"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

November 23, 2011

Busy Days...Lots of Changes!

The past couple days have been super busy days for my little baby girl.  She's been doing so well....so so well....so much better than last week!  Last week I was a wreck, I felt so emotionally drained and exhausted and I didn't think I'd be able to handle one more bit of bad news.  My heart hurt so bad when I would see my poor baby Katea struggling.  I needed a break from everything for a little while so I asked Ova if me and the kids could drop him off at work that night and go and sleep at my parent's house.  Then we'd pick him up when he got off work in the morning.  When we got to my parent's house, it was like 11pm and all the lights were off.  At our house we're night owls, so 11pm is still so early....but it looked like everyone was sleeping at my parents house.  I texted my little sister Leka to let her know we were coming, so she was waiting up for us.  My dad was actually still awake, reading his scriptures, and when he heard us come in, he came downstairs and hung out with us in Leka's room for a couple hours.  We were just talking and my Dad was playing and wrestling with my kids.  It was just the break I needed.  We started talking about baby Katea and I just started crying.  I was telling my Dad how sad I was and how she was not doing good that week.  Honestly, I was expecting him to tell me to have more faith, or pray more....but he didn't.  He hugged me and told me that everything would be ok...that the Lord knows her, that he will answer our prayers and that he knows the many times that he, my mom, and other people have put her name in the temple.  And he kept mentioning that she's already a miracle just for being alive.

That Sunday while I was on my way to the hospital to spend time with my baby girl, I got a call from my Dad.  He was already there waiting for me.  He had come all the way from Provo with one of his counselors to give baby Katea a blessing.  It was a beautiful blessing, short and sweet.  Blessed her with the strength to keep fighting and blessed her little body to function properly.  I cried.  It was like 4pm and he had a priesthood meeting in Provo at 6pm so they had to rush to leave....he hugged me, told me he loved me, told me that she would be ok....and then he left.  Being that he's a stake president, and Sunday's are his most busy days, I really appreciate him taking the time to come up and bless her.  I don't think he knows how much that helped me, and her.  Since her blessing, she's been doing amazingly well.  She's been improving everyday and I know and see the Lord's hands in all her progress.

I got to hold her Sunday night.  She did so good while I was holding her that they actually let me hold her for 3 hours.  I loved it!  She loved it!  That was the longest I've ever got to hold her before......so happy that she can tolerate it now!

Yesterday (Monday) when I got to the hospital, I uncovered and opened her incubator to put my hands on her and I noticed she was wearing clothes.  That was the first time she'd ever worn clothes before....she's usually just been in a diaper so the nurses could see her chest and make sure she's breathing.  The nurse LeeAnn told me that she'd been getting too hot, so they were able to turn her incubator off and she's just on room air temperature.  That's so awesome and such a huge step because that means she's now able to hold her temperature on her own....and when her respiratory status is more stable, she can graduate to an open crib!  They set the temperature in the incubators pretty high and humid because babies who were born too early don't know how to regulate their temperatures yet, so the humidified environment keeps them warm and they don't need to wear clothes....now my baby girl has grown enough not to need the humidifier, just room air and clothes!  Yay!

Her first little outfit

Her eye exam was scheduled for this Wednesday, but since it's a holiday week.....the optimologist was trying to finish all his eye-exams on Monday.  They came in, dialated and numbed her eyes and conducted the test....they did it during shift change, when the NICU was closed, so I didn't get to see it.....the results were in and showed that her eyes are at a zone 2...almost zone 3 (zone 3 is fully developed) and she was at a stage 1.  Last eye exam she was at a stage 0, which is the best....stage 1 means she is starting to develop and has mild ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity)  They told me not to worry about it, that it was very mild which could mean anywhere from absolutely nothing, to she might have to wear glasses when she's older.  I'm not too worried about it.  The longer babies are on oxygen, and the higher percentage of oxygen they're getting is what causes ROP....but since she's finally off the ventilator and her oxygen needs aren't as severe as they were just a couple days ago, I'm not too worried.

Puffy eyes from the eye-exam

Today was a special day too, because I got to give her her very first swaddle bath.  I was so excited, and had been looking forward to it all day long!  I was so glad that my little sister Marie came with her husband to visit that night, because they were able to take pictures of her first bath for me.  She loved the bath!  I was nervous because she's still so small, but she loved it!  Now we'll get to bath her once a week!  To keep her warm in the swaddle bath, we wrapped her in a fleece blanket and dipped her and the fleece blanket in the water.  We unwrapped just one body part at a time to wash it and then wrapped it back up right after so she would stay warm.  I really can't believe how calm she was...she looked so relaxed....like I said, she loved it!

Knocked out after a nice warm bath
Aunty Marie combed my hair for me
Snuggled up after my bath, with my fuzzy hair and puffy eyes

Today (Tuesday) she had another excellent day.  Since she's gone 3 days off the vent without any ABD episodes, they decided to start weaning her rate again....very slowly.  When they took her off the vent, they changed the settings to give her 30 breaths again....just since she was getting so much less support than she was when she was on the vent, they went back up to 30.  Their plan is to take one breath away every 12 hours....hoping that they move slow enough for her to tolerate it.  Today she's down to 27 breaths and she's doing great!  When they are able to get down to 10 breaths a minute and she's tolerating it, that's when they'll take her off the nasal IMV and put her on a high flow nasal canula.  That's our next big step to take....because once she's on the nasal canula, that's when she'll get to start to try and eat from a bottle or from the breast instead of having her food pumped into her stomach.  Can't wait for that day!  She's been getting better on her Fi02 as well.  Sunday she hung out at around 44%, Monday she was down to about 32-37%, and today she was sitting at 29%.  That just shows that her body is kicking into gear and her lungs are working more and more requiring less and less oxygen.  Slow and steady is making progress, and I'm so proud of how well she's doing!

The only other thing they've changed is that they stopped her soduim supplement she was getting because her labs came back high on sodium....that's great because it means her body is finally producing the right amount and she doesn't need to be getting any extra.  They also up'd her feeding by one more ml.  Now she's getting 28ml every 3 hours.  She's gaining weight, but still not as much as they want her to, so they're fortifying her milk to 27 calories instead of just 24....and they're still adding the betaprotein to help her grow in length.  On Sunday she measured 16 inches and weighed 3lbs.9oz......Monday she lost 40 grams and was back down to 3lbs.7 1/2oz.  and today she was exactly the same...she didn't gain or lose.  Hopefully the extra calories and protein will help her start growing and gaining weight a lot quicker now!  The bigger she gets, the stronger her lungs become and the more developed her body and all her organs get. 

Good job baby girl, you're amazing and I love you!  :)


Aki said...

This post makes my heart smile =) Keep it up baby girl!!

sWeEt said...

that's so good to hear Monica! Keep it up sweet baby girl :) Love you guys!!! xoxo :)

Melissa said...

Wow, I just got down reading all your updated posts. Your baby girl is so gosh darn adorable!!! She is so sweet! I am so glad that she is improving. What a miracle she is! Isn't it so fun to bath her? Those were some nice pictures! Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you have some pretty amazing parents too. You dad sounds very sweet! I am glad that you have so many great people to look to for support.
I hear that she is up to a crib now. That is great! So happy for your family! Happy Thanksgiving!!!!! Love ya

KatieLarson said...

Monica, what a wonderful wonderful post. Prayers are being sent your way from my family in VA. I remember how happy and excited I was when my boys were being transferred to an open crib. So I read this post with such eagerness and excitement for you and your family. You are doing wonderfully. Stay strong Hermana! You can do it! Katea can do it! The Fangupo family is amazing!!! Love you lots and lots!