Just wanted to give everyone a brief update:
Becca is doing great. They were able to take her off the ventilator yesterday. That's right; the day after she was born, they took her off the ventilator. She's truly amazing. Now she's breathing on her own with a little support from the CPAP machine (set at its lowest level, even). Now that we can see a little more of her face (because there is less tape), I'm thoroughly convinvced that she's got John's adorable little tippy nose. She's ridiculously cute (also like her daddy).
Here's an inventory of her wires and tubes (as far as I can remember - I'm trying to keep all of this information straight while on pain meds!):
She's getting nourishment through a tiny tube in her bellybutton. Right now it's mostly souped up IV fluids (with lipids, etc), but we're hoping to be able to start her on breast milk soon. I think that we may have to switch to a tube down her hose before she can have the milk, though (and mom still has to start producing it - but we're getting there!). Basically, I think anything they give her right now goes through this bellybutton tube. She's getting blood products fairly regularly, as they are having to take a good bit for all of her labs, and she just doesn't have enough to replenish on her own. She's also on preventative antibiotics. as infections are some of her biggest risks right now. Oddly eough, they are also giving her caffeine. Apparently babies this small often just forget to breath, so somehow the caffeine stimulates her brain enough to remind her to breathe.
She's got another tiny tube down her mouth that helps bring air out of her belly, as the air she takes in can tends to settle in her little tummy, which is a bit distended right now. That's one thing they seem to be watching closely and is somehow related to when and how they will let her eat. She particularly loves to pull this tube out, so today's nurse secured it with a tiny piece of tape.
The little leads on her arms and legs measure her heart rate, which is hanging steady in the 140's.
The little wrap around her foot measures her oxygen saturations, which are looking great. (This is what they will watch to determine how to support her breathing.) Every time I've been back there, she's been in the 90%'s.
Somewhere on her she's got a sticker to measure her temperature. She also likes to rip this one off. Basically, she likes to rip off anything she can get her hands on. She's feisty like that.
I think you can see her teeny tiny blood pressure cuff in one of the pictures. It doesn't seem to stay on her all the time, but, gosh, it's tiny!
I think that's everything she's got hanging off of her. Even the micropreemie diapers are too big for her, so they either just lay her on top of an open diaper or fashion one from a gauze pad. Since her skin is so fragile, they have to cover her in some kind of lotion all over to preven her from feeling any friction or tearing her skin. When she's under the lights she looks like she's all greased up to tan. Too cute. John and I (and the nurses, of course) are the only ones allowed to touch her, and we do so sparingly, but she's grasped each of our little fingers in her tiny hand. She's got a great grip, and we just love holding her hand! Occasionally if her isolette door is open (which it only is while they are giving her some kind of care) you can hear her cry, and she sounds like a newborn kitten. I think she recognizes our voices, though, and I swear she calmed down when she heard us last night. She flails around a lot, which is good because it means she's got quite a bit more muscle tone than normal babies her size, but we also try to keep her calmed down some so that she can conserve her energy and not drop any weight. Last night she weighed in at 400 grams (or 14 ounces), which is up about 10 grams, but that's probably due more to the blood products they are giving her (as in, the increased volume) than to her actually growing - but the important part is that she's not dropping weight right now like most newborns. She just doesn't have any extra to drop! So, in sum, she's got a loooooooong way to go (she'll have to at least quintuple her weight before she can go home), but she's already blown the odds out of the water and is stable right now. We never know what each moment will bring, but we're so thankful for every moment we have with her!
As for me: I'm feeling much better - phenomenally better than on Saturday before delivery (turns out I was one sick puppy dog and didn't realize it), and considerably better than yesterday. I've got the normal pain and soreness that accompanies a c-section (which is, I have now learned, major abdominal surgery, even if it is relatively common), but my liver, platelets, etc. are getting right back where they need to be. If everything checks out okay tomorrow morning, I'll be going home to Bethpage. I'm excited to be back at the house, to check out all the work our families did unpacking, rearranging, etc, and to see my puppies that I've missed terribly, but I'm sad that we'll have to stay so far away from Becca. It's about an hour's drive, and as I won't be able to drive for at least 3 weeks, I'm afraid I'll be missing her something awful! We're on the waiting list for a room at the Ronald McDonald House, and I know I've got lots of places to stay, thanks to the hospitality of our Nashville friends, but we're not sure how it's all going to play out with puppy care, etc. Of course, we don't know how any of it's going to play out, so we're just really taking it day to day and treasuring each moment we get to share with Becca and with each other. John, of course, has been a saint, and all I've got to say there is that I chose wisely. ;) He's the best.
I know that was far from brief, but, believe me, given how much I want to sit here and write about how amazing our little girl is, it is brief, really. She's just incredible. As her attending physician said, "There's just no textbook for her;" that is, she's making up the rules as she goes along because nobody's seen a girl like this before! We know it's no coincidence that this has got to be one of the most prayed-over babies ever - I think she's on prayer lists of churches we've never even been to! So keep it up - and we'll try to keep you posted!
Love from Tennessee,
Nancy, John, and Itty Bitty Baby Becca