Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 41, 11.30.08

Evelyn started taking a bottle today!!! She is doing well and when Roger was there this afternoon, Evelyn took nearly the entire bottle in 10 minutes! It took her another 20 minutes to finish the last 10 cc's or so, but still, amazingly well. She will still have a feeding tube to help her finish her feeds until she can finish her entire bottle in 30 minutes or less. Whatever she doesn't finish will be fed in through her feeding tube.

Here she is today holding Roger's hand. Notice... no feeding tube through her nose. They had to take it out to switch sides anyway, so they left it out for a while. It's so nice to see her pretty face with nothing attached!

She is now up to 44 cc's/feeding and has doubled her weight to 2,040 grams (4 lbs 8 oz). She's still having some spells, but is recovering on her own. She'll have to grow out of these and be on 100% bottle feeds before she can come home. We're getting more excited about being able to bring her home sooner rather than later, but we still think Christmas is a good target date.

One other update is that Roger and I took our infant CPR class - a requirement for us to be able to bring Evelyn home. We hope to never use it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day39, 11.28.08

Evelyn lost some weight today, but that was to be expected. She had 3 BIG poops today and they stopped giving her the sodium supplement, which was causing her to retain some extra fluids. Yesterday she weighed 2,015 grams (4 lbs 7 oz) and today she weighed 1,990 grams (4 lbs 6 oz).

She is now getting 40 cc's/feeding and they shortened her feeding time to just one hour. Evelyn is handling this shortened time just as well as when she was getting fed over 2 hours. They will likely shorten this to just 30 minutes and start trying her on a bottle over the next few days.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 38, 11.27.08

Happy Thanksgiving! Evelyn is growing and thriving in her open crib. She is currently at 1,980 grams, or 4 lbs 6 oz. They are now feeding her over 1.5 hours, rather than the 2 hours she was at previously and she seems to handling this change well. Once she's on the bottle, they want her to be able to complete her feeding within 30 minutes. She remains at 37 cc's/feeding, but this will likely be increased today or tomorrow.

So, in order for her to come home, she needs to be taking a bottle exclusively and have 5 days of no "spells." She's already maintaining her own body temperature. Maybe a Christmas homecoming? It's not out of the realm of possibilities, but wouldn't be a surprise if she takes longer. She's already calling the shots!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 36, 11.25.08

Look who's in a big girl bed! Today, Evelyn was moved to an open crib and so far is able to maintain her temperature all on her own. So long as she is able to maintain her temperature at, or around, 37 degrees Celsius (98.7 F), she should be able to remain in this bed.

Other good news is that the ophthalmologist came by yesterday (11.24) and found that Evelyn does not have retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). They will continue to check her eyes every 2 weeks until her eyes and the blood vessels in the eye reach maturity. Then she will have to follow-up with a doctor at 6 months and then again (I think) when she's 2 years old for another exam. Some things like cross-eyes, lazy eye, and extreme nearsightedness are more common in preemies, but may only become apparent when they are 8-12 months old.

We also forgot to mention a few days ago that the doctor noticed a heart murmur on Evelyn. Thankfully it appears to be a benign murmur that she may grow out of, but they are following it and may do an ultrasound of her heart sometime before she is discharged just to take a closer look. If this was a bad murmur, Evelyn would likely not be able to maintain her oxygen saturation and other vital signs as well as she is currently doing.

Evelyn continues to gain weight and was up to 1,905 grams (4 lbs 3 oz) yesterday (11.24). Her old bed - the isolette/incubator - had a scale integrated into the bed. Now that she is in the open crib, the nurses have to weigh her on a regular scale. Unfortunately, they were all being used at the time she is usually weighed, so we'll have to wait until tomorrow for the latest weight. Evelyn's nurse cautioned that her weight may go down simply because we are weighing her on a different scale, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 34, 11.23.08

Big news today is that Evelyn is off the nasal cannula and doing great! Look at her pretty face! They took her off this morning and she is handling this change really well. In fact, she's probably doing better than she was before. For whatever reason, she is maintaining her oxygen saturation better without the nasal cannula. One theory is that the cannula was introducing air to her stomach which was causing her to have more reflux. More reflux lead to more "spells." Without the cannula, she is having less reflux so is more comfortable and having less "spells."

