April 21st, 2011

Rat: Injection

Baby Update


Charlotte ("Lottie" being the nickname of choice) is still in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the hospital. She's being treated primarily for respiratory issues, which is not uncommon in babies at this level of prematurity. Nurses are guessing she'll be able to go home from the hospital in 1-2 weeks.

How's she doing? What's happened?

She is doing pretty well. They started her on supplemental oxygen about five minutes after she was born because her blood oxygen levels were low (around 80-85% where 95-98% is normal). Her lungs are just not quite developed... Babies need those last weeks to finish up some parts.

So they gave her a respirator and breathing tube which is a prerequisite for using a steroid surfactant that triggers lung capacity development. She has responded well to that treatment. They removed the tube and now have a little CPAP machine and face mask for her. They also don't need to give her extra oxgyen; she's just breathing normal air with a little extra pressure to assist her lungs.

Apart from that, she has been pretty stable. Heart rate and reactions good. And though the above might sound a bit dire, I want to point out that it's not too unusual and it's still far better than Tim did so we're hoping not to go through those depths of anxiety again.

To go home, she needs to develop her lungs and show she can breathe unassisted while maintaining good oxygenation levels. She also needs to be able to maintain her body temperature and be able to take milk.
MST3K: Joel X-P

The Birth and Nature's Sense of Humor - Part I

The Concert

This began Tuesday night, which was a bit over 5 weeks before the baby was supposed to arrive. Within days of how prematurely Timothy arrived, actually. But we weren't prepared for that all to happen again. We were planning to do things like go through the attic and get down the baby stuff this weekend.

More importantly, Tuesday was the night of Kit's fourth grade concert. Yup. In case you don't know, she's a grade school music teacher and her fourth grade classes were having their big night... When Charlotte decided to upstage them.

She wandered over to her principal and said, "The universe has a consistent, if perverse, sense of humor."

"You're going into labor, aren't you?" Her principal began laughing and then hastily trying to reassure her that she wasn't laughing at her, just the situation.

Kit said, "I think my water broke," and handed over a scribbled cue sheet. With a bit of assistance and some well-rehearsed kids, she stayed through and the concert was a success. (The show must go on!) Then she came home, we threw things in bags and backpacks, and we got on the next ferry to the city and the hospital.

The Call

Now when Timothy was born, I had come up to Kirkland to start my new job. Kit was down in the Bay Area with Trey, closing the sale on our duplex, when her water broke that time. Trey took her over to the hospital in Berkeley and then called me, saying, "Don't panic. And get on a plane."

I explained that I could only do one of those and would choose the plane. I made it down in time for Tim's birth, though, so all turned out well in the end.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday. Trey had agreed to assist (it worked out last time) and had made arrangements with his boss that he'd need to take off sometime in mid-May.

Kit got to the hospital and was examined by the triage nurse. There was no question of slow leaking; the amniotic membrane had ruptured and, one way or another, she was going to be giving birth soon.

So I got to call Trey down in California, weeks ahead of schedule, and tell him, "Don't panic. And get on a plane."

The Waiting

After heavy medication in the last experience, Kit was particularly keen to try natural child birth this time. (Insert your favorite quote from the Bill Cosby routine here. If you're not familiar with it, you owe yourself a listen.)

The only trouble was that, having rid itself of this bag of water, her body was in no hurry to move on with the rest of the business. She was having contractions but irregularly and not too strong. She wasn't dilated.

So we did end up using some medicines to speed the process along, give her system a nudge in the right direction. The medical version of a timorous throat clearing while standing behind someone and a polite "Pardon me?"

This did help but, after 16 or so hours -- not the most comfortable hours for Kit, mind you -- we switched up to the medical equivalent of a good elbow in the side and a "Yo! Scuse me!"

Trey had arrived Wednesday morning so we were both there to help Kit as she tried to keep comfortable and pace herself. The room was decent and reasonably equipped but it's hard to relax when your muscles are tightening up on you (or your loved one) every 5 minutes.

In case you ever need to know, this is "pre-labor" and the start of "active" stage. We then moved into the "transition" stage or, as it's known colloquially, the "HELLISH PAIN" stage.

(...To be continued tomorrow after I get a bit of sleep here.)