Wow, Mum sure has been a downer lately, hasn’t she? Even Dad decided to pop his head in here just to be a bit of a grump. OK, well, he was still grumpy because we lost Neema and because he had a tooth drilled out (whatever that means), so I guess he’s allowed to be a bit of a downer. But seriously, we need to lighten the mood around these parts! I enlisted the help of the Sunshine Brigade to help me create my own account here, so I don’t need to wait anymore for Mum to come transcribe my every word for you.
While Mum and Dad have been busy living real lives and worrying about petty disagreements, I’ve just been hanging out in my room with a view (which I absolutely LOVE, by the way), growing and slowly getting better. Mum weighed me this morning when she gave me a bath, and I’m so close to ten pounds now! Mum marvels all the time at how big I am now… she has no idea how much I marvel at how big SHE is! She keeps reminding me that I was only two and a half pounds once, and she stares at me oddly as she says, “Wow, some women push them out this big!” She says funny things sometimes.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Mum and Dad forgot to mention to all of you warriors that I’m off the CPAP again—my second attempt at the high-flow apparatus—and so far, four days in, my sick lungs seem to be tolerating it well. Nurses and doctors keep remarking that I’ve been quite tachypneic as of late, so now Mum and Dad’s constant gaze at my monitors seems to be alternating between my blood saturations and my respiratory rate. If I breathe too quickly I use up the reserve energy I have stored, and then I’ll desat and they’ll have to turn my oxygen up. I’m already taking about 5% more oxygen than I was on the CPAP, which Mum is really trying to pretend she’s not bothered by. But she knows I’m trying as hard as I can to keep up, and she loves that I don’t have to wear the super-tight hat and scuba gear on my face anymore. She won’t be mad at me if we need to take a breather and try a 3rd time, or even a 4th.
I had a pretty quiet morning, until about eleven o’clock, just staring out my window and watching the baby in the mirror. Mum got to my room just in time to watch the EKG machine roll out of it. The lady who did the tests was nice—she saw that singing songs was on my list of favourite things, so she sang me something beautiful in Italian. I just had an EKG a few weeks ago and everything looked fine; Doctor Awesome just wanted to make sure that I’m not starting to develop pulmonary hypertension, where my heart takes on an extra burden from my lungs not working the way they should. Today’s test looked just fine, too.
Mum took a few minutes to say hello to me and to the nurse, and then wasted no time tossing me into the bath. She always tells me that my neck smells like cheese, but I don’t understand what she means. But Mum’s a superstar and before I knew it I was bathed and weighed, smelling of honey apple blossom, and dressed in a new diaper, a new set of leads and an awesome new sleeper. I fell asleep on Mum’s lap in no time and stayed there until I woke up in my crib about an hour later.
During that hour, as it turns out, my physiotherapist stopped by to play with me. She was disappointed to find me sleeping, and said she’d come by in a few hours when maybe I’d be more rested. Just a few minutes later, another woman from cardiology stopped by, this time with an echo machine. Unaware that I already had an EKG scheduled for this morning, one of the doctors ordered an echo for me today, too. Mum put me back into my crib and I slept right through the procedure, which is nothing more than an ultrasound for my heart. The woman doing this exam wasn’t as fun as the woman doing the EKG, though; she gave Mum a dirty look when she snapped this photo with her cell phone. I heard Mum mutter, “it’s for her babybook” when the lady looked at her sideways.
The results of both the EKG and the echo won’t be conclusive for a few days, but at first glance, nobody seems too concerned about what they saw. It was almost one o’clock by this point and I was fighting sleep, so Mum let me be for a bit to get some lunch, hoping I’d be asleep for my 1:30 visit with the hearing specialist. It’s crazy how the day just keeps going, isn’t it?
Mum came back just before my hearing exam, and just after I puked up all of my lunch. She had just enough time to clean me up and get me changed, but not enough time to calm me down like the tester wanted—apparently the calmer I am for the ear exam, the better the results. I was a far cry from calm. So Mum kangarooed me for a while while the examiner attended to her other charges, and when she returned about 15 minutes later, I was sound asleep on Mum’s lap.
The hearing exam consisted of three stickers stuck to me: one on my shoulder, one on my forehead, and one on the back of my neck. She clipped leads onto the stickers and plugged the ends of the leads into her laptop. Then she put these adhesive earmuffs over my ears and went to fiddling with her laptop for about five minutes. I fussed a bit in Mum’s lap and had a few dips, but nothing a nurse would classify as a desat. Mum and the tech rotated my head to adjust the leads and stickers for the other side, and then repeated the process. I was barely awake as she removed the stickers and I heard Mum telling me what an awesome job I’d done. I passed! Through the crack of one half-open sleepy eye, I saw my physiotherapist. She was here to play with me again.
But I don’t want to play, I want to keep sleeping! Mum put me back in my crib and started with all the tricks she uses to wake me up when she arrives at the hospital. She rubbed my head with my hairbrush, rattled the rattle in my face, poked at my tummy and pulled my blankets off. Grudgingly, I agreed to play with Linda, the PT, for half an hour. Linda showed me a number of toys—my mirror, black and white targets, music boxes—and watched how I interact with them. My doctor had told Mum and Dad last night that she’s a bit nervous that I don’t like to make eye contact, but also said that it could likely just be that after so many people have handled me since I’ve been in the NICU, I just get tired of meeting new faces and only want to focus for my parents. That’s what I’ve been saying!
Overall, though, the PT wasn’t upset with my performance today and said that Mum and Dad are doing all the right things to stimulate me. I’m slightly behind other five-week old babies but given the rough start I had, I’m doing pretty well. And Mum finally got to ask her favourite doctor this morning, “If this was your child, would you have any worries about cerebral palsy or other developmental delays?” The answer was a resounding no. So it sounds like I really do just need to grow and get out of here now!
I’m currently curled up on Dad’s lap while he naps in the glider chair and Mum is home resting. Dad and I spent much of yesterday organizing my closet; sorting out the clothes that have been overworn and outgrown, and he brought me a new wave of outfits that will fit me for the next month or so. I’ve been intentionally having troubles tolerating my feeds lately, resulting in spit-ups that require outfit changes. Keep your eyes open in the near future for a fashion show, NICU style.
Ooh… Daddy’s starting to wake. Time to look cute. Talk to you later!