Tag Archive | nicu parent

Hard Core Class

It looks like I’ll be headed back to school a little earlier than I thought. My next class is Anatomy and Physiology I, or A&P I. I got a little pamphlet in the mail this week from my school that offers an online, pass/fail intensive review course for one credit hour it lasts for one week and, according to the stats of people who have taken it and people who haven’t, this class improves your grade by an average of 3/4 a letter grade. Since I’m into my required classes now, I have to get a B or higher, or the class doesn’t count. Since I’m a nerdy perfectionist bookworm, I prefer to get As. Either way, I’m now headed back to class at the end of this month. My last biology course was the very first one I took in my return journey to academics, so that was fall of 2017.

I’ve heard that A&P I and II are the hardest of the pre-nursing classes, and that’s all I have left! A couple weeks ago, an acquaintance who went to nursing school gave me all of her books, so I have tons of reading to do and lots of extra material if I need help. I’m also hoping to be able to arrange more time to study and attend review sessions. In my fall of 2017 class, I got a B. And that was after getting a zero on a test because we were on a cruise. Hoping that bodes well for these two classes. Wish me luck!

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4,000 views?!

Just checked my stats and I’ve gotten over 4,000 views since I started this little blog 4 years ago. What originally started as a way to update the many friends and family members who were asking about Little Miss Minion while she was in the NICU has turned into a way to share my views and experiences with prematurity, hydrocephalus, the NICU, and now, going back to school to be a NICU nurse.

Little Miss Minion is so much different than she was a year ago. Someone at work asked me this week at what age does your baby become a little kid? I looked back through my pictures and I think it’s between three and four. At three, LMM still had some baby face going on. Her cheeks were chubby, her movements clunky. Now, she’s got a kid face, never stops moving or talking, and says things like “only for babies.”

Some quick 4 year old facts about LMM:

Favorite thing to do: eat

Fave movie: Greatest Showman

Fave beverage: milk

Fave song: never enough from Greatest Showman

Fave thing to do: go to the park or color

Likes: counting to 10 with me in Spanish and French in the car. Asking “what’s that?” Snacks.

Dislikes: bedtime. Naps. Coffee (I drink coffee in the car and she’s always telling me that coffee is “yucky”). Thunder.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I’ll be able to update more since classes are out for summer!

May is an interesting month…

I was skimming through social media this afternoon and saw several interesting tidbits that I thought I would pass along.

Today is National Nurses’ Day and the first day of Nurses’ Week (at least in the US). I would like to send a huge THANK YOU to Little Miss Minion’s nurses in the NICU, as well as the nurses who have taken care of her during her various hospital stays and doctor’s visits. I also want to say thank you to the nurses who took care of me when I was inpatient before her rather early arrival. A particularly large thank you goes to L&D Nurse J, who was the nurse I told about LMM’s slowing movements two hours before she was delivered. Thank you for listening to me, for checking out the monitor, and for IMMEDIATELY calling the ultrasound techs who got to the room so fast I think they may have already been on their way up to me. Thank you to NICU Nurse J, one of our primary nurses, who taught Mr Minion and I how to give LMM a bottle for the first time, how to wrap her like a burrito to keep her warm once she got out of her isolette (without tangling her multitude of cords), and invited us to volunteer with the March of Dimes as family advocates in our stats. Thank you to overnight NICU Nurse S, who helped us bathe LMM without dropping her body temperature. This tiny task made me feel more like a parent more than I would have thought possible. Thank you to daytime NICU Nurse S, who was also one of our primary nurses and walked us out of the hospital on our 84th day.

The month of May is also Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Preeclampsia is the reason I had to have the emergency C section that saved my life and saved LMM. Without immediate delivery, my blood pressure would have continued to climb, causing strokes or seizures, and my kidneys would have continued to shut down as a result of narrowed blood vessels. The HELLP syndrome I developed as a side effect of the preeclampsia would have continued to destroy my platelets, causing a hemorrhage, and would have continued to damage my liver. Basically, I was lucky. Many women aren’t so lucky and many women DO die from preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. About 60,000 women die annually worldwide as a result of this condition. There is no cure. The only way to stop it from progressing is delivery of the baby, and even then, the mother can still develop post-delivery preeclampsia for like six weeks after delivery.I guess I find it interesting that these two awareness events take place in the month I had Little Miss Minion. Fate? Maybe. Divine intervention? Probably. I’ll take it!

