ICU can seem such a sterile, foreign and intense ward, with nurses and doctors always overseeing every detail of our child’s life, and yet in that we’ve also had the joy of being able to help look after Hannah.
No two days in the Grace Centre are the same – but I still thought I’d tell you a bit about what usually happens over the course of a day and the sort of routine we are slowly getting used to.
Every 4 hours Hannah’s nurse completes her ‘cares’ routine. We’ve been able to help with gently cleaning her eyes and mouth with cotton wool buds, moisturising her mouth, changing her nappy (which is complicated by all of her tubes!) and repositioning her so she doesn’t lie in the one spot for too long.
Each morning the specialists and doctors make their rounds to visit each of the babies. We try to get there for these times and are encouraged to ask questions and clarify information that we’re not sure about. Hannah also has some regular tests including echocardiograms and x-rays to see how her shunt is settling.
Yesterday Hannah’s ventilation tube was removed and she was slowly brought off the sedation medication and morphine. As these heavy drugs leave her system she’s slowly waking up and beginning to get very hungry!
Feeding is pretty tiring for our little girl, so every 2-3 hours she is fed either through her nasal gastric tube or if she’s awake enough and wants to from a bottle.
Hannah’s new love of milk means I have to get busy! There’s a comfortable expressing room (which I affectionately call the milking yard) where four mums can express at a time. We each have kits that fit into the pumps and a storeroom with procedures for labelling and storing milk and cleaning our equipment. Even as I transition to breastfeeding over the next few days Hannah will still need a top up so I will be expressing for a while to come. So far I’ve found it a bit hard to get used to, but it’s worthwhile when I see Hannah enjoying it!
There’s no doubt these are our favourite times of the day! Before Hannah’s operation both Gus and I got to have some cuddles with Hannah which were lovely. But when she came back from surgery we had to wait a couple of days as it was logistically too hard to get her out of bed – she had a ventilation tube, nasal gastric feeding tube, jugular line in her neck, femoral line in her groin, cannulas in two hands and one foot, a catheter, monitors on her chest for blood pressure, and a chest drain. But now that they’re gradually being removed she’s able to be moved a bit more freely.
Yesterday afternoon we were encouraged to enjoy some skin to skin time with Hannah, which is an important bonding time. Between Gus and I we were able to enjoy 5 continual hours of time with her lying on our chests – which the nurses think is a record! We were both very content to stay put and enjoy holding our little one for as long as we could. Hopefully in coming days as Hannah is able to have more bottle/breast feeds we will get to spend more time cuddling her!
The last couple of days have been very positive in terms of Hannah’s recovery from the surgery and progression to feeding and sleeping well. That is such a beautiful answered prayer for which we are so thankful for. The resilience and adaptability of newborns is phenomenal, seeing how quickly she has bounced back from such serious surgery has been amazing.
But, we also don’t want to get our hopes up too early – and know that there is a long road ahead to being allowed to bring Hannah home.
Please give thanks…
- For Hannah’s positive progress over the last couple of days
- That we can stay close by enough to Hannah to visit quickly but also get rest, and for the support we have from our church family allowing Gus to take time off so readily
- For the opportunities we have had to meet other parents and have good conversations with the staff here
Please pray for…
- Hannah’s transition to higher volume feeds and less pain medication
- Our trust to remain in Jesus and in God’s sovereignty over our lives, and that we would continue to read our Bibles and pray regularly
- Other parents in the Grace Centre and Paediatric ICU – that those who feel helpless, lost or overwhelmed would know God’s comfort and sustenance