Friday, March 27, 2009

A Strong-Willed Baby

Note the thumb in her mouth. She's trying to suck it, despite all the tubes and wires!

Thankfully, today was a much less stressful visit to Andrea than yesterday. The problem with her lungs was determined to be purely mechanical. (Although she is probably going to have lung problems as she grows up) Since Andrea's trachea is so small, and she is an active baby, it's possible for her to dislodge the ventilator tube when she wiggles. It appears that the tube shifted from its desired location above both lungs into the bronchial tube leading to her right lung. As a result, there was no air pressure inflating her left lung. Any air in that one was from her own breathing efforts. After determining the problem, the respiratory therapist was able to reposition the ventilator so that both lungs are properly inflating again.

During today's visit, Andrea was more animated than I've ever seen her. In today's picture, you can see she's trying to get her thumb into her mouth to suck it. She manged to get a finger or thumb in more than once, and made an effort to suck around the breathing and feeding tubes. We also saw her using her tongue to try to push the feeding tube out of the way. She pushes at the tape on her face, too. It is a good sign that she's reacting to the presence of these foreign objects. The ventilator will be gone sooner, rather than later, but she's stuck with the feeding tube for a while. When the ventilator goes, it is replace by something called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). CPAP is a tube that goes under Andrea's nose with little prongs (not the correct medical term, but I don't remember what they're called) that go in her nostrils. While on CPAP, she still needs to be fed through the feeding tube. Since the primary concern is the size and development of her lungs, Andrea will have to wait a while before getting to try a bottle or nursing.

In other news, Andrea tipped the scales today at 710 grams, or 1 pound, 9.04 ounces. I can't wait for Sunday night's measurement, either. Despite the weight gains, Andrea is looking thinner in the torso again. I have to assume she's gaining length.

Once again, I got to perform some Mommy tasks. I was able to take Andrea's temperature, and change her diaper. She was very alert when we were there, and her eyes were open much of the time we were interacting with her. It's always a pleasure when the nurses can open the isolette and we can interact with Andrea without the plastic walls in the way. She seems to react to our voices and gets more active and wiggly when we talk to her. This is a catch-22, since we like to see her move, but then she expends too much energy, uses too much oxygen, and burns too many calories. She is soothed by being "held", and we covered her up when she got really loopy.

In comment to an earlier post, my "Uncle Pete" wrote "Hours pass so rapidly, but it is moments like this when life seems to stand so still, and at times so helpless." He was referencing his own journal from 32 years ago, when his newborn son was in the hospital with a congenital heart problem. That baby is now 32, and expecting his second child. I can relate to Uncle Pete's comment, because I can't believe a month has passed so quickly, but I also can't believe that only a month has passed since Andrea came into this world. I know Uncle Pete's son... I grew up closer to him than I was to some of my relatives. When I see him now, it gives me hope that some day, I will look back at this blog as Andrea awaits the birth of HER baby, and wonder how we ever lived through this. It is the support of our families and friends that make this bearable. I would not wish this experience on anyone, but it has driven home how much our people care about us - not just Ken and me, but our parents, siblings, and children. We have had more people reach out to us than I ever expected. The emails continue from ever more distant regions, and they encourage us more than we can say.

Please continue to pray for Andrea, that her development remains steady and uneventful.

"All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired, although not in the hour or in the measure, or the very thing which they ask. Yet they will obtain something greater and more glorious than they had dared to ask.”
Martin Luther

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