Sunday, October 16, 2011

10 days on this planet

It was 10 days ago that my little Mr. Finn joined us!  I am sitting in the back seat of my parent’s car as we whiz down I-35 on the all too familiar drive between Mercy and Stillwater.  We have just spent the evening with sweet Finn – he is now topping the scales at 2 pounds and 1.5 ounces!  He is also tolerating the new oscillating ventilator he was put on last night – but more on that later.  When we got there tonight, he was on his tummy with his tiny little tush up in the air – my favorite!  We missed the opportunity to change his diaper and take his temperature by a few minutes, but it was still worth the trip to just to stare at him and marvel at his development and accomplishments.  We love watching him try to grab for the tubes and wires he has around him, as well as stretch those tiny feet and legs.  Plus, he tried super hard to raise his chin!  He is so strong and such a fighter!  Since it has been ten days, (technically, he was born on the 5th and today is the 16th, but it WAS almost midnight, after all!), I decided the best way to chronicle the roller coaster events was to just list the highlights, so here we go!

Thursday, October 6
  • My sister-in-love had surgery scheduled for early that morning across the street, so she and her husband were the first visitors Finn had!
  • At 9:00 am, they were making me move rooms (with all my STUFF I had accumulated thinking I would be there much longer) right in the middle of my morning meds, my family arriving, and the lactation consultant visit!   WHEW!
  • My Mom and Dad came down to meet their newest grandson, and they brought Emma, Lara and Jake to meet their tiny baby brother.
  • The first two interventions for Finn (besides IV fluids for nutrition) were the ventilator (which at this point was at very low settings for a baby of his size!), and 3 banks of the blue photo therapy lights used to fight the bilirubin levels in the blood that cause jaundice.
  • Britt stayed overnight in the WORST hospital recliner EVER!
Friday, October 7
  • This day, we were blessed with a lot of visitors!  Some with early birthday presents for me, some to meet Finn, and some surprised to learn of his birth!
  • As we knew he would, Finicky Finn lost some weight, but was doing all the things a micro-preemie of his gestational age should be doing.  Nothing scary; nothing too worrisome.
  • I did have a little breakdown mid-morning when I felt like I had no idea what was going on with my son.  Britt called the NICU and got our nurse to explain a lot of things to us.  It was just a case of they didn’t know what we didn’t know, but this conversation was so revealing and reassuring!
  • My Mom and Dad came again this evening to love on their sweet grandson, and to celebrate my birthday with me.
  • Several of my girlfriends from my LifeGroup brought birthday dinner, birthday presents, baby presents, and LOTS of love for both me and Finn.  It was so fun to introduce my sweet babies to  all our visitors today, but especially to these women who have shown so much support over the past few months.
Saturday, October 8
  • Happy 37th Birthday TO ME!!!!!
  • I was told by the rounding physician that I could go home today, but I really wanted to stay another day, so I asked, and received!
  • My amazing husband and kids came down to spend the day with me, and they decorated my door and room with party decorations a friend had sent earlier in the week – pre-baby!  It was super festive and fun!
  • Britt’s parents came over from Enid to meet their grandson.
  • We had LOTS of birthday visitors, again!
  •  I got my PICC line out – what a relief!
  • Finn’s night nurse for this evening turned out to be a childhood friend of mine!  Such a joy to know he is in such good hands and with someone who cares about our family personally!
Sunday, October 9
  • This morning was ROUGH.  Knowing we were being discharged, but leaving our most precious family member there was not a comforting feeling.  Add to that some confusion about hospital grade breast pump rental, and I was an emotional mess
  • Britt and I both broke down as we left the parking lot!  So hard to leave my tiny baby behind, but there were other kids at home who had not had their mom for months.  It was a hard decision, but I know I made the right one.
  • Once we left the hospital, we stopped by Target for a few things I needed, then on to Babies R Us, as we had to buy a breast pump!  The rental fiasco had left me leaving the hospital to go home without a way to harvest milk for my baby boy.  Nothing a few hundred dollars won’t fix, I guess…
  • When we arrived (finally) in Stillwater, I asked to be dropped off at my parents’ house so they could “baby” me while Britt ran a couple of errands and gathered our kids up from where they stayed for the day.
  • SUCH a joy to have my 3 big Dream Weaver kids with me in a comfortable environment!  I really cherished this evening with them – even if I was trying to recover from major surgery!  So happy!
Monday, October 10
  • Today, I “moved in” with my friends who live close to the hospital in the city.  They are so gracious to let me stay and to let me go, too.  And, since I can’t drive, they take me everywhere, too!  I am one lucky Mom!
  • Trying to get into my “new” routine.  Hard to sleep, still on lots of pain meds, pumping 7-8 times (including in the pumping rooms at the hospital outside the NICU) a day, trying to spend as much time with little Finn as possible.
  • Finn has lost a little more weight, but has evened out.  He is also still under 3 banks of photo-therapy lights for the jaundice.
Tuesday, October 11
  • I had a rough morning – not looking forward to spending the WHOLE day at the hospital again, not knowing what to expect with Finn, missing my husband, my kids, my home…
  • BUT!  ***I GOT TO HOLD MY SON!!!***  This was my first session of “Kangaroo Care” with my baby, and I held him for about an hour.  Made this morning’s meltdown all worth it.
  • My milk had also finally come in, so I was finally pumping enough to feel like I was contributing to Finn’s nutrition – even though he wasn’t even using it yet.
  • And, after I held him, they removed the blue lights!  SUCH a great day! (Let the roller coaster begin!)
Wednesday, October 12
  • One week old TODAY!
  • In celebration, I had cheesecake with my lunch in the hospital cafeteria (my daily stop for nourishment!)
  • I also got to Kangaroo Finn today for about 3 hours.  Pure BLISS!
  • Finn received his first blood transfusion today.  He is so small he can’t produce new blood as fast as he is using it; plus add to that all the nurses draw for tests and such.
  • Speaking of blood tests, they saw some markers in his previous tests that indicate he might be starting to fight an infection, so they started him on broad spectrum antibiotics.
  • As a result, they are starting a blood culture to see what kind of infection he is fighting.
  •  And, one back of the blue lights is back.  :(  WHEW!  Busy Finn day!
  • Happy News is that I caught a ride back to Stillwater for the night and got to have dinner at the Hideaway with my LifeGroup!  SUCH great fellowship!
Thursday, October 13
  • My mom wanted to see Finn, so after we dropped the Big Dream Weaver kids at school, we headed back down to see the baby.
  • More Kangaroo care this afternoon!  I held him about 2 hours today before he got too wiggly and needed to go back.  Put a new fun white cap on for this session!
  • Finn had gained back up past his birth weight , weighing in at 1 pound 15 ounces
  • Finn started breast milk feedings today!  0.5 cc’s every 4 hours.  The nurses call it “half a drop!”  If he tolerates it well he will get more  - today was just to see if his guts were working, not so much for nutrition
Friday, October 14
  • Dad was not feeling well this morning, but came down and hang out with his wife and son after a nap!  We went out for lunch together and it was so nice.
  • Since Finn was tolerating milk well, his feedings were increased to 1 cc (a FULL drop!) every 4 hours.
  • Dad got to experience his first Kangaroo Care session!
  • Unfortunately, it was cut short as Finn was not tolerating it well.  The nurses and doctors had already determined that Finn’s body was not changing the oxygen he was taking in into carbon dioxide like it should, and the numbers were higher than they wanted them.  So, they started making adjustments to his ventilator to see if they could help him with that..
  • We left the city to get back to our other kids thinking they would find the right combination of pressure, oxygen and repetitions to get him going again soon.
  • Ran by Babies R Us to finish up our registry there before we got home to the other kids!
  • Got to our home to find his birth certificate in the mail box!
Saturday, October 15
  • Woke up to a Saturday morning with my kids!  Finished our registries by going to Wiggles and Giggles downtown, had Eskimo Joe’s for lunch, and then loaded up the whole gang and headed to the city to see Finn!
  • We were met by some fun visitors, but this whole time, we knew things weren’t quite right with Finn, his breathing, and his blood gas. 
  • After some fun brother pictures and an opportunity for the girls to love on Finn, we went to Target to finish up our registry there.
  • One last trip in to see Finn, and we were greeted by the doctor to talk about Finn’s issues.
  • The changes made to the ventilator were not changing the blood gas numbers, so they also started Lasix to see if that would help.
  • We left asking for more prayers for Finn, knowing they had found his chest tube to be too small and had switched it out.
  • The numbers were still not correcting, so they decided to switch him from a traditional ventilator, to an oscillator.
  • By 11pm, his numbers were on the rise!
Sunday, October 16
  • Called early to check on Finn, and his numbers were up again! PRAISE!  The oscillator was working!
  • Enjoyed a lazy morning with the kids and went to church and lunch like a normal family!
  • My parents wanted to go see Baby Finn this afternoon, so I rode with them, too.  We enjoyed our time with him, even though the oscillating ventilator was noisy and a bit scary, and it make Finn look like he was shaking.  But, we know it is what he needs, and his numbers still continue to look good!
  • Feeding amount is up to 1.5 cc’s every 4 hours!  He is tolerating it well and digesting it!
  • His weight is up to 2 pounds and 1.5 ounces!  YAY, Finn!
I am hitching a ride back to the city EARLY tomorrow morning!  I could probably drive by now, but I don’t feel ready, and this weekend Britt and I are getting a little “vacation” courtesy of our LifeGroup.  It is Fall Break for our schools, our kids are all taken care of, and he and I are spending the weekend in a hotel, hanging out with Finn, and getting re-acquainted with each other!  (NOT like that – I just had surgery, but it was in a Catholic hospital and they didn’t do my tubal ligation!)  We still covert your prayers.  We know this NICU ride is a roller coaster, and we have really just begun!  Thanks for letting me share this journey with you!

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