Friday, October 19, 2012

PCMC Appointment: The Tour (Part 3 of 3)

The final and probably most enlightening part of the appointment was our visit with the Fetal Heart Coordinator and our tour of the facilities.  This was the part that really opened our eyes to what it will be like and what we can expect.

We started out staying in the same room we met with the cardiologist and met with Kim, the Fetal Heart Coordinator.  Her job is to help us with the logistics of things...where will our baby be a lot, what will the first week be like, what are our lodging options, what are the rules of the hospital, where do we eat, what resources are available to us.  We went over a lot of different things with her in that room, but most of our questions were answered during the tour.

We started out in the Cardiac ICU of Primary Children's...yes, you read that right...they have an entire ICU dedicated just to the cardiac patients.  While there were mostly babies, we saw a number of older kids as well.  I think this will be very helpful, especially meeting other people in our situation.

Probably one of the most eye-opening experience was seeing a little baby who had just come out of heart surgery.  She was tiny, even for a normal baby.  But she looked even more tiny being hooked up to all the tubes, IVs, and monitors.  This little person had so much equipment around her it was very overwhelming.  My thought was, "No wonder you are not allowed to hold them! I wouldn't even know how to pick them up!!"  It was hard to think about our little baby in that position.  One thing Tim and I talked about was how difficult is was when Logan had to be on oxygen for those two days in the hospital and how helpless we felt.  We can only imagine those feelings will be exponentially bigger, since there will be so much less we will be able to do and for much longer. The reality of how serious these conditions are reached the surface for both of us.

However, there were some very encouraging things to me.  One thing that was wonderful to me is that there is one-on-one nursing in the ICU.  I think it will be so nice to have just a handful of nurses that we will be working with over our time there.  I am sure these will be relationships we will come to treasure and they will be a blessing throughout the ordeal. Also, I was encouraged at how confident they seemed in knowing how to handle these difficult situations.  While this is our first time going through this (and hopefully our last!!), I am so grateful that we will be surrounded by people that know what they are doing.  Once again, the Lord has put us where we need to be and surrounding us with the people we need to be with.

Next, we went to the "third floor," or the floor we would go once the baby does not need ICU care, but still needs to be in the hospital.  Apparently, they need to be off certain medications, have certain stats, etc. in order to be off the ICU.  Mostly, cardiac babies spend time on the third floor learning how to eat on their own.  When they go into surgery, they are given a feeding tube once their system can handle food.  Because of this, they do not have the skills to eat normally, so we have to take special care to teach them how.  They will not be able to leave the hospital until they can handle food on their own, whether that is orally or through a tube.  This, along with other issues, will be what we deal with on the third floor :)

Finally, we jumped over to the University of Utah hospital, where I will deliver this sweet little guy.  Primary Children's and University Hospital are two different hospitals, but they work very closely together and they are connected by a sky walk. You can get from one to the other in a matter of minutes.  I was very impressed with the Labor and Delivery.  They have a Newborn ICU right there.  In fact, one room (most likely the room I will deliver in)  is connected to the ICU with a little window (thing McDonald's drive through...I think it is the same type of window!!).  Once the baby is born, they can hand the baby through the window directly into the ICU, where they can stabilize him, clean him off, and prepare him for the short trip over to Primary Children's.

It usually takes them a few hours to get him ready, but once he is, they will get the life flight transport team to wheel him across the sky walk to the cardiac ICU.  Also, they are very accommodating to letting me go over to see him as much as I want, even though I will have just given birth.

Overall, it was very good for us to get a visual of where we will be dealing with everything.  Once again, I can't say enough how grateful we are to live so close to such an amazing facility.  Although we know it will be difficult, we know that the Lord has His hand in all of it. 

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Joshua Kent Ipson was born December 1, 2012 with a very complicated combination of congenital heart defects. After 2 1/2 months of fighting for his life, he passed away on February 13, 2013. We invite you to share our experiences as we grieve his loss, rejoice in God's plan, & keep Joshua's message of hope alive.
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