Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bare feet.

From the very first time I laid my eyes on our precious boy, my ears also heard the sounds of his existence. But this afternoon is different.

I recall the sounds that started out as deafening in the beginning. The 'cooooosh puff' of the ventilator letting us know every breath that was pumped into his lungs. The gurgle of the water to keep the ventilator humidified for his comfort. The hum of the heat lamps. So many beeps... from his heart rate monitor and his feeding pump. Add that to the dinging of the amount of the oxygen in his blood and every grunt, fart or cry would send that monitor into a wail. Joel and I used to joke with each other about how Anchor's NICU room sounded like a casino. There was so much noise. In the beginning, every sound would send my heart racing. What does that mean? What made that alarm go off? Why isn't someone coming in to check this alarm? I would get so nervous and my fear would creep in each time I heard another alarm.

As the days went on, we started to get more comfortable with the noise each machine made and the reason why the alarms would go off. Sometimes a little too comfortable. You know when you're in Vegas, how loud the casinos are on the first day; then on day 2 on, you can hardly hear the different bings and dings. This is exactly what the NICU turned into for us. The fatigue we had was real. But still we were alert enough to know when any serious alarm was made.

We brought Anchor home on oxygen and an oximeter. The home oxygen machine is the most comforting hum. I'm not sure if it's just the sound of it or knowing that it is still giving my son 30% of the air he needs to breathe. I love that sound. It's the perfect white noise to our every day. The oximeter, on the other hand, has kept me from peace in so many ways. In the hospital, both Joel and I were a slave to knowing exactly what his blood oxygen level was at every moment. We couldn't relax. Both of us would dart our eyes to the monitor as soon as the shrill of the alarm would sound. Going home with this machine was no different. For the first few weeks we were highly sensitive to each noise that came out of that little box. Every time Anchor burped... DING DING! Every time he farted or poop... DING! Every time he would cry real hard.... DING DING DING!!! All of these reasons for a sudden drop of oxygen in your body is absolutely normal. It happens to all of us... we just don't hear or see it because we don't have monitors hooked up to our feet. Not once did he have a true reason at home for the monitor to scare us half to death.

Over time, we quit hearing the beeps. They became silent to us, though deafening at the same time.

But today... today is different. Our doctor called this afternoon with fabulous news! She talked to Anchor's pulmonary specialist and they decided we could take off the monitor!!!! With his activity levels increasing, aka kicking like a mad man during waking hours, the machine wasn't giving us the correct readings all the time anyway. With no 'spells', aka sudden stop in breathing, since we've been home, there is no need to have 24/7 watch on his blood oxygen levels. This is FANTASTIC NEWS!

Although relieved, I know I won't be sleeping much tonight. Just like any newborn mom, I'll be up, making sure my little man is breathing okay. He still has his oxygen canulla but without the constant reading, I know I'll be a nervous wreck. Thrilled but nervous. That little white box brought so much calm and crazy into our lives. It's almost bittersweet. 

Friends, we are getting closer. One less cord hanging off his little body. (We will continue to spot check his blood oxygen twice per day just to make sure it's in a healthy range.) He can finally wear footed jammies without cutting holes in the ankles or heels. No more stinky wrap to secure the monitor on his little foot.

Just two, tiny bare feet.

I melt.

1 comment:

  1. Oh those toes! That's such wonderful news, Jari! Your words made me vividly remember that first night with Nate after he was born, and my combined terror and awe at the fact he could breathe on his own. You must go through this in an amplified way, every day. Hugs. xo