NICU Discharge

Obviously I haven’t posted anything since Gabriel’s recovery from his last surgery. He recovered pretty quickly and home equipment was ordered for his feeding tube and for oxygen. After 13 weeks and 2 days, he was discharged on December 13th, but not before he had one last episode…

Gabe was discharged on a Monday morning. His doctor wanted me to “room-in” (since he was going home with equipment, I was encouraged to stay the night with him in a room so that I could operate all of his equipment for 24 hrs and yet still have access to a nurse) on Saturday night so that I could get my last good night of sleep on Sunday before I took him home on Monday. So, that was the plan.

Saturday morning rolled around and it was time for me to change Gabe’s g-tube dressing…the g-tube is literally a tube that goes right into the stomach from the abdominal wall and is held underneath the skin by a small balloon; it looks very primitive. The tube is then taped down over a roll of gauze to prevent it from pulling out and to keep the hole perfectly round in preparation of having a Mic-key button put in its place. Changing the dressing of the g-tube was a stressful thing for me already because to me, that’s the most opportune time for the tube to accidentally be pulled out. So I’m changing this tube, I’m frustrated because the tape is sticking, I’m sweating because I’m frustrated, and I’m on the verge of tears…so much so that the nurse told me to calm down. I stepped away to pump and to collect myself. In that time, I realized that this was all displaced something. Frustration. Anger. Fear. Something. Now that Gabriel was about to go home, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to provide for him like the NICU had done, that I would forget to give him his meds or give him the wrong dose, that his tube would come out… that I would fail. I felt like I was anticipating something horrible.

Well, the previous week Gabriel’s doctor and I discussed having Gabe circumcised before he was discharged. His doctor was hesitant since Gabriel was an “older” baby and the foreskin was thicker, which led to an increased risk of bleeding, but he agreed to do the circ. He ended up doing the circ on Saturday afternoon (remember, I’m rooming-in that night). I’ve never seen a circ when it’s first done, so I didn’t know what to expect, especially since the doctor was using a plastibel to hold the skin back. It looked very meaty and bloody to me, but his doctor came back after two hours to check on the bleeding and he said it was fine.

At this point, it was time for us to move into a private room for our rooming-in. About 20 minutes into rooming-in, I went to change Gabriel’s diaper…and it was full of blood. I called the nurse and after she looked at it, she got the night doctor…who then called a urologist because they couldn’t get the bleeding to stop. I almost passed out…blood doesn’t bother me, but the thought of Gabriel having to stay longer in the NICU, the thought that he may need another blood transfusion, the thought that something may be very wrong…just too much.

The urologist came late that night. Since the nurses were applying pressure to stop the bleeding, the plastibel was shifted out of place and had to be taken off. When the circ was first done, Gabriel received a shot of lidocaine to numb the area so he wouldn’t feel anything…but this time the urologist couldn’t use any numbing agent. He had to take the plastibel off and stitch the skin down to hold it back…without any pain relief. This procedure was done in a closed room across the hall from Gabe’s patient room…he screamed the whole time. Afterward they wheeled him back in his bed and he just laid there and looked at me, eyes red and glossy. It was horrible. Needless to say, they wanted to monitor him overnight to make sure he hadn’t lost too much blood so I didn’t room-in. I went home. Again. Without my baby.

Gabriel did not end up needing a transfusion and I was able to room-in with him on Sunday night. It was a smooth night…with hardly any sleep! It was the first time that I had eaten in the same room as Gabriel. The first time I held him without being attached to a monitor. The first time I slept in the same room as him. It was beautiful.

And that was it. Monday morning I signed papers, went over his discharge summary with his primary nurse, and WE went home. We went home. After 93 days, Gabriel came home with me.first day at home

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2 Responses to NICU Discharge

  1. Tammy says:

    TOTALLY awesome. God is good Katelyn and I love the “WE went home”. There is something very special about Gabriel. Just like his momma. 🙂

  2. Andrea says:

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile and all I can say is I’ve been on pins and needles since your last post about Gabriel. I was introduced to your blog by a friend who’s sister was in the NICU with you (baby Reid). I’m so happy many prayers have been answered for the two of you. I cannot wait to watch him grow up through your blog. He is another miracle baby!

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