NICU Days

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Sunday, Feb. 24, 2002

Day 52, Wednesday, February 27th:

Today was a very special day indeed. The results from Audrey's pneumogram were excellent. She showed no sign of apnea or irregular pulse over the 12 hour test. She only had 16 seconds of periodic breathing which were considered negligible. Her doctor recorded the results as that of a normal baby, paving the way for her discharge from the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, Chelle visited her co-workers at Herman Miller. They have been great supporters and Chelle was very happy to see them. She misses them a great deal and can't wait until they can all meet Audrey in person.

Audrey was all set to go when we arrived. Her nurse Barbara had the papers ready to sign. Once the formalities were over, Barb gave Chelle and Audrey the wheelchair ride to the front of the hospital.

At 3 PM, we loaded up and headed north on Pacific Coast Highway to our home. Audrey was officially discharged from Hoag hospital. During her stay, she grew from 14 inches to 17 inches in length, and, from 2 lbs 4 ounces to 4 lbs 3 ounces. She is a healty baby girl.

THANK YOU ALL FOR MAKING THIS GREAT DAY POSSIBLE!!!

Two requests:

First, I would appreciate knowing all of the names and locations of people or prayer groups who have kept Audrey and my wife Chelle in your thoughts and prayers. I would like to get a feel for how many folks have surrounded our family and carried us through this storm.

Click here to email Bill:

Second, we will create a journal of notes from you to Audrey as a keepsake for her. If you would be so kind, please let her know a bit about the special people who have helped her so much. Chelle and I will present the journal to her when she gets a little bit older.

Click here to email Audrey:

For future updates, please click the "At Home" tab.

REMEMBER: Don't Go It Alone!

Chronology

Day 51, Tuesday, February 26th:

Audrey began a pneumogram this evening. Her pulse and breathing will be monitored continuously, and recorded for 12 hours.

The doctors will review the results tomorrow and make a determination whether Audrey should stay or go home. We will keep you all up to date once we learn more about tomorrow's plan from the doctor.

If she passes, she'll be very likely to go home. Chelle and I are cautiously optomistic.

She broke the 4 pound barrier last night weighing in at 4 pounds, 1 ounce. This is another major milestone passed!!!

Day 50, Monday, February 25th:

She passed several major milestones today. First, she was moved from her isolette to an open-air crib. Second, a hearing test was administered and she performed very well. Lastly, Audrey was moved from the main NICU to the overflow NICU...this is the last stop before home!!!

The doctors ok'd bottle feeding for all feeds and increased her volume from 33cc to 38cc.

One more thing, she's not quite 4 pounds...Audrey has 0.3 ounces to go before achieving the next big milestone. We are so proud of her and extremely grateful to everyone who has prayed for her and supported Chelle and I.

HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Day 49, Sunday, February 24th:

Audrey was very alert today and happy to have special guests from out of town stop by. Her Aunt Barbara and Uncle Kevin came all the way from San Jose, Scott from San Diego, and the longest mile award goes to Sally who came all the way from Chicago...thanks everybody!!!

Day 48, Saturday, February 23rd:

Baby shower today!! Many of Audrey's friends came by the house to help prepare Mom and Dad for the homecoming. We are blessed to have great people in our lives. Thank you to all for making today so wonderful. Special thanks go to our neighbors MaryBeth & Ray, and Daina & Mike for putting it together.

Mom and Dad gave her a bath for the second time tonight getting ready for visitors after the shower.

Day 47, Friday, February 22nd:

Audrey did great today. She received 5 of 8 feeedings from the bottle. The nurses poked fun at Bill's swaddle job and kindly suggested he take a remedial class.

Day 46, Thursday, February 21st:

We had a meeting with Audrey's doctor today. She is very happy with the progress so far. I tried to get a feel for when the baby will come home and all I could get was no earlier than Friday, March 1. In any case, it will be soon.

The RSV (respiratory virus) vaccine was administered and Audrey continued bottle feeding 2 of every three times. She is doing great and the doctor affirmed that Audrey's progress is the exception rather than the rule.

