Sunday, 9 January 2011

General NICU FAQ

I have had a few people ask questions about our stay at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, so I thought I would address those here:

Although Ivy is under 24-hour care, I am allowed to visit her and be with her whenever I like and as often as I like. I spent 3 hours cuddling with her and doing Kangaroo care this morning (and nursing), then I was back there two more times, both in time for her feeds.

I am still an inpatient at the hospital because of my blood pressure, but I am hoping to be discharged tomorrow. My blood pressure is more stable now, although I am still on 2 different medications for that. At its peak, I was on a total of 17 blood pressure pills per day. That's right, 17. 3 different prescriptions, but the total number of pills was 17. Now I am down to 11. The doctors are trying to rework my medication to put me on a dosing and scheduling that will be more manageable once I am discharged. To be honest, there is one medication that I really do not think I need in the dose they are giving me, but we shall see what they decide tomorrow.

Once I am discharged, I will be staying in a boarding room at the hospital. There are 14 boarding rooms specifically for moms who have babies in the NICU who are from out of town and/or who are nursing. My name was already put on the list for a room upon discharge. While I stay there, I am responsible for my own meals and such. I am hoping they have a little fridge so I can get groceries, because I do not want to eat out 3 meals a day for the next 2 weeks, or however long Ivy needs to be here.

While in the boarding room, the NICU will call me whenever Ivy needs (wants) to eat, and I make my way to the NICU to feed her. They said if I want to, I can give them permission to take a bottle at night so I can sleep. I am not keen on that, since the goal is to get her exclusively nursing and I think a bottle will mess that up.

The criteria for Ivy's discharge are these: she must be taking all her feeds orally, either by breast of bottle, she must be gaining weight, she must have no "events" in 24 hours, and she has to pass the carseat test. Events mean instances of bradycardia and/or apnea. Ivy has had only 2 of these since being admitted on Monday, both of which she spontaneously recovered and no interventions were necessary. The carseat test is that she has to be able to sit in a carseat for 90 minutes without having any apneas or losing oxygen saturation in her blood.

So far, Ivy's nursing is going well. She gets better every time. In fact, the last time I nursed her, I thought she was finished, and when I took the breast away, she got mad and had her mouth wide open looking for it!

Ivy is going to have a bath tonight. That should be fun!


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