Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Abel and the NICU, Part 1

If you're really wanting to know the details of this last week, it's going to have come in installments.  So much happened, and there isn't any way to tell it without it getting rather lengthy.

When Abel's rapid breathing and lack of interest in feeding didn't resolve in 24 hours I began to push the nurses regarding what happens when 24 hours have passed.  Abel was worse.  He was up to 80-90 respirations per minute and still not even rooting.  Now we were being told that "sometimes it takes 48 hours to resolve."  He wasn't a big baby, and it didn't seem that waiting 48 hours would be a good thing.  So the lactation consultant was summoned.  And she was concerned.

Spending time skin to skin while keeping Abel's chest in an "open" position in hopes of regulating his breathing.

Then Abel started to shudder.  Initially I thought he was cold, but then realized that he couldn't be.  He was dressed warmly and swaddled in a blanket.  The nurse was called again.  And I was told it was his startle reflex.  I've had two babies--I know the startle reflex.  This wasn't it.  She finally called the doctor in.

The physician on call finally arrived, and upon glancing at Abel assured us that he looked like a normal newborn to him.  However, he said he could "check him out and do a chest x-ray" if it would make me "feel better."  I have never been so thoroughly patronized.  So I backed down and said that that wasn't necessary if he was truly fine.  And he responded with "well, I think it will be normal, but should do the x-ray."

Now I was just confused.  I thought he said Abel was fine.  In which case, why do the x-ray?

The x-ray did, indeed, come back normal.  More patronization followed.  I was told I needed to rest, so they should take the baby to the nursery.  We were told that "new parents" get nervous while our other children were in the room.  I lost it.  I let the doctor have it--and if you know me, you know that it takes a lot to get me there.  Poor Mercy kept asking what was wrong with Mommy.

These were taken when I really began to notice that Abel was getting worse, not better.

Abel was taken to the nursery, and an I.V. was placed.  Again, very confusing.  If he was fine, why an I.V.?  Then the doctor went home.

A couple of hours later Abel's respirations were up to 120 a minute, and the nurse called him back in.  At this point, he became very, very accommodating.  He expressed his concern over Abel's worsening condition and stated that he thought he needed to be transported to a facility that could care for him more effectively.  Doernbecher's Neonatal Care Center (NICU unit) was contacted and arrangements were made.  The PANDA team (a transport team that specializes in transporting critically ill infants and children) was on its way.

In the meantime, Abel's respirations had grown more rapid--150 per minute, which is as high as the monitors can track.  He was also placed on oxygen because his saturation levels were dropping.  I don't know if I've ever been so scared.  Many silent, scattered prayers were sent up.  A Telepeds robot was used to bring the neonatologist into the room.  He was then able to interact with us and the transport team.

Once the PANDA team arrived you'd have thought God just walked through the door.  The doctor sighed audibly and said "I'm glad you're here."  A few more tests were run, the PANDA team conferred with the doctor via robot to determine how best to care for Abel during transport, and he was placed in an isolate on a stretcher equipped with an oxygen tent.  The last thing I remember before his being wheeled out of the birthing center is registering the neonatologist expressing his concern regarding a possible congenital cardiac problem.  Then my husband and my baby walked out the door.

Abel today with his commemorative PANDA team bear.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Abel Valor is Here!

By now most of you already know this, but Abel Valor Myers arrived on September 7 at 1:20pm weighing in at 6lbs. 10oz. and 19.75 inches long.

Ready to go into the operating room.

Enjoying a snuggle.

This was my first uncomplicated delivery.  The c-section went smoothly, for which I was very thankful.  The spinal wasn't done well with my last, and for a few moments I was left in 10/10, I'm going to die if this doesn't stop now, kind of pain.  The anesthetist this time knew my history and took it nice and slow.  Though it took him three tries to find a space and position that allowed him to get in without the same results he patient, kind, and willing to take his time and make sure he did it right.

Getting to know Daddy.

Mercy loves her baby brother.

Abel is beautiful.  Upon his initial exam it was found that he was breathing rapidly, and once he was placed on my chest we also noted that he had no rooting reflex.  However, we were assured that these things would resolve themselves within 24 hours--so we settled into enjoying our third child.  We're all in love.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stomach Flu and 4 Days until Baby...

Baby is scheduled to arrive via c-section on Wednesday.  That's right, this Wednesday, the 7th.  And I'm ready to be un-pregnant and hold the little guy in my arms rather than my abdomen.

But yesterday morning Mercy came down with the stomach flu.  We were all in "I can't believe this is happening now" shock.  Everytime the stomach flu enters the house I desperately look up the incubation period hoping for some assurance that once we hit a certain number of hours we'll be in the clear.  It would seem that incubation can be as short as 4 hours, and as long as 10 days.  Mercy came down with the bug on Friday, but hadn't been away from the house since Monday.  So 5 days for her.  And the baby is scheduled to come 5 days after she got sick.

Today Mercy seems fine.  Here she is energetically dancing.

I'm a bundle of nerves.  When I had Gilead we were all really sick and Mercy ended up with pneumonia.  It was a miserable time.  The only good thing in those couple of weeks was Gilead.  The idea of having a c-section and the stomach flu is not one that I care to experience.  We'd appreciate many prayers for health as we enter this next week and welcome our new little one--Lord willing, without anymore illness.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

So Much to Do, So Little Time

I am now really feeling the countdown until the baby arrives.  One week from today.  Excuse me.  One week from yesterday.  I just checked the clock and it is after midnight.

My husband is away from home, which means I can't sleep and am up way past my bedtime.

That, and my mental checklist won't stop.  I need to scour everything, right?  And organize.  And dig the infant seat out of the garage.  Pack my suitcase.  Do better at getting Mercy's and Gilead's daily schedules in order (to help keep Nonni sane).  Put up some freezer meals.  Make granola.  Etc., etc., etc.  When I evaluate my list honestly, we'd probably be just find if none of those things occur, but I'm a planner to a fault.

Which leaves me wondering--what is on your list of things that have to be done before a new baby is welcomed into your household?