We still haven't spoken to the doctor, but from what we've learned from our nurse, Benjamin has a complete heart block. His heart's electrical currents are being blocked from illiciting beats. This is most likely b/c his heart is bruised from his surgery. So they are using a pacemaker to make his heart beat. If he did not have this pacemaker right now, his heart would not beat.
The pacemaker is not in his chest currently; it is on the bed next to him, and he has wires attached to his stomach that are connecting it to him. For this reason, I cannot breastfeed him right now. We don't want to risk messing with the connection between his pacemaker and his heart. So I am pumping every three hours. Ugh.
We have tried twice to give him a bottle. The first time, it took about fifteen minutes to get him to eat about 90% of ONE ounce. He is very sleepy and as we all know, he is a momma's boy and does not like that bottle! But he did surprisingly well. The second time we tried, he only took about 1/3 of an ounce. If we can't get him to take the bottle, he will have to be put on a feeding tube. I really, really hope we can either get him to take a bottle or (more ideally) they will let me breastfeed him.
Cardiology comes around once (or sometimes twice) a day. They will check his pacemaker by simply unplugging it. If he continues to need it, they will let him keep it for up to seven days. (During which time he will have to stay in the intensive care unit, or PCICU--Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and will not be moved to the floor. What this means to us is that only one of us can sleep in his room, but we may both go back to the RMH anyway--we're not sure yet.) If, after seven days, he is still requiring the use of the artificial pacemaker, we will have to reassess the situation and explore the option of installing a permanent pacemaker in his chest. (Obviously, please pray this is not the case!!)
So right now we're just waiting. Killing time. Being tired. But very grateful for what we have.
The baby in the unit right next to us coded a few hours ago. They made the parents leave the room (but all the walls are glass) while about 15 medical personnel worked to help save this baby. They brought in a crash cart and were giving him chest compressions while the inconsolable mom bawled in her husband's arms. It was almost more than I could take. (I happened to be walking back to our room after pumping and I witnessed this.) We talked to the dad later and he said that his son had a heart attack but there were able to get him stable. He is seven days old. Please pray for baby T.
Speaking of babies, we spoke with the parents of the baby who had to have surgery on Thursday (that bumped Benjamin's surgery). Their baby is doing much better than they expected. They knew about five months into the pregnancy that their baby would have heart problems and induced her a week early. Their son was born Wednesday night at 9:00. Once born, they assessed his heart defects and determined that they were more severe than what they could tell prenatally and he had to have surgery 12 hours after he was born. He is doing well as of right now. We told her that we didn't mind being bumped one bit and that we had all our friends praying for him. Matthew and I were both teary-eyed as we walked away from her. People are just precious.
Benjamin's blood pressure is low right now, as is his oxygen saturation level. They keep monitoring it b/c it keeps hovering around the danger zone and making the 2000 machines in here beep. I am going to hear beeping in my sleep!
Nashville is THE place to be evidently. There was a marathon and half-marathon this morning and the presidential debates are next week. But more importantly than those, the Vanderbilt/Auburn game kicks off in less than an hour. Both teams are undefeated going into this game; it is the ESPN game of the week. None of this means anything to me except that there are a LOT of people outside. Many of them sitting outside RVs and pickup trucks with coolers and beer. Blocks and blocks away from the stadium. Hours before the game. That only appeals to me if there are grilled hotdogs involved.
Well, I guess I'll sign off now. There's not much more news. I really want to talk to the doctor(s)to see if I can breastfeed. Not just b/c I hate pumping but b/c I really think he'll eat much more from me than a bottle and I want to avoid a feeding tube!!!
More later. I'm not going anywhere. :)