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

4 Days Until Baby, Stomach Flu, and Interviews

We're still on the wild roller coaster ride around here.  Ryan had an interview last Tuesday, on on the other side of the state on Thursday, and has another one coming up this Friday.  The Thursday interview took him away from home all day Wednesday and Thursday.  I was so thankful my mom is here to help!

Yesterday we all woke up and went through the normal morning rituals.  Mercy is often a very slow breakfast eater, and yesterday was no exception.  She complained of a tummy ache, but she's been struggling with constipation.  However, after she'd eaten half her yogurt I told her she could be all done because we were wanting to go to a yard sale that advertised toddler clothes.  On the way there, she started looking pretty peaked, but she loves yard sales and perked up there.  However, as soon as we got back in the car she began throwing up.

Needless to say, the timing is terrible.  The baby is coming 4 days from today.

Mercy vomited three times and slept restlessly last night.  However, apart from a diminished appetite, she's back to herself today.  Here she is trying out her new "dancing dress" from the yard we picked up for $.25.


Now we're waiting in that miserable pre-stomach flu anticipation to see if anyone else comes down with it.  The stomach flu is miserable regardless, but because I'm having a c-section in 4 days, I'm particularly uptight.

We'd appreciate prayer as we navigate this next week with the potential for more illness and the certainty of a new baby and another interview.