Hello! How surreal it feels to find myself here, blogging about the baby who just days ago I was so sure would be staying put for at least another few weeks! Needless to say, these past few days have flown by in a whirlwind of exciting happenings and emotional highs and lows, and I want to thank you all for the many kind comments you have left in response to Darren's posts. I cannot say how much they mean to us! We feel your prayers, so please keep them coming! I know our little Kristen needs them. I'm sure at some point I'll post a more detailed account of her birth (which was very scary and very quick), but for now, I have time for just a short update for those of you who are so graciously checking in with us.
After adapting so well immediately following her birth (maintaining her temperature, tolerating feedings, breathing only room air), we are disappointed to report that she is having a little more difficulty now, which we knew from her doctor and nurses to expect but which saddens us all the same. She is very jaundiced and is currently under phototherapy lights to bring her bilirubin levels down, and she was having a hard time keeping her temperature up yesterday. (Being under the lights has helped bring and keep them back up.) She was also getting increasingly sluggish with her feedings; whereas before she was drinking 20cc easily from a bottle, she was taking only about 5cc with much coaxing by yesterday afternoon. So, to give her a bit of a rest, she's now receiving only IV fluids. She's also (most dishearteningly for us) on oxygen, as she began experiencing episodes of apnea and decreased heart rate late yesterday. I'm reassured by the fact that these are, actually, all expected outcomes with a preterm infant, but I just feel so helpless and vulnerable watching her go through all of this.
Yesterday's homecoming was, for me, so bittersweet. I cried because I had missed my "big kids" so much. I cried because I was so touched by the many posters and cards they had made for me, and by the beautiful Easter centerpiece my Aunt had created as a surprise for me. I cried because I was home, and Kristen was not...and likely won't be for a long while. Basically, I'm a wreck. But Darren has been to the hospital already this morning, and says that Kristen is looking good. There is a possibility that she may come out from under the lights today. I'm going to go up and see her after lunch, and hopefully Darren or I will be able to make it up there again this evening. I've been using a breast pump every two hours to give her the added benefit of colostrum. I know and trust the nurses caring for her. I know that everything that can be done for her, is being done for her. But the watching and waiting is just so hard! I'm trying to focus on a point in the future when she will be home and healthy and happy, and just take these days one at a time. Darren and I feel so uplifted and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we've received from you and from family, and we just can't thank you all enough! I'll try to report again later on Kristen, and I know there are posts I meant to write before all of this that I may get to later...or not. In the meantime, here are two more pictures of our precious girl, under her blue lights with Daddy watching over her. She is so beautiful! God is so very, very good.