Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Preemie Moms Are Chosen by Irma Bombeck

Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen? Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger. “Beth Armstrong, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. Marjorie Forrest, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia. Carrie Rutledge, twins. Patron Saint … give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.” Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a preemie.” The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”

“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel.”

“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.

“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”

“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”

God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness.”

The angel gasps, “Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?”

God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says ‘mama’ for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see – ignorance, cruelty, prejudice – and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”

“And what about her Patron Saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles.  

"A mirror will suffice".

Today is Prematurity Awareness Day.  Fight for Preemies, because they shouldn't have to.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 121-125 (July 10-14)

DAY 121--
Martin started his 4 month vaccines today.  Allison was his nurse.  I felt bad for her, being one of his primary nurses, she didn't want to have to poke him!  I don't blame her.  He sure didn't like the shots.

He was awake for a few hours, so we were able to work on some exercises with him, working on building his trunk strength.  It's so nice to have some awake time!  We're hoping he gains enough weight that they'll drop his calorie intake down to 24 tomorrow.  My goal is to get him on 100% breastmilk, so I can eventually breast feed him.

DAY 122-
Allison was Martin's nurse again.  It's so nice having a Primary Nurse, who knows Martin so well.  He gained enough weight last night that they dropped his calorie intake to 24cal!  Woohoo!!  He now weighs 8lbs 11oz.

He got his last vaccine today, so it's nice to have that behind us.  And I gave him a bath.  He actually seemed to like it!  I've never had him like a bath before.  I thought it would be good to be nice and clean before his surgery.  That, and during the healing time, he can only have sponge baths anyway.

DAY 123-

Martin is now four months old.  Good grief!  I really never thought we'd be here that long.  One of the night nurses that has been taking care of Martin lately made him a little cd with Kenny Loggins "Return to Pooh Corner".  She's been having him listen to it, and he's really liked it.

They moved us to room 1 today, to prep him for his gtube placement.  He could tell something was different.  He was restless, and not as comfortable as normal.  They put him in one of the warmer beds, and stored his crib in the isolation room.  So I guess he's now been in every room!  He's made his rounds in the NICU. :)

DAY 124-

Today was the surgery.  Martin went NPO (not being fed) after his 6am feeding.  They placed an IV in his hand, and then we got to snuggle for a while.  at 11am, they intubated him, and placed him on a ventilator.  I left during that process.  They have to give him a sedative that immobilizes the body, so they don't fight having a tube sitting in their throat.  When I came back he was all situated.  

It was so weird seeing him breathe normally.  Martin has always retracted when he breathes.  He skin gets sucked in between the spaces of his rib cage.  It basically shows that he struggles to breath.  I've never seen him breathe otherwise though.  so imagine how weird it was to see him breathing like a normal person.

He woke up a little early from the sedative, and was acting uncomfortable (I know, who would have thought?) so they had to give me another dose earlier than they thought.

it's also weird being in room 1.  That's the room where all the new arrivals come.  It's connected to the delivery room, and they just pass babies through the window.  That's what happened when I had Martin.  I didn't even get to see him, they just wisked him through the window into the NICU, and got him breathing.  But Martin is HUGE compared to all the other babies in there.  I'm sure people were thinking that martin was a new baby who just has a complicated birth.  I wanted to put a big sign over his bed saying "I'm the oldest baby in here, and have been here for 124 days!!"

Dr. Yoder, and Dr. Jackson started the prep for the surgery at noon. I got to watch them set up the equipment they were going to use, and try to not be in the way.  Then I signed the papers ok-ing the surgery and left.  I sat in a conference room (actually, it's normally the bereavement room, or the room the doctors take families when they have to give bad news) and went a little crazy worrying.  Matt slept.  It's hard to have a child so small have to go through so much.  Martin has been through more than I have been through medically.  As a parent, you never want to see that.  You never want to see your helpless infant subject to so many things. 

and here's Martin's g-tube.  It's called a PEG tube.  Later on, he'll get this one switched out for a MIC*KEY button, which is much like a beach ball valve, and doesn't stick out of his stomach like this one. 

We saw him for a few minutes post-op, enough to give him a kiss, and have the doctor tell us that everything went perfectly.  Then we ran over to the Children's Hospital next door for their g-tube class.  It was very informative, but very overwhelming at the same time.  I'm probably going to have to take it again. 

The plan was to have him extubated and off the vent by shift change, in between 7-8pm.  He just didn't want to give the vent up!  I'm sure it was nice to get a break from all the work he has to put in to breathe.  It was hard to watch him struggle against the vent at the same time.  He was trying to cry, but it was like watching a mute baby.  He was crying, but not a sound could come out of his mouth.

He was finally extubated my 8pm, and moved to room 2.  He happens to share this room with a term baby, that's 1 day old.  They have a LOT of visitors, and it's actually quite annoying. 

The night nurse was reluctant to let me hold Martin, but I was very adamant.  After all he had gone through that day, to tell me that I couldn't hold him?  Yeah, all hell would have broken loose in that place. 

His oxygen levels were looking good too.  3 liters on the high flow, at about 40%, which is great for having just come off the vent. 

DAY 125---

They restarted Martin's feeds today, as well as his meds.  They are slowly building the amount back up, depending on how much he has left in his stomach.  He does need some venting to help him get the extra air out of his stomach. 

The GI surgeon is very pleased with how well the surgery went, and everything about the tube.  That's always a good thing!

One of the OT's took a video of Martin breathing, to show what "work of breathing" is.  Martin is a prime example.  I know before him, if someone asked me if my child had "work of breathing" I would have thought to see panting and wheezing.  Martin has none of that, but he just works hard, and has moderate retractions.  At least with this, he's able to help teach others what to look for.  I see it as something good coming from him staying in the NICU for so long.