Friday, July 9, 2010

Evrett's First 13 Days Were Spent in The Ohio State Medical Center NICU

Within Evrett's second hour of life he began to struggle to breathe. He was taken to the NICU just as a precaution, since he was full term at 38 weeks the Doctors did not foresee any big problems. 98% of babies have fully developed lungs by 38 weeks. They said that often big, c-section, boys have a little "transition trouble" when learning to breathe outside the womb. They wheeled my bed in from the recovery room to visit Evrett before taking me to my own room. They told us not to be concerned because he would more than likely begin to improve and be able to go home by the time I was released. This photo was taken at 3:24pm (9-9-09) the afternoon of his birth. He was around 5 hours old.

Here he is at 8pm. the same night. Time to meet Grandpa & Mimi.

Grandpa's first look at Evrett

We were not able to hold him yet.

Evrett was only on nasal cannula oxygen at this point.

Precious Footprints

Meeting Mimi, and oh, how she wanted to hold Evrett!

They told us when we left the NICU that night for my room that they would contact us if he got worse during the night, but again assured us that they didn't foresee any major problems


At 5 am that morning (9-10-09) they came to our room to tell us that he had worsened and that they had put him in an oxygen tent in an isolet. He had developed a pnuemothorax (collapsed lung) in his struggle to breathe. They hoped the oxygen tent would be enough to ease his struggle and prevent a second pneumothorax in the other lung. This was our view of him at 6:45 when they finally allowed us in to see him.

We prayed he would begin to rally, and not get any worse. We were informed that in 50% of cases like this the baby will develop a second pneumothorax, so we should be prepared. If this happened they would need to put a chest tube into both lungs. If they had to do the chest tubes he would also need to be intubated and put on the respirator.

He did fall into that 50%, and later that morning they put in the chest tubes. He was almost exactly 24 hours old.

We were finally able to see him again later that afternoon around 3:00. I just LOVE baby feet.

Here you can see his heart shaped ear opening. How neat is that! Mimi discovered it the night before, and I needed a picture of it. All the tubes are part of the respirator which was easing his struggle to breathe at least somewhat.

Mommy is checking on her boy, and getting a first look at his tiny chest tubes, and ALL the tubing from the respirator.

Later that evening Grandpa & Mimi brought Ethan, Elysia & Eoin up to see Mommy & Daddy, and find out the new brother's name. They had been warned that they would not get to see their new baby yet, but they didn't understand why. We explained to them that Evrett was having a hard time breathing outside of Mommy's belly, and that he had to be in a special room in the hospital where they could help him breathe. We told them that only the Mommy, Daddy, Grandpas, & Grandmas were allowed to go in because it was dangerous for the tiny babies to have any germs come into that special place. We told them all about the special scrub brushes that we had to use on our arms/hands/nails (we actually brought a few scrubbers home for the kids, and they still LOVE to use them).

Just Daddy & I went down for a last visit with Evrett that night. We were given the encouragement that he should begin to improve very soon.


They called us around 6am to tell us that the Dr. believed that due to the blood they were having to draw to run tests Evrett had a very low blood count. They needed our permission to give him a blood transfusion. He was not yet 48 hours old. We asked if Joshua would be able to give blood, but they told us that by the time they could run the needed tests on Joshua's blood it would be days later. Evrett needed the blood ASAP, so that he would begin to his recovery. Here you can see the tiny blood bag behind the big tag. For some reason this scared me just as much if, not more than the chest tubes & respirator.

I longed to hold my precious boy, but that would not be possible now until his chest tubes were removed because he had to remain still. Moving him posed too great a risk of one of the tubes coming out.

When we came back that evening he had his feet crossed and propped up on the blanket roll. We thought that was sooooo funny. It reminded us how Eoin would sit on Josh's lap and cross his feet just like Daddy did. :~)

On our last visit there around 11pm we were told that he was very agitated (although he does not look like it in this photo). They thought it was all the noise & lights. They said that it would be good if we didn't touch him at this point.


When we returned the next morning around 9:30 he was resting better, so we were able to touch him again. That was an answer to prayer for sure!

The nurse let us choose a card to write his name on. Notice the tiny footprint cutout! Evrett certainly did not look little in that NICU. We saw many babies the size of my hand. We joked that although Evrett's first name was David he was truly the Goliath of the NICU.

That afternoon my parents came down to spend the night and then take the oldest 3 children to stay with them at the farm in MI. Here is Grandpa "Boots" meeting Evrett. My Dad was really worried about him after he saw him with all his tubes etc. He said, "is he really going to be okay?" We told him that the Dr. assured us that he should begin to get well soon, and that when he did he should do so VERY rapidly. Although we had yet to see evidence of this, we were trusting the Lord to heal Evrett.

