Andrea really is starting to look like a real baby, with small areas of chubbiness developing. She has actual calf muscles now, and we can't see her bones anymore! She lost 5 grams between yesterday and today, which is so insignificant as to be almost not worth mentioning.
The big concern for right now is Andrea's thyroid. All newborn babies are screened at birth for a host of problems. (I think I mentioned this before - sorry!) Andrea tested positive for hypothyroidism. Her repeat tests have been inconclusive - some hormone level is normal, the other is elevated. The doctor explained today that it's puzzling that the results are not consistent. He also said that the research on treatment is not conclusive. Some studies show that treatment in preemies helps, while other studies suggest that treatment can harm the babies. So, we have an endocrinologist monitoring Andrea, and we have to have to have faith that the doctors will do what's best for her.
Andrea has adjusted well to being kangarooed, and I think she's learning to anticipate it. Today, she was wide awake when we got there... Normally when she's taken out of the isolette, she cries, or at least kicks up a fuss. Today, there was one tiny whimper, and as soon as she was on my skin, she stopped fussing and went to sleep. The nurse removed the CPAP sponges while I was holding her, to give Andrea's poor head a break. Andrea tolerated the holding incredibly well - I had her out an hour and a half. I finally had to put her back, not because of problems with Andrea, but because my butt had fallen asleep from sitting in the same position so long. Parts of my body get numb because I really can't move very much.
Andrea's feedings are now 19 ml of fortified milk every three hours, and she adjusted well to the reduced CPAP pressure of 6. She'll stay at 6 for a few days to see how she tolerates it, and will then be moved to 5. Once she's successful at 5, the doctors can try just a plain oxygen nasal cannula, which is taped to her cheeks, instead of having all that pressure on her skull.
Many of our followers have been emailing me questions. Feel free to post questions as comments to the blog. I read all the comments, and I'll answer questions here. That way, I won't have to answer the same question multiple times. I'm just trying to avoid duplication of effort.
Thank you to everyone who gave us baby blankets. We'd gotten a few for Christmas, and more have come as baby gifts. Even though Andrea is not with us yet, the hospital has been making use of the blankets. We got a beautiful fleecy blanket that is used as her isolette cover to keep the sun out and allow Andrea to have quiet, which helps keep her calm. (Sort of like covering a bird cage, actually!) The more traditional flannel "receiving blankets" are used as coverings for the isolette mattress, and also rolled up to make Andrea's "nest". It makes us feel good to see Andrea surrounded by these things. It is a constant reminder of all who care about her and are praying for her to get well.
On that note, thank you too, for the ongoing prayers. We ask that you pray for a successful resolution to Andrea's thyroid issue. For me, the most worrisome part is that there is no clear cut cause or solution. We can only pray that all continues to go well, and that the doctors can get this piece of Andrea's recovery straightened out.
"God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain”