Sunday, January 1, 2012

HAPPY New Year!

WHEW!  We made it!  I am sitting in my living room, with my husband beside me, my tiny son on his chest, and my other 3 kids playing together (loudly) with Christmas presents on the floor.  Our TV is blaring a mindless game show, there are baby things scattered about, and the whole house could use a good cleaning.  And, my heart is FULL.  There have been times this past year I didn’t think I would feel this way again.  We are SO blessed and so thankful as we turn the page to 2012.  It has been QUITE a journey to get to this point, and we have been so loved by so many, we will never be able to acknowledge or repay everyone’s thoughtfulness and generosity.  Looking back (and forward, for that matter), I know we would have never made it without all of YOU, and we are eternally appreciative.  “Thank You” just doesn’t seem adequate.

As of right now, we have been home for 4 days.  As parents, Britt and I are exhausted.  We have had to learn so much about taking care of a preemie baby who is on a heart and respiration monitor, as well as oxygen.  This is much more intense than I thought it would be.  Add to that, we were advised by our NICU team to keep him on the 3 hour feed schedule for the first 2 weeks as he adjusts to his new environment.  So, we have all kinds of alarms set on our phones to make sure we are awake and we feed Finn at 5, 8, 11 and 2 – am AND pm!!!!  We are only sleeping for short periods of time…  We got home on Wednesday about noon, and the first few hours we spent just trying to get situated.  The home health guy came out later in the afternoon to set up the concentrator and to leave us with some oxygen tanks to keep up going.  I am thankful for my small house.  I only have about 30 feet of tubing from the oxygen machine to Finn.  That means, you can’t go far with him before either hooking him up to a portable oxygen tank, or moving the concentrator to another room.  I have had a few instances in the past few days where that frustrates me.  I hate having to leave him in the back of the house while I go to the front of the house, but sometimes moving his equipment just isn’t an option.  Add to that the monitor.  Its cord is only about 5 feet long.  Luckily, it can be unplugged and runs on battery, but the battery life is only about 3 hours.  If the battery gets low, it alarms.  If the leads on the baby move, it alarms; if the cords from the baby to the machine are loose or get unplugged, it alarms.  And the alarm? LOUD!  And startling.  Luckily, we have not had any “baby” alarms, just “equipment” alarms.  The machine would alarm if the baby has a problem if his heart rate was above or below a preset limit, or if he doesn’t take a breath for more than 20 seconds.  So far, we have not had any of those kinds of alarms. YAY!  Oh – and you know when else it alarms?  If you don’t turn it off “right.”  For some reason, Britt and I both have had a hard time remembering those instructions!  We have to turn it off to bathe Finn and to change the leads everyday… We’re getting better!

We have had a few “newborn” moments that we’ve had to deal with.  We have had some issues with Finn acclimating to the temperature of our home and maintaining his body temperature.  Doesn’t help that the Oklahoma weather has been crazy!  It was 70 yesterday!  But 3 days ago it was 40 and tomorrow it will be COLD.  We’ve had the heater on, nothing on but fans, and then even the A/C on yesterday.  SHEESH!  We were advised when we left the NICU to take his temperature every 3 hours to make sure he was acclimating.  After a bath on Wednesday, he was a bit cool, so, I dressed him, Britt warmed a hat and blanket in the clothes drier, and we put him down to nap dressed like that.  Next time we checked him, you guessed it, he was super warm! LOL!  This has gone the other way, too.  Had him swaddled, decided he was too hot, took off a layer, checked again later, he was too cold!  Day four (and a new thermometer) and we are finally evening out on this issue.  (We were using the same thermometer from the hospital as advised and taking his temp under his arm, but the leads from the monitor were interfering with this reading and saying he had a low temperature over and over and over, so we bought a behind the ear version and have had much better luck with it.)

The only super scary moment we have had was during the evening on Wednesday night.  Finn was sleeping in his bouncy seat, and it was time for his next temperature check / diaper change / feeding.  Britt got him out of the seat to get to work on him while I fetched a bottle (I am still pumping, but we chose to feed him from bottles to be able to keep track of his intake better).  I came in to our darkened living room, and Britt mentioned that Finn looked like he was glowing blue from the reflection from our big TV.  When he picked Finn up to cuddle him, I could see the baby didn’t look ”right.”  And he wasn’t just blue, he was GRAY!  I told Britt something was wrong with the baby, and we immediately flipped on the overhead light, and started rubbing Finn’s back.  Britt – the quick thinker between us – immediately disconnected Finn from the home oxygen concentrator machine and hooked him to an oxygen canister that was sitting nearby.  Finn immediately started to pink up, and after a few minutes, we decided to try to feed him to see if that would help.  Finn recovered from this episode very quickly, but now we had to find out WHY this happened to our precious baby.  Britt began examining all the equipment, and found that there was a loose connection on the concentrator.  Even though we discovered that, we still didn’t trust the machine, so that night Finn used one of our large canisters for sleeping.  WHEW!

Thursday, we had trouble with the machine maintaining the flow pressure.  Finn is supposed to be at ¾ of a liter. The machine kept falling down between ¾ and ½.  While we hope to wean Finn to that soon, right now as he adjusts to everything else, we want him to have ALL of the support he needs.  So, that day, we spent a lot of time on the canister as well – including overnight.  Friday, we put a call in to the home heath guy to see if he could help up with the problem.  He walked Britt through a few steps, and since then we have had no problems with the machine, and Finn has been able to spend his last 2 overnights hooked to it.  We have also moved it to new places in the house to see if that helps with the cord issues, and that has made the set up a little different, as well.  Having Finn on the machine more is good, because those large oxygen canisters are kind of pricey!  We went through 2 in 2 days!

Also on Friday, he had his first visit with our local pediatrician!  I was so pleased when we got there and the staff immediately put us in an exam room to get us out of the germy lobby.  SO thankful for that!  The exam went well, and she told us we were doing a good job and that Finn was PERFECT!  But, we already knew that.  He weighed in at 6 pounds 6 ounces!  Growing so well!  He does have 2 hernias – the obvious umbilical one as well as one in his left groin, but we will address those when he is older.  We don’t have to go back and see her for 3 weeks –unless we just need to!  Time to stay home and stay healthy.

The last 2 days have been pretty smooth, aside from the tiredness!  Emma and Lara FINALLY returned from Christmas with their other dad yesterday afternoon, and I got the first picture of all 4 kids in our home. 

They hadn’t been here an hour when they left to go to a friend’s house for a New Year’s Eve sleepover!  Social butterflies!  We are adjusting to being a complete family of 6.  We get dad home for one more day before he goes back to work.  My big kids don’t go back to school for another WEEK, so I will be with all 4 kids all day for the rest of this week.  Please pray for my patience! LOL!  It is a challenge keeping every one fed, entertained, clean and dry - and to keep reminding them not to step on, trip over, kink or otherwise disturb all the cords and wires crisscrossing our house!  But, I am so looking forward to it.  THIS is my purpose! 

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear Finn is home and you all are adjusting well. May God continue to bless you and your family, and especially little Finn!