I'm always looking for ways to explain this experience to people fortunate enough to never have it themselves. Today, I was charged with explaining Kangaroo Care to a student nurse who was completing a rotation in the NICU. After my incredibly helpful description of the process and benefits, she and I wound up talking about preemies in general and Andrea in particular. She asked what it was like watching her progress day by day, and the best analogy I came up with is that it's like waiting for your tomatoes to ripen. (All my New Jersey followers can relate to that. Nothing beats a ripe New Jersey tomato)
Here's my reasoning: When you have your tomatoes growing in the yard, every day you watch them get a little closer to ripe. They start out green and unappetizing, and gradually turn orange, and eventually red, when you can finally pick them and enjoy. While you're waiting for the reward at the end, there are still countless things that can go wrong. The aphids can destroy the plants; the squirrels can carry off the tomatoes (our biggest problem last summer) the weather can be uncooperative; the list is endless.
It's the same with Andrea. Every day, the change is almost undetectable. We wait and watch, hoping she'll get to her own finish line, and we'll be able to take her home and enjoy being a family. In the meantime, there are still countless things that can go wrong. We have been so fortunate that things have NOT gone wrong - but we still have so much farther to go before Andrea is ready to leave the NICU garden where she's growing so well right now. You know, when you're growing your own tomatoes, sometimes the temptation is to pick one when it's "almost ready", because you've been waiting so long. I feel that way about Andrea some times. I know she's not ready - but I feel like we've been waiting so long, I wish we could just pick her now.
As you can see... I have too much time to think about things. My mind just goes all over the place during my hour drive to and from New Brunswick every day.
Despite my ramblings about gardens and tomatoes, Andrea is doing well. She now weighs 1245 grams (2 pounds, 11.9 ounces) and will likely be getting a tshirt pretty soon. She was not measured on Sunday, probably because her head is so elongated that it would throw off any measurements, anyway. She is still getting 23 ml of fortified milk and MCT oil, and her nurse believes that she'll be increased to 24 tomorrow. Also happening tomorrow is her follow up eye exam.
One of the big pieces of news today was that I held Andrea for almost two hours outside the isolette, and when she was returned, her temperature was still 98.7 degrees. This is MAJOR progress. She was able to maintain a body temperature with only my body heat for help. She is gradually outgrowing her need of the isolette!
For those of you following MY trials and tribulations, I see the doctor again tomorrow, for another follow up to my incredibly icky wound. It is substantially less icky (so I'm told... I don't look at it, and don't plan to) but still needs to be packed every night. That's how I know Ken loves me... he takes care of it without fail. If the situation were reversed, I'd either kidnap Mom or get a job so I could hire a nurse!
Please pray for Andrea's continued smooth progress. We are fast approaching 9 weeks! For today's quote, I'm sticking with the garden theme.
"The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground."