Today, when we went to see her, she seemed to be resting. When we opened the hole in her little incubator and I spoke to her, she started to stir. I think she recognized my voice. Does a Father's heart good. Then when I reached in and touched her little hand, she reached up and grabbed my finger and held on pretty tightly. Well, as tightly as she could for her size. My heart just melted.
Physically, not much has changed since yesterday for Alicia. In a way that is a good thing. She hasn't gotten worse. She still has the bleeding in her brain and as of their sonogram yesterday she still has the heart problem. But things haven't gotten worse, which is a huge praise.
She is also now past the most critical 72-hour stage. But for us to really breathe easy, and for things to really stabilize we need to see how Alicia fares over the next couple of weeks. We have faith that she will steadily progress and get better and better.
A bit of clarification on a couple of things in previous posts.
First, the infection. We're still not 100% sure whether or not the infection that Linda had in her system was what actually caused the contractions to begin. In fact, we don't even know what kind of infection it was. They did a culture and the results will be back sometime this weekend. Then we'll have more information. But speaking of infection, Alicia's white-blood cell counts are a bit high, so they suspect that she too right now may have an infection, so they're giving her some antibiotics to fight that. We hope that coupled with the antibodies from Linda's milk will help her to get healthy!
Second, the "hole in the heart." I think I explained previously that everything is being spoken in Chinese, and so I thought that that might have been the problem with me not getting everything. Until I realized that even when the doctors switched over to using some English terms, I still had no idea what she was talking about. Haha. I did do my best to remember the Chinese words for where Alicia was having a problem. And I looked it up, translated it and found this article on Wikipedia that explains what her problem is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ductus_arteriosus After "reading" this article, I realized for certain that it wasn't simply that I didn't understand the Chinese. I just didn't understand, period. Anyway, so apparently she doesn't have a hole in her heart. (The doctors [Linda's doctor that delivered the baby and Alicia's doctor that's watching over her] had a good chuckle about my diagnosis.) From what I can gather, each of us have two major arteries, one carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs, the other carries oxygenated blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. As fetus' all of our lungs are filled with fluid, so God has created a hole between these two arteries that will allow the blood to bypass the lungs and continue to circulate. Under normal circumstances this hole begins to close up once the baby takes its first breath. Which is important, because we want the blood to pass through the lungs in order to pick up the oxygen. So right now the problem is Alicia's hole hasn't closed. So right now her blood continues to circulate, but it's bypassing the lungs, and therefore not carrying oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. So right now the doctors are trying to use medicine to close up this hole. So it's not a hole in her heart, but a hole between the vessels. HAHA... did you get all that? Yeah, me either.
We asked the doctor how Alicia was doing today, she said that she's having a good day today. She's rather active and moves around a lot. But, she was also careful to remind us that just because today was a good day does not mean that tomorrow will be even better. Her condition is still very unstable, so she will have good days and bad days. Good news is that she's past the 72 hour phase. So her risk has dropped. But the risk hasn't been eliminated.
We also learned that in a few days they're going to remove the tube that they've got plugged into where Alicia's umbilical chord used to be and switch her over to an IV type thing in her arm. They need to do this because after birth the umbilical chord hole (I'm sure there's a more technical term for this.) starts to harden and also it's also prone to infection, so it's better to switch over. However, because her body is so fragile, any kind of insertion of anything into her body is risky. So pray that she won't have any negative side effects from all of this.
Another encouraging bit of news is that Alicia has gained some weight! I forget how much. But she's now about 500 something grams. For those astute readers out there, you might think... uh, but you said she was born at 654 grams. Yes. But as some of you know, most children lose a bit of water weight in their first few days of life, and then they gain it back over time. So yes, she was born at 654 grams, but she shrunk down, and now she's back up a little. Praise God!
One encouraging bit of information is that my sister-in-law, Gloria, asked about the smallest baby they've had at this particular ICU. And the doctor told us the smallest they've had was a child that was born at 422 grams. And when Gloria asked how that child was doing now, the doctor said, he/she is doing great. In fact, they just came in for a check up the other day, and that child is now about a year old! =) Praise the Lord.
As for Alicia, she'll probably need to stay in the incubator for at least three months, maybe even as long as six months depending on her progress. But we just pray.
As for Linda and I, we are really in good spirits. Logically speaking, this is a stressful situation. One that should be riddled with anxiety and concern. However, Linda and I just continue to marvel at the peace and security we feel. And I can only attest that to all of the prayers and love that you are sending to us. We really are not anxious or worried at all. Yes, we miss our little girl, and yes, we wish we had her here with us to have and to hold. But we know that Daddy God is with her and watching over her and taking care of her while we can't. Our spirits are at rest. So thank you, thank you for your prayers and keep them coming! Like I said previously, your prayers are our lifeline right now.