Full heart 

   
   

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Limbo

We had a similar night last night, though the alarms were less frequent and, largely, more brief.  His saturation levels went down to the 50’s and low 60’s for a 30 second-1 minute period twice, and he dipped into the low 60’s briefly about a handful of times and came right back up to his normal levels.  Absolutely no symptoms – no color changes and no heavy breathing (I should say no heavier than his normal from birth).

I called our cardiologist this morning with the update.  He said he had wrestled with what to do for us quite a bit and just doesn’t see the benefit of going into the hospital at this point.  His advice is to ride it out and see what happens.  If things change, we call in again and decide from there.  He revisited the echo this morning and just isn’t seeing any reason (at least heart-wise) why his saturation levels would be doing that.

So – we watch and wait.  I’m not sure how I feel about it.  On the one hand, I am relieved we don’t have to spend the day in the hospital, at least today.  On the other hand, it would have been a relief to hand over his care to the professionals and try to figure out why this has started happening.

Leave it to our kid to be a puzzle!

Cardiology update

Our local cardiologist has no idea why we had so much trouble with the pulse oximeter last night.  He was incredibly encouraging – that I did the right thing to check on him and watch for symptoms – seeing none, there was no reason to act.  But it kinda baffled him.

Kiran is looking so good.  The x-ray looked good.  The echo revealed nothing new with his anatomy.  His heart sounded like it should; his pulse by his hands and feet was strong.  He gave absolutely no indication that he is ill or that the pulse ox was in any way accurate last night.

It was confirmed that his oxygen saturation level has come down, in general, however.  They clocked him in at 84, which is in the range of the new normal we are seeing at home.  This was no surprise, though we hate seeing the downward trend starting.

We had a respiratory technician come out tonight and check the pulse oximeter’s functioning.  He reminded us of what to look for on the machine and said it’s a good idea to always test ourselves so we have a baseline to know the machine is working correctly.  We wanted to rule out any machine malfunction, because if tonight goes anything like last night, our cardiologist wants to admit us to the local hospital for monitoring to get to the bottom of this.  We are hopeful we won’t have to do that.  Hopeful that it was just a fluke of a night, and tonight will go smoothly.

Hopeful that I will sleep….

No sleep night 

It is 3 a.m. It has been a long night. Kiran had his two month appointment yesterday and got his first round of vaccines. Largely, he’s been doing ok. He had a very low fever – not even really considered a fever, even, but a little high for him – and he has definitely been a little fussy. Nothing snuggles won’t fix. 

He is actually sleeping very well and seemingly comfortably tonight, but his pulse Oximeter alarm keeps going off. I keep jumping up to check on him, and he has no symptoms. His coloring is fine, and his breathing is not labored.  I’m not sure what is going on, but we see the cardiologist this afternoon (thankfully, an already scheduled appointment). 

The worrying and what ifs are keeping me up, and when I do finally drift off, the alarm sounds again. I have finally given up on the concept of sleep at all – not to say I won’t still lay down – I just surrender this night’s sleep. 

I am sure it is the first of many sleepless nights, with hospital stays and normal childhood illnesses in my future. I don’t even really mind the not sleeping, other than the one side effect: when I am tired, the tears flow much more easily. 

Getting bigger

Kiran passed his hearing test last week!  It was good news I desperately needed. We will have to keep up on checking it, however, as babies that spend time in the hospital are more susceptible to hearing loss. But for now – he hears well!

He didn’t gain much weight last week between Tuesday and Friday – only one ounce – so our home health nurse (who we absolutely love!) set a goal for tomorrow. He seems to understand the implications of this, because he has decided to take more 85 ml bottles and a couple 90s thrown in at night when he goes a little longer in between feedings. We went ahead and bought a scale – we haven’t compared it to the nurse’s yet – but it looks like we should meet our weight goal tomorrow!  He weighed in on our scale at 8 lbs 10 oz this morning, which means he is officially 3 lbs over his birth weight in less than two months!  We will take it. 

