Friday, July 6, 2012

Seth Loses a Lot of Hardware

NOTE: This entry was originally written in real time like yesterday's entry. I hate the bottom to top format and the script-like feel of that platform. I've tried to make this entry a narrative, though it doesn't flow, tense jumps around, and their are some poor transitions. Still, I think it reads better than yesterday's entry.

I expected to spend most of the night in Seth's room, but it didn't work out that way. I sat with him until close to 1am, and then set out to find the sleeping room. After ambling around the floor for awhile (I swear this place has a deliberately confusing layout to confuse intruders) I found Greg the nurse, and he helped me to the sleep room-- a 5 foot by 10 foot room with a bed. Luckily, I could control the temperature and promptly turned it down to 66 degrees, my favorite sleeping temperature. From there, I didn't twitch until after 6am.

I went and sat with Seth this morning and saw him open his eyes only once before the 7am shift change, but his tiny feet were warmer than I've ever felt them. I tried to talk to him, but his eyes just kind of rolled around for about 30 seconds, and he went back to sleep. The nurse told me then that the feeding tube would probably be removed when the doctors came around doing "rounds" during the late morning.

When I came back up after shift change, I was so excited that Seth was starting to stir and open his eyes. Then he started to throw a little tantrum. He is so hungry-- it's been over 24 hours since he's eaten. He is sure to be in a lot of pain, too, because they are being skimpy on the meds because pain medication affects his breathing. If he's going to get the breathing tube removed, he has to do a little better. He stopped breathing twice during his "test trial" when they turned his oxygen down.

It is heart rending to see him cry. Because the breathing tube is taped in, and runs between his vocal chords, he can't make a sound. The scree of tape across his lips bounces angrily up and down and his tiny body quivers. Tiny baby tears wet the corners of his eyes, and his feet lash out. His face turns as red as a tomato. But the worst part is the silence. All I can do is cup my hand over his head (they say this simulates the womb, and it does seem to comfort him) and speak softly to him. I was excited to see him awake, then praying for him to fall back to sleep.

I had tears dripping off my chin when the 12 (yes, 12) people came in an hour later for rounds at 9 am. They discussed Seth's condition and decided they could remove the breathing tube-- right after rounds. That meant probably around noon.

The good news was that the chest drainage tube (the most painful one) can be removed today. They also said his arterial line, which is stitched into an artery in his arm and his catheter can be removed, too. That means he'll be down to monitors and an IV. They may also supplement oxygen with one of those two-pronged nose things.

At 10:00 they took out Seth's catheter and drainage tube. The drainage tube was going in his left side, held with a stitch. I watched as they plucked the stitch and pulled out a 6 inch long tube as curly as a pig's tail. I was happy to see the catheter after it was removed. He cried for so long that the nurse gave him morphine despite the breathing machine. She said sometimes crying is the best thing for getting them alert and breathing. I'm sure she said that mostly for me.

Finally, around 11am, they took out Seth's breathing tube. The nurse gently wiped with an alcohol wipe as they pulled the tape back. Then 10 cm of tube came up, and he began to gasp for air. A few days ago he had a really nice squeal, but now he can only moan hoarsely. He has oxygen on his nose, but everything seems to have gone well. The nurse (and I) will watch now to make sure his oxygen doesn't dip and even more importantly, that he is not laboring too hard to breathe.
I can't wait to hold this guy tomorrow!


  1. Heart-wrenching! You both are doing so well. I'm proud of you!

    I am so glad things went well with the surgery and continue to go well!

    You're in my thoughts and prayers, of course!

  2. It will all be over soon. What a brave little guy!

    And Seth is awesome too...

  3. He is making good progress! I can't wait for you guys to get to hold him tomorrow. Not being able to hold your own baby is so hard. Tomorrow will be so special!


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