Friday, May 22, 2009

Bigger Lungs

Well, at the ripe old age of 12 weeks and 1 day, Andrea has reached almost all the milestones she needs to in order to go home. She is on full bottle feeds, and is able to try nursing when she feels up to it. She can maintain her body temperature completely unassisted, and she weights almost 4 1/4 pounds. (No weight gain since yesterday, but no big deal) The only thing she still needs to do is be able to breathe well with no oxygen support. She's getting so close, but we're not there yet. She is still on 2 liters of oxygen per minute, at 25%. 21% is room air, and she needs to be able to breathe well without the support of the tubes in her nose. She can manage for a little while, but she's not strong enough yet to manage completely alone. Still, when we began this odyssey 85 days ago, the mountain seemed insurmountable. To be so far along, and so much nearer the end is a wondrous feeling.

Andrea's outfit today was a gift from a coworker, and my favorite thing about it is the embroidery. In the upper chest it says "I am getting prettier every day". She really is blossoming into a beautiful baby. She has rolls of fat on her legs, and is developing a double chin! She has gained so much weight in the past week that the doctors ordered that the MCT (Medium chain triglycerides) be stopped. She was getting MCT oil in her feedings to increase the calorie content of the milk. The nurses will continue to fortify the milk with "human milk fortifier" and powdered baby formula.

Andrea's last dose of antibiotics was at 2 p.m. today. She got them via IV, and every day the IV had to be moved to a new location. When doctors leave an IV in anyone, a certain amount of fluid needs to pass through it to keep a blood clot from forming at the end. Andrea couldn't absorb more fluids since she is getting all her nutrition through her milk, so the IV needed to be removed every day and reinserted in a new place (arm or leg) the next time it was needed. It's a relief to us (and her, I'm sure) that the needles will stop until Monday labs, when they'll draw her blood for weekly testing.

Thank you for the extra prayers this past week, as we dealt with the scariness of last Friday. Andrea seems well on her way to recovery, and thankfully there was nothing more serious than a need for blood. If we're lucky, that will be Andrea's last transfusion. Hopefully, she'll be able to make it to the end without another. Fortunately we have blood on reserve, so it's there if we need it.

I'll try to post Saturday and Sunday, if there is Internet access in or near the hotel. Rest assured that Andrea is in good hands, and is benefiting from your continued good wishes and prayers. We are so fortunate in our friends.

"A friend is one who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love and encourages you with hope."
Romans 1:11, 12.

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