Another Madeline Update

Hi All,

We are so happy to say that Maddie has continued to be stable since our last email. The nurses and doctors have made good progress in weaning her off medications and the respirator. She is still very delicate and her vital numbers can plummet just from changing her position, but everyone in the NICU continues to tell us how amazed they are with her turn around. When she first arrived she had two nurses dedicated to her and her alone (when every other baby had to share a nurse with another baby), but now she is down to just one nurse. She is also in an incubator, where before she was in an "open bed." An open bed doesn't have a top on it because the doctors and nurses fear they may need to reach a baby in split seconds. The doctors feel she is stable enough to be in an incubator, which is good because it simulates the womb. What she hears, sees, and even her temperature are all controlled and she's much more comfortable as a result. She is alert and opening her eyes, and she responds to her mommy's voice. She has tried to cry a few times, but the respirator prevents her from making any noise. This is sad to see but the doctors were thrilled as crying is an important part of a baby's development.

We don't get to hold her or kiss her yet. Everything has to be very sterile right now. If we want to touch her, we have to scrub our hands and forearms for three minutes in HOT soapy water. A small price to pay to touch our baby. When we touch her, we just put a finger on her foot, or in her hand, or cup a hand around the top of her head. We can't stroke or rub her skin as it's very sensitive. She isn't as
swollen anymore so she doesn't look like a Star Wars character! Many of her tubes and IVs have been removed, although she is still on the respirator and will be for a while. The doctors are hoping that she can take some breaths on her own and that the respirator will supplement those breaths.

We've attached a picture so you can all see how she's looking. The tape on her face is holding the respirator in place. She looks bigger in the picture than she does in person, although the diaper on her is pretty big. She is 15 3/4 inches long, about two hand lengths.

Your emails and cards really do mean the world to us. I take my blackberry into the NICU and read Maddie every email we receive. If you want to send her a message, I promise it will be read to her. Every hope and prayer is appreciated and working. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support.

Love, Mike, Heather, & Maddie

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