Saturday, November 8, 2008

Seeing the World for the First Time

Yesterday, during Kangaroo Care, Brynn opened both eyes for the first time! At least I think it was the first time--unless she sneaked them open last night when no one was watching. I like to flatter myself that she just wanted to see her mama. I don't know if it's true, but it's fun to believe :)Here she looks like she's posing for the new "Home Alone" video cover:Sucking on her fingers is actually a super good sign, according to some books I'm reading. First, she's developing her sucking reflex for future breast feeding; and second, she's learning to comfort herself in this new high-stimulation environment:I've also been really grateful for all my blessings lately. Brynn is doing so incredibly well that I almost hate to hear the other parents discuss their babies' situations. There are so many sick babies in the NICU--many of whom are in Brynn's exact situation (24-26 week old preemies).  So it hits a little too close to home when other parents are talking about heart problems, meningitis, infections, bleeding in the brain, and unexplainable deterioration of lungs. On one hand, my heart goes out to these parents knowing how awful their anguish must be; but on the other hand I just don't want to hear about the list of problems Brynn "might" develop. In my opinion, ignorance really is bliss. I'd much rather deal with whatever happens one day at a time than have to think about all the possible complications that could arise. Still, my biggest reaction to the other parents' stories is that I feel increasingly grateful every day.

Brynn's lungs are right where they'd expect them to be at her age. In addition, her brain looks GREAT with no internal bleeding or swelling. Her heart also looks excellent on all levels except for a tiny little PDA (a passage in the heart that is necessary in a womb environment but that is supposed to close after birth). If it were bigger, she'd require surgery like the little Asian girl I wrote about below, but since even full-term babies have these small PDAs, none of the doctors are worried.  They fully expect it to close on its own. Plus, she has NO IVs--not even to supplement nutrition--because she's eating the maximum amount of breastmilk that a baby her size can eat (this is called "full feeds"). What's incredible is that the staff doesn't usually expect full feeds for several more weeks. She's way ahead of the curve there and gained 20 grams (nearly an ounce) just today! My nurse yesterday said that since she's eating so well, she'll start to gain weight pretty quickly. And when she gains weight, that's when all the systems will start developing.

So basically, she's doing remarkably well. And although the other parents' stories remind me that anything can happen tomorrow, I can't help but feel overwhelmingly thankful that she's doing so well today.

Finally, I just want to add that I love my little Brynn. I love her little shoulder blades when she wiggles. I love watching her little eyebrows raise as high as she can raise them in order to open her eyes. I love seeing her fight the nurses (she's getting a reputation for being "the feisty one") because being a fighter is exactly what we need her to be. She's just wonderful. I feel like my life is just wonderful, too, and I can't think of anything to complain about.

I love you all,


Alison Ward said...

Natalie, you a so strong! You are an inspiration to me and I think about you and your little family all the time. A friend of ours here just had twins at 29 weeks, well about 6 weeks ago, and one of them is having major complications, some with long lasting effects. I'm just amazed at how well Brynn is doing in comparison, even though she was about 4 weeks earlier. I'm so happy for you and for the great mom you already are! Keep updating, you're feeding the rest of us with faith we need in our own lives:)

diane hunsaker said...
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Marie said...

You have such a great attitude! The pictures with her eyes open are cute.

diane hunsaker said...

I can't wait to see the changes in Brynn next week. I am going to look for some pink boxing gloves for her to wear with the nurses! We love our feisty little granddaughter, and the great parents she has for coaches.

Monique said...


Dave Young helped us find your blog. We (the Jensens), the Youngs, and Bryn are rooting and praying for your little family in a big way!

Love from the Wheaton Ward,

Monique and Tim

Dana said...

Each day there are new miracles with Baby Brynn. I love reading about her progress.

Murray Ohana said...

Natalie, The kids and I loved seeing the pictures of Brynn...we have never seen a baby so tiny. We were very happy to learn of the progress she is making. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing experience with us. You are a very special mother and a beautiful writer. You all will continually be in our thoughts and prayers! Love, Rachel and family

Cheryl said...

Thanks for your words Natalie. I needed some perspective today.

Erica said...

So exciting that she is doing so well! Keep up the good work! She is beautiful. Love, Steve and Erica Dryden and Family