Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter 2013!

A few photos of my family.  I love them so much, you just cannot even imagine.  My heart is overflowing with love!  We are truly blessed.  I thank God each day for my amazing husband and our great kids.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Professor's Turn

***Warning: Photos of a minor injury***
I am so over going to the doctor and/or hospital right now.  Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful for access to great health care, I am just tired of going. Ha!  Yesterday the poor Professor fell onto a vacuum cleaner attachment and cut a small chunk out of his lip.

It was not bleeding a whole lot but there was a creepy flap of skin. Every time he moved it moved.  It kinda freaked me out.  I called our family doctor and he said to take him to the ER. Again, I loaded up all 4 kids and off we went.  I had to nurse the Linebacker in yet ANOTHER hospital.  Yuck!  Anyways, the doctor there said he did need a few stitches.  The Professor was a very, very unhappy camper.  One juice box and a chocolate chip cookie later...he was back to Stylin'

Next doctors and no hospitals...please?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

RSV. Part 4

After that amazing half-smile, things slowly improved, but not until after a long, hard night.  He still had the feeding tube and cpap machine on.  He had not eaten in 40+ hours though.  A feeding tube bypasses the stomach so even though he was getting the calories he needed, he had no sensation of being full.  Well, I called in a nurse after they removed the Cpap machine and we rearranged all the tubes and cords and made it so I could squash a chair right next to his crib and hold him.  That was an amazing, amazing moment.  He calmed instantly once he was in my arms.  But then, he recognized my smell and feel and started trying to nurse.  He was still unable to and it was making him inconsolable so I had to lay him down.  That actually calmed him but it broke my heart.  Then he realized he was hungry and the crying started.  He cried and cried and cried.  At my wits end, I called a nurse and said there had to be something we could do for him.  As weird as it sounds, they brought my 2 tablespoons of breastmilk and a pacifier.  I could dip the paci in the milk and let him suck on it.  He was in Heaven.  He "drank" about one tablespoon one drop at a time and fell sound asleep.  I had to repeat the process with him numerous times throughout the night.  The next day he was simply ravenous so the doctor said I could bottle feed him.  He started with one ounce.  At the moment that was enough.  By the end of the same day he was up to 6 ounces at a time!  They removed his feeding tube and began to wean him off the high flow oxygen.  Unfortunately we moved a bit too fast and he took a step back.  They increased the flow for about 12 hours and tried it again.  This time, his stats remained steady and he passed his blood gas tests again!  Once he sustained that for 12 hours, they put him on regular oxygen and we moved to regular floor.  Bye PICU!  My husband knew I needed to spend time with the other kids and get some solid sleep so he came to spend a special night with the Linebacker.  They hung out and watched HGTV.  But that night he polished off all the milk I had pumped.  And when my husband tried formula, the Linebacker would have nothing to do with it.  So I had to load up the kids and rush back down after only being gone about 12 hours.  Thankfully, the Linebacker was to be released that day around 4:30.  5 nights and 6 days in the hospital, one ambulance ride, 2 ER rooms, 3 rooms in the hospital, 3 nights in PICU, 5 IV attempts and over 10/heel pricks later our son was HOME! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

