Friday, August 31, 2007

More good news

A few new pictures, including the adorable one above, can be viewed via Facebook.

As we've promised you all, no news is good news, and that continues to be true.

Abigail has had a good week, still trending up in her weight, although it has leveled off again the last few days in the neighborhood of 4 pounds, 3 ounces. She's been happy and alert much of the time, and the only problem of note has been keeping her ostomy bag from leaking. The nurses have been changing it about twice per day on average this week, which isn't good for the skin in the area.

But the good news is that her ostomy bag likely is going away soon. We've received word this morning that her "reconnection" surgery has been scheduled for Tuesday. This is, of course, subject to change. We should find out an "exact" time this afternoon.

Obviously, this will be a huge step for Abby. It likely will mean a tough few days as she recovers, but it will be first step towards her being able to come home.

In other news, we bought Abby's crib/changing table yesterday. Katrina started putting it together last night. (She loves assembling things, and I don't.) It's going to be interesting squeezing an office and a nursery into one small room, but I think it will work out.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Four pounds!

Abigail finally made it to four pounds on Saturday, and she's right at 4 pounds, 2 ounces as of Sunday evening. It's just unreal how fast she is growing. At this rate, she could get to 4.5 pounds soon and then have a good shot of having her intestines put back together soon after that.

We're still loving Abby's new room. It's so much brighter and more convenient; we can even eat there! We spent a lot of time with her this afternoon and evening, with Abby's baby shower at church in between. (Obviously, Abby could not attend, but Katrina had fun and opened gifts on Abby's behalf.) Thank you all for your generosity.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On the move

Abby made a big move today, down the hall to a different NICU. It doesn't mean she's reached any big milestone; in fact, we've known this could happen for a while now.

She's still in isolation, which means she has a nice big room to herself and we have more comfort and privacy, including a private bathroom. The room also comes with TV and DVD/VHS player, so we can even have some entertainment now.

We gave Abby her bath tonight, and she loved it. She was awake and happy for more than an hour with us, so it was a good evening. She's back up around 3 pounds 11 ounces, so the doctors are quite happy with her growth of late.

We've also begun the process to get Abby ready for regular feedings that don't involve the tube to her stomach. So far, so good, but it might be a few weeks before she actually takes a bottle for her nutrition.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

She's got clothes!

Abby passed the magical 1,500 gram barrier within the last few days, which means we got to dress her for the first time on Saturday. As you can see, her first outfit was a little shirt my mom bought that says "Lil' Peanut" on it. It's quite cute.

Why 1,500 grams? In theory, she should be big enough now to somewhat maintain her own body temperature. That means her bed can be set to a different setting and she can start wearing clothing. Also, it means she has one fewer temp probe on her.

She dropped a little weight yesterday, back to around 3 pounds, 8 ounces. She had approached 3 pounds, 10 ounces on Friday. It's been a great week for weight gain. We've been told she likely will be put back together after she gets to around 4 1/2 pounds.

Abigail seems to be, as Katrina just put it, "the queen of the NICU." She's quite popular among the nurses as being exceptionally cute. She was really cute today!

We've finally received Abby's first hospital bill that they actually think we should pay. They're asking for more than $5,000, but thankfully it appears that they haven't submitted the claim to one of the insurance companies. Also, Abby has been approved for Medicaid. In other words, we probably won't have to pay much of that bill in the end.

In case you were wondering, Abby's first day of life appears to have cost $2,062. Her subsequent days in the hospital cost slightly more than $1,400 per day, not including any scans or X-rays or lab work. Insurance and Medicaid are very good things!

Finally, a good laugh for the day: Abigail recently was approved for Social Security Disability payments while she's in the hospital. In the eight-page letter telling us about her acceptance, page 3 included the following sentence under the heading "Things to Remember":

"Her prompt cooperation is necessary if she is contacted by the state agency or district office."

The "her" clearly is referring to Abby in context. Since then, I've had several serious talks with Abby about how she must cooperate if any Social Security people come by. As long as they don't try to deep suction her nose, I think she'll do what she can for them!

Friday, August 17, 2007

More pictures!

Here's about 20 new pictures of Abby, including the first pictures of her beautiful face without C-PAP:

And yes, that is a birthmark on her chin. Also, she hit 3.5 pounds as of last night.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Great news!

Abby is having a great week!

She is around 3 pounds 6 ounces, she went through her first round of vaccinations with no problems, and she has been off of C-PAP again for nearly 24 hours.

