Worse Before Better

Poor K Man had a rough afternoon and evening. He was starting to have to work harder during oral feedings, so they put an NG tube in and gave us that same 15 minute window to try by mouth we experienced when he was first born. The idea is to not make him work too hard to breathe while feeding. Since the NG tube was dropped, he hasn’t taken more than 20 ml by mouth.

He got more and more uncomfortable as we approached evening. He seemed to get overstimulated and agitated very frequently. He had a few strong crying spells that resulted in desaturation and upping his oxygen intake.

Our nurse, who we love, made it clear he needed a silent room to rest tonight and strongly urged I take a Ronald McDonald sleeping room down the hall from the PICU. It is the hardest thing in the world, not being in the room with my baby, but I know it is best for him, as even my coughing may have bugged him throughout the night.

The plan before I went to sleep last night, after yet another fitful episode from him, was to try to reduce his agitation and stress in every way possible. They kept his brace off his feet to give him a break (the least of our medical worries right now – let the boy be as comfortable as he can be!) – they planned to feed solely through the NG tube and up it to his normal 90 ml every three hours.  The nurse also gave him Tylenol to hopefully just help him feel a bit better.

I just woke up to pump and visit him and found the nurse in his room. The little stinker had managed to use his foot to pull at the tubing attached to his IV and rip it out a ways. Nurse tried to put it back in but hit a hard spot and opted to just pull it out. This whole scene, of course, agitated him. The doctor happened to see him in full upset mode and decided, for the first time since we’ve been here, to not only up the amount of oxygen but to increase the pressure of the oxygen as well. It seemed to help him calm and rest more easily.

Doctor also said the IV can stay out for now. The only medication he was on was pepsin, which helps keep young kids from forming ulcers. She thinks he will be fine without. He was also still on a small amount of fluids, but now that he will be getting his normal feeds, as long as he tolerates them, he won’t need the fluids. So at least he is catching a break and won’t need to reinsert an IV at this time (though he may need one at some point again).

I left him resting well in the care of the amazing nurse. I feel so lucky we have had her for the past two nights and am nervous who our nurse will be tomorrow night….

It was the hardest thing I have experienced yet, walking in on a major crying episode while nurse was managing him and settling him, and not being able to do anything about it. I desperately wanted to rip him from her arms and just squeeze him and calm him and make it all better, but I know she needed to handle the situation from a medical standpoint and get him back to a relaxed and stable state. It literally made me sick to have to ignore my motherly instincts. Just like it makes me sick to not be in his room with him. It is so hard to do what it best for him when it hurts my heart so, so much.

The nurse assured me a couple times last night we are nowhere near any point where we need to tell dad “get home now”; however, Arif and I talked last night and he is going to see about making it home tomorrow night rather than Thursday night. We need him. I need him.

This is all so draining, emotionally and physically. And the hardest pill to swallow?  This is still some of the easiest stuff, medically, we will have to handle with him. That is so hard to think about, so I’m trying not to.

It all really hit me, sunk in, yesterday, even before the downward turn: my baby is in the hospital. The adrenaline wore off, and I was walking back to the PICU from the cafeteria.  The pediatric intensive care unit. How overwhelming!  How different from any sort of life I ever imagined as a mother!

I would change many things about this journey if I could – but only if I could still have my sweet, feisty, smart little dude. As much as he causes problems doing it, I am glad he’s still got the fight in him. I’m glad he pulls the oxygen out of his nose every time he gets his hands free – I’m even glad he yanked at his IV. It shows he’s got spunk and strength and fight, which are all the things I hope for him as we move forward in this incredibly scary, unfun medical world.


One thought on “Worse Before Better

  1. Dear Holly,
    I so appreciate your openness and the sharing of your feelings. In our experience, God uses everything in our lives to prepare us for the next leg of the journey. As you deal with this “cold”, you are able to analyze and process your thoughts and feelings so that when you have to face the harder stuff, you have already done some groundwork and can deal more effectively and creatively with what is to come. You are learning many things about yourself and your precious little boy as you walk this out that will help you be stronger when you need to be stronger. Embrace what you are learning and pay attention to what God is teaching you at this point. He is with you every step of the way!
    With love, Em and Joyce


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