When I finally arrived, little lady was doing great. She took 18 mLs of a bottle for Gretchen, her nurse, at her morning feed. We discussed giving her another try at the bottle at her next feed, but then we discussed that she might be ready to explore around with breastfeeding! I got my gown and gloves on, anticipating a great holding afternoon with our little lady.
We did have a great afternoon for 45 minutes. I held her skin to skin (my favorite position) and kissed her forehead while rocking her to sleep. Pretty soon, it was time for her next feeding. Since she took 18 mL's for Gretchen, I was hoping she would take plenty from her Momma too.
Unfortunately, the next 2 hours were spent keeping Elise from having a blue face and purple lips. She decided to have frequent Brady sessions (dropping her heart rate- which then causes her oxygen to plummet) to the point that she needed stimulation from us to get her heart rate back where it needed to be. As soon as we would get her color back to a nice rosy pink, she would turn blue and the monitors would go crazy all over again.
If you've ever seen your baby turn blue, it's not a pretty sight. If you've ever seen your precious baby turn blue numerous times in 2 hours, it wears on the soul... especially this Momma's soul. You feel helpless and you desperately try to fix whatever the problem might be. After Elise took 5 mLs from me in between all her bradys, we gave up on the bottle and decided to put the remaining milk down her feeding tube and let her lay comfortably in her crib. Questions began to consume my mind as to why she was having such an 'off' day.
As we got her situated in her crib, I couldn't help but rub her back softly while a few tears trickled down my cheeks. You could tell the several brady episodes had worn her out. Her eyes were getting heavy as I saw the milk begin to travel down her feeding tube.
The wonderful thing about the NICU professionals is that they can sense when the Mommas are hurting. Gretchen got me some tissues and we talked through the afternoon and why she thought Elise might be having several bradys. She quietly left to update Dr. Pyle (one of our favs) who had just been to the bedside during the fabulous 45 minutes that I held Elise before her feeding. He was nice enough to come right over to the bedside a second time.
Dr. Pyle thinks Elise is struggling with reflux issues. I learned today that all babies have a degree of reflux. Some have very little, and don't seem to struggle. However, many preemies tend to struggle. Dr. Pyle wants to watch and wait right now, instead of giving medicine. He is certainly a very active/agressive neonatologist, but if Elise doesn't need medicine, that would be one thing we don't have to add to her list. Dr. Pyle did say that the several dips in heart rate could also mean that she is getting sicker, but he believes her chances of getting sicker right now are low. If she continues to have brady episodes overnight, then they will do a full work-up on her to determine what has gotten into her system.
Right now, Elise's milk goes through her feeding tube over one hour of time. Dr. Pyle said they would probably increase that time to 90 minutes to hopefully prevent some of her reflux problems. Once her reflux issues gets better, everyone is hopeful her bradys will get better. Dr. Pyle assured me that she will not go home on a feeding tube nor will she brady when she is home. I will get less dependent on the monitor and be able to get all my cues from her. His comforting words were, "We will get her ready for you, don't you worry. She is still suppose to be inside you for another five and a half weeks."
After Dr. Pyle sat down and chatted with me, I felt stronger leaving the NICU and I made the trek back home. As soon as I got to the car, I gave poor G the 'weepy wife phone call' while he was at work. Grant found some other online parent blogs and it looks like preemies around the 34-35 week mark (Elise is 35 weeks this Friday), tend to brady more and struggle with reflux due to the greater volume of milk and higher amount of calories. This was comforting to hear. We hope Elise's day can be chalked up to reflux and nothing more serious (although reflux is not a petty issue).
On my drive home, I thought long and hard about our journey thus far. Elise has already spoiled us as a family. She is so strong and has dodged many, many NICU bullets, so when we do come across a bump in the road, it's hard to swallow at times. As NICU parents, you are always looking over your shoulder for that big bump...hoping it never comes, but knowing that it could. Whenever you've had an unsettling day in the NICU, it's hard to leave without being emotionally drained and finding yourself thinking of the worst. However, sometimes it's good to have a ninety minute drive home-- plenty of thinking time and many minutes to try to get yourself out of a bummed mood.
All NICU days can't be glorious...just like all days of parenting. I know once Elise gets home we will have our rough days, similar to today. God is always preparing us for our futures! Just like teaching for me...we had our fair share of glorious days in room 410 at Jackson Elementary, but we certainly had days that were far from glorious. It's life. All I can say is...tomorrow is a new day. This rough day shall pass and be no more when I wake up tomorrow.
|I sure am glorious.|
G & J & E