Tuesday, November 29, 2011

10 Days in the NICU

It's been 10 days since was born. 10 days in the NICU. I feel like an old pro at it now! I was so uncertain on how to act, who to look at, how to speak, what questions to ask. Now, it feels like old hat. It's taken about 10 days for me not to want to cry each time I see Reese in her isolette. It's hard to wrap your brain around the fact that your baby will be in the NICU for an uncertain amount of time. Today, I feel okay with it. Ask me tomorrow though, cause it may be a different story! 

I do think that when a parent checks into the NICU they should give you a glossary to take home to study. There are so many terms the nurses use and it's hard to keep up. I think I finally have them straight. After having them explained to me 100 times. I'm sure there are many other terms, but thankfully we aren't familiar with those. Let me give you a little vocabulary lesson!

A Brady - when the baby's heart rate slows down

Apnea - when a baby stops breathing for a short period of time

Episodes, spells, events - when a baby has a Brady or apnea

Gavage - a feeding tube (picture a cooked spaghetti noodle) inserted into a baby's throat that goes directly to the stomach

cc's - amount of milk a baby drinks. 35 cc's = 1 oz (I think)

Those are the terms we hear on a daily basis.

Now that you are up to speed on the terminology, let me give you an update on Reese after 10 days in the NICU.

* She has surpassed her birth weight (3 lbs 14 oz)! She's up to 4 lbs 1 oz.

* Her milk volume has increased to 35 cc's (1 oz). This will be her max for awhile (I think). 

*She bottle feeds about 2-3 feedings a day. Usually when Brian & I are there. 

* She will drink about 20 cc's from a bottle. She needs to do 35 consistently before she goes home. 
My personal best with her is 21 cc's. Brian is 23! I'm going to pass him one day!

* The other feedings she is gavaged. If she drinks less than half of her bottle she gets gavaged. 

* She has apnea & Brady episodes a few times a day. Her episodes usually last 2-3 seconds and she comes out of it on her own. This means the nurses do not have to interfere in any way. That's good news.

* Reese has to be episode free for 3 straight days before going home.

* She is still unable to keep her own body temperature outside of the isolette. Her isolette is kept at a comfy 84 degrees. She does get very cold when out of her isolette for 20-30 minutes. She has to be in an open crib for several days before going home. 

I think that's it. The neonatologist (preemie doctor) told us yesterday that Reese is considered a "feeder and a grower". That is her only job in the NICU. I like to think it is the highest status you can have in the NICU. She also told us the doctors are not concerned about her at all. Reese is doing everything she should be doing for being at 32 weeker. All of the behaviors she is exhibiting are typical of a 32 week gestational age baby.  This is all good news and puts us at ease. It does seem like she has a long way to go, but the doctor said that once her brain develops one area everything else will come into place very quickly. Doctor said Reese MIGHT come home mid-December. Here's hoping.

The best part of my day

Let's not forget this handsome boy!

Jaxon is handling his sister being the NICU very well. Last week was rough on him. He was whiny and ornery, but what can you expect? This week we are more in the groove of things and he's doing better. Whenever one of us gets back from the hospital he asks, "How's Reesey? Is she doing great?" Usually that is followed up with one of these questions, "'Did she drink all of her milk? Did she poop? Did she cry a lot? Did she ask about me?"
Today he says, "Mom, I'm going to call Reesey a crybaby because she is a baby who cries. Babies cry a lot you know."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reese's Debut Part 2

So I left you at Friday night. I forgot to mention that we had a scheduled ultrasound Friday afternoon to check Reese... make sure she was growing, had enough amniotic fluid and to check my cervical length. Well, we got an ultrasound, but not a nice one like I wanted. It was a quick, "Let's make sure this baby is in the right position" kind of ultrasound. It also didn't help that while the ultrasound tech came in, 4 nurses were trying to find a good vein to draw blood from. Yeah. That was quite the ordeal. A vein was not found after MULTIPLE pokes & prods. That's why I ended up with the pic line.

Anyway, back to the ultrasound. Reese was head down, but face up. When I asked if that made a difference in delivery she said that it would just be a little more difficult. Super. But, there was still time for her to turn over, since the goal was to keep her in another week. The tech also estimated her to weigh 4 lbs. 1 oz, give or take a few ounces. Which actually, was a good size for a 32 weeker.

Friday night I was took an Ambien, at the insistence of the nurses and Brian. I hadn't slept since Wednesday night and was exhausted. I thought I would sleep just fine, but when I started thinking about all that I had going on (catheter, compression socks to prevent blood clots, pic line, IV, staying on my side, nurses coming in every 30 minutes to check vitals) I knew I wouldn't sleep. So I took the Ambien.

