Saturday Jeff had quite a bit to take care of around the house so he offered to watch the kids if I wanted to go to the hospital with Morgan, then we can switch off later in the day. Absolutely – there is so much we need to be there for! I’m so glad he feels the same way as I do about this!
When I arrived Morgan’s chest tubes were gone! I was so excited!! My nurse was pretty confident about her progress with the ventilator too. Apparently, during rounds they discussed that they would do another study on her with the ventilator off to see how well she breathed. She did really well last night and they wanted one more test before extubating her, just in case. They try to make sure she is ready before extubation, otherwise there is a big possibility that they would have to intubate her again – and it is not the most comfortable (or easiest when they are awake and feisty….).
I was so nervous…. I really wanted her off that ventilator – she would wake up and try to shake it off her face. She was certainly making it known what she didn’t like! Just like my other kiddos – very strong willed. This is a good sign
Morgan spent a large portion of the day awake. They had taken away most of her sedation and stopped the fentanyl drip so they could test her breathing. This also meant, however, she would become agitated quite frequently. Because there was now only one nurse to every two rooms (the patients were not as critical) I was very glad that I was there to comfort Morgan when she would be uncomfortable.
A few hours after I arrived I was taking out my computer and getting settled to start writing when she started to have one of her fits where she would breathe over the ventilator and cry (that awful silent scream). I rushed over to comfort her and she was in obvious excruciating pain. Her face was purple and she had her mouth wide open, screaming silently and her eyes were wide open, almost popping out of their sockets.
Oh my god – she is experiencing excruciating pain!!! NO!
I try to soothe her by stroking her head and I put one hand on her. She is shaking it is so bad. I start to bawl… I ran out of the room “NURSE!!”
The Nurse quickly comes in and asks what was wrong.
“She is in serious pain… really serious pain… we need to give her something!”
The nurse looks at Morgan and sees her writhing in pain, screaming silently. She grabs a dose of Fentanyl and quickly gives it to her. Within just a few seconds, Morgan stops screaming and falls back to sleep.
I cry… I stand over her with one hand on her forehead and another on her tiny body. What if I wasn’t here? How long would it have taken for someone to know she was in pain? This terrified me. I can’t leave…! Jeff wants to see her too… maybe he would stay the night.
“Unfortunately she is now starting to feel the normal baby stuff – like gas…”
I didn’t think about this. The nurse believed that she is most likely cringing from hunger pangs or gas and, when she does, she feels pain from all of her surgery and interventions. This made sense… but it didn’t make anything feel better.
A few additional hours had passed and the nurse practitioner came in to announce they would start the breathing study to see how she does off the ventilator.
“She has been doing really well – I feel pretty confident she will do great and this ventilator will be going away…” That made me excited, but nervous…. what if she needed more fentanyl?
“We would give her Oxycodone when she is off the ventilator….” Apparently, with the ventilator, they don’t have to worry about the Fentanyl making her breathing stop… lovely…
They start the study and play with her oxygen levels to see which percentage seemed to work well for her. About 15 minutes into the test Lindsay, the Nurse Practitioner, said “she’s ready… she’d doing great…”
I was so nervous – but so excited!
I texted Jeff – she is getting extubated today!
“When?”…. I don’t know
Before I knew it, the respiratory therapist showed up with Lindsay and our nurse.
“We are just going to do it now…”
They get the oxygen ready and start to do all their preparations. While Lindsay holds Morgan upright the respiratory therapist removes the tape (that was loose from her trying to grab the tube) and pulls out the tube. It was real quick… I watched as they did it. She wiggled a bit and scrunched her face – it was obviously an uncomfortable two seconds, but it was done.
THERE is that little cry! I need to remember how beautiful it is… she is crying – and I can HEAR her! No more silent scream! This made me happy – but I was also nervous about all the secretions coming out of her mouth. While the respiratory therapist started to place the cannula on her Morgan was literally blowing huge bubbles of mucous. They seemed to believe it was normal and joked about how big the bubbles she was blowing was.
I asked about the amount of mucous coming out of her mouth and they indicated that she will have secretions for a while from being intubated. They use a suction to manage it.
They place the cannula on her face (she is still very upset about the whole experience) but I could see her precious face again! I am so excited! When they are finished securing the cannula I quickly go to her side and start to try and comfort her.
“Shhh… it’s mommy… I’m here… shhhhhh”
She started to calm down. Her eyes were wide open and staring right into my soul. She whimpered and made the cutest little pouty face. God I love her so much!
“It’s going to get all crazy in here today – we are going to get rid of all KINDS of stuff!”
I liked this nurse…. she wanted to get Morgan as comfortable as possible. She knew that Morgan was due for some serious cuddle time with mom – and she was determined to make that happen.
About an hour later, the nurse came back and removed the NEARS monitor from Morgan’s forehead. Then she took out the arterial line. “It wasn’t working anymore – so why even have it?”…
I couldn’t believe how much stuff was being removed…. it was all happening so fast!
Morgan was doing well but needed 100% oxygen in order to get her O2 levels high enough. The staff said this is pretty normal, and she will start to do better with less and less pretty quickly – most likely.
All of a sudden, the nurse came in and started to move the rocking chair closer to the incubator. “Are you ready to hold her mom?”
YES!! YES!! I was SO ready to hold her!!
“She won’t be in any pain will she? Doesn’t her chest hurt her?”
The nurse indicated that Morgan would be more relieved and comforted by being held by mom then any pain she would feel. This sort of made me nervous (of course)…. but I figured I would watch her face for signs of pain. Lord knows I knew what she looked like when she was in pain…
I send a text to Jeff “They are going to let me hold her!!”. By this time it was 5pm and I was supposed to be heading out of the hospital to get home and relieve Jeff – but I couldn’t say no to holding my sweet angel! He certainly understood… “Get a picture!”
I sat in the rocker and the nurse started to maneuver Morgan, with all her wires and tubes, to my arms. It was a little tricky – I had to assist by holding the mess of wires and tubes out of the way while she was moved. Morgan started to wake and squirm… I saw her tense up. I don’t want any pain for her!
But then she was placed in my arms…. I’m so HAPPY!! She quickly relaxed. You could tell she was happy to be in someone’s arms again… mommy’s arms.
I begin to cry a little – but I was so happy. It’s such an emotional roller coaster. I’ve never cried so much in my life before Morgan was born… this was all new to me.
I asked the nurse to take a photo using Jeff’s Nikon. “Heck no! That thing probably costs more than a month’s salary!”. I didn’t blame her… I even feel uncomfortable with it…
I have her snap a few photos with my cell phone. She was proud of herself for getting me to hold her. I am so grateful for her efforts – she was definitely hero of the day (I just wish I remember her name!!! I have become terrible with names!!).
About 6 o’clock I tell the nurse I need to head home – and that my husband will be here later. I reluctantly said goodbye and thank you to her – and kissed my sweet baby goodbye.
Jeff ended up not going in that evening. He was exhausted from the day and decided he would leave in the morning to be with her all day. Remembering the episode from earlier when she was in excruciating pain, I felt real uncomfortable about this. SHe wasn’t receiving one on one care any more and I didn’t want her to go unnoticed for long. He assured me that she was in good hands and I finally accepted it.
But I certainly didn’t sleep all that well during the night…