Feb. 5Things are pretty normal at the house - Cade's heart rate/breathing alarm goes off once or twice a day (giving us heartattacks in the process) and he still has reflux quite a bit. Liz has a cold or sinus infection which is almost better now. WARNING: don't buy a medicine called Zicam for colds. It is not real medicine, it claims to be something called homeopathic medicine , which means it does not have FDA approval and probably does not work. There are in fact several lawsuits where this medicine is being blamed for people permanently losing their sense of smell. It's not cheap either - about $12 for a few pills.
We found some baby photos of Liz - hmmmm, I think I see a resemblance.....
Jan. 31We weighed Cade today, and he is 8 lbs 3 oz., way up from his birth weight of 5 lbs 14 oz.
Jan. 30The pediatrician appt. turned up no surprises. The doctor agreed with not doing thickened feedings for now. Angela stopped by Thursday and she and Liz had fun dressing up Cade. We got the bill from the hospital for Cade's initial stay in the ICU. Wow, I've never seen a bill for $135,000 -->
Jan 28Cade is doing well, although we are still struggling with his reflux. We have a pediatrician appointment Thursday morning. Cade was visited Tuesday evening by his grandfather, aunts, and cousins.
Jan 27A nice surprise happened Monday and Cade was released from the hospital early. His second barium swallow test was completed and they figured out that he is definitely having problems swallowing. Some of the milk is going towards his trachea (windpipe). He is not actually aspirating, but the milk is going far enough the wrong way to cause the coughing. The primary remedy they are suggesting for now is to thicken the milk by adding rice meal. Supposedly the thicker food reduces the tendency for it to go the wrong way. We read some information at this web site that says that thickening the milk is very controversial, and may even silently worsen the problem. We had a difficult time Monday evening at home trying to feed him the thicker milk. The nipples were either too small, and he couldn't get any milk out - or the nipple was too big and it came out too fast. We are going to talk to his pediatrician tomorrow about the thickening. We have heard from different sources that the reflux/swallowing problem may resolve itself in anywhere from 2 months to 1 year.
As far as Cade turning blue, which was the original reason he went to the ER, we managed to drag it out of the nurses that babies that have reflux will turn blue occasionally, and as long as they get their color back pretty quick it is not anything to get too worried about. If it lasts longer than 15-20 seconds, then we need to call our pediatrician.
This weblog came in handy yesterday when Texas Childrens' was claiming that he had never had an upper GI test at Woman's Hospital. Cade's discharge papers did not mention this test, although it should have. We were able to look at this log to see that on Jan. 12th he had the test and eventually they got Woman's to send the test results. Liz says this is proof that it is necessary to micromanage the whole health care process. I have been kind of surprised at how haphazard the whole process seems to be. There is lots of conflicting information and strange things like nurses writing down vital signs on scraps of paper towel. We also had a doctor tell us that the rule about putting on a gown to hold the baby does not really prevent anything - it's just custom.
Jan 26Cade is still at the level II ICU at Texas Children's Hospital. He had a barium swallow test this morning to find out why he occasionally chokes/gags when feeding. They want to find out if he has a problem with his esophagus-trachea (ET) connection that is causing food to go down his windpipe when feeding. When they ran the test this morning they saw something they weren't sure about so they want to repeat the test this afternoon with a speech pathologist (swallowing therapist) present. I'm not sure if he does have an ET problem if medicine will be required or something else. The earliest he can come home is still Tuesday.
Jan 22-23Thursday Liz noticed that Cade was turning blue around the lips sometimes during his feedings. We called the pediatrician's office and the doctor recommended we take him to the emergency room at Texas Children's Hospital to have him checked out. So around 5:30 PM we took him to the ER. When they were checking us in the nurse asked us if she should take the temperature orally or rectally - we shrugged our shoulders and said to do whatever was best, which was rectally. As she was taking his temperature and repeating "no pooping allowed", about the third time she said it, of course, Cade cut loose and covered Liz and a good portion of the ER reception area with poop. After that we spent about 10 hours, until 4:30 AM, getting tests done to rule out possible causes such as cardiac problems. All his tests looked good but they still wanted to keep him for observation for 24 hours so they took him to the pediatric ICU nursery. We came home about 6AM and will be going back to the hospital Friday after we get some rest. Hopefully this will be no big deal and it is just the doctors being extra cautious.
I have a theory on why Cade did this - Thursday Liz was talking in front of Cade about how she was going to give him a bath that night. I think this is his way of getting out of it.
Update 3PM: They are going to hold him over the weekend so they can run an upper gastro-intestinal and barium swallow test to see if there are any problems there. The earliest he could be released is Tuesday.
Jan 20th - Cade Finally Comes HomeFinally Cade passed all his tests and was released from the ICU. He is home now and the whole family is very happy. The doctors sent us home with an apnea monitor that will monitor his breathing and heart rate and sounds an alarm if either gets too slow. We are actually glad we have it, since it will help us sleep better at night.
Jan 18thCade finished another sleep study this afternoon and we will have the results Monday evening or Tuesday. If it looks good, then he will be coming home Tuesday.
See the guesses people made about when Cade was coming home.
Jan 16thThe sleep study results came back today and unfortunately Cade needs to go on caffeine for a couple days, then get retested. This means he can't be released until next Tuesday at the soonest. Everything else is going well though. He is feeding from all bottles now along with some breastfeeding.
