Thursday, October 2, 2008

Finally Home!!


Yesterday Kimball was finally discharged and we were able to come home after eight long days in the hospital.  Bryce and I are still coming to terms with the fact that despite his 38 weeks inutero Kimball is considered a preemie--a.k.a. a "late preterm delivery."  Kimball's small size is related to my high blood pressure and whatever vascular problems I had with the placenta during pregnancy.  Fortunately, because Kimball was able to hold off as long as he did before making his entrance into the world his lungs are well developed and he has no respiratory problems like most preemies. 

Soon after Kimball was born the nurses and doctors discovered that Kimball had a low blood sugar.  This can be common and typically they give the baby some formula as a boost.  They brought Kimball to me along with a bottle.  About 30 second later I was told that his blood sugar was bad enough that the formula wasn't going to help and he needed an IV.  He was whisked off to the Special Care Nursery (a.k.a. the NICU).  Weaning a baby off an IV takes about a gajillion times longer that it does to put one in.  In Kimball's case he needed to learn to eat so that the IV could be removed.  Seems simple enough, right?  

From the beginning I was insistent that Kimball learn how to breast feed.  While a noble ideal, I was unprepared for a baby that was physically unable to nurse.  I learned a lot about breast feeding at the hospital thanks to multiple lactation consultants and specialists--including a speech therapist.  You read that correctly, a speech therapist.  Apparently, speech therapists can evaluate problems with latching and breast feeding.  Who knew?  In any event, I learned that it is the fat deposits in a baby's cheeks that stabilizes the nipple in the b
aby's mouth.  As you can see from the pictures, Kimball has no fat in his cheeks.  (He doesn't really have any fat anywhere).  When Kimball tried to breast feed he would latch, suck a few times and then scream.  He wasn't getting enough to eat and so I asked that a feeding tube be inserted.  There were of course other options--a bottle, a nipple shield, a supplemental feeding system--but all of them seemed to interfere with breast feeding and were therefore shunned.

Kimball and I made a valiant effort at nursing, but by the weekend we were both tired and frustrated.  One of the doctors suggested we look at the big picture and realize that our first choice for feeding Kimball may not be possible.  A specialist was brought in and we moved to the nipple shield.  A nipple shield gives the baby something to latch onto and are used a lot with preemies.
There is a bit of a controversy over nipple shields and whether they prevent a baby from learning to feed without one once the baby gains some weight and strength.  I had resisted using one for that reason, but by Saturday my resolve had worn down (not to mention every other part of me).  Kimball fed much better with the shield and I was hopeful that he could go home.  The IV was removed on Sunday the feeding tube on Monday and I thought we were on our way.  But after feeding wonderfully on Monday, Kimball lost weight, had a bad blood sugar level on at least one occasion and wasn't urinating.  At this point I had to admit that while Kimball could latch onto the shield and suck, he didn't have the strength to eat enough to sustain him.

On Tuesday we decided to supplement with a bottle so that we could go home sooner rather than later.  This was a hard decision because we realized that it could sabotage all our efforts to teach Kimball to breast feed.  (You would take a bottle too if you didn't have to work so hard to get something our of it).  We also decided to fortify the breast milk he was getting to give him a few more calories per ounce.  Another specialist was brought in to try and help with nursing.  My mom referred to her as the "baby whisperer" and she was pretty amazing.  She helped Bryce and me to pay more attention to Kimball and set a feeding schedule.  She turned Kimball into a baby rather than a patient.  The other change that happened on Tuesday that I think helped us turn a corner is that we asked our doctor to let Kimball stay in our room.

You see, I was discharged Thursday and Kimball was still in the Special Care Nursery.  We were able to rent our room so that we could sleep at the hospital and feed him.  But this also meant that every three hours day and night we would trek across the hospital to Kimball, spend an hour or so with him and trek back, only to do it all over again several hours later.  I did not get much sleep.  (Bryce got a little more because I would let him skip feedings.  Well, I only let him because between about 3am and 8am Bryce is nearly impossible to get out of bed).  

Having Kimball right next to my bed was dreamy after watching him be poked and prodded in the ICU.  For a while his heel was sliced open every three hours so they could take his blood sugar.  This dropped off in the last two day we were there, but Kimball's heels are shredded.  I feel so bad for him.  He was on a bili-bed for a few days because he was jaundiced.  (That is the picture below with the goggles).  He was measured, weighed and otherwise fussed with more than any baby should have to take.  When he was next to us he was able to sleep like a . . . well, like a baby.  Wednesday morning our doctor walked in and asked "Would you like to take your baby home?"  Thanks to the supplement Kimball gained weight, had good blood sugar levels and started to pee.

We are thankful for the wonderful care that Kimball received in the hospital.  The doctors and nurses all worked hard to help him.  We are also thankful for all our family and friends who came to see him and otherwise prayed and fasted for him.  Thank you all.  We are so happy to have our baby home.

9 comments:

  1. I had heard of the arrival of Kimball but had no idea of what you have been through. Van may have known, but he often forgets to tell me. Your post was so touching and brought tears to my eyes. What a miracle a new baby is! Some come easy, others have a harder time after they are born. I remember when Jacob was born he had low body temperature which was a concern. He also had trouble nursing and I remember Bekki being surrounded by several nurses coaching her on how to breast feed. As I remember, none of them had ever been a mother! Our prayers are for you and your family, that life will get easier, but one thing for sure, your life will never be the same! Babies are such a joy! I hope the breast feeding works out! Congratulations and love, Maude

    ReplyDelete
  2. So happy you are finally home. We had no idea what you were going through. We got the email that Kimball had been born and that was it. Please let us know if you need anything.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so glad you guys are home, the one thing I learned with both my babies is that you can plan all you want for the best circumstances, but be prepared to change everything. We have a gift and need to bring it by, we'll be in touch.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You three have really been through the wringer. In the end, the parents are the ones that often find the solutions and it sounds like through your own prayers, you were guided as to what needed to be done to get Kimball going and be able to go home.

    He is just precious. We loved seeing him on ooVoo. Loved the picture of your holding him at home. We love you, and we love Kimball! Thanks for the update.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love you guys! Welcome home Kimball!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm glad to hear Kimball is home and so are you two! What a crazy week. You are still in our thoughts constantly.
    Can't wait to meet the little guy. Maybe we can do an online chat session again. I'll try and get my computer working.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm glad to hear Kimball is home and so are you two! What a crazy week. You are still in our thoughts constantly.
    Can't wait to meet the little guy. Maybe we can do an online chat session again. I'll try and get my computer working.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am so glad he is home and doing well. What a miracle. He will start to get chubs in his cheeks in no time...Chase did. We love you guys!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congratulations! Such a beautiful little guy. I hope he is doing better and eating and everything. Nothing like a little sacrifice to make you feel like a parent!

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...