Tuesday, March 25, 2014
A Dangerous Feeling
The first four days after you were taken off of the endotracheal tube, we were nervous. If your ventilator stats started ticking up, it would mean you were slowly losing altitude, at which point you would probably be reintubated. If your ventilator stats started ticking down, it meant you were breathing more and more on your own and would probably be off of the tube for good. For four days, you went neither up nor down. But then, this morning, they went down. And then later today, down again. Strides that were once made over a week you've made in just hours. Your lungs don't crackle perilously like they used to. Your blood oxygen level doesn't swing wildly, anymore.
We were resigned to the fact that you would be coming home with us on oxygen. That you'd spend the first two years of your life with a canula in your nose, tapped into an oxygen canister. But now?... maybe not. When you first arrived in the NICU, you had two tiny neighbors, both of whom were about your age now. They were both clearly worse off than you were, yet neither them went home on oxygen.
To make matters better, it turns out that we may have misplaced 100 grams of your weight last week. All through the week, your weight mysteriously dipped and then you stopped gaining weight entirely. Odd. We assumed that your episode a week ago might have caused you to burn some calories. When I examined your growth chart two days ago, I was dismayed. Your weight was near the 10th percentile, meaning that 90 percent of babies at your gestational age of 32 weeks were heavier than you. Granted micro-preemies always weigh less than babies still "baking" in utero, it was still low.
But then we did your weekly isolette switch (along with switching the inbuilt scale). Incredibly, you were suddenly 100 grams heavier! That's when we realized that you may have been gaining weight all week long, but because the scale was faulty, we simply didn't notice. According to the growth chart, you are now in the 35th percentile instead of 10th.
For the first time in two and a half months I actually feel... safe. Like we might have some semblance of a normal life in our future. Like we might sail through the rest of our stay here with fewer and fewer problems. What a dangerous feeling.