Then the lady who renewed my hospital parking pass was one I hadn't seen before. Casey still pops up in their system as Triplet Baby C so she asked while filling out my new pass "So are your other two babies already at home." No, they passed away. She apologizes nicely and then there's just silence. I get my pass and I'm on my way. Thankfully, there's less and less of these awkward moments. Hopefully, we're running out of random acquaintances who are just outside of the loop. That's one of the reasons we created this blog. If we have time, we love to answer questions and talk about our experiences. But, we know we can't talk to everybody who wants to know and who cares. I'm always touched when people refer to my blog in conversation...like they know how much Casey weighs or ask about her bottles. I realize that they're caught up to date with Casey and it's so much easier than having to give 2 months of back story. Speaking of Casey.
5 lb. 5 oz (birth weight 2lb 4 oz.)
16.5" long (birth length 13.95")
10 weeks 1 day old
36 weeks 3 days gestation
71 days in hospital, 26 days until her due date
We've learned a new phrase used in the NICU, "turning the corner." We've already learned "NPO" (nothing by mouth), "feed a rock," "nippling." This past weekend we started to hear this new phrase..."turning the corner." Apparently, our little girl has turned a corner. Slugger who has been struggling with breathing and oxgyen turned a corner. The doctors weren't totally sure why she was so reliant on breathing aid so they decided to wean her off slowly and see how she responded. One day, they moved her cannula pressure from 3 to 2.5...the next day it was 2.0..the next day 1.0. We were quite surprised by the quick drop in numbers. Scott kept asking "what happened to 1.5?" Monday, Dr. B. just said 'why don't we try taking her off of the cannula and see what happens.' And so they did.
Unbelievably, Casey is now off of oxygen. Shocked the heck out of us. And someone just said, babies can hit a certain size or age or just time when they just turn a corner and then they start progressing amazingly. And Casey seems to have turned a corner. The first day they were a little concerned because she was breathing fast, a sign that she was overworking to get enough oxygen. But the next day, she had a great respiratory rate and her oxygen levels look great. She's breathing room air just like you and me. She's not out of the woods yet, she still occasionally needs oxygen when drinking from a bottle. Sometimes her blood oxygen levels drop and she can't bring them up on her own.
She's been drinking half of her feeds by bottle. Today, they decided to let her try to take each feed from a bottle...just depending on how awake she is. We are still struggling with the meals. Preemies have to learn to suck-swallow-breathe. Slugger goes suck-suck-suck-suck-breathe. We've learned that we have to pull the bottle out if she doesn't breathe. But now, she's having trouble because she's not swallowing enough and she's been choking during her feeds. This past week, my friend Nalani was with me when Casey had a bad choking episode. I think Nalani was a little freaked out. I feel comforted by the fact that we're surrounded by nurses and Casey has monitors so I know her heart is beating and she's breathing. But even I got worried as her oxygen levels that should be in the high 90's dropped to the 60's...then the 50's...and it went into the 30's. The nurse had to grab Casey out of my lap, patting her back, and give her the oxygen mask that is by Casey's bedside. Casey looked like this tiny little, helpless doll as it seemed to take forever for her blue lips to 'pink up.' Only when Nalani and I were leaving the hospital, did I realize how drained I felt just from the stress.
So, the staff is working on ways to help Casey work on her coordination. They're adding thickening agents to her milk so that it slows the milk flow out of the bottle. They tried it today and said Casey responded to it super-well. It's very normal for preemies. If this is the worst thing we have to tackle...we'll take it.
Besides the eating/choking thing, Casey is doing specatcular. We've discovered she's a morning baby. After her 9 am bottle, this girl doesn't want to go to sleep. Have no idea where she got to be a morning person from, it's definitely not from her parents. She's still not a crier. She grunts A LOT. She's also squirming. And she now gets a little prune juice twice a day to help with regulation. I had no idea you could give babies juice. But it is a tiny amount and it seems to be doing the trick. The girl is producing methane like nobody's business. She'll hate me one day for putting that on the internet. I love you, Casey, but it's true.
Imagine my surprise when I walked into the NICU after the girls were born to discover my high school classmate. This is Heather. She's awesome. She taught me and Scott so much about caring for a preemie baby. She was actually the first person who ever showed us how to rub Casey's head when they changed her CPAP gear.
This is Dina on the right. She was Allison's nurse when the girls were born. She was in the delivery room and she took care of Allison right away.
This is Diane, the Nurse Practitioner. She's checking out Casey's lung and bowel sounds.
Casey is a real mellow baby. She's eyeing Auntie Diane, probably wondering what's going on.
-we have a 5 1/2 pound baby
-her lungs are so strong
-we're bonding more with her...I swear she's starting to recognize us. Maybe.
-pray for Micah (our friend's baby mentioned in the last post)
-pray for all the babies in the NICU and their parents
-Casey to be able to eat without choking/gagging/turning blue