• Alexandra Smith

Gwen Update - 4/13/20

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

4/13/20

I got to spend the day with Gwen today. One of the more rewarding parts of the day was learning that she is not only providing us verbal cues now, but that I am able to find the distinction in those cues. Click here to read more about verbal cues.


She's beginning to "root" well with a pacifier, and she loves the milk drops on it. During her 3 p.m. care time today, she just kept looking up and smiling when she was receiving her oral care. When she was done with her pacifier, she curled her fingers up in her blankets and sucked on that. The nurses and therapists say this is good and to keep encouraging her to do this, since it allows her to find ways of calming herself in stressful situations.


Another growth advancement that Gwen has made is that her body is able to regulate its temperature, so she is now in an open crib. We're slowly getting her to the point that she'll be able to practice safe sleeping.


Last night at rounds we received an updated weight of four pounds and seven ounces. She's officially more than doubled her birth weight. Preemie diapers are starting to get tight on her, as are preemie clothes. I was told it might be good to start getting her newborn onesies ready. Her arms and legs are still too short for pants and long sleeves.


I also talked with a representative from Children's Hospital today at Gwen's bedside. She is going to be meeting with Children's Hospital corporate staff to discuss implementing new technology so parents can video chat with nurses and see their babies while there's the one visitor per day restriction.



4/14/20

Gwen's dad is with her today. So far, Gwen was bumped up to a larger CPAP mask due to her continuous growth. This is also the first Tuesday since the beginning of her NICU tenure that she will not be getting labs done. Her only test today was an external MRSA swab. The NICU conducts this weekly on all babies since they're so susceptible to infection.


Gwen received her second eye exam today. The exam is conducted every two weeks to see if the cells in her eyes are still premature and not growing correctly. Without testing, the NICU staff would be unable to provide any therapy to help Gwen's cells to form properly, and that could cause blindness. The exam showed that Gwen's eyes are still premature, but there are no signs of degeneration at this time.


Last night, Gwen gained one ounce, totaling in a new weight of four pounds and eight ounces.


4/15/20

My day with Gwen today. Big things happened! Gwen was lowered to a CPAP of 5 and has held her stats. The neonatologist this week said he plans to trial her off CPAP this weekend. This makes both Zach and I excited and nervous. If Gwen's trial is successful then she will be heading to "the zoo" in 2-3 weeks. Her occupational therapist has been giving us more information on verbal and nonverbal cues, specifically around feeding and comfort. I imagine we'll be learning a lot more over the next few days.


4/16/20

Another day with daddy! Gwen is four pounds and nine ounces. Zach went in to Gwen's care today knowing that we were going to practice cue based feeding, meaning that we would tell the nurse if we think Gwen could take a bottle depending on how her care was going. Come to find out, we've already been doing this! We received news today that Gwen is coming off her bubble CPAP machine tomorrow. This is a HUGE step! We're excited and nervous. Her nurse said that when I get there in the morning they'll take it off. Enjoy this picture of Gwen without ANYTHING on her face. We sure are.





4/17/20

Today is the big day! Err... was going to be. Gwen was not taken off her CPAP today. She had an event last night that lasted 16 seconds. While her night nurse said the event was not chartable, meaning that she self-corrected, the nurse practitioner said the event lasted too long and her oxygen dropped too low, and recommended another two days on the CPAP machine to the neonatologist. So we're going to trial off on Sunday.


We had a good day, though. Right off the rip, Gwen had a fit. The nurse and I checked all the normal protocol: Air on belly? Nope. Poopy diaper? Nope. Too hot? A little, so we unbuttoned her onesie. Finally the nurse said, "I think she hears her mama and wants you to hold her." So I held her in a swaddle. She looked at me wide-eyed for a while, even smiling at times. I decided to start singing to her- "Hanging on the Telephone" by Blondie. After a verse, Gwen threw up her "stop signs," or her hands all flared out in front of her face. So I stopped singing and she slept for over an hour.


After that, we had a good care time. Gwen kept smiling and playing with me while we were doing care. When I pumped after her care, she just kept laying in her crib and talking to me. Just little sounds here and there. All the smiles continued throughout her 3 p.m. care. Even though we didn't take her off her CPAP, I still had a great day with Gwen.



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