February 28, 2011

On the lighter side

This morning, Zoey's tummy was so round and hard, doctors ordered an X-ray to ensure there were no problems. They saw nothing abnormal.

This afternoon, she pooped so incredibly huge, it required seven diapers.

That's my girl.

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I really don't need these kinds of stories haunting my brain.

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February 27, 2011

Keep Your Arms Inside the Cart At All Times

From day one, the NICU doctors and nurses have repeatedly told us each preemie experience is unique, but they're all roller coaster rides of epic ups and soul-crushing downs. Beyond that, the roller coaster analogy simply breaks apart, because roller coaster rides are generally an enjoyable experience, whereas the NICU experience just generally sucks.

It's more apt to characterize the NICU experience as a manic-depressive journey you have no choice but to embark upon.

As you may have surmised, Zoey took a few steps back today from yesterday's unexpected and substantial advances. For starters, she's back on the CPAP, because she was having too many--and severe--apnea spells when wearing just the nasal O2 cannula. She can still go an occasional hour without the CPAP, but the longer term trial is on hold until she gets her strength back.

While going back on the CPAP wasn't completely unexpected, the impact to Zoey's strength is very disappointing because it means Kangaroo Care is also on hold. Now, while I enjoy Kangaroo Care, my wife depends on it. For her, holding Zoey is as necessary as breathing itself, so when she was told she couldn't hold Zoey last night or this morning, it was like kicking her in the stomach.

There's still some hope my wife will be able to hold Zoey tonight, but I'm dreading they'll say no, because it casts a shadow over everything we do until she's able to hold her again.

At least it gives us another "up" to look forward to, if nothing else.

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February 26, 2011

CPAP Surprise

We arrived at the hospital this afternoon, and when I approached Zoey's incubator, I did my reflexive glance towards her CPAP monitor to check her O2 rate.

But. . . there was no monitor. I then looked back at Zoey and realized. . . she wasn't wearing the CPAP headgear. No CPAP? NO CPAP?!!

Apparently, at 11 a.m. today it was determined Zoey had done so well during her one hour breaks from the CPAP earlier this week, they wanted to try it longer term to see how she reacts. So, she's only wearing a tiny nasal O2 cannula.

And she's LOVING IT! Zoey's just stretched out, with her hands on the sides of her head, totally at ease with this most excellent development.

Zoey had always fought with the CPAP--it was clearly an uncomfortable apparatus for her to endure--so seeing her in her incubator unencumbered by the annoying device provided a huge emotional lift for my wife and me.

She's also 2 lbs 9 ozs today which--for those of you playing at home--is double her Dec. 30 birth weight.

Now, if you'll excuse me, we have to give our daughter a bath.

Yes, this has been one of those good days we've been waiting around for.

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February 25, 2011

Chillin' With Dad

UPDATE: I should note she's now able to experience up to an hour or more off the CPAP, which she LOVES, and then it just becomes too much. She also was weighed after this Kangaroo Care session. She was up 10 grams.

She's going to poop like an elephant tomorrow.

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The Late Show

My wife insists she wants me to hold Zoey tonight during Kangaroo Care instead of her. This is the equivalent of Michael Moore giving up cheeseburgers or highly disingenuous "documentary" film making.

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Holy Crap. An Insta-Three-Peat.

Linked once again by Instapundit! Thank you for all the comments and e-mails. Preemie and NICU stories are more common than you'd like to think.

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February 24, 2011

New Digs, Part Deux

Zoey was moved yet again today, this time to an entirely different NICU room. It's a room for babies who aren't in need of quite the same intensive care of the previous room. I like to think of the new room as NICU-Lite.

The move was necessitated by an influx of new babies, and the anticipation of another set of twin preemies arriving in the next few days. Yesterday was the first time I actually saw a baby smaller than Zoey, although the baby was still way bigger than Zoey's birth weight.

There's a part of me that suspects one consideration that went into Zoey's new accommodations was to soften the emotional impact on us when the set of preemie twins arrives. I could be wrong, but it makes sense.

It's funny to think of Zoey being in the NICU-Lite room. We were told about the extra NICU rooms way back during the first week or so when we were just beginning this journey, and I remember thinking how far away into the future it would be before we'd see Zoey in one of those rooms. Even two weeks ago, it seemed it would be at least another month before they'd even consider such a move.

Yet, there she is, and she's doing fantastic. And I can barely bring myself to believe it.

