Whew...what an insane 9 days it has been! We are so thankful and excited to welcome Emily Kendra Duncan to our family. She made her grand entrance on Saturday, April 21 at 10:57 am, weighing in at 7 lbs, 1oz and measuring 20 inches long. She was born exactly 3 weeks early and is absolutely precious!
We, of course, fell in love immediately.
Elijah is a little undecided, but we know he loves her deep down inside :).
Leah is completely smitten with her little sister and wants to hold her constantly.
And Daddy has yet another little girl to spoil and love.
My labor and delivery was smooth and easy overall and we could not have been happier to have her here, as the last several weeks of the pregnancy were quite uncomfortable. We spent the standard 2 days in the hospital and left without a concern. They mentioned when we left that her bilirubin level was right on the line, but wasn't enough of a concern for them to treat it right then. We headed back in to the pediatrician for a check up last Thursday, 3 days after we had been discharged and the DR said she thought Emily looked a little yellow (we agreed). She ordered some blood work, which we did immediately. We got a phone call just an hour later from our pediatrician saying her bilirubin # was high enough that we needed to pack a bag and head back to the hospital to have her treated. I was bummed we had to go back, but I knew this was a very treatable thing and we would hopefully be out of there soon.
They treated her with what they called the "triple light system", and she looked (and acted) as chill as can be. It actually made me want to sunbathe just looking at her.
The goggles took up most of her face.
The DR came into my room on Friday morning and said she had good news and bad news. The good news is her Bilirubin numbers did exactly what they needed to do, and she was in the range she needed to be. Praise God! It only took about 18 hrs for her to get those numbers worked out. The bad news was that overnight, the nurses had noticed that her oxygen level had dropped numerous times, causing periods of apnea (when breathing stops) and she needed to be monitored more closely to determine what was going on. As a parent, you never want to hear that your baby is having trouble breathing. The DR ordered what's called a pneumogram, which she would be hooked up to for at least 18 hours to determine the issue. When they got her all hooked up, she looked like this:
...which broke my heart a little bit. She was FURIOUS when they put that probe up her nose and down to her esophagus, and I found myself hating the nurses a little bit too (only kidding...the nurses were fabulous...I just hate when my baby screams!).
After that monitoring, it was determined that she was having a combination of issues. Central apnea, which is just immaturity in the brain and lungs due to her being 3 weeks early. Basically, her brain forgets to tell her lungs to breathe. We are treating this with a small dose of caffeine each day, which gives her brain a jolt and reminds her lungs to do their job. The other part is obstructive apnea, which is when she is trying to breathe, but something is blocking the airway. When this happens, if it lasts long enough, Kirk and I have to stimulate her by rubbing her hands or feet until she comes out of it (although 9 times of 10 she gets herself out of it within seconds without needing our help). The way we know she is experiencing a period of apnea is she's hooked to a monitor and it alarms when her oxygen level dips below a certain point. We came home around lunch time today, with the monitor in tow, and she has not had a single alarm since we've been home. We are thankful for that! The first night at the hospital she was alarming several times an hour and by yesterday, she had only had 3 the entire 24 hour period, so she is definitely moving in the right direction! We are expecting to have her on the monitor for the next 4 to 6 weeks.
So, all in all, it had been a crazy 1st 9 days of life for little Emily (and the rest of us!). However, we are so thankful that the issue is treatable and temporary. The first night Emily was born, Kirk and I spent some time in prayer for Emily and asked the Lord to keep her in the palm of his hand all the days of her life. We know that is where she is and she is safer there than anywhere else. I am so happy to be home with my whole family of 5 and excited to get adjusted to our new normal. Thank you for all your love, support, prayers, and encouragement since her birth. We are truly blessed!