Yesterday did NOT go as planned.
I think I hit my very lowest low so far.
The plan was to do some trials simulating Calvin breathing on his own.
He had been doing well throughout the night and only had a few more before we would extubate.
The plan was to extubate at 2 pm.
At about 1 pm he had a major desat (the oxygen level in his blood dropped), and promptly stopped breathing.
For over 2 hours, there was not a single yellow wave on the vent.
He did not breathe on his own once.
Prior to this, and since the surgery, he had been breathing primarily on his own, with the vent providing very little help.
We had no idea what happened.
We didn’t know how long it would continue.
We did know one thing – he was not going to be extubated yet.
Which meant more withdrawal without holding him, him awake with the tube, crying with tears, but no sound.
AKA, torture for the baby and his mom.
We were all very, very on edge, waiting for him to start breathing over the vent again.
We waited for hours.
Finally, he took a couple breaths here and there, but nothing like he had, and not nearly enough to live on, if we took him off the vent.
The day shift left, and the night shift came on.
Maybe they sensed the tension in the room, or maybe it was me, but everyone that entered the room seemed stressed and anxious and mean.
Around 9 pm Calvin’s 10th IV infiltrated.
It was the 2nd IV to blow in just a few hours, and meant we had to hold him down and find a new vein to start a new IV in.
He is so tiny, and not an easy stick.
We’ve watched 10 IVs placed – most nurses try twice, then give up and call a NICU nurse down to place it.
The charge nurse came in to try and made a mean (at least it seemed mean to me) comment on how last time we had specifically requested a NICU nurse, as if we were hoity toity for doing so.
I told her she could by all means look, but explained the 10 prior attempts had not been great experiences
She was a little too rough with him while looking for a vein.
She left the tourniquet on a little too long.
She bent his hand a little too far back.
Or maybe I was just a little too crazy.
Whatever it was, after a few minutes of poking Calvin looked at me with the saddest, most defeated look I have ever seen.
And I lost it.
I ran out of his room, down the hall, and out of the unit, punching the automatic door openers on the way – hard.
I ran into our nurse who asked, “are you OK mom?”
Do NOT ask a weeping mother as she runs out of her critically ill baby’s ICU room if she is OK.
I ended up in a waiting room on the other side of the hospital.
It was the middle of the night and deserted.
I moved some furniture around and sunk down against a corner in the wall in fetal position, and sobbed.
I don’t know how long I stayed there.
I had a pretty brutal headache after, so it was probably a very long time.
I tried to pray.
I tried to ask for patience.
But I had pretty much all but lost hope.
I didn’t know if Calvin was going to get better, and I couldn’t come to terms with that being His plan.
Eventually, a man walked by and saw me.
He stood a few feet away for a little while, staring, probably trying to figure out what he exactly was looking at.
Then he came over and asked if he could pray with me.
He asked me my name, and the name of the person I was crying for.
I sobbed my name, and was barely able to tell him Calvin’s.
He took my hand a prayed for me and for Calvin.
Then he said “God Bless” and walked away.
After his prayer, I thought about a hymn that has helped me a lot since December.
It helped right after our diagnosis.
It helped after fetal surgery when I was contracting.
It helped after my water broke.
It helped in the NICU.
And it helped last night.
Lead, kindly light, amid th’encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene — one step enough for me
I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.
So long they pow’r hath blest me,
sure it still
Will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Eventually I got up and walked back to Calvin’s room.
It was much calmer.
Nate was in there alone with Calvin.
They had found a good vein and successfully placed the IV.
Calvin was sleeping.
I checked the IV, gave Calvin a kiss, told Nate I couldn’t do it anymore, walked over to the couch/bed, crawled completely under the blankets, and passed out.