Sunday, April 18, 2010

Minor update . . .

I should have thought to post this last night.

First, thank you to everyone who has been praying for Gracie.

When we visited yesterday, she was looking good.

Key points from our meeting with the doctor:
  • Her weight was up by 30 grams to 470 . . . "but she will lose weight."
  • Potassium levels were low. --"If they go too high, her heart stops. If they go too low, her heart stops."
  • Her liver function is low. (To be expected with such a tiny/premature baby.) She needs stronger liver function in order to synthesize the proteins she needs in order to grow.
  • Her lungs--in some ways almost "the" most important item--are doing quite well. At the time we were there, they had her on a 32% oxygen mix. (Normal air is 20% oxygen.) In order to keep her lungs from collapsing, they provide just a little extra push, if I recall accurately, once every 20th breath. --Somehow, that doesn't sound quite right to me. I "just" remember that she is taking most breaths on her own--completely (though with the enriched oxygen mix)--and then, once every so many breaths, they kind of "hyper-expand" her lungs (just slightly) to keep them open. The machine showed a number "6"--I didn't ask, but I am going to assume that it might have indicated a minor pressure increase of 6 lbs(???).
  • There are issues with surfactants in the lungs--the need to infuse her lungs every now and then with surfactants in order to maximize oxygen flow-through across the membranes.
  • Blood sugar is an ongoing problem. The brain metabolizes most of the sugar in the blood. Her blood sugar was too low. They gave Gracie something (Sarita thinks it may have been the surfactant; I thought it might have been something for the adrenal glands; sorry, we weren't writing notes!), and, suddenly, the sugar went too high. --"It will take a while before we can get this properly regulated."
Mostly, we were encouraged that she seems to be doing very well. We heard, once more, "She is really feisty"--which is a good thing for a baby like this.

I was astonished at the technical details they have to watch.

One slightly, barely adjusted photo using my better camera. --She is under the bilirubin light, which makes proper exposure extremely difficult:

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