*For the most part I am trying to post about the NICU events chronologically to avoid confusion, but I have skipped ahead in writing about the day Kate and I came home from the hospital. Now, I’m jumping back a day, to the stretch of time all three of us were still spending our nights at the hospital.
It was Super Bowl Sunday. February 2, 2014. It was also the first day London got an echocardiogram (or echo). It revealed that she had a PDA, aka a patent ductus arteriosus, which the NIH describes as this, “The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that allows blood to go around the baby’s lungs before birth. Soon after the infant is born and the lungs fill with air, the ductus arteriosus is no longer needed. It usually closes in a couple of days after birth. If the vessel doesn’t close, it is referred to as a PDA.”
PDAs are not an unusual condition for preemies to have. Girls are more likely to have them as well. Sometimes the PDA naturally closes and other times drugs are necessary to encourage closure. If the PDA is large and resisting drug treatment then surgery is an option. The staff at the hospital was very good in describing the treatment options we had and the prognosis. We decided to treat it with drugs, which are similar to ibuprofen, hoping it would seal up on its own. That same day we decided to stay in the hospital one more night. We loved being just steps from London. Going home didn’t mean we would be so far away, but for one more night we could be across the hall.
Kate’s family left this day as well, but Kendra stayed an extra day. With London resting well, it was time to for
me to go home and prep for the game. I brought back bean dip and smuggled in a couple of beers for myself and a cosmo I made for Kate, the first martini she had after giving birth to London. There was also a bottle of Prosecco. Sadly, smuggling the drinks into the room was more exciting than the Super Bowl itself. I knew it was just the first snap of the game, but I had a gut feeling the Broncos were screwed. From there, things just sort of went downhill. I held on until halftime, but then I wandered over to London’s room and just looked at her, this is something you do a lot of when your kid is in the NICU. Sometimes it is all that you can do. Stand and stare. Worry. Marvel. Pray. Take pictures, like I did that night. Try to let them know you are there, but at the same time wonder if it is really making a difference. To just be present in body, mind, and soul is the best thing you can do for your baby at this stage, but it is the most exhausting thing I have ever done. More on that and the PDA to come…