(Click here for a quick recap of what happened with my sister, her husband and their new son, Moose.)
Tuesday, I called my mother for a quick update on Moose. When she saw my name on the caller ID, she just launched into the story of what was going on. At that point, he had just been taken off oxygen and was being fed. They still had not heard back about the blood cultures as to whether or not their was an infection present, so it was alot of the typical "hurry up and wait."
After Mom finished her update, we chatted a bit and I waited... and waited... finally she said something like, "Do you have anything special going on today?"
"Um, well, since it is MY BIRTHDAY..."
Yes, my OWN MOTHER forgot HER FIRST CHILD'S thirty second BIRTHDAY. THANK YOU MOM!
Oh the guilt! Oy, the grief I heaped upon her as we laughed. She did send me my card and pressie right on time but the fact that she FORGOT MY BIRTHDAY... My sister even called me from the hospital (you know, the sister who is recovering from MAJOR SURGERY and dealing with a NICU BABY) to wish me a happy birthday and my brother WHO DOESN'T REMEMBER ANYTHING called me... BUT MY OWN MOTHER...
She OWES me a pie! Ha!
Okay, so back to Moose...
Wendsday morning, there was trouble in Rivercity, people. The blood work had come back the night before but the resident said he was unable to give them the results.Then Moose blew his IV and they couldn't get a new line, so they ran an umblical line. They told my sister she would be unable to hold or breastfeed him for 24 hours but that my BIL could hold him and give him a bottle.
I drew from my own experiences and my wise network of NICU moms and told my parents that Moose could not be held because the lines go into arteries and he runs the risk of bleeding out if they were moved or juggled in the wrong way. The "no holding" thing was normal BUT if he was too unstable to nurse, then he shouldn't be held to bottle feed either. I suggested they nG all his feedings and give him a binky to suck on for comfort. If he could be held to be bottle fed, then she should carefully nurse, perhaps in the football hold to avoid jiggling, touching or otherwise messing with the umblical lines. I also suggested that they try his head for an IV- something that totally squicks me out but is safe for holding, nursing and bonding.
Because they felt like they were being given the run around, I suggested they contact an LC to discuss the feeding issue and the patient advocate for help in working with the medical staff.
(I told my dad this in the morning and when he called me in the afternoon, he said in an amazed voice, "You know, Laura, you were right!" To quote Harry Potter, "Always the tone of surprise.")
My mom took my oldest nephew up to visit my sister and when they left, my sister called me. Things were even more fun than I had thought. Because Moose is, well, a moose, they started him on a sugar IV right away. Did they see if he could maintain his blood sugar on his own? Of course not. Big baby + breathing problems always equals blood sugar issues, right? NOT. Now, of course, big baby + breathing problems should equal careful and close monitoring of blood sugar levels and appreate intervention as needed... yes, I know it is a drop in the bucket but it was one more annoying thing for them to deal with.
Because my sister had a fever in labor, they did not want to give Moose her milk. Niether of us can figure out why. They were worried about an infection passing from her to Moose via her milk but, like she said, if Moose was getting sick, then he needed the antibodies from her milk. And how can you pass a uterine infection (their fear) onto a baby through breastmilk? She wasn't allowed in the NICU for a day because she was running a small fever... but her husband who had an obvious head cold was allowed in, as long as he wore a mask. Doesn't make sense to me! Again, these are small things in the grand sceme of life but when these little straws add up, they can break a camel's back.
That night, the NICU recieved four critically ill babies. As the nurses rushed to help those children, they told my sister Moose was off abx and just needed his umblical line pulled. It was pulled around 2:30 this afternoon. They are being very careful and having Moose see his ped tomorrow.
BUT. After all this- all this worry, this stress, this headache- he is going home four days after birth, the normal amount of time spent in the hospital for a c-section baby. His parents never had to leave him in the hospital and my sister will be discharged WITH her son.
When things looked bad, when he went to the NICU and stayed there, when they told us he had fluid in his lungs and then the umblical line put in, I put Moose on every prayer list I knew of. I posted his name to my NICU mama friends and got advice. I asked my kids godparents to pray for him and asked the non-religious family members to send good vibes, do a naked rain dance or whatever. To those of you who prayed, thank you. To those of you who did a naked rain dance or sent good vibes, thank you. To those of you who lit a candle, thank you.
Jesus, thank you.
Moose is home.