AudBaby AudEmo

Life in the NICU

Wendy once asked me what all the things attached to Fighter were.  So I thought, okay maybe I’ll blog about the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) since Fighter is spending the first weeks of his life there, and we’re also spending the bulk of our time there.

To be honest, it’s proving harder than I thought.  We’ve gotten used to seeing him hooked up but when I actually think about each piece of equipment, my heart dived and tears came to my eyes (stupid tear ducts are so accessible these days!!!!).  Most of the time we’re ok but once in a while I still find it hard to believe that we have a baby… and that he’s under intensive care.

Every time I go to the hospital, I get into a mini fight with the security guard in front of the labor ward who demands a patient name or bed number, even though I tell him repeatedly “NICU”.  The babies in the NICU are not on his stupid name list, maybe because not all of them even have names yet.  I tell them that countless times but they don’t seem to understand and still insist on a bed number.  It usually ends with me half shrieking “I’m here to see my baby who’s in the NICU!” then only will they open the door for me. -_-

Anyway here’s what the NICU is like, in our hospital anyway.

After you get past the dutiful security guard, make your way to the NICU.  A nurse has to hopen the door for visitors because only parents are allowed inside.

For obvious reasons, the NICU is kept a very quiet place – so the babies can rest in peace (uhhh pun definitely not intended).

Babies are placed in a row, in a box or cubicle and hooked up to different equipment based on their needs.

I’m definitely not a medical person la so whatever I say here is what I understand from the doctor and nurses in as much layman terms as they can manage so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

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This is Fighter’s incubator.  The incubator is essentially a plastic box he sleeps in.  Temperature inside is controlled because preemies are unable to regulate their own body temperature yet.  So even though Fighter is naked (except for his hat and diaper) it’s okay cos he’s actually all warm and snuggly inside.  The incubator also protects him from germs and outside noise.

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Bililights: special lights to cure jaundice.  thankfully Fighter only had these on for a day.

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Hello little man!

  • Yummy milk: real name (I googled) of that bluish tube is the nasogastric tube.  I’m not sure if Fighter can swallow himself yet, but swallowing takes up energy and coordination (which preemies have trouble with) so until he gets stronger, Fighter is fed through the nasogastric tube which goes straight to his stomach.  A syringe is attached to the tube and milk passed from there.
  • CPAP – stands for continuous positive airway pressure.  Air is passed through the tube directly into Fighter’s nose to make it easier for him to breathe.  It’s not exactly that he cannot breathe on his own, but his muscles aren’t developed well enough for him to expand his lungs.  The CPAP pushes air to him for easier breathing.
  • Golden bear sticker – to monitor his body temperature.  Yea I find the bear cute too hahaha.  They have two designs – bear and a duck wtf.
  • Both his arms were splinted because he had intravenous lines in both arms. T___T Nutrients to supplement the breast milk is passed through the lines.
  • Oxygen monitor on his foot – to track and make sure he has enough oxygen.

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Last week he ran into some issues. 🙁

Since he was born, the doctor has been steadily increasing his breast milk consumption day by day — necessary to start with less cos some preemies are unable to ingest milk yet.  The goal is to get up to full feeds of only milk (when he won’t need the IV lines with the nutrients anymore).

But last week I was gazing into his incubator like his biggest fan wtf when he suddenly started breathing hard – so hard his chest was heaving and two pockets (like holes) appeared under his rib cage.  And he turned blue. T______T

The nurse came over and adjusted him and he turned back normal color.  Then he turned blue for the second time.

I freaked out, the nurses said they had to perform some procedure on him and kicked me out of the NICU.  I sat in the waiting lounge, tears leaking out, and texted Fatty.  There was a couple in the lounge too who looked petrified at the sight of me.  It was the worst five minutes of my life because I didn’t know what was happening and was imagining the worst scenario.

Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and barged back into the NICU.  There I saw the nurses fussing around a red and peacefully sleeping Fighter. -_-

The doctor later told us that they couldn’t find anything wrong with him and he just likely regurgitated milk and then breathed it back in, hence the choking and turning blue.

Which is why in the picture above, he has a new splint on his leg – meant for transferring antibiotics in case of infection. 🙁

Today we saw him and the line in his leg is off though!

As a result of the choking incident, they went down on his feedings though he’s been slowly climbing his way up again.  Doctor first estimated he could be out in 3-4 weeks from birth but he revised it and said it looks more like 5-6 weeks now cos his progress is a bit slow.  Apparently premature baby boys tend to do not as well as girls. 🙁

So I guess we’ll see him home ….mid September if everything goes okay?

 

  • Anonymous

    Everything will go well! Praying for you and your family 🙂

  • Cass

    He definitely looks like he progressed a lot from he was first born. I’m sure he can be home soon. Take good care of yourself too!

  • mela

    Have faith. Babies are sometimes more resilient than we think they are.nnTake care of yourself and stay cheerful (baby can pick up your mood) 😀

  • szeyan

    Stay strong ! I’m praying for your baby and family. <3

  • Lisa Kong

    Everyone will be fine. God is our great doctor. He is looking after fighter!

  • Manzy

    Iron man!

  • pearly

    me thinks you should *feedback* to the hospital about the guards giving you grief about going to the NICU. they should be trained to be more sensitive about this!!nin any case… fighter jiayou!! get strong fast fast! your mom and dad are anxious to bring you home and show you off!

