Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Life in the NICU

"Living" in the NICU is such a weird thing. On one hand it can be so depressing. And then at the same time it can be so fascinating and wonderful, like when the babies get to go home. Since each child has their own rooms, you don't see a lot of the other families. You see them down in the cafe or in the parents lounge, but that is pretty much it. Last night when I was talking to some family updating them on our little guy I was talking to two ladies. One was in the middle of adopting her baby that has downs, and three wholes in her heart and she was so happy and so optimistic about it all. Another girl was 15 and had her 13 ounce baby at 24 weeks. She had mentioned how her back was hurting from sleeping on the couches in the room and how she will be happy when they can go home, obviously having no idea of the reality of it all. That baby will be in there for at least 18 weeks and probably more, but she doesn't seem to get that. The whole floor with 60 rooms is just a weird thing. You see breakdowns a lot and you hear laughter. Weird.

I think the weirdest thing about it all is this has only been my 3rd day in the NICU, but honestly this is no exaggeration when I say that it feels like I have been there a month already. Each day seems to be a week long. It is so weird. I also feel like all I think about is numbers, all his labs and such. It can sure be exhausting. How can I have only been there for 3 days! What on earth do the mothers who have had babies there for months do? I have no idea and I don't want to know either.

Ok, now onto the good stuff, our little Paxton. He has been such a trooper. He is just chugging along impressing us all. The doctor tonight said you can tell on the babies who just needed a little more time because at some point all of a sudden they start making rapid improvements and that is exactly what he is doing. Yesterday things were starting to look up. His numbers were looking good although they did put him under the lights because he was as orange as a pumpkin. He skipped straight over the yellow and went straight to orange. By this morning his levels looked good so his tanning days are over. His CO2 numbers were great too, so they have now taken him off the oxygen completely, he is on room air. They still use the cannula for flow and he is on 5 liters which is pretty high, but they feel like he will do well coming off that too. They also took the artery line out of his belly button. That is what they used to draw blood. The doctor had said once that was out it would be a good thing because it means that they will not have to do nearly as many labs on him. Since they do not have that advantage now he gets blood drawn through his heel which can't be fun. But talking to her tonight she said she thinks she will do one more draw tomorrow and that is it. That is great news to us all! And he went from drinking 5ml of pumped milk up to 75ml. All the pumping I have done, will not last long at that rate. And since he was doing so well they are letting me nurse him which is huge. He did so well the very first time. I was a little afraid because he had had a bottle for 2 days now and was on iv fluids up till then. I thought maybe it would be too hard for him to work for it or he would have no interest and he was a true champ, probably my best eater at this point. They completely took him off all fluids as well so all he is getting now is milk. They do make me offer a bottle after each feeding because if he does not start to gain weight they will have to put a tube down to make him eat, and we do not want that, so whatever it takes. He does not like the formula at all. It is almost like he purposly falls asleep immediately when I put the bottle to his mouth. It is actually quite funny.

So today he has made large strides and we are so pleased with his hard work. He is so much more awake now and alert. His little eyes open just melt my heart. His cheeks are irresistible and I cannot keep my hands off his little head. He is so laid back which I appreciate. He cried for the first time ever today and it was nice to hear that. When they put his IV back in because it clogged he slept through it and when they took the artery line out of his belly button he didn't bat an eye. He has been such a trooper.

He does have black hair that seems to look like my other boys, but he really doesn't look like anyone else. He totally has a different look to him. It will be nice to get the cannula out to really get a better idea of what he looks like. All I know is I fall in love with him more and more each minute I am with him.

Physically I am beat. It is bad enough I had a major surgery 6 days ago, but I am getting no sleep and I wasn't getting great sleep the last week or so of the pregnancy either so I am wiped out. My incision actually does not hurt really at all, my tail bone still kills and my feet are getting better, but still a little too puffy for my liking. Oh and the headaches have got to go.

Emotionally I am doing pretty good. I have my moments that is for sure. But for the most part I am holding up pretty well. When I think about juggling all of this and my little baby laying in a hospital and then my sweet children here at home, I really struggle. I wish so bad I didn't have to choose home of the hospital, but the reality of it is, I do. I miss my kids when I am there and I miss Paxton when I am here and that is the hardest part of it all.

I want to thank everyone for their comments and emails. It really means so much that we have such a great support team and such great friends and family. I am grateful for all the prayers and honestly I feel them when I am at that great hospital. It is what keeps us going and we are so grateful for that. We will be sure to keep you updated so be sure to check back soon!


carrie said...

Good job little Paxton! You are so lucky to come to such a loving and caring family.

Jackie said...

Yay! We hope he can come home to you soon! We know a little bit of the stresses you are going through and we hope and pray his stay in NICU is brief. The NICU also gave me mixed feelings - the babies were so cute but it breaks your heart to see them strapped in our tubbed up. I just wanted to go and cradle each one. Paxton looks healthy though and the chub on his cheek is so cute!

Paige said...

Woo hoo!! I'm so happy that he's doing so well. I hope he gets to come home soon so you can all hang out at home and get some SLEEP! His picture up there is really cute. He looks a little like Bennett did from that angle.

Shane, Megan, & Carter said...

I am so glad to hear that he's marching along and doing well! He looks just so healthy and sweet in that picture! We are praying that he'll continue to improve and that his stay in the NICU will be as short as possible. Also, we are praying that you, Andy, and the kids will have peace and rest and whatever else you need right now! Big hugs to you! You are such an awesome momma!

Michelle said...

Hi, I have no earthly idea how I found your blog, but I read often. I want you to know that even though we don't know each other, I pray for you. I hope that you have Paxton home soon and that you get some much needed rest!Take care.

Jamie said...

Congratulations you guys!!! We are so happy for you all. We will keep Paxton in our prayers, and all of you for that matter. I remember how hard it was to think straight without any sleep when I had Katelyn. We will pray that you will be able to at least get a nap (:

What a happy, wonderful time. Paxton is so lucky to be born into such a great family.

Amber said...

I am hoping and praying you will be able to go home with Paxton soon. From what you said, it sounds like it will not be too much longer. I cannot imagine how hard that must be to be apart from your children no matter where you go. Hang in there. Thanks for the updates.

Sarah said...

Hey Terica!!
So I was talking to Nicole today and heard about Paxton's arrival!! Congrats!! But she also told me about his complications and guided me to your blog.
I am praying for a fast recovery, and like you said in your posts, you are lucky to be at such a great hospital. I actually just visited the NICU at Children's a week ago today for one of my classes and we toured many of the rooms and spoke with a few doctors. They truly are amazing and seem to sincerely care about ALL of their patients and parents, and they try to make this uncomfortable period the most comfortable for you that they can. These little infants are so resilient and make these amazingly fast recoveries, and I'm sure little Paxton will be no different.
I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you, Paxton, and the rest of your family. And know that you ALL are in my prayers .
If you need anything, please let me know!

Sarah D <3

Bonnie and Brian Wayne said...

I am glad Paxton is showing improvements - 5 ml - to 75 ml of liquid is HUGE!!!

Hope things get better for you!! Make sure you are eating regulary and getting enough to drink etc. Be the healthiest you for Paxton you can!

Prayers and hugs!

Karyn said...

Hooray for good news! You are all in our prayers, especially little Paxton. Good luck!

Sariah English said...

He is a strong little fella! He can do it. All three of the kids pray for him everynight. Warren calls him the baby that can't breath! The faith of children!