18 March 2011

3.18 Update

By Bethany Chu from iamknittogether.blogspot.com

Penelope - 1940 g (4 lbs 4 oz) Lydia - 8 lbs!

Ooooook. It's past time for an update and I'm sorry for the delay. Things got a little crazy with my neck situation, Jonathan getting ready to leave, and life in general. The good news is that there is good news (and some bad, but mostly good.)

Lydia is gaining weight like a champ, learning to sleep 4 hour stretches at night, increasing her food, and becoming more alert. She's starting to follow things with her eyes and definitely looks directly at us when we talk to her. Precious. Her gas seems to be closer to a normal level since we've been using Dr Browns bottles and we're getting used to washing all of the extra parts! She had an eye appointment and her eyes are steadily maturing. She'll be getting her second Synagis shot this week to protect her from RSV and once the season is over she'll be able to be out and about more! Can't wait to show her off!

Penelope has had many positive steps too. She started taking feeds from a bottle once a day, then to twice a day, and last night she took her entire 30 cc (1 oz) feeding from a bottle. It must have been her going away present for her daddy because it meant the world to him to give her her first full feeding. She proved that she really knows what she's doing by repeating her performance today! I'm almost hesitant to say this but it seems she's turning a corner with her growth. She's also started to gain weight steadily for the last week. She's gaining an ounce or more most days and hasn't been losing. It's so exciting to call in the middle of the night when we're up feeding Lydia to see if they've weight Penny yet. It reminds me of when Jonathan and I were first dating and I would anxiously await a call or an email. That feeling of calling to check on her is similar to the feeling of checking my email hoping for something good from him. Silly? Yes. But true. Her oxygen flow is being weaned VERY slowly in order to give her the best chance at success with her bottle feedings and it seems to be working for her. Her hernia surgery, which we're all a little nervous about, will be done when the surgical department feels that she's big enough. That tends to be about 2.5-3 kg which is about 5.5-6.5 lbs. She'll have to be reintubated for the surgery so the longer it takes the better chance her lungs have a healing and getting stronger. Our little fighter has just a few more battles to win.

Speaking of battle for Penelope, her bad news is nothing catastrophic but it is a concern for us and a matter of immediate prayer. Last week the ophthalmologist saw the beginning stages of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) which basically is the growth of extra blood vessels in the eye that if left untreated could end up detaching the retina and causing blindness. It's a common thing for preemies and they've come a long way in the treatment of it and the study of the cause of it. They're still not sure exactly what causes it but believe in is in some way related to over exposure of oxygen. Our sweet Penny has stage 2 ROP in her left eye and stage 3 in her right. What used to require hours of laser surgery and total sedation involving intubation, now can be fixed with a single shot per eye in just a few minutes. Because Penny's eyes are worsening so quickly, the retinal team has been called in today to do the shot in her right eye. If they get there today and her left eye appears to be in stage 3 (the qualifying stage for the shot) then they will go ahead and do the shot on the left eye as well. Now I know that a shot in the eye makes most people cringe (me included) but she's been having weekly eye exams involving numbing drops and dilating drops as well as the doctor using the eye speculum to keep her lids open. This procedure will be no more traumatic than that. She won't be happy about it, but it sure beats having to be on the ventilator again! So this is a prayer request but also a praise for what the Lord has done through the development of medical technology. Please pray for Penny right now that the medicine does it's job quickly and without any complications. She doesn't need any more complications!

Now, about the big baby in the family. Apparently my body decided to be quite clear about the level of stress it has been under and how it feels about that. It tried to warn me with the eye twitch and the discombobulation, the Lord even provided me with the means to manage the stress with medication, but nooooo, I was stubborn. I'm listening now! The muscle where my neck meets my shoulder has taken on the position of slowing me down. It began to spasm on Sunday and didn't become close to fully functional again until yesterday. Thanks to multiple visits from my friend the massage therapist, and a few different kinds of muscle relaxers and pain medications, we found our way through. But it wasn't pretty. We had to call in the help of some special "troops" and appreciate them more than they could ever know! It really taught us alot about depending on others and trusting that they are the hands and feet of God helping us in our time of trouble. It sounds a little over dramatic, but it's a really humbling experience to call someone to come to your rescue. It's even more humbling to have to ask them to help you put your shirt on, scratch your face, or get out of the bed...but that's a story for another day.

With all of this going on, it became glaringly obvious to me that something had to give or I wasn't going to be able to keep going. There are very few things that I have a choice about at this point in my life, and the choice to continue pumping breast milk for the girls is one that I have taken great joy in. It was the way that I was able to mother them when I wasn't allowed to do anything else. It's the most amazing gift that the Lord gives to provide exactly the nutrition that a baby needs (and at just the right price!). It was a very difficult decision for me to choose to stop doing this, but it is one that I had to make. The physical demands, the emotional toll it had (when I was in the other room pumping alone while other people got to hold and feed my baby), and the amount of time that it was taking away from the rest of the demands of life just became too much. So, farewell little pumping machine. See ya sucker! (hehe...get it?)

Finally, in regard to the decision about the antidepressants, we've decided that it's best for our family to use the medications that the Lord has allowed people to create in order to function properly. My mom made a great point that really helped me come to grips with it. If the doctor had told me that I had hypertension and that I needed blood pressure medication, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to take it to help my body function. This is the same thing. My body needs some help for this season to be working at it's best so that I can be the best for my family. So, I'll be taking the pills, and making passing jokes about people not making me mad because I'm a little crazy. It'll be fun.

And last but not least, this is Jonathan's last full day at home before leaving for 7 weeks. Needless to say this is going to be exceptionally difficult for all of us and we covet your prayers greatly. He'll be on a secular tour which means that the environments he'll be in may not be the most positive, and the tour schedule itself will be pretty grueling. Not to mention that Penny will be having her hernia surgery, probably coming home, and both girls will grow and change so much in almost 2 months! Fortunately we have all of the video chatting available to us that we can afford and plan to make sure they hear their daddy's voice as often as possible. It's just going to be tough no matter what....but he's not going to war and he is coming home and he loves us all very much...so it could be much much worse.

Specific Prayer

* Penelope's eye treatment today to go smoothly and without complication
* Penelope's left eye to go ahead and qualify for treatment so she doesn't have to go through this again
* PRAISE for Penelope's weight gain
* PRAISE for Penelope's bottle feedings
* Our little family as we deal with Jonathan's being away
* Lydia's continued growth and development
* Bethany's crazy body

I'm sorry that this was so long and I didn't proof read it so if there's a grammatical error or it doesn't make sense...just use your imagination :) We love you all so very much and will appreciate your prayers until the day we die!

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