After being admitted to the NICU, we figured he would be checked out and maybe spend a few days there. NOT....EVEN....CLOSE....
Once he was there, the apnea or "periodic breathing" continued. He also had something called Bradycardia (drop in heart rate) in Caiden's case his heart rate was dropping below 80. This was NOT a good thing. His normal heart rate was anywhere from 130 or higher. If his oxygen dropped (desat) or his heart rate dropped (bradying for short) below 90 his monitors would go off. Once this started happening you are in the NICU a mandatory 5 days from the day of the episode. We lived and died by those monitors! We would make it as far as 3 days and then he would haev an episode and that would "reset the clock" for us. It was devastating. The first few days it was expected for him to have this problem after the cpap was removed. He was on the cpap for maybe 24hrs and then transitioned to a nasal cannula as shown here:
He had a tube in his belly to keep air from being trapped and also to feed him tiny amounts of breastmilk. He had an IV in his head since the one in his hand blew and had his little hand swollen. These were dark days. He got down to a low of 4lbs 8oz (he was 5lbs 1.5oz at birth). The nasal cannula came out after about 12hrs
His main jobs were to eat, maintain his body temperature and gain weight. In order to do this, the neonatologist decided to increase his feeding amounts (he went from a tsp to an ounce pretty quickly!) and remove his tube and IV. We also decided to enclose him in the incubator so he didn't have to work on keeping his temp up until he gained some weight.
Once he started gaining, he gained well. This was mostly due to him being given human milk fortifier and then neosure formula mixed with breast milk so he could get extra calories. This is when the waiting game started. He was getting bigger and doing better but he kept having brady episodes so we weren't able to go home. We went 3.5 days and I came to check on him and saw this
EXTREME BRADY... This reset the clock on us.. We did this over the course of 2wks.. reset. reset. reset.
FINALLY on September 19th after a 10hr sleep apnea study (3hrs of this conducted in the car seat to make sure he would not have any trouble sitting for that long period of time) we found out he passed the study and we were able to be discharged!! It was SUCH a relief! Knowing that the ride was going to be long (37hrs!!) the nursing supervisor suggested that we get a car bed for Caiden to ride in. I had NO IDEA they were even a thing! I quickly searched Ama.zon and found one and ordered it!
It's basically a bed that straps in like a car seat so they can lay down flat while riding! Brilliant thing. I highly recommend them for anyone traveling with a preemie or even a newborn on a long trip. Our total NICU stay was 23 days (3.5wks) and I would NEVER want to do it again. We made it home safely and have been working on getting a routine down ever since. Caiden is 6wks 1day old today
These are from yesterday for 6wks old:
He is now 8lbs 9.5oz (as of Monday anyways) and eating 4oz every 3hrs. He's a little sweetheart. I am STILL pumping breast milk and a WONDERFUL surrogate friend of mine donated 500oz to him with another 400-500oz coming so he will have breast milk for a while and I am thankful for that! He is also supplementing with formula to keep him with the higher calorie intake. Hopefully he will be able to just take breast milk but we are taking baby steps..
As for me? I have good days and bad days trying to adjust. NOTHING about this journey went how I thought it would and I struggle with our time in the NICU. I am getting there though. THANK YOU for following along on our journey to build our family. I am SO THANKFUL that we were able to complete our family via surrogacy and that it is an option we could afford. MANY cannot and that makes me sad. This closes the chapter on our surrogacy journeys but not on my blog. I will continue to update on the kids and with whatever else we decide to under take (buy a house? renovate a house? a job down the line for me?) the possibilities are endless!!!
Until next time!!
<3 <3 <3