Feet are Gross

Little Miss Minion has inherited my mosquito problem. Not only do they love to bite us, but our skin welts up afterward. If you google “skeeter syndrome” that’s a fairly accurate portrayal.

So Thursday, after I picked her up from daycare, she started crying about her “skeeto bites” and how her foot hurt. She’s been doing this off and on since the bites started, so we’ve made a ritual of getting home and cleaning up, putting itch cream on, and then having a snack. We got home and I got her into the bathroom and took her socks off. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that feet are gross, and I knew immediately that we needed to take her to the doctor. We started at a convenient care, and I was expecting maybe some special soap and ointment. Nope. They said it was a deep skin infection and she needed IV antibiotics. Time for the ER.

Luckily, we got to go to our favorite hospital, and not the one we have to go to for shunt problems. This is also the hospital I volunteer at and the one she was born in. We checked in at the ER, and they agreed that she had an infection and needed antibiotics. Normally, they would prescribe oral antibiotics and send us home, but with her history and with her shunts, they didn’t want to risk the infection spreading to her shunts. While they got her IV started and waited for a room to open up, Mr Minion went back home and picked up some stuff for us to stay overnight.

We ended up staying for two nights, but the experience was so much better than at the other hospital. I felt like the nurses and techs were generally not as busy (I think there’s a staffing issue at the other place), and the overall atmosphere is much more positive. Child life visited us and brought her toys, stickers, blocks, etc. She was in a surprisingly good mood for being cooped up and tethered to her IV.

We got out yesterday and her feet look much better. Here’s your health tip of the day: keep your feet clean and don’t scratch at bug bites!!

Three Years of Blogging

Three years ago, I started this blog as a way to update friends and family about what was going on with Little Miss Minion. Our cell phones were blowing up with messages and phone calls, all wanting to know the latest on our little family. It was nice that so many people wanted to know how we were doing, but cell phones are a NICU nightmare for germs. I created this blog as a way to update everyone at the same time, reducing our need to touch our phones while in the NICU, and cutting out the time it took to answer everyone individually. This let us have more time to spend together, sitting on the couch in our room in the NICU, staring at the tiny little human growing in the incubator.

To everyone who reads this, thanks for being a part of our NICU journey.

Happy 3rd Birthday!

Little Miss Minion turned three about ten minutes ago. It’s hard to believe that we started this journey three years ago with a one pound fourteen ounce 28 weeker and now we’ve got a little kid who just graduated from all of her therapies and loves to give hugs and eat cheese its.

We are so lucky.

End of an Era

A few weeks ago, Little Miss Minion had a special education evaluation through our school district. They did a series of tests to see how she performed in several areas, like speech and gross motor skills. This morning, we got our answer. Little Miss Minion has been disqualified for further services. This means that, according to the school district, she is caught up with her peers on gross motor skills, speech, language, and cognition.

It’s a strange feeling to know that we don’t have to schedule weekly speech therapy and physical therapy anymore. We’ve had someone come to our home to work with LMM ever since she came home from the NICU. So many appointments, tests, clinics, screenings. Part of me is a little in denial. How can my one pound fourteen ounce 28 weeker NOT qualify for additional services? She’s had five brain surgeries! She has actual brain damage (called periventricular leukomalacia). She spent the first 3 months of her life under 24 hour care in the best NICU in our area.

She caught up. That’s how she doesn’t qualify. Not only did she have to consciously learn to breathe on her own, how to suck, swallow, and breathe while taking a bottle, how to regulate her own temperature, how to regulate her heartbeat, how to live in the world three months too soon, but she did all that and more. 36 months after her dramatic entrance, she’s caught up to where she should be. At this rate, who knows how far she can go?

Our next steps are to come back for another evaluation (if we feel like she needs it) in about 7 months and to continue to be utterly impressed by our little rockstar.