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