Sunday, June 29, 2008

Early Morning Challenge

This morning Elaine and I got an early morning call from the babies' doctor with news about Madeline. Unfortunately she needed to intubate Madeline and put her back on a ventilator. Although she had done relatively well on SiPAP, Madeline was having a tough time yesterday evening (6/28) and early this morning. The doctor noticed that she had some swelling in her vocal chords -- which, ironically, may have come from being intubated previously. I received another update a moment ago, and Madeline is doing well on the ventilator. The current plan is to keep her intubated for the next 48 hours, and check her cultures to ensure that she doesn't have pneumonia (which is NOT suspected at this point, but let's all keep our fingers crossed). Madeline will also receive some steroids to relieve her swelling and prepare her for the 400 meter hurdles a the Beijing Olympics. Hopefully, she'll be back on SiPAP in the next couple days.

Quick explanation: The air we breath contains about 21% oxygen. As I understand it, the ventilators and SiPAP machines make it easier for the babies to breath for two reasons: (1) additional oxygen can be added to their air, and (2) the machine itself creates the pressure to assist in opening the babies' lungs. Currently, Madeline needs help with getting air into her lungs, but she is able to make due with very low levels of supplemental oxygen -- she usually receives less than 30%. Milo, by comparison, is OK on the SiPAP machine, but he needs around 30% to 40% oxygen. Years ago, the practice was to give preemies lots of oxygen under the assumption that it would improve neurological development. Turns out the extra oxygen didn't help much, but it did cause Retinopathy and create other lasting respiratory problems.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Poor little thing! She just can't seem to catch a break! It's heartbreaking! Fingers crossed and extra prayers that she'll be off it again soon. You (all of you) are always in my thoughts. Hang in there.