Since she was born, Lily has been the smallest of our trio. And today, she was the first to get her own little isolette!
FYI: For those who know nothing of premature babies (like me as of a week-and-a-half ago), an isolette is a small, clear Plexiglas container about the size of toy chest. There are arm windows on each side so the nurse can easily do what they have to do with the baby inside. It is covered over with a blanket so that it’s nice and dark inside, which helps the babies feel more comfortable opening their eyes. The temperature is regulated much more easily than in the beds covered with plastic wrap, and it is much, much more quiet (and therefore calming) for the baby. The NICU nurses don’t put babies into an isolette until they are more stable; it is difficult to get babies into and out of these contraptions, so it is considered a long-term home.
Needless to say, we were very happy that our Lily Bug is in an isolette. She’s been breathing on the respirators since her birth but she’s not had any major issues at all. She’s on medication for her ductus valve and she’s not eating again just yet, but she’s certainly doing very well.
And to make things even better, as Brooke and I were leaving our night visit tonight, Charlie’s nurse was getting him prepped to move into an isolette of his own! Since putting him on the respirator yesterday, he’s only had one single “episode,” and that was when they were suctioning his throat for mucus buildup. Otherwise, he’s had his best day yet.
Annaleigh is still fighting her belly infection. She had three x-rays today to check the size and content of her belly. The first showed a slight decrease in swelling, which is what we want to see. The second two showed no change, but that’s better than a change for the bigger. We need her to keep fighting. Her nurse told us that it will take a week to know if the antibiotics (she’s on three different ones) did their job, but we will see signs in the meantime. The best sign is that she’s very active, always fidgeting around with her arms and legs. So they will keep watching her and x-raying her every eight hours for any signs that the infection is spreading.
Their personalities are really starting to show through now. Charlie is very curious about things and grabs fingers that are placed in his hands. He has a strong grip and beautiful eyes that seem to search out sounds. Lily is the girly-girl, very prim and proper. She likes it quiet and calm, which make her isolette perfect for her. Annaleigh is feisty and energetic. She doesn’t stop moving for very long and never seems all that interested in company.
We brought up The Belly Button Book, another gem by Sandra Boynton, and read to each baby tonight. Annaleigh seemed to enjoy story-time; we could tell because she was stretching and moving around the whole time. Charlie had his eyes open wide and was watching his mommy read to him with great interest. Only Lily didn’t seem to like it. She made faces that looked like she would rather have just been left alone in her new little house. We also brought each baby a photo of us for the babies to keep in their beds. We logically know that their eyesight won’t let them understand the photos but it makes us feel a little better knowing that we’re there watching over them, even when we’re not physically with them.
We drove up to St. Peters twice today, and Brooke is planning two trips tomorrow, though I will only be with her once. Tuesday will be the first day with only one trip. We’re both dreading it, but we know we can’t keep up at this pace; it’s too exhausting and impractical. But our minds are eased knowing how great the around-the-clock care is in the NICU, and we get a little peace of mind every time we see how much the nurses care about our babies.
PS: As we were getting ready to drive to St. Peters for our evening visit, Brooke noticed a praying mantis perched on our front window. It was a very small one, probably a baby. Isn't that supposed to be good luck? We think so, and we're going to choose to believe it was a good omen.