Thursday, July 21, 2011

Overdue Update on Ralanda and Leah

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.

After a couple days the CPAP was able to come off and she was put on a nasal cannula (the tubing that you sometimes see that goes over the ears and has prongs in the nose).  She was originally fed TPN and lipids through a central IV line and then was gradually started on formula through a tube inserted through her mouth.  Once she started keeping the formula down the tube was then changed to a nasogastric tube (the tube enters through the nose) which is still in at this time.  She is being fed mostly through the tube but is slowly starting to drink small amounts through a bottle, once or twice a day.  She needs to be able to take all of her feedings through a bottle before she can go home.  I'll try to add what has been happening with Mommy tomorrow.

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