It's been a good couple of good days. Had a few emotional moments, but overall not bad. Praise the Lord.
Today, after our morning visit, we ran into a dad of one of the newer babies in our NICU, and as is our custom with all other NICU parents we asked how his kid was doing. He said his kid was doing well. He was off the ventilator and they're talking about moving him "upstairs" soon. Right then, another pair of new NICU parents came out whom the other father recognized, and they struck up a conversation about the couple's kid, who was born only a few days ago. He also was doing well. Never needed the ventilator and was moving "upstairs" today. Hearing this news the other dad congratulated the couple and said, "You'll probably be able to take him home in a few days." The other father expressed his doubts saying that it might be a little longer than that.
As we stepped into the elevator to head down to the first floor and go our separate ways, I couldn't help but chuckle to myself. This "upstairs" that we often hear about in our NICU is not a catchphrase for Heaven or the afterlife, but a step down unit for the kiddies that are doing well enough to graduate from needing intensive care. It's the intermediary stop between the NICU and home. Getting to go "upstairs" is another step to closer to being discharged. But it's something that we've needed to put out of our mind for the time being. Because for us this "upstairs" is currently as illusive for us as our next trip home to the states. (It might be awhile.)
I wonder if for these new parents their days in the NICU seem as much of an eternity as it is for us. I wonder if the first father hearing that the second father's child was moving "upstairs" maybe felt a little bad that his kid wasn't moving up sooner. I mean I don't know, this is all in my head. But I do wonder, because I know if I were him I might feel a little bit of that twinge of longing for my child to get better sooner. I mean I already do, so I can only imagine. For these parents, their kids were older when they came out. They were able to "bake" a bit longer in the oven and were more "done" when they entered the world. So they progress quicker through the NICU. But I can't help but think that for them any amount of time is not fast enough for them to be able to take their bundle home. I mean that's how I would feel if I were them. But to me, as I was listening to their conversation I was like, wow they're so "lucky." I would give anything to be able to have Alicia be healthy and come home with us sooner rather than later. They're looking at a couple of days, maybe weeks, we're looking at months. They most likely won't have to deal with the fears, struggles and anxieties that we've had to face with the PDA, BPD, ROP and a whole slew of other abbreviations that I don't even want to think about. =) Made me think, "It's all pretty relative, eh?"
I mean, I'm sitting here thinking that our days in the NICU are interminable, but I'm sure there are parents out there who maybe never even got more than a few minutes or a few hours with their kid, and for them they'd give anything to be in our shoes to be able to touch, talk, and see their children alive. It's all relative.
Of course our one constant is our Heavenly Father. He is our stabilizer. He knows it all and has it all under control. He knows the exact date when Alicia will get to move "upstairs." And believe me when I say she is going to move upstairs. Because as I've said before, God has promised that she will LIVE and tell of his wonderful works. He also knows the exact day when we'll be able to take her home. So we wait in anticipation for that triumphant day to arrive.
I wish this race were more of a sprint, than a marathon. I wish that we could have given her a few more weeks or even days before she came out, so that she could have come out stronger and more prepared. But you know what, once again, it's all relative. I mean if she hadn't come out, we'd still be waiting to bring her home with us wouldn't we? Well, I mean, technically, she'd be at home with us inside of Linda, but still, we wouldn't be able to hold her and touch her and speak to her the way we do. And again, our Daddy knew. Alicia's birthdate was a surprise to us, but not to him. He had all the days of her life written in his book before she was even a blip on the sonogram.
So Daddy knows it all. He really does. And that gives me comfort. It also reminds me not to compare. The preemie book warned us not to compare how our baby is doing with other babies, because each baby is truly different and really, comparing just drags you down. I mean you've got these people coming in and out every week, while we're still there in the same spot. Bed 13, in the back. It's like Alicia came out earlier but then is kind of "falling behind." But you know what? Slow and steady wins the race right? =)
And Alicia really is slowly but steadily growing and getting better. Her weight is up to 770 grams today - a 14 gram increase from yesterday. She continues to get cuter and cuter each day, even the nurses say so. They think now that she's got a bit more meat on her she's even cuter than when she first arrived. And she loves to do these cute little poses. I couldn't stop taking pictures today.
Her breathing is about the same. She still forgets to breathe and has trouble getting enough air when she eats. But we spoke to a doctor today about that, and she says that Alicia is still pretty young, so that it makes sense that she's still got these issues. They'll keep observing. By 35 weeks or 36 weeks adjusted age (Alicia is 31 weeks this week) her brain should be developed enough that it can better control her breathing. If at that time she's still having problems, then that might be an indication of more severe problems. At this point it's what they call AOP (Apnea of Prematurity). Apnea (forgetting to breathe) caused by prematurity. So nothing too much to worry about.
There's not too much else to report. Oh, they are going to have a team of physical therapists come and look at Alicia sometime in the next few days. They're going to give her a check up and see what kind of exercises they can recommend to help her muscles develop and not get stiff. This is a good sign. It means that she's stable, otherwise they wouldn't be taking this next step. So we look forward to learning what we can do to help our daughter develop better and better.
1. Continue to pray for her physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development. We went to a class earlier this week about various struggles preemies have as they get older and the kind of the therapy that is done. Pray that Alicia will continue to develop well and thrive.
2. Pray for wisdom for the doctors and nurses as they take care of Alicia. We pray for the best care for her and that all the care will further Alicia down the road to complete healing and health.
3. Pray that God would give us wisdom to filter out things that are said to us. Some people over the past couple of days have told us things out of their love and concern for us that were actually more of a burden than a help. Pray that God would help us to receive their love but then to be able to filter out anything that is not of him.
4. Pray for all of our loved ones. I have a sense that we are not alone in having to deal with the stress of this situation. And I know that the enemy would love for nothing more than to take the stress and use it to destroy, disrupt and disturb our family. But we come against that in the name of Jesus Christ. Pray for God's peace and comfort to reign.
Thanks everyone. Oh, and just a note of clarification in case there was any confusion or miscommunication. I had previously posted and asked for people to pray for our finances. Please do not read that as a cue to donate money. We have never, nor are we now asking for money or donations. Please just pray. Our God is not only Jehovah Rapha, our great healer, but he is also Jehova Jireh, our provider. He is and will continue to take good care of us.