Grandma Boots meeting Evrett, and wishing she could hold him.


The next morning my parents brought the children to say good-bye to us before they headed up to the farm. The children were again disappointed that they couldn't see their new baby yet. We told them that they would be able to see him when they came back from MI. They were excited that they were going to go stay with Grandpa & Grandma "Boots" without us for the first time! I was nervous about having them that far away. I knew it was best for them to be in a different environment so they wouldn't be missing us at home.

Early in the afternoon, they decided to take Evrett off the respirator and see how he did back on the nasal cannula alone. Mimi was happy to see him later that afternoon, and to see that he was not struggling to breathe like he was that first day. We talked about how severe he was retracting, and praised the Lord that it looked like he might be beginning to rally.

This was also my last day in the hospital. They could not keep me any longer because I was doing very well after the c-section, so the Dr. couldn't find any reason to prolong my stay any more. We were so sick at the thought that we were going to have to go home without Evrett. We also knew that even though I was doing well, my Dr. didn't want me traveling the over an hour trip to the hospital from home. In addition to that I had been pumping breast milk for Evrett, and taking it down to the NICU since he was born. How could I do that from home? Praise the Lord for my GREAT Dr. she said, "Oh, you will not go home! I will send the representative up to get your info, but you will be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald house." It was across from the Nationwide Children's Hospital, which even though Evrett was in the NICU at Ohio State, the drive was only about 10 minutes. Leaving Evrett there when I was discharged was the MOST DIFFICULT thing I have EVER done. The Doctors in NICU promised to call us if Evrett got any worse. We were still welcome to visit him or call to check on him anytime. Even though the drive was short, every time we came then left the OSU Hospital Parking Garage we had to pay a fee. It was small because we got a coupon from the desk each time, but it adds up. Thankfully, lunch & dinner were provided by various groups each day at the Ronald McDonald House. This was a HUGE blessing to us.


When we arrived that morning from our first night at the Ronald McDonald House and they let us into the NICU Evrett was not in his spot. My heart sunk. We asked where he was. They found a nurse who told us he had become much more agitated, and not resting. The Doctors decided that they should move him to a smaller room in the NICU. They hoped in decreasing the light & noise it would calm him. They really wanted to avoid having to sedate him, but he was really strong and all his thrashing risked pulling out his chest tubes. They also had to put him on CPAP(Contiuous Positive Airway Pressure). This is what he looked like when we were finally able to see him that afternoon. They put the "sunglasses"
on to block the light, so he would rest better. It was very discouraging to see him doing worse, but he was beginning to rest more in the new environment. This new room was really frightening to us though. It is where they kept the REALLY tiny babies. I mean TINY, smaller than my hand. I couldn't believe that they could live when they were that small. Their skin was translucent. Inside I hoped they hadn't moved Evrett there because he was that high-risk.

We stayed with him for a little while, but the all the riding and walking really wore me out so we only visited him the one time that day. It broke my heart, but I just couldn't go out again that evening. We called the NICU to check on him before we went to sleep that night, and they told us that there was no change. Again, reassuring us that we could call anytime to check on him during the night.


When we arrived we found Evrett back on the nasal cannula!!!! Yay!! He looked sooooooo much better, and was resting very well. At last! We hoped we had reached the point where he would rapidly improve. I so longed to hold him. I had only been able to hold him in the recovery room for a few minutes. It seemed like that was an eternity ago.

Daddy was really looking forward to holding Evrett too!

When we came back that afternoon they had turned on the biliruban lights because he was slightly jaundiced. Then we noticed NO MORE CHEST TUBES!!!!!!! Praise the Lord!

We left to go the pump room down the hall, and when we returned. . .

Mommy FINALLY got to hold her boy!!!!!! :' ) And yes, I cried!

"Mommy, all this being held is REALLY exhausting!"

Next, was Daddy's long awaited turn to hold his newest boy!

Leaving that evening was hard for a whole new reason. Evrett was finally doing well, and we didn't want to miss a chance to hold him!


When we arrived that morning Evrett had been moved back to the main room in the NICU!!!!!His nurse told me that they had just given him a bottle, but that if we came back around 1pm I could try to nurse him. I was THRILLED!!! This would be the first time outside of the attempt in the recovery room (he wasn't interested then), that I was allowed to do so. They put up this screen right there next to his crib, so we could have some privacy. Evrett did REALLY WELL!!! We were sooooo thankful, especially me because only pumping had been VERY time consuming and a difficult way to start out! :~) From this time forward anytime I was there near his feeding time they let me nurse him. Things started to seem a little more normal now.

A little grin for Daddy!