Cautious optimism, indeed.

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February 23, 2011


I wish I had something poignant to write, but Zoey is doing well, and apparently filling diapers like tankards of ale, according to the nurses and my wife.

My wife and I did have our taxes calculated today, and for the first time since. . . I have no idea. . . we don't have to pay MORE to the IRS.

That's pretty much thanks to Finn. Another gift from him, I suppose.

He should still be with his sister, but I guess that's neither here nor there. It's just another way in which we're reminded how much being a family of five was once our impending reality, but now it isn't, like the two unopened crib boxes in the porch, or the fifth dining-room-set-matching chair we discovered by accident and bought at a furniture store's clearance section shortly after we learned we were having twins, and we thought we were so fortunate.

We were a family of five though, for three days.

Three days. . .

It was an unexpected, irritating, terrible, scared, terrified, helpless, sad, happy, mad, angry, determined, exhausted, confused (not necessarily in that order, but kind of) and--in the end--resolute (for me) three days.

Finn still has a chair. I guess he'll always have that chair.

Until his brother and sister break it, which they will.

I bet Finn would have broken it, too.


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February 22, 2011

The Others

Since Zoey was moved out of her private NICU corner real estate all those couple days ago and was placed in a far more open area, I've become acutely aware of all the other babies in the room.

Technically--for the purposes of privacy and patient confidentiality and such--we're not supposed to take too much of an interest in the other babies unless we've taken time to engage with the parents. Because we've only really been exposed to the wider NICU world for a couple days, however, I've come to realize I don't really know any of the other parents.

So, when I'm standing over Zoey's incubator and she's gripping my finger, I exist kind of in this weird nether-world where I'm literally surrounded by babies that I'm not supposed to be looking at, but it's IMPOSSIBLE not to look, so I find myself doing this furtive glance thing where I quickly scan the room and then look back down at Zoey.

The whole experience reminds me of a nude beach on Maui called "Little Makena" that I visited several times when my family met for Christmas on the island for many years. It was the same idea, in that there were naked people EVERYWHERE, but it was considered impolite to stare, but they were NAKED PEOPLE, and some of them were playing VOLLEYBALL, so I simply had to at least look around.

So, yeah, our new NICU location is like that, except with babies.

You know what? Scratch that analogy. It sounds entirely too creepy.

Anyway, my primary reason for wanting to look around at the other babies is to see how much size difference there is between Zoey and the others. So far, it's no contest as Zoey is hands down the smallest baby in the room. There are other small babies, to be sure, but I'm fairly certain they could all take Zoey in a fight, if it were to come down to that, although I can't possibly imagine that happening.

If that did happen, however, my Flip video camera had sure as hell better be working.

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Homer Continued

ASIAN CURIO SALESMAN/DOCTOR: Your daughter's ROP test looked good, and she is resting comfortably.

ME: That good!

ASIAN CURIO SALESMAN/DOCTOR: But we'll need to do a follow-up ROP test next week as a comparison.

ME: That's bad.

ASIAN CURIO SALESMAN/DOCTOR: But if we do find a problem, it's 90 percent correctable through surgery.

ME: That's good!

ASIAN CURIO SALESMAN/DOCTOR: But be advised, any surgery on a baby so small carries increased risk.

ME: That bad.

ASIAN CURIO SALESMAN/DOCTOR: I've made more money during this conversation than you'll be able to pay off in a lifetime.

ME: . . .


ME: I'm going to go now.

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February 21, 2011

Next Up: The Eyes

While I wouldn't characterize our situation as even remotely lucky, we are fortunate in that we live so close to the hospital. Whereas we're only a few minutes away, there are families with babies here who have to travel 40 minutes or more one way. I can't imagine the logistical hurdles that have to be overcome for that kind of commute commitment, to say nothing of the extra emotional burden.

Zoey has been on preemie cruise control, so to speak, for about the last week or so. Her numbers have been steady and she's been putting on weight to the tune of an ounce or more each day. The NICU is probably one of the only places on earth where doubling your weight is considered a milestone worthy of celebration. If I doubled my weight in less than two months, I'd be an object of derision--although at the rate I've been eating fast food lately, it's not entirely beyond the realm of possibility.

Ah, but in the NICU, you're never far from the next screeching "BUT," he wrote, giggling.

