Today has been a day to pause and give praise for the progress that Elizabeth has made:
First and foremost, Elizabeth left the ICU for a new room on the "Step Down" unit. "Step down" refers to the level of care she requires. We're totally ecstatic over being out of the ICU, if only for the progress it represents. We will miss the nurses of the ICU with whom we've developed a special bond, and we'll definitely miss the private room! Elizabeth's new digs are about half the size of her ICU room, and it's just a curtain away from the other 2 babies who share the room. As a result, it's much noisier, with three times the monitors, alarms and crying babies. But we won't get kicked out when babies undergo surgeries in the ICU, and we'll get to participate more in her day-to-day care.
We also want to catalog some of the things we've asked you pray for and how they're progressing (so that you can join us in praising God):
1. Her voice: It has continued to strengthen and now sounds as loud as a newborn cry.
2. Her infection: Her white blood cell count has normalized and her blood cultures have not grown any bacteria for a week. She is still prone to infection from her loss of infection-fighting cells and proteins, but doesn't have an infection now.
3. Her sodium: with proper replacement, it has finally starting to trend up appropriately. The current theory is that three weeks of sodium losses through her chest tube fluid finally caught up with her.
4. Her eye movements: The flutter we were seeing earlier has definitely reduced in frequency. She had an MRI of the brain today that should tell us if everything is OK there.
5. Her throwing up: since we've stopped trying to put in feeding tubes, she's not been throwing up at all.
6. Her sucking: she still frequently coughs on the liquids she tries, but she's getting better at the sucking and swallowing reflex. She is still only able to eat one teaspoon at a time, but getting better at it. This is still a major area of prayer as she needs to be eating 12 teaspoons at each feeding to be able to grow.
7. IV access: she currently has only one IV, which can sometimes be risky. They are having to stop some medications when it's time to give others. But they are making due, sparing Elizabeth get stuck yet again. Pray that this continues to be the case.
8. Her chest tube: Although the amount of fluid draining out has not budged from around 200 cc/day, it hasn't increased. Additionally, her remaining chest tube is still in place and hasn't threatened a repeat of the "falling out" incident.
So thanks for your prayers. Keep them coming.
Hopefully you'll be as tickled by the enclosed photo of Elizabeth "smiling" as we were!
Matt and Sara