Monthly Archives: July 2016

After the Exams

It’s been a long morning but with good news.

Asher’s bilirubin levels are in a normal range, his pediatrician was happy with his weight gain of 1.5 ounces (now at 4lbs 7oz), and the lactation consultant had some great tips and help getting Asher to stay awake better through feedings.

It was a whole lot for me to get through so I declare nap time.

2 Days Home

2 days of being home. It’s so much easier to get some sleep here. And contrary to most ideas about post c sections, I actually find myself able to rest more here. Maneuvering around in a hospital and racing back and forth to NICU is no small thing.

I am grateful for the family and friends dropping off food and preemie clothes.

My incision is still weepy. Had my doc look at it yesterday. Not infected but a pocket of fluid sits behind the wound. She showed us how to use surgical tape to hold things in place and sent me home with an antibiotic. Follow up next Tuesday.

Asher has quite a few appointments tomorrow. 6:30am we go for a blood lab to check up on his bilirubin levels. 9:20 we have his pediatrician appointment and immediately after see the lactation consultant. Thankfully all that is less than 15 min from home.

That said, this is no normal c section recovery or life adjustment with a newborn. My incision is healing very slowly and abnormally. Asher is 6 weeks early and not fully ready for normal baby life sustaining tasks. He needs every calorie to go toward life functions and weight gain. He should basically behave as much like he is still in the womb as possible but must take on tasks much in advance of the expected time – like breathing, eating, and diapering. None of this is supposed to be happening for another 5 weeks yet.

I am fully confident that we will all be fine. But I am also highly aware that we must take things slowly and focus on healing.

Pray tomorrow morning goes smoothly. That amount of going places will wear us out and I am hopeful we can manage to get home for feeding between things.

One More Night

Asher did so well today. He gained a ounce (that’s a huge deal) and kept his body heat. He was groggy after his circumcision, but wasn’t fussy at all. He woke up and was super hungry too. We are in track for discharge and making time to say our thank you’s and goodbyes to our nurses. We will get a final official release tomorrow afternoon.

I was gifted one more nights stay in the hospitality suite tonight. This is such a blessing to be able to get over to him at almost every feeding. My wound is still weepy but I am not in much pain while walking today. I also picked stuff up off the floor 3 times. Sadly, I heard no applause over such a huge accomplishment.

Matt went home for the night to gather a few things and get one night of sleep in our bed for the first time in 2.5 weeks. Plus, the cat needs his cuddles.

I am rather emotional tonight. Thankful we have made it this far, that we don’t have many complications, and adjusting to Matt not being constantly with me. Perhaps I am processing all we have been through finally.

Time for a nap before midnight feeding. The next 18 hours are welcome to race by.

Rooming In the Hospitality Suite

We have had our room transferred again this time we are much closer to NICU but on a day to day basis. We could find out by 7pm each day if we get to stay the night or not.

The room room is much nicer than most hotel rooms even. However, I can’t figure out yet how to get in and out of the bed without using my abs. If I use ab muscles, I usually rip open whatever incision area that needs to heal yet. So – nicer but with a trade off.

Asher has been moved out of the isolet the box into a bassinet. That means he is on the countdown. When he has surpassed 48hrs in a bassinet without assistive heat and continues to gain weight, we get to leave! Praying Monday is it.

While bringing us here was for my benefit primarily, I now believe home to be a better choice for my care. We will take however long Asher needs, but I know I really need less shuffling about until the wound stays sealed and dry.

In Daddy's Hands
In Daddy’s Hands

Real Life in the NICU

Want a super real look at life as a NICU parent?

3am alarm went off. I fumble about on the nightstand to reach my phone to silence that awful ruckus. I had put the phone well within easy reach but I am not the most coordinated when waking from awful dreams.

I start to yell for Matt’s help. Please know before reading on that this man has stood at my every call for 2 weeks when I was unable to potty by myself, pull my underwear up, or take a shower to rinse away that overripe highly medicated pharmaceutical stench. He has been nothing short of kind and encouraging throughout it all. But the past 2 nights he hasn’t been entirely awake and often leaps out of bed into action only to discover the alarm he thought he heard was only in his dream but he didn’t hear the one right before my calls for help.

