My heart is so full right now. It's been an amazing day of milestones, and it's only half over!
First milestone, Alicia is 2 months old today. Man, do they grow quickly. I'll admit that going through it, sometimes it does feel like time is crawling, but when I look back, I can't imagine that it's already been two months! We've made it two months, and the journey has barely begun.
Second milestone, Alicia has finally, FINALLY, broken 1000!!! Yahoo! She's 1006 grams today. Bigger and bigger each day. I'm so so thankful. The bigger she gets, the more strength she'll have to be able to breathe on her own, and the more mature her organs and muscles will be. And the sooner we can bring her home.
Third and greatest milestone of all, Linda got to hold Alicia for the first time today! After her morning visit with Alicia, the nurse asked Linda if she would want to hold Alicia. And of course, Linda jumped at the chance. So the nurse told her to just hang behind a bit after visiting time, and once the other parents had cleared out, they'd let Linda hold her. I wish I was there to see it, but just hearing Linda tell me about it, I felt my tears welling. Linda said that they were pretty quick about disconnecting the vent, pulling her out, reconnecting the vent and wrapping her up, and then placing her in Linda's arms. Alicia was asleep when they took her out. But as Linda held her, she opened her eyes and started looking around even smiled a bit. Linda said that it was, naturally, an amazing experience -- so different than just touching her and looking at her with a plastic barrier limiting your interactions. As I listened to Linda tell me about this precious moment, my heart ached to wrap my daughter in my arms, to hold her and touch her and have her be close to me. My time will come soon, I'm sure.
There's also lots to pray about today.
1. Alicia is still on the vent now after two months. The good news is her vent settings are pretty low. However, she still has a bit of trouble when she's eating, but she's getting better. Also, she's still not strong enough yet to breath on her own. Doctor said this should improve as she packs some meat on her bones. The bigger she gets the stronger she should get as well. They've tried setting the vent to manual, and letting Alicia try to breathe on her own. And she's able to do it for a few minutes, but then it ends up being too taxing on her. So the doctor says she needs to be on the vent for a bit longer. She's guessing that maybe by about 1200 grams she should be stronger and be able to breathe better on her own. Let's pray that it'll happen sooner than that.
2. She's still got a lot of mucus that they need to clear out intermittently. But again, nothing to worry too much about. We pray that this will clear up soon.
3. Doctors have done a brain scan, and she's still got the lesions in her brain. However, after observing her movements and muscles, the great news is that they think she's developing pretty well. They'll definitely need to keep checking up on her and have the physical therapist do follow up examinations to check on her development as she grows. Pray for her muscles and physical development.
4. Alicia had an eye appointment earlier this week. They doctor found some abnormal blood vessel growth near her iris, most likely caused by her extensive use of the oxygen. At first, when her ROP was only at level 1, they only did eye exams once every couple of weeks. Now, with this new growth, they'll be doing exams every week. Right now, they're using some medicinal eye drops to stunt the growth. But these drops have limited effectiveness. Pray that her eyes would develop healthy and strong.
5. We've asked when we might be able to do Kangaroo Care (getting to hold Alicia skin to skin for extended periods of time). Kangaroo Care has proven to be extremely beneficial for children and parents. Doctor says that she needs to be a bit bigger. Of course, my natural instinct and desire is to do it as soon as possible. In fact, some hospitals do let parents do it even if the kid is on the ventilator. But at our hospital, they want her to be off the ventilator. So we just trust the doctors. My sense is that once we can start doing this, Alicia will grow in leaps and bounds. Pray with us that this can happen soon and very soon.
I believe the main thing right now is to get her bigger and stronger. She's eating up at 17cc per feeding now. So that's great. I feel like all the things she's struggling with right now will resolve themselves as she gets bigger. Once she's bigger, she can breathe better on her own. When she can do that, she can get off the ventilator. Then she won't need to use the oxygen that is so damaging to her body, which will hopefully stop the abnormal blood vessel growth in her eyes and clear up the mucus. Then we can do Kangaroo care and that will hopefully help her and us to bond even more and then she can grow even faster and stronger.
So BIGGEST prayer, that she will be stronger and stronger!
I'll be going down to see my girls tonight. I can't wait to see them and give them both HUGE HUGS.