Jan 14thCade made his first attempt at breastfeeding Tuesday and things went quite well. Wednesday he was moved to feeding from bottles only - no more tube feedings. He had a sleep study done Wednesday which is one of the last steps before being able to go home! If the sleep study results are good, then he may be able to come home on Friday. One thing the nurses mentioned to us is that it will probably be a good idea to keep exposure to lots of people to a minimum, due to the fact that this is flu and cold season - we also have to worry about RSV.
Jan 12thSaturday was the first day Cade finished a whole bottle, although he took quite awhile, about 30 minutes per bottle. Sunday he was able to finish a whole bottle in 15 minutes. He has been moved from Level III ICU to Level II and is now in an open crib. Today he had a GI test (Gastro-intestinal) to see if he has reflux, since he has been spitting up some when feeding. That test showed that he does have reflux, which means either a) he is eating too much greasy Mexican food, or b) his sphincter is weak since he was premature and he is leaking up from his stomach. He is going on some new medicine to help with the reflux. Current best estimate is that he may be able to come home in a week.
Jan 9thPretty much the same the last couple days. We are spending lots of time with Cade and today Liz got to hold him "skin-to-skin" for a couple hours. He is now heavier than his birth weight, at 6 lbs.
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Jan 7thBottle feedings are going better now. He is receiving 60ml per feeding (every 3 hours) and at the 1PM feeding today he took 46ml from the bottle.
Jan 5thCade slowed down some on his feedings, which is typical of premature babies, so he is still being fed partially through the tube. His jaundice is OK now, so no more light treatments. Saturday he had a nodule on his hand where an IV was so he was started on antibiotics - but so far the cultures have come back negative and the nodule has disappeared. His fast breathing is much better now. Now we have to wait for him to resume feeding completely from the bottle. We found out that the average hospital stay for a preemie is $60,000! OK, now we are grateful for Aetna.
ShowerWe had a wonderful coed shower thrown by our friends. Cade received lots of great gifts and everyone had a good time. We got lots of good advice, which will come in handy should Cade ever decide to spit up or get sick.
Jan 2ndDad was able to hold Cade for the first time. He is receiving ultraviolet light treatment now to help with the jaundice. He is still feeding from the tube most of the time, but he has started using a bottle part of the time. He is still breathing fast, and that is what is holding him back from using the bottle all the time. Everything is going very well.
Video of Liz holding the baby (3.9MB).
Jan 1stCade was very sleepy on New Year's Eve. He was fairly quiet the whole evening. Liz was able to hold Cade in her arms for the first time - she was very excited. He is still in Level III ICU but he is receiving Level II care. He is in an Isolette and maintaining his own body temperature, and he is feeding through the tube. Our OB/GYN Dr. Plavidal said that babies will try to stay in the ICU to avoid circumcision. When we told him we weren't doing that, he said that we should make sure Cade knows that, because rumors really get around the ICU.
We are convinced that there is a time warp in the ICU, because 1 hour in there feels like 5 minutes.
Dec 31st AMThe neonatalogist called this morning and reported that Cade is doing well and breathing on his own, although he is still breathing fast. They are going to start feeding him today, but due to the fast breathing they will be feeding him through a tube to his stomach. She said once a spot opens up in the Level II ICU (the less critical category) he will be moved there. Liz, Craig and the grandparents are going to the hospital tonight to celebrate New Year's Eve with Cade in the ICU.
Dec 30th PMThe breathing tube was removed tonight and after a short time under the oxygen bubble, Cade was able to breathe completely on his own. Now all he has is a small tube that drains his stomach. He looks great and got to spend lots of time today with Mom, Dad and Grandma. Liz changed Cade's diaper today for the first time - I wonder how many more times she will get to do that? Liz checked out of the hospital and is home now getting some much needed rest. Thanks go to Scott and Sherri and the kids for decorating and cleaning the house plus tons of other things they did for us while we were gone.
All of Cade's 48-hour cultures came back negative for infections. Now the next step for Cade is to begin feeding - once he can do that they can consider letting him out of the ICU. No firm predictions however on when that will be.
Dec 30th AMCade is breathing good today and the doctor is optimistic about taking the tube out today. He is slightly jaundiced, but they say that is pretty normal. Liz will be checking out of the hospital today.
Dec 29thCade started out Monday in the Level III ICU with a breathing tube to help him breathe. He started out the day at 56% oxygen and by the early afternoon he had improved to where he was breathing normal air. They don't want to remove the tube before 48 hours, so he will keep the tube until at least Tuesday. If he looks good at that time, they will remove it and he will go back to Level II ICU until he is ready to go to the regular nursery. Mom and Dad visited him several times and he seemed to really like to hear our voices. Thanks to everyone who wished us well - Liz really enjoyed reading the messages from everyone. She is very anxious to be able to hold our baby and bring him home, especially because she will have to leave the hospital Tuesday evening, thanks to Aetna insurance :(
The shower is still on for Saturday.
Video of Cade on Monday
Dec 28th 11PMCade was born a few weeks early Sunday December 28th at 5:38 AM. He weighed 5 lbs, 14 oz. and was 20" long.
Liz's water broke Saturday afternoon and she was in labor by 7PM. Cade was at 36 weeks and 1 day so his lungs are a bit immature. He needs help breathing right now and is in the neonatal intensive care unit. Liz is doing great - she was up and walking around 2 hours after the delivery. She can be reached for the next couple days at her hospital room (Woman's Hospital of Texas) at 713-363-5403.
Watch the Birth Video (4MB).