Last night was something out of a nightmare. It constantly flashes through my head. Everything that day went well. Chris Jr. was awake and moving. He was following us with his eyes. He was consistently being restrained because he was moving way more than they wanted. Things were good. My baby was responding to my voice, my touch, everything. He successfully completed another extubation trial and the team was given the green light to extubate him. He kept falling in and out of sleep so they wanted to make sure he was a bit more alert before extubating. They said that they would discuss the process during night rounds. For the first time, Chris and I left the hospital to get some food. The food was delicious and it felt great to get some air. When we returned to the hospital, we missed rounds but were told that the extubation was still on track. I was filled with excitement that I would be able to finally hold my son again. Because they wanted him alert as much as possible, we played his favorite song, "Baby Shark". We sang and danced. Yet, he still kept falling asleep every couple of minutes. In the back of my mind, I wondered if this was the right time to extubate him but the excitement of holding him overshadowed my doubts.
They started the extubation process at 10pm. By 10:20pm, he was re-intubated. What happened in that 20 minutes will never leave my mind. It will never leave my heart. I saw my baby struggling for his life. I saw him fighting the medical team and we couldn't understand what was happening. Was he uncomfortable? Was he ready to be free? Or was he having difficulty breathing? In a matter of minutes, Chris Jr. went into respiratory failure. His body wasn't ready. He still needed the support. We searched for answers for hours as to what happened. There were so many issues. They asked me to leave his room but my medic side kicked in and I knew something was wrong. I will be frank and honest. I love our hospital. I love the staff. But what happened last night was nothing short of a disaster. They extubated Chris Jr. knowing that he wasn't fully awake- this means that he still could have been sedated. It was taking alot of effort to keep him awake during the period right before the extubation. Next, the respiratory therapist was the lead on the extubation. They took his ventilator out and were supposed to place equipment on him that was similar to a CPAP. There was a mask with lots of straps that was supposed to help with the placement and holding of the CPAP. The respiratory therapist did not know how to use the mask. Yes, he did NOT know how to use the mask. They had the equipment on my son and then he told the doctor that he didn't know how to use it. Apparrently, this piece of equipment was brand new to the hospital and he had not used it before. My heart sank in my chest when I heard this. He had to page another respiratory therapist for assistance. It took everything in me to remain calm during this time. How in the hell would they create an extubation plan and not make sure that this was taken care of? No one knew how to use the equipment except for the respiratory therapist that came to assist.
During that 20 minutes, Chris Jr's O2 saturation levels dropped down to 10. 10. Freaking 10. A healthy person's level is high 90s-100. Chris Jr's baseline is around 85-90. Since the operation, he's been around 75-85. He went from having levels in the high 70s to 10. They tried to see if a nasal cannula would work on him and it didn't help either. The decision was made to re-intubate him. Choosing to re-intubate him meant that he needed to be sedated again. We would have to start this process all over again. Duirng that time, we could tell that he was agitated. All of his vitals were extemely high but he calmed down after a few hours. Immediately after his intubation, we voiced our frustrations and concerns to the charge nurse. Not only were we upset about the situation with the respiratory therapist but we wanted to know what went wrong. Chris Jr. is currently on anti-seizure medications that have sedative effects. He was being weaned off the medications so the team assumed that his body would metabolize the medications. It turns out that he blood concentration of one of his medications had actually increased after he was weaned off of it. This was discovered only after the doctors looked for answers to find out what happened.
Trying to sleep after this was awful. I just kept seeing everything replay in my head. Flailing arms. Frantic faces. My son's body going limp. It was horrifying. In that moment, I almost crawled back into my dark space. But I had to remember, God deserves the praise in the good times and in the bad times. I can't just have hope when things are good. It's during the dark time that God steps in and shows out.
Processing everything has been hard. This isn't how we expected to spend our Thanksgiving. Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is Thanksgiving. I am thankful. I woke up and my baby boy was looking right at me. I know that his life will never be the same. His eyes aren't shining brightly anymore. You can tell that he is different. Yet, he is here and he is still fighting. I was able to hold my little heart warrior today. As soon as he was in my arms, his whole attitude changed. He knew he was with his mama. He went to sleep peacefully and it felt like old times. We are going to keep pushing. Hour by hour. Day by Day.