July 14, 2013

day 4.

Today was a pretty "normal" day. I'm starting to get a sense of what the next several weeks will be like, and as hard as I know some days will seem, it's totally do-able.

I woke up, showered, pumped (nothing), and got ready. Then John and I went down to see Ruthe for about an hour, until I needed to try pumping again and then take a nap. John went home and went to Sacrament Meeting with my mom, and then she came up to the hospital so he could stay home and sleep.

I pumped again (feeling a lot like a dairy cow) but this time there was something in the bottle!! It was literally three drops of liquid. And only from one side. But the nurse told me to just keep at it and the amounts will start to double pretty fast. The next couple times I've pumped today I have gotten a little more. I feel like I'm wasting space in the storage freezer with all my practically-empty bottles, but they said even the tiniest amount of breast milk will be good for Ruthe. So I'll keep bringing it in, droplets at a time!

I spent some more time down in the NICU with my mom and Ruthe, but the nurse needed to run a test on her, so we had to leave. (Technically we could have stayed, but Ruthe can't be stimulated at all for 30 minutes before the test and that's just too long for me to sit and stare at my baby without touching her.) Plus, I'm on a very strict pumping schedule and I needed another nap. While we were there though, we got a chance to talk with the head-honcho doctor (her name is Dr. Ramsey) and she told us that they were going to try to wean Ruthe off the respirator today. They'd start by changing the settings so the machine was just holding the pressure in her lungs and she had to breathe all on her own. If she did well with that, and kept all her levels where they needed to be, they could take the breathing tubes out and just put her on oxygen through a nasal cannula. We talked a little bit more about her surgery and the recovery times. I'd been wondering a lot about if/when we'd be able to start tummy-time, but that won't be until her sternum is healed, around six weeks after surgery. So it looks like I'll just have to hold my baby nugget all day every day. Oh darn!

Tyler and my dad stopped by to see Ruthe so we went down for another visit. She was still sleeping, but Tyler did get to see a couple of her grouchy faces. My whole family seems to think that Ruthe looks the most like him... and I guess she does kind of have the same nose he did as a baby. Hopefully hers doesn't get as big when she grows up!!

A lot of my time here is spent standing at Ruthe's bedside until I'm sleepy, going upstairs for a nap, and then back down to start all over again. When my parents and Tyler left to get some dinner I stayed with Ruthe until it was time to pump again. The nurses changed one of her lines, and I watched that and got to hold her hand without the lid of her bed down for a little while. I pretty much take what little blessings I can get down there! I went back to my room to pump and took a nice long nap until my mom and John were both back and bugging me that I needed to pump again. (total dairy cow.)

I'm trying to wean myself off my pain meds, so I went 8 hours between doses today. It wasn't so bad, so hopefully I'm not addicted. When my nurse came to give me my 9pm dose she also took the staples out of my incision! That hurt a little bit. It's not really supposed to, but two of the staples on the left side were in there pretty tight and my skin had started to attach to them. John said they bled a little bit, but as soon as all twelve were out and the steri-strips were on it felt a whole lot better!!

As soon as that was done I pumped one more time and went to the bathroom (the big important one that every nurse asks you about every time they see you!) and we went straight back down to see Ruthe. And it's a good thing we did! As soon as we got there a nurse came by and said "We're going to take out the breathing tube now," all non-chalant, like its not the most exciting thing we've heard since her first cry!

No more breathing tube!!

Still pretty grouchy, though.  Little stinker!

I wanted to jump up and down and have a party right then. Mostly because I hate looking at that tube, but also because not having it meant that I'd be able to hear her make some sweet little baby noises! If you remember, they put her on the respirator before I had a chance to see her again on Thursday. I really had only ever heard her make any noise for the five minutes she was still in the OR with me.

It happened pretty fast. They suctioned all the nasty, thick saliva out of her mouth, carefully peeled the tape off her face, and just pulled the tube right out. Done and done. They let us take a couple pictures of her before they put her oxygen on, but those little tubes in her nose are MUCH easier to handle than the giant one stuck down her throat.

Open eyes!  Pretty rare on a sedated baby.

And she cried!! Only a little. It was more of a whine mixed with a growl. Like she was saying, "why would you ever put that in my throat and what took you so long to take it out and let's never ever ever do that again, ok?!"

She has the sweetest little voice. I can already tell. Even though I've already compared it to a tiny dinosaur. I could just sit and listen to her little noises all day long. In fact, that's probably what I'll be doing tomorrow. So, if you need me, forget about it. I'll be incredibly busy.

I still can't believe they took her tube out already! When Dr. Ramsey mentioned it this morning I figured it would take at least a day, maybe longer, to get to that point. Unfortunately, they'll have to re-intubate her for surgery this week, and then it will be another day at least post-op before they could take it out again. But now we know she can breathe on her own, and I'm pretty sure she'll be mad enough about it that's she'll show us all what she's made of to get it taken out quickly again. She's my little champion. I'm so proud of how well she's done so far.

To be honest, I was a little afraid before she was born that she would just look like a sad, helpless, sick baby and that I wouldn't know how to handle it. That's not my Ruthe! She is strong and healthy and I just know this little heart defect won't stop her from doing anything!! I love my little Baby Nugget so much more than I can express. She is the best baby John and I could have asked for. She is already teaching us so much about love and patience and the promises of eternity.

We are so blessed to be her parents.

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