BUT, tomorrow morning will be Zoey's first Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) test, for which doctors and nurses alike have been bracing us. As if a test to determine eye development and possible blindness isn't jarring enough, the test itself can be extremely irritating for preemies. Not that being poked and prodded in the eyes as an adult is considered a theme park ride but, for preemies, the experience can be downright exhausting, and the reaction to the eye drops can cause Zoey's current steady numbers to fluctuate. Also, feedings will be suspended for at least three hours, which would make even me a bit grumpy. Regardless, my wife and I are planning on being on hand first thing in the morning when they administer the drops.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how awesome the nurses and doctors have been through all this. My wife is much better with all their names and faces, owing primarily to her spending much more time in the NICU than me. I, on the other hand, have become an expert on NickJr programming and conjuring meals for our toddler boy. I'm also one of the world's foremost practitioners of the art of smelling a dirty diaper from five rooms away.

The nurses are the NICU's rotating miracle workers. They adjust drug and O2 levels throughout the day and conduct regular cares with enviable professionalism and skill. Each nurse has her own subtle different ways of conducting their daily duties, and it's become impossible for my wife and me not choose our "favorites." They're all excellent, of course, but some nurses just have personalities and ways of doing things we naturally prefer over others. Yeah, we're preferential jerks like that.

The doctors, too, have all been great, although I've admittedly avoided too much interation with them, owing to a certain level of "trigger shyness" when remembering Finn's constantly grim prognosis updates. There's a part of me that has tended to err on the side of "ignorance is bliss" when it comes to talking to the doctors after those horrible first few days.

Here's hoping Zoey takes tomorrow's ROP test in stride. It sucks requiring her to endure something new when she's just now seemingly figured out this whole NICU experience.

UPDATE: The geek in me wants to add "THE EYES, BOO! GO FOR THE EYES!" But, I won't go all Minsc on you.

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Strength Where You Can Get It

Commenter pjMom steered me to this site: http://mikeandollie.wordpress.com/

It's a better chronicle of the NICU experience than you'll find here, and it was originally written--on pen and paper, when such things existed--back in 1991-1992.

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February 20, 2011

New Digs

Zoey was moved out of the private NICU room she's inhabited since Dec. 30. Another preemie baby is being brought in who needs the room more than my daughter.

It's almost alien for me to entertain the idea there's a baby who is more in need of NICU care, but then I have to remind myself Zoey's been in that room--gradually getting better, stronger and bigger--for over a month-and-a-half.

And then I feel terrible for the incoming baby and family who are about to inhabit that NICU room and experience what no family should. More emotional drama plays out in this NICU hospital wing than I ever previously considered. It's not all bad emotional drama, but the good drama is definitely a distant second.

Zoey's incubator is now in a corner, with a window view overlooking a. . . McDonalds. It's not exactly an ocean view, but if I close my eyes, I can almost smell the McNuggets cooking.

I guess that's sort of an improvement.

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A double-lanche?

Most bloggers spend their blogging existence wondering what it would be like to be linked by Instapundit even once.

I've now been Insta-lanched twice, thanks to the Blogfather.

I don't suggest going the preemie route to obtain this particular honor, however.

Stick with politics, or whatever. Faster please. Heh.

Thanks again, Glenn.

And thanks to all who take the time to comment and share your stories and best wishes. I read them to my wife at night almost as a kind of therapy. It helps, seriously.

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February 19, 2011

Mechanical Life Again

In completely preemie-unrelated news, well, sort of, today I managed to push my car into a position where I could jump start it using my wife's VW Jetta.

For those of you who don't know--which should pretty much be everyone because I've never mentioned it--the car I usually drive/drove (Cadillac Eldorado. . . stop laughing) has been sitting dormant outside since late December when all this drama started, because the car was covered with snow and the temperatures have been cold enough to extinguish the sun--and car batteries--and I didn't have the time or energy to free it from its icy tomb, let alone push the Franken-Caddy into place to connect the electrodes and cackle "IT'S ALIVE! ALIVE!!!!"

Also, I was afraid to push the Caddy into place because it could have blocked our primary vehicle, the Jetta, from leaving the driveway if it didn't start. It's hard to explain unless you know our property/house layout, which you shouldn't unless you're stalking us, or did a Google earth search, but don't do that.

Anyway, after attaching the jumper cable leads--and protecting my face from exploding battery acid by looking away as my father always suggests--I let the German and American car duo exchange electricity for several minutes and. . . the Caddy huffed and sputtered and SPRANG TO LIFE! "IT WAS ALIVE! ALIVE!!!! SIEG HEIL!!"

