Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 16--April 25, 2009

We were surprised to find that our little Katie had been moved to another room today. She is no longer in the little corner cubical that she has inhabited since her arrival at Duke. We were a bit perplexed by the decision to move her, but quickly found out that the management there likes to “even out rooms” according to condition. There are four infants per little room. In each room there are at least two nurses. We have discovered that in order to help these nurses they try not to have 4 critical, labor intensive patients in one room. Typically each nurse will have one “easy” and one “not so easy” patient.Katie has been upgraded to “easy!” This means that she is no longer the sickest baby in the room! While this brings us great joy for our little one, it saddens us still to know that there are many other families here going through what we have been through, and maybe worse.You see, we have since also learned that the little room we were given use of for the first couple of days is more frequently given to parents of children whose outlook is bleak. They are to be used for the family to grieve in private. Since we turned this little room over we have seen many families use it for that purpose. It makes us shudder to know how close we came to losing our Katie. Hind sight is 20/20 and we are thankful that ignorance is bliss. While you pray for our baby, also remember the other 54 or so that is sharing this facility with Katie.Katie is still having some problems with the withdrawal or “absence” symptoms. They are a bit less each day, but she just can’t seem to shake them. As she is being fed through the naso-gastric tube, one of the things that must be checked before each feeding is tube placement. This is accomplished by the nurse attaching an empty syringe to the tube and gently pushing and pulling air out of the stomach with it while listening with her stethoscope for air bubbles in Katie’s stomach. Once the tube is confirmed as being located in the appropriate place, a small amount of stomach contents is pulled out with the syringe to make sure that all of the milk has moved on through to the small intestine.This morning at the 9:00 am feeding the nurse withdrew 31 of the 34 mL that Katie was fed a 6:00 am. This caused some concern since it had been three hours since her last feeding. Normally the stomach is empty of nearly all milk in this period of time. This “old” milk was discarded and her next feeding went on as scheduled to see if it would happen twice. At the noon feeding when the stomach contents were checked, all was fine, so that feeding began as scheduled as well. About ¾ of the way trough the feeding Katie began to regurgitate the milk. This is the first symptom of reflux that we have had. The decision was made to stop this feed and let her digest what was in her stomach. Between what she did not eat at all and what was lost due to reflux Katie only got about half her lunch. We (Me and the Nurse Practitioner, as Beth was not in the room at the time), thought that it was because we were holding her a bit too horizontal. You have to hold her at about a 30 degree angle when you feed her.On a happier note, Papa Bennie got to hold her for the first time today. She went right to sleep in his arms. The rest of us have to wrestle her to keep her still. She has gotten so feisty that the nurses have had to put socks on her hands to keep her from pulling her naso-gastric tube and nasal canula out. She did about the same with my dad now that I think about it. Perhaps we should enlist their services at night when she comes home,…hmmmmmm?Since today was such a warm and pretty day, we let Michael play outside quite a bit. The kind owner of the farm here, Mr. Snipes, gave us permission to fish in one of his farm ponds. So this afternoon Michael, Papa Bennie, and I went to see if we could help Michael catch his first fish, and we did! He was mildly amused with the bream, but preferred playing with the crickets in the cricket bucket.This wonderful reprieve enabled us for a short time, to focus on a favorite pastime, and God’s wonderful creation. This is such a beautiful place; it is easy to forget that we are in such close proximity to the bustling metropolis. I enjoyed watching Michael as he would repeat over and over “watch the bobber”, and how fearlessly he poked his little hand into that cricket bucket. I realized that if we all take the time to slow down a bit, and take notice, we will be able to readily pick out all the little miracles and Heavenly gifts that are so easily overlooked on a typically hectic day. Our presence here on earth is only temporary. We are not promised the next breath; we need to make the best of every day. We need to love those around us and not be scared to tell them. Give that one last hug, just one more time. Spend time with those you love.

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