Saturday, November 05, 2011
Life Changing week
This week has brought about a lot of high's and low's. It was just Monday that Heston was born and was doing awesome. Midwife came for the 24 hour check up on Tuesday and everything still looked great. All vitals were normal. Around 11ish that night he fed and went to sleep. The rest of the night was a nightmare! Heston would wake wanting to nurse and eat but refused to latch on no matter what I tried. He screamed and cried most of the night and maybe got 1 hour of sleep. I had zero sleep. We thought it was maybe gas but sometime in the middle of the night I knew something wasn't right because he just seemed in pain and nothing would help.
The next morning I had Steven call the midwife. She asked us to take his temp and sure enough he had a temp of 102 rectally. It's hard to tell an infant has a temp by feeling them because they feel warm when wrapped all up anyways, but the guilt of not noticing earlier was heartbreaking. We were told to take him to the Doctor or ER. Heston had a Doctor's appt. scheduled with his pediatrician already scheduled that afternoon but we called and got him in within the next hour. I was a mess. I knew everything I had ever read or heard of newborns having high temps was bad and every known imaginable terrible thing popped into my head. The pediatrician looked him over and saw no visible signs of infection but noted that he was very jaundiced. We did notice this as well as he was in perfect color the night before. She stated with newborns that they had to take high temps seriously because of the potential for serious infections including meningitis. She told us we would need to take him to be admitted to the NICU and he would have to have tests run. I broke down so many times I couldn't count. One test included a spinal tap :( and she would do that in her office. She mentioned that she would like for him to go the Willowcreek NICU which was right next door but that they don't take babies that are born outside of the hospital, but she would call and see anyways. Well, luckily enough they agreed to take Heston and he was the first baby admitted there not being born there. He would just have to be in isolation from the other babies as precaution. One worry I had was that I wouldn't be able to stay with him but luckily this was not the case.
After she was able to get the spinal tap we took it directly to the hospital and they got him admitted. The neonatologist went over the many things they would be testing for, each one sounding scary. He went over the time length of stay and minimum was three days if nothing came up and the longest could be weeks. Most of the tests required cultures to be tested for growth each day for three days to see if anything shows up. Heston's bilirubin came back at 15 which required phototherapy. He was also extremely dehydrated, which and of itself is unusual considering nursing babies kidneys are supposed to keep this from happening in the first 48 hours or so until the Mother's milk comes in. Because of this his sodium levels were extremely high and this caused headaches which was more than likely the pain he was crying about. :( After they were able to get him on an IV and get some fluids in him his fever was gone. They went ahead and started him on antibiotics just in case. They also started him on formula until I could start producing for him. I was also worried they would make me to have to switch to formula and ruin any chance to nurse him, but ironically the opposite happened.
I got to stay with Heston pretty much the whole time, only leaving for a short time to go see the other kiddos. They let me do the feedings and hold him occasionally but for the most part he had to stay under the phototherapy lights for his jaundice for the first couple of days. The first day he was on formula and I pumped every time he would have ate. At first I got basically none out but soon after I noticed my supply was increasing. The next day the Doctor wanted me to nurse every other feed and continue pumping. The third day I just nursed and bottle fed as back up. By this time by milk was fully in and in great supply thanks to all the pumping I did. I feel it wouldn't have been this much otherwise. Every test they ran on him for infection was also coming back negative. The Doctor told us if all continues to go well we could discharge on Saturday afternoon. Initially, the earliest was going to be Sunday. This morning he came in and said all continued to show no infection so he would discharge this morning. We were so happy! The Doctor said for some reason unknown Heston became dehydrated and that there was nothing we did to cause it. He said the kidneys should have been on hold but they let out too much early on and then when he stopped eating it just went bad quickly. The jaundice was also caused by this because without his eating there was nothing to get things moving. Luckily, he has been latching on a lot easier and getting plenty, so hopefully we are out of the woods.
This whole ordeal has been testing. None of our children have every been admitted to the hospital for anything (knock on wood). The fear of possibly losing a child was not comparable to any fear I have ever had. Normally a very strong individual and one to rarely cry I was a mess. I am a firm believer in God using things like this for his good. And I have seen many blessings throughout. One such being before we had officially been admitted to the NICU we were already on several church prayer chains and I could feel the strength as more continued to be added. I am not one to necessarily take life for granted as fear has always been there for such life to be taken. But the reminder of that pain and the fear it produced was at times too much. Only God, prayers, and loved ones support was what got me through. Especially, with the intense amount of sleep deprivation I have had. This whole week I may have had maybe 18 hours of sleep total. If you know my health history at all you realize the miracle itself that my body has withstood that. And yet, here I am typing this with a healthy baby laying on me comfortably resting and feeling much at peace. Few words can actually describe it. It's only been less than one week, but the week has brought so much joy, fear, pain, and contentment that I can't really describe it in a blog. You can go years through life and not learn anything about what it truly is until you go through something life changing. It's a good way to remind you what priorities in life are really important. At times it almost felt that I was removed from the world itself. Time seemed unimportant and days ran together. And yet, despite all we went though we are stronger because of it. It's also been a great reminder to see our friends and family come together with the support that we have had.