We were informed today that Elsie will be moving tomorrow (Monday) to Primary Children's Medical Center, where she will undergo an exploratory examination to determine what is obstructing her intestines. There is either a blockage of meconium (fetus poop) that is not allowed anything else through, or else her intestines have not yet fully formed into a tube, and this is causing a blockage. If it turns out that it is her intestines and not just meconium, she will need surgery to correct the problem. Currently, she is being fed through an IV that bypasses her stomach completely and sends the food directly into her blood. This creates a lot of work for her tiny liver, and long-term use of the IV feeding can lead to liver damage. So the sooner the problem is fixed, the better.
The thought of my tiny child undergoing surgery is absolutely terrifying. I don't know yet if they would do the surgery right away or if they would wait for her to get bigger. I suppose I will have more answers (and probably more questions, too) after the exam tomorrow.
Elsie will likely stay at Primary Children's for the next four months. The two hospitals, U of U and PCMC, are adjacent to each other and are connected by an indoor bridge, and preemies are often transported between the two hospitals, depending on their needs. PCMC does more of the surgeries and some other things; the nurse explained it to me today but I don't remember all of the details. I know one or two people who work at PCMC, and I know that they are excellent care providers and that my baby will be in the best care possible. At the same time, I hate that we are leaving the U (Alert, alert, whining ahead).We've only been there just over a week, but I'm comfortable there. I know where to go, what to do, and I'm recognizing more and more faces. I love Elsie's nurses. And I know that I will get to know Primary Children's, and I'm sure we'll love it there and become just as comfortable with the area and staff, but it's just more change for me to deal with. In this roller coaster ride that has become our lives, a little stability has been nice. And now this abrupt upheaval of changing locations, which shouldn't really be a big deal, is hard to handle. Ok, I think I'm finished whining for now. Don't be giving me any lectures of how change is good, or glowing reports of how we'll love Primary's, because rationally I know that we will love it, but I'm not rational right now!
To end things on a more positive note, I got to hold our sweet baby in my hands today. The nurse was finishing up Elsie's "cares" right as we got there tonight; tasks that are done on a six hour basis, such as changing her diaper, manually taking her temperature, feeling her pulse in various locations, and weighing her. There is a scale actually on her bed in the incubator, and to take her weight, you lift the baby so that the scale can calibrate itself to zero, and then you set the baby down and it takes her weight. The nurse offered to let me be the one to hold her for a few seconds as the scale calibrates to zero. We didn't get any pictures, which makes me kind of bummed, but that's ok. It was like holding a feather. Her head and neck rested in one hand, and her hips and legs sat in the other hand. She has lost weight, which all newborns do immediately after birth, and now weighs 520 grams or just under one pound. She is so tiny and delicate. It was wonderful to hold her even for a few seconds. Someday I will be able to hold her close to me, and that, my friends, will be a happy day.
Good night sweet Elsie, may the angels watch over you tonight and always.