Thursday, May 27, 2010

In the NICU...

I started my life in the NICU. I was in nothing but a diaper on a warming bed with an overhead light. I had my eyes closed when my mom and dad came in to see me. Mommy said that she thought I needed to hear their voices. (I did.) She told me that each time her and Daddy came in, they had to "scrub up" for 3 minutes before they could touch me. They also had to wear hospital gowns. Mommy said that each time she came in to see me she "lost it" all over again.
You all know by now that I wasn't able to breathe on my own, I needed a machine to give me my breaths and 100% oxygen. It was called an infant ventilator. There was tape across my mouth to hold the tube in place. I was hooked up to a monitor to record my vital life signs, like heartbeat and oxygen in my blood. I was given nutrients with an infusion pump. Mommy said my stomach was covered with wires, as if they were just another part of my body. Mommy and daddy always sat at each end of my bed and held my hands with theirs. Mommy said that I was struggling to grasp their hands. (I was because I couldn't do it but wanted to.) The nurses told Mommy & Daddy that when my oxygen monitor read 100%, it could have meant that I was happy because I knew that they were there. Mommy & Daddy always kissed me goodnight before leaving me there in that hospital. They always made sure that they didn't leave before I was asleep. Mommy said that she came down to the NICU one day and found me on a different ventilator then the one I was put on when I was born. The doctor told her and Daddy that it was called a "jet ventilator". He said that I needed this one because the infant ventilator wasn't working for me. I needed more breaths and this one gave me 420 breaths per minute. Mommy said that the jet ventilator made my body vibrate. I had to be suctioned a lot...that was to get rid of all my secretions. When I was "suctioned", a long catheter was placed into my mouth through my trach tube and down into my lungs to "suck up" all of my mucus. Mommy said that sometimes it was so thick that I couldn't get oxygen from the ventilator because the mucus was plugging up my airway. That caused the pulse oximeter (which is the machine that was monitoring my oxygen levels)to drop to the 60's and 70's. She told me that they had to suction me to clear my airway or they would lose me. Mommy always turned away from looking at me because she was scared when this happened. (It happened a lot.) Eventually, she and Daddy would have to learn to do this in order to bring me home. I loved it when the nurses finally let Mommy & Daddy hold me. Mommy said that I just started opening my eyes and usually when the nurse put me in Mommy's arms, I would open and then close my eyes.
One day Mommy and Daddy came in and I was getting an EKG. The nurse told Mommy and Daddy that it showed my lungs had grown to normal size. The next day the hospital called Mommy & Daddy at home to let them know that I was able to go off the jet ventilator. I could breathe a little on my own but I still needed help of a ventilator because my muscles weren't strong enough to do the work myself. When the doctor saw that I could breathe a little on my own, they put me on nasal CPAP for awhile to see how I would do with it. Mommy said I looked great because she finally got to see me without tubes and tape marks across my mouth.
Later that day, they took me out of the warming bed and put me in an isolette. It was more private and cozy for me.
A few days later, Daddy had to go back to work, but Mommy was able to come up and see me still. Mommy said that she came in one day and the nurse told her that I was looking real pale and that they needed to give me a blood transfusion.
Well, a day or two passed for me being off the ventilator and still on CPAP, but I started having lots of trouble breathing and then I just couldn't do it anymore. I lost consciousness but the doctor brought me back. Mommy said that the doctors and nurses made her and Daddy leave the room when that happened to me because they didn't want them to see me in trouble like that. I was stable when the nurse let them back in to see me. The nurse told Mommy and Daddy that it was probably a mucus plug clogging my airway and she said that I didn't have enough strength to cough it up. She said that I was using all my strength on trying to breathe.
A few days later the doctors told Mommy & Daddy that there was nothing else that they could do for me. The doctor told Mommy & Daddy that there was a neurologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital that could give me a muscle biopsy (that's where they take a sample of my muscle and examine it). They didn't do that at this hospital that I was in, so they had to transfer me to Thomas Jefferson Hospital.
The day had come for me to leave this hospital that I was born in. The nurses even dressed me up in an outfit and a hat that Mommy & Daddy bought for me when I was born. Mommy said that she was so glad that I finally could wear them.
A little bit later the people came from the other hospital that I was going to. Mommy said they were called EMT's. They even brought me the same isolette like the one that I used here. The nurses put me in the new isolette while Mommy and Daddy signed some papers and then they came over to me and gave me a kiss. I love my Mommy and Daddy. They were the people I was working hard on trying to breathe for, but Mommy said that I looked scared and was wondering what was happening. (I was.) Mommy said that she got inside the car and Daddy waited for the EMT's to get me in the ambulance that was going to take me to the new hospital. She looked out her window and saw that the EMT's almost tipped me and the isolette over, but Daddy and the EMT's caught me and got me inside the ambulance. Daddy gave me another kiss and went to the car to follow the ambulance...and then we were off to the new hospital..... You can read about my time there if you come back here to my blog.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