Day 45, Wednesday, February 20th:

More breast feeding trials today. Soon Audrey will get the hang of it.

Her isolette was moved to the corner of the NICU where it is less busy and quiet. Many preemies go home from this spot. A little girl left today creating the opportunity to move Audrey.

Her mother had a great checkup with the doctor this afternoon. It looks like a full recovery is underway which makes Audreay and I both very happy!

Day 44, Tuesday, February 19th:

Audrey was very tired today. This was not unexpected for two reasons:

First, the caffiene dosage was stopped today. Second, Audrey's feeding activities consume large amounts of energy and it will take several days for her energy to return.

This is a big step forward for her and we know she'll make it just fine!

Day 43, Monday, February 18th:

Today was Audrey's first attempt at breastfeeding. She'll take a while to learn the ropes, but we know she can do it!
Day 42, Sunday, February 17th:

Seven weeks ago today, Audrey was born.

I finally added a journal entry from day one, so if you are interested page down to January 6 in the chronology. It has been so busy that it has been hard to get my handwritten notes transcribed for the first 10 days.

She weighed 3 pounds 9.6 ounces tonight. Her feeding volume steady at 30cc with every third feeding from a bottle. The rumour is that a breastfeeding trial run might happen tomorrow. We'll keep our fingers crossed!

Day 41, Saturday, February 16th:

Audrey's feeding volume was increased to 30cc today. She had several visits from Mom and Dad. The mad rush is "on" to get the baby's room done...

Day 40, Friday, February 15th:

Bath time again. Audrey also received a clean isolette today. Dad and his buddy Chuck moved all of the pictures, toys and stuff that go with a 3-something pound baby girl. The "stuff" collecting has only just begun.

One of the nurses suggested that Audrey will have the best-dressed baby dolls since her preemie clothes will more than likely fit them.

Day 39, Thursday, February 14th:

The doctors had Audrey's temperature monitor removed today. She only has a heart rate, blood oxygen level, and respiration rate monitor attached now.

We were told that she could be home in two to three weeks. We've been getting the baby's room ready and hope to be done in time.

Audrey is up to 3 pounds 5 ounces now and gaining weight steadily.

Day 38, Wednesday, February 13th:

Chelle bottle fed Audrey for the first time today, representing a major milestone for mother and daughter. I could really see the happiness in Chelle and sense some peace of mind that she will be able to support Audrey's needs. She brought the bottle home as a souvenier.

Day 37, Tuesday, February 12th:

Audrey was able to feed from a bottle today. She really surprised us all, usually it takes a few tries. She'll have one bottle feeding per day and the remaining 7 by gavage tube. If she does well, they'll move her to one bottle per shift and increase from there.

Her volume was upped to 28cc per feeding. She lost 14 grams overnight, but we have been told not to worry.

Ability to maintain body temperature appears to be Audrey's biggest obstacle before coming home. Weight will be the enabler so the plan is "feed and grow."

Day 36, Monday, February 11th:

Chelle's VP from work, Anne, came to visit today. What a nice surprise for Audrey. The support received from Chelle's co-workers has been great.

Audrey's weekly blood tests were ran and all results were normal for a preemie at 33-1/2 weeks.

No visit from the occupational therapist...maybe tomorrow.

Day 35, Sunday, February 10th:

Bath time! Audrey's mom and dad were given a hands-on lesson in preemie bathing. What a sight that was. She sure does wiggle. Our baby is clean and not too traumatized by her rookie parents.

Tomorrow is a much anticipated day...the occupational therapist will stop in and evaluate Audrey's ability for a first attempt at bottle feeding. We'll know more tomorrow...stay tuned.

Day 34, Saturday, February 9th:

Status quo. Audrey continues to progress steadily. It looks like she might be at the half-way point in her stay at the NICU. We'll see!


Day 33, Friday, February 8th:

THREE POUNDS!!!

Audrey achieved the milestone weight of three pounds last night.

Thanks to everyone who has helped Audrey to this point:

The NICU staff for your fabulous care.

To our friends and families for limitless thoughts and prayers.

We are blessed...


