Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our NICU story.

Lucy and Ellory arrived on February 23, 2017 at 9:09 and 9:11pm because my water broke. They had a scheduled c-section for March 6, but they wanted out before then! The c-section went very well and they were pretty good weights, considering how early they were (Lucy was 18 inches and 5 pounds 7 ounces, and Ellory was 18.5 inches and 5 pounds 10 ounces). They went straight to the NICU because they were born before 36 weeks. (We did not know that that was an automatic, and we wish someone would have told us that!)

We are so thankful that they have been doing well the entire time and that we never had anything dangerous or really serious happen. Ellory had to go on the C-PAP machine for a couple hours after birth to help her breathe better because she didn't have good pressure in her lungs, but that was short lived, and it was off before the first time I even fed them. Lucy didn't have to go on anything. Praise God that they were that healthy!

They were put on IV's right away to help with hydration/nutrition, and then also received NG tubes from their nose to their stomach, so they could be fed through the tube in case they didn't nurse well. We have tried nursing from the start, and they have done really well. Nurses and doctors have commented several times on how well they are doing, especially for their age. It was slower at the beginning, especially with Lucy, but they caught on pretty quickly and have been doing quite well. They kept the IV's for a couple days, and gradually increased their tube feedings (when needed) also, starting with 5 CC's and going all the way to 50 CC's. If they nursed for less than 5 minutes, they were given the entire feeding through the tube; if they nursed for 5-10 minutes, they got half the feeding; and if they nursed more than 10 minutes, they didn't need anything through the tube. They were able to go up to a full feeding (50) on Wednesday and get their tubes out on Thursday (when they were one week old). That means that they can now nurse/eat whenever they want, but they are basically on the same three hour schedule (6, 9, 12, and 3).

Both also had to go under the jaundice lights for a few days in the beginning for having high bilirubin levels. They raised slightly after going off of them and we worried they would have to go back under, but we are thankful they didn't. Ellory also had to use a special fungal treatment diaper cream every other change, because she had a “yeasty bottom” that looked red and pimply, but the cream helped a lot and it looks much better.

Basically, the main reason they were in the NICU was to learn how to eat better/consistently on their own and to gain weight. Lucy's bilirubin score went down, and we need Ellory's to start to go down too in order to go home. We also need two days of weight gain to be able to go home, which Lucy needs to work on, because she's lost more than she's gained.

They got their IV out earlier in the week, and were able to get their NG tubes out on Thursday night (3/2), so then we had to have two days of weight gain and Ellory's bilirubin score needed to go down to be able to go home. We also started completing all the check out tests, like watching the safety videos, hearing/heart screens, and car seat tests. Thankfully her score went down, but on Friday night Ellory had gained weight, but Lucy did not. We were really disappointed and went to bed sad, but in the morning when I went back to feed, we had great news that the doctor has reweighed them later in the night, and Lucy had gained! That meant that we could count Friday as a plus day because they only have to enter their weights in once, so we could count the later ones instead. Yay! We all prayed really hard that weekend for weight gain. Saturday was another good day and they gained again (a small amount, but we'll take it!), and we were able to go home on Sunday (3/5).

It was a joyous day to be able to go home, though we are thankful for the great care they received and the many amazing nurses. The hardest part was being away from Norah for so long, so going home and being together as the five of us is a huge blessing. Watching Norah meet her sisters was so great! We wouldn't wish a NICU stay on anyone, but are thankful that it went well for us and that the girls are healthy!

(A post with more NICU pictures to come too!)

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