NICU Day #26

Baby G generally does well with his feedings so it was surprising that yesterday at three he had 7ml left over from his noon feeding. Then in consecutive feedings he had 2ml and then 3ml left over. This isn’t normal for him so it’s something they take a second look at. Also yesterday afternoon I was joking around with the nurse and mentioned his little “beer gut.” My comment actually worried her knowing he had had the 7ml left over at the previous feeding so she came to check out his belly. Something happened and he had a screaming fit. It’s the worst I’ve heard him cry. It took me several minutes to calm him down after I picked up him and held him close. After he calmed she was pressing on his belly to make sure he didn’t have any obstructions as she said his belly shouldn’t be as round looking as it was. She ended up calling the Doctor in, who said that more than likely he was struggling to go to the bathroom or was having bad gas pains. She wanted to give him a little more time to see what he’d do. I had been concerned that his dirty diapers had slowed a little so I was hoping he’d be able to relax and go. Our noon nursing session had been interrupted by some serious grunting and pushing, and as preemies can’t concentrate on more than one big thing at a time, that came first. But he didn’t seem to be having any success.

We had gone ahead and done his bath early yesterday in an attempt to have him fresh for a nursing session last night and the nurse had suggested that the bath might help relax him into going to the bathroom. She was right and Baby G was so relaxed he pooped in his towel as I was drying him off. So much for his bath. Then after we got him re-cleaned up and dressed he filled another diaper. When Daddy changed him, he didn’t quite have him situated under the new diaper well and Baby G peed a fountain all over his blanket. So between those incidences and the feeding tube episode, he went through quite a bit of linen yesterday.

We do have a new concern. Due to all the small things that have been happening that seem a little out of the ordinary (residual milk, less poopy diapers, his general lack of interest in stuff, him being less awake, a lower temp last night) our primary Nurse R was a little concerned about those things and the fact he was looking a little pale. She brought in one of the Nurse Practitioners who decided after hearing R’s concerns that they would run some blood tests just to check his platelets, white & red blood cell counts, and inflammation markers just to rule anything out. Basically they take very seriously “gut feelings” around there even if you really have nothing to back it up. So the fact that R felt like there was something off and after talking to me about it she confirmed her feeling, the NP believed that was the best option. So he got his little heel stuck and had two vials of blood drawn.

We actually got the results back very quickly and the only thing that showed was his red blood cell count was pretty low. My little baby is anemic. Unfortunately this is not something they will allow to correct on it’s own as he can’t seem to make new cells faster than they are drawing his blood. His level at birth was 34 and his level last night was 21 (not sure what the baseline is but the 21 isn’t good). So now it’s a question of how to help him make new ones. Neither of the options are preferable to us. One option is a serious of 10 injections of something your body already makes that aids in the production of red blood cells. The other option is a transfusion. Like I said before, neither of the options are preferable. And both take time. So once his red blood cell count is up and the anemia resolved, his energy level will increase and so should his ability to breastfeed. But it’s frustrating to me that this will set us back and hinder his progress in breastfeeding and his progress going home. I’m happy it’s nothing more serious, but I hate both the treatments options and I hate knowing he will be more tired until whatever treatment they decide kicks in.

Please pray the doctor and NP make the right decision for his treatment and that it works quickly and that he still makes progress on the nursing front. I skipped his session last night because I didn’t want to add any more stress to his day and just held him instead. We will find out later on this morning what they have decided and when it will all take place. My little guy is a trooper (he only complained a little at having his heel stuck and then squeezed) but I hate that he has to go through this.

{Evening Update} Baby G will get his first Epogen shot tonight to help increase his red blood cell count. The shot will be given in his thigh subcutaneously and will be the first of 10 shots.

He actually did pretty well today with nursing. He latched this morning for about 6-7 minutes about 12 minutes tonight. We used the scale tonight and it only said he got 4ml, which I find hard to believe with as well as he was latched and nursing. I would guess he got about 10ml at the least but at least I know he’s getting practice latching and sucking.

He had two decent poopy diapers today so we are hoping he is being able to go to the bathroom easier and will have to struggle less. He still seems to be grunting and pushing a lot but he seems to finally be getting results. I asked the husband today if he ever thought he’d get excited about poopy diapers.

Other than that there isn’t much to report. His weight tonight was 4lbs 10.3oz but since his weight last night was 4lbs 8.5oz (only up .2oz from the night before) we are pretty sure either last night’s or tonight’s weight may not have been totally accurate. I’m guessing probably last night’s. He also didn’t have any residual milk from any of his feedings today which is a good sign too. If we can get him to breastfeed twice a day for the next few days then we will start introducing bottles at feeds in between to see how he does with that. We’re stuck for the next 10 days but I’d like to be heading out the door as soon after that if possible. With his low energy I don’t know if that will be a possibility, but I’m willing to work for it.

On a funnier note, when he got his blood drawn last night, Nurse R gave him a little vial of glucose (Husband called it a Pixy Stick) before the heel stick. Apparently this helps them not notice the pain so much. She emptied the little vial into his mouth and then gave him his paci (he is up to the biggest one they have now) so he’d suck on the glucose. When she stuck his heel he cried out and then grumbled and complained into the paci. He does this often when we are doing something that he doesn’t like and it’s hilarious. He was complaining to my nipple when attempting to nurse today too because I kept moving his hands out of the way. It’s just too funny to watch and listen to.

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