I picked up Clayton from work and we went together to see Elsie. She is continuing to recover from her heart surgery and is doing well. Her stitches are healing nicely and will be removed on Sunday. She is being fed 5 & 1/2 ml of breast milk every 3 hours, which is quite the increase from the original amount of 1 ml every 3 hours, and they will continue to slowly increase the amount over the next several days. She hasn't gained any weight since I last told you that she was up to 550 grams, but the nurse said that this wasn't terribly surprising, as her body is still recovering from the surgery and getting used to the breast milk. She should start gaining weight within a few days. She is still digesting the food very well, which is good. Her lungs are still underdeveloped and inflamed, but there's not much that can be done about that besides wait, and give her time to grow.
While we were there today, Elsie was being very wiggly. She was laying on her tummy again, and one time managed to lift her head partially off the blanket. I can't believe how strong she is. She kept wiggling and squirming, so the nurse suggested that I "cradle" her. I placed one hand on her head and one hand on her diapered bum, and applied very gentle pressure. This basically helped her to feel a little like being cradled like she would be in the womb, much like swaddling a baby. It comforts the baby and helps them to not flail around so much. After a few moments of cradling, the nurse pointed out that all of Elsie's vital signs had gone completely relaxed and back to normal. I can't hug her to me or hold her close yet, but I can cradle my baby with my hands and bring her comfort. Eventually we had to go, and as I lifted my hands, Elsie immediately began wiggling and jerking around, and my overactive mommy imagination felt like she was reaching out for me, not wanting me to leave. So I placed my hands on her for a few more minutes before leaving. Here is a grainy, through-the-glass-of-the-incubator cell phone picture.
|Being "cradled" by Mommy|
Elsie's doctor went over the results of the latest brain ultrasound with us. We saw the pictures from today's ultrasound in comparison with her first ultrasound, and even for a non-medical person like myself, it was easy to see the difference. The swelling in her left ventricle has gone down quite a bit, and while there is still some swelling and bleeding on both sides, Dr. Yoder said that he was quite optimistic, that things were definitely not as bad as they initially thought. Can we get a hip-hip-hooray?? They will do another ultrasound at 30 weeks, and again at 36 weeks. The 36 week ultrasound is where they will get a clear picture of what specific problems the baby might be at risk for. But that's 10 weeks away, and until then, we will keep praying and have faith that everything will be ok.
You probably think I'm done with the good news for today, but I'm totally not. I'm sitting here at the computer, and my eyes keep wandering across the table to a large stack of bills. Not medical bills, although I cringe to think of the bills that are probably on their way to us right now. Dang helicopter. No, this stack of bills is money. Greenbacks. Clams. Dough. Moolah. Coins and bills and checks, all from people that I don't know or haven't seen since I quit my job when Evje was born 20 months ago. Clayton's cousin Denise, my former co-worker, generously offered to have a fundraiser luncheon at my old workplace in our behalf, and it was held today. I can't even express my gratitude and astonishment at the generosity and kindness of these good people. It's taken me like 20 minutes to write this little paragraph, because I can't wrap my brain around it. I can't comprehend it. Denise told me that one of her students said something like, "I know that this isn't much, but it's all the money that I have." There are checks signed by people that I don't even know. Gift cards and kind notes and words of encouragement and offers of prayers in our behalf. Food was made by so many good friends and family to feed the masses at this luncheon. To all of you, no matter how big or small your contribution, it means the world to us. Thank you doesn't seem like enough. I wish there was some way we can repay you or show you how grateful we are. Again, I'm having trouble expressing all of the thoughts that are racing through my head, and I feel like I should say more, but Clayton just told me, "Words will never be enough." So I'll end my post today with a simple thank you to the staff and students at Alpine Academy. May you be blessed in your lives as you have just blessed us with your compassion.