7.01.2005

Thwarting Frankie's Escape

Thursday, June 30. It’s twenty minutes to midnight, and Anna has finally fallen asleep. The Ambien has taken hold, and she is snoring, loudly and rhythmically. It’s strangely soothing. We’ve made it through another day, which means 3 less that Frankie will have to spend in the NICU. By the time our folks arrive tomorrow morning, we will have made it to the 72-hour mark, and the steroids will have had enough time to begin working on Frankie’s lungs. The doctors don’t sound very optimistic about the chances of putting off his arrival much longer than a couple of days, but at this point, every hour seems like a blessing.

Friday, July 1. It’s shortly after 7am. I’ve been awake since 5, when I awoke to find the doctor and two nurses huddled around Anna’s bed, whispering nervously. Anna has two sensors strapped to her belly, one monitoring Frankie’s heartbeat, and the other registering contractions, which have so far been few and far between. I asked what was happening and the doctor explained that Frankie was probably lying on the umbilical cord, and that had caused his heart rate to decelerate significantly. I heard him tell the nurse on the way out of the room, “If it keeps happening, we’re going to have to get him out of there.” So, I’ve been more or less awake since 5am, watching the heart monitor and making Anna roll over each time the rate drops below 120 bpm. If the nurses on the Labor & Delivery floor are making bets, my guess is the odds are against us making it through another day. Then again, I doubt many of them would have given us much of a chance of making it this far, and they don't know Anna.

11am. We've hit the 72-hour mark. Frankie's heartbeat has been steady all morning, and Anna's doing so well that they let her out of bed to take a shower. I've been trying to make myself useful, rearranging our room to make her more comfortable, rubbing lavendar lotion on her arms and legs, and constantly reminding her that she's the most amazing person I know. Still, it doesn't seem like very much compared to what she's going through. I'd give pretty much anything to trade places with her right now.

11pm. 84 hours and counting. Anna is once again in the grips of the Ambien, snoring quietly in the bed next to me. Frankie's heart rate has been strong all day. I've been listening to the monitor for most of the last hour, and the steady pulse is my new favorite sound. I don't know how much longer we'll be here, but we've settled in for the long haul, and Anna has pretty much made up her mind that she'll stay in this bed until September if that's what it takes. She's an incredible woman, and I'm the luckiest man in the world. Well, me and Frankie both, I suppose.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Brandi (Bud's Wife) said...

I am sitting at work (Labor & Delivery @ SW Medical in OKC) wishing we had more patients like you. Tell Anna to hang in there, it sounds like she is in great hands and I am sure little Frankie will do great! Did they say why they are stopping the magnesium? Mag toxicity? Choreo? Ineffective at stopping contractions? Just curious as to why they would take her off of it. You guys are in our thoughts.

1:58 AM  
Blogger Critical Mess said...

Thanks, Brandi. Sure wish you were working in Austin, although I've got to say we're pretty happy with our nurses here. They're doing everything they can to make us comfortable, or at least as comfortable as possible in this situation. To answer your question, the magnesium was only scheduled for the first 48 hours, coinciding with two steroid injections. We've been told that the steroids have their effect on the baby within the first 72 hours. They said the mag was intended to suppress labor long enough for the steroids to work. Beyond that, there's apparently a significant rift in the medical community as to the effectiveness of the mag. Yes, it continues to suppress labor, but the negative effects (Anna said she felt like she was dying) start to outstrip the positive. I take it your hospital is in the other camp as far as mag use goes? do moms get used to the side effects after a while? how long does it usually prevent labor? very curious.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Auntie Krissy said...

THis is from my SLP buddy, who works in the NICU. It's good stuff!

Hi Kristin,
The stress your sister-in-law must be feeling is huge so I really understand the fear, but I want to give you what good news I do have. The prognosis for babies born 27 weeks and older is very very good. Much of the time 27 weeekers don't have any residual problems once they reach term and by 2 or 3 years no one can tell the difference. If your sister in law was only 22 or 23 weeks I would be much more worried. But 29 - that is really good. When I was 30 weeks I felt like I had reached a major milestone and felt like the baby could come out any time without much of a problem. OF course, there will be a NICU stay and some supports at first. The lungs won't be so developed yet, but the reason that the prognosis is better is because the tissue surrounding the brain and the brain itself is more developed, so the risk of an intraventricular hemorrage is much less than for a micropreemie (23-26 weeks).

