Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Twenty-Seven Days Old

Today was a great day for little Aurelia. Her procedure yesterday, while exhausting for her, went well. They had a bit of trouble getting the NJ tube in, which wasn't much of a surprise considering the repairs that she had already had done in her intestines. The part that was difficult was the timing of the surgery. It was scheduled for 2:30, so she had to be taken off of food at noon. She had her last feed from 11-12 and then we waited until the IR folks were ready for her. 2:30 came and went. Our nurse, Jackie (who was so fantastic all day long - a real champ and fighter for her tiny charges and their parents) reported to me around 3:15 that IR had called and that Aurelia was next in line, after they completed the procedure that they were currently doing. It should be another half an hour or so. Aurelia was pretty content and didn't seem to be getting hungry, which was a surprise since her next feed should have been around 2 pm. At 4 pm, IR called again and said that it would be another 1/2 hour and that Jackie could go ahead and feed Aurelia. They didn't want her to have food in her belly because it would make the procedure "less messy," but since so much time had passed they didn't want to have a hungry/grouchy baby on their hands and thought that they could chance the mess. Jackie got Aurelia's milk warmed up and started the feed. She only had about 10 ml when IR called again and said that they were ready for her! Finally!

I had been told that I would be allowed to accompany her down to IR for the procedure, so we got Aurelia into a little baby cart and brought along her monitor, oxygen tank (they had to put her on oxygen for the transport to the IR lab), 2 nurses, a fellow, and me ~ and we all headed down to the lab. The trip wasn't long, just down a few halls, an elevator ride from Floor 6 to Floor 3 and a few more halls. When we got to IR, I was told that I couldn't stay. I kind of figured that would happen, but it was really tough to be sent away. The fellow, Dr. Janson told me that they'd take good care of her and that she'd be back in her room soon enough. I felt sad to leave her, but comforted that Dr. Janson and Jackie would be with her the whole time.

The wait was pretty torturous, but she came back sound asleep with her new NJ tube. Jackie said that it was tough and that they had a bit of trouble getting it in, but that our girl was a real trooper. She got a bit of a bloody nose (which sort of made me feel better, since I had given her one the day before when I placed the NG tube!), but that they got the tube in and that it was secured in place. Aurelia's heart rate (normally in the 120's to 140's) was extremely high (over 200) and they just wanted her to rest and calm down for a while, which she did after a half hour or so. By the time I left, she was down to the 150's and sleeping peacefully.

Today was a really nice day. I brought Madison and my mom to the hospital this morning and visited with Aurelia for a good long time. I got to be there for Rounds, which hasn't happened in several days. They were pleased with how she's doing, but they still plan on sending her for a cardiac catheter later on this week (Friday). It seems to me that Aurelia's breathing is much less labored and she didn't seem to be experiencing any reflux at all, which was great!

When I went back to the hospital this afternoon, she was wide awake for quite a while, so we spent a good long time just looking at each other and snuggling. I know that Charley has mentioned how much Aurelia hates having a wet or dirty diaper, so I was pleasantly surprised when I changed her this afternoon and she didn't get the least bit upset. She has been propped up/elevated in her bed for the last week or so to help with her reflux, but today she wasn't as propped ~ and she didn't seem to mind! I feel really good about the NJ tube helping both her breathing and her reflux and I pray that the pattern continues!

As good of a day as it was for me, I am constantly reminded about the fragility of our situation. I spoke with another couple tonight at dinner who are the parents to a 2-week old heart baby who had surgery yesterday. They said that it was a rough morning. They got a phone call around 5 am and they had to rush to the hospital because the baby was likely being sent back into the OR to have her chest re-opened. Luckily, that didn't happen and they were having a much better night. It is good to share in the experiences of others in this house. We were in a Family Meeting (once a month, mandatory meetings at the Ronald McDonald House, just to reiterate house rules and that sort of thing) tonight when their phone rang and the couple sprinted out of the meeting. I'm sure that it was the hospital calling and I really hope that their little girl is okay.

For now, our little girl is doing really well. As I said before, I hope that she continues getting better. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Some days it feels like we are hurdling toward the finish line and our good friends helen & Jason remind us that this is a marathon and not a sprint. It is a good mantra to keep in mind as we go through each day of this journey!

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