Unfortunately things have been very crazy for the last 2 1/2 weeks and although I intended on recording updates, it just has not happened. My goal will be to update more frequently if this format of a blog works out well. Going back to the end of the previous/initial post: Baby Leah now has a middle name and it is Ralanda, after her mother. Mommy was considering several names, but Leah Ralanda won the final vote. Leah is still in the NICU at Albany Medical Center where she is receiving excellent care. It was very rough the first week as she had an endotracheal tube (breathing tube) down her trachea (windpipe) and was hooked up to several IV lines, monitors, etc.
|Leah with the endotracheal tube|
Being attached to all of these things and being so fragile, we were not able to hold her, but simply touch her while in her special bed. Her brothers and sisters were so glad to get to see their new sister, even though all they could do at this point is to look at her. Because NICU rules only allow 2 people by the bedside at at time, we had to get several pictures as we traded off visitors.
|Leah with Gi-Gi and Naomi|
|Leah with Scottie and Uriah|
|Leah with Joshua and Caleb|
|Leah with Noah|
To improve her breathing, she was given surfactant, a substance that prevents the lungs from collapse, and that babies make on their own later in pregnancy when they are near term. Premature babies often do not have surfactant, or do not have enough, and need it given to them as was done for Leah, a couple times over her first several days. After a couple days, her breathing improved enough that the breathing tube was able to be removed and she was put on a CPAP mask similar to the ones that people with sleep apnea wear.
|Leah with CPAP mask|
Finally, after 6 days we were able to hold our baby! At this point she had lost weight (as all babies do at first) and got down to 3 lbs 7 ozs and it felt like we were hardly holding anything. It was so good to finally hold our baby, but it was difficult to watch her work so much to breathe.
|Tears of joy as Mommy holds her baby for the first time.|
|Daddy holding baby for the first time.|