Sunday, February 28, 2010

Praying for little babies

Today I really felt the need to pray for some of our NICU buddies. They fill your heart. It is almost like every baby in there is your baby, but they all just have lots of parents! Please pray for all the little NICU babies!

Baby Z might be going on CPAP this week! She's had a roller coaster ride with 2 ventilators, steroids, and a PDA. We pray for her many times a day!

Baby D is going home with her Daddy on Friday, she's about a week older than Brynn in actual age, several weeks ahead in gestational age! Her mommy did not survive her birth.

Babies A & E are doing so well! A is on CPAP, E is getting close!

Baby O was only our baby for a few days, but he went home with his mom and dad yesterday!

Baby S has been home with Daddy for a long time. His Mommy passed away from H1N1 and he was born early.

Baby R was 1 gestational day younger than Brynn when she was born, and 6oz bigger. She's growing!

Baby M was the same weight as Brynn! He's a week old now. His Mommy has been in ICU, but she got out today.

If it comes to your mind today... Pray for all of our babies!

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Mommys Dreams

Today was the day that I've been waiting for. Since we found out Brynn was a girl, I dreamed of dressing her up in cute outfits, and putting bows in her hair. Day 71 of her life, and my dreams have been fulfilled. When I pictured myself having a daughter, I just knew that I would give birth, and bring her home from the hospital in a couple of days, in frills and bows. After all we have been through, I am glad that I am getting more independent with her. I can take her out of her bed by myself now. I can feed her by myself, and best of all, I get to change her clothes, and put bows in her hair.

"Man are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." - Proverbs 19:21

Today was another moment that reminded me, that as much as I hate it, I cannot plan out everything in my life. But, it also reminded me that the Lord's purpose prevails. Not only does His purpose prevail, but it also is best. I got such joy from being able to dress my little sweetie today. I know I would have taken that for granted, had things gone the way I had planned. Had things gone the way I had planned, I am certain that I would have dressed up my little princess like a baby doll, and doted, and adored her. However, I know that I wouldn't have been eternally grateful for the opportunity to raise her. I praise God for each little step, and each moment that we have together. Today, I am loving the Lord for the day of the hair bows.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Preparing for the next chapter

So today I started a dreaded task. Cleaning out my office to make room for the next branch manager. What a blessing to work for a great company, and to be able to move back near family. It was bittersweet to think about leaving my team. The very last thing I packed today was this frame. My very first picture of my little princess. She was 9 weeks old. Little did I know, it would only be 15 weeks later when we would meet. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I went back to this verse. Before she was formed in the womb, God knew her, she was set apart. I can't wait to see what her life holds.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Eating for Both of Us!

Today was the much anticipated eating day! Brynn was going to do a "nipple trial" and I was going to have dinner with the other NICU parents. We'll start with me, since I ate first!

The nurses/ hospital host a lovely "NICU parent date night" in the hospital doctor's dining room. The menu tonight included veal, lobster macaroni and cheese, some strange salad with blue cheese and grilled asian pears, and tiramisu. It was interesting, not too bad. The best part was of course the company.

One good thing about the NICU, it is like everyone there is part of your extended family. The staff, the other parents, babies, etc. Somehow you find yourself crying when your baby's next door neighbor is having a bad day, and rejoicing when they have a good day. The other NICU parents become friends, it is only natural, you can feel each other's pain. So, it was kind of nice to get out of the NICU, and sit and talk about the NICU...

I am kind of starting to wonder about the day that we are released. I am pretty sure I am going to be a little sad. We'll miss those nurses, doctors, and therapists that have been there with us throughout our journey. We'll miss the Mommas and Daddies of the babies that are younger than Brynn that we will leave behind. They feel so much like family now. I'll be somewhat sad to think about leaving the people who have cared for our sweet girl for so long.

