Having lived most of my life in America, I'm definitely more used to talking about weight in terms of pounds and ounces. You tell me a baby weighs 9lbs 5oz and immediately, I can be like, "WOW that's a huge baby!" Not so much with grams and kilograms. But I have to admit, using the metric system to track Alicia's weight definitely makes things a whole lot more exciting. =)
Case in point. Alicia weighed in at 956 grams as of last night--a 30-gram increase from the night before. Thirty grams! Definitely more exciting than saying she weighed in at 2.1 lbs gaining .06 lbs. Haha.
Anyway, no matter how you measure it, Alicia's getting bigger! And we are so thankful. She's been averaging around 20 grams a day. So if she keeps this up, she should break 1000 in a few more days. That'll be a day to celebrate.
Not only is she gaining weight, but she's also breathing better and better. Today during both of our visits she was able to breathe air that has about a 25% saturation and still maintain her blood oxygen levels at about 96-98%. Unfortunately, she was only able to keep it up for a few minutes before her oxygen levels dropped and they had to raise the saturation again. But the great news is that even when they did raise it, the highest saturation they needed to use was about 40% oxygen. This is a huge improvement from the past. In the past she needed about 50%-60% oxygen on a regular basis. Room air is 21% oxygen, so the more efficient her body can get at pulling oxygen from lower saturations the better.
She had one episode of apnea (where she forgot to breathe) today right before evening visiting time. When we got in there, the nurse was working on waking her up and getting her blood oxygen levels back to standard. The good news is that these apneas are fewer and farther between. For the most part she's breathing pretty well on her own. Sometimes she might get uncomfortable and tense up and hold her breath. During these times, naturally her oxygen levels drop. But thankfully, once she settles down she's usually fine.
Speaking of being uncomfortable, our little girl is getting stronger and stronger. Today during our morning visit, she was pretty active, moving her arms and legs quite a bit. Suddenly, she reached up to her mouth, wrapped her hands around her "lollipop" and yanked it out. It was really cute. She was obviously done sucking and didn't want it anymore. Funny thing is she was writhing about a bit before pulling out the lollipop. I guess she was trying to get comfortable. Once she yanked it out, she settled down and went straight to sleep.
Our little girl, so full of life and vigor. It's really great to see.
It's also great to see how much the nurses all coo over Alicia. She definitely is a favorite in the NICU. In the past when I delivered milk or diapers outside of visiting hours, I'd always have to say, "This is for bed 13." The other night before they opened their doors for us, a couple of off-duty nurses walked out of the NICU, and for some reason, one of them was saying, "Aleesa, Aleesa" over and over in the intonation they use whenever they're trying to wake Alicia up. I smiled at them and asked if something was up with Alicia. The nurse kind of looked at me embarrassed as if I had caught them in a private joke. So it made me wonder if the nurses all know Alicia by name by now. So as an experiment this morning when I dropped off some milk, I told the nurse who greeted me, "This is for Alicia." Without batting an eye, she said, "OK. I'll take care of it." Nice. =) I like it that they know our daughter by name and not just a number.
Oh, and by the way, "Aleesa" is not a typo. That is how all the nurses, doctors and other mothers who know us refer to our daughter. =) I guess the "SHA" sound is a bit hard for Chinese speakers. We don't mind. Aleesa is kind of cute. Linda was saying, maybe Alicia will grow up and think that that's her name, and we'll have to correct her when she's older. Haha.
Our little girl, continues to get bigger and stronger. Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord. And our little girl's strength definitely continues to rise.
Thanks for all of the prayers, love and support. Please keep them coming!
In other news, I will be going back to work on Monday. Again my workplace is pretty far from where Linda and Alicia are right now. So that means that during the week, I'll be separated from my girls. Pray for us as we adjust to this transition. Pray for Linda as she adjusts to needing to be more self-sufficient. During this time while I've been with her, I've been able to help her with a lot of things. But now that I'll be away, she'll have more on her hands. So pray that God would help her to be able to arrange and plan accordingly.
1. Pray for Alicia's growth. Pray that she'll be able to come home soon.
2. Pray for patience as we wait on the Lord. This time in the NICU, I think is harder on Linda and I than it is on Alicia. She probably won't remember her time in the incubator. But for us, parents, it's definitely a journey of faith each and every day. So pray that we can continue to find the joy as we walk through this time.
3. Pray that Alicia will be protected physically, emotionally and spiritually from any and all trauma that may result from this time. Pray that God would continue to affirm her as his child. Thus far, Alicia has been at peace for most of our visits. She doesn't cry a lot or get fussy like the other kids. I think this is definitely God's blessing upon her.
4. Pray for the doctors and nurses as they continue to take care of Alicia. Pray for even more favor and that they would fall in love with our little princess as we have.