Thursday, November 6, 2008

Baby's First Setback

I'll preface this entry by saying Penn looks much better and is going to be fine, but she gave us a bit of a turn today.

This morning, as I was pumping, I got a call from the NICU (man, that's a number you don't want to see showing up on your "incoming" list). It was Kay, the nurse-practitioner on our team, saying that Penelope seemed to have an infection and was put on antibiotics. They were checking her blood gas and culturing her blood and pee to see what the infection might be, but in the meantime, the antibiotics would start work. Her symptoms were lethargy and slightly elevated temperature, so they were watching her carefully. I guess "mellow" was a precursor to "sick."

When I got to the hospital, I was a bit surprised at what I saw. Penn looked, in a word, awful. She had been moved from the almost-all-better bay to the shit-this-kid's-sick bay, she was out of her onesie, she was back on a CiPAP mask. Worst of all was her color: mottled and kind of grayish-yellow in tone.

Luckily my sister was there, because I really didn't handle this all that well. After the past few days of the pink, alert baby you saw in the earlier posts, it was heart-wrenching to see her back at square 1. But as I sat with her (unable to hold her, but I put my hand on her chest under a blanket), her color steadily improved. She opened her eyes twice, when she got hiccups, and cried a little, which I found reassuring. She sure didn't feel good.

But as I said, her color was vastly improved by the time I left (at around 7:30), and I have corroboration on that: my birth doula works at the hospital, and she saw her in the a.m. and in the p.m. and agreed she was much pinker. Her blood gasses came back showing a little improvement already.

She may have to go visit Uncle Billy Ruben -- she did look a little sallow.

They are re-checking her blood gasses right about now; I'll call in an hour for those results.

She's off her feeds till she feels better and back to IV nutrition.

As for where the infection came from, that's anyone's guess. Obviously I blamed myself, figuring i didn't wash my hands well enough, but the nurses insist that preemie immune systems are just crappy, and while this doesn't happen to every preemie, it happens to many. They just get worn out trying to grow, and when they're worn out, they get sick.

So, no pics today. But more soon. One of my editors sent a huuuge box of the most adorable preemie clothes from her baby (2 weeks early). As soon as she's feeling better I'm going to put the one that says "early bird" on her for a photo op.

Oh dear. My breasts are responding to this stressful day by witholding milk. Ladies! Rise to the occasion, please!!

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