Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I should be a doctor....

 ...or not. I couldn't handle it. It was bad enough watching Parker live in a NICU for 69 days. I wouldn't want to have to live that every day. I am far too sensitive and squeamish. Me and needles, blood, ect - not friends!

But I will say this, with all the medical terms I know, I could be a doctor. Best part - I never watch Medical dramas the same way...I know what they are talking about at times...weird!

I wish I had known these terms before having Parker. It was scary at times listening to his team of nurses, neonatologists and such talk. By the time he left, I could talk like them at times...I liked the word STAT! It can be overwhelming for parents to deal with this. I remember being just lost - my son was little, I couldn't hold him for a while, his monitor would go off all the time, they would use the words Brady and Apnea or blood gasses and I would look at them in bewilderment. I would say, if you have a baby in the NICU take time when you are home or even there and learn the words they use...DO NOT BE AFRAID to ask for explanation...believe me, I did it ALL The time (still do!)!  (P.S. sorry about the random sizes of text, I took them from a couple different sources.) (P.P.S - I am going to add in my two cents in red!)


It is normal for premature babies to have an irregular pattern of breathing. At times, they may even stop breathing. If this occurs, the breathing monitor and sometimes the heart monitor alarm and the nurse will help the baby to begin breathing again. She may tickle him or rub his body to remind him to breathe. She may also have to give him breaths of air with the resuscitation bag at his bedside. These "apnea spells" (episodes of stopped breathing) may be caused by many things. Most frequently, they are due to an immaturity of the breathing control center in the brain and will go away in time.


The amounts of oxygen, carbon dioxide and degree of acidity in the blood. A small amount of blood is taken from the heel (by heel stick), umbilical catheter or from the artery near the wrist where your pulse is felt to test for these levels. 


An abnormally slow heart rate. (Parker very much liked to give mommy a heart attack by having bradys. It was scary, but eventually just became another noise!)

CBC (Complete Blood Count)

A count of the various types of cells present in the blood, chiefly: red cells (for carrying oxygen), white cells (for fighting infection), and platelets (for prevention of bleeding). 


Continuous Positive Airway Pressure - a form of ventilator assistance which helps to keep the baby's lungs properly expanded. CPAP does not breathe for the baby, but allows the baby to breathe into a "wind." (Parker wore a cpap for 3 weeks or so....he was a stubborn little man, he loved it, we could wean him mostly off and he's have a brady, causing them to up the pressure...My little man and his elephant nose.)


removal of a tube which has been placed through the nose or mouth into the trachea; see ENDOTRACHEAL TUBE. (Ok, so technically I knew this prior to PArker, but, both he and I were on Vents at one point...him for 6 hours, me for 24 - so we both were extubated. It felt weird...that's all I can remember..)


Feedings delivered by a small plastic tube placed through the nose or mouth and down into the stomach when the baby is too weak or too premature to suck and swallow. (Ah yes, Parker's from of food for over a I remember thee! Below you can see me hold the would go through the NG tube to his tummy.)


Placing an endotracheal tube in the baby's trachea (windpipe). See Endotracheal Tube. (Again Parker was intubated for 6 hours, I was intubated for 24...)


A yellow coloration of the skin and eyes caused by increased amounts of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a break-down product of red blood cells; it is processed and excreted by the liver. Treatments for jaundice include phototherapy ("bili-lights") and (rarely) exchange transfusion. 
Kangaroo Care

Skin-to-skin contact between parent and baby. During kangaroo care, the baby is placed on the parent's chest, dressed only in a diaper and sometimes a hat. The baby's head is turned to the side so the baby can hear the parent's heartbeat and feel the parent's warmth. Kangaroo care is effective, but it's limited to babies whose condition is not critical. (our favorite part of time together! There is nothing like it!)


A clear plastic tube which passes under the nose to provide supplemental oxygen. (Parker loved his NC. I mean the boy would go nuts if you took it off...we called him an NC junkie! Here he is with his NC)

Nasogastric Tube (NG Tube)

Narrow, flexible tube inserted through the nostril, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. It is used to give food or to remove air or fluid from the stomach. (I remember this all too well...the picture shows the NG tube...while he was eating a bottle!)


An infection of the wall of the intestines, which may spread to the blood. Premature babies are particularly vulnerable to this disease. Surgery is sometimes necessary to remove damaged intestine, and the baby may need prolonged feeding by vein until he recovers


A return or backward flow; gastroesophageal (GE) reflux occurs when portions of feedings or other stomach contents flow back up into the esophagus. (Parker came home with reflux, ended up on Zantac, wedge and was very very messy! He slept on this for many many months.)


A common breathing problem of premature infants caused by insufficient surfactant in the baby's lung. This results in an excessive stiffness of the baby's lungs (Yes Parker did have this and he did need steroids and surfactant.)

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

The most common cause of bronchiolitis in young children. Bronchiolitis is an infection of the bronchial tubes that causes rapid breathing, coughing, wheezing and sometimes, even respiratory failure, especially in the first two years of life. RSV infection and bronchiolitis is a particular risk for infants with chronic lung problems and those born prematurely.
The RSV season is usually from October to March. For more information, visit theMedImmune website.

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)

Scars and abnormal growth of the blood vessels in the retina, the layer of cells in the back of the eye. The retina does not mature until close to term (40 weeks gestation), so when babies are born very prematurely, the normal growth of blood vessels into the retina is altered. These abnormally growing vessels can eventually lead to disruption of the retina and the loss of eye function.


A material secreted by special cells within the alveoli (air sacs) of the lung, which makes the lung flexible and helps to keep the lung from collapsing. Deficiency of surfactant is the main problem in Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). Commercial products are available which can be put into the lungs through the tube in the windpipe. These products frequently are very helpful to the premature baby with RDS. (Parker had this...yup...)

Parker's first home! Room B, unit 4! Here you see his isolette covered, they want babies to sleep so they make it as dark as possible. Parker's blanket on top was his daddy's when he was younger. You can see the monitor keeping track, all the tubes, and all the meds to the left...iv's, milk (though I don't think he was on it at this point.), meds...

Scary isn't will be ok! 

I hope this helps you kind get some of the things we saw/heard/went through!

Next week - Birth Story and come pictures!


Anonymous said...

Parker is such a miracle and testament to God's love and faithfulness! I remember when us Xanga girls got the news that you had delivered him. I was so scared for all of you, and was praying constantly. I remember checking the blog that you set up multiple times a day. You are such a strong woman and Mommy! Look how far your little miracle has come! God is so good!

Charlotte (Life's a Charm!) said...

i seed the feeding methods but never really knew how it was called. And I knew about Jaundice since my two sons were born jaundice. my 2nd, although he was full term, received photo therapy treatment bilirubin levels were off the hook.

you did a great job documenting Parker's treatments, even though some of your pictures are hard for me to look at. The pictures just squeezes my heart to see how a little baby is suffering all the pain and discomfort...

But knowing that Parker is healthy now, gives me comfort. Well done you, must be all the tender loving care!