Wednesday, September 15, 2010
TIRED with Two/What Am I Afraid Of?
If Devon looks a little tired, it's because she is. No one sleeps at our house except the babies, and only two of them are here.
Sarah had a slight melt-down when the boys first came home, but she recovered quickly. We are all overwhelmed by their size. The babies are so tiny we are almost afraid to care for them. Then, there's the worry that they will get sick and end up back in the NICU or worse. I've washed and sanitized my hands so many times the skin is cracking off.
Although we prefer to feed babies on demand, we decided to follow the doctor's advice about keeping the quads on the same schedule they were on in the hospital. That means they eat every three hours at 12, 3, 6, and 9. Then it starts all over again. The routine goes like this:
1. Pick the loudest baby (Jackson).
2. Change his diaper quickly and hope he doesn't pee on Landon's head again.
3. Apply ointment to his circumcision is spite of his protests.
4. Re-sanitize hands.
5. Re-snap 50 to 100 snaps on his onesie and sleeper. Re-snap if lack of sleep makes them appear crooked.
6. Re-wrap him snugly in his receiving blanket so he will feel secure and stop
7. Put his hat on to keep his body temperature up.
8. Re-sanitize hands.
9. Make bottle--breast milk has to be warmed and fortified. Special Care Formula from the hospital can be served "as is." Re-sanitize after touching refrigerator handle.
10.Get a burp cloth and tuck it around his neck.
11.Turn him slightly away, hold the bottle at an angle, help him get a suction
around the nipple. Watch for rapid breathing breaks,dusky color, sleeping, and air bubbles.
12.Attempt to burp him. Try to get him to take his minimum and more before twenty minutes are up. After that, he needs to rest again.
13.Burp him again.
14.Take him back to his bed and change his clothes if he threw up.(Yes,re-snap.)
15.Re-wrap him with arms in so he will fell secure.
16. Place him on his side or back and cover him with his snoodle.
17. Give him his vanilla-scented pacifier.
18. Put the hat on his head again.
19. If he emits any offensive noises, go back and repeat numbers 2 through 8.
19. Re-sanitize hands.
20. Clean up/restock bottles, diapers,and burp cloths.
21. Celebrate quietly. Done with Baby One.
At first, we both got up to feed the boys around the clock. Once, when I rolled out of bed again at 3:00 AM, Tom sleepily observed, "You guys are going about this all wrong. You need to take turns." I wanted to throw a diaper at his head, but decided to try his unsolicited advice instead. I grudgingly admit that I function much better on 5 hours of sleep than I do on 3 or 4. I hate it when he is right.
If you are wondering how Tony has managed to avoid this routine, it is because he has a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card. He was exposed to Chicken Pox and is not allowed to hold the babies for a couple of weeks. I choose to believe that it was not deliberate.
Yesterday, I changed Jackson three times during one feeding, and two of the diapers were poopy. Next, he loudly demanded to be held while I fed Landon, who was only wet while patiently waiting for his turn. Hmmm. Jackson THOMAS. Interesting. Makes one take pause.
Isabella might come home soon. We can't get over how BIG she is compared to the others. She is a whopping 5 lbs! She has a dimple in her cheek, just like Sarah.
One problem we have had with both of the girls is desaturation, or "desat." I don't understand much about it, but this is what we were told:
Oxygen saturation measures the amount of oxygen carrying hemoglobin in the blood. The blood of a full-term baby should be 95 to 100% saturated with oxygen. The blood of a premature baby receiving extra oxygen is usually maintained between about 88 and 95% saturation, not higher, to prevent retinopathy of prematurity, a serious eye condition that can result in blindness or very poor eyesight. (Jackson will be tested for that at Children's due to his small birth weight.) In the hospital, a little lighted instrument is strapped to each infant's foot to measure the amount of oxygen in his blood. When the blood does not have enough oxygen, it is called a desaturation. Desaturations can cause a bluish tint to the lips or skin and cause a baby to lose tone or become “floppy.”
Samantha looks dusky when she desats, which usually happens when she eats, cries, or gets picked up. Isabella desats when she eats or sleeps, but they think she just forgets to breathe. The girls are Desat Queens! It scares me to death, but the nurses do not seemed surprised by the alarms. They patiently remind me that the girls aren't supposed to be born yet. The girls need time to mature.
When the alarms go off, I feel like I am desating with them. I have to remember to breathe!
Samantha likes to be held under my chin. It is hard to hold her with all the tubes and wires, but I am getting better at it. It is amazing how quickly I have overcome my fear of dislodging something important in order to give her some much-needed snuggle time.
Samantha manages to take her pacifier even with the feeding tube in her mouth. They hope to move the tube to her nose when she moves from high-powered to regular oxygen.
After hearing the technical term for Samantha's bleed out after she became septic, I decided to break my own rule and research. What I learned increased my faith. We are blessed that Samantha survived that day. Apparently, the bleed out indicated that her organs were shutting down. God was with her the whole time, watching over the doctors and nurses who care for her. He was with us, too, helping us trust His love and plan.
During that critical time, many of Samantha's nurses made personal sacrifices to help. They stayed late, skipped meals and prayed. One nurse with a young baby of her own made the painful decision to skip pumping breast milk and her dinner in order to stay with Samantha. These incredibly gifted group of nurses, residents and doctors have become dear to us in so many ways. They treat our girls as if they were their own. How do we ever thank them for all they have done?
Sometimes, life is full of surprises, twists and turns. So much of what I experience is unexpected. Other times, God gently nudges and prepares us to get ready for the next assignment. When He does prepare me, I know that I am going to need that assurance to hang onto my faith because it's going to be rough. The NICU experience is one of those times.
While I prayed during Sarah's pregnancy, I kept feeling that God has many special people in the highly rated NICU unit who need to know how much He loves them. I didn't want the babies to be hospitalized. I knew there were multiples who had come home with their mothers shortly after delivery. I also knew that my grandchildren were not going to among those fortunate few. I was so sure that I warned Sarah, "Get ready, Honey. God is preparing us for a time in the NICU. He has work to do there."
The assurance that the girls are right where they need to be has made this ordeal bearable. However, I have to admit that I have driven home many late nights when I could barely see the road for my tears. Sometimes I am ashamed at my lack of faith when God has proven His love for me over and over again.
I have learned that I am weak when I am tired. I have also learned that things appear hopeless when the night falls, but they always look better in the morning.
God's Word reminds me that the Lord is the source of all light. He guides me and leads me. Darkness brings worry, trouble, and sorrow; light brings the opposite. Just as a sunbeam brightens a dark corner, God's light makes my troubles disappear. He delivers me. God is able to protect me, so I can confidently trust in Him. My best defense against fear or dread is the fact that God is my Protector. No one has power to take life away while He defends me. He has a plan. All of my surprises are not surprises to Him. We can do this together.
Sometimes, I find a warm sunbeam, close my eyes and stand in the middle of it. While the sun warms my face, I remember that God is my light and my salvation. With Him on my side, what on earth am I afraid of?
Thanks for praying.
The LORD is my light and my salvation--so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.Psalm 18:28
Posted by Sondra at 1:32 AM