Friday, August 29, 2008

Kangaroo Care!

My son was a month old before I was able to hold him. I would say that was probably the happiest day in my life. I was so full of emotion I had the Chaplain come and pray just to thank God for this gift. I think that was the first time I really started feeling like a mom. It is so hard to bond with a child you cannot hold. We couldnt swaddle him because he was too tiny. We had to do what is called Kangaroo Care. This is where the baby has to be skin to skin on your chest. My body heat kept him warm outside of his isollette (I call it a bread box). He could hear my heart beat and it soothed him and made him feel like he was back inside the womb. The nurses ask that you hold your baby for atleast an hour because it is alot of trouble getting a baby that tiny out with all those wires and tubes. The first time I was able to hold him was for six hours. My eyes were floating I had to pee so bad, but I was on a mission. I was determined to bond with my son. Now he is so spoiled he thinks I should hold him all the time, but he deserves it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I remember the first time I saw him in the NICU. It was so hard seeing him like that. He didn't look like a baby. His ears were still platted to his head . You could see through his skin, and he was skeletal. The doctors, and even the nurses sounded so negative. I heard everything from "babies like him rarely make it", and "the odds are not good" to "I will be very surprised if he makes it". I understand their reasoning now, but at the time it felt like they were thieves coming to rob my hope. He was mine and I was determined that somehow, God willing we would get through this.

Everything went smoothly for the first week and a half. His Ventilator settings were low and he was on room air most of the time. That was until Sat. June 01, this is the day that I will never forget. Dalton was acting very sleepy, and started requiring more oxygen. Silly me I just thought he was tired and worn out from the day before. We had a hard time getting him to stool, and they had sent him for a barium enema. I had no idea that he was septic and clinging to life.

His blood pressure had been very low, and at one point they couldn't get a blood pressure at all. He had been on a medication called Dopamine to help his blood pressure in return helping him pee. All day Sat. I kept saying "aww that baby so sleepy" , but he wasn't he was lethargic. I noticed that his nurse would look concerned when trying to get a pulse out of his foot. All that night I sat right by the incubator so worried that he was sick. Sunday morning his nurse practitioner came in and noticed a blue spot on his stomach and ordered an x-ray. This showed that there was air in his abdomen, but it was outside of the stomach. This meant that there was a rupture somewhere and the air was escaping. He was going to have surgery and I couldn't believe that a baby so tiny could live through that. They closed the pod and did the surgery bedside, because it would have been too hard on him to be moved. It seemed like forever before someone came to tell me what was going on.

The attending doctor and the surgeon called my mom and me into a conference room. This is where they told me that they had to remove 8 inches of intestine. There was 4 tablespoons of stool inside of his abdomen, and that he was extremely septic. I understand that they are professionals and that they have to be honest but what they told me next was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to hear. They said that he was critical and that things looked very, very bad. The stool inside of his body was poison and that the infection would take over his body and it was very likely he would die "I needed to prepare for the worst". "It would be a matter of hours, and he would start to require more life support and would swell and looked disfigured''. At a time like this when doctrine has done all it can, God was all I had left to give me hope.

There was a lady in the hall of the Ronald McDonald House and she could see the hurt on my face. She asked me to step into her room and pray with her. She was Hispanic and I barely understood a word she said. All I heard was "please God", and "save this baby". I felt so defeated and she was helping me overcome it. She made me promise to leave it all in God's hands and that in time I would see his plan. I felt such a peace come over me and actually layed down and slept for a while. When I woke up it was about 1am and I went to see how he was. My mom had sat with him while I slept, and when I opened the door I could see the smile on my mom's face. He was doing good! He was peeing all the fluid off, and he was stable. They were able to get blood pressures and he was not requiring ANY oxygen. The doctor would come by and stare in disbelief. God was revaeing his plan right in front of our eyes. It was then that I knew my son was going to live, and as long as I left it to God we could get through anything. I never saw the lady again, but I know that God sent her to me to save my son, and to save me too.

Dalton has had to have three other surgeries on his stomach since then. We just battled what will be the last one this Monday. Once again he has amazed me at how strong he is. He will actually go home without an ostemy bag, just like any other baby. He has faced so many other obstacles besides just that. He has a PDA, and he had a grade 11 IVH.We have been blessed with his eyes because so far we have not had to have laser. I believe that is due to my wonderful primary nurses who watch over him so well. Im told my son is a little celebrity in the NICU, and I see other nurses coming to take a peek at him. I know God has plans for Dalton and that with prayer and faith he will one day move mountains. I am so proud to be his mom. Please join me in prayer that soon I will be taking my baby home

Our Beggining

My name is JoLynn and I have a former 24wk micro-preemie. This story begins early Jan. 2008 when I found out I was expecting, and after 10yrs of infertility that was a miracle in itself. I began dreaming of bringing a chubby, little healthy bundle home and beginning a life as a new mom. Sixteen weeks into the pregnancy I got a call from my OBGYN that there was concern with my blood work. It showed my AFP levels at risk for a Down-Syndrome baby. I spent a month worried about that, and finally after a level-2 ultrasound my fear was relieved (HE was healthy). At 23 wks I was feeling some pressure and went in to be looked at. I was told I was just "paranoid" and that everything was fine. A week later I was in Labor & Delivery and my paranoia had become a reality. I was in pre-term labor.

I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and had been told not to get up for any reason. The heart rate was strong, but from time to time I would hear it fade out. Being uneducated I did not realize that his heart was stopping. Once I had been made aware of this, it felt like an eternity between pulses. The doctor rushed in and told me that they had to "take him now or have no chance". After having a miscarriage the year before I felt like such a failure. Why was it so hard for me to be a mom? Within 10 minutes I was being wheeled into OR and signing consents for surgery. I was in such a daze of emotion that all I can remember about the OR was the cold steel table. I didn't know that a baby so premature had a chance, and when they took him out I was so scared to look. I didn't want to see another lifeless baby. Then all of as sudden I heard the faintest little cry, and the Neonatologist yelled "he is breathing momma, he is breathing all by himself".

When I opened my eyes and looked up there was a crowd of doctors standing around a warming table. I heard one say "I think we got a chance here", and "heart rates stable". It was then that I felt a glimpse of hope. They let me see him for about two seconds before they rushed him out of the room , and I had never seen anything so tiny and fragile in all my life. Shortly after he was life flighted to Children's Memorial Hermann in Houston. This is where our journey and our constant struggle for life began. Join me on our roller coaster ride through the N.I.C.U..