As I was driving the car for the first time in almost two months, I noticed a shopping list on the passenger seat from one of the last times I drove the car. It was a final-minute Christmas list of stocking stuffer ideas for my wife. Among the items: "Cradle bedsheets for a boy and girl."

We have, since Christmas, returned all but one of the sheets.

Still, I'm not going to lie, seeing that list again was tough.

But, hey! Two vehicles again!

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February 18, 2011

The Mind. It Goes

It's astonishing how much I can't remember day-to-day lately.

The constant stress, combined with the lack of sleep has taken a mental toll that's difficult to measure, at least until this afternoon when I found myself sitting on the couch during my son's nap, and I couldn't for the life of me remember what the hell I fed him for breakfast.

Lunch I could remember, because it had just been an hour previous. But breakfast? No damned idea whatsoever.

You know your mind has been compromised when you find yourself digging through the trash, trying to find some sort of reminder as to what you fed your son that very morning.

At least I knew today was Friday, but I only really remembered that because yesterday was Thursday, which was my day to do Kangaroo Care with my daughter. I held her for over two hours, and she did fabulous, without experiencing even one apnea spell, although her heart rate dipped a couple times, but she pulled herself back up without requiring external stimulation.

I just re-read that last sentence using the voice of the Asian curio shop salesman who sold Homer the cursed Krusty doll, and that perfectly captures the daily NICU experience.

NURSE: Your daughter is doing well, and you can hold her.

ME: That's good!

NURSE: But beware, she could have apnea spells.

ME: Ooh, that's bad.

NURSE: But she'll probably pull herself out of them.

ME: That's good!

NURSE: But sometimes she won't.

ME: That's bad.

NURSE: But we can increase her oxygen to help her back up.

ME: That's good!

NURSE: But too much oxygen can damage her lungs and other organs.

ME: That's bad.

NURSE: But she's made it to 30 weeks development, which is a big accomplishment for a girl born at 23 weeks.

ME: That's good!

NURSE: But she has a long ways to go and could have lots of ups and downs between now and April.

ME: . . .

NURSE: That's bad.

ME: Can I hold her now?

So, yeah, anyway, it's Friday, and the weekend could entail a major "snow event" as the meteorologists are fond of calling blizzards nowadays, so I'm sure that will complicate our schedule and routine that don't actually exist, but it's fun to pretend they do.

Oh, and for those of you I left hanging in serious suspense earlier: Oatmeal. I fed my boy oatmeal for breakfast. It was apple and cinnamon oatmeal, if the package I found in the trash is to be believed.

Just in case you don't know the Simpsons episode (and you should be ashamed if you don't):

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February 17, 2011

Ahhh, no CPAP

After I held Zoey during Kangaroo Care today for over two hours, she had a brief moment to enjoy some time without her CPAP vent. She was very expressive.

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February 16, 2011

Caution, meet wind. Wind. Caution.

I've always been a rather deliberate individual, with only occasional sojourns into the world of the unexpected. I'm not boring, just. . . cautious.

This has been particularly true when it comes to my finances. I considered it a badge of honor to have saved enough money to last over two years in the event of an employment/income emergency, and I can count on one hand the number of considerably big purchases I've made in my lifetime. I usually have to sacrifice a chicken and a goat, and then read their entrails before I'll put more than $1,000 towards anything. That alone could become expensive, because goats just don't come cheap.

That was before the waning days of 2010, when the fecal excrement came into contact with the oscillating air circulation machine. This last month and a half, I've regarded my savings as something that's just not all that important right now, so I tend to look at certain purchases in a different light.

For example, our digital camera just up and stopped working Sunday night. Ordinarily, I'd hem and haw and dither about what to do, but because we wanted photos of our daughter on Valentine's Day, I just up and went to Best Buy and bought a new camera. The precarious nature of Zoey's day-to-day existence just trumps any financial considerations.

If, tomorrow, a specialist were to tell me to pay him $5,000 to perform an immediate procedure that could improve her chances by one percent, I wouldn't be able to write a check fast enough.

Of course, all of this NICU care is going to cost astronomically more than $5,000, but I'm trying to stay within my own current financial reality to make a fairly sappy point.

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February 15, 2011

No Sleep For You!

