July 31 11:15 pm
Let me just state up front that Ty and Park are fine. The following experience (as you'll soon put together) does not include either of the twins.
Quite some time ago I wrote about being reminded that the boys were in the ICU for infants. I wrote about becoming comfortable and having forgotten how grave their situation actually was. Today I was reminded of that. Today a micro preemie was life flighted in from a NICU in Redding. This baby needs to have the surgery to close her PDA.....this was the same surgery that both boys were on the verge of having before their PDA's closed via the medication. Heather was holding Tyler and facing his incubator. (see great pics below). I was sitting in a chair with my back to his incubator so I could talk with Heather and see Ty. This position had me facing the new baby girl's incubator as well as her monitor. As I was adoring my wife and son I noticed the alarm on the girl's monitor was going off. This is nothing unusual as there is always a monitor going off in the Lion room. (In fact, yesterday I almost jinxed the room by drawing the nurses attention to the fact that there weren't any monitors going off and it had been that way for almost five minutes). The monitor, however had changed to the more severe alarm, meaning that things were more emergent. This is also not that uncommon and does not mean anything is critical, it just means things haven't really rectified and more notice is necessary. What drew my attention was that her O2 reading was down in the thirties. This is not good. It happens, but this is considered a major desat. As I watched her O2 fall further I also noticed her heart rate drop as well......110.....1oo....92.....80......the situation was becoming critical and fast. Now I've seen the boys do this and it is frightening, but they have always turned it right around pretty quickly......or at least that is what I've convinced my memory to retain. This baby wasn't recovering. She was not that much smaller than Ty and Park at all. In fact she was born two days before them. She was twenty four weeks when born, but because Park and Ty were twins, she came into the world about the same size.....so basically she is at the same point as the boys. Her heart rate went down further......72.....65......53......53!!!!!! Now if you remember from previous blogs, we learned that when it gets below 60 they start chest compressions (yes, we learned this the hard way having to have Ty endure the event). This was a full blown crisis. The nurse was the only one in the room. It is really rare, but there are only currently four babies in the Lion room....Park, Ty, this girl and one other baby. Ty's nurse had this girl. On the other side of the room the other nurse had Park and another baby. The other nurse had stepped out of the room for a moment to get supplies. This left only one nurse in the room. She had stopped looking at the monitor and was working on the baby. She called for help......."I'm the only on in here and my baby is down". My blood turned to ice water. I looked at the monitor and saw the O2 level now at 0......yes that is a zero. Her blood pressure had fallen even further.....38......24.......12.......the last number I saw was 8.....this baby has a zero for oxygen and an 8 as her heart rate. Help had not arrived. I was so thankful that Heather was looking in the opposite direction. Tyler was directly on her chest and certainly would have felt her heart racing had she been witnessing the event as I was. Then the baby's heart rate dropped to zero......technically I never saw a zero.....after the eight it simply went to a ?......this is what it shows when you disconnect the leads to move the baby.....this is what it reads when it cannot detect any heart rate at all. I was looking at a baby with a zero oxygen level and absolutely no heart rate......help had not arrived.......I could hear the panic in the nurse's voice.......I was caught between three emotions.....the complete and utter sadness for this little girl and her family, the total relief that it wasn't one of my son's and the stinging pain of guilt for feeling the second emotion. It felt like an eternity. I just kept thinking "I'm watching this child die......right here right now I'm watching this child die". Then as suddenly as it began it turned around. She came back completely in what seemed like an instant. Help arrived, just as the baby's stats were back to normal. I could feel the adrenaline coursing through the nurse's veins. I shared in the relief that she was feeling. As well as the boys have been doing.......this is still the NICU.......it still means that life and death are hanging in the balance. It still means I need to resist the urge to look to far forward and relish in the success of the moment. Carpe' Diem is my current mantra. If you don't know what it means look it up.........and rent the movie Dead Poet's Society....it's a personal favorite.
So on to the boys. They are very much still acclimating. Tyler seems to be doing pretty well. No major changes either way. Being on nasal cannula means we will hopefully be able to hold him every day which Heather did today. Parker, being on CPAP, is not so much a guarantee. It really depends on how well he is doing and how comfortable the nurse is. Parker's nurse today didn't seem like she was really liking the idea. Couple that with the fact that I just couldn't bring myself to bother him and you've got a day without holding Parker. He looked so content in his incubator and seemed to be really tolerating his CPAP well, that I didn't want to "mess" with him. They lowered his peep from 7 to 6 which is positive. I really want him to improve so that he can get onto nasal cannula so I figured I would resist the selfish desire to hold him and let him be. They are going to be putting both boys on an extended regimen of a diarrhetic (a drug to help your body give up water). This will help in the continued growth of their lungs. No real side effects to speak of. All in all it was a good day......remember, any day that they don't take a step back is a good day at this point.......and every day the boys are still with us is a blessing I will not overlook:):)