Yesterday afternoon Elise had the biggest "spell" (where she stops breathing and her heart rate drops) I've ever seen her have. Her nurse, Barb, was teaching me a new way of feeding her with a higher flow nipple on the bottle since she's been getting too tired to finish her feedings lately with the lower flow nipple. They always try to send babies home on the high flow so it made sense to try it again.
Elise has only been having spells during feedings. She often has a hard time when she has gas or needs to poop while feeding. This was the case yesterday. Normally I just lean her forward on my hand and pat her back firmly to get her breathing and her heart rate back up, but this time it didn't work. Luckily Barb was right there and took Elise and did her more experienced nurse version and also tried suctioning her mouth to make sure she didn't have milk blocking her airway. That didn't work completely either so then she laid her on her back in bed, unbuttoned her outfit, pulled down the collar of her onesie and rubbed her chest firmly in addition to kind of squeezing her tummy from the sides. This lasted a few minutes or maybe more like several; I lost track of time.
Elise's face was blue, her birthmarks on her forehead and eyes were purple, her body was pale, and she just didn't look like herself at all. After Elise came out of it, she then had a large bowel movement, which indicates that she was probably trying to poop while she ate and just couldn't do both at once. Not a pleasant experience for anyone involved.
I'm glad this happened at the hospital though and not at home. This really showed that Elise is still just immature when it comes to coordinating her eating and with pacing herself while she eats (i.e. sucking, swallowing and breathing).
Today the doctor wrote an order for us to take infant CPR. They don't have all parents do it by default for some reason, but now we'll be taking it for sure. She also wrote an order for Elise to have a nutritional OT/PT consult to evaluate her pacing and to have them establish one way for Elise to be fed in relation to position, the number of sucks to allow before tipping or removing the nipple to teach her to pause for breathing, etc. Many nurses feed differently based on what they've found works well for them, but this consult will establish one way for everyone so that Elise can get the hang of things without constantly having a change in system.
With all of this, it will most likely be another week or so before we take her home. Although we're anxious to have her home, we really want her to be healthy more than home so we're glad that they haven't sent her home yet. Depending on how she's doing when they send her home, they may send her on a home monitor so that we can tell more easily if she's having a spell. But don't worry, they won't send her home while she's consistently having bigger spells.
Today Elise had her first immunization. To be honest, I can't remember exactly which ones were in this combination injection. She took it like a champ though. I held in her pacifier so that the nurse could squeeze a little sucrose (or some type of sweet liquid with a name like that) into the side of her mouth to help counteract the pain. Then then nurse squeezed her right thigh and gave her the injection. She cried while it was happening but then calmed right now, and I held her for a few minutes to help her feel better.
Tomorrow she'll have another injection and then the final one on Friday.
Today Barb looked at the strap height on Elise's car seat and figured out that they were too low for her height, which is a big part of - and possibly the only reason why - she failed her first car seat challenge. They'll wait until at least 24 hours after her last immunization to try again so stayed tuned for an update on that sometime Saturday or later.
On Monday Elise had her final head ultrasound to ensure she didn't have any more/further bleeding on her brain. Her last ultrasound was two weeks after birth and showed grade 1 hemorrhaging that was so small they almost missed it. This ultrasound showed no bleeding. Praise the Lord!
On Tuesday Elise had another eye exam. The exam showed immature vascularization, which is to be expected at her age. She'll have another follow up in two weeks.
Thank you for your continued prayers. As you can see, we're not as far out of the woods as we originally thought. Elise just still needs more time to do some growing up before she'll be ready to venture out of the NICU.