Sunday, December 21, 2008


I can breathe today. For the first time Elena and I made eye contact. OK, well I'm exaggerating, but she totally opened her eyes today and was super alert and had her eyes fixed on me. I know she probably can't really and totally see me, but she knew I was there and she locked in on me when she did open her eyes. This was the most alert we have seen her. I am ecstatic and have been smiling since I saw her. She is stable now, oxygen pretty low and still intubated, but the universe has delivered her a nurse.

Yesterday I finally met Monica the nurse. She is a NICU nurse that was present when Wong the guru respiratory specialist put Elena on the the jet ventilator to clear up her PIE. Monica learned Elena's settings directly from Wong and claims she went home that night and researched all about jet ventilators. This was last week Monday.

I arrived to the hospital yesterday and found a little note card attached to Elena's incubator that stated how Elena should be cared for because she is labile (changeable) and prone to going way down on oxygen absorption. It noted at what level to suction Elena, to turn up oxygen settings when changing her, suctioning her and I thought to myself, who took this upon themselves to do this?

It was Monica. Monica was thorough with me, explained as well as she could Elena's setbacks, progress and how to understand her new machine. This is also the nurse that Elena was smacking last week. Anyhow, Monica expressed that she knew the jet well and that she was there when Wong was setting Elena up and that she knew what Elena liked, did not like, etc.

She then told me I could speak with the charge nurse, who is responsible for which nurses take care of the babies, and request Monica be Elena's primary nurse which means that whenever Monica works, she is Elena's caretaker/nurse. So that's what I did yesterday.

When I arrived today Monica was working and I almost cried when I looked at Elena. Monica did a thorough scrub down on Elena who had been boogery, dry and generally needed to be cared for, like I would. Elena was glowing. Her dead skin was gone, no crusty blood or boogers in her nose, her hair had been wiped down and Bacitracin added to the places where she had dried skin that turned into scabs.

Elena is responding to Monica's care and getting better. This was a good weekend for Elena who is now less ornery and irritable (apparently preemies with respiratory distress are generally irritable) and I am basking in Elena's progress today.

Tomorrow is a big day for Elena, as most Mondays and Fridays the doctors make big decisions on care for the week.


  1. There is nothing more important than that 1:1 specialized and attentive care that Elena will be getting now from Monica. It's better that 1 person care for her so that the care is personalized, intimate and attentive. It allows Monica the ability to build a relationship with her which will hopefully mean that she is more vested and will care for Elena better than several nurses. Hopefully it will also let Elena feel even more safe and more loved than she already does.You can never have too much love! This is all really good news... Wishing and praying for the new family and just wanted you to know that I'm always here if you ever want to talk.

  2. It sounds like Monica is doing wonders for little Elena and they're bonding. I'm so happy for all of you. It's such a comforting feeling to know that someone is caring for your baby as well as you would when you're not there. Big hug to all of you!

  3. Johnita, I know that these are really tough times for you. And, although I'm not a mom, I have been through this experience with two close friends who had premies about the same age as Elena. Their beautiful babies are now healthy toddlers and entertaining everyone daily. I know in my heart that you will be enjoying the same joy next year as she begins to wobble around the house. You are such a positive person, I know that energy is only helping Elena everyday! My prayers are with you all. XOXO

  4. Thank you so much for this update!

    I think of Elena as soon as I wake up. I hear myself saying her name throughout the day and sending good thoughts. I pray for her when I go to sleep.

    Everywhere I go, people ask about her. She's a really popular little girl. :)

    So grateful for Monica!!!

    Thinking of you and Elena today (Monday) especially!



  5. What a wonderful entry! i can feel you breathe and the excitement in your voice. i am so looking forward (if Elena is up to it) to seeing her again. i've missed Lil E! day by day she will continue to get stronger, especially with the wonderful/loving care of those around her. good job mommy! you are, to no surprise, already a wonderful mother!

  6. J,

    I'm sooo happy. We've been praying for her strength and yours. I see that it's working. I know it was good to see her all cleaned up. You are such a good writer, I can see her all cleaned up too. Can't wait for the next update.

    Love you guys... the Spencers

  7. We love Monica!!! Love you guys.
    xoxo Tasha