Wednesday, September 15, 2010

7 Weeks

7 weeks old
33 weeks 2 days old (8.25 months pregnant equivalence)
3 lb. 13.3 oz. (birth weight 2 lb. 4 oz)

Hey, Scott will be preaching this Sunday at our 10 am service at Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay. He'll be preaching on "Choosing to Love" despite your circumstances. Pastor Carl is on vacation so Scottie is on the podium. Come support him at Hope Chapel 45-815 Pookela Street, Kaneohe, HI 10 am this Sunday.

Back to Casey: I have a vague memory of our orientation talk about the NICU. We were three hours into our hospital experience. I was trying not to move so I wouldn't dislodge the four monitors strapped to my belly and in a bit of shock as they were pumping medicine into me but the contractions were still getting stronger. Our anticipated tour of the NICU floor weeks before our C-section was now reduced to a 15 minute intensive explanation by Nurse Practitioner Pam by my bedside. She offered to take Scott downstairs to tour the NICU but he declined...a wise decision not to leave my side because I would be headed towards an emergency C-section in just a few hours. We were given a rough estimate of how long to expect our 26 weeker babies to stay in the NICU, about ten weeks. That would have put us at 36 weeks.

As we head towards the 34 week milestone next week, I realize that we're realistically going to be in the hospital for a few weeks longer than that 36 week goal. I talked with the doctor a few days ago and he said that the general rule is to expect babies to go home around or just a little before their due date. Especially since Casey isn't just a preemie, she's a micro-preemie. I never even heard of that term before. It means she was born before 28 weeks. Casey's due date, as a single baby, would have been November 2nd. She's also been steady on her CPAP, not showing as much improvement as we would like. He said there was nothing obvious on her chest X-ray. Preemies have scar tissue in their lungs and can also have moisture that makes it difficult for them to breathe. He didn't see anything obvious to explain Casey's reluctance to get off the CPAP. She's just young with lungs that still have a while to develop. We have no choice but to be patient.

Then Casey's nurse today, Amy, gave me an amazing update. They tried to nipple her today. I was a little confused, with all sorts of strange images fleeting through my head. Apparently, nippling means to feed by bottle. They are going to try to feed her by bottle once a day to see if she can figure out the eating from a bottle and breathing. Casey drank down a whopping 6 mL of milk before they had to stop. I nervously asked why they stopped and Amy said "oh, she wanted to stop. She gagged a little." WHAT? She was choking?" Amy insisted "oh, no...not choking. Gagging." Hmmm, I don't know if that sounds that much better. I appreciate that Amy tried to use softer words in her descriptions. But it is a foreign concept for these preemies. So she ate 6 mL (out of 34 mL) by mouth and they fed her the rest of her meal by her feeding tube.

A neat byproduct of this experiment is that they think bottle feeding is more difficult for her since she's on the CPAP. The CPAP is like a wind tunnel. If Casey has her mouth open, the wind rushes from the CPAP into her nose and out her mouth. I've put my hand near her mouth to feel it. It's seriously a wind tunnel. So, they want to see if she's have an easier time eating without a wind tunnel on her nose. So, today, they're going to have her on a nasal cannula four hours a day. Tomorrow, they'll attempt nippling a.k.a a meal by bottle, but this time with the nasal cannula. And we can call in to say when we're coming in so they can coordinate what time she'll be wearing the nasal cannula. It opens up things and we can see her sweet little face.

Today, was the first time she wore it and she was wearing it when I came in to hold her. Oh, she was looking around and I got a super awesome chance to just stare at her face while she slept. She still has the adhesive gummy tape over her forehead and bunched around her nose for when she puts her CPAP back on. But I got to just memorize every other feature. Oh, she even has little hairy cheeks. Hmm, they keep telling us that her little downy hair will disappear. Boy, oh boy, I hope so.

[Scott on his first try cradling Casey last night. The nurse Karen kept laughing because somehow when Scott tries to cradle babies, it just goes wrong. Casey somehow kept rotating until she was lying on her side.]

[Here I am today after her 3 pm care, cradling Casey. And there's her sweet little face. That blur in the background is her nurse, Amy. She works fast]

[This is Casey on a nasal cannulator. It still supplies a stream of oxygen to help her breathe]

[I don't know why this picture keeps rotating...but I have to show how Casey insists on sleeping with her mouth open all the time]

[Casey loves looking around...but she doesn't like to move her head. She just darts her eyes around trying to see everything.]

[Arlene had to close Casey's mouth so we could get at least one closed mouth picture]

Praise Reports:

-She's still gaining weight. We're praying for 4 lb by next week.
-Her oxygen requirements have usually been 24-26%
-These are the first times we've tried holding her by cradling her. It's real emotional and real sweet to be able to gaze down at her while she sleeps.

Prayer Requests:

-that this trial with the nasal cannula and bottle feeding has success. That Casey is able to learn how to drink from a bottle without compromising her breathing
-for Scott and his message this Sunday. This will be a real emotional one for him, it's going to be hard for me and I'm just listening.
-for peace and comfort. It's been rough, especially as tomorrow marks one month since Allison's death.

[Scott had a good laugh but I made a mistake in the video narration. The oxygen level was not 37%, but 26%. I was looking at the temperature or something else. ]


  1. Ahh, I can't handle all of the cuteness! It's too much for me. She looks so beautiful when you can see her whole face and her eyes are wide open.

  2. Keao I want you to know that all these past weeks I've been following your blog (a kinda standing silently behind your shoulder) pulling for you guys. Thank you for sharing your family with all of us. You guys are such and inspiration to me for your strength and honesty and love that you display. I don't even know when the next is that I would see you or your beautiful baby, but I am with you in spirit and over the internet. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    love, rosie

  3. Hi Casey...what a pretty girl. Look at her beautiful eyes! I can totally identify with the mouth open thing, Aunty Connie sleeps like that too! ha! ha! The Lord bless you and keep you and help you to continue to "nipple" and to gain weight..thank you Jesus! For your Daddy...use him in great and mighty ways that he could not imagine, Jesus, give Scott comfort as he shares the intimacy that he has with you.....