Sleep is one of the more uncertain aspects of our daily lives. It's more complicated for my wife, since she has to wake up at least twice during the night to pump milk, and getting back to sleep for her can be a challenge.

For me, the trick is being able to fall asleep at all. My old college-era companion, insomnia, has begun to rear its unwelcome head. Unlike college, I feel like I can't just chase it away with Unisom or something similar because--if we should receive one of those hair-straightening NICU calls in the middle of the night--I don't want to be in one of those sleeping pill hazes during which I put socks on my hands, throw a pair of boxer shorts over my head and hop into a motorized vehicle, which I'd promptly navigate into a creek.

Thankfully, it's not perpetual insomnia. I'll have nights I can sleep fairly well, and then I'll have other nights during which the sound of mouse farts make my eyes flick open, never to be shut again, or at least until 5 or 6 a.m., at which point I drift off for a brisk 20 minutes before our 16-month-old wakes up and demands my immediate attention.

I actually dozed off ever so briefly when I was holding my daughter during Kangaroo Care the last time. It's a bit tricky NOT to doze off, to be perfectly honest. First of all, it's very dark in Zoey's NICU room, and it's kind of warm. And, when the symphony of bells and alarms aren't playing their discordant tunes, it can be very peaceful. Finally, holding a little grapefruit of a human being requires a sort of stillness that can normally only be obtained by Buddhist monks in deep meditation. All of this combines into a perfect calm that practically insists I fall asleep.

As I said, I only dozed off briefly last time, but when I pulled myself back to consciousness, the feeling of clammy dread that came with it ensured that particular evening would see no more sleep for me, thank you very much. I spent that night editing and categorizing Flip videos.

One video in particular I watched over and over again. It was a 30 second segment my wife recorded of me. . . sleeping. I look so peaceful and content and worry free.

Stupid video.

Posted by Ryan at 07:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Normally when I see a bunch of comments from people I don't know, I assume I'm being comment spammed.

I don't know what else to say but thank you for your comments and e-mails.

The morning call into the NICU today confirmed Zoey is still chugging along, with the usual apnea spells and other preemie hiccups that would otherwise give me a minor heart attack but under the current surreal circumstances are considered oddly routine.

Again, thank you so much for all the words of encouragement and support. It's surprising how much it all helps.

Posted by Ryan at 07:26 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 13, 2011

Fairly Unfair

It's funny sometimes what things really annoy me lately. Tonight, for example, every pop machine was sold out of Diet Pepsi, and I literally screamed "That's not fair!" at the pop machine in the deserted basement. Obviously, I'm not actually that upset about a lack of Diet Pepsi, but I had just seen my daughter two minutes prior and I was basically yelling what I wanted to yell in her room.

Not that she's doing any worse or anything like that, but repeatedly seeing her wired like some sort of human experiment just wears on me after awhile and, since we're almost at the 1.5 month point of this experience, I think that qualifies as "after awhile."

It's remarkable how poor my diet has been these last several weeks, and by remarkable I mean it's a bit surprising I'm still alive. It doesn't help that the two closest and convenient food outlets on the way home are KFC and McDonald's. Not that there's anything wrong with an occasional sojourn to either of those bastions of culinary excellence, but three or four times a week tends to make my arteries feel as though I'm packing them like a musket.

In other news, there's an abandoned "Vanity Fair" magazine next to the keyboard, and Justin Bieber is on the cover, his face and shirt are covered in lip prints, and the sub-head reads "Is This the Adorable, Inescapable Face of 2011?"

Say it with me, everyone:


UPDATE: Thanks, Glenn. I don't know what to say, except to everyone who has e-mailed me, thank you so much for the support. It helps so much knowing we're not alone. If I weren't so tired right now, I'd write more. And, holy crap, an Instalanche. Thank goodness for insomnia, I guess, or I may not have realized it.

Posted by Ryan at 07:28 PM | Comments (26) | TrackBack

February 11, 2011

The Two Pounder

Zoey tipped the scales today at 2 lbs .5 oz. It's a milestone of sorts, although she could and likely will dip back below the two pound mark over the next couple days. It's the preemie version of a stock market correction.

You wouldn't think the weather would factor into our daily concerns, but it does. During the last interminable cold snap, just the act of getting into the car and driving to the hospital weighed down our ambition. Going to a hospital under the best of circumstances typically isn't a particular joy. Going to a hospital during weather conditions cold enough to crack bone marrow tends to grate on the nerves after awhile.