So…. I ask as loudly as I can manage with other nicu parents rooming in next door (discharged and gifted the camper style value rooms). My phone falls from the table to the floor. Thank goodness I keep my own clumsiness factor in mind and always keep it in a case with tempered glass. Matt stumbles awake to get the phone before the snooze alarm goes off again. I hadn’t meant to hit snooze, mm but truly I can’t see what the heck I’m doing yet.

Then we move on to a temporary wound bandage. See, the doc wants my wound to get air. So I’ve devised a sleeping position in which I don’t roll around at all, and wear a hoodie to keep warm as well as a blanket up to the hips. The incision is out exposed to the air. But I need to use the restroom and somehow sit at a 90°ish angle while pumping, vs the 120° in bed. So, I want a temporary thing over the wound while tending to other needs.

After a quick snails pace trip to the ladies room and a precarious ballet plié tumble into bed, I get perched right on the edge of the bed so as not to pester the open spots. Matt helps me get all the tools in place for Asher’s exclusive menu.

As he was headed back to bed while I work out the next 20 minutes, I ask for my dose of pain pills. Remember folks, just last week my insides were on the outside and before putting them back were flopped about to be examined. Then they were gently smushed back in and shaken like a salad spinner followed by bread dough style kneading before being fancy taped shut with a pico vac pack. So, I’m still moist (how I loathe that word) and kinda bruised with an extra side of sticky from the medicinal tape). Matt manages to get the pill to me, but then pulls one of my moves and sprinkles the rest of the bottle like a salt shaker all over the floor.

Finally, I hunt for how to stay awake while getting Asher’s meal plan prepared. Did you know there are hormones released while milk moves that make most mommies a little drowsy? And again, this is 3am here….but this apparently makes me more sleepy than most as I also have more supply than anyone predicted. The nurses are stunned and elated at how much freezer space I’ve commandeered. Also, staying mildly distracted, especially in hands free supportive clothing, is shown to help the quantity and also the speed of these tasks. But reading anything usually just means I grow more sleepy. It’s a battle I’ve doomed to fail, and discovered last night that I fell asleep for over an hour vs the 20min pump time I should’ve had. Oops.

Now – I’m hungry too. I’ve had lots of water and likely will need to get to the restroom again before 6am feeding, and I have to get help from the delirious husband who is camping out on the special chair with the pipe in his back.

After that, he will put the bottles in the fridge to chill, wash the dishes from my bottle habit, and lay everything out for us to do again in 2 hours by now.

Man the Robertson’s sure know how to have a wild Friday night party that doesn’t end.

Can’t wait to get out of here! So glad we didn’t need to trek across the building again. Asher gets 2 supplemental feedings by bottle with vitamins and extra calories overnight with his nurse. We stay in and trash our room from 1-5am but the rest of our day looks like all this plus a wheelchair obstacle course across a few hundred yards and floors, plus diapering, temping, scrubbing in, and shuffling one very wiggly baby into place for fast food followed by my food prep storage plan.

Last thought: belly laughing really hurts still.

So Close

10pm update: Asher gained half an ounce since yesterday! That is a great achievement for him when combined with no assistive heat. Doctors don’t care so much about a weight amount but an overall consistent increase.

Daily update:

We had a very encouraging report on doctor’s rounds today. Tonight Asher will likely get to start his 2 day trial outside of the isolet box to see that he holds his own body temp. They’ve already turned off his assisted heat inside the box but need to give him a trial run in a bassinet.
If all goes well, Monday might still be our go home day!

Despite our existing car seat being within safe expiration range, it was considered too old for going home and also was not safe for the 4lb+ range. So, we were given a voucher for an organization that assisted us with a basic but regulation safe seat for just $35! We will later update the infant seat that we have to go with our stroller system.

My incision wound is still a bit more moist than we’d like but is otherwise okay. We are treating it ourselves and have an appointment on Thursday both here in York and at home to examine it again later. We will cancel whichever one we need to. I can move around better at least since removing the vacuum sealed pico dressing. We are working to give the wound some air but do need it covered when I’m not lying down in my room (I spend most of my time feeding and getting to/from NICU).

We were treated with delicious food delivered to our room from Crimson American Grill tonight.

We have submitted everything we can before discharge, made the plans for the last few vaccines, circumcision, etc that need to be done. I feel the one thing that NICU has as an advantage is an extended opportunity to ask questions of the lactation counselor and the occupational (massage) therapist. Both of them have been great at coaching us, and Asher has been super awesome about nursing.

