Saturday, June 14, 2014

Target Meltdowns, a zoo rant, and the scariest night yet....

If you didn't know, life in the NICU is random and chaotic and all according to God's plan, not ours.  Our day started out as normal as normal can be here in KC.  We got up, dropped the kids off at the morning NICU play group and settled in.  I (Alan) finally got to hold Chloe again after 4 weeks of barely seeing her and being pretty hands off until we got my cough figured out.  She was super peaceful, and snuggle time was just the best.  After lunch, we had some family come in and visit in the afternoon, and as the kids were crashing out in the waiting room, we decided to make a Target run to pick up some things and get away for a little bit.

The kids fell asleep on the way to Target (first sign of the disaster that was to come), and a nice quiet ride in the van ensued.  Once we got there, the kids woke up, and we got them out of the car and strapped into one of those over-sized kid cart monstrosities.  Or not.  Isaac freaked out, and didn't want to sit in the cart thingy.  Okay, hold Isaac it is.  Perhaps a in store snack is in order.  While Jodie went to get the snack, I took Isaac to the bathroom.  We came back, and Abi had her red Icee, and Jodie was just finishing pouring Isaac's blue Icee.  Can you guess what's coming next? "I WANT A RED ICEE"  So, Jodie pours out half of Isaac's blue Icee and fills it back up with red Icee.  "BUT I WANT BLUE!!!"  Um, no, not going there in the Target store.  I give him a chance to drink the Icee he has, but to no avail, so out of the store I walk with a screaming (seriously, the lungs on that kid) 4 year old.  I proceed to sit in the car for the next 15 minutes with Mr. Tantrum while Jodie continues the errand in the store.

I wasn't there, so I can't really attest to this fact, but apparently, Abi wasn't doing all that much better in the store, and somewhere in the middle of her meltdown, while judgmental people were looking judgingly at our parenting disaster, Jodie snapped at a lady that this was NICU life.  (I'm sure Jodie can tell this story better, especially since I wasn't there)

At almost the exact moment that I had calmed Isaac down, we had worked through repentance and forgiveness, and decided to head back into the store, Jodie opened the van door with Abi and related her experience in the store.  Exhausted, frustrated and a full cranky family later, we decided to text a friend and ask if we could come and sit in her fenced in back yard where the kids could run and we could not really pay all that much attention to them.  Thankfully, the friend said yes.

For 6 weeks now, I have been saying that the one thing that I want to do with the kids while we're here is take them over to the KC zoo, so right before we stopped and got some Papa Murphy's cookie dough, I launched into a 5 minute rant about the fact that by golly we were going to the zoo Saturday, I didn't care how much it cost.  We were going to see the animals, we were going to ride the train, and by golly we were going to have fun.

We then stopped for Papa Murphy's cookie dough, because it had just been that kind of a night.  We stopped at the friends house, played for a couple of hours and headed back.  Just as we started back, Jodie got a call from the hospital that Chloe had coded (her heart had stopped beating), they had to begin chest compressions and they were attempting to intubate her.

Needless to say, the trip back on I-35 was quick and we hustled to get back to the hospital.  A dear friend we met at church here in KC left a wedding reception she and her husband were at to go to the hospital while her husband headed to the Ronald McDonald house to sit with the kids until our more permanent childcare arrived from Olathe.  We dropped the kids off at the house and bee-lined it over to the hospital.  When we got in, there were 15 nurses and doctors gathered around Chloe working on her trying to get her intubated (put on a ventilator).  Because of her genetics, her airway was not cooperating, and they couldn't get a tube down to get her intubated.  To take care of her temporarily, they put an LMA in.

As they started to look at x-rays, it looks like what happened is that she spit up tonight, and sucked some of it back into her lungs, which began the spiral with her airway and heart.

Shortly after we arrived, they had her stabilized with the LMA, but wanted to get a secure airway in for through the night and the next couple of days as they evaluate her lungs and blood to hunt down the cause of this episode.  We stood with her, and tried to keep her calm (essentially the LMA was like a big balloon in her throat, and she was not happy about it) until the ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) folks could come up and take a look.

They came up and decided to try and put a tube in using the LMA as a guide (she even brought up a set of tubes to practice with).  They brought up the fiber optic equipment to help with the procedure and then began.  If they were unable to put the tube down this way, then Chloe would have to go to surgery to have a tube put in through her throat.  After what seemed like an eternity, they said that the tube was in.  Her sats (blood oxygen saturation levels) continued to be really low, so they brought over the x-ray machine to take a look at the placement of the tube.

The tube ended up being too far down, and was into her right lung, so they pulled it back, her sats finally came up to where they wanted them, and she finally began calming down (even after several meds to calm her down, she was fighting like crazy).

Now if only I could calm down, we'd all be good.  Jodie finally went to lay down in one of the rooms they have here in the NICU for parents that need to stay the night.  Pray for our little girl, that she would get over whatever is causing this issue, so they can take this tube out and get her back on room air, feeding and growing.  They aren't feeding her right now (and won't probably feed her for a couple of days), but they have her on IV fluids.  Pray for Jodie and I, as this was by far the scariest time for us yet (no comparison even to the birth).  Pray for the kids, who are now with friends for the weekend.   The first part of the story should clue you in to how out of sorts they are with all of the changes and irregularities in our schedules.  Pray that God would give us wisdom how to parent well through these days.  Pray most of all that our little girl would GROW, and get off of this ventilator as soon as possible.

Pray we'd get over to the zoo some day...


  1. Praying for each member of your family!

  2. Praying for each of you...Alan, Jodie, Isaac, Abi, and Chloe...for sweet times together as a family...for a trip to the zoo...and for NO MORE scary! So very thankful for your faith...and for your willingness to share it with the world! May you sense the warm embrace of the Father today...His mighty arms will sustain you and will give you all the wisdom you need as you continue walking this journey - step-by-step.

    Tracy Emery

  3. Beyond prayer... what do you most need? How can I help? My schedule opens up after the 20th for a bit,so I might be able to come down with a babysitter (Ellerie) in tow for a couple of days if that would help at all. Let me know what you need, how I can help. ~Shawna

  4. Jodie. My heart is in Kansas City. I can't imagine the strength you and Alan have to get you through each day. I look at Isaac and Abi and how they are adjusting not just off and on but daily in a different routine and trying to understand at their little age what is going on. I look at Chloe and in her heart she must be saying,"Thank you God for my family." You are all amazing and I love you so much. Keep the faith and know He is watching over, mom