So, we're poised to embark on a stretch of weather that should be above the freezing point, and that enchirpens the soul, to use a word that doesn't exist, but totally should. In fact, I'm going to try to say "enchirpen" to a complete stranger during the next week, just to see if the person looks a tad more upbeat. I mean, I just said "enchirpen" quietly to myself several times, and I'm feeling pretty close to fantastic.

To reiterate, Zoey is now a two pound baby, which totally enchirpens my day.

Posted by Ryan at 04:44 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 09, 2011

The Learning Curve

It's weird to think keeping perpetual watch over a preemie child can become routine, but it does, in a sort of non-routine way. I suppose that doesn't make sense unless you experience it all firsthand.

My wife usually wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to pump and save milk, and I get up at that time to transition to the couch, so she can go back to bed after pumping and not be woken up by me at 6:45 a.m. when I get up with our son. It's an odd early-morning tango that seems to work, at least for the time being.

As I said, I get up with our son, and I spend the next few hours playing with him and preparing his breakfast. Once he's in his high chair, chomping away and watching the NickJr channel, I call the NICU to get a Zoey update. The act of me calling is actually sort of a relief in its own way, because if the NICU calls me. . . well, those just aren't good calls. Thankfully, I haven't had an incoming NICU call for some time. Still, a call to the NICU can be comforting or concerning, depending on a lot of factors I wasn't even remotely familiar with before Christmas.

For example: oxygen levels. I've known for some time earth's normal oxygen level is about 20 percent, but I've never obsessed over that tidbit of information. In the NICU, however, the oxygen percentage is a number I watch like a stock trader.

For a preemie, too much oxygen can actually be quite harmful, but it's also necessary for the blood to maintain a healthy oxygen level, so there's this delicate balancing act constantly going on that can make me nauseous at times. If I come into the room and see an oxygen level at over 60 percent, my mind starts to race, when such a level normally just means Zoey had an apnea spell and needs more oxygen to bring her back up.

"Bring her back up" is a term used to refer to her heart rate, which can dive during an apnea spell like a WWII bomber taking flak. Apnea spells are totally common and expected for preemies on CPAP ventilation, and the nurses treat most spells like they forgot to add a bit of extra sugar to their muffin recipe. When I'm in the room during an apnea spell and see the heart rate plummet, however, I look for a public address microphone to call in a crash cart--not for my daughter, but for me.

There are other terms, like PEEP, which refers to how much pressure is being forced into her CPAP vent which, like golf, is better the lower the number. And, like golf, when I hear a low number, I want to cheer and clap quietly. And, like golf, when I hear a high number, I blame Tiger Woods and his infidelity.

There are other inquiries during the "routine" morning NICU call, like how the morning chest X-ray looked (the term usually used is "cloudy," like we're talking about the weather), or if any blood transfusions are anticipated, and it's all absorbed like I'm calling about a car in the shop.

There's so much more I've learned. Did you know they give preemies caffeine to keep them alert enough to breathe? Take THAT people who said my Diet Pepsi addiction was harming me; I'm BREATHING aren't I?

Also, I've learned, actually relearned, I can love someone so entirely, a part of me will go if they go.

So, Zoey's sticking around, or I'll kick her ass.

Posted by Ryan at 09:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 08, 2011

Who Put This Bear Here!!


I won't tell you how small that bear actually is. I'll just say, there's no way a human being would otherwise be smaller than the bear.

Posted by Ryan at 01:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 07, 2011

Basic Yet Tough

I was able to do an hour of Kangaroo Care with Zoey on my chest this afternoon. She did awesome, with only one short apnea spell.

I have to say, unless you've held a baby that weighs less than two pounds--a baby that grasps at your chest and opens her eyes to investigate what's going on--you better have a really excellent argument for why abortion should be legal after a certain point. Like, a really solid, air tight argument.

I'm still not entirely certain what "a certain point" is, but I've definitely had reason to reflect on this particular human quandary over the last several weeks.

I'm not an expert, mind you. I'm just a father who is taking a crash course and is asking himself some basic yet tough questions.

Posted by Ryan at 08:58 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

February 06, 2011

Having Pun with the Egypt Protests

Anyone who has absorbed any amount of global news over the last few weeks knows there are massive protests taking place in the country of Egypt.

