Thursday, October 09, 2008

Plateau

Notice that B's thumb is as big as Elizabeth's head. It's amazing to see her size in perspective to something else.


Such a proud papa. B was able to feed Elizabeth a bottle yesterday. He hung out with her in NICU for about an hour, and she was awake for a lot of his visit.

Patience is not one of my virtues, and this situation is testing my patience. There's no amount of knitting in the world that can help me through this.

After Elizabeth's great progress on Tuesday, she hit a bit of a plateau yesterday. She's able to maintain her blood sugar levels, so she's off the IV. She's also able to maintain her body temperature while swaddled, so she's out of the big warming bed and in a regular nursery bassinet.

Eating is the last thing on Elizabeth's list that she needs to get figured out, and it's slow going. This morning she latched on but then just sat there for 10 minutes before falling asleep. She did the same thing with her bottle at lunchtime. They've put a tube down Elizabeth's nose so that they can feed her that way when she doesn't want to nurse or drink from the bottle. For Elizabeth to go home, they have to take the tube out of her nose and have her eat, either through nursing or the bottle, consistently. And there's no way to predict how long that will take.

I had been thinking she'd probably be home this weekend, based on the progress she's made so far, but when my doctor came in to check on me today, she said she was thinking it would be a week. It was all I could do not to burst into tears at that point, especially given how much Elizabeth had struggled with eating this morning.

I'm feeling a bit better about it all now given Elizabeth's last feeding. She nursed like a rock star for 20 minutes, doing a good enough job that the nurse didn't even try to give her a supplemental bottle.

We still don't have any word on when she'll be going home, and at this point we don't even know if I'm going home today. My doctor is going to try to get some information on Elizabeth's status. If it's possible for her to go home in a day or two, my doctor is going to try to make arrangements for me to stay here for another day. As much as I want to go home and sleep in my own bed and see my kids, I don't want to leave Elizabeth here.

B is on his way home now to get the kids. He's going to bring them up for a visit. If I can go home today, we'll all go home together. If I can't, I'll at least have a good visit with the kids. I've been worried that Campbell is going to forget who I am.

So I'm sitting here, practicing my patience and trying to stay positive.

11 comments:

MadMad said...

Aww.... it's frustrating! But man, she is so cute! Hope you're all home together soon.

Memarie Lane said...

She is such a beautiful baby. Honestly her nursing sounds pretty normal for any newborn, maybe they're just being careful.

Julie H said...

She's beautiful, Heather. I hope she keeps eating well so you and she both can go home. I know the other kids will be excited to have both of you there.

Becca said...

oh that was the worst part for me too. I got my hopes up one day only to have them dashed when grand rounds decided he needed to stay longer. I didn't cry then but I did burst into huge sobs when he cried when they had to change his IV site. the nurses were so sweet, giving me hugs and telling me it was normal to cry.

I kept reminding myself that if this was 75 or 100 years ago, he wouldn't ahve lived, he'd have died in utero and I might have too, or shortly after birth from failure to thrive...she really is in the best place and needs to saty there until they are sure she has this life outside the womb thing down pat...

but it's hard.

HUG!!!!

Becca said...

And PS: She is so adorable with that bald head and huge eyes, I want to snorgle her!!!!

katesaid said...

OK. Don't do this.

But.

When Emily was born (35w) she had fairly intense jaundice. I mean, she *glowed*. She was kept in the hospital an extra two days; I was given an unused room on an unused floor and bought a hospital-grade breast pump, and was dragging myself to the nursery every two hours to syringe-feed her.

Then the doctor told me that it could be up to a week before she was discharged; he wanted her bilirubin level to come down below something or other (the number 18 comes to mind, but I'm not sure).

I. Lost. My. Shit.

I don't scream or cry - not then - but I calmly informed the doctor of his clerical error. I was taking the baby home that day, unless he could tell me that there was a clear and immediate threat to her life. I was willing to bring her back for as many labs, tests, and checkups as he wanted, but there was no way I was going home without her, and no way she was spending another week there.

He didn't like it, but the week-long-stay thing was an artifact of conservative care, not life-or-death, and once she was no longer hooked up to any IV's, oxygen lines or other machinery, I felt that I could give the same - or better - care at home. We got a Wallaby blanket - like a fiber-optic light blanket used to help break down bilirubin - and went home. We went in for 3 rounds of labs, her numbers went down, and things settled into something approaching normal.

So I'm not a doctor and I'm not telling you it's safe to bring Elizabeth (who, as you know, is perfect), but... there are times when conservative care and my own threshold for hospital-level care don't meet.

(This is the second time I left a hospital before they wanted me to; when I was 19 I checked out after a 9-day stay for a kidney infection. Perhaps it's a habit, though I stayed just as long as they let me with an appendectomy and after having Jacob...)

Your milk is in, you can set an alarm and feed her on a schedule, and you can bring her in for regular weight checks. I'm just sayin'...

And now, even if you decide to let her stay in the hospital, you'll be *choosing* that instead of having it foisted upon you. Choice feels good, usually... I hope...

Becca said...

oh, one more thing (honestly, I'm not stalking you): if you do get sent home without her, have your hubby or someone keep the kids away from you and SLEEP! it's your last chance to ensure you are not sleep deprived before she comes home, and it will do you a world of good.

FishyGirl said...

Little Man was in for 15 days, so I went home without him. I actually wanted to. They only had 4 private rooms when I had him, and though I had one, it was in the back of the maternity floor and I had to go through the whole thing, past all the newborns in the nursery, past hundreds of rooms, just to get to the NICU to see my sick kid. It was awful. I do want you to consider that Elizabeth is getting the care she needs, and you have three more kids. It might be best for all of you for you to go home and rest, get some sleep, give your other kids some lovin', pump for Elizabeth, and let her grow. That way you can be at your best when she DOES come home, ready to give it your all, instead of having to focus your energies on both recovery from a csection and taking care of a baby with slightly higher needs than some. You know what's best for you all, but I just wanted to give $.02 of assvice from someone who's been there. (It also depends on how far you live from the hospital - we were a 15 minute drive away, so we were able to go down to see him twice a day - once in the morning, once in the evening, and otherwise try to keep things as normal as possible for Trout, because she was just so confused). It's really a roller coaster ride - one step forward, two steps back, but she'll get there eventually. She is an absolutely gorgeous little peanut - so alert, and strong.

Oh, and Campbell won't forget - he will be beside himself when he sees you, though. I had to hold Trout for 20 minutes straight, because she wouldn't let go of me.

Cathy said...

Just hang in there. She is so sweet!! What great pictures. It will all work out. Thanks for keeping us posted.

bernthis said...

Hey there: She's beautiful. Hang in there. I too have zero patience and it's tried daily by the stock market, George Bush and my ex husband LOL but seriously, when I can be patient and overcome my need for "movement" of some kind, I really feel like I've grown, like I'm stronger for it. You can do it, you'll be home soon enough. I promise. Thinking of you all. A big kiss to Elizabeth

O'Pine said...

She looks so much like Ella, I think!