Well today started with some difficulties. Tim and I went to the NICU around 6 a.m. to deliver some milk for the girls, and their doctor informed us that Sophia had suffered a pnemothroax which is often referred to as a collapsed lung. Both twins have slight respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) which is extremely common in preemies their age. Pneumothorax is a lung disorder in which air in the lungs leaks out through holes in the lung tissue into the spaces outside the lung airways. This is a fairly common problem in preemies since they are not developing surfactant yet. Surfactant is a kind of foamy, fatty liquid that acts like grease in the lungs. Without it, the air sacs open but have difficulty remaining open because they stick together. Surfactant allows the sacs to remain open. Surfactant usually appears in the fetus’s lungs at about the 24th week of pregnancy and gradually builds up to its full level by about the 35th week. If a premature baby is lacking surfactant, artificial surfactant may be given. They managed to collect 35 cc of air out of her lung using a syringe early in the morning, and Sophia was intubated. They gave her some surfactant and left her on the ventilation. They also decided to ventilate Cecilia briefly while they also injected some surfactant into her lungs to avoid the same problems. Tim and I returned to the NICU a few hours later, and they told us that x-rays indicated that the air was still collecting in Sophia. As a result, Sophia had to have a chest tube put in which is like a catheter placed through the chest wall into the air space that continually releases any air that forms there. As of right now she is still ventilated and on some pain medication to avoid any discomfort that she might experience. Cecilia is back on the CPAP, and is off the dopamine. She is doing quite well. Both girls are still taking nutrition from the IVs, and they may try to introduce Cecilia to breast milk tomorrow. They both have lost some weight (Sophia lost approximately 3 oz and Cecilia 4 oz), but almost all premature infants lose weight before they gain it. Their nurse last night said that babies usually have one big weight loss episode before they level out. Unfortunately they won't start gaining back much until they are feeding. She said that Cecilia losing that 4 oz was actually a good thing, because it meant that some of the extra fluid was gone and would make it easier for her to breathe. It is very difficult to see Sophia so uncomfortable, but we know that she is very strong. She is stubborn and tries to take the tubes out as they put them in. She has a very strong grip, and she is absolutely beautiful (just like her sister). Cecilia still cries a lot, and I think she senses that her twin is in distress. They swaddled her up in the blankets, and she seemed to do well after that.
In better news, I get discharged tomorrow! After 59 full days in the hospital I will be able to walk out into the real world! I took a walk to the cafeteria today with Tim, and I had a smile on my face the whole time. I know it seems silly and perhaps trivial, but it is easy to take simple things for granted. I am so excited to go home and get some therapy with my kitty Clementine. I am also so excited at the prospect of sleeping next to my husband tomorrow night. It will be very difficult to leave my babies here, but we will be back tomorrow evening to check on the girls again. It will be nice to enter the hospital on my own accord as a visitor and not a patient. We have so much to do and figure out the next couple weeks. I will continue to update the blog frequently. Thank you everyone for supporting our family which doubled in size three days ago!