NICU day 7

Today was a good day, followed by a not-so-great evening. I’m emotionally drained.

First, the good stuff…

This morning, after being under the bili lights again for almost 24 hours, they checked E’s levels and they were down to 1.4 (they were 7 something before). So he got to get rid of the lights — hopefully for good, this time. They increased his feedings again from 3 to 5 ML, and he’s tolerating the increase very well. He’s also pooping like a champ, which the nurses are all very impressed with! They’re also very impressed with his newfound ability to suck on a pacifier, which is pretty amazing for 27 weeks. Everyone just keeps marveling at how well he’s doing so soon, and for so young. He really is our little miracle baby.

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the routine exams they do about a week into life with preemies is a head ultrasound to look for brain bleeds. We were told they are measured in severity from 1-4, with 1 being mild and 4 being severe. I have surprised myself with my ability to stay away from Dr. Google through this whole ordeal, so I couldn’t tell you what a brain bleed means, but I’m guessing it’s bad. Thankfully, that’s one less thing we have to worry about because his scan came back completely clear. No bleeds. That was a huge relief, but it was a pretty emotional hour for me in between the tech conducting the scan and waiting for the radiologist to give the results to E’s doctor.

Theo came to visit again today but he wasn’t as interested in Emmett this time. He was still very sweet and waved to him and blew him kisses, but he was WAY more interested in the cool chair with a table attached.

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After a brief visit, I took T home and we all had dinner together, and then I rushed back to the hospital. I needed to get back so I could do another kangaroo session at 8, something I had discussed with our daytime nurse, whom I adore.

(and this is where the good turns to bad…)

When I got there, the night nurse (a new nurse I’d never seen before) practically lectured me when I mentioned wanting to do kangaroo care, saying we should only do it once a day when they’re this small. I explained to her that we hadn’t done it yet today, and that our day nurse and I had agreed that 8 p.m. would be an ideal time to do it, after they came in to do his diaper, feeding, etc., She agreed to it, but she seemed annoyed by my request, and I felt like she kind of rushed getting him out of his isolette and onto me, and didn’t even really help me with my positioning. It was still nice to hold him, but he wasn’t nearly as calm as he had been the other two times, and his oxygen levels dropped a little instead of rising like they had before. His heart rate also dropped very low at one point, briefly setting off the alarms. He recovered on his own, but it just wasn’t the blissful experience it had been before.

When I was ready to put him back, my nurse apparently was on lunch, so a nurse I’d never worked with before came to put him back and I felt like she rushed it too. She basically just lifted him off me and set him in his isolette without taking the time to make sure he was comfortable, or that his wires weren’t pulling or bunching in any way. I was particularly concerned about his nasal cannula, because the tape was pulling down on his lower eyelid so he couldn’t close his eye all the way, and the cannula was twisted to the point it wasn’t even in his nose anymore; it was just below it and slightly off to the side. When I called our nurse into the room to fix it, she said she was going to see if they had a smaller cannula. I explained that the other nurse had already looked into that and that this was the smallest they had — and that while it was a little big and slipped position occasionally, he had been wearing it for five days with mostly no problems. She didn’t even listen to me and just kept saying she was going to ask the respiratory therapist if he had a smaller one, but that he was at a delivery now and he’d look at it later. I told her I was concerned because if E stopped breathing and the machine went into backup mode (it will breathe for him if he goes 4 seconds without breathing), it wouldn’t do him a lot of good if it weren’t in his nose. She said if he stopped breathing they would “just bag him.” I was shocked and told her it wasn’t necessary to jump to extreme resuscitation measures if she would just fix the cannula so it was angled properly into his nose. She tried to say it wasn’t a big deal and that the alarm would sound at all the nurses’ stations so someone would get to him. I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. Just fix the cannula – we’ve had this for five days and it’s been working fine. It just needs to be adjusted. By this point I was starting to cry out of frustration (and fear) and she made absolutely no gesture to try to comfort me or anything. I get that this is her job, and maybe she’s a bit jaded, but this is my baby and she should treat parents with the compassion someone going through a traumatic experience deserves. Finally the respiratory therapist arrived and it took him less than five minutes to fix the cannula and Emmett seems to be resting comfortably now.

I have no idea why this turned into such a big deal, but I’m tempted to talk to the charge nurse tomorrow and request that she not be our nurse again. I’m not even sure if I can do that, or if it would cause more drama than it’s worth. I have been VERY happy with most of the staff here, but there are definitely some nurses I like better than others. This is the first time I’ve outright disliked a nurse here, though. It’s a helpless feeling to know we’re here for the next 3 months and our child’s life is in their hands. It’s not like we can just pack up and take our business elsewhere.

Oh, and she kept calling Emmett a “she.” Not a huge deal, but on top of everything else, it just feels like she doesn’t care.

It’s almost 1 a.m. and I am going to attempt to get some sleep. I have a feeling I won’t get much tonight though.

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4 responses

  1. Talk to the charge nurse. Your instincts are the only thing that matters. Period. This is your journey too and although there will be times things are scary…the staff shouldn’t ever make you feel scared or willfully ignore you. And the “she” thing is unacceptable. At bare minimum, ask the charge nurse to explain what expectations are between shifts. If you had an agreement with the day staff about kangaroo care that info should be shared at shift change. So sorry this happened. Probably won’t be the first. For as many angel nurses and staff who you will love there are a few grouchy folks who don’t seem to enjoy being there. I found myself looking for ways to avoid them. And if you have favorites, put in a good word for them at the same time you are providing the feedback on the one you had issues with. The lead staff/hospital should be happy to get the feedback.

    • I absolutely agree with the above reply. Life in the NICU is stressful enough. So sorry you had to end your day like that.

      • I too agree with the above, I was sitting here reading the blog and not only getting angry for you but sad to know E didn’t get the treatment he deserves and needs and they don’t need to upset you like that. I’m your grandma and if I was there I probably would have come unglued on them, they can’t treat my grand daughter and great grandson that way. OK I”ll simmer down in a minute. I just love you so much that it hurts if people don’t treat you right.

  2. Mandy,
    Like everyone else I agree that you or Emmett shouldn’t be treated that way. Never hold back when you feel something isn’t right. Especially when things have been going smoothly with other nurses. You have every right to speak your mind / concerns in making sure Emmett and you are treated properly. I would definitely talk to the head nurse in making sure those nurses don’t work with you or Emmett again. You’re going through enough right now and they should know better then to ignore your concerns. You have every right to speak your mind when it comes to your baby. Just because they have the badge and nursing outfit, doesn’t give them the right to be a$$h@!? Trust me if I were there I’d give them a peice of mind. I love you cousin you’re doing a great job.

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