Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gracie Lou: Still hanging in there . . .

It's been about three hours since we left the hospital. I can't believe how emotionally--and physically--draining this can be! And I'm not even the mom or dad. Just . . . wrung . . . out. Dry.

Sarita, Jonelle and I arrived at the hospital with Natalia in tow, just as our pastor also arrived.

When we got to the room, Gracie Lou was laying dead still. Not a twitch. Not a flutter. No motion of breathing. Nothing. But the monitor showed her heartbeat was steady in the 150s. Her blood oxygen percentage, however, was in the mid-50s. Really low. And, we were told, it had gotten down as low as 8% at some point in the morning, "briefly." 16% at some other time. And they were pumping her with 100% pure oxygen.

Major problem: The alveoli--the air sacs--in Gracie Lou's lungs had all more or less "exploded," so that her lungs had become very dysfunctional.

I said, "It's like emphysema."

"Well, that's actually what it's called," said the nurse. (She gave the full name; I don't remember.) "It's a little different from adult emphysema, but functionally, that's the way it is."

"Is there any hope? Can someone come out of this condition?" Jonelle asked.

The nurse said, "There is a 15-year-old boy--he is now my 'friend' on Facebook. He was in exactly the position that Gracie Lou is in right now. Actually, he was worse. Every sign showed he was going to die. So we actually took him off of the respirator, took him out of the incubator, and handed him to his mother to hold him while he died. . . . But as she held him, all his vital signs picked up. And, as I said, he is now my friend on Facebook.

"So, yes. They can be healed."

With this encouragement, we gathered around, Dave and Jonelle placed their hands on Gracie Lou through the side holes of the incubator, and we started praying. It wasn't immediately, but I can say that within two or three minutes, her oxygen number suddenly started climbing . . . 60, 61, back down to 57, 58, 62, 63 . . . back down again, then into the mid-60s . . . back down, but not below 60 . . . --Hope!

Jonelle prayed that they would go to 94. ("Whoa!" I thought. "No higher! That's on the extreme high end of what we would want!")

Gracie Lou's blood pressure, meanwhile, spiked. Her heartbeat was normal/steady. Her oxygen levels were fine. But blood pressure was up in the mid-90s systolic/mid- to upper-40s diastolic. (The nurse said they look only at a third number [an average?] that was in the mid- to upper-60s.) "Where is that one number supposed to be?" I asked.

"We like to see it about equal to the baby's gestational age. So, at 27 weeks, it should be about 27.

So 68 or 65 was really high.

The staff were concerned about the high blood pressure possibly blowing a blood vessel in Gracie Lou's brain. They wanted to do an ultrasound to check on her brain.

It was about then, with the tiny room way overcrowded, and it getting past 1 o'clock, and nobody having eaten, I suggested maybe I would get some lunch.

I never got back. But as Sarita and I ate out in a park nearby with Natalia, Jonelle came down to give us a good report.

"It's unofficial. The tech, of course, isn't allowed to give a final word on anything, but he said the brain scan looked normal to him; he didn't see any blood."

Beyond that, Gracie Lou's blood oxygen levels had actually climbed through the 70s . . . into the 80s . . . and even hit 93!


Latest news, just a few minutes ago: Her blood pressure has come down. It was 37. (That's where it has been and no one is particularly concerned. --65: That's a concern. 37: We're okay.)

Okay. That's the latest.

Again, thank you for tracking with us and praying.

Truly. Thanks.
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