Monday, July 14th – On the upswing…and lights out!

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Came over to the NICU this am following another uneventful evening.  During morning rounds, the doctors informed Ian and I that Riley’s bilirubin had continued to go down, and was now at 4.5.  They were continuing to wean her O2, and she was currently at 27% and satting fine.  Her blood gas levels were good.

A slight change in plans – she was going to get both the echo (for her heart) and ultrasound of her head today (which was initially happening on Tuesday).  The doctors informed us that if the echo results come back okay, feedings will be started very slowly.  She’s also going to need a PICC line placed, as the current line going into her belly button is almost a week old and the doctors don’t like to leave it in too much longer than that.  PICC stands for peripherally inserted central catheter, and it allows for intravenous access into one of the main arteries for medication administration, and can be used for a prolonged period of time.  Just like any procedure, there are risks of infection, bleeding, etc., but this is a fairly common procedure and of course the doctors reassured us that they will do everything possible to avoid any complications.

Best news presented during rounds…the doctors felt that given Riley’s awesome bilirubin numbers, she no longer needs any phototherapy!!  NO MORE LIGHTS! This was a huge milestone!  This means I get to see finally see her face, around the clock, and I also will have more opportunities to touch her, hold her hand, lightly pat her back….these moments that mean more than anything to me right now.

Echo was performed around 9am.  Results often taken some time, and we may not know until tomorrow what the outcome was.  Ian and I were a little bit concerned about the results of this, as we knew that PDA was not only commonly associated with premies, but again, it’s a possible cause of her pulmonary hemorrhage.  I also read it’s 2x’s more likely to occur in girls than boys.  However, we again felt that after everything we’ve been through, if she has PDA, it’s ok.  We’ll deal with it.  She’s alive and her medical condition is stabilizing.  That’s all that matters.

Well, at 11am, the nurse practitioner comes in and tells me “the echo looked fine and we’re going to go ahead and start the feedings.”  What a great day!  So much good news, I almost didn’t know what to do with it all!!  I called Ian to tell him the good news as he had gone back to the hotel to shower.  He was very excited and told me to tell her that he has taken a year off of her grounding:)

My mom, dad, younger brother and his wife came over after rounds.  It was so nice to give them all the good news!  I shedded a few tears of joy, and they each were able to come back and see Riley, cute face and all.  Afterwards, we all went out and had a nice lunch, not feeling overly rushed to get back given that Riley was doing so well.  Ian was back to being his joking, sarcastic self, occasionally giving me a hard time.  It’s nice to return to some small level of normalcy.

The rest of the day remained positive, as they dropped her O2 vent settings down to 22% (don’t forget, you and I breathe in 21%, so this is amazing).  I’m starting to feel Riley is like superwoman. Not only because she actually has definition in her calves (no joke), but she is beating the odds and showing such huge strides that are unheard of.  That’s our girl:)

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