Apnea is another common health problem among premature babies. During an apnea spell, a baby stops breathing, the heart rate may decrease, and the skin may turn pale, purplish, or blue. Apnea is usually caused by immaturity in the area of the brain that controls the drive to breathe. Almost all babies born at 30 weeks or less will experience apnea. Apnea spells become less frequent with age.
In the NICU, all premature babies are monitored for apnea spells. Treating apnea can be as simple as gently stimulating the infant to restart breathing. However, when apnea occurs frequently, the infant may require medication (most commonly caffeine or theophylline) and/or a special nasal device that blows a steady stream of air into the airways to keep them open.
Morgan Kate dealt with apnea for quite some time, even after coming home. While in the hospital her apnea was treated with caffeine. As she got older, the need for caffeine decreased. In December she came home with an apnea monitor, which we used until July. While at home she had a few episodes of apnea, but never any of concern.
This is one of the pictures I took before shipping my camera off. MK had just finished a delightful dinner of cheese, hot dogs and pasta. As you can see, it was all over her face. While eating she constantly touches her face, rubs her eyes or plays with her hair. In this picture she looks so serious, but so beautiful. I'm just saying.