At yesterday's weigh-in, she tipped the scales at exactly 4 lbs. Today she continues to gain and weighed in at 1855 grams, or 4 lbs 1 oz. What a big girl! So big that they have to continue to increase her feeds. She is up to 37 cc's/feeding. They also measured her last night and she is now 15.5 inches tall/long.

Roger is now getting "concerned" that Evelyn may come home earlier that we had originally expecting. Maybe Christmas isn't such a far fetched idea!?! Thankfully we already have the typical baby stuff. I guess we should stock up on diapers soon.

Thanks again for everyone's thoughts and prayers. Clearly it's helping. Just look at how she's growing!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 32, 11.21.08

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVELYN!!! Evelyn is one month old today.

Evelyn is growing and growing. Tonight she weighed... drumroll please... 1,790 grams or 3 lbs 15 oz. Wow! She is measuring just over the 50th percentile for her age, which is perfectly average. Couldn't ask for anything better.

Her breathing spells are becoming less frequent, so her oxygen flow has now been reduced to 0.5 liters/minute. Depending on how she handles the decrease in flow, they will keep trying to wean her off the nasal cannula over the next few days. She remains on 21% oxygen (room air).

Because she is growing and gaining so much, they have increased her feeds to 35 cc's/feeding. That's just over one ounce per feeding! They continue to deliver her feedings over a 2 hour time period and will likely try to start her on the bottle 2 weeks from now. We did receive the donor breastmilk last Wednesday, so she is now on half breastmilk, half formula.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 29, 11.18.08

Evelyn is growing and growing. She was up to 1,525 grams, 3 lbs 6 oz on Sunday, but dropped down to 1,490 grams, 3 lbs 5 oz, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. She was retaining some fluids (very common in preemies) so the nurses/doctors assume she has just peed it out (or pooped it out) and is figuing out what to do with all this extra fluid she had/has.

Evelyn is getting better with her breathing too. Yesterday, she didn't have any spells that the nurses had to help her with, so today they decreased the flow on her oxygen back down to 1.5 Liters/minute to try and wean her off the nasal cannula.

She remains on full formula feeds... for now. If you recall, when Evelyn first began feeding through her feeding tube, it was on donated breastmilk. Within the past week, the doctors decided that Evelyn is well enough to receive full formula, but there are many benefits breastmilk can provide that formula cannot. So we've taken it upon ourselves to order and pay for milk from the Mother's Milk Bank in Denver. Roger and I believe strongly in the benefits on breastmilk, but unfortunately, I have not been able to produce any. So luckily there is such a thing as human milk banks (like a blood bank, but for breastmilk). We are supposed to recieve the milk tomorrow morning. We will then bring this milk to the hospital for Evelyn. She will then be on half formula and half breastmilk.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 26, 11.15.08

Here is Evelyn holding mommy's hand...

Evelyn continues to gain weight. She weighed 1,405 grams yesterday and tonight she weighs 1,465 grams, 3 lbs 4 oz. She is now one pound more than her birth weight! Although, she appears to be retaining water - like any woman would ;-) - so may be given a diuretic to help get rid of some of the extra fluids.

She is now on full formula feeds and is still adjusting to this new food. She has been having some more "spells," so they put her oxygen flow back up to 2 liters/minute but she remains on "room air" (21% oxygen). In NICU speak, "spells" are the times when Evelyn sets off her alarms by either slowing her heart rate, breathing rate, or oxygen saturation to too low of a level.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 24, 11.13.08

HAPPY BIRTHDAY REBECCA! Rebecca celebrated her 4th birthday today, so we had to give a little "shout-out" to her. :-)

Evelyn is doing really well. She packed on 65 grams today and is now up to 1,385 grams, which pushes her up to 3 lbs 1 oz!

She is now strictly on formula and is receiving 27 cc's/feeding. She is still on the 26 calorie formula, so her total daily caloric intake is now up to 190 calories/day.

They lowered the flow on her oxygen down to 1 liter/minute and plan on reducing it to 0.5 liters/minute tomorrow. If she continues to tolerate the decreased flow, she could be completely off the nasal cannula by Saturday!
Sorry - no new pictures from today, but here is a cute one from 2 days ago...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 23, 11.12.08

Evelyn is doing really well. They lowered the flow on her nasal cannula today from 2 L/minute down to 1.5 L/minute and are trying to wean her off it in the next few days. One of the nurses noticed it's adding too much air to her stomach and is causing her to have continued reflux issues, so we'll see if this helps. I can't imagine Evelyn not having anything on her/attached to her to help her breathe. That will be an exciting day!

