Welcome to Parenthood: Progress Report

First off, let me thank everyone for the congratulations, well wishes, prayers and warm thoughts. Spending the last couple of days running back and forth to the Cleveland Clinic hasn’t been fun, and Laura and I have both been very frazzled, emotional and exhausted. But we’re also feeling incredibly lucky. All around the NICU are babies who are in far, far worse shape than Kyle. One little girl was on a respirator until this afternoon. Today, two more babies were transferred from other hospitals, one of which was born only twenty-four weeks into the pregnancy. A baby in the room Kyle was moved to this evening has been at the Clinic for two months, and may have had a stroke. As gut-wrenching as this whole experience has been for us, we realize that it could have been much, much worse.

This morning, the tube that was draining Kyle’s stomach (I forget what they called the thing, but it sounded like one of the moons of Jupiter, or something) was removed. Also removed was the antibiotic from his IV. He’s still getting nutrients and lipids intravenously, but the doctors are now confident that he doesn’t have an infection.

This evening, Kyle took another stab at nursing. Though that didn’t go quite so well as we’d hoped (he was too impatient), he did get some breast milk mixed in with his soy formula at 9:00. We’re hoping to deliver another dose of mom’s milk when we head over to the Clinic tomorrow morning. We’re also hoping that he doesn’t have any further digestion issues so we can take him home ASAP.

Welcome to Parenthood: Our First Speed Bump

Things have not gone very smoothly since Friday. I guess once in a while we need a little reminder that we are Not in Charge.

Kyle had some trouble keeping food down Saturday morning. He was spitting up and his stomach was noticably distended. An x-ray revealed what appeared to be a blockage in the small intestine. A neonatologist decided that it would be best if Kyle were moved from Lake West to the Children’s Hospital at the Cleveland Clinic, and that’s just what happened Saturday afternoon.

Once we received a call indicating that Kyle had arrived safely, Laura’s mother and I went to the Cleveland Clinic (Laura, still recovering from her c-section, had not yet gotten out of bed). Though hooked up to an IV, a tube to drain his stomach and a host of sensors, Kyle did not appear to be in any distress or uncomfortable at all.

The Clinic performed an upper G.I. as well as a barium enema, and we were greatly relieved when they told us that there did not appear to be any structural problems with Kyle’s intestines, and that they could almost certainly rule out the need for surgical correction.

Laura was discharged from Lake West yesterday morning, and we drove down to the Clinic shortly after that. Kyle was sleeping, but the nurses removed the sensors as well as the tube from his stomach so Laura and I could hold him. Apart from the wires and tubes and a few spots of rash here and there (which I’m told is normal in newborns), he looks to be perfectly fine. His situation isn’t life-threatening, but it’s serious enough that they are watching him closely.

As of last night, doctors were not certain whether the problem is an infection or a severe feeding reaction. There is also still a slight possibility that it is a blockage that must be corrected through surgery, but the doctors we have spoken to seem to think it is highly unlikely. Whatever the case, he is on antibiotics right now and is not being fed orally (which had a tendency to make him a little cranky now and then).

I called the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) this morning and the nurse told me that the tube has been removed from Kyle’s stomach, and the distension has not increased. I also learned that Cleveland Clinic was apparently unaware that Kyle had been fed formula on the 13th. He was given formula (by me) because his blood sugar was low. The formula seemed to take care of the blood sugar problem, but may ultimately have been the cause of his digestive woes.

We’re going to head over to the clinic a little later today, and maybe they’ll feed Kyle a little of Laura’s breast milk, which she has been pumping on a regular basis for the past couple of days. (Laura and I considered staying at the Clinic last night, but the lactation consultant thought it would be best if Laura slept in her own bed, so we came home.) The earliest Kyle is likely to be released is tomorrow, but nothing is certain at this point. We would certainly like to be able to take our little guy home with us as soon as possible.