Gestation: 37 weeks, 2 days
Weight: 4 pounds, 5 ounces
Feedings: However much she wants by bottle, every three hours
Abby seems to be slowly improving. By Saturday morning, she was pulling new tricks with tons of periodic breathing and some cardiorespiratory events. Periodic breathing is when babies slow their breathing way down for a while then start breathing very quickly to “catch up”, and then they repeat the cycle. Often associated with periodic breathing are respiratory events, which are when the breathing and/or heart rates drop. Abby pleased us early on by having almost no events, but now that she’s losing weight everything else seems to be unraveling as well. So, she’s been having events.
Abby also pulled out her feeding tube again. She had gone three days without stooling and was starting to have residuals again (leftovers in her tummy that hadn’t digested). Our concern was that every time this has happened in the past, the doctors have started subtracting the residual from her next feed. For example, Abby was getting 39 ml feeds; if she had 18 ml residual they would only give her 21 ml at the next feeding time. For a baby who is already losing weight, we didn’t want them subtracting from her feeds! So the doctor decided to leave the feeding tube out and stop checking residuals. So far, Abby’s taken enough milk by mouth to keep the tube out! She has not, however, been nursing well for the past few days.
The doctor was wringing her hands on Saturday because she was at a loss to know how else to help poor Abby. Our sweet nurses have been patiently feeding Abby slowly, burping her often, holding her upright for half an hour after feedings, and often changing out of spit up covered scrubs despite all of their earnest efforts. It’s hard to say what, if anything is helping. Some of you have given suggestions (different medicines, adding oatmeal to the milk) and we’ve been talking over all of these with the doctors. In fact, Abby has become quite a demanding baby as far as doctors and nurses are concerned and it is not uncommon to find a small crowd gathered around her isolette trying to figure out what to do next or asking for updates on how she did at the last feed.
On Sunday, finally, Abby gained some weight! She will continue to be weighed daily (instead of every other) until she is more stable. Last night some tests were taken using urine and blood to rule out the possibility that Abby has some sort of infection contributing to her troubles. (I don’t know the results of those tests yet)
If Abby becomes more stable, the doctors are hoping to have her hernia surgery done this week, as early as possible. The main reason is, it would be a bummer to get her all ready for discharge and then send her in for surgery and get set back a few days. Why not do the surgery while she’s still not ready to go home, so she can recover while she had to be here anyway and get her home a little fast, our doctor suggested. Of course, they won’t do the surgery unless she is stable, has no infections, and will be able to recover without any added risks.
Sundays, as I’ve mentioned before, are always the hardest days. A part of that is that on Sunday we go to church in the morning and miss our morning visit with Abby. We visit in the early afternoon, instead, straight from church, and don’t get home until around 5. Then it’s nap time, dinner time, and back to the hospital. As a result, we often don’t eat any lunch (or not much of one in the car) and our nap time is often cut short. Everything proved to be a little too much for me this week and I came down with a relentless headache during church which lasted all day. Some sweet friends had us over for dinner and I spent that time lying on their couch. Ultimately I threw up, missed my evening visit to the hospital, and rested at home for a few extra hours. Today I’m feeling much better and should be able to get to the hospital for the 2 pm feeding. (We are sure that I’m not sick, the throwing up was due to the headache, and I am safe to visit Abby)
Lydia hasn’t seen Abby all weekend because at the end of last week she had a runny nose. She was all set to go see her today, but woke up with a new runny nose. So it’ll be at least a couple of days more before she’ll be allowed in the NICU.
The Doctor who was at the hospital Saturday is also on next week, Monday through Friday. She is trying hard to get Abby home to us (it is well known that preemies do much better when they get home, and, of course, their family does too!). She said that if Abby doesn’t get sent home this week, she’s going to get her home the next week, which would be in time for Thanksgiving. However, we know that unexpected things can happen and it’s impossible to know that Abby will be ready that soon. We’re hoping so.
Praise the Lord
We are thanking God for:
-that Abby is taking her feeds by mouth again and that the feeding tube is gone
-that Abby gained some weight on Sunday (still 4 lb, 5 oz, but closer to 4 lb, 6 oz now)
-that Abby will gain weight, spit up less, and keep her temperature up
-that Abby will stop having events
-that Abby doesn’t have an infection
-that Abby will be able to have her surgery this week
-that Abby would start nursing again