She's just been looking so good this week. I will post pictures as soon as I have a chance, but thing are picking up at work with football season starting next week.

It's so great to be able to see more of her face now that she is on a nasal cannula, which is just a small plastic tube in her nostrils that helps her breathe. In fact, she's so cute, I think I'll go to the hospital and see her now!

Monday, August 13, 2007

A good weekend

Sorry for the delay in updating; my parents have been in town all weekend to see us and, more importantly, Abigail. They've helped us get started on setting up the "nursery" and brought a lot of clothes and other gifts people sent from Iowa.

In general, Abby has been doing really well lately. She's up to nearly 3 pounds 5 ounces as of this evening, although that number might be skewed high because of a blood transfusion she got earlier today.

Over the weekend, we all got to hold her a lot. She's been generally happy, but she was fussy tonight.

We're on track to try to remove her C-PAP again sometime this week, and they're planning to give her her first vaccinations on Tuesday.

Even though things are looking really good, we've found out that our estimates for Abby's homecoming were a little optimistic. We're now told that she should come home sometime in October if all goes well.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Three pounds!

Abigail made it to 3 pounds as of last night. This is a big step, as she's gained a half pound in about a week. We like that trend.

In other news, she was put back on C-PAP yesterday because she wasn't able to handle the stress of breathing totally on her own. They could try weaning her back off of it as soon as today, but it depends. She likely will go back and forth several times.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Big news!

(This was written Tuesday by Katrina; I'm posting it here so you all can know the good news!)

Abigail is without C-PAP today!

We knew it was happening soon, because she had been breathing room air (21% oxygen) for days, but when we got to the hospital, they told us it would be some time today. They didn't know when, so Ryan started holding her; a few minutes later, they came and took it off. It's so quiet now, without the machine. Abby wasn't quite sure what was going on (this is the first time since the day she was born that there hasn't been something helping her breathe). We watched her try to make sense of it all. She was looking around, as if trying to figure out what was different. Then she started moving her hands up to her face (with her uncoordinated preemie-movements), touching her nose and eye. At one point, she even went cross-eyed to look at her nose.

Of course, this is the day I didn't pack the camera.

We know it's a very likely possibility that she will have to go on nasal cannula or even back on C-PAP, because her little body will get very tired, but it's still a great step.

Tomorrow we'll take pictures of her beautiful little face (it was beautiful before, but now it's so much more visible).

She has a lot of brown hair, except on her forehead where they shaved for her IV (which is out now).


As of Tuesday night, she was put on a nasal cannula. This is not a shock, and she likely will be on and off of it for a while. She might even have to go back to C-PAP, but let's hope not.

It really was a special moment yesterday getting to hold her as they took the C-PAP off. It was priceless getting to watch her explore and try to make sense of the new arrangement. We will post pictures of her face as soon as we can.

Thank you all for your support and prayers. This is a big milestone, and we're glad we can share it with all of you.

Also, as of Tuesday night, Abigail continues to grow. She was just .5 ounce short of 3 pounds when she was weighed last night.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Good news!

Abigail has resumed growing the last few days!

As of Sunday night's weigh-in, she checked in just short of 2 pounds, 14 ounces. Also, she probably will get a new PICC line put in sometime today so that she can continue getting the liquid nutrition without the continuous need to find new IV sites.

Overall, it was a great weekend for Abby. She seems so happy lately!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Abigail still isn't growing, but she looked good today. She also was quite happy. We both held her for about an hour, and it was some quality holding time.

I just had to share this photo with you. There are 34 new photos from the last few weeks posted on Facebook:


Friday, August 03, 2007

She's not growing

After some promising growth last week, Abby has been holding steady or losing a little weight every day this week. She's still hovering just above 2.5 pounds, but the doctors and nurses are disappointed in her progress in that department.

They've started adjusting her feeding again, even giving her liquid nutrition through an IV rather than giving her as much milk. She's been dumping again, which means she's getting rid of nutrients before she can absorb them. At this point, they're just going to keep trying to make her gain weight by messing with her feedings. The goal now is to get her to grow enough so they can reconnect her intestines.

There also was some concern the lack of weight gain could be caused by an infection, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Also, that resistant bacteria on her skin seems to have gone away, but she still has to stay in isolation for several more weeks worth of negative tests for the bacteria.

Overall, Abigail still is doing well. She is breathing well and generally is content. She just needs to grow!

We've started making preparations for Abby coming home, even though that's still at least a month away. This weekend's big project will be moving stuff into a storage unit so we'll have space to turn our office into an office/nursery.