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.