But that was my dinner, let's talk about Brynn's dinner. 9:00 PM was the time I had been looking forward to all day. Bottle "nipple trial." Her nurse, Jackie said it would be very good if she could eat at least 5cc. We had been warned, she may not like it in her mouth, due to the bad memories of the ventilator tube. She may Brady and DeSat if she is not ready to suck-swallow- breathe. If she did brady we would giver her a break and try again, if she did it several times, we'd quit. I was ready. Even if she took 0cc, it was that much closer.

When we put the bottle in her mouth, she took one or two sucks and then started looking around the room, like, "What in the world was that?" She kind of took a break while her little brain was trying to process that. Then, once she started sucking again, there was no turning back. She was really sucking it down, but it was coming out of the sides of her mouth. The nurse showed us how to give her "cheek support" and "chin support" and also changed her to a slower nipple. She had to work a lot harder to get the milk out of this nipple. She really tired herself out. After taking 15cc (that's right, 15!) she stopped sucking for good, and eventually started pulling her head away from the bottle. As soon as I flipped her over on my hand to try and burp, she was out. No burping for her. She was exhausted and sound asleep. I changed her blanket, swaddled her and held her for a few more minutes, and she never woke up. She was so worn out.

I was so proud of her! 15cc, and no bradys! It is going to be a while until she takes her 50-60cc 8 times a day, but this was a great start!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A's and B's

Today is day 65 of NICU life. Issue of the week for little Brynn, A's and B's. Apnea and Bradycardia...

From University of Virginia Health System:
Apnea and bradycardia are two terms a parent of a preemie may become all too familiar with. What exactly are apnea and bradycardia?

Apnea means a period in which breathing stops. In premature babies, apnea is any pause in breathing that lasts longer than 20 seconds, causing bradycardia, or a drop in the baby’s blood oxygen level. Bradycardia means a slowed heart rate. In premature babies, bradycardia is a heart rate of less than 80 beats per minute.

In premature babies, apnea and bradycardia often occur together, along with low blood oxygen levels. First, apnea occurs and the baby will stop breathing. Because the baby isn’t breathing, blood oxygen levels will fall. The heart slows down in response to the low blood oxygen levels. Together, apnea and bradycardia are often called “As and Bs” or"spells", and a low blood oxygen level is often called a desaturation or “desat.”

What Causes Apnea and Bradycardia?
Apnea and bradycardia have many causes in premature babies. Infection, anemia, and problems in the brain can all cause As and Bs. The most common cause of apnea and bradycardia among preemies in the NICU, though, is a condition called apnea of prematurity.

Apnea of prematurity is a condition caused by immature nervous and muscular systems. Apnea of prematurity occurs most frequently in younger preemies; as gestational age decreases, apnea of prematurity increases. Only 7% of babies born at 34 to 35 weeks gestation have apnea of prematurity, but over half of babies born at 30 to 31 weeks suffer from the condition. Apnea can occur because the process in the brain that tells the baby to breathe fails, and the baby stops breathing entirely (central apnea) or because the baby’s immature muscular system isn't strong enough to keep the airway open and airflow is blocked (obstructive apnea). Mixed central and obstructive apnea also occurs.

Here's the deal with A's and B's... When your child is apneic and bradys, you tend to forget to breathe yourself. Typically a child does not pass on a health condition to a parent, but in this case, I think you could fairly say that they do. Almost all the NICU mommas say that they don't breathe too well, either, when their baby is going through a spell.

When I went to the NICU last night, I think my little cupcake decided to show off for me since I went back to work and did not spend the day with her. She had a pretty good a & b episode. She just went stiff and bug-eyed and decided she didn't want to breathe for a bit. Her oxygen saturation went down to 8. Yes that is right, 8% oxygenation. The respiratory therapist had to spend some time bringing her back up with the bag. I often say during these episodes, that I believe I will need to be bagged as well.

