Well, the best thing about this post is that I'm writing from the comfort of my bedroom in Livingston! I was discharged from the hospital early this afternoon. It's wonderful to be home, but I'm going to be seriously restricted for some time. If I recover well, I should be able to start driving some time next week. On the flip side, no lifting, pushing, moving, etc. for several more weeks. Mom will have to pack the extremely icky wound for a while, and starting next week, Ken will have to learn how to pack it as well. I personally think that goes above and beyond love, but he insists he can stand to do it. I am fortunate in my family.
We saw Andrea before leaving the hospital, and she is doing well. She was on her tummy, which helps with muscle development. She actually seemed pretty happy on her belly, although she was asleep, so there was none of the frustration you see in full term babies during tummy time. Andrea's nurse explained that tummy time is safe because Andrea is on a ventilator, and being monitored constantly, so there's not the risk you'd expect with full term babies sleeping on their bellies.
During rounds today, the doctors and nurses discussed removing the ventilator. Ultimately, it was decided that it's better to leave it in place right now, to spare Andrea the trauma of reinserting it if necessary. Her ventilator pressure is very low, so there are fewer risks of complications than there would be if she was under more pressure.
Interestingly enough, Andrea has not gained any length in the past week. While she looks longer to us, she's still at 12 inches. Today, we could absolutely see the weight gain in her that was noted in yesterday's post. Her ribs are covered, and her spine is not protruding from her skin. Her skin still hangs loose on her arms and legs, but she has no fat yet, and very little muscle. It will fill out in time.
One of the hardest parts of visiting the NICU is seeing other families and their babies. Today, I met a woman who delivered a full term boy who is in NICU because of intestinal problems. We also met a family who had preemie twins, one of whom did not survive. The other twin is not having as smooth a course as Andrea. A third baby is not expected to survive. Meeting these families and seeing their children makes us even more grateful for the course Andrea has been on for the past several days. All we can do is continue to pray and remain strong and hopeful. Thank you for all the prayers, support, and good wishes. We would be lost without the strength of our family and friends.
"Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out."