Last night Claire's nurse had to weigh her THREE times to make sure the scale was working properly. She weighed 3 lbs!! Yay for Claire! The increased feedings of breast milk must be doing the job. She had a restful night and was ready for Granny, Big Daddy, and me to visit today.
I was able to hold Claire for about 30 minutes today before we realized she had too much stimulation and her breathing, heart rate, and percentage of oxygen in her blood (pulse ox) started going crazy. She would either hold her breath and make her respiratory rate drop and heart rate drop. Or she would breathe really fast (tachypnea) and her respiratory rate would go really high. Or her pulse ox would drop below the 80% minimum. It was very scary for us for a few minutes! We realized she needed to get back into "Claire's Cottage" (her isolette that the nurses named) and to relax. Once the nurse got her back in and settled she still had several episodes, so she called the doctor in to assess her.
The doctor stated that this is totally normal for preemies (but when it's your child, you can't help but be scared). So we are back to limited stimulation (touching, holding, talking to Claire) so she can just rest. The overstimulation causes all of these things and then in turn she has to work so hard to calm herself down and everything and burns calories. The doctor suggested it could be one of three things causing this (other than the fact that it's a preemie thing): 1. Position - The position of Claire's head and neck could cause her to not breathe correctly. She seems to do much, much better on her stomach, 2. Caffiene Level or Hematocrite - Claire is receiving caffiene doses each day to help stimulate the portion of her brain that tells her body to breathe. Preemies's brains are not fully developed yet, so they need reminders to breathe. As of 5:00, the caffiene level tested in Claire's blood today was a normal level, so this is probably not the answer (they could give her more caffiene). The hematocrite is the red blood cells in her body. The doctors want it to be around 40, and hers had increased above 40, but is now down to 37. That is still ok since 35 is the minimum, but with her tetralogy, they don't want it to decrease too much. We haven't heard back on that blood test from the lab yet. If it's her hematocrite that is low, they would give her another blood transfusion. Or 3. Oxygen - Since Claire is a preemie AND she has Tetralogy of Fallot, her oxygen level in her blood and lungs is different. If the doctor thinks she is not getting enough oxygen to her blood, they would possibly put a cannula in her nose to give her some fresh oxygen so she doesn't have to work so hard to breathe. They are still amazed that Claire has breathed room air on her own since birth. But it may be too much for her now, so they will check that too.
So a lot has gone on today! I am headed back tonight to check her out and see what they determine. Please pray for her to stay strong and for the doctors to do what is best for her. She is looking foward to visitors tomorrow too.
Enjoy the pictures!