RSV. Part 3

Arriving in the PICU was seriously unnerving for me.  I was all alone.  My husband and kids were at church one hour away.  And there I am, all alone.  Our baby boy is hooked up to high flow oxygen, is getting deep suctioned, poked in the heel and hooked up to even more monitors.  What happens next is a bit hazy and jumbled.  I know he was going downhill.  He was no longer even attempting to eat.   It took 5 failed attempts to get his IV placed.  I know his O2 stats were in the uppers 80's, his bpm ratae was about 60+ and his heart rate was over 180.  No one was happy.  His monitors were constantly going off and sounding alarms.  The only bit of good news was the nursing staff informing me I could get his meals since I was breastfeeding.  I had not had anything since Cheetos and Diet Pepsi the night before.  I was shaky from both hunger and fear and worried my milk supply would drop off.  Eventually my husband and kids arrived and the doctors began talked about a Cpap machine because the High Flow oxygen was just not enough.  They told us they would do it soon.  My husband and the kids left again because we did not want them to witness how upset the Linebacker would get.  And oh did he get upset.  But after the Cpap is when it really got scary.  They did another heel prick to check his blood gas.  Normal is about 40 and his was 72 which meant that he was not expelling the carbon dioxide.  They began talking about a ventilator and what would happen with an emergency intubation.  And got scarier.  The Lineback quit fighting.  Nothing scared me or hurt me more than that.  They'd prick him and he would just give a small whimper, whereas before it took 2 to hold him down.  The doctor told me he was giving him one more hour, max, before a ventilator.  Putting him on would require total sedation and no picking him up.  I literally just sat next to his crib hitting "refresh" and watching people pray for him via Facebook.  Then, I firmly believe a miracle happened.  With no real medical reason, ALL his stats started improving. We had been less than 30 minutes away from a ventilator.  Now, the Cpap machine was going to be enough!  They did end up placing a feeding tube.  While I hated that he needed the tube, I was thrilled because my pumped breastmilk was going into him again.  Breastmilk is filled with goodness to make him better and give him the nutrition he needs.  He was on the Cpap for over 24 hours.  During that time I really could not hold him.  There were machines on either side of his crib and the cords are short.  I did lift him a few times just to let him feel me.  I would stroke what skin I could find on his cheek and head.  I held his tiny little hand and felt those fingers curl around mine.  After about 24 hours he seemed to become alert.  He sought me out with his eyes and gave the sweetest, most perfect, most heart wrenching and heart-filling half smile I have ever seen.  At that moment, I knew our Linebacker was back. 

RSV. Part 2

The ambulance took off and my nerves were really kicking in.  It was my first ambulance ride and to be doing it for our 2 month old baby was scary.  During the trip the nurse was constantly monitoring him.  At one point he began to turn a bit blue so they created an oxygen tent for him.  That was not helping a whole lot and his stats were not looking the best so they gave him another breathing treatment (his third for the day and it was only 10 a.m.).  Thankfully we arrived at the Children's Hospital uneventfully.  We had to go in through the ER which meant more waiting.  We settled into a very small room and the flurry of checking in began.  Answering questions, hooking up to monitors, taking vitals etc.  I let my husband and kids know we were at the new hospital and they decided to come down to visit.  At this point, I was not really even sure they were going to admit us.  A clown stopped by to visit and gave the Linebacker and little blankie.  The doctor ordered another breathing treatment and some x-rays.  Then we just sort of..hung out.  My husband and the kids showed up with clothing, my pump and some other items in case we stayed.  The doctor came in and said they were admitting us overnight so that the Linebacker could continue what they call "supportive care".  That included the deep suctioning they were doing, oxygen and breathing treatments.  My husband and kids helped us transfer to the new room.  It was an awful room.  So tiny and it was a shared room.  We had a toilet and a small sink.  There were 2 cribs and 2 chairs.  The other baby was a 5 week old girl with RSV.  At this point I am still thinking I will be home the next day.  My husband and kids left and my dad showed up to visit.  He left and it got pretty quiet.  More deep suctioning (which the Linebacker hater and I could not watch).  When they deep suction you, they take catheters and place them way deep in your nose and use high powered suction to get the gunk out.  Plus every time he was hungry, I was supposed to call them and have them do that before he ate.  Around 9:30 that night I was so thirsty and so hungry.  I ran to a vending machine and bought Cheetos and a Diet Pepsi.  The Linebacker and I settled in for the night.   Around 2 in the morning, I became very concerned about his breathing and lack of nursing.  He was just crying non-stop and that is not like him at all.  I also thought I was seeing some blue around his lips.  I hit the call button and a nurse came in.  She said she would have the RT (Respiratory Therapist) come in and give him oxygen.  About then the Linebacker fell asleep so I laid him back down.  I sat down to wait on the RT and fell asleep.  1 1/2 hours later I woke up.  I immediately checked on him and his breathing seemed worse.  Frustrated, I called down.  The nurse came back and said she had called.  I told her to call again.  The RT came in and said that he needed oxygen.  I was pretty livid at this point.  I called the nurse again and said he really had not nursed since 8 p.m.  And I had tried to give him a bottle and he drank maybe 1/2 an ounce.  She was not overly concerned.  Still feeling frustrated, I tried to close my eyes again.  Around 5 they came in for more vitals and deep suctioning.  Around 6 they did it again.  Each time, I was expressing my concern.  I felt like he was worsening.  When the shift change took place at 7, a new nurse came in.  I told her I was worried and she jumped into action.  She said none of his stats looked good.  The next thing you know our room is a flurry, or tornado, of activity.  I am not even sure who all these people were.  But there was 8 people hovering over him.  I could not even wedge myself in next to him.  They were increasing oxygen, suctioning him and who knows what else.  The doctor comes over and tries to fill me in on everything but all I hear are the words we don't like the way he looks and intensive care.  And so everything was flung onto a cart and we headed up to PICU.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

RSV. Part 1.

