Today was the hardest day of my life. On nights one of the residents had an idea to do a special film on an x-ray to see if it would show what they thought the problem was (but couldn't find proof of). On rounds this morning we were told that Daxon had a pneumothorax. This is when a small amount of air excapes the lungs and gets trapped in the lining of the lung. This makes it so that the lung is not able to expand properly and then you cannot take a deep breath (why his resp rate was so high). This is simply treated with plain oxygen (they had been using the Cpap which is NOT the right way to treat this). They removed all the hardware for the Cpap and we able to finally get a good look at our little guy.
At afternoon rounds they took x-rays to see if the pneumothorax was going down and that is when they realised that his other lung was starting to collapse. Basically what happened was that because of him being a late pre-term baby and his rapid breathing rate for such a long time and that it took so long for them to figure out the right treatment he had used up all the surfactant in his lungs (this is a soapy type of thing that is in your lungs that keep the airways from sticking together). His gestational age came into play with this because it is only produced by babies starting in the 35-36th week of gestation so he didn't have a lot to work with to begin with. We were told that he would probably be able to work through this within about a week with no intervention but there were no guarantees. The other option was to have him intubated and treated with artificial surfactant. For me this was the door that I just couln't walk through. I remember thinking the whole time that everything was going to be ok as long as he was never intubated and now they wanted to do just that. I was so torn and absolutely terrified. In the end I looked at Scott to make the decision and he chose to go with the intubation. I have never been so scared in my life and I don't think I really relaxed until that tube was gone. We went and said goodbye and I really thought that I would never see my son alive again.
Of course that wasn't the case and when we were called back into his room his color was much better and his O2 sats were nice and high for the first time. I was sad but it was for the best.
During rounds today it was decided that the breathing tube was to stay in and he was to continue to be treated with surfactant. Daxon was also ordered a sedative because he was getting very adgitated during the day. My mommy intuition kicked in and I begged the doctor to start feeding him. He was already 4 days old and I was sure that he was hungry. I was also pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock and wanted to know that it wasn't for nothing. He was ordered 5ml every 3 hours to be increased by 2ml as toterated. They fed him a few hours later and I was right - the sadative was never needed. He calmed right down and would be good until about a half hour before his next feed. It was such a relief. His bilirubin levels were taken today and they were elevated so Daxon ended up on a bili-blanket and got the cool shades to go with it.