Saturday, October 25, 2008

Home, Home on the Parkway....

...where the Bean and the big sister play.

We are headed home. Kai's levels went back up overnight, but such a small increase that we get to go home AND we won't have to take an additional Bili Blanket home with us.

I reread my earlier post and realized it was quite stern and negitive. It wasn't meant to be so, but the interminible wait and the strange facilities make it hard to figure out how to pass the time. We are much relieved to be heading home.

The nurses have been pretty great for the most part, but it's hard when there are so many other sick kids that need so much more attention and we just have nothing with which to operate. There is no food here (the cafeteria is seriously lacking. ) I tried to get from one building to another following the signs they have posted and got lost in the tunnel system. There is no space to inhabit comfortably in the room (Alana spent about 36 hours in a 3 x 3 foot space, because there is very little other choice.) We just asked for everything we couldn't find, and it made us feel like a bother to people who are busy taking care of seriously ill children. It just made us both feel in the way and more than a little stir crazy.

I can so empathize with my sister Sarah's complaints about hospital stays-- there are no mileposts to guide your day-- the coming and going and checking and poking and no answers and different answers. After a while your head just swims. Add any emotional baggage on top of that and the maelstrom of discombobulation would overwhelm anyone. There is a Dad who sits at the end of the hall-- he is always on the same folding chair. Any time he I go out the door, he is there. Most of the time he is looking at the same area on the wall-- no eye contact, not reading anything, vacant and expressionless. I just feel for him every time I step out of the room and totally understand why-- it's how you cope. This same scene is played out here over and over and it just exhausts me to think of all the families and all they go through.

So, time to try going home from the hospital-- second attempt.

Waiting for Godot.

We are sitting here for another day of waiting. The bleeder should be in soon to take Kai's blood. He is usually pretty good with it, but I am sure he will think that painful pricks to the heels are quite the norm in life. In fact at one point we realized he had spent just shy of half of his life so far wearing blinders under the sunlamp.

His numbers weren't down as far as they should have been last night, and we hope they don't go up too far this morning. We had pretty good communication with the staff early on, but that has changed over the last 24hrs or so.

The damn warming table has an alarm that goes off when he gets a tiny bit too warm or too cold-- but the nurses all say it is well within an acceptable range. However, there is no way they can override the alarm, so we have to get up and push a button on the back of the machine to get it to stop it's continuous beeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Every shift change, we get someone in saying they don't really know how to stop it, but they have an idea-- they move everything around and then leave-- at which point the alarm goes off again and again. We finally just started adjusting things ourselves to keep it from going off all night. It seemed to work.

Last night went pretty well and Alana finally got some good rest. Kai was only up every three hours, fed, and went back to sleep.

We expect to go home today, but are prepared for the news that he may need more treatment.

Is that you, Godot?

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Great view of the City

So from the 7th floor of Childrens Hospital there is a great view of Downtown Minneapolis. Unfortunately, to really spend time enjoying it your child has to be admitted.

Alana and Kai came home on wedensday, and we were all trying to adjust to life at home. We had to make the trek to the clinic to have his bilirubin levels checked on thursday. Hyperbilirubinemia! Lo, and behold they were too high and now I am writing this surrounded by an etherial blue glow, looking at the misty shroudded skyline. Kai looks like he is in a tanning bed and has a bandit mask on to protect his eyes. He also has to lay on a light blanket that looks like something out of Ghostbusters. I am without the ability to post pix currently, but will do so later.

Alana made the comment as we were driving to the ER to be admitted, that it was a good thing this wasn't our first time at the rodeo. When Grae was 5 weeks we ended up making our first ER visit which included a catheder and spinal tap for her. This time (in the same little room in the ER) it only involved light therapy and drawing blood-- we can totally handle that!

Kai has been a little champ. Really, if someone put me in a warm bed and put a blackout mask over my eyes, I'd probably choose to sleep too. Perhaps he is just pretending he is at the beach, cashed out on the warm sand, with a full service waitstaff that feeds him only when he wakes every few hours-- with the occasional crab that comes along and pinches his foot so hard it draws blood.

They drew blood about an hour ago and we should have some idea how long our visit will last. Maybe we go home later today, maybe tomorrow-- it all depends on how his body responds to the tanning bed.

We just met his nurse for the day and her name is Kaija. I'm guessing his name will be like when you buy a new car, and suddenly see that same car all the time. Now we'll see the name Kai everywhere.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Keyser Söze! Keyser Söze!

He has a name! (No, not really Keyser Söze.)

His name is

Kai D'aurian

We had to settle on a name prior to leaving the hospital-- in fact it was the last thing preventing us from leaving-- (oh, and his bilirubin levels, but more on that later...) Kai means 'Ocean' in Japanese, 'willow tree' in Navajo, and 'and' in Greek. It has many other meaning in Dutch, German, Welsh, and other languages.

D'aurian is a family name (D'auria, actually) on Alana's Mom's side. Doris is also an area of Greece, thus Dorian is someone or thing from that area (i.e. Doric columns)

Grae insists his name is Bean, and corrects me every time I refer to him as Kai. We are discussing how my name is really Anthony, but everyone calls me Tony. She can call him Bean (or beaner or silly bean) for the rest of his life-- that's one of the benefits of being born first. (The lesson on not taunting your sibling will come later.)

More in a few minutes...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bean has arrived!

Here are the vitals: 8 lbs 9 oz, 20.5 inches long, and a -- boy. Mommy and baby are doing well. No name yet- that will follow soon. We had to meet him first!

Alana poked me about midnight and said she was feeling labor pains and stronger contractions had begun. We got up about 1 a.m. and got things ready to roll to the hospital when the time came. We called the midwife and had everything ready by about 3 a.m. and both tried to rest a little until labor progressed. (Let's be clear-- I laid down and fell asleep for a little over an hour, Alana was busy having contractions)

At about 4:30 things kicked in a bit more. Mark, our neighbor came over for a short time until Suzanne and Kirk (Alana's mum and da) could make it to the house to stay with Grae. Alana was feeling some strong contractions and really wanted to be enroute-- so we took off. The trip to North Memorial is a bit longer than the trip to Fairview where Grae was born, but the heated seats are a HUGE hit with the 'labor' party.

Once at the hospital, things progressed very smoothly. We made it into a room by about 5:45-6 a.m. With Grae, things stalled out mid morning-- not so this time. That baby was a comin'. He was here by 9:10 after 33 minutes of pushing. Alana said it was more pain than the first time around, but the labor was MUCH shorter.

Grae will be coming to visit her new little brother this afternoon. Baby and Momma are both asleep, and I will publish some more after a brief nap....zzz...

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Emergency Bean-cast System.

This is a test. It is only a test. In the event of a real birth, this test would be followed by news and photos.