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Monday, January 23, 2006

When NICU Babies Attack

Danielle and I took a class offered by the NICU on the Monday after our boy was born. It was called “Your baby in the NICU” or “So you’ve got a kid in the NICU” or “When NICU babies attack”… something like that. It was a nice class that taught us a lot about how to interact with our child-in-an-incubator. We learned about the visiting hours for the parents, grandparents, and extended support members (friends and close relatives… not your mailman, your hair dresser and that one friend you had in high school that liked to stick things up his nose).
What we didn’t learn at the class was how much of an emotional drain it can be surviving on the outside while your little one is struggling on the inside. So, we have formed our own little alliance, Danielle and I, to deal with this. And here’s our creed:

Jeffrey will come home at 40 weeks gestational age, give or take a few weeks. When he comes home, he will be healthy enough for us to bring him home, or else the doctors wouldn’t allow it. During his extended stay in the NICU, he’s going to have some banner days where he’s gain weight, have good vitals, eat food and kick back in the afternoon for some solid naptime. He’s also going to have some really lousy days where his vitals will be in the toilet and the doctors or nurses will have to deliver some bad news du jour. We understand that a) many babies (and parents) before Jeffrey have gone through the same trials and tribulations as we have and b) he’s got the best care available to attend to his every medical, developmental and emotional need.
It’s human nature for us, as his parents (and more so as new parents) to jump up and down on his good days and freak out on his bad days. But we can’t. No more than the veteran Wall Street trader can jump at every fluctuation of his stocks. It’s not healthy for us. While Jeffrey’s at the hospital, it’s our job to be his support team, and it’s hard for us to do when we’re worried ourselves. Therefore, we’ll let the doctors worry for us. And frankly, they don’t seem all that worried very often. That Dr. Murray is one cool cucumber. And Drs. Thingvoll’s & D’Angio seem pretty confident about our boy too.
So you know what I’m going to do? Sing lousy 80’s new wave songs to him, change his diaper every few hours, feed him when I can, and just enjoy every minute I get to spend with my son.

Vitals for today:
Up 20g to 1280, stable vitals throughout the afternoon with a few bradycardic events in the morning. He’s still not able to take feeds due to a distended abdomen since 6pm on 1/21/06. IV nutrition has been re-established. X-rays every 12 hours to diagnose what might be going on in his intestines. Hopefully we’ll have more information tomorrow morning.

On a funny note… Danielle tried breastfeeding yesterday. That’s not the funny part. He wasn’t that interested in latching on, and actually fell asleep in mid-attempt. A good effort, and the nurse (Barb) told us not too worry if he didn’t get the hang of it on the first try… he’s not even 32 weeks yet! Later on, he got to lie on my chest while we fed him his evening feed by tube. Wouldn’t you know it that then he was much more interested in trying breastfeeding? He made a valiant effort. Too bad he was on the wrong chest.


Anonymous said...

i'm looking at the time that you posted this, brian.......ugh! all this, and you have to maintain a semblence of a life, too!
good luck, as always......

ArthurDent said...

(for last paragraph)
Too... many... jokes... must resist mocking...

Sheila, Chuck & Carrie said...

You guys are the best parents for Jeffery. Hang in there. Our love and thought are with you even if we are in Fort Ann.... See you soon.