Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012: More visitors!

Rounds this morning went well. The first thing we noticed when we walked back in was that his small bili light was back on. His levels went back up. They said they’d keep an eye on them, but he’s still pretty close to having them turned off.

His forced breaths from the CPAP machine went up to 20 because he had more As and Bs, mostly Bs, overnight. They'll also keep his caffeine up with his weight. The caffeine will help keep him breathing without the machine. Finn receives his oxygen, pressure, and breaths from the CPAP machine. The CPAP machine has two alternating types of masks. One uses nostril prongs that don't put as much pressure on the skin around his nose. The other is more of a mask type that surrounds his nose. Almost all of the bradies seem to come when he's wearing the nostril prongs. They’re a little too big for his nose and they collapse / kink easily. The NEO put in an order to have the RESP only his the nose mask instead of the nose prongs 24/7. They usually alternate between to the two to keep from harming the skin where it contacts him. Because they’re going to use the mask only, the RESP will take off the mask every couple of hours to give the skin a break. Finn does pretty well without the mask when they suction him and give him the breaks, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

The NEO put in an order to bring the humidity down from 85 to 60 in Finn’s giraffe OmniBed.

They still can’t hear a murmur again, so that’s good news! His BP and heart sound fine!

  • May 2 end gut priming. May 3rd start real feeding schedule!
  • 10 days head ultra sound, Thursday.
  • PICC line later today or tomorrow to let the UVC come out so we can kangaroo.
  • Take it one day at a time.

We stayed up until 3 last night because Christine wasn’t tired, she had to pump and we were getting situated. She hadn’t been home for over a week. Granted, she was home a lot earlier than the early August timeline we were hoping for. We slept in and got back to the hospital 30 minutes late for church (oops).

Christine’s mom and dad, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin came to visit. They all got introduced to the intense scrubbing routine for every visitor to the NICU. No exceptions!
  • Sleeves rolled up above the elbows the whole time you’re here.
  • No rings with stones, watches, bracelets, or anything around your wrists.
  • No nail polish or fake nails – remove them or wear the provided gloves after scrubbing.
  • Each visitor needs to do a 2 minute scrub every 24 hours or whenever they leave the front doors of the hospital, whichever comes sooner.
  • If you leave the NICU, but don’t walk out of the hospital, you just need to do a 15 second wash as if you went to the bathroom.
  • You’ll learn 2 minutes is a lot longer than you thought!

Other rules are:
  • No siblings under 3. Everyone else must be over the age of 13. Everyone waits in the family waiting room until Christine or I come get you.
  • Only 4 people, including us, are allowed in Finnegan’s room at a time.
  • Every adult visitor needs to fill out a health screen every 2 weeks. Children have one filled out every day. The health screens cover basic symptoms like sneezing, fever blisters or cold sores and temperatures greater than two weeks. If you lie, you’ll harm Finnegan and every other baby in the NICU.
  • The entire hospital campus including all buildings, parking lots, garages, sidewalks, roads, and lawn are entirely smoke-free. You'll either need to please kick the habit or go smoke across the road by the interstate with the nurses who I'm not sure realize they work in healthcare.

Grandma was super excited to see Finnegan. I was told the visit was all she could talk about for the week prior! She and nearly everyone else remarked just how tiny he was. That from the pictures we take you can’t really tell just how small he is. Everyone came back in pairs and then I left so that the women could have some time together. I’ve found that the app “Draw Something” really helps to take my mind off of things.

After the visits we went to dinner at TGI Friday’s across the river in East Peoria. We also picked up a small cooler, ice packs for the cooler to keep milk frozen, and ice packs to help Christine’s swelling and bruising to go down. Christine was feeling guilty about not being with the dogs for so long, so we also picked up some denta bones. I’m sure my family will get to benefit from them too on account of Kylie licks like a cow and she retrained Joey to start licking again after I knocked him of the habit a year ago.

Here are some pictures from throughout the day:
Grandma and Grandpa Doman admire Finnegan's glow! :)

Grandpa smiling at his grandson for the first time!

Great Grandma and Grandpa meet Finnegan!

Great-Grandma was in awe of how tiny he is!

Cousin Katie and Finnegan
Great Aunt Jan and Great Uncle John giving Finn some love!