I don’t even notice his growth since I am with him every day, but he has also officially grown out of his newborn clothes. Crazy. I am so glad we got so much use out of them; I know many aren’t as lucky!

My big boy:

   
   

more hard truths

In the last few years, when I was seriously dreaming about starting a family, I often thought to myself that I could never handle a child with special needs.  I am not sure I understood exactly why I felt that way, but I think I understand now.  It has nothing to do with not being able to love them or not dealing well with them being behind or “abnormal” – it has to do with my anxiety and stress level.

You see, I am a worrier.  I always have been, and, despite trying many strategies over the years to change this, I think it might just be too deeply embedded in my DNA.

This morning, I had a very normal Mom moment.  I cut my poor baby’s finger while trying to trim his fingernails.  I knew this would happen – I was warned by my pediatrician it happens to almost every mom at some point – so I wasn’t too worried – at first.  But then it wouldn’t stop bleeding.  Ten minutes went by.  Ten minutes is a long time.  I broke down and called the pediatrician’s office and talked to the nurse.  She assured me it should stop bleeding; some babies just take longer than others.  If it didn’t, I was to bring him in.  Thirty minutes later (I kid you not), it finally stopped bleeding.  There were moments during that time I was convinced this would be what he would die from – blood loss from his mom’s failed attempt at trimming his nails.  Yes, my mind went there.

So you can only imagine how I handle some of the harder stuff.  Last week was especially hard.  I went into the week knowing it would be a busy week.  Monday morning, my incessant worrying about his coughing got the best of me, and I went to see the pediatrician with fears of aspiration.  No signs existed to indicate he was taking food into his airway, but she ordered a swallow study to be done anyway.  With a heart baby, it’s better to be safe.  I went home with that worry lodged into my brain, and every bottle was a possible landmine for the rest of the day.  I worried with every cough – every cry – I was home alone with him all day (due to our internet being down, Arif was working at my parent’s house)  and all evening (Arif plays pool on Monday nights)…He was crying so hard at one point Monday night, I was panicking – were his lips turning blue?  I couldn’t tell.  Maybe they were.  Should I call 911?  I had lost all confidence in my ability to notice if something was wrong with my baby boy.  I am still not convinced I will catch everything – I am so afraid I will miss something vital to his well-being.

And that was just Monday.  The week pretty much continued on like that.  The home health nurse put my mind at ease about some of it on Tuesday – for a little while – and Wednesday was a bit better.  The worries were still there but quieter.

Thursday morning, we had the swallow study.  Lo and behold, though they didn’t see aspiration, they did see pooling in that direction.  Recommendation: Go back to the preemie nipple and feed him side-lying.  It was good to know I wasn’t crazy with my worries, but this has been a difficult transition.  Kiran was taking bottles in 15-20 minutes, and now it takes him a full half hour…Although today, he has taken two bottles in just over 20 minutes, so maybe we are making progress on this.

And Friday, we went to Iowa City.  Casts came off; brace went on.  I had some worries about that, too, of course – I already called – twice- to speak with the orthopedic nurses about his feet this week.  At least I am learning to call and ask questions – to get help – instead of just stewing in my worries.

But the biggest worry, threading in and out of all these other worries, is in the last week, we have noticed Kiran’s oxygen saturation levels start to go down.  We were seeing him firmly in the low 90s/upper 80s, and now he seems to be dwelling in the mid 80s most of the time.  It is hard to see this change, as I know it means surgery is drawing closer.  I have had to continue to remind myself that surgery is still going to happen – sometimes, because things have been going so well (for the most part, all my other worrying aside), I forget this reality of ours.

I just don’t know, sometimes, if my heart can take it.  I don’t know if I was cut out for this – any of it.  The flat foot with casting and braces would have been enough to worry me immensely.  The feeding issues we have experienced would have been enough to stress me out.  But these things are the least of it, and that is why I’m not sure I can handle having a child with special needs.

But I do.  And I have something else to worry about today.  We are going in for his third hearing screening – he failed his first two.  And as I look at him sleeping in his crib next to me as I write this, I can only hope one thing: that he doesn’t inherit my anxiety.