We are all sleepy. In addition to normal pregnancy adjustments, the added endurance marathon of the NICU back and forth flow is even more intense. Matt is doing so well caring for Asher and me but wow…its just a lot to do.

The last real goal is to see an upward trend in Asher’s weight. He gained 1.5oz overnight and seems to be super hungry this afternoon. Here’s to his next weigh in tomorrow morning.

We are so close!

Are We There Yet?

Today’s goals:

#1 get my pico vacuum bandage evaluated and likely removed by the OB that performed the c section.

This will be my first time outside of the hospital in 2 weeks. It’s a short trip 5 min away but first outside air in weeks.

It was more wet than expected for sure but the OB says it was just some build up and looks healthy. Instructed how to bandage it up myself later.

#2 talk to neonatologist about which path we are pursuing – home soon or NICU transfer.

If all goes well he will be out of isolet box in 1.5 days based on lowering his supported temps to just be his own body heat. Then 2 days of sustaining it in a crib while gaining weight. That looks like a Monday afternoon possible discharge. Having a timeframe really helps. And for that timeframe transfer isn’t really our priority.

#3 get car seat for 4lb baby ready and possibly tested.

Asher is again gaining weight. His bili levels slightly increased but still well within the normal safe zone. His goal is to eat and eat and eat. They are backing down on the temps in his isolet box to see how well he holds his own body temp.

We all could use a nap, and are getting rather homesick. Time to head out for my doctor appointment.

More Tummy Time Than Me

Today has been better than yesterday. Asher’s bilirubin levels came back low enough to turn the lights off. His next goal is to fatten up. The lights helped him push all that jaundice junk out, so he was diapering twice what he had been. Now we need to get some weight back on. At one feeding Asher demanded double the food.

We have been better rested and more calm through the day. This is huge for Matt and me. The last few logistics items include sorting out a preemie safe car seat and newborn cpr class (tonight). We had time today to rest between our feedings.

The one thing no one can really tell us is if we are looking at discharge in a day or two, or if we should be nudging along the potential transfer back to Chambersburg. Both situations would be helpful for our family. Hanging out in limbo waiting for a few results to determine the ETA of either option is hard. I hope I haven’t made things awkward or feeling pushy with our neonatologist and Asher’s nurse but having no reference for either discharge or transfer is emotionally very hard for us.

My incision is feeling better today. I had a qualified medical friend examine it. It “dried” well and as its in a fancy new battery operated vacuum sealed dressing has almost no chance to get infected.

Meanwhile, I’m getting jealous that Asher has had more tummy time today than I have had in half a year.

Ups and Downs

Today has been a chaotic day.

The good: Asher’s bilirubin count (jaundice) is very much lowering. The doctor thinks after tomorrow morning’s blood test that he will be ready to have his lights off. They will then test again a day after that to confirm that they have stayed down.

The hard part 1: my incision has been opening a bit. As I am technically discharged, the choice to wait until my appointment off campus at the doctors office is a tricky one. I am no longer a patient at the hospital.

The hard part 2: we had to use all our time between feedings today to coordinate with insurance about all sorts of stuff like getting Asher’s birth certificate sent home in time for Matt’s insurance company/work deadline, contacting a liaison that provides free phone consult for a year, etc.

The hard part 3: we had to pack up our room in maternity – okay Matt had to do it as I was feeling rough – and relocate to a room that the staff doesn’t like to give actual patients because the layout is complicated. There’s not much fridge space and we are aiming to not buy meals constantly, the shower head that moves is broken, the toilet lacks arm support on the one side, etc. Matt’s bed in this room is super tiny and little better than the floor. We are now double the distance from the NICU and have a thin door separating us from the sounds of people entering the dad nook for treats.

The hard part 4: the NICU room itself felt chaotic this afternoon. The machines were beeping loudly often, babies were extra loud compared to other days, and overall the place was just too high energy for such littles that need calm space.

I am thankful for a bed in the building, Asher’s progress, and a few friends that have so kindly brought us meals, groceries, laundry, etc. I was able to shower and use the potty all by myself for the first time in over a week. (I’m a big girl now!)

Ups and downs. Asher is a champ, and getting so strong. His double diapers every 3 hrs we take as a sign his body is passing all the bilirubin jaundice junk. He has been so hungry.

We are getting close to discharge. We are nearly there. It will all be worth it.

Time to rest again before we are due back for the next feeding.