Nothing like starting your day in a cold panic!
Brooke woke up around 5:15 with a fever and chills and pain in her abdomen. This was the third time it’s happened since the babies were born, but it was the worst. The nurses all came in (five at one time), and they gave her oxygen and Percocet and it passed within a half an hour. But it was a long, long half hour, during which I pictured numerous horrible scenarios in which Brooke was seriously sick. Luckily, it seems like the fever was brought on by phlebitis, which is an infection brought on from the IV needle irritating the skin. And that most likely irritated the uterine infection she was already fighting. So she’s been on more antibiotics and is doing just fine now.
In a way it was a good thing that Brooke got sick again because we’ve been dreading the thought of going home and leaving the babies here at the hospital without us. It’s going to be really, really hard to leave here without them (tomorrow or Friday).
The first visit to the NICU allowed me to witness a seminal moment in Charlie’s life: his first poop! I just happened to be there to see it happening, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Lily also pooped today but we’re still waiting on Annaleigh.
Charlie’s central line that was inserted yesterday has held, and today Lily had one put in. They tried to put one in Annaleigh, but she didn’t respond too well. Apparently, she doesn’t like to be touched. She fidgeted a lot and flailed her arms and legs so much that they decided that it wasn’t worth forcing today. They’ll try again tomorrow. Tomorrow also will bring their brain ultrasounds. We were told that it’s very common for premies to have bleeds in their brains when they’re born; usually those bleeds are trivial and nothing to worry about. So tomorrow is a big day for them.
Dr. Hiatt explained to us today that Annaleigh looks like she has an extra “duct” thing on her heart. He explained it to us and we both understood it completely at the time, but now as I try to type it up I’m finding holes in my memory. Basically, while babies are in the womb, they breathe oxygen through the blood which is filtered through an extra valve on the heart. That valve, called a “ductus,” usually disappears on its own within 12 hours after a baby is born—but that’s a normal, 40-week baby. Premies ductus thingys don’t always go away on their own at the same rate as others. It’s not usually a problem but occasionally it causes a few complications, like heart murmurs, which Annaleigh definitely has. The doctor didn’t seem concerned at all though. They will do a test tomorrow to confirm, and then start her on medication next week some time (babies have to be over a week old before they can get the medication), and it will most likely take care of it. So it’s not ideal, but it’s also not a major problem.
The best part of the day came during our late-afternoon visit. Brooke got to hold Annaleigh! She could only lift her a few inches off the bed but Annaleigh was in Brooke’s hands! And when Brooke put her down, the nurse let her change Annaleigh’s diaper!!! And then, as a final thrill, I got to rub lotion all over my Annaleigh’s stomach, arms, and legs! Feeling her skin like that was both exhilarating and terrifying; she was so fragile and thin, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was about to break a rib or bend a finger too far. But getting to do that with our daughter, especially Annaleigh, who looks like the smallest and most breakable… it’s a moment that we will probably remember for the rest of our lives.
So 96 hours in, and so far so good. Three cheers for babies!!!