I didn’t get any new pictures today, because Lucy had a blood transfusion and wasn’t at her best. They always make her bright red and puffy, so I’ll get more pictures when she’s back to normal. She had the transfusion for the same reason as always: her hematocrit levels were a bit low from regular labwork draws.
Anyway, no new pictures, and a bunch of dry information to keep myself up-to-date. First I’ll just say that she’s about the same – stable, seems to be doing pretty well. Her oxygen has stayed pretty steady in the low 30%’s. The doctor lowered the mean pressure on the oscillator to 10 (from 11) this morning, but other than that there were no changes. Oh wait, I take that back, he also increased the concentration of her sugars to 10 (from 8), so that’s also good, and should help her gain weight. So both of those things are good because they mean she’s being weaned from the oscillator and she’s still growing.
Speaking of growing, she weighed 740 grams today, or 1 lb. 10 oz. That’s quite a jump from yesterday, and since she was being weighed by a different nurse (and also looked a little swollen, even before the blood transfusion), I doubt that’s all actual weight gain. They give her a diuretic to make her pee out excess fluid every time they transfuse her, so her next weight will probably be more accurate. She’s now 12.5 inches long, and her length, weight, and head circumference are within normal ranges and increasing at a good rate. She’s at the low end of normal for each week, but still normal. And after all, she has a disadvantage: she started at 23 weeks, but she was only 24 minutes into 23 weeks, so obviously she’d be at the low end of the 23 week spectrum. I mean, she was basically a 22 week baby.
Remember that her doctor stopped her feedings because of a section of bowel that seemed unchanging on the x-ray? The question has not been resolved, and he hasn’t set a time to restart feedings, but her nurse said she thought the x-ray today looked better. And she’s still pooping (and peeing through her bed, haha), so that’s definitely a good sign. The steroids can cause bowel perforation, but she doesn’t have that, so it probably is just her infection, in which case it will just clear up with the antibiotics. Hopefully she’ll be able to eat again soon.
Today it seemed like Lucy was focusing on taking off her pulse-ox monitor. That’s the glowing red light they keep strapped to either a foot or a hand that measures the saturation of oxygen in her blood. It’s been on her foot today, and tonight she managed to get it off three times while we were there. At one point she also gave her feeding tube a pretty good yank, but she let go before I had to try to unclench her fist from it. We also did her oral care once today, and I fixed her diaper (she had that thing half off too). Not quite a diaper change, but every little thing I can do for her makes me feel more like her actual mommy, and less like I’m just playing mommy.
Unfortunately, there was a dark cloud over our happiness with Lucy today. I don’t know anything about this, because we’re not really allowed to ask about other babies in the NICU, but this is what I think I know. In the last week the NICU got in three micropreemies, 22 weeks, 24 or 25 weeks, and 23 weeks. (It’s possible that there were only the 2, and that the 23 week baby is still inside its mama – these things aren’t always clear to us). All of them were bigger than Lucy when she was born. I knew 2 of their names, because I could see their isolettes from the hand-washing station. They were there yesterday, but their isolettes were empty today. It’s possible that they were moved to another hospital closer to their parents’ homes, or it’s possible that they had to be moved to a NICU capable of performing surgeries on babies that size, but it’s hard to believe that was the case for all of them. I can only draw one conclusion, and it makes my heart hurt. I so hope I’m wrong. Every time Lucy does something that makes me laugh, I can’t help but think about those parents and how they won’t get that with their babies. They were all bigger than Lucy – it could so easily have been her. It still could, but she’s got a much better shot by this point, I think. I can’t help but remember that for the first week or two, it hurt to laugh. Those poor, poor parents, and those poor sweet babies, who never got a chance. At least we’ve had a month with Lucy by this point – if I’m right, they didn’t even get a week.
If I ever despair or start to ask why this happened to us, I will remember these other babies and count my blessings. Lucy is this amazing light in our lives (I guess she was aptly named – her name means light), and we are so grateful for every minute we get with her.