Monday morning, just before Luke’s 11am feeding, Dr. C (another neonatologist) stopped by my room to give me the full Luke report.
Overall, things are progressing in a positive direction. He’s eating well, has good urine output, is still on room air and seems to be tolerating the schedule fairly well. Our areas of concern are clearly his kidneys, which are showing up small on the ultrasound. In addition, one of them is lower than it should be, thus giving it the name “pelvic kidney.” That in and of itself isn’t bad, it’s just not in an ideal location with good protection. Guess tackle football may be a wash. We’ll wait to hear from the kidney doc soon.
Today, during a couple of Luke’s feedings, I could hear the LifeFlight helicopter landing at the hospital. I said some prayers of thanksgiving for Luke’s health and offered up some for the families who were suffering.
At lunch, it was um, not very appetizing. So, Mom was kind enough to head up to the hospital with Austin’s Pizza and a Dr. Pepper. God love her.
As we waited for the elevators to take us up to the NICU, I was reminded of the cycle of life. In one elevator was your standard housekeeping, errand running folks. In the next, a man on a gurney headed to surgery. And, in the third, a gurney with a soul on its way to the funeral home. Yes, it all comes full circle, doesn’t it?
As I was heading to his 5pm feeding, I ran into Dr. C who introduced me to the pediatric nephrologist, Dr. S. I was thrilled to get to speak to the specialist in person! He was amazing and his description of where Luke was, where he needed to be and our steps from here was incredibly helpful and reassuring. Our positives? Urine output is good (he wet the bed twice that day!), creatine (sp?) levels are continuing to go down and his electrolyte balance is normal. The concerns. Both of his kidneys are on the small side and one of them is a pelvic kidney. We don’t know where his creatine levels will bottom out at – that’s a wait and see game. Ideally, we want them at .3. When I spoke to Dr. S, they were at .9. I had no idea kidneys not only process your waste products and help rid them from your body, they also produce key red blood cells and stabilize and increase your bone strength. Who knew? Of course, I am talking to a man who loves kidneys, so I’m sure that to him they are the super organ 🙂 I learned so much and am so grateful for his explanation. With Luke’s two kidney beans, we’ll just have to watch and wait. That’s kinda the mantra for the NICU.
It was at tonight’s late night feeding, that I had an opportunity to share some insight into the lives of the other families in Bay 2. The NICU is divided into six bays and we occupy the second, just by the window with a beautiful view of downtown Austin. I love it.
As many babies there are in the NICU, there are stories. Each of us is there for completely different reasons, with completely different prognoses and with completely different support systems.
“Bruce” was born at 30 weeks, with no warning. His dad is deployed to Iraq and has been told that his promotion is in jeopardy because he wants to come home to care for his wife and child. They may not have enough military insurance to cover the costs of the NICU and she makes the drive every night from Killeen to see her son. On Monday, he had 16 diagnostic tests, including an ultrasound and barium enema. He may be allergic to his mom’s milk and has serious reflux. Every day is a struggle for him.
“Nola” and her parents have been in the NICU for 78 days. She was born at 31 weeks due to her mom’s preeclampsia. Today she got news that she might go home Thursday. Her mom and dad are there everyday, loving on her and dressing her in the cutest stinkin clothes you have ever seen. She makes the cutest noises when she eats.
“Liam” was born at 37 weeks, but has some feeding problems. He’s progressed well and will likely come home on Thursday. His first-time parents are excited but super stressed that she’s not providing enough breastmilk for him to eat.
There are currently 35 babies in the Seton NICU. St. Gerard Majella and St. Philomena – pray for them.