Isabella Danielle, born at 24 weeks and 1 day, 1lb 11oz, 12.5in

Zachary Michael, born at 36 weeks, 5lb 13oz, 18.5in

Alexander Charles, FULL TERM, 7lb 1oz, 20in

Monday, February 1, 2010

The PICU Experience

As of Friday, Isabella graduated from a NICU baby to a PICU baby. That's right folks, we were in the hospital over the weekend and a portion of our stay was in the PICU. Tuesday of last week Isabella had an episode of projectile vomiting. Based on color, texture and her reaction after the release made me feel it was only a sour tummy. Wednesday presented no problems...she was full of energy and no sickness. Thursday morning at 5:30am Chris went to pick her up from bed and she erupted again. I was out of town, so Chris rushed her to the ER here in Midland by himself. After going over all of her history, the ER docs ran a lengthy series of tests because she had no fever and appeared to be most comfortable curled up. They ran urine tests, CBC and did xray on her bowels. The urine and CBC were clean, but the xray showed extreme backup in her intestines. For those of you that don't know, Isabella had bowel surgery while in the NICU. This leaves her at high risk for life long bowel problems. With her symptoms and the xray, there was potential for blockage/obstruction in the bowel. The ER docs decided to admit Isabella for full day observation. They were hoping she would have a bowel movement by the afternoon and be able to send her home; that wasn't the case. The afternoon rolled around and Dr. J, her pediatrician, had been by a couple of times. Bella's bowel sounds were there but weak. So Dr. J decided it was best to keep her over night. It was also decided to perform another xray. This xray showed that the contents of the bowel had not moved very much. At this point I got in my car as quickly as I could and made the trip back to Midland. Even though Isabella wasn't born in Midland, there was a flood of memories as I walked onto the pediatric wing and inhaled the stench of the hospital. I hated the smell but looked intently for Isabella's room. I walked into the room to find her just as Chris said she had been all day, SLEEPING. She wouldn't stay awake more than 10 minutes at a time. I relieved Chris so that he could go home, clean up the house, take care of the dogs and get some much needed rest. However, his venture home didn't last long.

Isabella had been given a suppository and released a very small amount of stool while I was there. With this the nurses said I could give her a small amount of water. After letting her drink 3 tiny sips and holding her for 10 minutes, she lifted her head to release bright green slim all over my chest. There was the evidence we were afraid of, the bile. I was so scared and slightly panicked. We live in a town with only a decent hospital and no pediatric surgical team. I told Chris to rush to the hospital, demanded the nurse get Dr. J back up to see her, and said that I was going to want her transported to Lubbock. The Covenant medical system in Lubbock is the closest Children's hospital with everything Isabella would need. After a thorough review by Dr. J and several tests, Isabella and I were on the road to Lubbock at 1am Friday morning. I made sure to sit in the front seat with the driver of the ambulance and keep a steady stream of conversation. We got there in record time, talked with the ER doc and nurses, had another xray, and had observation by her surgical doctor (who she has seen several times to keep an eye on her hernias). Dr. G, the surgeon, said that Isabella's bowel looked as if she had not had a bowel movement in weeks. Which I knew was not even close to true.

Around 5:15am Friday morning we were transferred to the PICU. They wanted her in this unit because they still considered her at high risk for blockage/obstruction. During the day she had ultrasounds, xrays and suppositories administered. She finally had two good size bowel movements and improved bowel sounds. As a result, a 12 hour stint in the PICU was over and we were transferred to the pediatric wing. At this point Dr. G felt that Isabella's bowel was possibly suffering from lesions and/or low motility. To determine the exact cause, she had to empty more of her bowel before they could do a GI contrast study. Even with suppositories she wasn't able to have the contrast study until Sunday morning. By 2pm Sunday afternoon, Dr. G returned with great news stating that the inside of Isabella's bowel looked just fine. However, with her history it appears Isabella is showing signs of chronic bowel problems (low motility). She is now on a prescription laxative and we have to start seeing the GI doctor again. We are so grateful that no surgery was required. I am perfectly content to keep her on a regime of high fiber for regularity.

This just goes to show that preemie's are most susceptible to chronic, life long problems. And without the great care that Isabella got while in the NICU, this trip to the PICU could have been much worse. That is why I was spurred to sign-up for our March for Babies team today! Team Wonder Bella is up and "walking" and would love for anyone to join us on our walk May 1 here in Midland.

As always, God is great! We are constantly amazed by His grace and love. Peace and Love to you all. God Bless!!!

Cooder Bear's birthday Jan. 18

Relaxing at home

Hospital stay


lauren said...

So glad she is okay!! What a little trooper!! Love you guys!

HesterFamily said...

Seems like deja vu reading this post full of hospital updates. Can only imagine what that felt like for you guys. So glad it wasn't as serious as it could have been and that she is recovered! She is such a tough chunk monk!!

Shauna said...

Goodness. I'm a few days behind on checking your blog. So glad everything turned out to be ok. Will continue to keep all of you and your health risks in my prayers.

Marilyn J said...

Sorry to hear you had such a trying time with Bella's bowel problem. But glad to hear she was well taken care of. Much love and prayers.