Imagine yourself in our shoes for a moment. You have three babies, all tiny and vulnerable, and you are completely in love with them in a way that you still have a hard time grasping. You know that these little beauties were born way too early, and that any little problem could be potentially life-threatening; infections, especially, are cause for alarm bells to go off. You’re already on edge from a few rough days in a row; you’re tired; you’re stressed. And then…
This morning, we walk into the NICU for our morning visit and the only change is that Charlie is now on an antibiotic. Our ears perk up immediately, and I blurt “what for?” to the nurse. Her response? “I can’t tell you. The doctor wants to speak to you.” Our hearts drop.
What does this mean? Does Charlie have an infection? Is it something that isn’t fixable? Is it serious? Can it be that we’re going to lose our son? Our minds were full of the worst case scenarios, and we were convinced that poor Charlie was really, truly sick. We’ve heard from a lot of parents in the comments on this blog, and if you’ve ever noticed that some comments have been deleted, it’s usually because people leave stories about how their babies didn’t make it. Why you would post about the death of a baby on a blog about sick babies I have no idea, but it happens. And I read the comments and get a whole new batch of things to fear. The most common cause of death in preemies seems to be infections, which I only know because of those comments. And now this is exactly what is running through my head.
After the most nerve-wracking ten minutes imaginable, Dr. Hiatt comes in and casually updates us on Lily’s progress, and then talks about how well Annaleigh is doing—he didn’t realize that we had been set up to have such horrible thoughts in our heads. Finally, we demanded, “BUT HOW’S CHARLIE???” We had braced ourselves for the worst, only to hear the basic equivalent of “oh, Charlie’s fine. Why?”
Essentially what had happened was that Charlie’s central line came out yesterday and that caused the fluids that were running into his veins to leak into his arm, which caused a great deal of swelling. They know that’s what happened, but any time there’s swelling they have to check for infections. It’s really just a precaution, but the nurse didn’t want to tell us herself because she was afraid we would be upset. Like giving us the impression that something serious was wrong wasn’t going to upset us!!!
So anyway, it ended up being a decent day. We spent a good amount of time talking to Dr. Hiatt about all the drama and he assured us that what we’re feeling is completely normal. He said that most parents feel the sense of extreme exhaustion that we’re feeling now, but it doesn’t usually hit them until a month or so into their NICU experience—we’re just lucky enough to have the stress times three! He said “it’s not reasonable to expect stability at this point,” and that we should prepare for another “three or four weeks” just like this past one. After that, it should calm down a bit.
He also told us that everything right now is a waiting game until the babies can start putting on more weight. The goal for them is to add 20 grams each day. To that end, Charlie is still the biggest (but we don’t have a current weight since his nurse is waiting until midnight to weigh him today) and he’s eating three ml of breast milk every three hours. Annaleigh is up to 730 grams, and is eating one ml of breast milk, though she just started back up on that this morning. Lily remains the smallest, weighing in at 710 grams, but that’s up from 679 grams yesterday. She’s still eating her two ml of breast milk, but we’re happy with that since she’s had so many problems lately and eating anything right now is a bonus.
Lily’s behavior has been better for the most part today. She had a lot of episodes early in the day. Her nurse actually was quite impressed with Lily Bug’s ability to tell time—she had episodes every half hour, almost exactly on the 30 minute mark. But she calmed down early in the afternoon and has been doing well since. Let’s just hope that keeps up! She’s getting additional caffeine and the last of Uncle John’s blood. Luckily Grandma Pam is going to donate tomorrow so that should tide them over for a while.
Annaleigh is pretty much exactly the same as she’s been, so there’s no report on her. And that’s a good thing!
During our evening visit, we got to watch both Annaleigh and Lily get bathed (well, wiped down and massaged with a damp washcloth) and weighed. If you’ve never had the chance to watch a pound-and-a-half baby get a bath, I highly recommend it! Oh, how Lily hated it! She squirmed and flailed her arms and legs about, and she kept trying to cry but her lungs aren’t strong enough yet. The looks on her face were just priceless! And Annaleigh was just as funny. She was able to make a tiny squeaking cry despite the feeding tube that was still in place, and that’s always wonderful to hear. The nurses have to remove all the breathing tubes and wires in order to get an accurate measurement, so it was really special to see Annaleigh’s face for the first time. Her poor head is all elongated and dented from the tubes that have been pressing against her for so long, but she’s still beautiful.
The only other news is that we went to the New Bruswick City Hall today and picked up their birth certificates! So as of this morning, these babies officially exist!
And that’s the update for today. Thank you everyone for reading—we really appreciate all the support!
Annaleigh likes being left alone, so I just put my hand near her so you can see how small she still is.
Lily likes to snuggle with her blankets. Brooke is now snuggling with this same pink blanket. The nurse gave it to us to wash and Brooke is determined to get every ounce of Lily's baby smell from it first!
Charlie looking comfy as always.
Lily does not like bath time!
Lily being lifted onto the scale by her nurse. She is not happy about being airborn, and certainly not thrilled about being unhooked from her breathing tubes. Poor Lily!