Wow... The last 24 hours have been crazy!
All day yesterday, Cooper was very lethargic, started getting paler, and was not eating much. He was acting so out of sorts that we decided to take him to the emergency room around 9pm. After a couple of hours in the ER, and a visit from Nurse S, Dr D from the NICU decided to re admit him to the NICU find out what was bothering Cooper.
Cooper's right testicle was much firmer than usual and the doctor suspected a hernia. A hernia is more common in preemies because there is a small opening where sometimes a section of intestines will slip into the testes. This can obstruct the normal passage of bowel. I could not remember Cooper's last BM, but it was sometime Tuesday night. An ultrasound at about midnight confirmed a hernia so they called for the surgeon who could correct it. Once it became clear that we were going to be back in the NICU for a few days, I ran home to get all of my pump accessories.
Jake called me while I was at home and told me that the surgeon was out of town and they were waiting for a jet to take Cooper to Seattle Children's Hospital. One additional passenger could ride with him so I quickly packed a bag and rushed back to the hospital.
At about 2:30am we were in an ambulance on our way to the airport. First time in an ambulance for both Cooper and me. By 3am we were in a tiny jet on our way to Seattle. Again first time for me in a jet and first time for Cooper in any airplane. He did fairly well on the ride and I was actually able to get a short nap before we landed at 4:30am.
The first hour in Seattle was incredibly hectic. At one point he had 12 people in his room. 3 nurses, a nurse practitioner, 2 RTs, a resident, a fellow, 3 surgeons, and an x ray tech waiting outside the door. I had to sit in the hall and wait. It was pretty tough on me. He had apnea quite a few times so they decided to intubate him. He also had a vacuum tube to try to reduce some of the air in his tummy.
At about 6:30am, one of the surgeons was successful in reducing the hernia back in with his finger. They had to paralyze him to get the area relaxed, but it is so great that it was reduced without surgery!
As of right now, we are just waiting to see if he passes some of the air or has a BM. If he does, that means his intestines are getting back to normal. If not, that means a part of his intestines may have been injured from the hernia. If they suspect an injury, surgery will be needed to remove that section. If all goes well, he will still have surgery to fix the hernia by closing the hole so it can't happen again, but since that is elective surgery they would wait until he is feeling better.
They have just decided that Cooper needs a transfusion. This will help him get oxygen throughout his body better and will ensure that he has extra blood before his upcoming surgery. He will be transfused this evening. He has had good results from transfusions before, so hopefully this helps him perk up.
Cooper looks like he is miserable. He is so pale and puny and everytime someone touches him he pauses his breathing. I feel like the apnea is because of pain but I try not to think about that. My heart just breaks when he looks like he is in pain or distressed.
This hospital has sleeping rooms for parents. The room is tiny with only a bed, tv, and electrical outlets, but there are showers down the hall. I'm eligible for the Ronald McDonald House and called today to get my name on the list. I'm hoping to move in there because it is more like an extended stay hotel room.
At this time we aren't sure if Jake will join us in Seattle. We are hoping that after the surgery they send him back to Great Falls for recovery because then they will fly us back. If he does his recovery here, they will discharge him and not send him back to the hospital in Great Falls which means no flight. Jake would have to come pick us up and drive us home and I really don't want to put Cooper through such a long road trip.
So there you have it. 24 hours and so much has happened. It is crazy how fast a preemie can go from good to bad. Nurse S, the flight nurse, snapped this picture of Cooper on the jet. Look at those big eyes!