Remember back when Robbie was chronically pulling tubes? He was "that kid?"
Well, I think after tonight, I might be "That mom."
I'll start the story reassuring you that he's okay.
He had a fine day. No more blood in his stool. The pediatritian called this morning and I discussed it with her and her exact words were "There is NO WAY that kid is sick. He was WAY too alert & attentive." Her top theories were fissure or a sensitivity to something in my diet.
I worked a half day (using up the remains of my vacation time) and headed to the hospital. The afternoon was lovely.
He got his first bottle today. I didn't really give it to him. David and I were both there. At first I was upset that I coudln't give it to him- she insisted on teaching us how first. After she did it, I was glad she did. I'm not sure I could have done what she was showing me without actually seeing it first. He did great. He took 10cc w/o any trouble at all. (he only needed to take 21 total) When she handed him to me to try, the baby next to us started to act up a bit, so she went to tend to him. We waited. Robbie was a little fussy, so I calmed him and he went to sleep.
By the time she got back to try again, he was just plain ol' too tired to try. He took maybe 6 sucks of the bottle from me and then just didn't want to do anything else but sleep. It's hard work, that sucking, swallowing AND breathing.
This evening, we gave him a bath and afterward, I swaddled him up and sat down in a chair with him. he was sleeping peacefully, I was chatting with his nurse. We'd been sitting maybe 5 minutes or so, Robbie was sucking on his pacifier and things seemed fine. The nurse came over and looked down, then up. She said "oh, we didn't turn his monitor back on."
I glanced down and he was pale. Dusky, in my opinion. I stimulated him as she plugged him in.
Then the monitor finally came back on, his heart rate was lowish- about 110. And his oxygen saturation was showing 77. Neither of these things are particularly troublesome, though lower than they should be.
But I panicked. And I don't mean, I was a little upset. I mean, I panicked. What if his heart rate had been lower? What if his oxygen had been lower? What if we'd deprived him of oxygen.
I tried to reassure myself- he's rarely apnic for very long these days. Even if he does drift, he catches himself. But I couldn't shake the fear.
He was pale. That's all I kept thinking. He was pale.
She said he wasn't that pale. This isn't a nurse I know.. I wasn't very reassured.
I tried to settle myself. But I started to cry. Robbie was sound asleep and doing just fine. I hated that he was sound asleep. I needed him to cry or open his eyes and look at me to show me he wasn't brain damaged.
He's always really sleepy after his bath.
I tried to tell myself it was normal. But I couldn't help but fidget with him a little. Trying to make him mad. He'd stir a bit, but mostly just slept.
David was making small talk and all I could think was that I needed him to SHUT UP. It had nothing to do with him, simply that I was freaked out and I couldn't listen to anything.
Like how you drive around lost and turn the radio down? My attention was too focused on my panic.. on Robbie.. to be able to tune anything else in.
Finally I asked him to please stop talking to me. He was offended. I really did say it as nicely as I could, but there was no way around the fact that I was telling him to shut up.
So that lead to him lecturing me about how I'm a fatalist. He brought up the other day when I got upset for a nurse for turning his oxygen up too fast. I said that it could cause ROP and she shouldn't do that. Apparently, that was me saying he was going to be blind. NOW who's the drama queen? I explained that ROP wasn't the same thing as being blind, but that yes, there are actually signs all over the NICU saying not to turn them up more than 2-5% at a time, and she'd cranked him up 10 all at once for no good reason.
So I'm having a panic attack, and having a hushed argument with my husband all at the same time.
Finally I ended up essentially telling him that I might be a loon, but he knew that when he married me, so what of it? He didn't have much of an answer.
He was nicer to me, then, and shortly thereafter, he went home.
I stayed and stewed. The more I thought about it, the more upset I got. I suddenly thought I was going to be sick. I put Robbie back to bed quickly and excused myself. I went to the bathroom and dry heaved.
I thought I was over it.
I went back to his room and tried to sit. No luck.
I went to the hallway and paced. No luck.
I went back in and tried 20 questions with the nurse.
She insists he wasn't that dusky. If he'd been w/o oxygen, he'd have been blue and he wasn't. That he was breathing, but shallowly. She did everything to reassure me, but nothing helped.
I cried more.
I went to the bathroom to be sick again.
I decided I needed to get some new air, so I headed to the other NICU area to pump.
On my way out, a nurse I'm familiar with asked if I was okay. Not so much. I told her I was freaking out. I wanted more reassurance. She didn't really provide it. I pretty much got the party line of "we don't know how he'll do." She wasn't concerned about tonight, just in general, but it really didn't help my panic.
I got to a pumping room and couldn't bring myself to sit. I hit my knees instead.
Then I got up and came back to Robbie's room. The two nurses were talking about me. Nothing bad, just one of them telling the other what she told me. I felt bad because the 2nd nurse is sometimes the charge nurse and I wasn't "tattling." It wasn't about Robbie so much. It was about me freaking out.
When I said as much, they both reassured me that everything was fine.
Then I got asked about anti-anxiety meds again. Honestly, in that moment, I'd have knocked over an old lady for a Xanax. I promised to call the NICU support group.
I was still anxious, but was finally able to sit.
I couldn't pump. I just couldn't. But finally I got Robbie out of his bed and held him again. He was still sleepy, but he did finally cry a bit. He peeked his eyes open and looked at me. I felt better.
I put my chair back and actually managed to nod off.
The nurse came in to check on me again and we talked. I was finally calmer.
I held him for a while, fed him his mylanta and finally headed home around 1am. My eyes still burn from crying. My stomach is still upset from churning.
Robbie seems the same as he was yesterday.
He has a head ultrasound in the morning- routine. I'll be holding my breath until we get the results.
It was a long day. I'm tired.