Thursday, June 17, 2010

Our Week in the NICU

I have been trying to get this post written, but 2 little kiddos really cuts into my computer time :)  Be warned it is kind of long.  I wanted to get it all written down before I forgot it. 
In my last post I blogged about Calina's birth story up through Sunday.  Here is the only picture I have from when she was on the CPAP. It was taken Sunday night when I finally got to hold her for a few minutes.  It's not a great picture because it was with my cellphone and it was dark.  I was so scared holding her with all those tubes and wires.  I was afraid I was going to pull something out, but I was so happy to be holding her for a few minutes.
By Monday Calina was improving.  Her oxygen levels had finally stabilized enough that they took her off the CPAP and put her on a high flow oxygen.  Since she was off the CPAP they could take the suction tube out of her mouth and put the feeding tube back in her nose.  She was still under triple bank lights for her jaundice, but she looked much better without quite so much stuff on her head.  She seemed much more comfortable too.  Here she is on Monday afternoon when they finally took all the extra stuff off.
Monday was a long day, but she seemed to be steadily getting better rather than worse.  Until Monday I had still been checked into the hospital.  It was nice to be able to go over to my room and eat or get some rest for a little bit.  However, we had to check out on Monday.  I dreaded the end of the day.  At one point I saw a couple leaving the hospital with their new baby and I just sat down and bawled.  I knew I had to go home that night and I wasn't going to get to take my baby. 
Nathan went home early in the evening so that he could take Fiona home and do bedtime with her, so my parents came to pick me up later and take me home.  Leaving that night was so hard.  I cried the whole way home.  I didn't get much sleep that night and went up to the hospital super early in the morning the next day.
On Tuesday she had improved even a little more so they decided to take off the oxygen all together.  They kept the feeding tube in because she was still breathing too rapidly to try and nurse yet.  Tuesday was a long day.  I went home for a couple of hours Tuesday night, but was back very early on Wednesday.
On Wednesday Calina's breathing had finally slowed down enough that I got to try and nurse her in the afternoon/evening.  I was so excited.  We tried a couple of time, but she was having a hard time figuring it out. They finally weaned her totally off the IV nutrition by the end of the day.  However, with good news came bad news.  She started to have a lot of bradycardias, which means her heart rate would drop really low for a second.  She came out of all of them on her own, but it was still scary to hear the alarm going off all day.
On Thursday, the doctor had them pull the feeding tube and we worked hard on nursing.  Since she actually had a chance to get hungry she did a much better job.  It was a really great feeling.  Also on Thursday her bilirubin levels came back much lower so they were able to take her off all the lights.  She kept having "bradys", but she didn't have quite as many as the day before.  It was so wonderful to be able to hold our baby whenever we wanted to.  Since she was off the lights we got to put clothes on her and she got moved to a regular crib.  It was a good day.
Since she was finally off the lights, Daddy got to hold her for the first time since Saturday.
Looking so much better without all the "stuff" on her face.
Getting to hold both my girls :)
Grandma and Grandpa got to hold her too.
Real clothes and a real crib! Yay!
Friday was a really long day.  Calina was doing great.  She only had 2 "bradys" and she was nursing well.  However, we still had to stay until Saturday because she had to finish up her full course of antibiotics, just in case.  I was just getting really tired of sitting up in the NICU by myself.  Thankfully, we had some great visitors that day to help take my mind off the long wait.
Eileen came up and kept us company for awhile.  It was really nice to have someone to talk to.  Sitting in that little room for 15-16 hours a day by myself was extremely isolating.  My parents brought Fiona up for a little while every day, but I was still feeling pretty lonely.  Also on Friday my grandparents came into town, so they came up to visit us. 
Friday just felt like a long day of waiting.  I wanted to take my baby and go home.  All week we had been told that we would probably be going home on Saturday because that would be the last dose of antibiotics.  I was so ready to not be at the hospital anymore.  However, the doctor who had been caring for Calina all week was not going to be the one at rounds on Saturday, so we had no way of knowing for sure if we would go home on  Saturday.
When I got up to the hospital on Saturday morning Calina's IV in her hand had gone bad and her poor little hand was all swollen.  I was worried they would have to put in a new one, but the nurse said that they might just skip the last dose of antibiotics, but they wouldn't know until after rounds.  The morning dragged on forever.  Rounds took extra long, but finally the nurse came by and said that they were skipping the last dose and discharging us as soon as the doctor could get by to check Calina out one more time.  It seemed like an eternity before he finished up and came to our room. 
Finally, we got the okay and we packed up and headed home. 
We stopped to pick up Fiona, who was initally very excited that we brought home a baby.
Of course, excitement soon turned into indifference once she realized the baby didn't really do anything and she wasn't allowed to carry her around.  I felt so blessed to finally have our family together.  We could officially start life as a family of four :)

Our week in the NICU was one of the hardest weeks of my life.  It made me very grateful to now have 2 happy, healthy girls at home.  It also made thankful us for all our wonderful friends and family who helped us out and sent thoughts and prayers.  Calina is doing well now and doesn't appear to have any breathing trouble left.

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