Sunday, March 22, 2015

RSV Sucks

I am writing about this for first time parents that have no idea what the heck they are doing. Just like me. So maybe you can be a little more cautious and know what to look for.

After my Christmas day emergency surgery, we thought our sick days were over. Man, were we wrong. Matson instantly got sick right after Christmas. Probably brought on by all the stress of having a newborn, having his wife almost die/lose a bunch of blood, and then having to take care of his newborn and anemic wife. A week after my surgery I caught something (possibly the sickness Matson had) and was throwing up for a weekend which sucked having on top of being super weak and recovering from losing so much blood. After recovering from that though we seriously thought that we had all been sick enough for the winter!

Then almost a month ago, toward the end of February, Nixon woke up with a cough and lots of mucus. It was a Saturday so we just chilled all day until I took him to my sis in law's baby shower.  I had no idea what to do so all day that day so I just held him to try and get him to sleep. I had heard and knew that if I took him to the doctor they couldn't give me any special medicine or anything for my little baby so I just gave him a little bit of baby tylenol. While we were at the baby shower other moms were telling me things I could do for his little cold. If I didn't hold him he would wake himself up from coughing. He slept decently that night but Sunday he was even worse. We gave him more baby tylenol and saline drops before I would use our nose aspirator to get as much mucus out as I could. At night I put just a little bit of baby vapor rub on his feet so that he would sleep good because he hadn't been sleeping as solid as normal during his naps that day.

Sunday night he slept SO long. His little body needed more sleep to get him better. He woke up that day pretty normal and happy. But as the day went on I could tell he was getting worse. He napped his normal afternoon nap, but woke up breathing fairly bad. He was wheezing. I recorded his wheezing and texted it to Matson. Matson responded by telling me that I should definitely call our doctor. It was too late to get an appointment for the day so I just talked to a nurse and she told me the symptoms to look for to know if it was more serious than a cold. She told me if his breathing wasn't good (he was struggling or really using his belly too much), was wheezing, had a temperature over 100 degrees or if he stopped eating. He wasn't too bad with any of those except just a slight wheeze but it was off and on so I just decided we would go into the doctor the next day. I fed Nixon and then Matson and I went with my siblings to my grandparents house to eat with them like we do every Monday.

Nixon slept the whole time we were there. When we got home from dinner, it was time for Nixon to feed before going to bed.

**BACK STORY: Nixon has ALWAYS been a big eater. I couldn't measure how much he was eating the first 10 days of his life, but during my surgery and afterward when my milk supply was low my sister in law gave us some of her frozen milk and we gave Nixon bottles and he ate (or drank) 5-6 ounces. He has ate/drank 5 ounces or more ever since. He has always been a BIG eater. He literally is his own alarm clock with feeding time. He loves it and lots of it.**

Anyway, back to the story. After coming home from my grandparents Nixon would not eat. I was trying and trying almost like he was a newborn again forcing him to latch but he would not. He was freaking out and crying like crazy. I knew he had to be starving but he would not. He was obviously hungry and wanted to eat. He would go toward me like he wanted to eat but then would barely latch and pull off. After literally trying for almost a half hour I decided he wasn't going to eat and then he was just so mad. He was more than just crying. He was red face full on wailing. I tried to calm him and make him happy. I tried everything. He loves listening to me sing, so I tried all his usual favorite songs. That didn't work. I tried books, toys, lights, walking around our house, rocking, bouncing, and finally he calmed down (just a little bit) when I put on this visual stimulation baby thing that my niece loved that my parents found on YouTube. He was still whimpering, slightly crying, and now wheezing rather strongly.

Matson had been trying to calm him down with me but now that he kind of was, Matson called the nurse again from our pediatrician's office. The nurse asked Matson his symptoms. After this nurse told us that she was very concerned that he wasn't eating and that nothing was calming him down like normal, she told us that if it was her child she would never put that baby to bed without him getting checked. Since it was now 10pm at night, she advised us to go to the ER. So that is what we decided to do. We grabbed all of Nixon's things (blankets, diaper bag, PJ's) and I threw on a hat. We got right in the car with our crying babe. He was so unhappy, hungry, and now tired.

The hospital is only five minutes away from us but our little babe loves the car and fell asleep (thank goodness) on the way to the hospital. He was exhausted.

We walked into the ER. It was PACKED. Literally there were probably 30-40 people in there. Matson told me he would check in and for me to just sit down with Nixon in his carseat. Someone with a black eye, sick kids, people with broken bones limping, and all I could think about was how this was going to be a VERY long night. I thought that it would take forever for us to get called in. I was wrong because right as I was thinking that I heard a nurse call, "Nixon."

