Monday, February 28, 2011

Twins Blog - Feb. 28, 2011 - "Bye bye vent 2"

Recap of events

Over 5lbs each now. Aidan looks particularly chubby.

Ethan was breathing without any assistance whatsoever until just recently when he contracted some sort of bacterial infection. They put his nasal cannula back on but it's on extremely low flow. It will likely come back off in a few days.
Aidan was on CPAP for quite a while. It was an awkward stage. Babies generally don't like CPAP. The apparatus has to be pressed up tight against the nose making it uncomfortable and the hose greatly restricts movement. Back when Ethan was on CPAP, he didn't like it but he was too small and weak to do anything about it. Aidan is now large enough and strong enough to be able to consistently (and constantly) tear away from the nose-piece. He doesn't understand that the only way to get rid of that nose-piece is to keep it on!
Fortunately, he's on nasal cannula since Feb 28. This marks the first time in a long time that we have 2 comparable pictures of the boys taken on the same day.
For a few days Ethan was removed from his incubator and placed in a bassinet wrapped in blankets. We were free to hold him as much as we wanted during visiting hours. We also got to try to bottle feed him. First time didn't go too well. But soon enough, he downed nearly half his bottle before tiring out.

On Feb 21, Ethan moved into another ward which is "less intensive" (as opposed to neonatal intensive care unit). But I guess he didn't like it there because his bowels became distended. As a result, he required multiple IVs inserted back into him. And they placed him back inside an incubator (probably because it's more convenient due to the imminent IV lines).
A doctor attempted to insert the IVs but was unsuccessful for over an hour. Ethan literally had wounds on multiple sites on each of his limbs from this. I had full intention on filing a complaint on this idiot, not for his incompetent skills, but for not requesting assistance after failing numerous times for over an hour and for keeping my boy cold outside his incubator during the whole time. A meeting with his supervisor calmed us down enough to have mercy on that moron.
But seriously, that imbecile just gives the paediatrics staff a bad name. If it were not for my wife insisting to spare him, I would end his medical career right now. Nonetheless, we passed our complaint letter privately to that idiot's supervisor for him to deal with it (as opposed to letting the hospital deal with it).

On Feb 22, they moved Ethan back to the ward he was in initially ie, the "intensive" ward. We're told he's alright and that it's just that he's probably too tired to poop. The NICU nurses shared with us a very odd observation regarding preemies. Most of the time, an infant would either be great at breathing and poor at digesting or great at digesting and poor at breathing. It's rare for a preemie to excel at both feats at the same time. This is certainly the case for our boys. Ethan has got the breathing part, but just not very good at the digestion. We're told Aidan digests everything they put down his feeding tube and poops just fine. But he's still working on the breathing part.

On Feb 27, Ethan had a mild fever and his eyes looked glassy. This means yet another spinal tap to rule out meningitis. This would be his 2nd one. Aidan has had 3 of them already.

There's not much news for Aidan other than he's progressing steadily. We actually would prefer if Ethan was just as newsworthy as Aidan is. In the NICU, no news is good news...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Twins Blog - Feb. 18, 2011 - "Gaining separation"



Feb. 13, 2011
We had our first try at bottle feeding Ethan today. It was a humbling experience and at the end of it, my wife and I were left feeling like we've completely failed at parenting.
What's so hard about bottle feeding, right? Hold the baby, put the bottle in his mouth and he'll happily feed away, right? Not with preemies apparently.
He would suck on the bottle but then couldn't handle the swallowing part as milk would gush out from the sides of his mouth. A few minutes later, he would finally suck and swallow, but would forget to breathe. His whole face turned horrifically blue.
In 15 minutes of bottle feeding, Ethan took in about 5ml while choking back up about 10ml. He was then tube-fed the rest. Sigh...

Feb. 15, 2011
A couple of days ago, Aidan regressed from CPAP back to the traditional vent because of some sort of infection. Today, he's back on CPAP for another go.

Feb. 17, 2011
2 huge milestones for Ethan. He's taken out of his incubator and seems to be just fine regulating his own body temperature. Most importantly, he's taken off the nasal cannula. For the first time ever, he's breathing efficiently on his own without any aid. Now, he just needs to work on feeding!
Aidan is still hanging out in his incubator with CPAP. But he has shown substantial improvement in all areas. I'm estimating he's probably 2 weeks behind Ethan in terms of progress.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cleveland Cavaliers - 55?


First thing that I associate that number with is the number of points Michael Jordan scored against the Knicks in his comeback game. This number could soon have a new association.

If I was a fan of the Cleveland Cavs, I would shudder at the mention of the number 55.

It's not because of the game on Jan. 11, 2011 when the Lakers decimated the Cavs by 55 points and then Lebron made that karma tweet. (That along with James' dropping 38pts on them in their first matchup has to be the low points of the year.)

