“She’s just working too hard to breathe and burning too many calories… On the CPAP, she can relax and sleep soundly.”
We were told the NICU journey will be like a rollercoaster. It’ll have its ups and downs. Your baby will take two steps forward and take one back.
But up until the 12th, Oaklee had only taken steps forward. She’d only gone up.
Oaklee started in such a critical place that she couldn’t afford to take steps back. Taking steps back would have meant her life was on the line again. While many babies in the NICU do dance on that line time and time again, we were incredibly fortunate to have gotten this far before taking a step back.
Oaklee returned to the CPAP. Many parents fret over a CPAP, but we’d seen the darker part of the dark side – a CPAP was nothing. When Oaklee returned to it, we sighed and said, “Well, we had to go backward eventually, right?”
She’d proven she could breathe on her own. Her lungs were capable, but they were working harder than she could afford, burning excessive calories and limiting the Grower part of our Feeder Grower. More than she needed to feed and grow, she needed to rest and relax.
It’s like running a marathon you trained a week for, being premature. You could do it well in fits and starts. You could get to the finish line. You might need assistance here and there. But the most efficient way to do it might just be to take it slowly, allowing your body the opportunity to accomplish such a feat without destroying itself.
Were we disappointed in a step back? Of course, but we also just wanted our baby to rest. A baby’s overall development depends so much on his/her sleep. In order for Oaklee to sleep well, she needed to not have to work so hard to breathe. Accepting this step back was like giving our daughter a break, telling her to just relax – she has time to get better.
Oscillator –> Ventilator –> CPAP –> Feeder Grower –> CPAP
In the stats:
Birth weight: 2lb, 12 oz
Last known weight: 2lb 7 oz (7/3/17)
Gestational Age: 29 weeks, 5 days
Days in the hospital: 15
Sets of visitors to see Oaklee: 16
Days on High Frequency Oscillator: 2
Days on Ventilator: 1
Days on CPAP: 8