 Apparently a sick 10 week old baby goes right to the top of the list. We walked into the small room where a nurse was there waiting for us to tell her all about what was going on. We told her about how he was ok until early evening and how he wouldn't eat and nothing would calm him down. She told us she needed to take his temperature, weigh him, and check his oxygen levels.

We woke him up, which he wasn't too happy about. But he wasn't wailing like he was before. Just kind of whimpering. They weighed him and he weighed 14 lbs and 10 ounces. He gained about 6 ounces in a little less than a week since he was weighed at the doctor's office. After she checked him and everything she took us to our ER room. We sat in there for a little while. His ER nurse and ER tech came in, checked his vitals again, and hooked him up to the monitors. Nixon's nurse told us that Nixon's oxygen levels were too low and that he needed oxygen. Instead of hooking him up to oxygen they gave me a little tube that had oxygen blowing out of it. I held it right below his nose. The oxygen was definitely helping to raise his oxygen level.

The ER pediatrician came in and told us a little bit about what they were going to do. That Nixon needed to be tested for different viruses. So they took some of his blood to be tested. The doctor also told us that a respiratory therapist was going to come in and suction some of the mucus out of Nixon's nose.  Nixon obviously didn't like any of this, but he especially hated when the respiratory therapist used this small little tube to go down his nose and throat to suction out mucus. Matson held Nixon down while the therapist suctioned out his mucus. While we waited for hours for the test results to come back Nixon fell asleep in my arms. Matson and I were exhausted. It was now about 1am. The nurse got us some waters and snacks, which was very nice of them.

The tests came back positive for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus; which later became Bronchiolitis) and Rhino Virus. Matson and I weren't too surprised but we were very worried. Since we are first time parents, this was a whole new world. We had no idea what to do but we were more worried than ever. We just wanted our little baby better. At this point, the nurse also told us that they needed to X-Ray Nixon to see his lungs and other things. This was horrible too. We went into the X-Ray room. Matson held little Nixon down on a metal (and very cold) surface. Nixon had to stay still so Matson really had to hold him down strong. Nixon is a strong kicker and wasn't happy so he was really kicking. After doing multiple X-Rays to get a good, Nixon fell right back to sleep in my arms again.

After all the test and X-rays (it was about 2:30 am), the doctor came in and told us that Nixon needed to be admitted to the hospital. He told the reason being is that his oxygen levels were a bit low. Normal they want babies with RSV to be at 92 or higher but our Nixon was sitting at or around 88 with oxygen being blown at his nose. Without the oxygen, he was going to as low as 83. Although we were exhausted and bummed to be staying at the hospital, I was happy because I knew this meant that Nixon would at least be getting better or being monitored so that nothing horrible would happen to him like him stop breathing. I badly wanted to go home, but knew that the hospital was the right place for us to be.

Our ER tech, who was a Provo High alumni (YUCK. Haha. Our high school rival), was such a sweetheart. We were really sad to not have her anymore. It's funny how we again and again got attached to nurses and techs. She took us upstairs to the pediatric floor and into a rather large room that had a crib (for Nixon) and an extra hospital bed (where I slept), two rocking chairs, and a pull out chair bed (where Matson slept). By the time we got up to our room it was about 3 am. Matson hurried and ran home to not only take my family's dog to my sister and her husband, but to also grab us a few essentials like a change of clothes and our toothbrushes.

While Matson was gone our new nurse and tech got us all set up. She gave us diapers, wipes, more drinks, snacks, and she talked to me about everything. Supplies, paper work, where to breast pump, and all sorts of goodies. They hooked Nixon up to oxygen and gave him a feeding tube. He DID not like getting the feeding tube put down his throat and into his belly. It was so sad to watch.  Nixon had to be fed through a tube because most babies before age 2 mostly breathe through their noses so when they are sick and have mucus they can't breathe through their noses very well. So when they go to eat and latch on to breastfeed they cannot breathe at all. So they refuse to eat. This is why he had to be tube fed. So I pumped every time that Nixon fed and the nurse would put my breastmilk in a big 2 oz. syringe that was hooked up to a machine that slowly pumped the breastmilk into the tube that went straight into Nixon's belly.

Anyway that night was very tiring. Matson came back to the hospital with our stuff and we just stood looking at our little baby at 4 am in his hospital crib. He was exhausted too and was finally asleep. Matson and I stood over his crib and I will be honest, I just cried. We prayed together and then tried to get a little sleep before we woke up at 7 am.

