Once again we had a day of ups and downs. Veronica was extubated earlier and taken off the ventilator. She returned to the CPAP which she was on for most of the first two weeks of her life. This was a good sign but we knew that there would always be a chance that she would need to return to the ventilator. I was in the NICU at the time the decision was made to extubate, but I was asked to step away. Apparently the procedure is invasive and not one they recommend parents observing.
While I was there, I was also informed that Veronica’s feedings would increase to every three hours. She would still be getting 1 cc of breast milk but after 12 hours, they would look to increase the amount and assess whether Veronica could tolerate the increase. These are all good signs. And if I haven’t mentioned it before, I am a huge fan of breast milk. Research has shown that the benefits of breast milk for premature infants are even more significant than they are for term infants. Pre term breast milk is actually better than term breast milk. It’s as if my body knows that Veronica came early and is producing the best milk it can for her. Pre term milk contains more protein, fat, calcium and nutrients than term milk. It’s truly amazing. So the fact that Veronica is starting to get more milk in her is a very positive step.
When I left the hospital I was hopeful and feeling good about the day’s progress. I called the NICU a few hours later to see how Veronica was doing on the CPAP and all was well. Unfortunately, when Andrew returned in the evening, Veronica needed to be re-intubated. Her carbon dioxide levels were slowly rising and she was not doing well on the CPAP. So she is back on the ventilator and will probably remain on it for a few more days.
Hearing this was concerning and I wondered if Veronica was getting worse. When I returned to the hospital this evening, I was assured by the doctor on duty that Veroncia is not getting worse – but her recent breathing challenges are likely the result of the infection she has been fighting (which by the way, was E. coli). I guess I didn’t realize the effect that the infection had on her. I thought once they figured out what it was, they could treat it and be done with it. But the infection truly was a set back for Veronica and impacted her entire being. The good thing, however, is that once the infection is completely gone, the expectation is that Veronica will resume the progress she was making and her breathing will return back to what it was, which by the way was excellent for a 24 weeker.
So while the reintubation was a bit of a disappointment, I am trying to focus on the fact that Veronica still is doing better than most other babies her age. It’s still not easy, but there is comfort in knowing that.