours via a feeding tube in his mouth. As the volume of milk went up, his supplemental IV nutrition went down. By the end of the week, he was up to 23 mL feedings every three hours, and the IV was down to a trickle. We are expecting the umbilical IV to be removed early in Week 2 since there really isn’t much need for it anymore. His mouth feeding tube was removed on Friday and replaced with a less intrusive nose feeding tube. As he begins to take more feedings by mouth, either at breast or by bottle, there will be less and less of a need for the nose tube and eventually that will come out too.

Thankfully, he is getting 100% breast milk right now. Nicole is providing an ample supply. Once he gets to his full 30 mL feedings, they plan on fortifying the breast milk with a special formula to help him pack on the pounds.

Mateo entered the world at 3 lbs 14 oz. As is the case with all newborns, he lost some weight initially. We knew this so we really didn’t inquire about his weight until this Friday. He apparently worked his way up to a full 4 lbs, but then dropped back to his birth weight. But we are trending in the right direction now and with full feedings and fortification, we expect his weight to start climbing this week.

In summary, the NICU is nearly done fixing everything that needs to be fixed. From here on out his stay in the NICU will consist of eating, sleeping, pooping, and being loved. Nicole and I are making two visits each day and we usually hold him for at least an hour. He does latch on to Nicole’s breast but he’s a little young for the whole sucking, breathing, swallowing thing just yet. Most sources say this level of coordination doesn’t begin until week 34, which is this coming week. But at this point, if he latches and gets his feedings at the same time, we have everything in place if/when he decides to suckle.

I think I’ll close this post out with a little video of Mateo sneezing.

26 thoughts on “Mateo Week 1

  1. CPAPs are great, abdominal surgery sucks! Hopefully Nicole can sleep a lot or at least get a lot of good down time. (I know .. she has a new born .. but ..) Doctors usually say six weeks till you’re back up and going, take 61/2 to 7 if you can. I know it might not seem like you need it, but my friends who cut it short were sorry and generally took longer to heal. Just my experience.

    I’m sooooo glad you guys are doing well! Ah-choo! How cute!

  2. They greatest event I ever saw was the birth of my two girls. God has been truly gracious to us in letting us experience the gift of life and not only that but how He made our wife’s to have all the ingredients a baby needs in the milk of their mother. Congrats to you and Nicole! Time starts really going by fast…don’t take any of it for granted…your boy will be 14 before you know it! Enjoy and take care!

  3. Thanks for the update, Marc. Great to know that they are taking good care of your little man. Don’t forget to focus on your wife too. Hope you can get him home soon. God’s blessing to you and your family.

  4. You both have been blessed with eachother. Now you’ve been blessed with your sweet boy. Could not happen to nicer people .

  5. Congrats on the great news. He looks like a fighter so I bet in the not so distant future, you and Nicole will need running shoes to keep up with him. Believe me, the time goes quick. My daughter is 20 years old and it seems like yesterday.

  6. Congrats on the little Mateo guys! Just to give you some encouragement: I was born 8 weeks early and weighed 3 pounds, 11 ounces. I was in the NICU for over a month. However that was 33 years ago! Now I have two boys of my own (8 weeks and 2 years). Nothing like being a parent.

  7. Hey kids! Congratulations. He’s beautiful. I can’t express how happy I am for you guys. This is gonna be such a wonderful, exciting, scary time 🙂 It’s something realizing that you’re now, your parents.

    Before you know it, you’ll be sitting at the table eating dinner, he’ll bust out something like, ‘your’re nothing but a big piece of doo doo…” and you’ll find yourself blurting out, “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT FROM???!!?!?!” just like your folks did.

    Kat and I will be praying for little Mateo and for you guys as well. If y’all need anything or need some experienced parents to bounce questions off of, we’re here for you guys.

    Ya’ll love that little booger and let him know that he’s already got a cheering section.


  8. Glad to hear everything is going well. This brings back a lot of memories for me. My daughter was born early. She was HUGE compared to Mateo (4 lbs 5 oz). She had to spend a few weeks in the hospital getting the whole eating thing down. The Doctor figured out she was ready when she pulled out her own nasal feeding tube. She is now a beautiful, intelligent 9 year old. Even though she got an earlier expected start, things tend to get caught up and evened out.

  9. Great news. So happy you share updates on your new family. A stressful time for sure. But we are here to support you in any way.
    (Marc, I believe every little drop counts when it comes to colostrum. That’s what the lactation specialist told us. The lactation specialists were summoned to our room everyday we were in the hospital after our unplanned C-sections.) My wife had a difficult time emotionally when it came to breast feeding. I understand it may be while before Mateo is getting milk naturally under is own power, but just know he will figure it out. My 2 kids took over 6 weeks to figure out how to STAY latched on during the feeding. (this must be one of those times when I assume my experiences will be the same as yours…sorry for projecting. It’s all I know I guess.) I’m betting Mateo will be a natural though. So happy for you guys. Can’t wait for the next update.

    Achoo! (What a great catch)

  10. Hey Marc! Haven’t been in the woodworking web lately, so not only did I miss the fact that you had a baby, I missed the fact that you were even pregnant! Whoops, I guess that’s a ridonculous time away.

    Anyway, belated congrats to you and Nicole! I’m really happy for you guys. Parenthood pretty much rocks. 😀

  11. So happy to hear the little guy is getting stronger and Nicole is getting her rest. Get there and hold him as much as you guys can as it will make a world of difference. My wife is so glad you updated, she contantly asks(don’t know if it’s the mom or nurse in her!). Keeping you all in our prayers.

  12. So glad to hear things going well, and Mateo’s main job is to eat and grow. The sneezing vid was cute, like he saying was “dang tube tickling my nose!!” He’ll get the coordination before you know it to start feeding on his own.

  13. Glad to hear your family is doing well. My son was a 29 weeker, born at 2lbs12 so Mateo seems huge to me. 🙂 He’ll get the hang of that suck, swallow, breathe thing pretty soon and it sounds like they’re taking good care of him. Tell Nicole to get all the bf advice from the NICU crowd that she can. They were by far, the most helpful and most encouraging group that I encountered. Good luck! He’s beautiful!

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