Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Middle Mann - Part III

In those 4 days, his head size increased nearly a full inch and all of it was fluid. It was already huge to start with. During the MRI, the tech let me sit and watch the screen as the images were taken. There was so much about the pictures I was seeing that didn't make sense. Large areas of black. The expected midline was virtually non-existent. I asked tons of questions, but the tech wasn't able to tell me anything. I hadn't seen an MRI before, but I'd read plenty of A&P books in my days to know that much wasn't right.

He was admitted into the NICU and prepped for surgery. All the risks were explained (so I thought) and I signed all the consent forms.

It took about an hour once they took him back.

The creature that was wheeled out of the operating room looked nothing like the baby I gave them. His head was terribly deformed and he looked more like a looney toon than a baby. His forehead was small, but from about the middle of his head back was HUGE! and his cheeks were equally fat. I knew he was mine since the same people brought him out as took him and his arm band said it was him, but oh my, I was physically nauseated at the sight of him. I had bad dreams all that night about how he looked. Even now, I can remember that feeling.

Fear came screaming at me and there was no way to hold it back.

He was plugged in to just about every monitor I knew about and in the NICU, I had to scrub in like a surgeon just to be allowed into his area. Since I've always wanted to be a doctor, the scrubbing in was sorta cool. My hands were terribly dry after a day or so. All in all, his recovery was splendid and on his 7th day, most everything had been disconnected. He was breathing on his own and was nursing. He didn't even have an IV and was discharged to the Special Care nursery in anticipation of discharge from the hospital the following day.

Once in the Special Care nursery, I was responsible to provide him with all of his primary care needs. It was a nice transitional place where skilled support was available if I needed help, but for the most part the job was mine.

He started with some hiccups. I'd had a baby before and I thought maybe feeding him would help the hiccups to stop. It didn't help. He had the hiccups for about 30 minutes before I mentioned it to the nurse. She listened, but really didn't think much of it. She told me to keep an eye on it and let her know if it continued.

Well, it continued for about 4 hours. I reported back to her about every 15 minutes and once she finally stood still long enough to confirm the behavior, she called down to the NICU and let them know about it. I honestly had so little idea about what would become the life of my little boy and was seriously taking in information faster than I knew how to handle. Clarity would elude me for months.

After a couple more confirmed episodes the nurse and I took my baby back to the NICU so they could confirm or deny the existence of the strange hiccups.

There was a new flurry of activity and people wanted me to settle him down and try to get him to sleep and stop moving so much. I tried to convey to them that newborns don't work like that and I was doing my best, but if the arguing directly next to me would move away, it might be easier for me to do what they wanted.

At that point, the neonatologist stepped over to try and break up the argument when I spotted the hiccups again. He took my dude and worked him through that episode of hiccups and said that it was impressive. He ordered up a bunch of meds and looked at me and told me that we wouldn't be going home the next day.

Middle Mann needed to get a new IV placed so they could give him a loading dose of seizure medicine. Getting a new IV in him would prove to be the first of many many procedures where he was simply too strong for 4 adults to hold down. Once they'd tried more than 10 times, I had to leave. They ended up putting a tube down his throat and gave him the meds that way. And he promptly threw most of it up.

And then he slept. For a few days.

About a day after he woke up, they checked his oxygen saturation and hooked him up in the carseat so that he'd have good sats all the way home and we left on day 10 of his life.

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