tense moments made way for an ok night

Seems like problems arise when we make plans. We planned to stop in and do a couple hour visit today and then we were going to exchange this rug we’d gotten for Atticus’ nursery. We were there by 2:30pm and wanted to stay through his 4pm CARES and then we were going to stop home and load up the rug, etc.

We saw the doctors doing their closing out rounds at 3pm and afterward, the doctor came in and explained where we were at for the day. Atticus’ carbon dioxide readings in his blood had been trending high and they were worried that the PDA valve in his heart had reopened. If I understand this correctly, while in utero, this valve is open and blood travels from the heart to the lungs and closes soon after birth so that the baby can breathe. When this is open, the oxygen rich blood from the aorta mixes with the oxygen poor blood from the pulmonary artery. No bueno.

The doctors thought this might have reopened (his had been closed) and this was why our son had not been getting enough oxygen. They could not verify this until the last Echo came back. So until then, they started setting it up with a cardiologist that Atticus would have surgery in the morning and were considering switching him to an oscillator respirator rather than the one he had been on. This new one would make him breathe much faster, but more shallow, allowing him to receive more Oxygen at a smoother rate. The new machine would make it easier for him to breathe but would have some other side effects.

Doctor also mentioned that Atticus has a 40% chance of making it. That is a number we had purposely not asked about. Once it was mentioned though, it was all I could focus on.

The nurse went back over everything he said, if I didn’t relay something here accurately, it isn’t because the staff hasn’t been great at explaining, we’re just trying to absorb as much as we can to the best of our ability. At the end, I told her how hard it was to hear that 40% number, that I could accept that an open PDA was common in these tiny babies, that the surgery they started scheduling was common, but 40% was a number I didn’t want to hear.

Nurse Karen looked at us very straight and said, “We don’t lose our babies very often here and we certainly don’t plan on losing your son. We are nowhere close to losing him.”

And after crying over that number, I believed her.

The Echo came back that his PDA was still closed. The nurse said that he just sounded tight when he tried to breathe. They ordered a medicine that they will administer every 8 hours that opened up his lungs and the numbers started to level out within 20 minutes. His oxygenation went up and the carbon dioxide went down to a more acceptable level.

By the time we left tonight, he was in much more stable condition.

I’m grateful that in his first 8 days, that he has done so well, that today was our first scary day. I realize that this is probably the first of many. I walked out of the hospital feeling confident in the staff and respected as his parent… we’re going to take each curve in the road as it comes, praying for the best outcome.

We love you so very much, Atticus darling. We’re so proud of all your hard work.

-Mommy and Daddy

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