Saturday, April 2, 2011

Maddie and Jacob's Story Part 4

Part 1 Is HERE

Part 2 Is HERE

Part 3 Is HERE

So much happened those first 5 days of the babies being on life support. It went by in a tired sleepless blur, that felt surreal. On day 6 in the ICU the doctors thought Jacob might be ready for his ventilator to be taken off. (extubated). They don't like people being on them for too long, as it becomes harder to take them off. As soon as the breathing tube was taken out I noticed that he was really struggling to breathe. He had a deep recession in his chest with every breath, and a strange sound coming from his throat. The nurses told me that this was quite common and it was caused by swelling in the throat from the ventilaror tube. His respiritory distress increased as the day went on. The doctors decided to re-tube him. He needed life support again...he was in a very bad way. They advised me not to be present during the procedure as it might be destressing to see. There was no way I was going to leave my baby. He needed me. He wasn't going to be alone during this.

" I want to be here for him."

I move back to give them room. It will be difficult because he is so tiny, and he has the swelling as well.

"I can't get it in. Quick...get a smaller tube. I CAN"T GET IT IN"

The doctors and nurses are calmly frantic. They are working around him. Something is so wrong. I know it. He was moved yesterday to this room. I heard a mother scream and cry and weep half the night as she lost her little one to heart failure in this room. I didn't want Jacob moved to this room...away from Maddie...all by THIS room. I walk to Maddie's room and walk in crazed circles.

"He's going to die. He's going to die." I nurse asks me what's wrong. I nearly vomit.I can't answer her. I rush back to Jacob's room. I can't see him. There are too many people around him. It's so crowded. I'm going to burst with fear. I can't breathe. they still can't get the tube in. They rush the crash cart into his room. He's stopped breathing. He's getting heart massage. My GOD...he's dead. I still can't see him. I see the doctor softly pump his body to keep Jacob's heart beating. I want to push them all out of the way and at the same time I want to run away from it. I do want to see him. They are all still blocking my view. He's my baby damn it! I try to see around them. I can't.

Raymond...where are you....I want you here...I need you here... I can't do this alone. I'm hyperventilating. I hear the fateful words..almost shouted by a doctor...."It's in...I got it in!"...The breathing tube was finally getting air into his lungs...

The doctor was very relieved. He had to use a much smaller tube than he would have liked. He had no choice though, as Jacob's throat was so swollen. He even said to me he was shitting those words...they are human after all...

I'll love that man forever...his name was Patrick.

Jacob was a very sick little boy, so I was advised to ring my husband to get him to come and support me. He arrived at 2.00am. we sat and watched Jacob for hours.


Jacob's recovery, thankfully, came along nicely. He was soon off the ventilator for good. He would pull no more, well almost no more, surprises on us. What a little fighter...he was so clever.


Maddie was tiny. Much smaller than Jacob , and the illness hit her much harder. She developed a pneumonia and sepsis, where bacteria infects the whole body. She was still in a critacal condition.

Maddie's eighth night on life support proved to be the toughest night of her, and my, life. She was so ill that she regressed to a nitric gas ventilator, which helps to open the lungs just that little bit more. She was slowly dying before my very eyes. Her sats were so low and dropping steadily. Her carbon dioxide levels in her blood were dangerously high. She was unable to be moved. Or even touched, as her sats would drop. Suctioning...a procedure that removed mucus from the tube and upper airways was out of the question. We had nearly lost Maddie on two previous suctioning episodes. The mucus needs to be removed from the tube so it doesn't block the air going into the lungs. If it blocks, she dies. I would try and be present for every suctioning. At this stage, Jacob was placed into a different ward, and it was very difficult trying to be in two places at once. If I was in with Jacob, I would insist upon a phone call, so I could attend Maddie's suctioning...I would run the 214 steps it took to get to ICU. I am sure I flew some days.

Maddie got so bad that they mentioned another sort of ventilator..the third one...that they may try basically as a last resort. It was an oscilating ventilator that basically shook a constant flow of air into the lungs. They weren't sure how she would react to it, so they were trying to avoid it. It could possibly kill her. Surely it wouldn't get to that...

At 5.00pm the doctoer said, "Let's do it!"

How can I say how I felt. To know your child was going to die. You can't even imagine what it's like, unless you have been through it yourself. I didn't cry...I had cried so much of their short lives. I think I had no more tears left. All I could do was stare in bewilderment. I was a zombie. I began to totally distance myself emotionally from her, even more so if that was possible.

Doctors, nurses and technicians were involved with the huge production of taking her off one ventilator and placing her on another. Raymond and I sat in chairs about three metres away from her bed, just holding hands...and watching. We looked at each other, unable to say a word...the tears began to flow...from both of us. I did have more tears after all.... ends part 4...i am teary again and re-living it all over...It was such a painful thing to live through...

Here are a couple more photos of the beautiful babies who fought the battle of their life!!!

So...I'll give you a hint...Maddie made it...this is her a couple of days after her horibble night...she still looks very very sick, but believe me...she looks much better than what she did...

The healthier looking baby is jacob...he was very skinny, but in a normal ward....Aren't they beautiful....Jacob actually had another scary incident,,,some very silly nurse cut his nasal prong that delivered oxygen through his nose...because she didn't move it way from his nostril, when she cut it it flung up his nose and got lodged somewhere in his upper airways...that could have killed him...he had to have a small procedure to remove it...

Ok..until next time..catch you all soon..Hope you are enjoying this ...take care




creatingme said...

I have no proper words, I am sure. I have been reading your story in tears. I ache for you and your babies. I am so glad this tale is from 10 years ago, although I know this pain is still so very real and with you. I am so glad you're writing down your story. It is so important to get it out and deal with it, and to share. My heart is so heavy for what you have gone through. Thank goodness they are thriving now, although I know you have fear each and everyday for you son. Gosh, am I saying the wrong things? I am going to stop, although I cannot stop thinking of you!

With all my heart!

your blog friend,


Nicole Austin said...

i, too, am at a loss of words of what to say. but as i read your story, i feel as though i am right there, aching for those babies. i am a mom to 4 and that has got to be a mother's worst nightmare, to watch her babies suffer. thankfully they are all well now, but i am sorry that your son still suffers from his illness. i'm amazed by your strength through this ordeal, and i'm glad you are sharing your story with others. and it is also good for you to retell your story to get through the emotions you still feel.

thinking of you and your family!