Monday, March 19, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

After LE's arrival, Ken went home to sleep and, due to the fact that I was on pain medication, the nurses took LE to the nursery so they could take care of her while I slept. At 3:30 A.M., the night nurse woke me up and said that LE's temperature had dropped several times over the past few hours and that they were moving her to the NICU for care and observation. In my groggy state, I told the nurse that if that was where LE needed to be, then she should be there. (Later, I found out that the night nurse had dreaded telling me about taking LE to the NICU, but she told the day nurse that I had a great attitude about it when she told me. My response, apparently, was not what she had expected, but who WOULDN'T want what's best for their child???) She told me that in the NICU, they would start an IV and give LE antibiotics in case she had an infection, put her in a warmer and monitor her temperature, and generally take good care of her. The nurse said it would take about an hour for them to get her settled and then I could visit her. She told me that she would be glad to take me down to see her when I got ready.

I immediately called Ken, woke him up out of a sound sleep and, with a calm voice that belied my feelings, told him what the situation was. I told him that there was no point in him coming up to the hospital right away since they were getting her settled, but that I would call him after I had gone to check on her and let him know what my observation was. After I hung up, I contemplated calling my mother, but decided to wait; there was nothing that she could do at 3:45 A.M. to help the situation and all I would do would be to wake her and my dad.

I tried to sleep, rather fitfully, for the next hour, and finally gave up. About 4:45, I caved and called my parents to tell them what was going on. After that, I called the nurse and asked if she or someone else was available to take me to the NICU. Very shortly, she wheeled in a wheelchair. I gingerly got into it and off we went!

The NICU was just one floor down. My first time to go down there, I was taken through the staff elevator and the "back way" rather than through the lobby that the general public went through. The NICU was designed to house up to 28 babies, but at the moment that LE was there, there were only about 15 babies being cared for there. I was wheeled into LE's room and she was in the warmer, hooked up to an IV, heart monitor, and a monitor for her respiration. The NICU nurse, Lisa, told me that LE admitted for hypothermia. She was going to be monitored for infection for the next 48 to 72 hours. Her temperature was better, but still not stabilized, so they kept her in the warmer. I stayed in the NICU until just before 7:00 and then was wheeled back upstairs to my room. I didn't want to miss seeing Dr. Bar.ron or Dr. (the pediatrician).

Peanut hooked up to all the monitors

On her stomach in the warmer
(The nurses said she had to be turned on her belly because she had to warmed all over, kind of like a rotisserie chicken. I was concerned about her being on her stomach and they said that she was ok because she was being monitored all the time.)

All bundled up, snug and warm

Dr. Hamm came by early and we talked. He said that since LE had been admitted to the NICU, he was going to take a back seat to the neonatologists since they were the specialists. He explained that there were many reasons that her temperature could go down like it did, one of which was a possible infection. He said that about 1% of babies were born with an infection which was why they immediately started her on antibiotics. He said that Dr. (the neonatologist who admitted LE) and the other two NICU doctors would monitor her and keep him informed of her progress. He said that they would most likely suggest that she be seen in the pediatrician's office a few days after she had been discharged. I thanked him for coming and he left.

Dr. Bar.ron came in before her office hours and checked me out. I filled her in about LE and we discussed just how long I would stay in the hospital and my concern about leaving before LE. She told me that she and I would discuss my progress and that we would talk about discharging me later on at the right time. I thanked her and she left.

Over the next several hours, LE's temperature improved, but she wasn't eating up to the standards that they thought she should be. They wanted her to be eating 40 ml of formula consistently and the nurses were having a time getting her to eat any more than 20 ml. I tried to feed her, but ended up with the same result and more frustrated. All the nurses were very encouraging and helped me and LE in every way they could. One if the nurses suggested that we try a sensitive version of the formula. After a day, LE was put into a crib and the took the warmer out of her room. After another day and a half, she was eating better and moving toward the 40 ml that she needed to get to before she could be discharged.

While she was in the NICU, LE had several visitors.


Big Pat

Aunt Em and Uncle Steve

Aunt Sue


After three days in the NICU, Dr. cleared LE for discharge! We were thrilled that the two of us would be going home together!

Peanut all wrapped up and happy

As a side note, I have nothing but WONDERFUL things to say about the facilities and staff at Brook.wood. Everyone I came in contact with was encouraging, helpful, and went out of their way to be sure that LE and I were taken care of. I can't thank them enough for helping us through these first few days of her life.

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