Sunday, October 23, 2011

You may want to come to the NICU..

Posted by Jenna at Sunday, October 23, 2011

I've gone back & forth, trying to decide if I should post this or not. Ultimately, I decided to post this because some of you will go through this and I want my blogs to be a real reflection of the ups & downs of rotation. It may not be an easy read but it's what I experienced my last 3 days of rotation.

Wednesday was just a crappy day. Instead of going on the 2nd set of rounds, I was in the PICU working on a presentation that I was giving to the team the next day. Around 9:15 Allison paged me and said 'C isn't doing well, you may want to come to the NICU.' I didn't even think to save what I was working on; I just logged off the computer and briskly walked to the NICU. When I got there, the team was gathered around her bed but to me, she (& her monitors) didn't seem any different than normal. But everyone seemed to be preparing for something bad to happen and eventually I figured out that they were right. They had called her mom to let her know that she needed to come in immediately. At this point, C was still full code, as a palliative care meeting with the family yielded the statement 'Do everything you can to save my baby.'

Well, who can blame them? They're parents who adore their 3 month old child and had dreams & aspirations for her. Unfortunately though, we had done everything & more that could've been done for C and her little body was still failing. I think that's the hardest part, to say 'there's nothing more we can do.'

Before I knew it, her heart rate started to steadily drop and they couldn't find a pulse. A code was called and then things were kind of a blur. It was very organized and as calm as could possibly be given the fact that this beautiful child was slipping away. A nurse quickly got a wooden board, which was placed under C so that she'd be on a flat surface for chest compressions. She ended up getting two rounds of chest compressions & Epi before they found a pulse. After this, she ended up holding her own and her nurse very sweetly put a beautiful headband on her so that she would look even more beautiful when her mom got there.

I've never seen chest compressions done on anyone, much less a baby. I've never been in a code situation either so this was a new experience, one that I don't think anyone looks forward to.

There was a very eloquently written piece in the New York Times last weekend that really makes you think. It's not an uplifting reflection but it really makes you think about the power of a parents love.

The next 48 hours were very sad and filled with ethical questions. Ultimately, she was made DNR Thursday and comfort care Friday. She was constantly held, either by her parents or her nurses, until her little body gave in Friday evening. Rest in peace, baby girl .. may your parents find the strength to get through this hard time.

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