"The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4

I know that I already posted a little about this last time, but every time it happens, I can't help but be reminded of God's grace and power in our lives. "the breath of the Almighty gives me life" all I can think about when I see that green resuscitation bag is the "breath of the Almighty." That bag is hooked up to oxygen and machines, and etc. but every time I see it, I pray that it will be filled with the breath of the Almighty which will be pushed into her lungs and graciously give my sweet baby girl life. Day after day, I am reminded of the power of God. He continues to sustain her and give her the breath of life. Thank you Jesus, for answering my prayers.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Coming to you, straight from the NICU...

I broke down, and I am joining the blogging community. So far, I have been updating everyone on Brynn's progress via Facebook, which I will continue. I am also keeping a journal of her progress, today was day 63, and I have 20 typed pages. But, there is not enough room to post all of my thoughts and feelings on there. I want a blog where I can do more than just put down the newest Brynn stats. I want everyone to know her, what she's going through, and my thoughts, emotions, and prayers... So here goes nothing. Today's post... my random thoughts on life in the NICU.

Psalm 126:3 "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy"

I am an obsessive planner. I like things in order. God on the other hand, does not always do things the way I plan them. When I found I was pregnant with our first little blessing, I went in to plan mode. I read "What to Expect..." got my free issues of Parenting magazine, Took my vitamins, drank milk with DHA, didn't eat lunch meat or soft cheeses, subscribed to, set up the nursery, planned my maternity leave, and on and on. Needless to say, "What to Expect" didn't really give me an accurate depiction of what to expect.

Before Brynn was born, I had never seen or heard of a 24 week, 1lb 4 oz baby. I thought a preemie was a small baby whose clothes were hard to find. Boy have I learned a lot. I know all sorts of medical terminology, I know all sorts of things that are different about preemies and full term babies. But most importantly, I know God more than I ever have before.

Acts 17:25 says that "He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things" While I recognized that He is the creator, until I saw my perfect, precious, little girl laying in that isolette, on a ventilator, on a CPAP machine, with a nasal canula, until I was praying for each breath she would take, I never truly understood the way that our God sustains every breath for His purpose. I don't take breaths for granted any more.

Psalm 139:14 "I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well." My beautiful daughter is fearfully and wonderfully made. He knit her together in my womb, before she was born, she was set apart. She was born 16 weeks too soon, yet she is perfect. Her tiny hands and feet were crafted by God Himself. She surely has a great future to serve Him. Her life will forever be a testimony to His grace. Every time I see that sweet face, I cannot help but think of how He has sustained her.

I don't feel that people should not have to go through things like this. We should not have to witness our child on life support for weeks, praying hour by hour that her little heart continues to beat, and her little lungs continue to breathe. We should not have had to see her be resuscitated, certainly not multiple times a day. Only 2 months ago I would never have considered that I would need to watch my child being "bagged." Nor would I have considered that this would become a normal way of life. However, I can see the providence of the Lord, how he was preparing me. I just completed a Bible Study on 1 Peter, on making it through trials, standing firm in the true grace of God, the week that she was born.

I have learned so many other things. I know the different types of ventilators. I know what CPAP stands for. I know what a nasal canula is, and the different flow levels. I can tell you the difference between a good blood gas and a bad one. I can tell you what an acceptable O2 saturation is. I know what a PDA is and the different ways to treat it. I can tell you some of the choices for removing fluid from a baby's lungs. I can tell you what a doctor is looking for when they tell the lab to "get a crit." I know what a Broviac is. ROP. Hypothyroidism. Apnea. Bradycardia. BPD. Anemia. Lung Consolidation. I know that the 3 most evil letters for a preemie are R-S-V... The list goes on and on... I used to get angry with each new word, each new specialist, medicine, and treatment. Now, I see them almost like badges of honor. Each of those things is a place that God brought us through. Each one of those is an opportunity for us to look back and count our blessings.

Brynn is so precious to me. While I wish I could have given her a better start, one that would have left her with fewer scars, I know this was meant to be. I know that she was created for the glory of God. I know that every time I see my sweet girl, I will remember that she's not just my baby, she is a beautiful creation that was made in His image, and He gave her breath and life and all things.