What began as a normal week went horribly wrong.  At our sons 2 month check up, he had so much green goop the doctor sent us to the ER.  He was diagnosed with a virus and we were sent home with a suction thingy and saline solution.  Fast forward a few weeks.  The drainage was still there and I thought it seemed like it was worsening a bit.  So on a Thursday morning I called the doctor and took our son in.  The doctor checked him out and when he got to his right ear said, "Uh-oh.  We have a bunch of fluid here."  We left and got some medicine for an ear infection and went about our day.  On Friday, I noticed a loose sounding cough but wrote it off due to the ear infection.  Ear Infections are caused by fluid being trapped in the ear.  That fluid typically comes from a common cold or virus like our son had.  It made sense to me that the medicine was doing it's job and loosening the crud...hence the loose cough.  By night time, I felt like his cough was a bit worse and not so loose sounding.  Again, I sort of wrote it off figuring that by the morning it would be better because he would have 48 hours of antibiotics in him at that point.  I was up and down with him through the night.  Around 4 in the morning he was not nursing well and I felt the first niggles of worry and doubt creep in.  But, he fell asleep and I went back to bed.  I heard him up about 5:30.  My husband, knowing we had had a tough night, got up with him to give a bottle (gotta love having a great pump!).  About 6, he shook me awake and said, "Something is wrong with the Linebacker.  I think you need to take him to ER."  And so it began.  I came out and saw him breathing really hard.  Much, much harder than normal.  His head and legs would go up and his belly down and then vise versa.  His entire body looked like a see-saw.  We could hear a definite rattle when he breathed but it did not sound like a wheeze.  But I decided if we were this worried at 6 a.m., we needed to take him in.  I pumped, downed a quick bowl of cereal, packed 2 cloth diapers and took off, not knowing I'd be gone for the next 5 nights.  Upon arrival I checked him at the ER.  No surprisingly we were the only ones in the waiting area.  We were called back within 2 minutes.  The nurse said, 'Oh he is a congested little guy."  Nodding my head, my thought was, "Phew. At least she doesn't think I am a crazy mom."  Since it was slow things happened pretty quickly.  Vitals, questions and a quick visit from the doctor.  The doctor was immediately worried about his breathing and what she heard from the stethoscope.  She ordered a nasal swab and a visit from a Respiratory Therapist.  They tried one breathing treatment on him with zero change.  About that time, they came in and told me he tested positive for RSV.  I was not overly shocked or even incredibly worried...yet.  Then they said, we need to take him to the Children's Hospital via ambulance.  I made the call to my husband and that is when the fear hit.  I was choked up and worried.  He called into work and told the other kids.  He did not know what RSV was and said he was not exactly worried at that moment in time.  The ambulance service came in and observed our son and took his vitals.  I was then informed we would have a bit of a wait.  I had to go get his car seat for the ambulance stretcher and I tried to get him to nurse.  The ambulance staff came in and told me they were switching to a higher caliber vehicle "just in case".  They were also sending a nurse to ride along with us...."just in case".  I was then prepped on treatments that could take place while en route..."just in case".  They said that babies as young as our son do fine right up until they are no longer fine.  Basically, there is not a real transition, they are fine one minute and then it all goes downhill very quickly.  So myself, our 2 month old son, one driver, one nurse and one other person (not sure of their title) loaded up and took off in the ambulance for the Children's Hospital one hour away.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Busy Days, late Nights

Life is good.  Days are full and the nights....well, the nights are getting later and later.  This little Linebacker seems to be a night owl.  By the time we went to bed last night it was actually this morning.  Actually around 12:30, then he is still wanting to get up and nurse.  I know in my head that this is a phase and soon I will miss it, since he is our last.  But my body is really wanting some rest.  The days are so full with school for the girls and keeping the Professor from hurting himself.  But, every day I am counting my blessings and enjoying these moments with my husband and our kids.  And let's never forget the power of coffee. Ha!
Have a great day!