I'm sorry I didn't send out an email yesterday... I literally had no time to type up a note. Free time has become more and more less common (along with quality sleep), but the strongest steel goes through the hottest flame.
Caroline is still wearing a designer nasal canula (I'm not sure if it's Coach or LV, but it's sooo this season) and it's on about the lowest setting available. The remaining belly tube has a mandatory removal date sometime in the next 24-48 hours, but that's good and bad. The belly line has to come out because it's at risk for an infection, but she still needs a line in for fluids, meds and food. If it were just fluids and meds, then an IV would work, but the food is a different story... so they'll soon have to insert a PICC line. A PICC line is a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter. It's basically an IV that gets inserted into a vein in your upper left arm and pushed up near your heart. Food (or rough drugs) causes the small veins to collapse easily, so this will keep her from having to be stuck with a needle over and over again. It kinda stinks because it makes holding her a little more difficult, but it's needed. They'll put that inor .
Her heart is just so big that they need to do a little work on it, which started today around noon. She has what's called a PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) and it's a little "connector" between the two arteries of the heart: the pulmonary artery (deoxygenated blood coming into the heart) and the aorta (oxygenated blood going out of the heart). All babies have this connector and it usually closes up on it's own either immediately after birth or a few days later. This causes high blood pressure in the lung arteries and can strain the heart. It's a medicine, so she'll have three doses of the medication, 12 hours apart. The positive is that this will likely fix her problem, but it also means they're not going to feed her the milk that MP's been saving for her until the treatment is over, because the medicine slows down blood flow to the stomach / gut.
She's been progressively increased on the amount of food she's given (from MP). Little ones typically don't have the ability to swallow or a gag reflex until around 34-ish weeks and her being able to feed on her own is one of the requirements to leave the hospital. The tanning bed is closed: Caroline is out from under the black/blue light, which was to ameliorate the effects of jaundice (pretty common).
Mary-Peyton was able to start Kangaroo Care yesterday, which is skin-to-skin contact with the baby. The last time she tried her oxygen levels dropped and it made us both uncomfortable.... BUT.... this time her respiration rate dropped into the normal range, which is awesome! It was the first time all three levels on the main monitor were in that golden window. Even cooler, Caroline has been moved into a semi-private room (there are no private rooms in the NICU) and out of the "Admitting" area. The Admitting area is for those just coming in and those that need the most amount of critical care. Now we're in a room a little closer to the hot stone massages and the mud exfoliation suite. If you listen closely you can hear running water and reiki flutes music.
Whitaker is asking more and more about Caroline... and it's getting harder to keep him entertained. Somewhere deep down I think that he thinks we're abandoning him when we go to the hospital and it just stings. We're excited that school starts back. Until our little one comes home, we're going to be stretched thin.... MP with work and Caroline and me with work and Whitaker. If anyone wants to meet up in the late afternoons / early evenings with Whitaker and I to do something "exercisy", please let me know. The kid will do wind sprints between the mailbox and the street sign if asked, but daddy and mommy are beginning to slow down after a few weeks of hospitals, both before and after Caroline.
I have to give a shout-out to the staff in the NICU, they're awesome. I don't see how they deal with the barrage of sounds: the alarms in there are haunting. The bells and alarms sound like an arcade and make even the most sedate game on your phone snap you back to the 3rd floor of Rex. Whitaker's Skee Ball game is enough to make your lower lip quiver and today's excursion to putt putt was wrenching... but not for Whitaker, who magically turned $15 in tokens into two bite size pieces of Laffy Taffy and a Blow Pop. We learned that we don't need to take a running start before playing Skee Ball (sorry Adventure Landing).
Keep praying for Caroline and Mary-Peyton, if you can. I need my girls surrounded with as much love and positivity as we tackle this temporary situation. Check my facebook page for a recent pic that makes her look like a baby!