I was woken up at around 6:00 am by the nurse to give me my Thyroid medication. I was still dozing when I felt a contraction. Pretty strong and intense. 10 minutes later, another contraction. 10 minutes after that a 3rd contraction. My nurse told me I should only have 3 mild contractions an HOUR. I mentioned it the nurse when she came in. She checked the contraction machine and said, "Oh yeah. They're pretty strong huh? Let's go ahead and check you." "Checking" was something the nurses and doctors didn't want to do because they didn't want to risk infection or "activate" labor. By the time the nurse came back 15 minutes later, I must have had at least 3 more contractions.

She did her check. "3 cm dialated and 100% effaced. This is going to go quick." It was 6:30 am. Brian immediately says, "She wants the epidural." Yup. I wanted the epidural ASAP! Nurse went out to get things moving along. While she was gone, I had Brian bring me my makeup & toiletry bag. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, put on my face. Girl has to look good when meeting her new daughter.

Fresh face! Last few minutes of being pregnant and a family of 3.

The next hour and a half was a blur. I can hardly remember what happened. I got the epidural, which didn't hurt as much as I remember Jaxon's hurting. The doctor came in checked me again. I was 8 cm dialated at this point. Brian says that I could have started pushing sooner, but the doctor was waiting for the neonatologist and NICU nurses to come in. Once they arrived it was show time. Brian says I pushed for less than 5 minutes and Reese was here! Seriously, so fast. The girl was ready to meet her Mama & Daddy. Unlike with Jaxon, they actually put Reese on me right away. I didn't see Jaxon for at least half an hour after he was born. The one clear thing I remember was that when the doctor asked who wanted to cut the chord, Brian jumped at the chance. "I'll do it!" There wasn't a second of hesitation.

First glimpse of my little girl

Getting cleaned up

Neonatologist, Dr. Richards, showing off Reese

They whisked Reese away to the NICU to check her out. Brian went with them. He came back some time later to let me know she weighed 3 lbs 15 oz and was 16 1/2 inches. She was a tiny little thing. She also did not have to go on oxygen :) YAY!

I think it was a few hours later that I got to go to the NICU to see her. Oh. She was the tiniest little thing I had ever seen!

First time to hold this precious little thing

So sweet

Her feet are long!

Meeting Lola 

The hat was made by my Aunt Wanda

This is my favorite

Meeting Grammy Sue

Meeting Auntie Ami

Auntie Ami made her a sign!

Meeting Auntie Mary

What a nice friend

When the 3 of us got back to my room, a Reese Witherspoon movie was on TV!
I think those were the most exhausting days of my life. I stayed in the hospital until Monday. I was dying to leave. I just wanted to get home to Jaxon, my own bed and my own shower. I was so anxious to leave the hospital that once again I got jipped of the wheelchair ride to the car! Man Alive! I walked my happy little butt out of the hospital for a 2nd time.  Maybe they'll wheel me out when Reese is set free?
So many people asked me if I was ok leaving Reese. I told them I was. No problem. She was in great hands. Well, I'm clearly a late reactioner. (The same thing happened when we got engaged, I didn't cry till 2 days later) Leaving Reese hit me like a ton of bricks Monday night. Poor Brian he didn't know what happened! One minute I was fine the next minute I was crying. I was on the brink of tears for the next few days. I wanted to cry every time I saw her in her incubator. Now I'm just happy to see her and I can't get to her fast enough each time. 

This little girl has stolen my heart.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pictures of Thanksgivings Past

A quick trip down memory lane...

Thanksgiving 2008
A small dinner in ABQ with my little pilgrim and Grammy Sue

Thanksgiving 2009
Back in Tucson with the Rios & Pearson Families (I believe our good friends the Lopez' were there as well, but I can't find the pictures)

OMG! That little mouth!

Daddy, Jaxon & Uncle Mike

The Grandparents

Thanksgiving 2010
This year my Grandmother and Aunt joined us from Puerto Rico, along with Grammy Sue & the Lopez Family

Abu & Abuela

The Rios Family

Titi Wanda

Thanksgiving 2011
My parents and Uncle from Puerto Rico.

This year is so very different. No big dinner. My mom made a small turkey, some stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake. Brian & I will eat in between feedings at the hospital. There was no hanging out picking at food throughout the day, no smell of turkey all day long.

Our little Reesey was still supposed to be cookin' like a good little turkey, but she decided she'd rather meet us early. So instead of having a full house,  our tiniest member was absent.

It makes me so sad she's not with us and that she hasn't even met her big brother yet, but I do feel blessed that she is as healthy as she is and in the best possible care. I'm also thankful to have such great parents who have dropped everything for us. I honestly don't know what we would have done did they not live 2 minutes away. 

It is so weird to have to have 2 sets of family pictures.

Tio Keke & Jaxon
What was Jaxon thankful for this year?  "Reesey" Melted my heart! He hasn't even met his baby sister yet and he's thankful she's here. <3

Happy Thanksgiving to my blog friends! 
Count your blessings... you have many.