A.T. asks from Colorado Springs, CO on October 08, 2008
I had a little boy 1 1/2 weeks ago. He was only 34 weeks so he was pretty young, but a good healthy weight, 5 lbs. 15 oz. He needed oxygen and was doing pretty well at first. Then they needed turn up his CPAP pressure and it caused his lung to collapse and he had to have a chest tube. Now they are saying he has Bacterial Menengitis and possibly Necrotitis Intercolotis (spelling?) He is going to have to be on 3 strong antibiotics for the next 2-3 weeks. My question is, is this normal for a preemine but seemingly healthy little boy to have so many problems over a week after birth. My feelings on this is that he is contracting these things because he is in the NICU, there are so many people in and out of there and they don't use a lot of hand washing, they mostly use the antibacterial stuff. I'm just not sure about anyof this since when he was born he was doing pretty well, but the longer he stays in there the sicker he gets. Any input and lots of prayers would be appreciated.
M.H. answers from Boise on October 09, 2008
My twins were born at 36 weeks. My son was doing okay but started having problems breathing. They took him to NICU and it was very devistating for me. He weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces, he had tubes and monitors, ect. My daughter weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and she was fine...however, 2 weeks after they were born they both ended up in the hospital for failure to thrive. I think sometimes our babies have a harder time coming into the world. But now my twins just turned 2 and they are doing fine. I will be praying for you.
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J.H. answers from Denver on October 09, 2008
My heart and prayers go out to you. Being a NICU parent can be totally frustrating and you feel so powerless. Our first son was born 6.2 weeks early and stayed in the NICU for 17 days and it was the longest of my life -- and the worst. You walk a fine line between wanting to defend your little one and staying out of the nurse's way. We did question the nurse's practices and went to the head nurse and then her boss. We wanted to take our guy out AMA but thought better against it. When our second was born early and needed oxygen at 4.5 weeks early, I knew how to handle it a lot better. I got a onsite pediatrician, and let each nurse know who came on that I had done this before and every decision was to be cleared with me first -- unless of course it was life threatening. As with the antibactirial stuff, we actually bought some for our home, and use it regularly - it is the best otu there and it doesn't dry the hands -- causing them to crack and then let in more infection. Our second son had to be on strong antibiotics for 48 hours due to what they thought was a lung infection -- they were wrong, and that is why they kept him -- then, once the had him, they impose stringent criteria for release.
My advice to you:know the criteria for release, is it after ther antibiotics are administered, does he have to be able to eat so much and gain a certain amount of weight? Luckily, both the hospitals that I had my kids in (On in WA and the other one at Boulder Foothills) had room in NICU's so I just stayed with the boys. But if you can't, just remembert, he will come home and try to make the best of a hard situation. Keep a daily journal: how much he weighed each day, milestones, if any (came off CPAP) smiled, had a bath, etc...take pictures -- my three year old loves to look at pictures of him with his brother at the hospital. And keeping the journal allows you to see the progress...which is the most important. Write down your feeling and thoughts, which are real and make sure that you don't slip into depression -- it is really common for NICU MOMS to get postpartum depression because you don't get as much contact with your baby, you are pumping all the time and it is just so hard.
If you need someone to talk to or need advice, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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J.P. answers from Salt Lake City on October 09, 2008
I've been there a couple of times. My littlest was born at 25 weeks and was in the NICU for 13 weeks. He had been given antibiotics several different times while he was there. He is a healthy but small 14 year old now. After your son gets out, make sure you get some probiotics in him to help restore what the antibiotics took away. I wish I would have know about probiotics when my son was released. I also have a son born at 32 weeks that is now 19. The sooner he gets home the better for all of you. I know it seems that the whole weight of the world is resting on your shoulders but try to relax and let the doctors and nurses do their job. They've done this a few times. I'll say one for you.
K.C. answers from Cheyenne on October 09, 2008
Hi A., I just wanted to address the issue of the Necrotizing Enterocolitis or NEC as it is sometimes known. I am a nurse and although I have not worked in the NICU I seem to remember from my pediatric rotation that it is something fairly common in babies who are born prematurely.
L.W. answers from Provo on October 09, 2008
I see you have gotten many responses from many others who have also had preemies. My little boy was a 25 week preemie and had several issues, and was in the hospital for 5 1/2 months. The biggest issue for him was also the NEC, which your son has. If I were you, I WOULD NOT take him out of the hospital until that is resolved. My son ended up needing serious surgery due to that, and was saved because of the nurses and doctors who were there for him. If you take him home, the bacteria in his bowels could eat a hole right through them, and you wouldn't know until it's too late.
During the course of our boy's NICU stay, he spent time in two different hospitals (in Utah). At one hospital, we just used the sanitizer, and at the other hospital, we washed from hands to elbow and then used sanitizer as well. If you don't feel that the practices are healthy enough, as a parent you need to talk to someone in charge and ask about it. You are your child's number one advocate.
Also, did they tell you that his lung collapsed because of the CPAP pressure? They turn up the pressure because the baby's blood oxygen level is not high enough and because his lungs are not ventilating well. If you're still confused about something (I know I was confused about A LOT of things for a while), then be sure to ask until you understand.
You can always ask if they have a room where only your baby is instead of several (an isolation room). They did that for my son when they thought he had RSV, although he didn't; and sometimes they just have extra beds. Although it is more expensive for him to be in an isolation room, there won't be near as much people traffic in that area. Your son's weight is a bonus, and it will help him in his fight.
Finally, I know how hard it is to watch your son fight this battle. It's hard to be strong when you don't know where to get your strength, but you will find that you have more than you know! If you ever need to talk or have questions, please feel free to email me at ____@____.com'll keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
J.W. answers from Denver on October 09, 2008
Keep your hands on this family as they go through this rough time. Please give the nurses and the doctors the guidence that they need in order for this little boy to go home healthy and happy. Let them know everyday that you are with them.
In Jesus Name,
A.T. answers from Denver on October 08, 2008
My heart goes out to you. My daugter who is now 4 was born 12 weeks early and spent 11 weeks in the NICU. It is extremely stressful on everyone. She was quite a bit younger than your son, however she was doing great. Then she contracted MRSA which is a staph infection in the lungs. We were told it is a "hospital" illness that most people are carriers but it affects those who are immune compromised, elderly, preemies etc.. I was upset at first, so I know how you feel. However, after meeting many families and nurses I realized this is very common for preemies. I remember them telling us for preemies it is "two steps forward and 1 step back." The NICU we were at sounds like they were stricter with hand washing, however if you feel the hospital you are at is not, talk to the nurses. Most of the nurses in the NICU are amazing, we still keep in touch with a couple of them now. Tell them your concerns and they will help you. The time our daughter spend in the NICU was like a roller coaster ride, some days better than others. We too had other children at home and that was an added stress. My best advice is to take one day at a time, and if that is too much, get through the morning, afternoon, etc..Your son is going to thrive and do great! I know it doesn't seem like it now but you will all make it through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and if you ever need a shoulder to vent to, cry on, or just talk please contact me.
K.C. answers from Salt Lake City on October 09, 2008
I've had too many babies in the NICU. I feel your pain! The answer is yes and no. Anyone can get sick from things in the hospital - it's full of sick people! My husband is a nurse and the saying is, "If you're not sick when you come, you'll be sick before you leave." However, they really do try to minimize cross infections, and the NICU really is the best place for your little one right now. I know its hard to have one at home and one in the hospital! I'm sure you are exhausted! Try to get some sleep! Good luck!