Well I was going to make sure that my next post was more upbeat than the last one but thats not exactly what is in the cards right now. I do just want to say thank you briefly for all the comments and personal emails I received after my last post, I was very touched. I always feel a little guilty after re-reading one of my posts if it seems on the negative side but one friend made a good point. She said it made her feel less alone to know that other moms who have children with more challenging circumstances aren't always "miss suzie sunshine" because thats just not realistic. Heck, thats not even realistic for anyone with regular day to day stuff. So thank you for reminding me its okay and letting me vent.
I'll try to be concise and coherent but we are feeling a little exhausted and overwhelmed. Alex has had a rough few days. On sunday afternoon he was coughing and gagging with his bottle. Not entirely out of the ordinary in our reflux history. He ended up throwing up shortly after this bottle and we were thinking, oh no not a GI bug. Later after his nap we fed him his cereal and fruit which he loved but stopped half way through and threw up again. hmmm. still thinking GI bug and wondering when Nicholas was going to get hit with it too. Sunday night we layed him down for a nap when he got up noticed his nose was running and he was really congested. Just that quickly and thought, wait a minute, a cold too? We stressed all night wondering exactly what was going on and Alex slept on Daddy quite a bit and we just knew whatever it was, he wasn't feeling well. (as I've said before Alex is a love but he's not by nature a cuddler when he's feeling well, he prefers playing).
Still feeling soemthing wasn't right I called the on call early Monday morning. They brushed me off after I mentioned that I had an oxygen monitor and hooked him that morning and he was reading in the low to mid 90's, not terrible but also not his recent baseline. They told me just to call the pediatrician office when it opened so exactly at 8:30am thats what I did. We started getting more concerned when we noticed he was reallly working at his breathing (breathing faster) and he truly sounded rattly. Not knowing what a child sounds like with a cold we were still hoping that we were overreacting and would be sent home with just a "he's fine, its just a cold and will run its course". Not what happened as you can see from the title of this post.
They didn't like the way he was breathing faster either, and the doctor thought his lungs definitely sounded "junky". He wasn't running a fever or anything but wasn't acting himself still. He seemed in my eyes to be getting worse, not better. They gave him a nebulizer treatment but it didn't seem to help at all. I remember hearing and learning a lot in the NICU and Mark and I kept re-playing Sunday night over and thought it was odd that he didn't get congested until AFTER his bottle and choking incident and started to get more and more nervous that something got in his lungs. I asked the doctor about this, its called "aspiration pneumonia" and she said it could definitely be that and sent us to the emergency room.
I spent all day in the emergency room with him and he was just content to sleep on me. He started running a fever for the first time and had no interest in eating. We finally got the xrays done, lab work, RSV swab, etc. and it came back that he does have aspiration pneumonia. The xray results fit our description of what happened on Sunday. I felt terrible, should we have brought him overnight on sunday? The doctor tried to reassure me that it normally takes a few hours for aspiration pneumonia to develop and if we brought him in too early, it might not have even shown up on the xray. I thanked her for being so kind. I felt like a wreck and Mark had to be at home with Nicholas and just hearing updates from the other side so not a picnic for him either. A very stressful time for all of us.
In the midst of all this, God is good to us. I had a wonderful friend come to meet me at the ED as soon as she heard and sat with me all day until we finally got a room on a pediatric floor for Alex. I'm not sure if I would have even been able to run to the bathroom this whole day without having someone I could trust to hold onto Alex for me (so thank you Julie!!!!) And for my family with their love and support. Particularly my Aunt who wouldn't you know it just happened to get a job at the hospital a month ago and works on a pediatric unit of all places right around the corner from where Alex is. How coincidental? hmmm. My aunt has been wonderful checking in on all of us, bringing us food and comfort throughout the day and just in general trying to ease the stress!!!!!! Thank you Aunt Kim!!
The first over night at the hospital was tough. Alex is on IV antibiotics, IV fluids and oxygen but even on oxygen he was breathing much faster than what anyone wanted. They kept a very close eye on him coming in very often and I could tell that they were a bit worried that he might not need something more than supplemental oxygen those few hours. It was a hard night worrying and wondering what was going to happen and watching my baby not act like himself at all. He's also in a humidified tent when he's sleeping to keep things moist and hopefully help him keep coughing things up.
The next morning I was holding him and trying to get the oxygen to stay in his nose, and keep him covered with a blanket trying to watch all the tubes, shouldn't I be a pro by now? Apparently not because a minute later after trying to get him comfortable I see blood on me, then on him and thought WHAT is going on? Turns out his IV came out. They spent the next hour trying to find another place to put one, while Alex moaned and cried. I fell apart and did what any grown woman would do. I called MY mommy and thankfully she came running and held me together the rest of the day (thank you mom)!!!
Alex is holding his own, he is starting to cough some of the stuff out which is a good thing. His breathing is a little easier which is a really good thing. Mark says lastnight Alex actually slept more restfully and seems to be more alert today!!! He even took four ounces from his bottle so I am praying this means he is definitely feeling better!!!
I came home lastnight to be with Nicholas and try to get a bit of sleep and Mark really wanted to spend time with Alex as well. Its soooo hard to feel like no matter where you are, you feel guilty for not being with the other baby. Just to throw in an extra dose of fun, Nicholas looks like he is battling his first cold. Just began yesterday. The typical stuff (runny nose, cough, feeling miserable). He wants his mommy and daddy too. He didn't sleep very well at all lastnight and kept waking himself up with coughing. Ofcourse Mark and I are feeling the extra stress of wanting to take turns caring for Nicholas but also not wanting to risk bringing one more thing up to Alex to deal with. We are just exhausted mentally and physically already. We just want both of our babies home and feeling more like themselves and then we can all start literally breathing easier.
Even though things feel heavy for us, I am reminded by looking around the hospital and particularly the pediatric unit that these things that our babies are dealing with ARE manageable. They WILL be okay and I'm sooooo grateful for that, and all of our family and friends who continue to pray for them, thank you for all of your love and support!!!!