Okay, I am posting this MOSTLY for myself. I went through the "NICU" book that they gave me, and they had all the "proper" terms for what all they are doing, and have done for my baby. I wanted to "put them down on paper" so-to-speak, so I can remember it all. I will TRY and go in alphabetical order...good luck Tamra...
Acidosis: High acidity of the blood. Romy had this. They first tried to give her fluid boluses (bolus: lots of fluid given in a short amount of time) but it wasn't working. They then put her on dopamine a blood pressure medicine. They were tentative about doing that because the side effect of dopamine is tachycardia(tachycardia: fast heart beat), which is what got her delivered early in the firstplace. She was on this for five days.
Apnea: pauses in breathing lasting more than 15-20 seconds. Romy has had one episode of this, which caused a brief episode of bradycardia. (bradycardia: slowing of the heart rate to less than 80 beats/minute) This is about the time they decided intubating (intubate: placing a small tube called and ET tube through the mouth into baby's airway connecting to a ventilator) her and putting her on a ventilator was neccessary (ventilator: a maching that helps the baby breathe by giving pressure and oxygen to the lungs).
CBC: Complete blood count/ a test that measures red and white blood cels and platelets. She has had SO many heel sticks checking her CBC levels. (heel sticks: pricking a baby's heel with a small needle to collect drops of blood) This is how they found her infections and put her on two different antibiotics on two different occasions. This is also how they did dextrostix (Dextrostix (d-stick): a test requiring a drop of blood that determines the glucose level in the blood)
Containment: Helping baby to calm and feel safe by placing your hands to hold baby in a flexed position. We learned quickly that we couldn't "stroke" our little girl. She was too sick. When you have a tiny, you have to put your hands in certain positions, which is kind of like swaddling her without the blankets. Hey...I will take ANY touch I can get!!
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure): provided by small prongs and a mask inserted into baby's nose. These provide oxygen and pressure to help keep the air sacs open. This can be used after the breathing tube is removed and before a baby an breath on their own. Before Romy could be on this device, she was first on an oscillator. (Oscillator: a type of ventilator that keeps the baby's lungs inflated all of the time by giving tiny amounds of air at very fast rates) I hated seeing her on this machine. It would just shake her. She had to be on this for a couple of days before she graduated to a conventional ventilator, and then eventually to the CPAP.
Echocardiogram: A painless test using sound waves to produce a picture of the heart. Romy had several of theses test while trying to diagnose her. They also did several EKG's (EKG: a record of electric current produced by the heart muscle from which certain things can be learned about the heart's structure and function) to find out why she had tachycardia .
Extubation: removal of the ET tube. She had this done twice. The first time she was showing false signs of recovery. She then plumited severely for several days with her SVT, (the diagnosis that they came up with for her heart), fluid and infection in the lungs, and hypotension (extremely low blood pressure). The second time, her scores were boarderline, but the RT (Respitory Therapist) felt she would be ready to try the CPAP. Her blood gas levels threatened a re-intubation, but she saved herself at the last minute with a normal count!!
Nasogastric tube (NG tube): A tube that is passed through the nose into the stomach. Romy had this to vent air out of her stomach while she was on her ventilators and CPAP. They would periodically pull air out of her stomach...it looked SO uncomfortable.
PICC line (percutaneously inserted centra catheter): A special longer lasting IV. It is a soft, tiny tube that is inserted into a blood vessel. A speciay trained group of nurses or doctors put them in. They use x-rays to guide them and use a sterile room.
RDS (respiratory distress syndrome): This is the most common lung disease of premature infants. It is caused by not having enough surfactant (a substance that coats the airs sacs in the lungs). Surfactant helps keep the air sacs open. The air sacs must be open for the baby to get oxygen in and carbon dioxide out of the blood...which is what Romy struggled with for days. She had SEVERAL surfactant treatments because her x-rays were continually showing hazy, fluid filled lungs.
Tachypnea: breathing faster than normal. Babies generally greathe approximately 40-60 times a minute. When Romy Lin was first put on her canula (small tubes delivering a small dose of oxygen) she would breath up to 90 times a minute. It was hard for her to figure this whole "breathing business" out!!
UAC (umbilical artery catheter): A special kind of IV placed in one of the vessels of the umilical cord. Fluids can be given, and blood can be drawn for lab testing. The doctors put one of these in Romy, and then ended up taking it out when they thought she was doing fairly well after that first night. I wish they could have kept it to save her poor heels that now look like she was stabbed repeatedly...oh wait...SHE WAS...poor baby...! It would have also saved her from having NUMEROUS IV's blow. It seems like everytime I go see her, her IV is in a different spot...! Not to mention she has that PICC line as well...
I know this couldn't have been the MOST EXCITING POST EVER...but I don't want to forget all these technical things she went through. So, I undersand if you didn't make it this far through the post...and if I get super low comment feedback, but hey...this is my journal...take it or leave it.