Usually a baby’s move to the step down room is the last move before they leave the NICU. Usually. But after one week in that room and an unexplainable increase in her bradycardia (a term that translates from Greek to mean slow-heart and means just that, a decrease in heart rate) episodes it was decided that Avery would be moved back to the room that she had originally come from. Obviously we were less than excited about this seemingly bad news. And we had seen a similar situation with friends of ours whose son was moved back into his old room, literally the night before he was scheduled to go home. Oh yeah, and instead of the discharge we had been hoping for, today-Monday, we were also told that she would now be in the hospital at least until Wednesday. My Christmas wish was moving further and further away from reality.
So, this morning as I walked into the room I was not in my best mood. Icing was added to my irritation cake when I explained to the nurse that I did not believe that Avie should have been moved and that her stay in the hospital should not have been extended. Her answer was to basically tell me that I was wrong. After a few minutes of conversational argument I opted to keep my mouth shut as I could see that for one, I was probably wrong anyway and secondly, she was refusing to even hear my side of the argument. Then it happened. While I was feeding a smiling baby who was clearly not in any type of distress, the monitor read that she was having a bradycardia spell. I calmly pointed out to the nurse that these were the same type of spells for which Monday had turned to Tuesday and then Tuesday had turned to Wednesday. It was clear, at least to me, that the monitor was simply not reading correctly. And, as I pointed out to the nurse, we have an apnea monitor at home that Avery will be connected to pretty much all of the time, thus it is my opinion that Avery would be better off at home. Again the argument went to the point where I was being told how wrong I was. I decided that I would be best suited to shut my mouth again and just let Robin do all of the talking when she took over at the hospital. She usually has a cooler head than me.
Then came the visit from the doctor. He first asked how things were going. I shot a look at him that I am sure he felt. Then he asked if I had any questions about when Avie was going to be released and I laughed my snide, sarcastic laugh. He explained to me that he and Avie’s other primary doctor had a long conversation about the topic. Then he asked me if I had her car seat with me and I told him that I did not. He asked if Robin could bring it in and then told me that he hoped to get Avie out of the hospital tomorrow. Suddenly my anger was fading. The doctor ordered that Avery have her car seat challenge (where they place the baby in the car seat for ninety minutes to see if they’re ready for the trip home). I told him that even if she has a problem with it we have a car bed that she can ride home in and he explained that he would still prefer us trying the car seat first. I love this man.
I called Robin and asked her to bring the car seat. While I was on the phone I was trying to get Avery to finish the last of her bottle, with the nurse’s help. I had explained to the nurse that I thought Avery had taken enough, but she insisted in trying to get her to finish the bottle. The baby responded just as I thought she would, with a bradycardia. As I woke her up and then dealt with the reflux that she usually has when she is forced to eat after she is full, I worried that this incident would lead to yet another day. While I do not doubt the abilities or training of the these nurses I fear their motivation at times.
We are still hopeful for a pre-Christmas release from the hospital, but we know that whether she is home before that day or not, our days of visiting her there are coming to an end. Hopefully.