The coordination of suck-swallow-breathe occurs around 36 weeks, so if you are an aunt already, your niece or nephew will not be able to eat or nurse for a few weeks, but the NICU will start gradully with the bottle and the baby should learn without a hitch. IF your sister in law is considering breastfeeding, PLEASE continute to support her. Breastmilk helps with proper development and I just read a new study yesterday that babies are better at coordinating suck/swallow/breathe better with breastmilk than with either water or formula. Babies are also in better control of the flow of the milk from the breast that from the bottle, and premature babies can definitely learn to suck from a breast so there is no reason to give this up. It is tough in the beginning, though, because the mother will have to pump to provide milk to be delivered via nasogastric tube, and that can be a stress, but I think it is worth it. Of course, formula is getting better and better so if that is the preferred choice, that will work just fine!

The only other complications would be if there are additional structural problems not identified during pregnancy, and if there are, send me another letter and I will tell you everything I know. I don't want to start talking about problems that may not happen and scare anybody unnecessarily.

REALLY, 29 weeks is very good news.

Let me know if I can help in any other way...
Heather

8:05 AM  
Blogger Auntie Krissy said...

THis is from my SLP buddy, who works in the NICU. It's good stuff!

Hi Kristin,
The stress your sister-in-law must be feeling is huge so I really understand the fear, but I want to give you what good news I do have. The prognosis for babies born 27 weeks and older is very very good. Much of the time 27 weeekers don't have any residual problems once they reach term and by 2 or 3 years no one can tell the difference. If your sister in law was only 22 or 23 weeks I would be much more worried. But 29 - that is really good. When I was 30 weeks I felt like I had reached a major milestone and felt like the baby could come out any time without much of a problem. OF course, there will be a NICU stay and some supports at first. The lungs won't be so developed yet, but the reason that the prognosis is better is because the tissue surrounding the brain and the brain itself is more developed, so the risk of an intraventricular hemorrage is much less than for a micropreemie (23-26 weeks).

The coordination of suck-swallow-breathe occurs around 36 weeks, so if you are an aunt already, your niece or nephew will not be able to eat or nurse for a few weeks, but the NICU will start gradully with the bottle and the baby should learn without a hitch. IF your sister in law is considering breastfeeding, PLEASE continute to support her. Breastmilk helps with proper development and I just read a new study yesterday that babies are better at coordinating suck/swallow/breathe better with breastmilk than with either water or formula. Babies are also in better control of the flow of the milk from the breast that from the bottle, and premature babies can definitely learn to suck from a breast so there is no reason to give this up. It is tough in the beginning, though, because the mother will have to pump to provide milk to be delivered via nasogastric tube, and that can be a stress, but I think it is worth it. Of course, formula is getting better and better so if that is the preferred choice, that will work just fine!

The only other complications would be if there are additional structural problems not identified during pregnancy, and if there are, send me another letter and I will tell you everything I know. I don't want to start talking about problems that may not happen and scare anybody unnecessarily.

REALLY, 29 weeks is very good news.

Let me know if I can help in any other way...
Heather

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

July 02, 2005

Hi, my name is Jamie Rollins, Scott Rollins' wife. I just picked up the messages forwarded by Kristin today. I wanted you and your wife, Anna, as well as Frankie,to know that we are sending postive energies out to Austin and our prayers up to God that your family will be blessed!

I really love your site, as I have browsed through it for the majority of my morning! You and your wife seem incredibly happy and very much in love. With all of those postives on your side things will be great for you!!

Take care,
The Rollins' family
Atlanta, GA

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Brandi said...

Sounds like you guys have great nurses! Yes, our hospital is on the other side of the spectrum as far as mag usage. Moms do get used to the side effects but no, they do not go away. As long as mag toxicity does not set in, we usually only do around 36 hours of mag...steroids have been given and the other posts on here are right, 29 weekers are survivors...they are fighters. Little Frankie will do great, he has loving parents who are going to do everything possible to see to it he has what he needs to be healthy- that is more important than you could possibly imagine! You guys hang in there.

9:35 PM  
Blogger dirtyweekender said...

gurl - did I not tell you that Ambien rocks? I'm glad you're getting your beauty sleep - not that you need it. Love n hugs to Anna, Dave and of course, the star - Frankie.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous kayla said...

god bless you and your family our son was born with esophageal atresia on dec.9th 2007 we have a few sites up we made for parents of babies with e.athis is my sons myspace he was also born with esophageal atresia and other complications. We have a few web sites up also on esophageal atresia they are bornwithea.com,esophagealatresia.org,kaylapearson.com, bronchomalacia.org and tracheomalacia.org

I hope all is going well and i hope to talk to you soon. sincerely kayla lucian's mommy

11:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home