Thursday, March 26, 2009

One Month Old!

We like this picture.... we think it looks like Andrea is just overwhelmed by her lot in life, and is trying to hide her eyes!

I'll warn you in advance, today's post is going to be a long one.

As you can see from the title, we are celebrating one month of life on the outside for Beautiful Andrea the Second. She has successfully navigated her first month in NICU. When we went to see her today, we were given a reminder of how uncertain the future is, and how much farther Andrea has to go before we can bring her home.

When I asked the nurse how Andrea was, her reply was "She's much better now", implying that she had been worse before. Of course, I asked what had happened. Overnight, Andrea had some trouble with her breathing and her lungs. They had to increase her oxygen levels to 70 (It's usually around 25-30) and increase the ventilator settings to the mid thirties. Additionally, on x-ray, it was apparent that her left lung was not inflating as much as her right lung. She spent much of today positioned on her right side to see if her left lung would improve. Another x-ray was ordered to see if the problem was infection or mechanical. If the ventilator tube moves out of position, Andrea's lungs don't inflate properly. Her trachea is so small that tiny shifts of her body can move the ventilator into undesirable positions. By the time we saw her today, Andrea's oxygen was more in line with her normal levels. The doctor I spoke with did say that Andrea is likely to have life-long lung issues, and will be more susceptible to respiratory infections and lung diseases. She'd better not become a smoker.... hundreds of people will be furious! The plan right now is to try to prevent lung damage as her body and lungs grow bigger and stronger. As a result, the respiratory therapists in NICU constantly adjust the oxygen saturation and ventilator pressure.

In the good news department, Andrea's food intake has been increased to 12 ml every 3 hours. There is no better way to get her to gain weight than to get that milk into her. She weighed in at 705 grams today, or 1 pound, 8.8 ounces. She broke the 1 1/2 pound mark! She's slowly but surely closing in on the 1000 gram milestone, which is considered a big accomplishment. She won't be measured again until Sunday night, but she looks skinnier to me, so I'm guessing she must have added some length.

In other exciting news, Mom got to touch Andrea today. Usually, handling the baby is limited to Ken and me, plus the staff, of course. While the nurse had the isolette open for baby checks (temperature, blood pressure, clean diaper, etc.) both Mom & I got a chance to hold Andrea, such as it is. We hold one hand on her head and the other over her chest or legs. It was interesting to see how soothed Andrea was by Mom. Her blood oxygen level had been jumping up and down, but the whole time Mom was holding her, it was in the mid to high 90s. I got a picture of Mom's hands on Andrea... here it is:

To celebrate Andrea's birthday, we left a few gifts today: a medallion with the phrase "Believe in Miracles", an angel pin, a cross enameled with "Hope", and a prayer card that said "I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things". The nurse will put these items in a sterile bag and tape them inside her isolette. Andrea cannot see much, if at all, but we feel strengthened to have tangible reminders there of how much she is loved, and how many people are praying for her to get strong and come home.

Not to detract from Andrea (since this is her blog), but many people are still curious as to how I'm doing. I'm relieved to say that my incredibly icky wound is healing nicely. (It is still incredibly icky, just not as deep) I have started driving for limited amounts of time, just never alone. I've managed to get to and from New Brunswick, which is a major accomplishment. I get fatigued easily, which is probably a combination of emotions and my body's response to trying to heal. Still, I'm in better shape than I was a week ago.

Thank you to all who follow this blog, both publicly and privately. I get some therapeutic benefits from writing it, and your comments and emails encourage me to keep writing. You have to read my sister's comment from yesterday... it made me cry. Please continue to pray for Andrea, and if you have not already done so, add her to prayer lists at your parishes, synagogues, mosques, etc. We believe God has gotten her this far, and we can only pray and hope she will continue to do well.

"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."

Martin Luther


  1. Congratulations to Baby Andrea on achieving her one-month anniversary. I find this whole odyssey fascinating, even the icky wound, Victoria, though I'm sure you would rather not have it. We send prayers for Andrea's continued progress and your eventual arrival at non-ickiness. Love, Charlie and Janice

  2. One month old!!! Cherishing these milestones is so important, and special! We pray for Andrea's lungs to grow and develop into strong, healthy lungs & for continued good digestion and growth!
    Thinking of all of you each day!
    Deb & Scott

  3. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
    Bless Andrea, that she grow strong.
    Lord, help this child's continued mend,
    Please heed the prayers and love we send.
    Wishing Health and Happiness for baby Andrea (and her family) on her one month anniversary.
    Love susan_angela