Dexter was favorably disposed towards the Soothie bottle with the green nipple just like his pacifier. He was awake and content and latched on right away--the complete opposite of yesterday's bottle attempt. He sucked and swallowed really well, and usually even remembered to get a breath in there. After about 30 minutes of really good work, we were kind of surprised to see that he had only actually consumed about 13 ml. We didn't realize just how slow the thickened milk flowed through the slow-flow nipple. So we tried a medium-flow nipple, and he sucked well, but was definitely more startled at the quantity of milk that came at his throat, and he choked and pulled back more than with the slow-flow, but he did get a couple ml. It's pretty tricky to find the balance--we don't want him to have to work so hard to get only a few ml, but we really don't want him to choke and have an unpleasant experience with eating. So for now it's slow-flow with thick milk. Even with a total of only 15 ml this morning, we were happy with his progress--he was willing to take a real bottle and that's something! They even said we're going to move to two oral feeds a day, so when I go back after dinner this evening, I get to give him a bottle by myself; no feeding squad tonight, just me and my litle guy.
Update: When I went back in the evening, he took 10 ml for me. Overall, he sucked and swallowed pretty well, except for getting a bit eager a couple times--he sucked and swallowed so many times in a row without breathing that he desatted pretty low and wore himself out. I felt OK with that progress until the nurse came in and told me that she'd heard the doctors talking G-tube again. One of the doctors feels like you can't just keep a baby in the NICU to learn to eat, so give him the G-tube surgery and send him home. Aaron and I think that it's only fair to Dexter to give him a chance to master this eating thing before considering surgery since he's making such steady progress (slow, but steady). But apparently the doctors only look at the numbers, and he did go down from 36 ml to 15ml when he switched from the rigged-up feeding methods to a real bottle. Anyhow, I was realizing again how far Dexter has to go and how much we need a miracle to get him to his goal of getting all of his milk orally. That realization gave my prayers increased urgency despite their redundancy.