Today is Wednesday. Whensday. Wed-nes-day. Why do you think that it's spelled "Wednesday" but we pronounce it totally differently? So today when I went in, the nurse said that Elsie had given them a run for their money this morning. Grrreat. Apparently, she was having some issues. They explained it very well to me and I understand it, but I can't explain it very well, so we're just going to summarize and say that she was having breathing issues. Basically, they are still waiting for the lab cultures to come back, which will determine if she still has some pneumonia bugs in her lungs. But now they are thinking that it is more of a chronic lung disease, Bronchopulmonary Displaysia, or BPD. You can read about it here. (PS, I love the part that says "To help prevent BPD, prevent premature delivery whenever possible." Yeah. Because I really tried to have my baby so early.)
If you don't want to read about it, here's the basic details: being on a ventilator stinks because while it prevents your premature baby from dying by helping her breathe, at the same time, it is destroying her delicate lung tissue. Ok, maybe "destroying" is a strong word. It is damaging her lungs. We knew this already, have known it from the start, and this is why the doctors have been trying to get her off the vent as soon as she was ready. Because of this, Elsie will most likely continue to be on oxygen for a while when she is discharged from the hospital. It could also mean that she will be more susceptible to pneumonia, RSV, asthma, and other respiratory problems. But, who knows, maybe she'll turn out to have lungs of iron like my friend Christine's 23-weeker who is now 13 years old. You never know. Anyway, she might have BPD.
After Elsie's breathing problems this morning, the awesome respiratory therapists went in and basically rinsed out her lungs with saline. A lot of mucus and secretions were loosened from their grip on her little lungs, and were suctioned out. She also received a treatment from a little vibration machine that gave her a back rub, which helps to loosen secretions so they can be suctioned out. Oh, and she got a round of albuterol, which helps open the airways. After all of these treatments, her numbers improved drastically. They showed me her chest x-rays from today and compared them to yesterday's, and according to them, there was a huge improvement. I'll be honest, I don't know enough about chest x-rays to really see a huge difference, but that's ok. If they say it's a huge improvement, then it is. I DID see in the x-ray her little metal clip from her heart surgery. It was kinda cool.
Anyway, so this morning was kinda rough, but she was doing really well when I left. She might even be extubated soon if she continues to do so well. Sometimes you just need the mucus sucked out so that you can breathe.
The good news is that she is turning into a chubby little baby. Remember a week or two ago when she didn't gain any weight for almost a week, and so they beefed up her feedings? Well, it finally kicked in and now she is beefed up. So much, that they are probably going to cut back a bit so that she doesn't turn into a hippo. No, seriously, they don't want her to gain weight too quickly, but it is good that she is still digesting her food so well. On Thursday of last week, we were so excited that she had finally reached that magical 2 pound mark. And now, almost one week later, she is 2 pounds 10 ounces. Wow. Here's some pictures for you to see her grow for yourself.
The first picture is from 4 weeks ago, when Elsie was 4 weeks old.
And here's today, at almost 8 weeks old:
Chunky monkey! Isn't it funny that I would think 2 pounds 10 ounces is HUGE? In reality, she is still very small, but the comparisons from when she was first born to now are astounding. Look at that double chin! I've never had a baby with a double chin before!
And last but not least, one more picture. This one is cool, because do you see that little line on her back just under her shoulder blade? That's the scar from her heart surgery. You can barely see it, but it's there. Kind of crazy the things that this little baby has already gone through in her short life.
At nearly 8 weeks old ( would have been 31 weeks gestation), Elsie is an enormous 2 pounds 10 ounces, is 33 cm long (about 13 inches), and her head circumference is 24.3 cm.