  • Lisa

    Awww, he is a little heartbreaker already! SO cute! nThe way I look at it, he has made it through the worst, and there is nothing that can stop him now! 🙂 So it can only be better from now on Audrey! <3nnLittle Jude will be just fine.nn- Lisa

  • Daphne

    Keeping little fighter steadily in my prayers. Also for you and Tim. You’re so brave and it sure must hurt a lot to see your baby like this. Continue to fight on ok? You are such a good mom already

  • 111

    Hey Audrey, I’m only 18 this year (so no babies for me LOL) but having read your blog posts on Fighter etc, I feel so excited for your motherhood journey in the years to come. You are such a tough and strong lady, it is really inspiring. And I feel so happy for you that you have such a awesome husband and a wonderful son who is growing bigger each day. nnCan’t wait to see how Fighter develops and how your family will grow 🙂 Stay strong and pretty and young always 🙂

  • valzie

    babies that are loved are stronger! I believe having you and Tim constantly by his side will make little Jude recover very quickly!!! “Jude” is a fantastic name by the way, all the Judes I know are just awesome people. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    What an adorable little guy! You’ve described the NICU so well. I’m a NICU nurse, and I love hearing parent’s stories about what it’s like for them to experience this journey. It’s not an easy one, for sure. Your story about having to leave just when he was having trouble breathing… it’s so hard, right? Hang in there, keep your chin up, and keep loving on that sweet little Fighter! I just posted a on my blog about having some fun while your baby is in the NICU, maybe it can help a little: http://nicucentral.com/11-ways-to-have-fun-in-the-nicu/ Congratulations, and thanks for sharing a parent’s perspective of what the NICU is like.

  • NICU Central

    And great pictures, by the way!

  • Jyannis

    I’ve had the CPAP mask on before during an emergency procedure due to my medical condition and it is seriously the WORST thing I ever had to go through. I really feel so sad seeing the mask on little Fighter. nnThank you for sharing this journey with all of us. Fighter Jude looks unbearably cute and I am sure he will grow up to be a healthy, happy baby who loves you and Timothy as much as you love him. nnAll the best to you three!

  • Daphne Mabel Chai

    Be strong audrey n timothy. Of course fighter too !

  • ahlost

    everything sure gonna be okay Mummy Fighter.. keep on fighting Baby Fighter.. ^.^

  • Mandy

    It breaks my heart to see baby Jude with so many tubes and wires. Almost cried reading this post. Be strong and am so proud of you! Pray for baby Jude to be strong and healthy.

  • Nicki

    Iron man spotted in picture 3!

  • Jam

    Constantly praying for the poor bub! I had just one tube inserted into my hand and i was screaming. Dam freaking painful one and he has got like three!! He is definitely a fighter! Proud of you little Jude 😀 and Jude’s mummy. Read about you when u get better. X

  • Mun

    Hope fighter get well soonest.

  • Fourfeetnine

    Hahahaha

  • Fourfeetnine

    Me too…

  • Fourfeetnine

    Hahaha I was tubed and injected daily for a month so I know what you mean! I did wish I could take the pricks for fighter though 🙁

  • Fourfeetnine

    Thanks for the prayer 🙂

  • Fourfeetnine

    I hope so!!!

  • Fourfeetnine

    Thank you 🙂

  • Fourfeetnine

    Is the CPAP very uncomfortable!?

  • Fourfeetnine

    Thanks for linking your blog, ill check it out! Also thank you for doing what you do 🙂 I’m so thankful for the nurses in fighter’s nicu.

  • Fourfeetnine

    Hahaha is jude a very common name where you are?

  • Fourfeetnine

    Thanks! Can’t wait for him to come home and l can blog about normal life with him haha

  • Fourfeetnine

    Congratulations on your book! And I definitely will check out your website, thank you! I’ve been googling furiously for preemie information recently so your site should really help 🙂

  • Christine

    Fighter will be strong like his mummy who fought to deliver him out and his daddy who never gave up hope. He will be home soon to reunite with the family. Praying for him.

  • Amy

    In response to the comment above about the CPAP mask, I wear one nightly for sleep apnea and find it totally painless; it just makes breathing in less of an effort. The mask itself just feels like wearing lab goggles.nnI can’t begin to imagine how difficult this must be for you, but you’ve shown incredible strength, patience, and courage. You are an amazing mother and woman and I hope you can remember that if you’re feeling low. I don’t know you personally, but I can tell that you are surrounded by so much love. Your family is beautiful and I will be one of the many people praying for Fighter’s continued growth and health. I truly believe God will bring your precious baby home safe and sound.

  • Super Kawaii Mama

    Oh Aud.. you are all so incredibly, amazingly strong and positive. As a mother I understand the kind of heart wrenching love and pain you must both be in, almost impossible to explain. Fighter is just beautiful. <3 <3 My love to you all. Xxx

  • valzie

    not really actually! I’m from Singapore. I know 2 judes, one is used as a middle name.

  • KM

    Stay strong Aud <3 Fighter will be fine!

  • tabbycakey

    I wish your baby and the rest of your family all the best.

  • Sarah

    hang in there audrey…you are doing really well 🙂 Continue fighting baby jude! Everyone’s cheering you on :)nnAnd aud don’t worry, i came from a family of premature babies, me and my bro…my parents say we were like tiny mouse when we came out…haha! not any more! we are big and healthy and living 20 over odd years now…we made it so will fighter! Healthy and Strong! 😀

  • hey

    Beware of suffocation in bed with blankets/giraffes that are not made of cotton/ wool. Nothing unnecessary is supposed to be in bed with him when he sleeps.