Slow and Steady Wins the Race

"Slow and steady wins the race."  I keep telling myself that in anticipation of Jonas' homecoming.  It's not yet, but we can already see the light at the end of the tunnel!  
Today is 1 month from when I was originally admitted to the hospital.  I can't believe it's been so long already!  It's been a very difficult month, but we've learned a lot of life lessons and a huge lesson in patience and faith.  
Throughout the past 3 weeks, it has been startling to me to see just how vastly different a premature baby is from a term baby.  Even Marco, who was also "premature", is extreemly different than Jonas.  Marco was almost "term", and Jonas is still on 34 weeks adjusted.  I mean, everything is different!  The way you handle them, the way you feed them, their capabilities, their alertness... it's all so... premature!  
At first, I felt horrible leaving Jonas in the isolette all day and night without me there.  My original frame of mind was, "he needs his Mama".  Well, he does, but more than that, he needs to sleep!  He is perfectly content to sleep for hours on end in the covered isolette with no stimulation.  In fact, stimulation can actually be a bad thing at this stage!  He gets snuggle time twice a day when I visit in the mornings and evenings, but mostly he's sleeping and growing.  A term baby wants to be held all day long and can have longer periods of awake/stimulated time.  
Another thing that was completely bizarre to me, was the manner in which I have to feed him.  Right now, we're bottle feeding and it is such hard work for him!  At first, he'd get all choked up and couldn't coordinate his breathing with sucking and swallowing.  He'd get all red in the face and begin to gasp!  We've been working on it, and he's getting a hang of it, but it's a slow process.  He hasn't gotten the hang of breastfeeding, and according to the doctors, he probably wont until he's closer to his due date.  A term baby will chug down a bottle or immediatly latch onto a breast a few hours after birth.  It's like as if Jonas has to learn all these things that comes naturally to term babies.  
According to our calculations and timeline, Jonas should be coming home close to November 1st.  The requirements for him to come home are that he is taking 8 bottles a day by mouth and can sustain his temperature in an open crib.  Tonight he should be moving into an open crib, because he's been sustaining well in the isolette for more than 48 hours.  He's also up to 4 bottles a day by mouth.  The other 4 feedings are being tubed.  If he manages his bottles well for 48 hours, they increase 1 bottle a day.  So, from start to finish, 8 bottles would take 16 days.  Since we're on 4, we're half way home... assuming we have no set backs!  
It's a slow process, but so far he's been steady in his progress!