My mother- in- law was recovering from a cold, so she hadn’t seen Gracie in a while. When she arrived at our house, we told her we had a surprise for her. Gracie had been so upset with the SIPAP nasal mask that she continuously pulled it off. Not only did this frustrate her nurses, it also negatively affected her stats. The nurses and doctors suggested that they switch her from the SIPAP to the high- flow nasal canula. The SIPAP was also rubbing Gracie’s nose raw.
We were ecstatic that Gracie was off the SIPAP, but concerned that she has skipped a step in the weaning process. Babies are usually placed on the CPAP which gives constant pressure but no sigh breaths.The high- flow canula delivers 1-6 liters of oxygen per minute at a purity content varying between 24-35 percent of humidified air. Gracie was at the 6 liter mark and at maximum oxygen purity. Again we couldn’t get our hopes up, because at any point she could be dropped back to mechanical ventilation.
My mother in law walked in and saw Gracie’s complete facial profile and smiled. Gracie’s forehead extension from her arterial line was also removed. The doctors were confident enough at this point to begin doing her blood gases via heel pricks at longer durations. Confidence is a precious commodity in the NICU and can never be insured.
We measured her temp and brought her out and I placed her in my A-shirt with my cardigan. Cardigans have become a staple in my closet. My daughter was calm and I did my best to shield her from the billi-lights from the struggling triplet next to her. We read and rocked her and then placed her back in the isolette.
When we finally put her back, we decided to change her diaper. Kangaroo care usually allows Gracie to have an easier bowel movement. This has to do with our body heat and gravity. Her diaper had a nice unproportionally large surprise. We presumed that she had completed her movement until we removed the diaper. That is when Gracie, the soft serve dispenser, arrived. I wasn’t quick enough to grab another diaper because I was still wiping with a wipe. The wet wipe caught the poop. Meanwhile my wife and mother in law were laughing and gagging. Ashleigh said she was surprised that I would even catch my daughter’s poop. Gracie may have cracked a smirk, but I was too panicky to even pay attention.
Dealing with poop involves a little bravery along with some improvisation. Even if her poop came out like old faithful in a soft serve form, I am glad to catch it with my hands. Gracie’s nurse also laughed. After the nurse was calmer, she asked if I was ruining her newly made bed. The nurses explained that Gracie does this frequently along with most preemies. This is because most babies of this size lack control of their own bowels.
Nurses state that there are times in which preemies can shoot poop all over the inside of the isolette. I am sure that there will be a blog entry about that at some point. A small amount of poop was on her newly made bed and we used a new wet wipe to clean it up. We cleaned up and placed the poopy wet wipe in her discarded diaper for the nurse to weigh. I went to wash my hands so I could measure her temperature.
Ever since I was a kid I have always welcomed challenges. I have realized and accepted that the parent of a preemie will remain a constant struggle. From day one I prepared myself for this challenge and I am willing to take as much poop as Gracie is going to give me. I welcomed the poop challenge even when other people took a step back.