Day 2: First time doing kangaroo care.
She needed the bili light for about a week.
Day 8: Annalee's first attempt at breathing without her oxygen cannula. She wasn't quite ready.
Day 9: She ditched the oxygen, they removed her IV, set her isolette to room temperature (yay for wearing clothes!), and moved her to the step-down nursery.
Day 13: Annalee surpassed her birth weight. 4 lbs 1 oz
Day 15: She got her very own big girl bassinet. She had a head ultrasound and the results were completely normal. The occupational therapist gave Annalee her first bottle. And later that night she got her first tub bath!
Whether they liked it or not, I made a few of our favorite medical professionals pose for a photo with Annalee. My OB doctor, Dr. Wendel. The doctor who delivered Samuel, Dr. Sandlin. Dr. Shah, the NICU resident who cared for her the first few weeks. And one of the fabulous nurses from antepartum who kept me sane during my eight weeks of hospitalized bedrest.
Day 22: We heard that several babies were sick with RSV. I posted this sign on the door, hoping to discourage the sick from entering and to encourage handwashing from everyone else! The day before I posted this, we spent several hours in the hospital hallway with other parents and babies because of a tornado warning. The day after I posted it, a water pipe broke in our NICU wing, and we were evacuated to other pods (which we had to share with other babies and families.) I could NOT believe how unfortunate it was that those two things would happen in the middle of an RSV outbreak. The last I heard, there are ten babies with RSV now. Annalee has been swabbed for it twice and has tested negative each time. I tried to get her transported to another hospital in an attempt to keep her from being exposed. Unfortunately no other hospital will take her at this point.
Day 25: Annalee was taking all feeds via bottle. The nurse pulled the NG (feeding tube) and we planned to leave the hospital in a few days. We knew we were rushing her a bit, but since she was doing so well and because the RSV outbreak was so bad, we wanted to get her out of the NICU ASAP.
Day 27: On the verge of going home, Annalee seemed to forget how to eat. She began having events (desats and bradies) with her bottles and lost all coordination. We cut the number of bottles she has in a day from eight to four. Two steps back. (In case you're wondering...I've been feeling a little under the weather, so anytime I handle her, I wear a mask and gown.)
Annalee is one month old on Friday - which makes her 36 weeks gestation. She weighs 5 lbs 3 oz and is 17 inches long. She likes to sleep during the day and party at night. I suspect that part of her set-back was due to reflux, but she has fed well over last twelve hours so we are going to bump her up to six bottles a day. I love that she is looking more like a baby and less like a little spider monkey (ok people, let's be real...preemies just have that funny look about them.)
For the most part, this NICU stay has been WORLDS easier than Samuel's. I have been correct in thinking all this time that there is a drastic difference between 20-something weekers and 30-something weekers. The most challenging part of this journey has been dealing with all of the baggage I have from our previous NICU stay. It's easy to worry more when you're aware of how badly things can go. But I will say...it's never easy to watch your child be poked and prodded, to leave them in the hands of strangers, or to be patient during their set-backs. No matter how many times you've done it.
It's taken me a while, but I have finally adjusted to this NICU. My favorite thing about being at UAMS (besides the private room) is that I feel heard as a parent. My concerns are addressed and my opinion is sought. I LOVE that. After all, I spend 98% of my day in the NICU just so I can advocate on Annalee's behalf. There are still a few things that I miss about ACH...our nurses and doctors obviously, but I also miss how diligent they are in other areas. Such as the rules they have in place to keep things like RSV outbreaks from happening. All in all though, I can appreciate the more laid back atmosphere that UAMS has.
I hope that Annalee will have the endurance to feed appropriately so that we can go home soon. I don't want to rush her, but I miss my two guys so much!