August 28, 2010

A Clear Head

This has been a good week for clearing my head.  J convinced me to take some time off from the hospital the last few days so I could have some "me" time, and to give me a break.  So, instead of my usual twice daily visits, I cut them down to once a day for Wed, Thurs, and Friday.  I got some work done around the house (we've been making some progress on the nursery - pics of that to come soon!), paid some bills ( that due!??!), washed some baby clothes, and even got some work done for my job.  I didn't find time for the massage or pedicure that I was hoping for, but there's always next week, right?

It did give me time to reflect on our experience so far, and to be thankful for what we have.  We have a beautiful, strong son who is two months old already!  He is progressing so well, and continues to show signs that he is alert with all internal systems working as expected.  Although this journey is a roller coaster for sure, we've had a fairly smooth ride, and he hasn't had any major setbacks so far.  We've never been sat down by doctors to say that his prognosis is grim, and we've never had a middle of the night call from the NICU.  In fact, the only calls we've gotten from the NICU have been the nurses letting us know that we need to bring in more blankets or milk.  In addition, we've met some amazing people.  I've raved about the doctors and nurses before and we mean it - they are incredible.  Andrew's primary nurses (and some "quasi-primaries") truly love him, and make our days better when they are working.  We owe them so much; he wouldn't be here without them.  In addition, the other NICU parents we've met - they have been the lifesaver for me and J.  While no two NICU journeys are the same, we've found kinship and solace in talking to others who are going through this too.  I know we will be friends with these families for years to come.

He's drooling on my chest!
This time off to reflect has given me much perspective, and the energy to push on. Our visits the last few days have been good ones, and we've gotten some good news too.  Yesterday, we found out that Andrew had a repeat head ultrasound, and the brain bleed he had (level 2 IVH) has completely resolved and is now gone!  Thank you, thank you!  We are so relieved to hear this great news. Also, his oxygen requirements have been down lower than ever the past few days - in the low 30% range, and yesterday he was even at 25% for awhile!  (You and I breathe 21% oxygen, so he is doing great!).  A few days ago they started him on a mild diuretic which they thought would help pull excess fluid from him - including his lungs - and help his breathing.  I'm not sure if it is that, or just that he is getting bigger, but something is working! J and I both had the chance to kangaroo with him the past few days and he did really well.  I think J had his official first "OH SH!T" moment when he did it, where it really sank in that he was a father and we weren't just visiting a baby in the NICU!  I picture many a Sunday afternoon with them in the same position - reclined, with Andrew on his chest - as they take in a Redskin's game on the couch!  I can't wait!

Apparently he's not bothered by chest hair!
He slept the entire time.
Andrew does continue to have a few "spells" a day where he desats significantly.  One possible thought as to the reason for the spells is reflux.  They are going to begin him on Prilosec to see if that helps at all.  Almost all preemies have issues with reflux, so this medicine was bound to happen sooner or later.  It's kind of funny, they add all these medicines to various feeds throughout the day, so rarely does he get just breast milk at a feeding.  He's getting additional calories through a fortifier (every feed), caffeine, vitamin D, the diuretic (can't remember the name right now) and prilosec.  I'm probably forgetting something too!  Most of these should be weaned away by the time he comes home.

We both enjoyed the time together!
Don't mind my fly-away hair.
In all, it's been a good week - and I have a much clearer head (and apparently so does Andrew!)  You keep fighting, little man!  We're so proud of you!


Karen said...

You go little man! Kristin, you & John should try getting away for a weekend by yourselves...just need it. You won't get that again for a while when Andrew comes home. You, John & Andrew are doing a remarkable job. Your little man is very, very special!!!!!!!
Love to all of you, Karen & Len Imielinski

Anonymous said...

Kristin and John, What tough road you have been on. Lean on each other and Andrew will gain strength from the two of you. Sounds like he is doing the best that can be expected. The future will be bright for all of you. Keep growing and gaining weight Andrew, we think of you often. Love Jean and Ed