|4 weeks old|
|8 weeks old|
|12 weeks old|
Elsie got moved to Room 3! She's in the big kids room, also known as the "growers & feeders", because the babies in Rooms 3-8 basically just need to grow and learn to feed by mouth before they can go home. Here's a few pictures of her new digs and also of the adorable signs that my niece Riley has made for Elsie.
|I know, from this view it looks exactly the same as her last room, but trust me, it's a different room :)|
As you know, today was Elsie's 90-day care conference, where Clayton and I got together with Elsie's doctor, nurse practitioner, medical-student-guy-who's-almost-a-doctor or like a doctor in training or something like that, and various other medical staff. And we go over all of Elsie's various treatments, important body parts, bodily functions, etc. Most of it is stuff that we've heard before, but here's a bit of what we talked about:
- Elsie is down to 2 liters per minute on her high-flow nasal cannula. They're giving her a few days to make sure that she's stable on this setting, and then they will perform the swallow study to see how her paralyzed vocal cord will affect her ability to swallow. That will probably take place next week. If she does well, then we will begin learning how to feed by mouth.
- Elsie's ROP is still being carefully monitored. If the eye doctor feels that it is getting worse, to the point where it might affect her vision, then they will perform laser surgery. Basically, with ROP, the blood vessels that are in her eyes are going a little crazy. When she was born premature, the growth of these vessels was interrupted, and now they are kind of over-compensating for that interruption by growing too much. Their growth is also affected by the presence of too much oxygen, which is why her oxygen saturation levels are so closely monitored, and also why it's important to wean down her oxygen use. Anyway, if the blood vessels grow too much out of control, then they can detach the retina and cause blindness. Before it gets to that point, the eye doctor would go in with his magic lasers and zap the rogue vessels. It's still possible that the ROP might resolve itself and go away on it's own. It is likely that Elsie might need glasses in the future, but hey, with Clayton's & my genetics, let's face it, she'd need glasses anyway. Sorry, kid.
- It is quite likely that Elsie will still be on oxygen when she comes home from the hospital, and we talked about some of those logistics.
- Speaking of coming home, obviously we can't see into the future and see exactly how Elsie is going to do, but it won't be a big surprise if she has to stay for an additional 2-4 weeks after her due date (May 3). That's just based on how long similar 23-week babies have had to stay in the hospital. But, you never know, she could be out sooner than that, or even later. We'll see.
- Last but certainly not least: Elsie's brain. (This was actually the first thing that we talked about in the care conference but I'm saving it for last on this blog just to keep you captivated-- muuwwhha-hahahahaa!) According to the latest brain ultrasound, keeping in mind that it is just an ultrasound and not a more precise image like an MRI, Elsie's brain appears to be growing normally and without any noticeable damage. In her initial ultrasound right after she was born, her left side brain appeared to have bleeding from the brain's ventricles into the actual brain tissue. If this was the case, then the brain tissue where the bleeding was would be damaged or dead, showing up on an ultrasound as a gap or a hole in the brain. In yesterday's ultrasound, there was no evidence of any gaps, holes, or damaged areas that they could see. So as far as they can tell, it appears that at this point our girl is in pretty good shape. The doctor said that it looks pretty optimistic. We asked about the possibility of cerebral palsy or other things like hydrocephalus, and he answered that while you usually can't diagnose cerebral palsy until a child is 12-18 months old, his guess is that if Elsie were to have CP, then it would be very mild and show up as her being a little uncoordinated or clumsy. But right now, her motor skills are pretty good and she's not showing early signs of CP like favoring one side of her body over the other. She shows no signs of hydrocephalus. She is at a slightly greater risk to develop ADHD or she might have some other learning difficulties. But overall, Elsie's brain is looking healthy and happy!
Isn't that wonderful news?? I admit, I was expecting the worst, so I was pretty surprised at what we heard. But we are thrilled and so incredibly grateful. And while she may still have difficulties or unforeseen problems down the road, we know that she is still our daughter and we will always love her, regardless of physical or mental abilities. A very wise woman reminded me that ultimately, any of Elsie's "broken" parts will eventually be healed. It's so true and I'm feeling very thankful for my Savior and His great love for all of us.
Now come on, satisfy my need for attention and give me a comment if you loved reading this post! Happy weekend to all of you!