Cooper is three weeks old today (32 weeks gestational) but I am not in a celebratory mood. When I got to the NICU this morning the nurse was working on putting in another IV. She explained that Cooper needs a blood transfusion and that the blood would clot in the picc line so an IV is needed just for the blood transfusion.
A blood transfusion?! I was so hoping we could make it through this NICU stay without needing to give Cooper blood, but his red blood cell level is way down today. The nurse got the IV in, then took a blood sample for the lab to test to find out his blood type, then they will find a match in the bank and prep it, so it looks like it will still be a couple of hours. We were hoping that if this ever came up we might be able to donate our own blood or use blood from another family member, but as it is he needs the blood now and there isn't time for that.
I did a little research just now about blood transfusions. I skipped all of the information about risks because this has to be done and I would rather not worry about the bad that could happen. I did read that anemia is actually very common in preemies and the symptoms include tiring easily, not gaining weight well, and having difficulty breathing. That sounds exactly like what Coop has been like for the past week. I also found out that blood transfusions are fairly common for preemies as young as Cooper. I read lots of comments from other preemie moms that said the babies do so well after getting blood. I'm hoping that this is just what he needs to start having some steps forward. I can't wait to see his skin looking rosy instead of ghost white.