They had placed an arterial line in Claire's foot so that they could take blood gases from her without having to stick her each time, but they had to remove the line yesterday because it was leaking. So today they had to do heel sticks to get the blood. Claire was NOT HAPPY. She turned red and arched her back and made a crying face, but she can't make any noise because of the ventilator. It broke my heart because they were hurting my baby and there was nothing I could do to comfort her. She has been agitated today, so they sedated her a little more and she is resting more comfortably now.
Dr. S came by and talked to us today. If Claire remains stable like she has been then they are planning to do her surgery on Wednesday, probably in the afternoon. She is going to try to do it laparoscopically if she can, which means Claire will not be in as much pain afterwards and will not have a big scar on her tummy. She said they won't know how big the hole in her diaphragm is until they get in there and look. If it's small they can stitch it closed, but if it's big they might have to use a gortex patch. There is a greater chance of re-herniation with a patch because it doesn't grow with the baby.
She said the respirator is doing very little breathing for Claire -- her setting is at 25 and they wean babies down to 17 before taking them off the ventilator, so she doesn't have far to go at all. To give us some perspective, she said some babies have their vents set to 60 or higher. Claire's right lung seems to be doing very well -- so far she has not had any pulmonary hypertension. She said Claire was "boring", which is a great thing in the NICU. I asked how underdeveloped her left lung is, and she said it is probably about half the size of her right lung. After they do the surgery and make room for it to grow it will get bigger, but it will always be smaller than her right lung.
After the surgery they will wean her off the ventilator, and they will also start giving her milk. She may not need a feeding tube if she is able to eat by mouth right away. I have been pumping, so hopefully there will be plenty of milk available for her when she's ready for it. When she gets off the ventilator and I am able to hold her then we will try breastfeeding.
Claire has gained 3 oz since she was born. She might be slightly jaundiced -- they are going to test her tomorrow -- but that is normal baby stuff and they aren't worried about it.
The pediatrician we selected (based on Dr. S's recommendation) is coming by this evening to see Claire, just to get acquainted.