Evelyn continues to gain weight. She gained just 10 grams today, but that was enough to push her up to 2 lbs 15 oz. Roger was able to visit with Evelyn today and hold her and bathe her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 22, 11.11.08

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVELYN!!! She is 3 weeks old now (30 weeks gestation).

Yesterday she weighed 1,265 grams (2 lbs 13 oz) and today she weighed 1,315 grams (2 lbs 14 oz). If she was still in utero, she would weigh approximately 3 lbs, so she is doing really well.

Evelyn is now getting 25 cc's/feeding which means she's eating nearly 7 oz/day. She's been on donated breast milk up to this point, but now that she's getting older they are transitioning her to formula. So each feeding is now half milk, half formula.

Evelyn has also started taking a nuk (pacifier). She doesn't have the suck-swallow-breathe coordination yet, which develops around 34 weeks. This is usually the age when these little ones can start taking a bottle.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 20, 11.09.08

Evelyn is now up to 23 cc's/feeding now and continues to gain weight. She now weighs in at a hefty 1,220 grams (2 lbs 11 oz).

Now that her feedings are being stretched over 2 hours, she is doing much better with her breathing/apnea episodes and rarely needs help from the nurses to remember to breathe.

The airflow through the nasal cannula was turned down to 2 liters/minute, which also is a good sign that she doesn't need the constant reminder of a higher pressure flow to remind her to breathe.

Roger was able to give Evelyn a "real" bath tonight in a tub of water and got to hold her for quite awhile. We miss her not being home, but at the same time know that she is getting the best care and we will have plenty of opportunities to change her dirty diapers and bathe her in the near future. The best guess of when she might be able to come home is anywhere between Christmas (not likely) and her original due date (January 20th).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day 17, 11.06.08

Evelyn continues to be our champ and is doing well with her breathing episodes. The nurse didn't have to help her at all with her breathing today. They increased the flow through her nasal cannula to 3 liters/minute and also stretched her feedings to 2 hours instead of 1.5 hours. She is still being fed every 3 hours, so she really only has 1 hour where no food is going into her tummy.

Other good news is that she is continuing to grow and gain weight. She was up to 1,125 grams (2 lbs 8 oz) yesterday and lost just 10 grams today putting her currently at 1,115 grams (2 lbs 7 oz).

One other fun activity was that Colette gave her a bath today in a little tub of water instead of just a sponge bath, so that was fun.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day 15, 11.04.08

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Evelyn is now 2 weeks old. Although they measure her development as if she was still in the womb, so she is really only supposed to be 29 weeks gestation.

Evelyn keeps growing. She is now up to 1,075 grams (2 lbs, 6 oz). She is also off the CPAP breathing machine again and back on the nasal cannula and doing great!

Evelyn's giving a high five to everyone!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Day 14, 11.3.08

Evelyn has grown! She now weighs 15 grams more than her birth weight. She is now a whopping 1,035 grams or 2 lbs 5 oz. What a champ!

We also figured out how much she is eating these days. She is getting 21 cc's of milk every 3 hours. That works out to just about 6 ounces of milk in a day and is only 148 calories/day (less than a regular can of soda)!
Here are a couple pictures of Evelyn from today wearing Roger's wedding ring on her arm:

You'll notice she's wearing a tiny shirt that some hospital volunteers made. It's so cute seeing her in little clothes and wrapped up in tiny blankets.
She is doing much better with her breathing/apnea episodes. She rarely needs any help from the nurses to remind her to breath. When she does have episodes, she is usually recovering from them all by herself. They also lowered the flow on her CPAP , so she may be taken off the CPAP soon and either switched to the nasal cannula or just be on her own.
Thanks again for all your prayers. I truly believe that is what's helping her so much right now. Keep 'em coming!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day 12, 11.01.08

Here she is playing air guitar:

Roger got to change her diaper twice today, all by himself. How strange to be excited to change a diaper! She is also doing a lot better with her breathing. She still has some episodes, but is recovering from them on her own most of the time without any help from the nurses. So that is really encouraging. As our nurse reminded us today, she is still not out of the woods, but she is doing great.

Evelyn lost some weight today, but the doctor is not concerned yet. He explained that they like to see the babies back at their birth weight by 14 days, so she has a few more days to pack on the pounds, or is that grams... ;-)