It's just that they're currently on the longest single-season losing streak in NBA history at 25 losses in a row and they have 30 games to go in the season. This means they have the potential to push this streak to 55.

While I understand that there's always going to be bottom dwellers in the league, you never want to see a team get deflated like this. I'll be rooting for the Cavs to somehow get a win. All this losing is just depressing. Unfortunately, it seems like loss number 55 in a row is in the rear-view mirror of these guys. That is, it's closer  than it appears.

Update: It appears the Cavs won't reach 55 losses in a row after their win against the Clippers. The season doesn't get easier though. Hope they have the guts to tough it out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Twins Blog - Feb. 7, 2011 - "Are we there yet?"

Recap of Events

Almost 4 pounds. They're really starting to pack it on now. They're fed about 40ml every 3 hours. No problems with digestion.

Ethan is off the vent and on nasal cannula. They use it to supplement additional oxygen to him. He started with 30% and it gets dialed down daily. Once he hits 21%, he won't need it anymore. (ie, ambient oxygen concentration is 21%)
Aidan is still on CPAP. But he's not struggling with it. He'll also be off the vent soon in another few weeks.

Neither of the boys have any more IV lines connected to their limbs, so they're free to move their arms and legs around. Previously, the boys had all their limbs occupied with IVs which was definitely not pleasant.

Aidan is now less sensitive to loud noises. He still prefers quiet but he won't overreact to sudden alarms and crying anymore. He likes having his hair gently stroked while light pressure is applied to his abdomen area. He doesn't like having his foot held, but if you insist on not letting go, he eventually submits. He certainly hates his vent tube which restricts his head movements. But at least he doesn't extubate himself as often nowadays. It's probably because of the vent tube, but he seems to be a very sleepy baby. We'll see if this behavior persists when the vent goes away.

As soon as the vent tube went off, Ethan quickly showed his inquisitive personality. He'll touch and grab anything within reach. If we're by his side, he'll show us a variety of facial expressions. It's just brilliant! If no one is visiting him, he'll either sleep or explore his incubator with his hands. Perhaps it's because of his feeding tube, but he likes to make a face as if he's whistling. For whatever reason, he likes to place both his hands on his face.

As mentioned in a previous post, we've finally held Ethan in our arms. He appeared very confused of the world outside the confines of his incubator. It was funny as he maintained a very puzzled expression during the whole time. As soon as he was back in his incubator, he was back to old self, making weird and cute faces.

Both of them are now capable of crying but they only do so on rare occasions. I wonder if they'll stay this way even when they come home.

Today is day 66 at the NICU. No signs of PDA (patent ductus arteriosis), jaundice, brain bleeds or ROP (retinopathy of prematurity). Relief! Bad news are now a rarity in our last few visits and we're finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It seems likely that Ethan will be coming home first and Aidan will need an additional couple of weeks.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Twins Blog - Feb. 6, 2011 - "Hold me"

Today, my wife and I celebrated our 1-year marriage anniversary by splurging at Spa L'Occitane. We each had a body massage and facial done. After a couple hours of relaxation, we were back to our daily routine in preparing for our visit to the NICU.

(This "daily routine" takes quite a toll on the body. Lots of things to bring and pack every day. Eg, milk, diapers, wipes, etc)

Upon our arrival at the NICU, we were greeted with a reminder of why all our efforts were worth it. We were able to hold baby Ethan for the very first time.


He still had his nasal cannula attached along with various other monitoring equipment, but the nurse was able to route them out of the incubator to accommodate us. My wife and I were pretty much speechless as we have been hoping for this very moment for as long as we can remember. I'm not sure how to describe the moment. Remember the ending of that episode of Friends where Marcel (Ross's monkey) ended up in the hospital after swallowing some Scrabble tiles? Marcel reaches out and grabs Ross's finger. It's like that, sort of...

Being the terrible parents that we are, we almost neglected Aidan today. He's still on CPAP, but he's definitely showing improvement. The vent settings are being lowered daily. At this rate, he'll be off the vent and on nasal cannula in about 2 weeks. Then, we'll finally be able to hold both our boys!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Twins Blog - Feb. 4, 2011 - "Bye bye vent"

A pleasant surprise awaited us at the NICU today. For the first time, Ethan is off the ventilator! They've attached a nasal cannula to supplement some oxygen for him, but he's completely breathing on his own. This is the first time we've seen an entire shot of his face.
Aidan is still on CPAP. But he deserves a break. He did just recently go through surgery. And he's in an area of the NICU that's particularly noisy. Hopefully, he'll soon follow suit and we'll get to see an unobstructed view of him for the first time!