Today, the doctors started enteral feeding with Blaise. This means that they began slowly giving her small amounts of breastmilk directly through the g-tube in her stomach. She was receiving 1/2 a milliliter an hour for about 6 hours today. They do this partly to determine how much function her remaining intestine has and also to prevent any further loss of function (use it or lose it, basically). This is a fairly major challenge for her and one that we didn't think they were going to attempt for another week or two. It was the first time we had tested her GI tract at all.
The results were neither great nor bad. After 6 hours, they stopped the feeding because she was losing as much fluid through her ostomy as they had put in, indicating that she wasn't absorbing much. On the other hand, she could have lost much more fluid, or it could have just sat in her stomach, which would have suggested other problems. None of the medical staff were surprised or upset by these results. Her nurses just seemed a little bummed, I'm sure because they really wanted to see her beat the odds. So did we, of course, but we also knew not to expect a miracle. The nurses and doctors all warned us many times going into this that the enteral feeding process with short bowel kids is a long and slow one. We'll try again in a little bit after we give her a chance to grow a little more. Importantly, Blaise was never uncomfortable or in any kind of distress during the feeding. She was really quite peaceful and rather charming to her visitors from Brown this afternoon.
Speaking of visitors, today was our first day since Blaise was born without any of her grandparents here. I know I had kind of mixed feelings about this because I wanted Ben and I to be able to spend time with Blaise without worrying about anyone else. (Note to Mom, Dad, Janet and Barry: I know you're going to say we shouldn't worry about entertaining you, but we do. We can't help it.) On the other hand, the moral support was nice to have, as was the help with the day-to-day things, since we're finding it very easy to neglect the laundry in favor of hanging out in the NICU. But never fear! Barry and Janet will be visiting again this weekend, as will Blaise's Uncle Jim, who hasn't had a chance to meet her yet. We know she's looking forward to seeing all of them.