Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Being Monitored

You can see the black and white leads in this picture.
Corrin came home with a little something attached.  A monitor that keeps track of her breathing and her heart rate.  The NICU doctor was concerned because there was no cause for the apnea that she had at birth.  She was full term, and according to my doctor, African-American female infants are, statistically, the strongest babies.  In short, Corrin's apnea was not typical, and very much not expected.  The plan at her release from NICU was to take her home with the monitor, breastfeed exclusively, and for Mikey and I to have CPR training.  

In the time since we have been home, Corrin's monitor has alarmed three times.  The first time was due to user error.  I hadn't placed the monitor correctly, and the alarm sounded because it had shifted.  The second time was also my fault.  I was moving her around during the night, and shifted the monitor.  The third time the monitor's alarm sounded scared some years off my life. 

Corrin stopped breathing.  When the alarm sounded, it was about 5:00 am.  It woke Mikey and I up out of a sound sleep.  I tried to rouse Corrin, then I took her out of swaddle, and tried again.  She started breathing rhythmically again.  I watched her for about an hour and a half before I could even think of going to sleep again.  Even now, days later, I am having trouble falling asleep at night, because I am so focused on listening for her to take breaths. 

When we first came home with the monitor, I wasn't really convinced that we needed it.  After that night, I am grateful that we have it.   I also worry, because we do not know why Corrin has apnea.  I have come up with all kinds of reasons that make sense in my head, but we really don't know.  I have noticed that when Corrin is really comfortable she tends to breath more slowly. Also the swaddle tends to make her very comfortable, so we have stopped swaddling her for now. 

Here is what the monitor looks like...

The monitor tracks Corrin's respiration and heart rate.  If she stops breathing or her heart rate is too fast or too slow, the monitor will alarm.  It will then remain lit up to let you know why it alarmed until you reset it.  We don't know how long she will require the monitor.  Corrin's pediatrician informed us at her first appointment that she likes to see at least two or three clear readings from the monitor before she will recommend removing the monitor.  We are being monitored, and I am finding that I am okay with that.

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