I started back on B-ward/maternity a couple of weeks ago. One of the duties of the B-ward doc of the month is to care for the babies in the nursery. The nursery is a warm and cozy room where the mamas help to look after their babies under the supervision of the nurses.
There isn't much in the way of fancy equipment such as respirators and incubators as you would find in an NICU. There are a few warming beds (some of which may not work), some IV poles, and a hot pot on the sink to heat water for formula. That is the extent of our fancy equipment!
Some of the babies in the nursery were born full term but have some sort of complication such as a breathing problem or infection. They may be admitted for just a few hours or days, others need to stay for a bit longer. We recently had a baby who developed respiratory distress shortly after birth. A chest x-ray showed that he had a diaphragmatic hernia. The congenital condition was due to a defect in the diaphragm, or the large flat breathing muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. The spleen and quite a bit of the small intestine were pushed up into the left side of the chest. The left lung could not expand properly and caused the baby to be short of breath and blue. This was one of those difficult situations where the baby would probably die if surgery was or was not done, either way. Unfortunately he died several hours after the operation.
But there are many happy stories as well. Some of the little ones do amazingly well. Baby of Rosemary was born a couple of months ago and weighed only 1100 grams at birth, or about 2 1/2 pounds. Her mother has meticulously cared for her, feeding every three hours through a tube and now with cup and dropper. And bit by bit she has been growing. This week we celebrated her life with what I hope will become a nursery tradition: a 2000 gram party! Thanks to my great aunt Naomi for the wonderful cookie recipe :).
Baby of Lucy is another one we have been watching over. He was also quite small at birth. No thanks to a rough start and some bumps along the way, he has been growing only very slowly. I would so appreciate your prayers for this little one! Weighing in at 1450 grams, he still has a long way to go.
(You may wonder why I keep referring to "Baby of so-and-so." Parents do not usually name their children until they are a few months old. I theorize that this is because of the high neonatal and infant mortality rate.)