After all the visitors left, the NNP put in Finnegan's PICC line and nailed it the first time! This meant Kangaroo time! See page 3 & 4 for benefits: Kangaroo care has been shown to significantly improve the baby's stats allowing for accelerated discharges because the baby is healthier earlier. It also has benefits for the parents including feelings of closeness and for mom, increased milk production. We'll get to do this once a day for at least 30 minutes, or as long as ~4 hours so long as Finnegan tolerates it. I told Christine to go first, and I'll probably get to do it tomorrow.

Almost as soon as he was on Christine's chest, Finnegan settled down for a nap :)

I was excited for Finnegan to meet his Grandpa Doman, Great-Grandparents, Great-Aunt Jan and Uncle John, and cousin Katie. Everyone's reaction as absolutely priceless. It helps that Finnegan is a little rock star. He showed everyone how feisty he can be. He's pretty much amazing. 

When we got back from dinner, Finn's nurse said that since the PICC line went in alright, then we could Kangaroo tonight. I was overly excited. I couldn't believe I would be able to hold my little dude this soon. After I pumped and got comfy, I put on a hospital gown backwards and propped myself up next to Finn's bed. Ian helped the nurse get all his wires out, and she lifted him out of the bed and placed him on my chest. He is so tiny. Once he got comfy, the nurse placed several warm blankets over him to keep him warm. His little hand stretched across my chest and his little fingers curled up into a fist. His little legs were tucked up under his belly, and I could feel him get all snuggled up. Looking down at my son and his little eyes peeking up at me is a moment I won't ever forget. I could feel his little breath on my skin. It felt like home. I tried to sing him a couple lullabies, but as soon as I thought about doing it, I couldn't think of any song to sing to him. I hummed a couple songs that came to my head, and his eyes started to close as he fell asleep. Any time he heard Ian move, though, his eyes popped open and he was looking for daddy.

Finnegan must of been a little bit too cozy because he had two bradys while we were snuggling. After the second one, our time got cut short. Finn likes to forget to breath sometimes when he sleeps. It's part of being a preemie. That hour or so I spent with my son was one of the most terrifying, beautiful, and peaceful moments of my life. Looking at pictures, I can't believe how small he his. I really wished Ian and I could snuggle him together, but for now, we will take what we can get! :)

I decided that day that I wanted to spend the night at the hospital with Finn and Ian. Ian was concerned I wouldn't be comfortable sleeping in a chair, but I felt like I needed to at least spend one night there to know what things would be like for the next couple of months. I pumped for the evening and got myself ready to fall asleep, but once I got comfy, my brain wouldn't shut off. I decided to sit next to Finn's bed and read by his billi light. It was extremely peaceful; plus I got to continue reading The Help which I started reading while I was on bed rest in March, but never finished. Eventually, the nurse realized that I would be sleeping on a rocking chair, and brought in a pull-out chair. I wasn't complaining about the rocking chair, because I did sleep quite well, but the pull-out was quite cozy as well! :) As for the picture below, I need to start waking up before Ian so I can get some sleepy shots of him! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday, April 28th: Mommy goes home!

Rounds went well this morning. Over the past couple of days Finnegan has been having the A's and B's, aka apneas and bradycardias where he forgets to breath and his heart rate drops. 30-40% of the time he recovers quickly on his own, 40-50% of the time he requires mild stimulation to start breathing again (lightly moving his arm or leg) and about 10-20 % of the time he needs moderate stimulation (a little more forceful touch or flick on the leg or arm). So far he hasn't needed the other two levels of stimulation. He has been receiving oxygen at room level (21%) and at pressure to help keep his lungs open. For about half a day he was off of the forced breaths, but went back on at a rate of 10 to help him through the As and Bs. Christine's doctor told us we could expect this. He was really energetic for the first couple of days and did very well, but then the effects of the magnesium set in and he wore out just a bit. Also, his brain doesn't know that it has to have him breathe all the time yet, it's just not that fully developed. The NEO and the NNP said they are not at all concerned with the amount or frequency of As and Bs Finn is having.

Sometime in the next few days he'll have his PICC line put in and then all of the IV's in the belly button will go away and we'll be able to do Kangaroo time with him! At the same time he'll start receiving nutrition from breast milk. Right now he's getting so small a dose that its only used as a gut primer to get his intestines ready to receive and digest milk. The PICC line is basically an IV that goes up his arm and drops into a larger vessel than could otherwise be accessed through an IV in any other place of his body.

