Okay...so just by way of clarification...now that I have a couple of free seconds before I hit the sack tonight... one of the last things the babies have to do before they are allowed to go home is to pass the car seat challenge: survive two hours in your car seat without setting off all your alarms! Since sleeping through most of her life so far hasn't been much of a problem for Avery...it wasn't a huge surprise that she passed that test with flying colors last night!
The only thing standing between her and home now is that she has to show that she can consistently gain weight on her lower calorie milk. Being a preemie...she needs more calories than the 20/oz that breast milk contains, so you can fortify it with more calories by adding formula. We can fortify it at home to about 24 calories/oz....so they have weaned her down to that this week from about 32 I think, but want to see that it won't be a big set-back for her once she gets home. She's actually hit a plateau, and lost some weight the last few days..but we have to take into account that she got her immunizations this week, and it takes her little body a bit to get used to the lower calorie milk. Tonight when we called, she was back up to 4 lbs. 7 oz.... so we are just praying that it will continue the upward trend.
The doctors have told us that Saturday is our target day... so that basically means that we are going to ask all of you to come up to the hospital and escort us home. If you have access to any large vehicles: suburbans, hummers, limos, 18 wheelers etc.... go ahead and bring them. Also, if you are or know of any police officers or anyone with sirens and lights on their vehicle... we invite you to go ahead and clear the way for us. We'll basically set up a moving fortress, and our poor little civic (which has already paid the price once this month!) will be safely in the middle, with Avery in her little car-seat, and Stephanie sedated in the back seat next to her!
Also, more great news, is that our good friends and NICU neighbors, the Forsyths get to bring Zack home a day before us! Zack was born exactly a month before Avery...so they've really earned their big day! We have been so grateful to have them there with us through all of this...we've gained life-long friends by carrying each other through this crazy adventure. Send all your prayers out to them on Friday and get them home safely!
As if it were foreshadowing our next big challenge to come, Avery got her RSV shot today. For those of you who don't know (and believe me, I was not exactly in the know on these things before Avery either...), RSV is the fancy term for the common cold...which is mostly an annoyance to most adults, but can be deadly for preemies. When people talk about RSV season, they are referring to the cold/flu season...which lasts from about October to March, give or take a few weeks, each year. We are so lucky to live in a time where they have a shot...a SUPER expensive shot, but a shot nonetheless, which can inoculate babies against RSV. It's a monthly shot...so she'll get it throughout the season... lets all just pray for all these babies that they don't get it. Our challenge as parents is to do all we can to keep her from getting it. So, we had the nurses and docs sit us down and tell us over and over that we need to be VERY careful not to go out to any group events, not expose her to other young children (just because most kids get sick from other kids...who got sick from other kids etc.) and to make absolute sure that our visitors aren't even a little bit sick. So, that means we're gonna have a pretty long, non-social winter...but it's worth it if we can keep our baby healthy and alive.
We are so blessed to have come this far. One of our doctors wisely counseled us to take some time now to cry it out together, talk it out...get our worries and fears from the last two months out....because when she's home, that time will be over. She'll need her future to be filled with our hope...not our fear. So, for us...that's the only way to go.