Louise came home from hospital last Thursday evening to rejoin her big sisters and her big brother who have been waiting so (im)patiently for her. Before she left the hospital she had everything fully checked out. She had an echo-cardiograph done which showed that her operation has gone very well. The pharmacist came and gave me detailed instructions about Louise's medications. The surgical team were called to have a look at the wound from her chest drain as it looked a bit wet and pink around the edge. They took a swab of it and told John they'd telephone him on Monday if anything showed up and Louise needed an antibiotic. They gave him all the necessities for changing the dressing in 2 days. The baby was weighed, measured and examined for any forgotten wires or monitors (there were none). Finally we had a long chat with the specialist nurse to cover every angle we need to know.
We really were thrilled to be home again with at least a few days of the Easter holidays left for the children to finally enjoy their little sister. Next day we just enjoyed being together as a family, relieved that stage one was over. However, as a result of all the painkillers Louise had been on over the last week, she was very colicky and was clearly pretty uncomfortable. It's difficult to bring up her burps as she has a fine line between burp and vomiting up her entire feed! Considering that Louise is down almost a pound since her birth weight, and that the most important thing she's to do before her next operation is to put on as much weight as possible, she can't get away with throwing away her food! The children didn't really get to hold her much as she was only happy sleeping in my arms or feeding for comfort. New babies are a bit like that anyway, I've always felt that babies are much more happy and comfortable from about two months of age. Who could begrudge poor little Louise a cuddle though, even if she wants it to last for three days?
On Friday evening I settled Louise around midnight and quickly went to bed myself. When she woke for her 6am feed my heart sank when I lifted her..she had a temperature! I woke John up at once as a temperature in any 3 week old baby is frightening but in this baby, twice as terrifying. We cooled her down over the next two hours then got up to prepare to change the chest drain dressing. When John removed the old dressing we could clearly see the wound was quite fiery but at least not smelling. John headed out to the chemist for baby paracetamol and antibiotic and telephoned his father, also a GP, for a second opinion, then decided not to wait for the swab results but to go ahead with the antibiotic.
Saturday was a miserable and tense day for me..I was so worried about my poor, scrappy, white little baby. Her temperature went down with each dose of paracetamol but we weren't going to take any chances so spent the day monitoring her nappies, breathing rate, temperature and feeds and ready any moment to return to the hospital with her, where she'd surely be readmitted. If both John AND his father weren't doctors we definitely would have gone up. By bedtime I felt washed out and we both agreed that if her temperature was still up by the morning we'd probably bring her to the hospital. At the 3am feed, Louise was feeling normal temperature but that could have been from the paracetamol so when she woke at 6am feeling normal and looking around with her old(ish) familiar wide eyed expression, I felt the weight lifted from my shoulders. She's been back to herself today, so the best rollercoaster in town is on a plateau for the moment. Rebecca told me this afternoon that I spent all day yesterday twirling my thumbs, my worry giveaway!
Tomorrow Louise has her appointment with the neurologist, we've hardly considered her brain malformation so far as the heart is much more immediate. After the appointment I've to bring her up to the ward for weighing and to have her blood saturation level checked. The cardio-thoracic team will then have another look at her wound. I've since heard from a few people who've had major surgery that the drain wound is far more troublesome than the surgery wound.
Hopefully then we can return to enjoying beautiful skinny Louise.
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday and as is our family custom we walked as a now larger family to the Church for the 3pm ceremony, it was the first time we've been out with Louise in her pram. I am so thankful that Our Lord is truly carrying us during this journey. I came across this lovely picture of Jesus with a little infant and thought the baby looked like Louise..here it is..