Finnegan's bili levels are now just right and he's off of the bili light, so you won't see new pictures after today in a blue light unless he has to go back underneath it.

Lastly, they still haven't heard the murmur again that made the NEO be watchful for PDA. Except for his As and Bs which are apparently acceptable (he's getting oxygen and support breaths from CPAP), he is doing quite well. Please continue to pray that it goes that way.

I find myself praying more often that I ever have. The monitor in the room where we can see Finn's vitals has a Picture in Picture view of the vitals of the room next door so the nurse who takes care of both babies can see everything when in either room. Across the top it has the 8 room numbers in our neighborhood, Dragonfly. If one of the vitals is warning or alarming, they flash in yellow, red, white. and blue. I think the white means the nurse has silenced the warning, but I'm not sure about the blue yet. Whenever Finnegan's red alarm goes off, or one of the other rooms' red light goes off I stop and say a Hail Mary's and Our Fathers until they go away. That usually leads to some personal prayer time.

Today is the day I get to go home. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. I've been staying in the hospital since last Friday, so I've become accustomed to being woken at all hours and measuring everything I eat, drink, and pee. I never thought that would be an adjustment, but apparently hospitals do crazy things to you.

I've got a bet going with myself that it will take at least another week for all the tape adhesive to get off of the various places my skin. I feel like I just get some off and then I find some more!

The prospect of sleeping in my own bed is quite appealing, but it won't feel right when I know that Finn and Ian are about 50 minutes away at the NICU. All the nurses have been really wonderful and asking me how I feel about going home. Apparently, I'm supposed to start balling and feel helpless. They keep telling me I am so strong. I'm not sure if there is any other way for me to be at this point. I have to be strong for my little boy and my husband. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be emotional and cry and feel helpless, but I can't see dwelling on that being something that can help our situation. I mean, yeah, this sucks; but, it's our life right now. And by golly, I'm going to live it and enjoy every minute of it! God wouldn't give us this challenge if we couldn't handle it. And he has provided amazing family to support us along the way.

Ian always finds a way to be entertaining! :)

I spent most of the day reminiscing on my last week in the hospital. I thought about what life would be like when I finally get home. Pretty much, I napped. A lot. It felt good. :) Although, it's about 3pm and I still haven't seen my little man yet today. It feels like a little pull at my heart when I think about not being near him. Ian ran home to meet his parents at the house. Homemade lasagna is in my immediate future for dinner, and I cannot wait! :) Hospital food hasn't been too bad, but there's something about good home-cooking! I'll spend my first night at home tonight with the in-laws. I'm so grateful to not have to spend my first night at home alone, as Ian will stay with Finn at the NICU. I'm excited to get out and go to church tomorrow morning before heading back down to Peoria with my parents. My dad gets to meet his grandson for the first time tomorrow. Not to mention, Finn's great-grandparents will make the trip down as well. It's going to be a busy weekend, but it's full of love for the most amazing little man. I'm off to shower and see what it feels like to put on jeans and gym shoes for the first time in a week. It's the little things, really. :)

Get this thing off of my head!

For reals, I said get it off!

I concede defeat in the matter of the face mask.

The Bruckners came to visit and brought a lasagna! What a way to celebrate Christine's last night as a patient of the hospital. After dinner, we moseyed upstairs to the NICU... Grandma Bruckner got to take his temp (armpit) and

We got to hold him our hands! I don't think I can even describe how good it felt.

Around 8:30 it was time to go. We went up to Christine's room to pick up the rest of her stuff and they brought it down to the care while I waited with Christine for her nurse and the transport. That was a bit emotional. After being so close to Finnegan for so long (either in the womb or in a another unit of the same hospital, Christine would be spending her first night away from him at home. She had planned to stay at home with my mom (Dad and Meghan were also going to stay), but I asked if she wanted me with her and she said yes. My parents and Meghan ended up going home so they could give the dogs some loving!

We called and talked to one of the nurses in Finnegan's Dragonfly neighborhood just now (2:00am). He said Finn has had 4 braidycardias, 2 he came back from on his own, and 2 required gentle stimulation. At this point, we acknowledge those will happen and we can't let it bother us even though they probably always will. He's still rockin' it for an almost 26 (gestation) week old.