Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just got a call from Dr. Baxter. She is one of the doctors in the NICU.

They had to put Abby back on the C-PAP (at least for 2 days). Apparently, her breathing took a little dip this afternoon. She was getting the "apnea" a little bit more.

They also took a blood culture to check Abby's white blood cell count. They want to check for any bacterial infections. They started her on antibiotics, just in case.

Hopefully, this will be no big deal. They tend to overdo treatments at first, then pull back from things that she doesn't need.

Happy Halloween!

One week old!!

We all had a good morning. We each had over an hour of kangaroo time. That's what the skin to skin contact is called. While I was holding her today, she peed on me!! So that was the first time for that one! It was pretty awesome!!

Today is Abby's one week birthday. We gave her little pink Air Jordan socks.

The chest x rays looked almost the same as the ones they took before, so that is good. The doctor said she is thinking they can take out the picc thing in her leg. That would be good too. They don't think she will need that medicine to keep that PDA open.

Just out of curiosity, we asked the doctor how much a day in the NICU costs. Just for the bed time (which is 24/7 emergency nursing care) its a "couple of grand." I've heard it's more like $3000. But, if you break that down, it's only $125.00 per hour. That actually doesn't seem too bad, considering the amount of care she actually receives. Plus, add on top of all that the cardiology stuff that Abby gets. I'm glad I have insurance. And yes, all the doctors have been confirmed to be covered by my insurance.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

She Blinks!

Abigail is doing ok. She has some bouts of rapid breathing and her oxygen "sats" (saturation levels) are sightly lower. They were in the mid 90's, today they were in the upper 80's. Its a slight dip that everyone is monitoring. It's not a big deal right now. She will be given a diuretic to help lower her fluid levels. That will ease any undue strain on her heart and lungs. Tomorrow she will get a chest xray to check the size of her heart and to see how her lungs look. She is doing so good. You can tell she is really trying hard to get better. She has to work a little harder to compensate for all the "mixing" going on in her heart. Her heart has many holes and some major plumbing issues, so she has to try harder to get oxygenated blood around her body.

Last night was rough. It really is a roller coaster. I notice there is a constant feeling of fatigue, stress, anxiety, etc. in the background. It's like an undercurrent. You can build a wall to keep it out, but it just builds up, then it just hits you. Holding Abby and remembering that she will come home one day helps a lot.

I realized this is the first week I haven't been on the road in over 6 weeks. I don't really ever want to go back on road. I will have to travel a little bit. So that will be hard.

Jenn has been a pumping machine!! So that is going very well. She has been great through out all this.

Abigail is so beautiful. We love her very much.

PS - Abby passed her first hearing test.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stretching Out

Boring is Good!

This is going to be a long process. In the world of the NICU: no news, is good news. Abby was still under the lights. We held her for a long time today (I think over an hour).

Our friend from college, Dawn and her family, came to visit yesterday. They have a 2 1/2 year old daughter named Gabby. So that will be cool!

Abby weighs 3 pounds now.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Abby's "Maggie from the Simpson's" Impression

Sleeping Beauty

This pictures shows Abby sleeping with her little bow in her hair and her sunglasses. The nurse during the day put that on her. It's not really that dark around her, it's just that her "tanning" light is so bright around her. That brown and pink blanket is the hospital's.

There are over 100 nurses on staff in the NICU, so every time so far, the nurse has been different. Which is cool because they all have their own styles, experiences, and personalities. They all tell you a little different bit of information. Tonight the nurse, Janna, told us she used to work in pediatrics and saw lots of kids with heart problems. She was amazed with how strong Abby was. She said for all the problems her heart has, that her little body has compensated these for these defects and is doing fine. Hopefully, she'll be off the lights tomorrow. The nurse had also taken a tour of Lancaster county and loved the Amish! She said she would be on for the next few nights, so we will see her again.

I think I heard that the nurses can pick what pair of kids they get. It's always 1 nurse for 2 kids. They pair up one kid that is easy, with one that has more "needs." Abby is the "easy" one in her pair.

Abby "drinks" 180ml a day of milk. Jenn made over 360ml today. (Hey, remember, she's a Lancaster county girl!)

As soon as I walked in, the first thing the nurse said was that Abby looked like her Daddy.
Abby got her cannula taken out last night. So she is completely breathing on her own. This is great news!! The doctors are really happy with her progression.

She's been pooping too! We were in the middle of changing her when she let one loose. It's still that black tar stuff.

Jenn and I both got some "skin" time today, so that is always a treat. She is still under the lights, but that is getting better too. She probably won't have to be under the lights for much longer.

Abigail's course of action is: gain weight, then have her heart operation, then come home. We don't really know when exactly all that will happen. It looks like it will be sometime early next year before she'll be able to finally come home.

The nurse said that once babies start the weight gain process, they put on 1-2 ounces a day on average.

Dr. King (our pediatric cardiologist) said that her PDA hasn't closed all the way yet, so he still didn't know if she will need the medicine, PGE, to keep it open.

We go to her morning changing at 8, then stay for the 12. In between, we get coffee in the Atrium at the Heartbeat Cafe. It's our new favorite hangout. Yesterday, the hospital held a New Home Buying Fair for the public in the Atrium. Then we come home, and either relax or do chores and run errands. After dinner, we go back to say goodnight at her 8pm changing.

Eyes Wide Open

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

We had a good visit this morning. I got to hold her for about an hour. It was so relaxing. We really took a nice nap together. She is so cute! Jenn thinks she looks like me.

She has light blond hair. They gave us a little comb and brush so we brushed her hair today.

Medically, she is doing fine. They are weening her off the oxygen slowly by reducing the flow that she gets by a little bit each day. She gets echo cardiograms every other day. The doctors say things are progressing fine.

They put the picc thing in her leg. That is like a permanent IV. She gets constant food now. Jenn is "pumping it up," so that is great for Abby.

Last night was rough, (I only called twice to check on her) but seeing her this morning really helped. The hospital is super nice. The people and facilities are top notch. We couldn't be happier with the level of care. The nurses are very supportive, always explain things, and answer all our questions.

First Skin to Skin Contact for Dad

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This is the first time I really got to hold her.

Friday, October 26, 2007

She looks a lot better than she did yesterday. She got off that C Pap thing. She doesn't have that blue and white tube thing. Or that thing on her nose any more. She just has a nasal cannula. She breathes on her own. Room level oxygen.

Her incubator costs about $40,000. It regulates her temperature automatically and weighs her. She likes to lay on her back. She lays back and gets a tan with her little "sunglasses."

We can go in to see her anytime. Usually we go every 3 hours. 8, 11, 2, 5, 8, etc.

The NICU closes between 7-8am and 7-8pm for the shift change. Only 3 visitors allowed at one time and you can't be showing any symptoms of being sick!

We change her diaper and take her temp. She doesn't like the thermometer so much. She poops and pees.

I think she has my mouth and she definitely has Jenn's feet. We got her footprint certificate. It was funny to see her one little toe.

She gets Jenn's milk from a tube to through her mouth down to her tummy. So she still gets the good stuff.

She really just has to grow big and strong. Then she can have her heart operation.

Coming Home without Abigail

Tonight was kind of weird.
It is sinking in that we have a daughter who doesn't live with us. And wont be living here for at least a little while.
Hello - we leave the hospital today. Abby tried to suck her thumb today. She couldn't quite do it yet though. Jenn got to hold her against her chest for some skin to skin contact for about an hour. I get to do it tomorrow.