Today was quite an eventful day in the NICU. It began with us learning that Alicia had broken the 1300 grams mark. Well, I guess technically she didn't break it since she was precisely 1300 grams (2.87 pounds) today. But that's OK. It's only a matter of time. She's getting up there in weight, and she's definitely getting stronger. Also, great news is, she's no longer the smallest kiddie in the NICU.
Today while sitting with Alicia, I looked over at the kid in the next incubator and commented to Linda about how he seemed smaller than Alicia. Linda looked at me like, "uh, duh" remember he's 900 grams. Oh, right. I knew that about the boy next door, but somehow it didn't compute that 900 is less that 1300. Haha.
We got some good news today and also some hopeful news today.
First, the good news. For the past few days, we've been able to have some cuddle time with Alicia for nearly an hour every morning. Today the nurse asked us if we would want to just schedule time everyday from 11:00-12:00 to hold Alicia. That way we could make sure to have the comfortable recliner chair set aside for us. We told the nurse, "Well, we need to think about it, and we'll get back to you tomorrow." Just kidding! Of course, we jumped at the chance. So this means that barring any unforseen circumstance, from now on, we'll get to hold Alicia for at least one hour every morning! Talk about improvement. =)
The hopeful news is that Alicia is scheduled to have her vent tube replaced tomorrow. They usually replace the tube about once a month. Since her vent settings have been pretty low, and she's done relatively well with the CPAP trials, the nurses said that they may not replace the tube at all and switch her over to a nasal cannula. Please pray that this can happen. It all depends on how well Alicia breathes today and tomorrow. If she's breathing pretty steadily without too much difficulty, then they can go ahead an switch her over. This will be great in two ways. First, this is a sign that she's maturing and getting stronger, which means that it's another step closer to bringing her home. Second, it can save her from being reintubated. Any time they need to stick something down her throat, it can be dangerous. And Alicia is definitely becoming more and more aware of discomfort and pain.
Today, after holding her for nearly an hour, she started to develop mucus again and was having trouble breathing, so the nurse put her back into her incubator so she could do some suctioning. Alicia was not a happy camper. I don't know if it was the shock of being taken out of my arms, even though the nurse and I were quite gentle about the transition, or that she was just not comfortable today, but during the suctioning Alicia was really feisty and fussy! She was writhing about and flailing her arms like she was going through the worst torture ever. Through the whole process we tried to calm her down by telling her that it was going to be all right, and that the nurse was trying to help her feel better. Despite our efforts, Alicia continued to flail about and at certain points her heartrate got up to over 200 bpm.
While the nurse was suctioning and Alicia, I felt like Linda and I were taking turns dealing with the alarms that were going off. One second, her oxygen levels dropped, so the alarms went off. Once we turned off that alarm, the vent alarm went off, because the nurse had disconnected it to so she could suction. Once we dealt with that alarm, another alarm went off signaling her heartrate was going to fast.
After it was all over, Alicia was still pretty agitated and it took Linda and I quite a few minutes to get her to settle back down. Thankfully, Mommy was able to calm her down enough that she could rest. Our little girl is definitely getting bigger and stronger and more aware.
One other thing that we learned today was that Alicia likes to sleep on her side or her stomach. She doesn't really like sleeping on her back. I mean we kind of knew this before, but today while I was holding her, it became really obvious. When she was first handed to me, I cradled her facing up in my arms. After a few minutes, she started getting uncomfortable and her oxygen levels started to waver. After a few dips, I adjusted her body so she was facing me, and she seemed to do better, so we asked the nurse if she could help us adjust her position. The nurse came over and helped her to lay flat on my chest, and she seemed to really like that. Almost immediately her oxygen levels started to rise. Unfortunately after a few minutes her oxygen started to drop again because of mucus buildup so that's when our cuddle session ended.
It's OK. There will be more and more cuddling in the future for sure. =) We can enjoy more bonding time as she grows older.
Please continue to pray for Alicia's development. Pray for the breathing to get stronger and stronger. Pray that she will put on weight. Pray for the healing of her eyes after surgery. And pray for her muscular development.
Pray for Linda and I, we're starting to get a bit physically worn out. Pray that we can get ample rest during the night and during the day so that we can have the strength and energy to keep going. This physical tiredness I'm sure, is common for all parents of newborns. =) So I definitely know we're in good company on this. =)
Speaking of newborns, congrats to our good friends Rachel Sawatzky and Beth Wei who both delivered healthy babies within two days of each other. Benjamin Aaron Sawatzky was born on August 10. And Scarlett Virginia Wei was born on August 12. Both these kiddies will be Alicia's playmates and potential future classmates as they grow up. =) So thrilled to celebrate these new lives with their parents and families and I'm excited to have the opportunity to raise our children together with both of these wonderful families.
Thanks for keeping up with us friends. Sending you lots of love and hugs.