3 weeks

Apparently it’s been over a week since I’ve updated. Oops.
I just, eh, most of the time, it’s like, I am just too tired or don’t have any energy.

K is still doing well, “exceptionally well,” one nurse practitioner told me yesterday, especially when considering what she went through before she was born. I’m not even sure exactly where I left off, I think I just mentioned that the breathing tube was gone. It’s still gone but the nasal cannula wasn’t quite enough for her and she had to go on the CPAP machine. I hate the CPAP machine but it is way better than the breathing tube. Just the fact that it covers her face, I guess, freaks me out some. But on the other hand, I’m not as freaked as I was the first time I saw it, and I’ve even held her twice while she had it on. Basically, she was working too hard to breathe all the way on her own, so the CPAP gives her more help so – as one nurse put it today – she doesn’t work too hard and spend more calories on breathing, instead she puts those calories to gaining weight and getting strong. Plus, she still needs some oxygen, it’s low as compared to her first week, but she still needs some to have enough in her blood. The breathing all the way on her own will come later. She does get time off of it, though, two blocks of four hours each day. They try to work it so that one of those is while I’m there, but with our crazy schedule that doesn’t always happen.

binky Open Eyes!

Above: with CPAP then with nasal cannula.

Also, regarding the second photo, yesterday I finally got to see both of her eyes. At one point I got right in her face, well, about 7-8 inches away, and let her study my face best she could for a few minutes. It was pretty cool.

Tuesday night they moved her from the critical area of her NICU to the other side. Apparently that’s a pretty big thing and means she’s progressing well. The new side feels different to me, almost less friendly, but I think it’s really less busy. Less people, less going ons. Her next step is on to the hospital’s other NICU where she will have her own private room.

Yesterday, they took out her PIC line which was her second IV location (the first was in her belly button). That was during the day but then in the evening, she ended up having to get a new IV. This one is in her arm and is for antibiotics every 8 hours then another every 24 hours, so it’s not hooked up to a bag constantly, just an occasional syringe. The last IV was a constant drip of nutritional fluids which she no longer needs as she is eating enough via her feeding tube (currently to the tune of just shy of 6 ounces a day, spread over 12 feedings). She got the arm IV, though, because she has thrush in her mouth, staph and something else. They’re not too worried about it, I think, but are giving her the antibiotics (and some topical medicine for the thrush) until her cultures come back (due tomorrow evening) which will show whether or not the bacterias have gotten into her blood stream. If not, she comes off the antibiotics. Apparently it’s really nothing unusual. We all have this junk with us all the time, it just is usually kept in check, but with her little early body and compromised immune system, those things can easily show their ugly heads.

Monday they gave her another head ultrasound. This is to check on brain growth and she had one shortly after she was born. The doctor says it all looks well but he did want to tell me that she has what he calls a grade 1 bleed. Very small blood area on the top of her head. He said he wasn’t trying to give me “the double speak” but was saying it was nothing to worry about but that he also is concerned about it and watching it. She’ll get another ultrasound in time. He said that these things can happen and that most likely, especially since it’s small, it will just go away and cause no damage.

Another thing they found was that she has a bicuspid aortic valve. This is also something not to worry about but it’s good to know. IF it does cause her problems, they will be 40 or 50 years or so in the future. And it’s very possibly something that either Steve or I have because it’s hereditary. Makes me wonder if we should do something about getting ourselves checked to see, just to know for if problems arise. But no one seems real concerned about it — basically, it just means that instead of there being 3 “leaflets” in her aoric valve, there are only 2. And that is something that would have happened whether or not she was born early or whether or not my water broke early, it’s just a small hereditary deformity. Just means that there’s basically one place the valve separates instead of two.

I think that’s really the gist of everything. I’ve gotten to hold her several times lately and kangaroo with her. They say that and pumping are the best things I can do for her and kangaroo-ing helps with pumping, go figure. I’ve learned a few interesting things from the magazine and book they gave me about kangaroo-ing such as:

“During kangaroo care, when a baby gets cold, we’ve noticed that the mother will start sweating – her skin senses that he isn’t warm enough and so she warms up for him. Your baby won’t be able to control his own temperature until he’s almost 4 lb, but if you start kangaroo care at 3 lb, there are still great benefits. Studies show that when a baby touches his mother’s skin it releases chemicals that feed his brain, causing nit to develop better than in a baby who never touches his mother. Kangaroo care allows his brain to recreate the feeling of being in the womb.”
— Dr. Hany Aly, “In Good Hands,” p. 6 of Born Early

There’s more, but I can’t find it in the big fat book they gave me right now. Seriously, the book is huge.

I’ve been running every which way though, so I’m sure there’s more junk I could talk about that’s been keeping me busy but, eh, it’s all boring. Like calling insurance companies because we got a bill from so-and-so who didn’t take the care and bother to bill the insurance company first and are trying to just bill us. Ugh. Fun. :)

I can scarcely believe that she’s 3 weeks old today, though. That also makes her 32 weeks by gestational age.