Daddy Diary: April 21, 2009

I’ve taken to keeping a little notepad and pen with me at all times, so if I’m getting an update from the NICU staff I can write stuff down and relay the news accurately.

Good thing I studied journalism. (But a shame I never developed a skill for writing some kind of legible shorthand.)

9:04 a.m. updates:

Norah was very stable, doing good. No new changes. They were able to stop her dopamine and (BIG NEWS) remove her Foley catheter. So she was peeing on her own! (Strangely wonderful to hear that.)

Alexandra was doing OK after a fairly stable night. She was tolerating herh 3cc feedings so well, they were able to increase them. (Feedings through a tube, not a bottle yet.)

12:33 p.m. updates:

They were making “tiny little changes” to Norah, and she was doing pretty good. They were waiting on an echocardiogram to be performed in the afternoon.

Alexandra was also good, feedings up to 6ccs. Some ventilator changes, slight weaning off the oxygen, and her echo looked OK. Stable and resting.

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We went to see both of the girls in their respective NICUs in the afternoon, and all continued to be well.

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We then visited again after a dinner at the Two Brothers’ Grill up the street from our current place. The chicken salad wrap was actually pretty good.

Norah’s visit wasn’t great – the doc was kind of loud for a “Minimal Stimulation” area, and was pretty blunt in saying that she was still sick. Really harshed our mellow, especially Shannon, who was quite upset. We’ve been hearing such positive messages and “little improvements are good”-type talk, we maybe got ahead of ourselves a bit. Especially since the words “collapsed lung” were mentioned. But that’s something common with this situation, a nurse told Shannon when she saw how upset she was.

Alexandra’s visit was much better and more uplifting. She stretched big-time and moved around a lot when we arrived. And she even opened her eyes at Aunt Debbie – but not at any of the rest of us. Allegedly, her eyes are currently blue. But that could change.

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12:00 a.m. updates:

Norah was pretty good, she “liked” the changes they were making. Her blood gases were good, and no new medications were needed. (The blunt doc had said he had another med ready if they weren’t.) This made Shannon (and all of us) feel a lot better.

Alexandra was also good, no changes. Down to 29% oxygen help, and had a feeding shortly before I called. Stable – good.

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So what about me? I’m hanging in there. Strangely calm, maybe that means I just know they’ll be fine and dandy in a few weeks (or months). It’s been such a whirlwind, and we’ve been blessed to have not only great support from our collected family – but such caring and amazingly awesome docs and nurses. (Even Dr. Blunt-Talk.)

It’s unbelievable to see what they do all day, standing by a newborn’s incubator for hours and hours. Taking care of such helpless little babies is an incredible responsibility, but they do it with such skill and dedication.

As for the rest of our support system, we haven’t really told anyone outside the immediate family (and my work-folks). Really, until both girls are really doing better, we’re going to keep this quiet.

In fact, you’re probably reading this well after it actually happened. But I did want to document this journey, since it’s been maybe the most important five days of our lives so far. It would have been great to lean on our extended family and friends, but we’re just not ready for that.

Last night, we saw like 20 medical professionals crowded into a room next to the NICU, working on some unfortunate baby. The scene was very upsetting, to say the least.

Which makes us all the more grateful that each of our girls is taking her baby steps towards a ventilator-free, medication-free, and hopefully NICU-free future.

Night, all.

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