They still needed to make sure he was getting a certain amount of nourishment, so they asked Daddy if he wanted to try giving Evrett a bottle. Daddy was very happy to help! :~)

And Evrett was very happy to EAT (and has been from that day forward!!!) notice the contented slumber from his FULL belly.


Since Evrett had begun to quickly & steadily improve Josh felt comfortable with not being there with me 24 hours a day. Daddy went back to teaching his 3rd & 4th grade class at ZCS. He was still staying with me at the RMDH, but leaving around 6am to had back to Zanesville. He was able to leave school around 1pm after his last teaching period (his class had other classes until school was out at 3:15). We were thankful he did not have to stay for the full day. I was not allowed to drive yet, but was able to take the shuttle bus from RMDH to Nationwide Children's Hospital and then another from Children's to OSUMC. Thankfully this was a free service. I was only able to stay for about an hour in the mornings because of the shuttle schedules and when my free lunch was served at RMDH. I returned in the afternoon, and then Josh just met me there. It was very tiring for me, but thankfully my recovery with Evrett was by FAR the BEST recovery of the all 4 c-sections. We praise the Lord for His graciousness in that area.
I LOVE this photo because you can see Evrett's natural mohawk really well, and also how BIG his hands were! :~)

Later in the evening Auntie Rach & Annie came to visit us, and Evrett's nurse was allowed to carry him over to the window for girls to get a first look at Evrett (or "Dexter" as Anna nicknamed him because of his initials DEX). They knew they were not allowed to go into the NICU, but were pleasantly surprised to be able to "meet" Evrett at the window.

DAY 10

Here is Evrett just "chillaxin" with Daddy that afternoon when he got to see him for the first time that day.

That night when we returned after supper the nurse asked me if I would like to give Evrett his bath. YES!!!!! I was finally starting to do more "Mommy" things. :~)

True to newborn form, Evrett did NOT appreciate being unwrapped and sponge bathed.

DAY 11

At this point we were just waiting for Evrett to pass the carseat test. It monitors his oxygen saturation while strapped into his infant carrier carseat. He failed several times, so we were just praying he would pass if SOON. We were sooooooo ready to take him home, and the chilren were very ready to meet their baby. My parents were bringing them home from MI. the next day, so we hoped to be discharged by then. I LOVE this photo because I think Evrett looks ABSOLUTELY angelic. :~)

DAY 12

We were not able to make it home in time to see my parents, so they stopped by the NICU on their way back to MI. They were THRILLED to have a chance to hold Evrett, and to see how GREAT he was doing! :~) As you can see Grandma is very happy!

Grandpa REALLY wanted "Ehud Jeffrey" (that is what he said we SHOULD have named Evrett, so he call him Ehud?!) to wake up and look at him, but in spite of all Dad's tricks Evrett stayed asleep.

DAY 13

YAY!!!! Evrett FINALLY passed his carseat test, so we were cleared to take him home. UNFORTUNEATELY, they didn't do the test until AFTER Daddy was at school, so we had to wait until he got back that afternoon. We also had to finish white glove on our room at RMDH. I had done most of the cleaning, but the vaccuming and scrubbing the bathtub waited for Josh. :~) Although I was healing really well, we didn't want to push it, especially since we were going home at LAST! It took at while to get all of our stuff loaded, room finished, and checked out of RMDH. We arrived around 5pm at the NICU. Here is the picture of Evrett all dressed up and ready to go home.

Here is our traditional photo which we normally take the day Mommy is discharged and right before we leave the hospital. 13 had NEVER seemed so long before! We were getting ready to strap Evrett into the carseat when . . .

he decided he was HUNGRY!!!! We didn't want him to cry for over an hour on the trip home, so I gave him a bottle of pumped milk because it was faster than trying to nurse him.

Finally by 6:40pm we were on the road to HOME SWEET HOME!!!! Evrett did VERY well riding in his carseat (and to this day he STILL LIKES HIS CARSEAT, which is more than ANY of the other 3 have EVER DONE!)! Yay for Evrett!!!!


Elizabeth said...

Ellie was only in the NICU for 3 days and THAT felt like forever to us! I can't imagine having your child in there for 13 days or even months like some have to be!

Mack and Louise said...

I stumbled across your blog when reading (for the nth time) about pneumothorax and other NICU conditions. My son was born at 31 wks, 3.5 lbs, by emergency csection and we sent 52 days in the NICU in south Florida. I just wanted to let you know how much it meant to read your blog. I wish neither of us knew about canulas, cpap, bilirubin scores, leaving the hospital without your baby, the car seat test etc etc etc... But I find some comfort that we're part of a group that understands what the other went through.

I'm thrilled to hear your story ends well and am equally thrilled that ours ended with a beautiful boy that is meeting milestones like you wouldn't believe. A true miracle in every sense.

Thanks again, Louise