Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Baby boy's change of plans

The pediatrician came into my room and said that when my nurse had wheeled Henry down to the NICU, the nurse who was in the OR when he was delivered saw him and instantly said, "That baby looks orange.  Check his blood type and his billirubin."  Within minutes they were monitoring baby boy's billi and discovered it was not only too high, but it was rising rapidly.  The pediatrician came to tell me that they were monitoring this closely and would keep me posted.  She said they would keep him in the NICU instead of bringing him down for feedings.  This was so they could regulate his blood sugar (which was too low (or too high? I forget), but also to closely monitor the billi.  Basically, I would just pump through the night and he could come back to me in the morning.  A couple of hours later (around 3:00 a.m.), the pediatrician came back in (again, no baby) and said the billi was still rising quickly and it was becoming a more serious situation.  I couldn't do anything to help and all they could do is help him eat, pee and poop and hope the billi would slow down.  Around 4:30 a.m. the pediatrician came back in and said the billi was climbing too rapidly.  Basically, the amount of billirubin a baby can tolerate is dictated by how old the baby is -- in hours.  So a baby who is 4 hours old can tolerate X amount of billirubin.  A baby who is 8 hour old can tolerate a little more billirubin.  Baby boy's billi was climbing rapidly, more than his body was able to tolerate.  Plus, he was able to tolerate even less because of his premature arrival.  The pediatrician told me that they had put St. Louis Children's Hospital on alert.  If the billi continued to climb, he would have to have a total blood transfusion.  The doctor's had determined that baby boy had A+ blood.  I have O+ blood.  Because our blood is incompatible (similar to W's and Lizzie's), my blood cells are basically attacking and killing off his blood cells.  A blood transfusion would clear out all of my "killer" blood and give him new, clean blood.  This procedure is not performed at Missouri Baptist Hospital, so that's why we would have to go down to Children's.  The procedure basically entails two doctors, one who slowly pumps blood in and one who slowly pulls blood out of the baby.  This happens through the umbilical cord (vein and artery).  It is relatively painless for the baby, but it is a slow, tedious process -- a little in, a little out -- which lasts about two hours.  Risks include bad blood or the baby not tolerating the procedure.  But the risk of the billirubin getting too high include brain damage.  
Getting this news in the middle of the night after an already whirlwind day was a little upsetting.  Well, a lot upsetting.  I called Dave and told him he needed to come back to the hospital right away and bring someone with him who could assist in a blessing.  I was wheeled down to the NICU (I was still hooked up and couldn't walk) and saw my little baby boy under his glowing blue light in his little box-bed.  It was heart breaking.  Cue Another meltdown.  The neonatologist walked me through what was happening; they were concerned that if a transfusion would be needed, it would have to happen quickly  Being at the Children's Hospital would ensure that baby boy would be in a place where that could happen. Dave arrived along with his dad and the transport team (dressed in what looked like space suits) arrived minutes later.  They were so kind and sweet.  I was crying my eyes out and one of the guys on the transport team kneeled down next to me and told me they would take really good care of him and he would be fine.  Dave put his hand in the incubator and gave the baby a quick father's blessing.  Dave followed the transport team (in the most enormous, state-of-the-art ambulance you've ever seen) down to Children's, which would soon become his second/third home.  

Later that day (Saturday), Winston and Lizzie came to see me at the hospital.  I hadn't seen them in more than 24 hours.  Poor kids thought I was just headed to the doctor the day before.  Their world had turned upside down, too.  I was so excited to see them.  Dave had been at Children's all morning.  His mom had come to the house during the night and Steve came to MoBap.  Then Steven went to the house and Sherry went down to Children's.  Then Dave went home to relieve Steve, and Dave brought the kids by.  This juggling act was going to become our new normal.  The kids came in and were so excited...and so confused.  They squealed for me, then sort of looked at me funny.  They wanted to know where the baby was.  Lizzie lifted up my gown and asked to see the baby.  Winston was asking where my belly was because the baby wasn't there.  It was a hard sell trying to explain to them that in fact the baby had been born, but was at a different hospital.  Their visit was short (too many buttons to push, cords to pull, and a super sore mama to jump on) with the promise that I would see them again very soon.  


The Shupaloops said...

Wow, Katie. What a time. Almost had me in tears for you! Not nice to keep me hanging, but I am guessing by the FB pictures all is well. At least I hope so. Beautiful family and I hope you are all well!

Rita said...

Keep the story coming... I can't wait to read the next chapter. You are such a strong woman and a great writer.