Sunday, March 29, 2009

More Fun Without the Ventilator

You can see in the picture that Andrea had another new experience today. Without the respirator, she can have things in her mouth, and so she was given a pacifier for the first time. Her nurse explained that she gave Andrea the pacifier during her feeding so she would learn to associate the sucking experience with feeling full. The smallest size pacifier is still big for Andrea's little mouth, but she managed. The top was cut off to accommodate the CPAP tube - that's why it looks strange.

You may notice in this picture that Andrea has a small golden heart stuck to her back, along with all the other sensors and wires. This is actually her temperature sensor. Andrea is in a climate controlled environment, and the heart keeps constant track of how warm, or cold, she is. Sometimes, it will come loose, and a monitor will display "baby cold", so the nurses know to check on her. If she's wearing a hat, sometimes she gets too warm, and the nurses will be alerted to that fact as well. She does have her temperature taken every three hours, but the heart sensor provides more constant information.

Andrea has continued to adjust to CPAP. Her oxygen settings were lower today than yesterday, and she has still not had any apnea episodes. Her feedings continue at the 13 ml level, although she did drop some weight. She is back down to 710 grams, which was expected. While on the ventilator, she had the additional weight of the equipment. With the CPAP, everything is removed before she's weighed, so these numbers are much more accurate. She was measured at 6 p.m. tonight - I'll know tomorrow whether or not she's added any length. Her "nest" seems bigger to us, so we believe she's grown. We just need confirmation from the nurse in the morning.

Andrea's favorite sleeping position is on her stomach. She needs less oxygen and certainly looks more comfortable when she's on her belly. We know that the rule with infants is "back to sleep", but because she has supported breathing, Andrea can indulge in tummy sleeping for now. I'm horribly jealous, as my incredibly icky wound keeps me from sleeping on MY tummy. Life is just not fair sometimes!

Now that Andrea is on CPAP and adjusting well, we can begin "kangaroo care" in the next few days. Kangaroo Care is skin to skin cuddling between the baby and parents. Andrea will wear nothing but a diaper (which is all she wears now, anyway) and we have to wear shirts that open down the front so she can be nestled against our chests. It's been shown to really improve the well-being and recovery (for lack of a better word) of preemie babies. We're very excited, because it'll be the first time we're really able to hold Andrea. It's also a really intimidating thought, because she is still SO small. However, we believe that the NICU staff would not allow anything for Andrea that she's not ready for, so we have to swallow our apprehension and be brave for her. Anything that helps her get well faster is fine with us.

As always, thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts. We are blessed that Andrea is progressing so well and you all share the credit for her success.

“As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.”
Emmanuel Teney

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