Haley has been doing amazing. And have I mentioned how adorable she is? Because if I haven't - well, you don't have to take my word for it. See for yourself:
I could just stare at this picture all day! She's so adorable! And Brent and I made her! I didn't think our kids would be THAT cute. I mean, I knew we'd have cute kids, but seriously! THAT cute!
Where was I? Oh yeah - drooling over adorableness....
Occupational Therapy began working with Haley late last week to get her to suckle on a bottle - trying to get her to learn her skills of suckling, swallowing, and breathing all at the same time. She took a little here, a little there, but this weekend, she did amazing. She took 18 mils (of her 32 mil feeding) on Saturday morning. Saturday evening she took about 11 mils. Sunday morning she took 18 mils again, and Sunday night she took 23 mils! This morning I headed in to meet with OT and go over some bottle-feeding tips, and she took 28 mils! Our little girl is a rock-star! She is doing so fantastic with the suckling, that they've bumped her up to 4 bottle feeding attempts per day, and want me to start putting her "to breast" - which is different from actually breastfeeding, but it is a definite step in that direction. She also burped like a big girl this morning! Made her mommy proud! I can assure you, they were the cutest little burps you've ever heard.
Haley now weighs 3 1/2 lbs, and continues to gain weight and process all her feedings. The other milestones the nurses mentioned were regulating her body temperature and her breathing. Her breathing had a tendency to get pretty fast (tachycardic, I believe is the term they used), but has regulated itself and is no longer of real concern. She has started to maintain a warmer temperature while in her isolette with it on "air temp", which is fantastic news. They removed her from TPN (the fats/lipids feeding) late Friday night, and yesterday afternoon, removed her PICC line from her arm!! The only tube she has now is her gavage feeding tube, and of course is hooked up to heart and oxygen monitors. She has moved from "intensive care" to "intermediate care" which is definitely encouraging news for us.
They did discover a slight heart murmur in Haley, but said it is very common for preemies (as their cardiovascular system undergoes tremendous change after they're born), and they're confident she'll outgrow it, possibly even before she's discharged. Apparently my husband had a heart murmur as a babe child as well. I learn something new about my man all the time!
As I understand it, once she reaches about 4 pounds (a little less than 8 ounces to go!) and it is confirmed her body temperature has regulated, she'll be weaned from her isolette to a crib. Then it's only a matter of time before she's deemed healthy and strong enough to come home!
I haven't blogged since last week, because it was just a hard few days for me. Once I finally had a chance to breathe, we had some "scares" and they got the best of me. I finally broke down and cried (and God bless my dear, sweet husband for being intuitive enough to grab me and hold me when he figured I needed it, and just letting me sob on his shoulder until I got it all out...) and we had our "why me/us" moments. It was pretty overwhelming at times, but truthfully, Haley has done so well and the NICU staff has done an excellent job taking care of our little sweetpea. And we are one happy family because of their hard work, and Haley's amazing progress.
We had a great time on Easter Sunday, dressing her in her very first Easter outfit (dress from Baby Depot, hat made by yours truly), showing her the goodies of her Easter basket, bottle feeding her, burping her, getting lost in her complete cuteness... it really put a different spin on celebrating the miracle of a risen Savior. God's miracles are shining in an entirely brighter light for me these days - glory be!
Also! I have returned to work part-time, in the hopes I can still bank up enough maternity leave to take for when Haley comes home from the NICU. The doctor's orders are for me to have a substantial break between hours at work, so I take a trip to visit Haley and hold my little girl. Today was my first day back - and I'm exhausted, but I hope to get the hang of the new routine by the end of the week. It was good to have a sense of "normalcy", but my "normal" has completely shifted - so what once was normal is no longer normal! Keep that in your prayers, though, and that the time will fall into place once Haley is discharged.
Okay. I think that's it so far! Exciting stuff going on!