Day 32, Thursday, February 7th:

She Smiles!!! Audrey gave Dad a great big smile tonight as he held her. She was swaddled in a cozy blanket.

Her head ultrasound test results were normal. Also, an eye exam was conducted and no abnormalities noted. The opthamologist will check her again in four weeks.

Feeding volume was increased again today. She now takes 27cc 8 times daily.

Mom and Dad met with a pediatrician and believe they found a "keeper." Many of this type of "pre-baby arrival" work never had the chance to be accomplished. We continually feel as though we're always trying to catch up.

Day 31, Wednesday, February 6th:

The nurses made a "birthday cake" from a rolled up diaper and used a single colored q-tip to simulate a candle to celebrate Audrey's 1 month birthday.

Feeding volume was increased (again) to 25cc. She takes everything they give her. She had a routine head ultrasound today...we'll have to wait until tomorrow for the results.

Day 30, Tuesday, February 5th:

Audrey held her own at 24cc feeding volume.

She had a bath today. Aftewards, the nurses and her mother put the grey shirt w/poodles and hearts on. Very cute!!! Thanks Aunt Nancy & company!

Mom read "Good Night Moon" before bedtime, and said prayers with Audrey.

Day 29, Monday, February 4th:

Audrey was very stable all day long. Feeds were increased to 24cc. Dad was in Houston on business. Mom held down the fort.

Day 28, Sunday, February 3rd:

Audrey was born four weeks ago today. She weighs 2 pounds, 10.5 ounces which is 6.5 ounces above her birth weight. Great progress!!!

Our guess is that she will spend at least six more weeks in the NICU.

Tonight, she wore a top hand-made by her Aunt Nancy...soooo cute!

She has been cared for, prayed for, and loved by so many people. We thank you all for your kindness and love.

Chelle and Bill Schane


Day 27, Saturday, February 2nd:

Audrey was swaddled and being held by nurse Diane when Mom came in...her remarks were that the baby would fit perfect in a Christmas stocking. We agree completely!


Day 26, Friday, February 1st:

A very stable day. Both Mom and Dad were able to hold Audrey "kangaroo style."


Day 25, Thursday, January 31st:

Audrey's nurse Barb took the very first hand and footprints today. They came out awesome. It will take some time for me to get them scanned and uploaded to the site. They will be available soon...

Both Mom and Dad were able to hold the baby today. Her weight increased 6 grams and the feedings were upped to 23 cc from 21. She tolerated all of her feedings over the night and her respiration and blood-oxygen levels were much improved and stable.

Day 24, Wednesday, January 30th:

Audrey seemed much more stable today. She was much more lively and looked better. It appears that the caffiene increase worked.

The need for caffiene must have been an hand-me-down love of her father...coffee.

Day 23, Tuesday, January 29th:

Today was a bumpy day. We learned in the morning that Audrey had a 4cc residual, wasn't breathing as well, had several instances of "de-satting" (NICU speak for lower than acceptable blood oxygen content levels), and lethargy.

The first thing checked was blood count for possible lung infection...negative. Second, the possibility of "reflux" was explored...too soon to tell. Finally, a scenario was defined where the baby's medications were too low for the weight gain.

The third scenario seemed most likely to Doctor R. so the main rebalancing effort was to increase the caffiene dosage. This appeared to work well and Audrey began to stabilize later in the day.

The good news for the day was that Audrey got to wear her first T-shirt.

Day 22, Monday, January 28th:

The good news: 2 pounds 9 ounces.

The bad news: Audrey had her first instance of not fully digesting a feeding. They call that a "residual" in NICU-speak. This really isn't bad news, she's just showing us her limits for processing food. The two feedings after were fully digested, so we've chalked this up to simply being full.

Both Chelle and Bill had a chance to hold Audrey today which is a nice step forward.

Day 21, Sunday, January 27th:

Audrey lost a little weight yesterday but I'm told that is normal. She was quite alert again today and seems to respond visually and to sound as well. They say it is too early to say how well the baby's senses will work, but I really get the feeling that she has begun to know us and respond.

