Sunday, July 29, 2007

Abby on camera

We recently remembered that our camera has a video function. So, at long last, Abigail has made her video debut. They're silent and taken with a digital camera, so don't expect much quality-wise. But she's still quite cute.

In other news, Abigail still isn't growing enough. Her weight gain has stalled out during the last few days since she lost her IVs again. She's otherwise healthy and happy, but we think the doctors are going to give her a PICC line again so she can get some liquid nutrition and, hopefully, get back on the road to 3 pounds.

Abby's still on CPAP, but she's on a new kind. It's really no big change, but it is another sign that they might be moving her to another unit soon. Her breathing is really quite impressive for her age.

I finally got to hold Abby again today. She slept and played on my chest for more than an hour. I was so tired that I fell asleep when she was sleeping. It was almost like we were at home. We also got to help with her care, including her bath.

We also started our baby registries today. It was a little awkward at Target, because their computer system wouldn't let us use a date in the past as the arrival date. We had to settle for her due date instead. By the time we were finished at Babies R Us, we were exhausted. But it's fun to get to play with a scanner gun for a few hours, as I discovered when doing our wedding registry five years ago.

It felt good to do the registries. It was a concrete sign that Abby has turned a corner. We've left behind the "if Abby comes home" feeling and replaced it with "when she comes home, likely in a month or two."

Friday, July 27, 2007

A good week

It's been a good week in the NICU. I've been working a bit too much, which explains my lack of updating.

Monday was a bit of a tough day, as the doctors decided Abby still wasn't growing enough and needed a blood transfusion because she was anemic. So, there's been an IV in her all week. And, to make matters worse, we haven't been holding her since it was put in because she has small veins and they don't want to lose the IV.

But things have been much more encouraging since then. Her weight gain has been impressive every day this week; she is about 2 pounds 11 ounces as of last night. Despite her growth issues, the doctors and nurses are so impressed with her progress that she might be moving to a different NICU (in the same hospital) that is for older babies with less serious issues. Although that's obviously a good sign, it will be hard to get used to a new area and (for the most part) new nurses.

Abigail, whose due date still is nine weeks away as of yesterday, is growing up. She has become much more interactive this week -- she keeps her eyes open more often and seems to even be smiling sometimes.

Also, Katrina shot our first videos of Abby yesterday. (I can't believe we haven't thought of doing them earlier!) She used our regular camera, which means no sound, but they're really cute. I'll try to get them posted over the weekend.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More photos, all extremely cute

For more great recent pictures of Abigail, go to:

Another great day

Abby had yet another great day today. She is up to 2 pounds, 6 ounces as of last night, and she just seems so content all the time. She also has kept her breathing and heart rate going very well on her own for the last 24 hours.

My sister was the first non-parent to hold Abby. She held her for about an hour this afternoon. My mom is going to hold her tomorrow. Abby tolerated that and everything else today really well. We've also had a super-nice nurse the last three days, so hanging out at the NICU has been a bit better than usual.

Abigail's breathing is going very well. Today, she was essentially breathing room air through her C-PAP, which still is providing pressure to keep her breathing. But the fact that she's down to 21 percent oxygen (normal room air) means she could come off C-PAP sometime soon.

They cut back on her feeding a little bit today because she was showing warning signs of wasting food again. But she seems to be responding well. The real test will be seeing if she keeps growing.

It's been great having family here again. They'll head back to Iowa on Tuesday, minus the large number of gifts for Abby they brought along.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

1,004 grams

As you might know, hospitals (like 99 percent of the world) use the metric system.

Thus, when we ask about Abigail's weight, the first response is almost always in grams. They then have a chart to convert to pounds and ounces for us.

Abby has been hovering between 2 pounds and 2 pounds 3 ounces for about a week now. But, last night, she finally broke a metric milestone: 1 kilogram (1,000 grams). She's at 1,004 grams. For the record, that's just more than 2 pounds 3 1/4 ounces.

So she is starting to grow again, but the doctors are still wanting to see more progress in the next few days. In the meantime, they're messing with her feeding schedule and amount in an attempt to encourage growth.

Abby's still looking good and doing well overall.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Still looking good

Abigail is still doing well. Katrina and I both got to hold her for an hour or so today, and we welcomed seven first-time visitors to see Abby over the course of the afternoon. It was tiring, but a lot of fun. Abby hadn't seen that many people in one day since her fourth day, when parts of both families were in town for a total of nine, I believe.