For the next four days, we had quite an emotional roller coaster. One day he would be looking like he was getting better but then a coupe hours he would be bad again. The doctors were moving his oxygen levels up and down and up and down. He was getting suctioned (the tube thing that went down his nose/throat to get the mucus out) 4 or more times a day. Nixon was sleeping a lot more than normal. He literally was sleeping all day long. He was so tired. One day he woke up and I could tell he just wanted to play. I sat in the hospital crib with him (don't worry it holds up to 400 pounds and parents are allowed to sit in it) and played and sang with him. It looked as though he was getting better but then that next night they turned his oxygen levels up higher than ever before. When they came in and told us that they had to move it up to support his oxygen more I just balled. I was so sick of him being in the hospital and carrying my baby with all these tubes and cords attached to him. I just wanted to be back at home with my happy baby.

I could go on and on and tell you all about our 5 days in the hospital, but I would rather not because this is already VERY long. Instead I am just going to share a few stories from our week in the hospital with Nixon.

Nixon normally eats about 5 oz. and has since early on, but they were only feeding him one 2 oz. syringe of breastmilk. So on our second day at the hospital Nixon decided he didn't like that and that he wanted more. He cried and cried and cried. We kept trying to figure out what was wrong and finally I realized it had to be because he was hungry. The nurse told us that he had just fed him some milk in his feeding tube. At this point I didn't know how much milk fit into each one of the syringes so I asked and he responded by telling me 2. I knew right then that it was not nearly enough for our big eater. So I told the nurse that he may be so unhappy because he is still hungry. The nurse looked shocked when I told him that Nixon eats 5 oz each feeding. He laughed and said that that was DEFINITELY why our little guy was so upset. So he went and got another syringe of milk warmed up and Nixon was much happier.

Mid day on our first day in the hospital Nixon was acting like he was bored. Our sweet nurse brought in a mobile and toys to keep him entertained. He loved them and would watch them, but after a couple days of those toys he was bored of them. So one day our new nurse told me that she would be right back. She came in and put a DVD into our hospital room DVD player. On came an episode of Baby Einstein - Mozart. I sat down on the rocking chair with Nixon in my lap. He was in love. We had never done this before and Matson and I were shocked he watched it. Literally I don't think Nixon blinked for the whole half hour long video. He loves music so it was his favorite thing. I think we watched that video like 3 times before we were discharged and he loved it every single time.

Since becoming a mom I have never prayed more, but being in the hospital I literally prayed all day long. Every single night Matson and I would prayer together with Nixon and with each other. But one night my parents came to visit us and my dad took a picture of Nixon that he posted on Instagram. Along with the picture, my dad wrote on Instagram something along the lines of asking others to pray for him and us. It was amazing how many people commented and liked the picture saying that they were going to pray for us. I cried reading each person's comment and it comforted me so much knowing that all those people were praying for Nixon. Later in the early hours of the morning they slowly lessened Nixon's oxygen levels. He went to bed being at a 6 and when we woke up in the morning he was at a 2 (the lowest level they will keep him at). For the past few nights Nixon was not doing good. He would get better during the day and his oxygen level would be at a 3 or 4 and then always had his oxygen level raised at night. So this was truly amazing that during the night he was getting better and better. That next day by the afternoon they completely took him off oxygen and took out his feeding tube!

It was amazing! They kept us there to make sure that he wouldn't go back downhill again. He took multiple naps that day, ate very well, and at 10pm Friday night we were discharged! We were so happy to be able to go home. I know it is because of the many people that prayed for us that Nixon was taken off oxygen and able to go home. I am so thankful for the many people that did prayer for him.

Although we were discharged and Nixon was getting better, I was still so scared. I asked the doctors a bunch of questions and what we should look for if he needed to come back. I was nervous to not have his oxygen level and heart rate not monitored all the time. I was nervous to go through a night all on our own. It was like I was a brand new mom again. We went home and did our normal night time routine with him again. We bathed him, read to him, and put him to bed. That night Matson and I didn't sleep very well. We checked on him every 2 hours. Matson literally set an alarm for every 2 hours to make sure he was breathing, which we didn't really need because for some reason I woke up naturally every couple hours to check on him. He was always breathing well.

For the next while Matson and I stayed in and didn't take Nixon anywhere. Nixon still had mucus for a couple of days after the hospital but not nearly as much. He had a cough for about a week after. He also slept like a newborn for the week after the hospital. Literally would feed then sleep feed then sleep. His body was tired and needed it.

All in all we are so grateful that our baby boy is better and ok. He is back to himself, doing better than ever, and growing like a weed! He gained one pound that week in the hospital. Remember how he was 14 lbs. and 10 oz. when we checked into the hospital? Well exactly a week after we checked into the hospital he had an appointment with his doctor and he weighed 15 lbs. and 10 oz.! Chunkers!

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