It's been a week since I left Linda and Alicia and went back to work. Starting work again has been a mixed blessing. It's been good to get back to a normal schedule and to be doing something productive again. It's also been nice to be back in my own house, in my own bed. However, it is hard being away from the girls. Not getting to see them every day is no fun. But I trust that they are in God's hands and it's really fun to come back and to see how much Alicia has grown in just one week.
They started visiting hours early last night, so by the time we got to the NICU, the doors were already open, so after washing our hands and putting on our smocks, we just went right in. Alicia was in her usual spot and she was resting peacefully. The other mothers whom we've become friends with now, greeted me and welcomed me back warmly as I stepped closer to get a better look at my little girl. She looked good, definitely bigger than the last time I saw her. I spoke to her, opened the incubator and put my hand through and laid it over her. As I did, she stirred a bit and opened her eyes. I started to talk to her again, but Linda told me to wait and just to let her rest. So I did.
We sat there for awhile like that, just holding and watching our sweet girl. Eventually, she did wake up a bit and we talked to her in quiet voices. I don't remember at which point Linda noticed, but sometime during our visit she pointed out that Alicia's heart was racing faster than normal. Her heartrate is usually at about 160 or 170 beats per minute. Last night, her heartrate was up to 190. Linda says that she must have been excited to see me. That made me smile. She didn't really stir too much and show me any signs that she recognized me or was glad to see me. But I do feel that in her spirit, she does sense me and know when I'm around.
I was hoping that since they'd let Linda hold her yesterday morning, that maybe I'd get my chance last night. No such luck. It's OK. Holding off will just make that moment that much sweeter when I do get to hold her.
Last night, out of curiosity, I pulled back her cover to check out her legs. Man, they'd grown! Definitely saw signs of fat rolls. Made me happy.
This morning when we went to see her, Alicia again was sleeping, but she seemed really happy. She had this sweet smile on her face as she was sleeping, and when she heard my voice the corners of her mouth curved up some more. I have no idea if she was smiling in response to my voice, or if she’s even capable of doing something like that. But it warms my heart to think that maybe my daughter does recognize and enjoy hearing my voice. The nurses tell us that Alicia actually smiles a lot. =) That’s good. I like that we have a happy baby.
We’ve also been told that she’s really smart and has a bit of a naughty streak. Hmm… I wonder where she gets that from. Haha. (Oh, for those of you who don’t know. I’m actually a bit of a prankster.) Alicia apparantly, at some point this past week, was somehow able to push herself so far that she tumbled out of her makeshift bed inside the incubator. Don’t worry, she didn’t actually fall out of the incubator, and she wasn’t actually hurt, but the nurse definitely got a scare. Hearing this story, I still have no idea how that is physically possible, but our daughter, she somehow figured out a way. She also apparantly is quite aware and smart. They’ve got this monitor that they tape to one of her appendages. It’s a light that monitors her blood oxygen levels. The problem with this monitor is that whenever Alicia moves, it will have a hard time getting an accurate reading, so the monitor will show that her blood oxygen levels have dropped, setting off the alarm, causing the nurses to rush over. Yeah, well, our daughter, according to the nurses, always knows which hand or foot the monitor is on. Whenever no is really watching her, she will move the appropriate hand or foot setting off the alarms. The first few times it happened the nurse thought it was just a fluke, so she did an experiment. She moved the sensor from one foot to the other, then from foot to hand, then to the other hand. Each time, Alicia knew exactly which one to move to set off the alarms. Smart little girl. I mean, I don’t know if it’s a conscious thing, but either way, smart little girl. =) The nurse was wondering if maybe Alicia was a bit insecure, and that’s why she always likes to have someone watching her. Linda thought about it and told her, that it’s more likely that both she and I like to interact with people, and Alicia has probably inherited that from us. Haha… so young and already loves the spotlight. I think we’re going to need to watch out for that.
And all y’all uncles and aunties, don’t you be spoiling our little girl. =) Haha. I know the temptation, but you just be careful. =)
As far as the stats go. Alicia is up to 1026 grams today! Soon and very soon, we’ll get to get her off that ventilator and we’ll get to bring her home. At about 1200 grams, they think she’ll be strong enough to get off the ventilator, so we pray for that weight to come quickly. Then at about 1500 grams if everything is stable and she’s eating and breathing on her own then she can move to the step-down unit upstairs. Then when she’s over 2000 grams and everything is going well, we’ll get to take her home. When all of this started, that day seemed so distant, it felt nearly non-existant. But now we can see it as if we’re in a plane circling for a landing looking at the city down below us. We can see the destination, but we’ve still got sometime before we arrive. But we will get there we will.
Her breathing is doing better and better. Today, I saw that her settings were down to about 25% - 30% oxygen when she’s eating. I asked the nurses what her normal settings are like, and she said that she can breathe pretty well at about 21%-25% oxygen. Now we just have to get the other vent setting down, the frequency of vent puffs. Right now she’s getting about 15 puffs/minute by vent. We want to get down to where she can breathe on her own as much as possible.
In other news, the twin boy who’s sister had passed away, is doing really well! He’s actually graduated from our NICU and is now upstairs in the step-down unit. We look forward to the day when we can also move up. But in the meantime we just stay thankful for each day that we do have with our sweet girl.
As always thanks for all of your prayers and love. We appreciate all of you!