The big problem right now is Abby's failure to gain as much weight as she should. She's still hovering between 900 and 980 grams, depending on the day. The doctors think she's just processing things through her system too quickly and thus not getting all the nutrients they're trying to give her. Thus, as of yesterday, they have cut back her milk to 11 mL every three hours and starting giving her a small quantity of the liquid nutrition instead. It's too early to tell if that will work or not.

We will keep you posted. Have a good week.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another move

Abigail has been moved again.

She's still in the same NICU at Children's Hospital, but she was moved last night to a small private room with glass walls. She was isolated more for the safety of the other, sicker babies than for herself after a routine test revealed she had a drug-resistant bacteria on her skin. She's not currently sick, and they're not extremely worried about her getting sick; it's just a precaution. She's also on antibiotics as a precaution.

She'll likely be in isolation for at least a month. We can still visit and hold her, and others still can visit her. She's just not so close to the other babies.

In other news, she's still getting full feedings for a baby her size -- 16 mL every three hours. She's up to 988 grams (nearly 2 pounds 3 ounces) and growing nicely. We've been told she's on track to go home sometime in September if everything continues to go well.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Long-awaited update

Sorry for the lack of updates, but there really hasn't been anything new to report.

Abigail still is hovering around the two-pound mark and looking good. She's been tolerating her feedings quite well. She's now getting 16 mL of fortified milk every three hours, and they've been able to stop giving her the other liquid nutrition that she survived on before she was able to take milk.

They also removed her PICC line (essentially, a long-term IV) last night, as she had been weaned off of the food and everything else they were giving to her through it. That's one fewer thing to deal with while holding her.

I can't think of anything else substantial to report. Thank you all for your continued prayers; Abby still has a long way to go.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Two pounds!

As of last night, Abby officially has shattered the two-pound barrier! She has been growing rapidly and looking really good the last few days.

She still is on CPAP, although the breathing tubes become dislodged sometimes. It seems that she's rather stick of having so many tubes attached to her face. So much so that sometimes she seems to try to pull some of them off!

Katrina and I have been able to hold her for an hour each every day this week, and Abigail's getting more and more content in our arms every day. She's also tolerating her feeding better each day; she's up to seven mL every three hours. We're not sure how there's room for seven mL at a time in that little body, but she seems to like it.

It was great having a day off in the middle of the week to spend more time than usual with Abby at the hospital. We had planned on going to a July 4 party/devo with a bunch of people from church, but we opted to stay home and spend time with Ann before she leaves today. (Also, we had stayed up until 3:30 a.m. the night before playing Scrabble with Jake and Ann, so we weren't exactly well-rested!)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A good weekend

First things first. Here's a fresh batch of pictures that were taken the first two times we were able to hold Abigail (the last two Saturdays): Link to new Abby pictures

Abby's having a great run of days again. We've been able to hold her for about an hour a piece each of the last two days. We're doing what's called "kangaroo care," meaning we hold her against our chests under our shirts. This helps keep her warm and secure. It also gives her lots of skin-to-skin contact, which is good for her development. As she's still less than two pounds, it's not very hard to hold her for a long time.

While we hold her, we talk with her about a lot of things and sing to her. We also are quiet sometimes to allow her to rest. She usually keeps her eyes closed, but it's great when she opens them wide and looks right at us.

As I said, she's doing well. They have resumed her feedings and are giving her 3 mL of milk every three hours. She's reportedly handling it well, which is good for her and for our freezer space!

She continues to be a fighter. She works so hard breathing that sometimes she gets tired and decides to stop. Sometimes, her heart rate drops too. This is, believe it or not, normal for premature babies. Alarms go off, and, if Abby doesn't fix the problem herself quickly, we or the nurses take steps to fix it for her. (We learned today to rub her chest and/or flick her feet when this happens; that's usually enough. The next step, which we've seen a few times, is to use a bag to force her to breathe a few times until she's back on her own.)

Anyway, it's back to work for me tomorrow. It will be an easier week, though, with the holiday. Ann (one of our friends from Harding and China) is coming to visit this week, and Jake and Lyz are coming up from Cincy one day, too.