Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Travis' (so far) Story
I never, ever expected my full term (overdue!) over 8lb baby to end up in the NICU. Sabrina, we expected to end up there...until she made it to term. But Travis? Wasn't even in our radar. I watched so many high risk delivery shows and not one presented that possibility in the absence if the baby shitting in the womb and inhaling their own poop. Since he hadn't pooped, I figured he'd be fine. Frankly I was more concerned with my searing pain at that point, anyway.
When the nurse came to get Chris while I was in recovery, they had determined he was unable to keep his oxygen saturation levels up on his own. For future reference, I'm going to refer to those episodes as d-sats, because that's what us people in the medical community do. I'm an honorary member, as you well know.
He was put on full oxygen and continued to be monitored. After leaving me in recovery, where I looked as pale as a human being could be thanks to my lack of blood and also where I was making very little sense, to being brought to the nursery to see his son in an oxygen tent, I think Chris had a mini-nervous breakdown. Considering he'd been up for about 24 hours at this point and the last several hours had been freaking horrendous, it's amazing he made it that far. Meanwhile I was fading in and out of consciousness down the hall, while eavesdropping on the nurses personal conversations in between. I sure hope their camping trip last weekend went well.
I honestly can't give you the details about Travis' first 24 hours. I was really clueless, I was just going by what Chris was relaying to me, and he was just going by what the nurses were telling him. We really didn't realize it was as serious as it was. I think we thought he just needed a little boost and he'd be in my room shortly.
Obviously that wasn't the case. All I know from that first day is he wasn't breathing consistently on his own, and his heart rate was also dropping periodically. However, they took him off the oxygen somewhere during that first 24 hours because he was doing well, and at first he seemed to do really well off of it. I was trying my hardest to get up and move around after I got my blood transfusions so that I could be discharged on Saturday, and I assumed he'd be coming with me.
He wasn't. Unbeknownst to us, that was never an option. He had 48 hours of antibiotics (precautionary), which needed to be completed and he needed to be observed for some time. He needed to not have a d-sat for at least 48 hours.
So, I figured Sunday at worst.
Saturday night we got a call from the on-call doctor. Travis was not only having d-sats that required oxygen to stimulate him, but he also had two separate incidents of apnea where he stopped breathing completely. The doctor called to let us know he was going back on antibiotics (per protocol) for 5 more days, and she had put him on cannula (nasal) oxygen. It was a giant step backward.
During this time, all of the doctors and neonatalogist felt he was probably dealing with persistent pulmonary hypertension in a newborn. I'll spare you the medical details, but basically it's high blood pressure in the lungs and can cause the d-sats we were dealing with. But, there were a lot of things that didn't really jive with that diagnosis, either. Ultimately we were dealing with a wait and see situation, which is pretty much all you can do with infants. There was no infection, no heart issues, no feeding issues (he eats like a horse), only respiratory issues. You know, just that minor thing we call breathing.
At this point we know he's not coming home before Friday. But we don't know what's wrong with him.
We had a couple more days of d-sats here and there and it seemed like he was not only not making any progress but he was going backwards fast. It was beyond hard. We were trying to balance spending time with Travis, trying to figure out what was wrong with him, trying to take care of Sabrina and keep her life as normal as possible, and try not to kill each other in the process. For the most part, we've managed to not take the stress out on each other. But sometimes, we slip. It's unavoidable. We have no one else to take it out on and there are moments when you just want to blame someone. Just want someone or something to be responsible so you can direct your anger or frustration at them.
Thankfully, I can now drink again so that helps.
Yesterday, Travis had a great day. They took him off the oxygen on Monday afternoon, because they determined he most likely does not have the persistent pulmonary hypertension but instead is dealing with a brain maturity issue - very much like apnea in preemies. When his oxygen levels drop (normally during a deep sleep), his brain isn't always telling him to breathe. However since being off the oxygen, his brain has started working. His oxygen levels sometimes drop below 90, but he quickly starts taking more breaths and gets it back up on his own. It's working, he's working. It's amazing news and we are just crossing our fingers he'll continue to do this well. If he does, we may have him home this weekend.
We cannot wait.