Friday, April 13, 2012

Guess where we are?

One guess as to where Ruby and I are? Yes, that's right - the Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Ruby and Millie have been congested since Millie was here last week and diagnosed with a virus. It has not affected them too much but Ruby's congestion started getting worse this week. She had an episode Wednesday where she looked like she was turning blue. I took her to the MD, but once we were there she looked nice and pink and her lungs were clear. Later on Wednesday she started coughing. The coughing got worse over night, and she would not eat much and seemed really uncomfortable. I tried hooking her up to the pulse oximeter, but I really don't think it is accurate. I am trying to go more on how the girls look and are acting. She looked pink, but her cough sounded bad, so I took her back to the pediatrician yesterday. He agreed she did not sound good, so he sent us to the ER. We were hoping that a breathing treatment and more accurate pulse ox monitoring would do the trick, and we would be able to come home. She had a breathing treatment with hypertonic saline. This is basically saline with a higher salt component which irritants the lungs and thins out the mucus to help get it out of Ruby's lungs. They followed this with deep suction which involved sticking a tube down her nose and into her lungs to suction her out. This seemed to really help her, but her sats continued to drop into the upper 80's, so the MD admitted her so she could get some extra oxygen and more breathing treatments if needed.

I think Ruby got over stimulated and also didn't feel well, because she cried for 3 straight hours last night from 8 to 11. It's hard to walk a baby around when they are attached to the oxygen on the wall. I had about 3 feet that I could pivot in and nothing was making her happy. The respiratory therapist finally came in and gave her a racemic epinephrine breathing treatment. She had developed a stridor (high pitched breathing sound which indicates swelling in the back of the throat) and wanted to use the epinephrine to decrease the swelling. This seemed to help and she finally calmed down. She has done well the rest of the night and this morning. She is coughing, but she has fed and rested well, and they have lowered the amount of oxygen that she is on. The plan is to keep her here tonight and hopefully she will do well and get to come home tomorrow, but we will see. We are currently still in an ER room. The hospital is over crowded, but we hope to get a regular room later this day. It's not too bad, but sharing a bathroom with the neighboring room is a little weird. It seems like there are 20 people in there with how often I hear them in the bathroom, but they probably didn't appreciate my middle of the night bathroom usage either!

We have no idea if this is the same virus from last week or something new. This is a prime example of how prematurity continues to affect us. Premature babies are not just small newborns. They have so many risks to their health and development that we can't always predict. My hope and prayer is that one day they will not be affected by their prematurity, but there are still a lot of unknowns at this point. They have certainly done well so far even despite our frequent hospitalizations, but just because they start to gain weight and look like "normal babies" we can not let our guard down. I think the general public thinks that once you get out of the NICU and gain weight that you are just like any other baby, but that is not the case. Speaking of weight the pediatrician this week Millie weighed 9 lbs 12 oz and Ruby weighed 9 lbs 10 oz!

Ruby resting!


  1. I hope your sweet girl continues to feel better so you can get home soon. Leland and Alston played together yesterday, and when Amy Liz saw John, she commented that he and Emmett would likely get along famously (as John belly-flopped onto the baby playmat). As if you need anything added to your plate, I want you to somehow meet a friend (if you haven't already... the two of you share all kinds of friends) whose twins are in P1 at Ensworth this year. They are bright, spunky, and thriving, and they were 27 weekers (I think) who spent significant time in the NICU. Now they are six and are reading, playing soccer, and are just all around fantastic kids.

    Love to all,

  2. prayers and strength to you!!! You absolutely amaze me! Hang in there and know you have so many cheering and praying for you.....also, I don't know if you had lots of visitors when you first got home...but I think everyone would understand if, when you get home with her this time, you tell everyone just to stay away for a bit...or if leaving drop and run...not ask to see the are right...the risks are just not worth it...and no one can blame you for being a protective mom!!! you do what you need to, to keep your precious gifts safe and healthy!!!
    much love
    susannah macmillan