So, let’s try to pick up where we left off with the last post. Just a warning, this will be lengthy. Just to recap, Cooper was born Friday, February 18, at 8:48am.
They laid him on my chest and I was in awe. He was this incredible, squawking, perfect (if not a little blue) creature. I was instantly totally enamored. His presence nearly took my breath away. And it apparently did take his breath away. I knew from his color that there were issues. They took him over to the warmer and started to suction him. The neonatal nurse, Carey, turned him on his side and beat on his little back trying to get his lungs clear. He started to pink up so she continued with the usual assessments. He weighed 7 pound 2 ounces and was 20 inches long with gorgeous little fat feet and chubby cheeks. Things were seeming normal, until Carey asked someone to call Respiratory. I’m no expert on newborns, but I knew this was unusual.
They started Neo-puff which is just a way of helping to open up his lungs. He was breathing irregularly, doing something they called grunting. It didn’t sound much like a grunt, more like breathing through a harmonica. His breathing seemed to normalize and so they let me hold him. We asked if we could have a few minutes just the three of us and everyone agreed. I had him lying on my chest and was loving every second. Tanner got a few pictures and then came over to get a closer look.
It seemed like only seconds before the grunting started again. We tried to soothe him hoping it would stop.
Tanner quickly went to get one of the nurses. As quickly as he was in my arms, he was gone. They said they wanted to take him back to the nursery and do a little more of the Neo-puff. We assumed he would be back with us in just a few minutes. A few minutes passed and then an hour. Finally, Carey came back to our room and told us that his breathing problems were more significant than they originally thought. They were going to have a neonatologist from Baptist come take a look. It wasn’t long after the doctor saw him that they came to give us another update.
His lungs were immature and the small sacs (alveoli) at the end of his airways weren’t staying open when he inhaled. This means he was unable to absorb an adequate amount of oxygen; his oxygen saturation was dangerously low. He was started on CPAP to force air into his lungs. They also wanted to give surfactant directly into his lungs. The surfactant would help his alveoli stay open which should help with his oxygen saturation.
They started the surfactant procedure around two o’clock and told us they would know if it was effective within 2-3 hours. During this entire time, I was restricted to my bed because I was still numb from the epidural. Tanner was able to go in and see him for just a few minutes after the procedure. He brought back pictures to try to prepare me for what I would see when I was able to go in. He had an IV in his left hand, CPAP in his nose, heart and respiratory rate monitors on his torso, an oxygen saturation monitor on his foot and a blood pressure cuff on his arm. We spent the next few hours praying and waiting. It was probably the hardest 3 hours of my life up until that point. Once I could finally feel my feet (well, I really couldn’t, but I said that I could) I was able to go in and see him.
The first time I saw my son he looked like this:
The second time I saw him, he looked like this:
Needless to say, we were scared. Our uneventful pregnancy, labor, and delivery had suddenly become a very different situation. Nothing can prepare you for seeing your child hooked up to all kinds of monitors with wires coming off of him in all directions. It was almost incomprehensible.
By about 6:30 we found out that the surfactant had not worked. He was still unable to breathe sufficiently. So the decision was made to transfer us to Baptist. Cooper was transferred in an enclosed crib/stretcher type thing. It looked really scary, but I’ve seen them at work a lot so it didn’t really bother me. However, my family was all a little unnerved by it. This whole set up took up too much room for either one of us to ride in the ambulance with him. This was the part I didn’t care for. Tanner and I had to go in our own car. Never in my life has that stretch of road seemed longer or more unfamiliar.
This is getting really long.......so I'll leave you with that cliff hanger. Check back soon for the rest of the story.
I sound like Paul Harvey - haha!