Our week in the NICU

I didn’t really blog about our NICU experience while it was going on, so I’m going to try to get it all down now.

On Monday morning the nurses took Daniel to the nursery for some tests. There, they found that he was having a hard time keeping his oxygen saturation levels up. This can be indicative of an underlying heart condition, and this caused additional concern because roughly 50% of children born with Down syndrome have congenital heart defects. Fortunately, there is a pediatric cardiologist in town so he was called in to do an echocardiogram. It was done Monday afternoon and they found that his heart is normally formed, no defects, which is really great news. In addition, they did an x-ray and found no problems with his lungs- also good news. However, he still couldn’t keep his oxygen sats up, so they had to keep him in the NICU.

They discharged me Monday afternoon. My doctor offered to wait and discharge me Tuesday, but since our house is so close to the hospital, I figured it be better to go home where I could get more rest. Anyway, Tuesday mostly involved watching Daniel’s oxygen levels, hoping they could wean him down to a reasonable amount to go home on. The oxygen was the big thing, but Wednesday afternoon he ended up under phototherapy lights for jaundice. Phototherapy lights mean being undressed, and by Thursday morning he was in an isolette because he couldn’t keep his body temperature up on his own.

And, unfortunately, the combination of low body temperature and red, swollen belly button caused the doctor to think he might be getting an infection. They drew blood for cultures and started preemptive antibiotics late Wednesday night, but that meant he couldn’t be discharged at least until the blood work was back late Friday night. So. More waiting.
Fortunately, during the waiting he was needing less and less oxygen. And when the blood work did come back it was negative for infection which meant it was finally time to go home! Daniel still needed some oxygen, so they discharged him with an order for oxygen at home. His oxygen is set on 1/32 of a liter, the lowest possible amount he can get. Anyway, we got to bring him home at 6 days old, on St. Patrick’s day. 
It was sort of a bizarre experience, having a baby in the NICU. I went to the hospital for every daytime feeding, and mostly came home between. So on one hand I felt like I was home a lot of the time, considering I had a baby in the NICU, but on the other hand, I felt like I missed everything that went on at home because I was always at the NICU feeding a baby. It’s definitely not something I’d like to do again.
And now here’s a picture of him in his car seat ready to come home. To reward you for making it to the end of this very boring post.

9 thoughts on “Our week in the NICU

  1. That's not a boring post. I keep thinking about how anxious I would have been in that situation. Must have been rough! I'm so glad to hear that his heart and lungs are all good!

  2. I am just catching up–so much going on! Congrats on the adorable new baby! I have a cousin and brother with DS and having a heart with no defects is soooooo amazing! You must be so relieved!

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