Friday, March 20, 2009

A Womb with a View

I've been mulling over the way Andrea lives right now. In some ways, it's hard to think of her as "our" baby, because we really have very little to do with her care right now. We can't pick her up or care for her. We can't even touch her, without first clearing it with the nurses to make sure that we won't interrupt any treatments or procedures. The easiest way for me to come to terms with that is by rearranging my thinking. I have decided that what Andrea is doing right now is gestating. She has exchanged the inhospitable environment she was in for "a womb with a view". She's in the isolette, essentially completing the remaining period of development that should have taken place inside. If I think about it that way, I can cope more easily. After all, we would not be holding her, touching her, feeding or changing her for another 11 weeks, if all had gone according to plan. Those tasks are being done more ably by the NICU staff than they were by Andrea's placenta. We're fortunate that they are able to take such good care of her.

Just to make life MORE interesting, Kenny George was sick today, with a fever of 101.5. Not wanting to introduce any germs to NICU, I opted to skip visiting today. Ken went instead, since he stayed home from work to help with Kenny. So today's report is from Dad's point of view.

We are thrilled to report another typical Andrea day. Ken reported that she was much improved after getting her transfusion yesterday. (From one of our donors! YEA!) She was very alert while Ken was visiting, with her eyes open and moving around as much as she is able. Her ventilator settings continue to be low, although there is no plan to remove the respirator any time soon. There are so many factors that go into the decision to take the tube out, but one of the biggest they're waiting for right now is an increase in her size and weight. Her lungs are so small, and only Andrea getting bigger will lead to bigger lungs. So the doctors continue to give her fortified "hind" milk and try to limit how many calories she burns. Occasionally, the nurses have to gently restrain Andrea by tying her legs to the isolette. She is given some slack so she can kick and move, but the gauze they use prevents her from being able to go wild and wear herself out. While the doctors and nurses don't like lethargic babies, because Andrea is so "feisty", they have the opposite concern. She burns too much energy just wiggling around in the isolette.

As always, we ask for continued prayers and positive thoughts. We remain amazed at how well Andrea is progressing. We truly believe in the power of the prayers you are all saying daily for Andrea, and hope they will continue to help her thrive.

"Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength."

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