Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kanga & Little Roo, part 5

Well, friends, I've been up with insomnia tonight. How can someone who is as worn out as I am have trouble sleeping? I just don't understand it. But as I lay in bed awake, I realized that I was about to mess up the timeline in my little story here. So much happened in such a short amount of time that it's all a bit of a blur. But now I realize that all of the big stuff happened even closer together than I realized—no wonder I was so at the end of my rope!

So let me back up a minute… I did go home briefly on Sunday afternoon to shower, change, and head back to the hospital. And at that time, I really did think we might be heading home soon. But by Sunday evening we had realized that this was going to take longer than we had originally thought. At that point, I was completely overcome by exhaustion—physical, emotional, you name it. I couldn't take any more. I told my hubby that I needed just ONE good night's sleep so that I could face whatever was coming next, so I went home with him that night. It just about killed me to leave Roo there alone. He wasn't in the NICU, so it wasn't like I was leaving him in a secure place—it was just… leaving him in… a hospital room. By himself. It was scary. But I knew that I had to do it, just for the night. And really, the nurses there are great, and I know that they did keep a closer eye on him with me gone. Also, he literally slept 24 hours a day, with the exception of those 15-minute feedings—and quite honestly, he didn't really open his eyes then either.

I rode home with my husband (OK, he needs a name too. What is he? The Lion Tamer? I don't know, I'll have to think about it. All suggestions welcome. ;-) ) and basically went straight to bed. It was late, so the Lamb & Monkey were already asleep. (My mother-in-law was with them.) My good night's sleep, though, wasn't quite what I expected. I got a call from the hospital at around 4 in the morning. The nurses had determined that not all of his food was getting digested, and decided that he needed to get more fluids intravenously. They were putting in an IV. The nurse who called said they would attempt to put it in his arm, but warned me that there was a good chance it would be in his head.

It seemed like it would never end. It was always one. more. thing. I wasn't sure how much more I could take.

The next morning Jon and I took the kiddos to a friend's house for the day. Can I just stop here and tell you something good? We could probably all use it right about now. J We had a tremendous amount of support during our stay at Children's. Friends who brought food to my family so that I didn't worry about what they would have to eat at home. Friends who brought food to us at the hospital. Friends who just came to visit, who called, who sent cards, who prayed. I sent an e-mail to my moms' group at our church, and women who I hardly knew called and e-mailed, offering to watch the big kids, to bring us dinner, even to run errands for us. And of course, our families visited, helped with the kids, took us to countless lunches and dinners, even stayed with Roo to give us a break. It was amazing. I was overwhelmed daily by the love and support we were given in the midst of all that. What an absolute blessing.

One friend in particular—who knows who she is and probably won't be happy to be singled out, but I'm going to do it anyway—offered more and more of herself throughout this whole time. She was one of the first people at the hospital when Roo was born, the first friend who visited when we had to go back to Children's. She brought us dinner and desserts (and let me tell you, she is one heck of a cook!), and on this particular day, she gave up her last day of Spring Break to watch the Lamb & Monkey for us. I don't know what I would do without her. Talk about being the hands & feet of Christ!

So Jon and I took the kids to her house, then headed back to Children's. Even though we had been warned about the IV, we were not prepared to see our little baby that morning. We walked in and there he was, all four pounds of him, still in the isolette, blue lights shining down, eyes covered, but now with the tube in his nose, an IV in his head, and splints on his arms to keep him from pulling at the IV. I literally could not catch my breath. I had to keep reminding myself that it was just fluid in the IV, not some disease-fighting medicine; that the isolette was just there to keep him the right temperature while he was under the lights, not because he was sick and couldn't be touched. This would be OK. We would get through it.

That morning we met a new attending physician, the woman we would get to know well over the next week. I adored her. She was great. We also had a new resident for the rest of the week, and to be fair, she was much more professional, confident, and (to be honest) competent than the first one we'd had. Even though she still looked like a teenager. ;-)

As much as I liked and appreciated this new attending, she had more bad news for us. Roo's blood was thick—we had known that since shortly after we arrived at Children's. It made all of their blood samples difficult to get, and made it hard to get accurate information from blood taken from his heel. (They would have to squeeze his heel to get the blood out, and I guess that would squish the blood cells and throw off the results.) So far, they had blamed the thick blood on dehydration. Now, though, they saw that part of the problem was a very high red blood cell count. Very high, I would later learn. Hemoglobin and hematocrit, those were the numbers we were watching. They were the reason for the many, many, many blood draws over the next couple of days. They were the terms I would be saying in my sleep by the end of the week.

The good news was that we didn't really have to do anything about his red blood cell count at that point. They just needed to monitor it. She explained to me that all of the issues we were having—the jaundice, high hemoglobin & hematocrit, dehydration, excessive sleepiness—were very typical of preemies. And even though Roo wasn't gestationally a preemie, his size—and now these issues—indicated that maybe he had just developed that way. And in preemies with a high H&H level (hemoglobin & hematocrit), they usually just needed time, and eventually the levels would come down on their own. There were other possible treatments if they didn't, but we didn't need to worry about those just yet.

And so we continued with this new normal—me at the hospital with the baby, my hubby there as much as he could but trying to get some time in at the office (He's self-employed, so it's not like someone can just take over all his work if he's gone…), our parents and kids visiting as much as possible, my brothers stopping in when they could. It wasn't fun, but we just took one step at a time.

1 comment:

Jamey... said...

Katy, I had no idea all this stuff was going on! You're killing me with the suspense here too. I'm so sorry I never sent you those clothes. At least it would have been one helpful thing I could have done from faraway!