Day 20, Saturday, January 26th:

Audrey was very awake today for both of our visits. She is now a whopping 2 pounds, 7.5 ounces.

Aunt Barbara and Uncle Kevin came to visit. Many thanks to Barabara for the photos on the Gallery page! Kevin was enlisted for some yardwork...everybody pitches in and that's how we're getting through this.







Day 19, Friday, January 25th:

Hiccups...she hiccups!!! That was today's big revelation. Audrey was so cute today. After her afternoon and evening feedings, she would hiccup for 10 - 15 minutes and then doze off to sleep. This is another good sign that her systems are working. Stay tuned for the burp....

Day 18, Thursday, January 24th:

We have cause for celebration...Audrey's IV line was removed, her Nasal feed tube was pulled, and the photo treatment for jaundice was discontinued. All, some, or none may be needed in the future, but for now they are gone. She still has a sensor for heart rate, oxygen level, and temperature attached just as monitors. Her doctor said that "she doesn't know she's little" and acts much like a baby farther down the road. He was cautiously optomistic and conveyed his usual concern that setbacks are common, and that he takes each day as it comes.

Our good friend Chuck (the hero responsible for this website) visited for the firat time. It was awesome to have him stop by...

One last thing is that Chelle's mother, Shirley, flew home today. She arrived the evening after the delivery and has helped in so many ways. We miss her already and anxiously await her return.

THANKS CHUCK!!!
THANKS GRANDMA SHIRLEY!!!

Love,

Audrey


Day 17, Wednesday, January 23rd:

An interesting day. Audrey continues to tolerate more food. Her volume was increased to 21cc which is the maximum for the near term. Her IV line was disconnected from the metering pumps and flushed. They will keep the line in for one more day as a precaution.

Mom had a good doctor's visit and feels much better. Her blood pressure has returned to pre-pregnancy levels and other tests are indicating that the recovery process is real.

Dad was tired today.

Our family continues to hear of many prayers and thoughts by friends and family. This one was sent in by someone whom we haven't yet met, but who has profoundly impacted our life...THANK YOU DIXIE!!!

"My prayer is that Gods hand would be on this precious little girl and help her grow with each passing day. Children are such a blessing and a baby is definitely a gift from God. God Bless you and your family."


Day 16, Tuesday, January 22nd:

31 weeks! Audrey had another nice day. Her feeding was increased again and she is tolerating the milk well. Thanks to Mom for eating a bland diet...what a trooper. The decision was made to keep the IV line for a few more days just as a precaution. A great friend, Kevin, stopped in with Dad for a visit. He was the first to hear about Chelle's pregnancy and has been a good "dad coach" for Bill. It is nice to have such good friends...Kevin read "The Prettiest Swing" from Harvey Pennick's book on golf and Bill read Audrey some prayers from the book that her grandmother used 37 years ago when Audrey's mom was born.

Day 15, Monday, January 21st:

Audrey is 30 weeks 6 days today and 15 days post-birth. She has done quite well so far. Her feeding is up to 15cc of mother's milk 4 times per day. Rumour has it that her IV line might be pulled tomorrow and all milk/fats/calories will go down the tube installed in her right nostril. The following email typifies the support we have been given...amazing...THANK YOU ALL!!!

Bill, it has been many years since last we met. My dad sent me a copy of an e-mail your dad had sent him about your beautiful baby daughter, Audrey. Your situation in some ways is similar to the birth of our daughter, Kelly. although Kelly was only a few weeks premature, she had several medical problems which kept her in the NICU for three or four months. We took it a day at a time then, and it was through all the prayers and support of our friends and family that kept us going, so I'm basically here to tell you that you and chelle and audrey are in our thoughts and prayers as well now.
If perhaps you would like, if I can be of any particular help , even if its just to talk ... feel free at any time to give me a holler.The NICU can be quite.. intense at times..
By the way,I used to talk about red sox baseball to Kelly in those days, and you can't go wrong with Harvey Pennick's advice regarding just about anything to do with golf, or life in general!

