Sunday, February 6, 2011
Thurs., Feb. 3rd
Lucy was born at 12:40. Although she was trying very hard to breathe she could not get a breath. After giving oxygen and bagging for a short time our Dr. called for emergency transport. Lucy, Grant and Catherine (Dr., and Midwife) went with Lucy to Legacy Hospital in Salmon Creek. After a short time Dr. Paulik, a NICU Dr. found that Lucy had a rare problem that can happen inside during gestation called Hydrops. With this condition fluid is built up in tissues and cavities of the body where it should not be. There are several possible reasons why this can happen but that reason is often never resolved. The reason Lucy could not get a breath was due to a significant amount of fluid in her chest cavity on the outer side of each of her lungs. It appears that the fluid did not allow her lungs to develop normally because they are disproportionately small for her size. She came out weighing 8 pounds 13 ounces. Her body was also very puffy due to subcutaneous fluid accumulation.
She was fitted with chest tubes to drain the fluid and many tests were done. One of the very serious concerns was the blood gas readings she came in with. Her CO2 was high as well as the acidity of her blood which speaks to oxygen deprivation to all the organs and tissues of her body. As the fluids were being drained from the chest her blood gas levels continued to be read. The Dr. needed to see the CO2 drop to a normal level if there was going to be a hope for her body to be able to survive to the next treatment for this issue. There is also a time sensitivity of roughly 6 hrs. that this level needs to drop within. This was not happening all afternoon. Dr. Paulik let us know he would take one last reading in 2 hrs. and if things had not changed then there was not a reason or a qualification to be able to go to the next phase of treating her. During this time I called several people and asked for you to pray for her body to meet this hurdle. I know that the power of faith when exercised can and does bring down power from Heaven and it did that day. At the last possible moment Lucy's CO2 reading was normal and it was decided to transport her to Legacy Emanuel hospital in Portland where they perform a relatively new "cooling" procedure in situations like this. I rode with her in the ambulance during the transport. This was a very unreal time. Just hours after giving birth, feeling low hope that Lucy had a chance of survival I felt exhausted in all ways as we raced down I5. During the drive I had come back to my mind very clearly stories that I have listened to from as far back as 15 - 20 years ago and more recent of families who either had children born with severe challenges or accidents that caused major health challenges and the experiences of these families with their faith making it through and the many miracles they experienced. This was amazing to me because if asked I never could have recalled these stories like I was remembering them in my mind. I know the spirit brought these stories and pictures of these people back to the forefront of my mind to tell me not to despair but to hang on to hope and pray for the miracles that we needed.
When we made it to the hospital she was put on a treatment of active body cooling to cool her core temperature to a point that all the body systems would slow down so that her blood which was now filled with oxygen would not cause more damage to the areas that had been deprived mainly the brain being an area that can go crazy and not know what to do with a flood of oxygen after being deprived. The Dr.'s gave us the picture of the possible outcome going forward and let us know that there was risk of seizures any time which of course would cause more damage and the sooner any happened the worse it would be. Her breathing was being supported completely by the ventilator as well as she was being given a high dose of oxygen. Fluid was continuing to drain from the tubes. The cooling process was to take place over 72 hrs. . During that time the goal was to stabilize her blood, organs, and try to figure out the reason for the hydrops.
Our friend and photographer Tara Mansius came that night and took pictures for us of Lucy. We were so thankful for this especially as Tara had been up since 1 that morning assisting as a Doula on a birth in Portland.
We knew at this point that Lucy was basically being completely supported to live and a bunch of possible problems that could happen between then Thurs. night and Sun. night. If she made it through to that point it was just going to take time to see if she would wake up and what her brain functioning would be, if she could breathe on her own etc.
Grant and I were given and room and we prayed thanking Heavenly Father for her first triumph of getting her CO2 level to normal.