Saturday, May 31, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Coulter is coming home on Tuesday. He's healthy. He's nearly 5 and a half pounds. He's feeding on bottle or breast without any gavage assistance. He's on room air. He's pooping like a champ. All systems are go. Only a brainscan and a car seat challenge stand between him and the exit. After 53 days in the NICU he's finally coming home.
These have been the longest 53 days Nichole and I have ever experienced. Years have passed in less time than these 53 days. Finally the emotional roller coaster of the NICU is nearly over. The routine of getting to the NICU by 8 AM everyday for feeding and changing is almost done. Wearing green wrist bands signifying NICU parent. Eating at the Emanuel Heartbeat Cafe. Picking up the phone outside the NICU and stating that we're not currently infectious with any disease or illness so we can come in. Waiting outside the NICU with other NICU parents until 8 AM or 8PM when the NICU opens so we can enter and see Coulter. Being asked if we've seen the film Period of Purple Crying about how to avoid causing shaken baby syndrome. Scrubbing-In every time we enter the NICU. Being continually interrupted by people and noises as Coulter learns to breastfeed. Being given a time limit for how long Coulter can learn to latch-on before a gavage is used for his feeding. Wrangling chairs from around the NICU to sit next to Coulter's crib. Neonatal monitors with alarms and warning lights. Wires and tubes that have to be negotiated every time Coulter is moved or held. Wrestling with medical staff over use of fortifier supplements in the breast milk. Discussing the link between Autism and the Hep-B vaccination and how people think that he's going to be exposed to "pools of blood" so he'd better get the shot now while he's an infant. Temperature probes. IVs. PICC lines. Being suspected of doing street drugs which may have caused early labor each time we get a new nurse and later getting the, "I didn't mean to talk down to you, it's just that we get a variety of people in here" talk. Getting a heart pang every time a phone number starting with 413 calls to let us know how Coulter is doing (sometimes good and sometimes not so good). The frustration. The lack of control. The lack of privacy. The heart ache. The emotions ranging from elation to terror as Coulter's made non-linear progress and his need for medical assistance varied. Being a NICU parent in general. Nearly done.
At the same time we are so grateful for the NICU. If the Emanuel NICU weren't so phenomenal Coulter wouldn't be as healthy as he is. The staff at Emanuel made this impossible time do-able. Dr. Lara "Rockstar" Williams who probably saved Coulter's life by catching his premature arrival early enough to get medical intervention in place and brought us through a sleepless 10 days in the hospital with an amazing birth. Dr. Baxter and Dr. Lewellen demonstrated great skill and knowledge to Coulter's care. They gave honest and plain explanations regarding Coulter's health without sugar-coating the truth which helped us cope honestly with the severity of Coulter's condition. As for Coulter's nurses, Christy K., Christina, Nan, and Linda, they have been the day-to-day hands-on granite foundation that have helped get us through these 53 days. Christy's humor (razor sharp, a little twisted, and a touch of Manilow) and skill made the NICU a little more "normal" and the darkest times do-able. Christina's big personality that would light up the room and make a sterile environment seem warm and inviting. Nan's seen-it-all done-it-all we're-gonna-get-through-this-just-fine I've-been-here-for-30-years-and-I'm-retiring-next-year attitude kept anxiety at a minimum when things got scary. Linda's attentiveness to Coulter, when he went from Bunnies back to Ducks, kept a developing situation from getting worse. If you are reading this - Thank you so much for everything. You are amazing. If Coulter was a girl he'd probably have been renamed "Dr. Lara Chri2nanda" or some variation by now.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
"Sean did you walk whoaka Morgan this morning whoaka?"
"No not whoaka yet, I'm looking for whoaka her collar."
"I whoaka think I saw whoaka it downstairs next to her whoaka bed."
"Should we take whoaka one car whoaka to the NICU or should whoaka I take the whoaka scooter?"
"Why don't whoaka you take the whoaka scooter so I can whoaka go to the whoaka paint store while you are whoaka at work."
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Thanks, Heidi, Tony and Eli!
So, it's like you took one on the head and then you hit the bottom, and then all the air is knocked out of your lungs and you are tumbling around getting rag dolled like you're in a washing machine. You don't know up from down so you don't know which way to swim and you start to lose consciousness and then rise to the surface. You gasp for air and get some, luckily. You look up and another wave is about to crush you and this time you don't hit bottom, you keep your air, you swim to the top and think "I've gotta get in" and so you paddle in as fast as you can and actually manage to catch a great wave on the way. You get the barrel of your lifetime and you arrive on the beach where your hot wife is waiting in her bikini looking sexy as hell.You sit down and she hands you an ice cold beer and you look around...you're in Hawaii or some other version of a tropical paradise and you think to yourself...WOW, it was worth it! I'm not saying it wasn't rough but it was worth it and now look...I'm kicking it on the beach with my babe in paradise.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I have been spending most of my days at the NICU- preparing myself for what a normal day in the world of Coulter looks like. I now see how many bradys (bradycardia) and apneas he has during a typical day. It gives me a heart attack every time. Basically, when he has a "brady" his heart slows down considerably. It will be beating along just fine at ~150-170 bpm and then all of a sudden, he is plummeting to ~80 bpm. At the same time, he will just up and "forget" to breathe...which also makes his O2 saturations decrease from ~85-95% (comfortable O2 levels for babies) to ~50-60%....at which time he turns blue.
I heard from the doctor today that since all of these "episodes" keep happening as often as they do, the projected date for getting Coulter home is more realistically closer to my due date (June 17). I was really hoping for Sean's birthday (that was yesterday). I guess I should know by now not to have my heart set on a date.
As a new mom, this is all incredibly stressful. I wish I could keep this blog to just the happy, funny, and upbeat stuff but I also want to keep it real. I am tired, I am stressed, I am just plain sick of leaving our son at the hospital every day and every night. I am heartbroken and exhausted. I used to think I was tough....and then I had a child and found out what it means to have your heart in one place and your body in another. As Sean says, I want off this ride....and I want our baby home.