Miss Ella is now spending her third night in her new digs. When we left Ella on Monday night she was safely tucked in her isolette in intensive care nursery B. When I called to check on her on Tuesday morning they couldn't find her in nursery B (this made my heart skip a beat or two!). They soon tracked her down in intermediate nursery A! They had been talking about moving her for a few days and we were warned that we should not be alarmed if we came in and found that she had been moved. Now this doesn't mean that Ella is going home any time soon but it is a step in the correct direction. What is really means is that she was the healthiest in nursery B and they needed the room. Monday night a set of 25 week triplets arrived causing much activity and need for some space.
So while we are happy to have moved up in the NICU world it is hard to be low baby on the totem pole in nursery A. Ella's alarms go off more than the other babies and it is so hard to see the other Moms get to give their babies baths in real tubs and breast feed their babies. I know we will get to this point but I yearn to have some of those normal mommy moments. I am trying to be patient but it is so hard!
Ella is still having her spells but she did much better for the first part of our visit today. She didn't spell for her entire kangaroo care time which was so nice. They changed her feeds last night and upped her calories but lowered the volume. It seems that Ella is suffering from a common problem of preemies, reflux. As her very little tummy gets full the muscle that keeps her stomach closed off from the esophagus is pushed open by the pressure of her full belly. This forces acidic stomach contents up and since Ella doesn't know how to swallow yet her response is to drop her respiration causing her heart rate to drop (a spell). By decreasing the volume the hope is that she will reflux less and thus spell less. It seemed to work pretty well. Both Shazam and I look forward to the spells being a memory.
Next week we have an eye exam to check on Ella's retinas and perhaps some pretend breast feeding. Since taking all her feeds by mouth is one of the criteria she must meet to come home this is a step in the right direction.
So what does Ella need to do (or not do) to get home? To get sprung from the NICU Ella must be able to maintain her temperature in an open crib, have no spells for 5 days, and take all her feeds by mouth (breast or bottle). There is no longer a weight requirement so I would guess Ella will be coming home under 5 lbs. She of course is working on all of this and we will be aiming on getting home by her due date (although we are hoping she can come home a little before that).
Ella was 2 lb 9.5 oz this morning. She has been gaining about 15 grams a day. While we would love to see slightly larger gains slow and steady seems to be Ella's way so I guess there is no rushing her. She does seem so much bigger then when she was born. I know it seems crazy but she just seems so much sturdier.
Keep those positive vibes coming our way as we both need and appreciate them. Thanks for coming on this journey with us.