Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beautiful Andrea the Second

Margaret, Mom and I went to see Andrea today. In many families, people wind up with nicknames, under unusual circumstances, that somehow stick. Margaret has been known to all the nieces and nephews as "Aunt WooWoo" since Stefania was born almost 12 years ago. While visiting with Andrea, I found myself explaining to the nurse (another one of our favorites, by the way!) how Margaret became WooWoo. The nurse asked if I knew Andrea's nickname. As you may or may not know, Andrea is named after my mother, and her middle name, Eda, comes from Ken's mother. Well, during one visit, the nurse referred to Mom first as "Big Andrea", then, not liking how that sounded, tried "Old Andrea". Mom, realizing that neither was complimentary, recounted a story from Kenny G's early life, where he referred to her as "the Beautiful Grammy". From there, "Beautiful Andrea"was born. The nurse decided that Mom is Beautiful Andrea the First, and our baby is Beautiful Andrea the Second.

We are pleased to report another good day for Andrea. She tiped the scales at 680 grams, or 1 pound, 7.98 ounces. Almost at the pound and a half mark. She is continuing to fill out, getting more flesh over her bones. Her ears are no longer flat, but have some of the whorls of full term babies. Her milk consumption continues to increase. Like the rest of us, she seems to be a good eater.

We were in NICU during rounds again today. Andrea is now toward the end of the process, because she is not (Thank God) a critical case. The doctors see the more ill babies first. It was interesting to note that most of the conversations revolved around tweaking settings and making minor adjustments to levels of things. There are no red flags right now, and nothing to be alarmed about, other than the fact that she's 12 inches long and weighs less than a pound and a half. Her ventilator settings are constantly adjusted during the day. Andrea's nurse told me today that sometimes Andrea moves so much, she depletes the oxygen in her blood. (Similar to us getting short of breath while exercising) To provide extra support to her while she grows, she's sometimes given additional oxygen.

Mom & I saw the doctor for the first follow up to all the wound care I've been getting. More good news there - the thing is healing very well, so they tell me. As before, I find it all to icky to contemplate. We did learn (sort of) the reason for the complications that led to Andrea's dramatic, preterm arrival. When she was born, the placenta was sent to pathology for evaluation. My doctor had the report, and was able to share with us the findings. There were several areas of infarctions, or areas where blood clots had formed and the placenta had died. It was functioning so poorly that Andrea was barely receiving enough support to stay alive, never mind grow properly. The unfortunate part is that the pathologists do not know what caused the problem, so it would be impossible to predict whether or not it would happen again. No worries, though... after all this, we're done, anyway!

Please continue praying and sending Andrea positive energy. We love having positive things to report, but hope that the good news will not dissuade people from continuing to support Andrea. One doctor told us that most preemie babies come home pretty close to their due date. Andrea needs another 10 weeks or so to be "full term". Keep the support coming, please!

"Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD."

Psalm 31:24

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