Lots of information to share from the last day, so get comfy before you read on.
First the update on Madison. She has stabilized to the point where she is off the respirator, out of the open warming table and into a regular incubator like her brother and sister. She is still receiving some oxygen, but her breathing is doing fine. Mom and Dad got to hold her for the first time last night, which is a relief to do. She was still sedated slightly, but she woke up at one point, frantically looked around and went back to sleep. (probably thinking, “Geez, I hope that unshaven, sleep deprived, increasingly overweight wreck up there isn’t my dad.”). They were able to complete the lumbar puncture yesterday, but the sample they got had blood in it which contaminates the results. They will still grow out the culture, but the doctors have decided to treat her for meningitis anyway. It is a 21 day course of antibiotics, which will give everyone some peace of mind. They have moved her down to the same corner as her siblings, so the Herzog-Mosher wing of the NICU is complete. They also expect to start feeding her Mom’s milk or formula in the next day or two.
Her blood cultures continue to come back clear, so it looks like her infection has been treated successfully. Her platelets are high (over 100K) and her white blood count has dropped, which are also both good signs. Her heart murmur also cleared up, so we can check that one off the list too.
One new issue with Madison is the possibility of seizures. It’s hard to tell what is going on with babies, but her blood pressure and pulse were fluctuating in a way to indicate she might be having seizures. This is not uncommon with the bleeding she has had, and they should resolve in a week or two. In case they are seizures, the doctors are treating her with Phenobarbital, which also can have a sedating effect. On Monday she will have an electroencephalogram (EEG) of her brain. Also next week, they will do another ultrasound of her brain to check the progress of the bleeding.
On to Chloe and Noah. Both are doing well, albeit with the usual concerns of kids in the NICU. They are eating a mix of mother’s milk and formula via a tube. All the kids will eat via a tube until they are 34 or 35 weeks old and can coordinate the suck/swallow/breath routine. Noah is doing well breathing room air, so both Chloe and Noah are pretty much breathing on their own. All three kids are off of their bilirubin lights (bright lights that treat jaundice), so when not being treated or fed, their incubators are shrouded in heavy quilts for peaceful, dark, relative quiet. Chloe and Noah have shown to have E. coli (the infection that Mom and Madison both had) in the secretions from their eyes, so they are on antibiotics to head that off at the pass. Both had their cranial ultrasounds yesterday, and Noah had an insignificant amount of bleeding while Chloe had none. Another big relief.
One funny story about Chloe. It’s recommended that parents hold the children with skin to skin contact to facilitate bonding. In this so called “kangaroo care”, a baby clothed in just a diaper is placed on a parent’s bare chest for a while. For those of you who have not been around newborns, they have this reflex/habit where they reach out with their little hands and grab on to stuff. It was this reflex that led Madison to pull out her breathing tube and that led Noah to rip off his oxygen. Well, during kangaroo care, it was also this reflex that let Chloe to rip out handfuls of my chest hair for the better part of an hour. She’d reach out, grab a good handful, and pull her fist back to her cheek. It apparently took the NICU nurse 20 minutes to get it all off of her.
On to Mom. Julie’s fever spiked again yesterday which bought her another 48 hours in the hospital. We are now looking at Sunday as the discharge day. Her surgical incision is healing nicely and even survived the staple removal courtesy of Dad. The nurse showed me how to take out the first one, and the rest were all me. Our marriage survived the procedure relatively unscathed.
We’ll continue to keep everyone posted as we learn more.