Judith had another good day today. She finished 2 complete bottles today - previously, she would get her usual 3 bottles a day, but normally would only finish 1. Judith finished 1 for one of her favorite nurses at 9 this morning, and she finished another for me at 3 (yay - it's about time, little one!). I'm excited, because she's proving that she's getting the hang of the whole suck/swallow/breathe thing, and she's showing us that she can complete feeds from the bottle and not have part of a feed given by gavage. I have a feeling that it may be a slow process building up to taking all of her feeds by bottle, but I also have a good feeling that something's just going to click with her (all of the nurses say this will happen, but when it does is different for each baby) within the next week or 2.
Her isolette temperature is down below 28 degrees celsius (as of 3:00, it was 27.8). They have to lower it because her body temperature keeps going up. The doctor on-call this week and the nurse practitioners didn't really want to give the order to start weaning her because she's still small, but my feisty girl has other plans for them - she's telling them that, because her body temp is going up, she needs the air temp in her isolette to be lower AND she's also showing them that she can handle the change! Go, Judith, go! My goal for her this coming week (at least for the first half, because I really think it's possible for her to do) is to see her in an open crib by mid-week. To get to that point, she needs to be in her closed isolette for 12 hours with an air temperature of 27 degrees. After that, the doctors will have to give the order for the nurses to pop her top, and then I believe she has to be in the isolette for at least another 12 hours. After that, they'll move her to a regular crib like a term baby would use in a newborn nursery.
Once we hit that goal, our next one is to get her to take all of her feeds by bottle. Once she's doing that for 12-24 hours, they'll remove the feeding tube from her nose, and within 48 hours (after the car seat test and if she doesn't have any A/B episodes) she could be home with us. Neither John or I can wait!
Oh, and I have to mention that they stopped more of her meds - she is no longer on Reglan for the digestion/reflux issues, and her residuals are still minimal. She's not spitting up, but I'm wondering if she's having some minor reflux because she really doesn't want to burp sometimes. She tends to hold her breath a bit and tries to suppress the feeling. She lets it out eventually, but I have a heck of a time trying to burp her. We'll see if they have to send her home on any reflux meds, or if her pediatrician will prescribe some for her eventually (I'm hoping for no reflux, therefore no need for meds). She's also off of the caffeine! Judith hasn't had any apneas or bradys for almost a complete week. Tomorrow will be the 1 week mark, and she looks like she'll be able to make it - she didn't have any today!
On the home front, the dogs are a bit upset with things today. Well, at least Buster is. Mom & Dad brought my former dresser up today, and Buster watched it come into the house with a very sad look on his face. He knows that the presence of this "new" piece of furniture means a change, and he just doesn't like change. He makes a wonderful Lutheran dog (ha ha)! He was fine once we got it in place in the nursery. I just don't understand how to help him with all of this change - I remind him every day that we love him, and that he's not going to be given away just because his little sister will be coming home soon. Maybe it'll be easier once she's actually home and he can see that things will change a bit, but he'll still get plenty of attention.
I am mesmerized by the amount of laundry I'm doing already, and the baby's not even home yet! I have another full basket of clothes, blankets, and a few extra sheets that I have to wash along with the bibs and outfits she's dirtying in the hospital. I did 3 loads this week alone, and next week's not looking any better. *sigh* It doesn't look like it'll ever let up...
Honestly, I'm just plain exhausted anymore. Half of the time I don't know what day it is, everything seems to run together, and I feel like every day is a frantic race to try to get the house ready for Judith to come home and to get the daily work completed so we can go to the NICU to see her and feed her. I realize that the exhaustion won't magically go away once she's home, and I understand that sleep will be a lost reality. But at least we won't have to worry about a 45 minute car ride every day and we won't have to worry about all of the emotional stress of how she's doing etc. I'm ready for that next step, and at the same time I'm worried about how things will go when she's home and we don't have the monitors to rely on 24/7.
For now, I should just focus on our next goal (the getting into the open crib thing) and keep reminding myself that we need to take baby steps.