Thursday, September 17, 2009

Adventures in the NICU

better known as Charlie's birth story continued...

After Charlie was born, his first few hours were fairly uneventful. He scored an 8 and a 9 on his APGAR tests, nursed almost right away, and we marveled that he looked like a "tiny" (a relative term, for sure) version of Jack. After I ate lunch in recovery and he got a bath and his first outfit on, we set off for the post-partum side of the hospital. I had been holding Charlie, so I set him down in the bassinet and off we went.


When we got to the room Mike went to get Charlie out of the bassinet. I thank God for giving him the urge to pick Charlie up at that moment- the head NICU nurse told us it saved his life. Mike said something about him being wet, and my mom realized he was bleeding. My nurse was in the room and figured it was his umbilical cord. She undressed him, saw it was, and ran to get a new clamp and some new clothes. She was gone about 3 minutes.

In that time, the clamp somehow came totally off, and a quarter to a third (I heard both numbers used) of Charlie's blood volume pooled around him in the bassinet. When she got back she and another nurse immediately rushed him to the nursery and then to the NICU, realizing the extent of his blood loss and it's seriousness.

I was sitting on the bed that entire time with a headache, so I couldn't really see what was going on. I'll never ever forget looking at Charlie's gray face as his bassinet was wheeled out of the room.

My nurse was on a temporary assignment to well moms and babies- she is usually a NICU nurse. I again thank God for placing her with my baby at the time he needed her. She was awesome, and stayed with Charlie until her shift ended that night. She was also his NICU day nurse every day he was there.

At first, we were told that he just needed to be in the NICU until they could re-clamp his cord. Then, someone came and said that he'd need a blood transfusion. I think that's when I lost it, and I got really, really scared. All of the sudden my baby, who had been perfectly healthy until a moment ago, was very sick.


Charlie ended up needing two umbilical cord catheters, one in a vein to give IV fluids, etc. and on in an artery to take his blood pressure and draw blood. He was given two blood transfusions, two different antibiotics, and constant saline with Heparin. He also got IV nutrition for two days.


Through it all, his oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and breathing remained good. His heart rate got a little high until his first transfusion, but quickly recovered. I was allowed to hold and nurse him every 3 hours for up to an hour at a time, beginning the evening he was born. He nursed like a champ from the get-go.


On Tuesday evening he finished his second transfusion and the umbilical line in his artery was taken out. On Wednesday he got his last IV fluids, a final dose of antibiotics, and late that night his other umbilical line was pulled. At midnight he was released to "room in" with me, even though by that point I was a hospitality guest at the hospital, having been released a few hours earlier.

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Here he is after all his tubes and wires had been removed, then all wrapped up waiting to leave the NICU.

Coming tomorrow... Charlie's 12 hours as a well baby hospital patient. :-)


Andes Adventures said...

God is good! I'm so glad you guys are safe and home now. We look forward to visiting next week when we bring food. And I'm glad your mom is staying a few extra days. Take good care!

amosclarkson said...

I just have to say that I seriously get chills every time I read/talk about little Charlie's story and all the "good timing" "right place/right time" sort of stuff that happened! SO glad he is home & safe with his family like he should be. Look forward to meeting you, baby Charlie!

Lindsay Newkirk said...

Praise God for taking care of Charlie! I'm glad you are home and doing well now. I'm excited to meet the newest Friedrich!

Lori Bourne said...

Wow, what a scary thing to happen after Charlie's birth. I am so glad he is doing fine now.

Congratulations! He's adorable!