After My Birth

I was born at 5:25pm on Friday, October 20th,1995. When I came out, Mommy said that everything was quiet. She said that all she saw was a full head of black hair on a little tiny body and a concerned look on all the faces in the room. I was then taken away from Mom & Dad. I was put on a really warm bed in the back of the room. The doctors and nurses were all talking quietly beside me while Mommy was on the other side of the room in tears. Daddy kept turning Mommy's head from looking over at me. I wanted to be with my Mommy where I came from, not with all these strange people. Instead I was getting tubes and wires put on all over my body. I didn't know what was happening, but I couldn't breathe on my own. The doctor put a long tube in my mouth and then turned a big machine on next to me. Mommy said that it was called a ventilator, and that I needed it or I would die. The doctor told my Mom & Dad that my lungs weren't fully developed yet, they were a third of their normal size. They put me on steroids to help my lungs develop.
Mom told me that the doctors were saying that I had some type of syndrome, but they didn't know what because there was several of things wrong with me. He said that I was born limp and floppy, I had no muscle tone, my hips were dislocated, I had no relexes and I didn't swallow. I also had contractures in my fingers, wrists and ankles and I had undescended testicles.
My APGAR score was @ 1 minute(1), @ 5 minutes(2)), @ 10 mins.(0) and @ 15 mins. (2).
A few minutes later, I was being wheeled down to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). This was my new home for awhile. Come back to my blog to hear all about me in the NICU.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Montage 5/23/10 at

Beginning My Journey Here

My mom had a normal pregnancy with me. The only problem she had while she was pregnant with me was having a lot of amniotic fluid surrounding me. When she had her ultrasound done, they couldn't even tell if I was a boy or a girl. She also had swollen ankles because of all that fluid. She couldn't walk on them anymore, so her doctor suggested she stay out of work and keep her feet up as much as possible.
It was Friday, October 20th, 1995 when Mom knew that I was coming. Her weekly checkup was scheduled for that morning anyway, so she didn't call the doctor, she just waited for my grandma to show up to take her to it. When she got there, she told the nurse she had some bloody mucus. She peed in the cup, came back out and a few minutes later, the nurse said she was in labor. After she went back to see the doctor, he told her that he wanted her to get another ultrasound because of the excess amniotic fluid. The doctor wanted to make sure that I wasn't in any danger. Mommy was worried because she knew I wasn't supposed to come out for another 3 weeks.
After Mommy had the ultrasound, doctors came in to look at it. They told her that they couldn't see my stomach and that I might be born without a digestive system. Of course, Mommy is such a worry wart, she got kinda scared. Mommy's mind went somewhere else but she had Grandma there for support until Daddy came.
Soon Daddy showed up and Grandma went home for awhile until after she had me. Mommy's contractions were coming close and getting harder anyway. Mommy was glad Daddy was there now. He helped her through those contractions. They wheeled Mommy over to the Labor & Delivery Room. Mommy's doctor came in and said that he had to induce her to release some of the fluid. As soon as he induced her, out came a big puddle of fluid and went all over the floor. Even after he induced Mommy, the doctor said there was still a lot of fluid. He released a little more and out poured more leaving another puddle on the floor.
After the doctor left the room and came back, he announced that it was time to have me. Daddy put on a CD that he made for my arrival. After Mommy's hard work for 25 minutes pushing me out....Jared Ryne Grifin was born....out I came as the song "Breathe" by Pink Floyd was playing. Only bad thing about the moment was that I wasn't breathing. (Well you have to come back to my blog to find what happened next....)