Moving in the right direction!

Alright, time for another blog post. I don’t think this one will be too long since things haven’t been traumatic for us, at least as far as the girls are concerned. They would have been 31 weeks today, and they are getting so big! It’s such a joy to see their little personalities developing. I can’t wait to see who they LOOK more like; I’m hoping it’s me because they certainly ACT more like Kevin. Last night I was holding Eva, and even though she was asleep she kept trying to kick her feet out of the blanket. Her sister does this all the time in her isolette. There’s still lots of time to see who they become. πŸ™‚

They are still progressing wonderfully. Both girls now have their PICC lines removed. In the last post I mentioned that the PICC line was one place they are prone to getting infections. But thankfully they are now getting enough nutrition from breast milk that is fortified with extra calories that they don’t need any nutrition supplemented through their PICC lines. So out they came, and Mom and Dad are very relieved about this! Also, Eva is now completely extubated and only relies on getting oxygen through a nasal cannula, the same type of oxygen tubes that adults use when they are on oxygen. All of these things point to incredible development on her part. Of course, we give all the credit to God for preserving her life and giving her strength. We had a care conference with one of the girls’ doctors this week, and he was enthusiastic about how well they are doing. In theory, they could go home as early as 36 weeks gestation, which is January 14th. Holy cow! Time has flown and they could be home very very soon. It is likely that we won’t bring home both of them at the same time, and since Eva seems to be doing better we suspect we will bring her home first. She is 2 pounds 11 ounces as of last night. Having said all of that I should give a little update on Abigail as well. She isn’t doing quite as well as her sister; she is still intubated at this point. They are trying to wean down her vent settings to see how well she does with less support, and they are slowly weaning since they want to be cautious and not cause any setbacks. Earlier this week I was holding her on my chest when she decided to extubate herself AGAIN. Actually, she had slowly been working her tube out all day and wasn’t giving any indication that she was having problems. A respiratory tech happened to be walking by and noticed that the breathing sounded a little odd, and so they got to work on her right away. It was a little intense since they did some of the work while she was still on my chest; they had to hand pump a little oxygen bag to get her some air, and her little fingers turned blue. It was a little scary but I wasn’t too concerned since she had tolerated the discomfort for so long, not to mention that the NICU staff has been so competent that I have full confidence in their abilities to act quickly. So all of that being said, if they can wean her rate (how many breaths the machine has to “give” her in a minute) down to 20 they will move her to a CPAP. Her rate is at 24 right now. There are several different types of CPAP, so we aren’t sure which one they will try first. It is fairly obvious that she doesn’t like being intubated, though, so we are hoping once she is moved to the CPAP she will do better on that. This actually happened with Eva, too. She was having more spells until they extubated her, and now she’s doing great. So maybe sister will follow suit. πŸ™‚ They both are doing fairly well digesting their food. Sometimes they have some large residuals (leftovers,) but in general their bellies are now doing much better. So the main goal now is to get bigger, not to mention they get to start practicing feeding very soon. They will have their first eye checks next week to scan for something called retinopathy. Back in the day NICU doctors used to expose preemies to lots of oxygen, and now they know that doing this causes blindness. Our doctor told us Stevie Wonder was a preemie. πŸ™‚ But now they have laser surgery that can correct any retinopathy, so this shouldn’t be a problem for the girls. Please keep lifting them up in your prayers. Some issues can strike lightening quick, but in general the doctor thinks that the danger of most major complications has passed. Really, the most stressful part for us is getting everything done and ready for them to come home. The house is still a bit of a mess, so there’re still lots to be done. We have some lovely friends who had twins in the NICU last year lend us A TON of clothes, so we are set on that. It’s also nice being able to talk to them about some of the things we are going through. I know every parent of a newborn is exhausted, and we are not excluded from that. But we are definitely becoming quite the experts there!

It has certainly been a trying month for us. My family could sure use prayers. It all started with me being in the hospital and all of my issues. Then we had to deal with the girls being there. Shortly after that my brother had to have his gall bladder removed. The surgery itself wasn’t precarious, but the events leading up to it had my family in turmoil. And lastly, my Uncle Frank quickly deteriorated in the span of a month and passed away a little over a week ago. Thankfully his actual passing was quick and peaceful, so we could be comforted about that. But it’s hard to lose a close member of the family, so all of these medical issues have certainly left my family exhausted. Only God could have brought us through, and He certainly did. I’m going to ask for prayer especially for my grandparents. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for them to lose their son.

I’m so glad you all love our girls! Here are some pictures of them. This is Eva in a handmade outfit that I just love. Abigail is just 20 grams away from being able to wear clothes, and when she can she has a handmade outfit, too! I just want to take this opportunity to tell you all not to take the little things for granted. For us every day there is a small battle to be fought and won: will they digest their food, will they gain weight, will they remember to breathe on their own. Getting to dress them for the first time; what a treat! And I think it’s something that parents who don’t have babies in the NICU don’t necessarily recognize as a treat. So cherish those things, because we certainly do!

Eva in her homemade dress!

Sucking away on her pacifier

What are you looking at, huh?

Eva loving her "head massage" as Mommy gives her first bath

So sleepy!

She did NOT like this part of her bath

Eva gives her first smile for the camera...it must have been a good dream!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruth M. Romo
    Dec 13, 2010 @ 02:22:17

    Hi Laurel!!
    So good to see the photos and to get the updates. Thank GOD for His love & care for your sweet babies, you, Kevin and your family. I am so sorry to hear about your uncle. I’m going to be in ABQ next Sunday and am planning on seeing The Next Chapter, so I’ll give my condolences to your mom. Take care friend! Love ya

    Reply

  2. Charles Wilkinson
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 02:52:12

    Laurel and Kevin,

    So glad to read the update. Please know that you all are being thought about often. When I read your experiences above, it brings back so many memories of our Joseph and his time in the NICU. We know you are all in good hands! So glad you are taking a zillion pictures. You will truly cherish them later on! We all thank you for sharing and if you need anything, please let us know.

    Reply

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