Day 14, Sunday, January 20th:

Audrey had a great day today...she surpassed her birthweight by 5 grams! Premature infants lose weight after birth just like full-termers and Audrey dipped just below two pounds. Her weight has climbed up nicely in the last few days. The "billi light" was once again removed and her isolette heating was stopped. Two more important steps on her way to having fully functional systems.

Chelle was able to hold the baby for an hour "kangaroo style" and I had the opportunity to take the baby's temperature and change her diaper (micro-diaper, that is.)

We received a great little dress for her from a friend of a friend's friend in Las Vegas. Thanks so much to everyone who has helped and prayed for her.

Day 13, Saturday, January 19th:

Audrey is now being fed through a tube inserted in her nostril to her stomach. This allows for larger feedings over a longer period of time (30 - 60 minutes.) This is an important step forward which will allow her to more rapidly develop body mass. 11cc's were fed four times today and she weighed 2 pounds, 3 ounces which is just 1 ounce shy of her birthweight. She was held by Mom this afternoon - very cuddly and awake at first. She went right to sleep after hearing the cadence of her mother's heartbeat.

Day 12, Friday, January 18th:
Journal entry coming soon!

Day 11, Thursday, January 17th:
Journal entry coming soon!

Day 10, Wednesday, January 16th:

Breathing unassisted with minimal lapses (brady's), no signs of apnea. Heart rate steady @ 150 - 170. Her breast milk feedings were at 3cc 4 times daily. Today will be 4cc. She was off the "Billi Light" which helps reduce jaundice. She will go on and off this treatment until her digestive/filtering system matures. She was swaddled yesterday for the first time and I was able to hold her out of the isolette for a half-hour. She maintained body temperature. I gave her her second golf lesson on the grip. I read a lesson a day from Harvey Pennick's "Little Red Book." We also say our goodnight prayers.

Day 9, Tuesday, January 15th:
Journal entry coming soon!

Day 8, Monday, January 14th:
Journal entry coming soon!

Day 7, Sunday, January 13th:
Journal entry coming soon!

Day 6, Saturday, January 12th:
Journal entry coming soon!

Day 5, Friday, January 11th:
Journal entry coming soon!

Day 4, Thursday, January 10th:
Journal entry coming soon!

Day 3, Wednesday, January 9th:
Journal entry coming soon!

Day 2, Tuesday, January 8th:

Chelle moved to the mother-baby floor. Chelle’s first visit with Audrey.

Day 1, Monday, January 7th:

Chelle still in coronary ICU. Rough night…blood pressure over 200/100…scary. Chelle’s mother, Shirley arrived at 8 PM. Good neighborhood friends stopped down.

Audrey in “tray” with radiant warmer. Central IV lines installed through her umbilical. Respirator installed. Monitors for heart rate, temperature, blood oxygen content, blood pressure, % respiratory assist, respiration rate.

I observed her blood being drawn…quite a procedure.

Birth, Sunday, January 6th, 12:56 PM:

Chelle called Bill at 4 AM: “come right away.” Chelle was in severe pain starting at 2 AM. Her nurse did everything imaginable to comfort her…nothing was working.

8AM: Ultrasounds were performed on Chelle’s vital organs and the baby as well. No gallstones. The baby was fine. Nursing shift change was tense. It was apparent that something was very wrong. They were preparing for something.

9AM: Blood tests indicated that Chelle’s liver enzymes were very elevated and her platelet count dropping to less than 10 percent of normal. A catheter was installed and the output looked like a dark beer…things were deteriorating. The doctors came by several times (OB, liver specialist, and perinatologist).

10 AM: An MRI was ordered. Chelle’s nausea and pain were alarming.

11AM: The nurse came to me and said that it was time for the baby to be taken in order to save Chelle’s life…she had no more than two hours.

Chelle in Coronary ICU for observation. Very touch and go. Good friends of Bill’s came by to pray…

Audrey in “tray” with radiant warmer. Central IV lines installed through her umbilical. Respirator installed. Monitors for heart rate, temperature, blood oxygen content, blood pressure, % respiratory assist, respiration rate.

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Week Five
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Day Two

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