Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NICU Visit

Last Friday we finally got to meet with the neonatologist and had a tour of Fairfax hospital's NICU and labor and delivery floor(s).  We had not actually met face-to-face with a neonatologist yet, so Dr. Baker was the first time we had met with a neonatologist.  There's not a whole lot to say about our appointment except that Dr. Baker spent a lot of time with us talking about all the different ways we could approach Stephen's breathing care and what would essentially happen as soon as he enters this world.  Basically we're going to take a step-wise approach to his lung care.  I won't get into all the details, but that basically means that if Plan A doesn't work, we'll go to Plan B.  If Plan B doesn't work, then we'll go to Plan C and so forth.  I think there are probably about three or four different options we have available, with the last always being providing comfort care to Stephen.  What I like so much about Dr. Baker was his sincerity, honestly, and compassion.  He was definitely a good listener to all our concerns and just had this really gentle way about him. 

I usually have one really bad/depressing a week (not counting the weekends) and last Thursday was it.  So I was already an emotional wreck going into Friday.  And when I expressed my concerns about seeing and holding Stephen before he's taken away, Dr. Baker was so good about listening to my thoughts and understanding how important that was to me. He also answered my question beautifully about his opinion on his Stephen's outcome.  I flat out asked him, "Based on what you've seen on the ultrasound reports and tests, do you think there is any chance he has any viable lung tissue."  He looked me straight in the eye and said, "There is no way of knowing what's going to happen when he's born, but there's no reason not to have hope."  That's all I needed to hear to know that he's going to do everything humanly possible to help Stephen breath. 

Dr. Baker then took us through the NICU to see how the babies are monitored and watched and to get a feeling for the shear size of the NICU.  I didn't know what to expect, but I definitely didn't expect to see so many little "incubators" and cribs.  I think the NICU has a capacity of about 75 babies and we must have seen at least 50 babies in the NICU.  It was huge! Because Fairfax has the highest level NICU in Northern VA (there is a high level NICU at Georgetown and Children's National), they receive a lot of transfer babies from other hospitals.  So luckily, they weren't all born at Fairfax, but a good majority were.  The only downside to the NICU is that during cold and flu season, only parents are allowed to visit.  So that could be an issue for us down the road, but our nurse coordinator says in special circumstances like ours, they might be able to make an exception.  If Stephen makes it through the critical first couple of days, Dr. Baker expects that he could be in the NICU for anywhere between 3 and 4 months.  And I know there will be some pretty unhappy grandparents (and Aunt Jess) if they can't see their grandson for 4 months!!! 

Since my post is already a small book, I'll save the rest of our visit at the hospital with Kelly and the hospital chaplain for another day.  Plus I think today's my "bad day" for the week, and I'm not really feeling up to it today.  Today is one of those days when staying in bed with Mabel would have been the best answer to my problems.  But enough whining from me for one day!


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