Saturday, January 5, 2008

this ride

We know the NICU is a roller coaster ride - we've heard it; we've said it; and it's been proven. But every time the roller coaster goes down, I go into shock again. I don't know why. I've heard it; I've said it; and it's been proven.

When I'm not at the hospital, I call every two to three hours to check on the twins - even through the night. At 2:30 am, they were both resting and doing well. But at 5:30 am, Owen was suspected to have an infection. He was having more A's and B's (apnea and bradycardia - preemies' brains don't tell them to keep breathing, so they have frequent dips in heart rate and oxygen saturation; it's very common, and they usually outgrow it). His stomach looked swollen, and his blood work was elevated. They had already started him on antibiotics and had taken cultures to see what kind of infection they needed to treat. The nurse told me she was very surprised because "he looked so good - smiling at her and looking around." His good looks are only mildly consoling though. I know a lot of people who can mask a sick stomach under a pretty smile.

Ellie's PDA that had been miniscule after being treated once during her first week of life had cruelly reopened on Friday morning. They were treating it with another round of Indocin again every twelve hours over the next day and a half. This morning, her kidneys had slowed (a side effect of Indocin), and they had to stop the medicine. Luckily, however, the PDA had decreased in size already. They checked her blood to see if she also had an infection, but it came back negative. They have stopped her feedings until her urine output increases and her kidneys show signs of healing.

I know the news isn't always going to be good, but you never feel prepared to hear that your kids are sick, and there's nothing you can do to help. And if you think I found some grand, inner strength to deal with the drop in the roller coaster ride, I didn't. I just sat down and cried. I cried a long, hard "why us?, why them? cry." But after the catharsis, I got up, took a shower, and hid my helplessness and fear under a few swipes of mascara and some pink lip gloss. (I figure if Owen's playing games, so can I.) Mike and I decided that the job of parenthood doesn't stop when you're scared, or sad, or unhappy, and our strength as parents is certainly not compromised by the tears that we have cried. So, off to the hospital we go . . .

This ride isn't fair - not for us, nor for anyone who has had a baby come into the world too early. I've heard it; I've said it; and it's been proven.

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