Thursday, September 9, 2010

6 Weeks Old

6 weeks old (yesterday's info)
32 Weeks 2 Days Gestation (equivalent to 8 months pregnant)
3 lb. 6.67 oz. (birth weight was 2 lb. 4 oz.

Scott was right in his blog that 32 weeks is the magic number. Of course, that's the magical number we were shooting to hold our girls in check and not deliver before then. The average delivery for triplets is 32 weeks and it gives them an awesome rate of survival. Scott and I had a personal goal of holding the pregnancy until 33 weeks, which would be next week. We had countdown timers on our phone that ticked off the days. Life is just never how you plan it. We're a week away from our desired due date and we have just one little 6 week old girl fighting the odds. Crazy.

I'm just amazed at how the human body of a mom is designed to help babies grow. Casey is so much bigger and more alert, and stronger. But compared to other babies who are born at 32 weeks, she's significantly behind. Our "What to Expect When Expecting" says that most babies starting the 8th month of pregnancy tip the scales at 4 lb. Casey is not even 3 and half pounds and we're fighting for every oz. It differs baby to baby, but a lot of babies born at this stage won't need to stay very long on the CPAP (a.k.a. scuba mask). Casey still requires additional oxygen (ranging from 25% to 28% when room oxygen levels are 21%) and it blows a pressure of 5 to keep her airways open and thus much easier (less calorie burning) to breathe.

All this just instills such an awe in me. Casey has had to take on things like breathing, eating, digesting, regulating body temperature for 6 weeks now...6 weeks that were meant to be spent chilling in her little amniotic pool doing nothing but getting chubby. There's quite a bit of helplessness and guilt as I watch her in her isolette every day. Scott said that he's worried Casey will never learn to walk because we will never put her down when we bring her home. We feel like we have so much to make up for.

Still, Casey is making milestones of her own, all on her helpful placenta nearby (sorry, was that a gross reference). She went from opening a squinty eye or two for a few seconds to now opening her eyes and looking around. I now have a reference to "Casey is awake" or "Casey is asleep." Newborn babies can't see very far or in detail, so I get my face super close to her isolette. Look, Casey, it's blurry mama. She has her first eye check today. The doctor will check the blood vessels growing on her retina to make sure they're not growing in an abnormal pattern. The oxygen support she is receiving can affect the growing blood vessels negatively. It can cause the vessels to grow so tightly, the retina detaches and causes blindness. They'll monitor the vessels and use laser surgery to zap errant vessels. I'm more worried about the eye check itself. It's only five minutes but I've read that babies hate it, it's a terrible experience. Their pupils are dilated with drops and then their eyes are pinned open for the examination. Ah, please please pray it goes well so she won't need another eye check for another two weeks.

Also, every baby really has their own development journey, but we would really like to see improvement on Casey's breathing and oxygen requirements. I'd like to see her moving towards getting off the CPAP. Premature babies have underdeveloped lungs (I went into labor too fast for them to give me steroid shots that could have helped) and sometimes scar tissue. The doctor says that it is not technically considered a serious problem unless she reaches 36 weeks and still needs oxygen support. That leaves us with 4 weeks for Casey to get stronger at breathing on her own. also, we would just love the CPAP to come off. I am dreaming of the day, we can just hold her without having to worry about the gear pulling at her face or the seal around her nose loosening. And to kiss her face all over!!!

Check out the video at the end. All of Casey's nurses have their own special little habits or techniques when taking care of Casey. It's kind of neat to see each time we come in. This is an Intensive Care Unit, so they watch her around the clock and they get to know her little quirks. Nurse Arlene uses Casey's back up oxygen mask when we're there to change her CPAP mask so we can give her a head rub and it also gives us the best look at our baby. BTW, her forehead has an adhesive "second skin" covering on it to protect it from her head gear, that's the darker coloring.

I thought all babies were like this but I think Casey is one of the most active babies around. She's a squirmer. They try to swaddle her but she kicks and punches and manages to break free. Because she's 32 weeks, she started physical therapy which is to ascertain her flexibility and muscle tone. I wasn't there but her nurse told me that the PT people were a little scared off and only did a short session. Casey doesn't like her naps being disturbed and was putting up quite a display of punches and kicks. When she's on her stomach, she'll lift her head up an inch or two off the bed. It kind of freaks us out. Sleep, Casey, you need those calories.

Body Temperature
Casey has her temperature taken every three hours. She's on a heated bed but they're slowly turning it down and they've put clothes on her to see if she can hold her own. She is but they're not going to turn down the heat just yet. Even if she could do it all on her own, she'll be using up precious calories. But it's awesome because now we get to start dressing her up.

We are so blessed that Auntie Chanelle gave us Selah's preemie clothes, we also got some preemie clothes as gifts from Vinnie's sister, Michelle, and one of my best friends, Kelii. This first outfit is from Kelii who lives in North Carolina but had it delivered to us. Kelii, seriously, the nurses raved about this outfit just because it is so different from your typical baby clothes pattern. And they (plus me) love that Ooga Booga design, it's so cute. Nurse Leila says that it is Casey's sexy outfit because it shows off her belly. This outfit is also designed for NICU babies, it is easy to change the diaper, remove from the baby with all the wires and probes, and to check vitals without removing it. Plus, it's just cute.

Say hi to the world, Casey!!!

Casey's favorite sleeping position is on her tummy. Enjoy it now because when she comes home, it will be only on her back. I don't have those alarms to let me know she's okay.

Oh, I guess she's not really sleeping after all. Hi Casey!!

Prayer requests:
-a great retina check today, that the doctors don't see any problems and that she doesn't need another check for two weeks.
-for comfort for Casey who won't understand what's happening during her eye check and for any discomfort
-for wisdom and comfort for Casey's nurses and doctors . seeing other parents and their worried faces in the NICU (my face must look like that all the time), I don't know how these nurses deal with all the complications these babies struggle through. I just worry about my baby, they have to worry about all the babies.
Praise Reports:
-Casey loves to eat, her feeds are going great
-She doesn't have reflux or vomiting, I've read other preemies struggle with that.
-She's awake more and more interactive, it's such a bonding thing for me and Scott


  1. keao! she is absolutely gorgeous!! and look at her in those clothes!! BEAUTIFUL!! Thank you jesus!!

  2. Aww so beautiful an cute! LOVE the outfit! So sweet, we,ve been and will continue to pray for her and you guys! Love ya!

  3. She is doing GREAT! Definitely a little Slugger :-) I'm so proud of her and happy for you all.

    I've been meaning to give you the link to my friend's blog, Her daughter was born at 27w & went home on oxygen several months later. She is now a happy toddler. Charla would be glad to answer any questions you might have- she's a wonderful, loving person and amazing mom.

  4. Thank you for the updates Keao...God's wonderful blessings and protection over you, Casey and Scott...

  5. The updates are great! I'm glad that I can keep up, even being so far away and out of touch. I'm glad for what a wonderful blessing you have in Casey and I can't wait to see her in person!