Upon arrival in the nursery her vitals were all perfect. After her bath they checked again and her heart rate had spiked to 240 bpm. This is twice what it should be for a newborn. It stayed that rate for approximately 30 minutes, but then returned to normal on its own. At this point they decided they needed to do an EKG, an echocardiogram, and a chest x-ray. The EKG measures heart rhythm. This showed several abnormalities. The echocardiogram is like a sonogram of the heart. This showed no physical malformations. The chest x-ray showed her lungs to be a little wet. This is normal in a newborn, especially one born via c-section.
They decided that she could be in my room with me on a heart monitor. I was so happy about this. She was with us in my room from 11am until 4pm. Then they discussed everything with specialists in Little Rock. They then decided they could better monitor her if she stayed in the nursery and only came to me every three hours to breastfeed. She was supposed to come back to me at 6:15pm. At this point they noticed her respiratory rate went up and her oxygen saturation went down. Respiratory rate needs to be below 65, hers was a little over that. Oxygen saturation needs to be 90-100 with the higher, the better, hers was dropping as low as 85. This is when they decided she needed to go to the NICU to be more closely monitored. I am not allowed to try to breastfeed her until midnight because sometimes feeding can make a baby's respiratory rate increase which can cause them to aspirate (choke). Until then she has an IV of fluids to keep her from feeling hungry and I am pumping to keep up or ensure my milk supply.
We just got back from visiting her and she's looking great. All her vitals are right where they want them to be. She is on 2 liters of "flow." She has a tube in her nose pushing in 2 liters per minute of room air, not pure oxygen. This is a good thing because it means she is able to handle regular air right now, she's just needing a bit more help getting it in. She is also on a medication to keep her heart rate from spiking again (it happened one other time after the first, but not as high and not for as long). I will get to try breastfeeding at midnight and if she handles it well, I will get to keep doing that every three hours. She is in her own private room, so Jon and I can go anytime.
They think the fast heart rate is what they call Supra Ventricular Tachycardia. I have it, my mom has it, her sister has it, and their mom, and her sisters all have it. It has never required surgery for any of us or even hospitalization. It is just an occasional sudden increase in heart rate that could possibly be life-threatening if the heart was not able to resume normal rhythm. I have always been able to control mine with a breathing technique, except for one occasion when I needed medication to force my heart to beat regularly again. The doctors here do not feel like this is a huge worry for Annabel. They feel that most babies with this problem usually outgrow it within the first year of life and also outgrow the need for the medication within that same time period.
The respiratory rate and oxygen saturation is fairly normal in newborns. The neonatologist told me that if this had occurred in a baby without the SVT issues, he would not have taken them to the NICU. It is only because she already had the rhythm issue that they wanted to be extra careful and watch this more closely than normal.
However, it still very much worries a momma and I'm just sick that she can't be with me. I'm exhausted and will rest between feedings and/or pumping, but I wanted to get this out there so people can be praying. Please, please pray. Also, we don't really want visitors right now. We want this time to focus on our family, rest, heal, and pray. We have specific prayer requests as well.
- Pray that her heart rate is controlled by the medication and doesn't require any other intervention. It needs to stay 120-160bpm.
- Pray that her respiratory rate stays below 65 before, during, and after nursing so that I can begin to and continue to breastfeed her regularly.
- Pray that her oxygen saturation stays 90 and above, preferably 95 and above. They will be cutting her down to 1 liter of flow in the morning. If she handles this well, then they'll try taking her off it altogether.
- Pray that the gradual decrease of flow does not affect Annabel and that she can maintain her saturation above 90 on her own as they do this.
- Pray that we can all go home together on Wednesday as planned.
- Pray that Jon and I have peace and calming through this.
- Pray that we can trust in God to give us healing and care.
She is beautiful and we are so in love. My heart is just aching for her, though.