As a columnist, I feel it is my duty explain why the Egyptian protests are happening so we as Americans can better understand a people and a country with one of the planet's most rich and storied histories.

As Pharos anyone can tell, the protesters have Ra emotions and want the immediate departure of their president, Hosni Mubarak, who has held his position since 1981. After 30 years, Egyptians believe he's ruled for too long and has become an out-of-touch Giza, although some take it even further.

"He's not just a Giza, he's a total cartouche bag," said protester Ahmed Khalid, 44. "He mastaba lot of nerve, denying the will of the people. How Darius! He's promised us many things over the years, but has always failed to deliver on his promises. In my opinion, Egypt us! He thinks he's above the people, that he's somehow too Khufu school."

Mubarak has steadfastly refused to step down, insisting the protesters are merely part of a great pyramid scheme to oust him from power. In public appearances, Mubarak has been defiant but is clearly showing the strain, with a Horus voice some suspect may be the result of a sore sarcophagus. To assuage his critics, he dissolved his unpopular cabinet, proclaiming "I have let my people go."

"Clearly he's a bit of a Nut, but he's a Tefnut to crack," said protester Mahmoud Shah, 32. "He's been fortunate up until now, but he's pushed his Luxor a bit too far. He repeatedly Ramses unpopular policies through that aren't at all Pharaoh to the people of Egypt. We need to invest in our country's future, but he's too much of a Cheopskate to provide funding."

Although Egyptian protests seem like a rare event, in fact they're not Tutankhamun. These protests, however, have taken up almost all of Mubarak's attention, in addition to a workload that has him Vizier than at any other time during his presidency.

"I Ahmose feel sorry for him sometimes; OK, not really," said protester Mustaf Achmed, 26. "Anubis day would come eventually, and I'm so Hapi to be a part of it all. I don't care what Mubarak Sphinx--he's on his way out."

NOTE: With a hat-tip to LearnedFoot for many of these pun gems.

Posted by Ryan at 08:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Annnd, we're up again

After a couple days of Zoey doing less than ideal, she's had an excellent day today. I could get an opportunity to do Kangaroo Care tomorrow. Hopefully, I won't hold her like she's a nuclear device about to explode like I did last time.

Gotta enjoy these good days for everything they're worth.

Posted by Ryan at 06:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 04, 2011

Million Dollar Baby

The financial considerations surrounding all this unfolding human drama has been difficult for me to confront so far, for a number of reasons.

1) I just plain don't have the energy to deal with thinking about how we're going to pay for all this. All our energy is expended visiting the hospital and keeping our 16-month-old fed, rested and happy on the homefront. Taken together, it's all incredibly exhausting. Besides that, I'm basically resigned to some sort of indentured servitude when all is said and done.

2) Both my wife and I are simply sleep-deprived and not thinking clearly anyway and we certainly aren't lucid enough to cram our brains with numbers and financial options and loopholes.

3) I think there's a valid argument to be made that we're both just slightly depressed. I don't know what depression feels like, but I do know I haven't felt remotely normal, psychologically, since Finn died.

4) What efforts we have embarked on when it comes to securing aid has resulted in us being told we have too much in assets to qualify. In order to obtain medical assistance, you apparently first have to empty your bank accounts and renounce all wordly possessions. That's somewhat depressing in its own unique way.

5) We're simply focused on the day-to-day journey of eventually bringing Zoey home, even though by the time we do so, "home" could consist of a van down by the river.

Posted by Ryan at 06:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 03, 2011

I see you in the ICU

Posted by Ryan at 07:56 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The Eyes Have It

Today, Zoey had her eyes open the widest they've been so far. She totally has her big brother Aiden's eyes, so much so, for a brief while today, she reminded me of the tense first minutes after Aiden was born during which he sleepily opened and closed his eyes.

Thankfully, I took some video of Zoey today, so I can compare and contrast her and Aiden.

It's funny what I get excited about lately.

Posted by Ryan at 05:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2011

Good-bye, January

I can't say adieu to the month of January emphatically enough.

Good riddance.

February 1, 2011, and Zoey now weighs 1 lb. 10.5 oz. A long ways to go, but she's come a long way. Some additional cloudiness in her lung x-ray this morning necessitated more steroids today, which always makes her more fidgety and anxious. Still, it's remarkable how just a few extra ounces of weight has made her face fill in.

All in all, she's doing very well--probably better than her parents, at this point.

Posted by Ryan at 06:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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