Monday, October 31, 2011

A Bumpy Few Days

Luckily most of the bumps were for Mom and not Virginia.

Virginia has been doing very well with only a few minor setbacks. Her 2nd head ultrasound remained the same and showed no bleeds. This was wonderful news to receive yesterday! She has been doing really well with her feeds so they have been quickly increasing both the quantity and frequency of her little meals. This is great news for a number of reasons. First, because they were never able to successfully adjust her central line into the "perfect" position, but they now don't think they will need the central line because she is getting so much of her nutrition through her feeding tube. Secondly, the quick progression of her feeds means that she will soon start gaining weight, a critical component to getting her off of the ventilator.

The biggest challenge for Virginia these days seems to be her reliance on the ventilator. The ventilator makes it too easy for her sometimes, and she slows down the amount of breaths that she takes on her own. This is a very normal problem for babies her age. They have been adjusting some of her settings to help her be more consistent with her breaths.

Virginia continues to be a fighter and is impressing her nurses and doctors. We, of course think she is getting more beautiful by the day. Her coloring and skin look great, her eyes are very close to opening to the world, and her personality is definitely emerging.

I was readmitted to the hospital on Saturday night due to some complications from the c section. While I am very anxious to start feeling better, it is nice to only be a few floors away from Virginia. I am very ready to be back in my own clothes, eating real food and sleeping in my own bed though.

Sorry for the lack of photographs. I thought Id only be her for a night at most, so I don't have my camera here.

Thank you all for your continued prayers, good thoughts and support. Heath, Virginia and I are very lucky to have so many people thinking about us and sending good wishes.

Specific prayers that we could use:
That her doctors are able to further lower her ventilator and isolette settings.
That Virginia start taking more and more of her own breaths on the ventilator.
That Virginia start to gain weight.

Friday, October 28, 2011

11:11am and the past few days

The two things that I will never forget from Virginia's birth were when the nurse called the time of birth as 11:11am and when they finally called over from the adjacent room to tell us "it's a girl!". Normally the doctor would make that announcement after the baby was out, but in a premature birth there is no time for a gender check or a peek over the curtain.

Back to 11:11am. Other than being a cool number, this time of birth wouldn't typically strike me as something too special. However, that time of birth was immediately special to me when I heard it. As I said in a previous post we spent 3 days on the labor and delivery floor. The distinct features of the rooms on labor and delivery were the rock hard beds, the tv set to the newborn channel, and the large red digital clock that sat above the bed. That was the slowest moving clock in the world during those days, but for some reason I noticed 11:11am and 11:11pm every single day. 11:11 is definitely a special time to us now.

The past few days
Virginia has continued to amaze us and has certainly been a little fighter the last few days. She has remained stable and they have been able to lower her ventilator settings each day. They have also started to lower the humidity settings in her isolette. We joke that she is bathing in French Polynesia because of the high heat and humidity that she lays in each day. The heat and humidity help regulate her temperature as well as mature her skin. By lowering the humidity it means that her skin is maturing and we are closer to being able to hold her and start kangaroo care. They have started feeding Virginia breast milk through a feeding tube this week and have been very happy with how well she has been tolerating the feeds, so much so that they have increased the frequency of the feeds as of today.

The biggest news of the past few days is that they successfully placed her central line last night and were also able to take out the lines that they placed in her belly button at birth. She was not very happy during these procedures and gave the staff a good fight but remained stable throughout and never let her heartrate or oxygen levels drop. Unfortunately this morning they realized that the line had slipped out of place a bit. The doctors will be doing a small adjustment tonight, which will hopefully put it back into an optimum position.

The most recent chest xrays look great and she had her 2nd head ultrasound this evening. We should get those results over the weekend. We are praying hard for good results and ideally no changes from Monday's ultrasound.

Specific prayers that we could use this weekend:
That her doctors are able to further lower her ventilator and isolette settings.
That the doctors are able to successfully maneuver her central line into the perfect position.
That her second head scan report comes back clear and unchanged since Monday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 4 & 5

Virginia has had pretty uneventful days on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Uneventful days are good days!  They have been able to continue to lower her ventilator and her blood pressure has be mostly stable off of her medications.  Her Lumbar Puncture culture is still negative, which is great, but they will continue to watch it for 5 more days.  The big hurdle in the next few days will be to get her central line in successfully.

Today was discharge day for me, which was difficult emotionally and physically.  Thankfully our day was made much brighter by being able to hold Virginia in my hands while they changed her bassinet linens and getting to change her teeny tiny diaper.  I have included a few photos below.  She has lots of wires and tubing on her, but that has become very normal to us.  We love watching her furrow her brow, try to open her eyes, wiggle her huge feet and grab at her tubes with her hands.

We could use the same specific prayers as yesterday:
That her lumbar puncture cultures continue to come back negative.
That her doctors are able to further lower her ventilator settings.
That the doctors are able to successfully put a central line in so that Virginia has a more stable access point for her medications.
That her second head scan and next chest xray come back clear.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support! It is powerful

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Virginia's first few days

To say we are in love with Miss Virginia is an understatement.  Our lives have certainly changed forever by this tiny miracle.

Virginia's birth and first day
After being in the hospital for 2.5 weeks and in Labor and Delivery for an additional 4 days they finally sent us back up to the maternity floor.  They thought Virginia was going to arrive Tuesday night or Wednesday but we surprised them and they could no longer justify keeping us on Labor and Delivery.  Those days were very difficult mentally and physically so we were elated to go back up to Maternity.  By  Saturday morning it became apparent that things were progressing.  We were thankful to go back down to Labor and Delivery under fairly calm circumstances, as we had been told to prepare for a very traumatic and rushed delivery where Alyssa would have been put out and Heath would be left waiting outside of the OR.  Alyssa was thankfully able to be awake for the C Section and Heath was able to be with her in the room.  We did not know the sex of the baby, so it was very special to find out that we had a little girl together in the OR.  Little Virginia came out weighing 1lb 7oz and 12.5" long with a great heartbeat and good stats.  They were able to successfully intubate her and get some lines in for her medications and nutrition.    Heath and I were both able to see her within 2 hours of her birth and she remained stable all day.  Our parents were also able to meet her in the NICU that afternoon.

Days 2 & 3
Virginia remained stable throughout days 2 & 3 with only minor issues with her low blood pressure, some jaundice, and some other fluctuations in her labs.  They did do a lumbar puncture to ensure that she does not have an infection and she received 2 blood transfusions to help her blood levels stabilize.  The good news that we have gotten over the past few days have certainly outweighed the bad news.  She has had clear chest xrays for the past few days and has no fluid in her lungs.  Additionally her first head ultrasound was clear and showed no signs of brain bleeds.  We are celebrating this good news.  We know her stay will continue to be a long roller coaster, but we are very happy with the care she is receiving and how well she has been doing so far.

Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers.  They have been working and Miss Virginia is very lucky to have so many people thinking about her and praying for her.

Some specific prayers that we could use in the next few days:
That her lumbar puncture cultures continue to come back negative.
That her doctors are able to further lower her ventilator settings.
That the doctors are able to successfully put a central line in so that Virginia has a more stable access point for her medications.
That her second head scan and next chest xray come back clear.

Much Love,
Heath, Alyssa & Virginia