Wednesday evening I was able to hold Natalie despite her being on the vent. It was incredible. She tolerated it for over an hour and slept peacefully the entire time. It is a bit unusual to hold your baby with vent tubes taped to your arm and an infusion pump filled with breast milk on your lap. At the same time it felt like the most natural thing in the world. I spent the first ten minutes crying at the relief of finally having her in my arms.
When the doctor stopped by he gave us a good report and felt she was responding well to the steroids. He predicted she would be off the vent by Thursday evening but neither of us could quite get our hopes up.
Yesterday I called around 4:30 and received a glowing report from her nurse. Natalie had gone down on her vent pressures twice in the morning and tolerated the changes well. Her afternoon blood gas was "too good" so they would have to make another change. When we arrived at the hospital I walked around to check her new settings and at the top of the screen I saw the word "CPAP." I nearly hit the floor.
Five minutes after I had hung up with the nurse Natalie decided for herself that she was done with the vent and coughed her tube out. The doctors came over, said "she read our minds" and put her on C-PAP. She has been tolerating it so far but clearly finds the prongs in her nose to be very uncomfortable (the nurses say all babies do). The next 3-5 days will tell us ff she is truly ready to be off the vent and we understand that sometimes it takes a few attempts to really move on. At the same time nothing last night could dampen the joy of watching our baby breath and hearing her cry. Simply amazing.
Now.....here's Natalie with her new breathing gear!!!
Our first glimpse at her entire face-the C-PAP prongs were out for a nebulizer treatment...