Saturday, December 17, 2005
The lowercase's return to NICU
I am drained. I don't even think I got a chance to post yet that he had come home. My son was discharged on Thursday around noon -- by the time we completed all the paperwork and had packed and loaded all of his things, we got home at 4:00.
Thursday night he didn't sleep. He was afraid of everything, including lying in his bed. Every time I would lay him down he cried. He wasn't sick, he wasn't hungry and his diaper was clean. He just wanted to be held. So, I held him all night long. And it was glorious. I wish I could do it right now.
Friday morning he was great, but at his noon feeding he just didn't seem to be sucking as vigorously or for as long as usual. And most of the milk was flowing out of his mouth and down my stomach -- essentially I was being used as his pacifier. We changed his diaper and it was clean and dry except for a little bit of yellow from his circumcision. That scared me because I feared it was infected. I took his temperature and kept getting readings in the 96-97 degree Farenheit range. I called his pediatrician. They wanted him to come in.
He cried and cried at the ped's office because he was hungry. Finally after he'd been examined and determined to be fine if a bit cool, I nursed him there (3 pm). The ped. called the NICU to discuss his low temp and did a quick white cell count -- completely normal. The NICU and the ped decided he just probably has a lower internal thermostat.
The lowercase fell asleep in his car seat on the way back home. We left him there so that we could eat something and then I left him in the care of his dad while I took a nap. When I woke up, he was still conked out in his car seat -- both of us were afraid to wake him since he was sleeping so peacefully. We had tucked an extra blanket around him and we felt that he would be fine there.
At 7:00, 4 hours after he'd last eaten, I decided it was time to wake him up to eat. Since he was so tired, I knew he would have to have a bottle as that's less work for him than breast feeding. His skin felt like ice and I was worried but decided to bundle him (swaddled in a recieving blanket and then wrapped in a very warm fleece blanket) to feed. I changed his diaper (wet!) and he didn't fuss. Now, my son has screamed from the beginning at diaper changes. He HATES it. I was (obviously) concerned. I could get only one ounce down him and he was asleep through all of it. And he didn't feel any warmer. If anything he felt colder.
I tried to take his temp with the pacifier thermometer, but it wouldn't read (I don't know if it doesn't go very low or if he has to suck it to make it work and he was just too tired acting to suck it). I took an axillary (under the arm) temp and got a very low reading -- 94.6 degrees F. I thought it must be wrong but knew it wasn't because he just felt so damn cold.
Before calling the ped's office, I decided to do a rectal temp since I knew they would ask me to anyway. It was 94.7. I called them and began prepping his car seat and diaper bag for him to go to the hospital. The doctor called me and said to leave immediately for the emergency room and said she would call ahead to let the NICU team know we were coming in.
So far, they have drawn blood for blood cultures and complete septic workup. They have taken urine. They have done a lumbar puncture to do a culture of the fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain (looking for possible meningitis that could cause this). And he has had a blood transfusion -- his hematocrit was low (22 when it should be 30) so they needed to up his red cell count.
He's on all the monitors and in an isolation room (all infants who have been home have to be in isolation from the rest of the babies in case they carry something). He's doing great, eating like a champ, and just hanging out. I on the other hand am in hell.
I haven't slept much since he got discharged. I have eaten even less (first because I was so busy and excited and nervous; now because I am so worried that every time I even look at food I feel sick and if I eat it, I fear I will vomit and I know I will have diarrhea [too much information, I know, but I don't care]). Since Thursday I have eaten 1/2 of a sandwich, about 3/4 of a personal pan pizza and one bread stick, and one chicken nugget and a bite of a french fry. I haven't really slept -- maybe 5-7 hours in all that time.
Please...whatever you do when you're in need...do it. Pray for us, think good thoughts, do whatever it takes. I need my son to get through this and be healthy again.
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