Besides for staring, Craig and I had to figure out how to do parent stuff. Grace got her first bath, her feet printed, and had some other tests ran all the normal stuff they do. Grace also had to figure out how to do baby stuff. We all had a very big day.
The next morning Craig decided to run home to get a couple things (he did not have a well packed hospital bag!) and a nurse practitioner came around to give Grace her first real check up. She started looking over our perfect little bug. She looked at me and said, "It sounds like she is having some congestion. I think I am going to have one of our NICU doctors come up and take a listen just in case." I had heard that same noise and the nurses said it was just fluid from birth. I figured she was just being cautious.
The doctor came up to our room a couple hours later. He looked and listened and decided to send neonatal respiratory therapist to our room to do some suctioning. He said she had a small nose and it was probably just congestion that the bulb syringe couldn't get. The RT came up and
after making Grace cry tried suctioning out her nose, but not much came up. After he conferred with the doctor, the decision was made to admit Grace into the NICU to monitor her breathing and oxygen levels.
|See her small nose?|
Grace was taken down to the 3rd floor NICU and hooked up to monitors for observation. Her space included a couch and a recliner chair so Craig and I could be with her. At this point we could hear and see her struggling to breath. We could also see her oxygen levels were between 60-80, and should have been above 90. The nurse practicioner switched out the regular hospital bassinet for an infant hospital bed and put her on forced air. They explained to us that newborns have to breath out of their nose. Her lungs were fine, but because she had such a small nose and there was probably some swelling she wasn't getting enough oxygen when she breathed.
Because I was still a patient, I had to go back to the mother baby floor every few hours for my post partum checks and to get medication. Just before 9:00 pm, the nurses and Craig convinced me to go back to my room and try to get some sleep. I was going to come back down to Grace's room at midnight to nurse her and to let Craig take a nap. I went to my room and told my nurse about the plan. She took my vitals, gave me my medication and I tried to get some sleep. Sometime around 11:15, the charge nurse came into my room and woke me up. She explained that there were"a lot of deliveries" and they were out of mother baby rooms. Because I "didn't have a baby" I was one of the few women they could move to a room in the neighboring pediatric unit. I tried to explain that I was going back down at midnight and asked if it could wait that long. She said that was fine and left. Of course, in my hormonal state, that sent me into a fit of crying and tears. I finally rang my nurses button and said something like "how do I move rooms. What do you want me to do?" After all of that got figured out, my stuff was taken into a pediatric room, and I headed back down to the NICU to see Grace.
The next day (Wednesday) I was discharged as a patient and Grace was taken off the forced air. The NICU nurses got us moved into one of the two family rooms in the unit, so we could have a private bathroom/shower, and a little more space. Unfortunately the room that was open was the one without windows, so we were basically in a closet. From there we just waited. Plenty of Craig's family came and met our new bundle of joy. On Friday morning we got moved to the room with windows. (That is room #6 if you are keeping track.) The NICU doctors ordered a few more tests including two ultrasounds, but thankfully all came back normal. They also talked with the doctors at the children's hospital in Portland and got Grace started on some nose drops to help shrink the swelling in her nose, but mostly we were just waiting and wanting to go home.
Eventually on Sunday June 15, Father's Day, we got the good news that we were going home. The doctors were pleased with how the drops were helping, and were pretty sure that as she got bigger, she would grow out of this issue. We were to make some follow up appointments with a pediatric ear nose and throat specialist once we met with our pediatrician. I am so happy to say that Grace is doing so much better now. She breaths normally through her nose now and has no trouble nursing or with a pacifier.
While we were in the hospital, I tried to look at the positives. We had a team of professionals that we could ask any question we wanted. At one point (after her ultrasounds) we wanted to give her a bath. A nurse helped us bathe her and gave us some tips as we did it. I had at least one visit a day with a lactation consultant (I truly believe this is why we have done so well nursing.) Nurses would bring us ice water whenever we needed/wanted it. Even though I was no longer a patient, the nurses also made sure I was comfortable, and even brought me ice diapers to help with the soreness from delivery. They also helped Grace make her first craft: