Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Auntie Chronicles

Part 1

So I'm an aunt.

Charles is here in case you've missed any and all Facebook status or panicked text messages or emails or all 3.

April went into the ER on the 14th and had an emergency c-section and Charles came 6 weeks early. :)

So now I'm here in the rather beautiful Salt Lake valley doing my best to be of some help to April and Jonathan and I figured that I should be sending out some updates seeing how I have a bit more time and lower stress levels than they do. Also, I'm amazingly funny and miracles like this should be shared.

I rolled in late Saturday night July 18th to Salt Lake and found Jonathan awake for his 36th hour in a row. They have this bench of a couch available for fathers in the rooms but between the nurses on rounds and such he wasn't really sleeping at all.

I saw April and Charles for the first time on Sunday and both looked pretty beat up. However Charles' oxygen was better than April's believe it or not. April went into the ER on Tues night the 14th with horrific pains in her side. It turns out that she was in some of the final stages of pre-eclampsia. Essentially her body was recognizing the baby as a threat and was attacking it. This results in a ridiculous spike of blood pressure (April was in stroke ranges when they were prepping her for c-section), and her liver was shutting down being saturated with red blood cells (that was the pain in her side). Luckily they got her into surgery in plenty of time for Charles to be born unscathed and she got to start recovery.

Charles was at 34 weeks and has been a trooper from the start. He didn't breathe initially and turned a slight shade of periwinkle, I'm told, and they were about to intibate the poor thing but they gave him one puff of oxygen before doing it and not only did he start to breathe but he saw the nurses coming at him with a tube and literally screamed at them. We knew he was going to be OK around then. Since then he has steadily gained weight. He weighed in at 1570 g (that's about 3lbs 6 oz) today. If he keeps gaining at this rate he'll be 4lbs in another week. He is oxygenated and sucking like a pro and charming the nurses and all of his IVs are out. Hes totally on solid food and awake and a generally happy baby. He smiles all the time. He seems like a normal newborn really. The only thing that keeps reminding me that hes a preemie are his kleenex size diapers and how he curls up when he sleeps. You can see how they tuck him in pretty tight and let him feel wrapped up like hes still in the womb.

I am pretty much a novice at this whole preemie baby and NICU thing so its been a fantastic learning experience for me, as cliche as that sounds. The NICU is a fascinating place. April and I go in the mornings for the 8 am feeding and then she and Jonathan go back at night for the 8 pm feeding. The Gardner Women's Center is a great facility and security wise, tight as a drum. There are 3 secured doors with call buttons we have to go through to get into the NICU and even then we have to sign in and there are cameras everywhere. There are sick-os who steal babies and that makes me a bit sad, but it makes me more comfortable having Charles there.

There is a huge scrub station/sink type apparatus when you first walk in and all jewelry has to be removed and you have to literally scrub in like a surgeon before you get to go anywhere in the NICU. My nails have never been cleaner. There are 4 parts to the NICU; A, B, C, D. D is the high risk unit or where the really new ones are and as they get older and healthier they move up the alphabet. Charles was moved from D to B this evening. He turned a week old yesterday.

What I'm doing here is pretty boring aside of getting to go to the hospital. I'm essentially April's chauffeur/assistant. A lot of basic things are still a struggle for her. Like fastening seat belts and being on her feet more than 15 minutes so I'm keeping the laundry to a minimum and the dishes done and the pumping equipment sterilized. Thankfully April is producing enough to keep Charles off of formula but its an endeavor. There's lots of boiling and labeling and refrigerating. Let me tell ya, I'm sure you ALL know this through life experience but having a kid changes EVERYTHING.

Having me here has let Jonathan go back to work which is a very good thing seeing how LANDesk is starting the blitz portion of a new software roll-out and Jonathan needs to be there for that. I'm glad I could be here to facilitate something of this adventure.

Thats about it for now. We've got an early morning tomorrow so I better get off but here are some pics. More are sure to follow. I'll do my best to not to be the nauseating aunt with tons of lizard baby pics. But c-section babies tend to be a beautiful (no squishing and mashing) and - well - he's a Long. How can he not be a lady killer? Seriously...


Rachel said...

Yay nephews!!

He's fantastic.

Nicole said...

I'm so excited for your family! And I'm so happy that you've been able to help out and be a part of the action. I'm sure you'll always have an extra special bond with Charles after all that you've experienced in the last week.