Lisa's reflective account of Day 26....

I was up at 4am to phone the ward and express but fell back to sleep and Phil went over for handover. Theo had been more settled overnight but had a significant drop in his sats and heart rate where he needed neo-puffing that morning. I went over to the unit at 9am for the ward round. The nurse looking after Theo that day and the consultant were really nice. He needed another abdo X-ray and a blood transfusion. They said he would stay on triple antibiotics at that time. He was still in discomfort around his abdomen especially when handled so still having morphine. I was worried about him having so many Brady’s (drops in heart rate). The Doctor discussed the results of his second X-ray with us. The first one showed a large loop of dilated bowel in the right quadrant and the second one showed smaller dilated loops further round his bowel. The Dr explained that he thought it looked like he had septic ilius rather than NEC. In view of his bowel picture the management would stay the same for the time being. It was great that they didn’t think it was NEC, such a relief. Sepsis was bad enough but NEC was the far more serious of the two. We spent most of our time at Theo’s incubator just looking at him. We were used to tube feeding him every hour but were redundant whilst he was not being fed. We did minimal cares as we didn’t want to cause him unnecessary discomfort. He needed his sheets changing so we did it all at the same time when we changed his nappy. I knew he didn’t like being handled so I got all in a fluster changing his sheets because there were so many wires to navigate round. I had an overwhelming feeling to protect him, I didn’t like the thought of hurting him so I wanted to hurry up and do it as quickly as possible. He had a Brady when we finished which just reinforced how I felt. Poor little baba. I noticed throughout the day that his blood pressure had a wide gap between the systolic and diastolic readings again, the same as when his heart duct was open. I had a feeling that it had opened back up. His blood pressure readings were low, the Drs were also worried that he wasn’t passing enough urine. The night ward round was at about 11pm, I wanted to discuss my concerns with the Consultant. I was really worried about the bradys he was having, that his breathing tube was leaking again like it was last time it needed changing and that his duct might have reopened. The Dr was a really nice lady she listened to my concerns and said she would keep an eye on him overnight. The nurse looking after him that night was new to us, she hadn’t looked after Theo before. She appeared quite moody which wasn’t a very professional attitude to have. Usually staff on the unit were mostly kind and welcoming with a professional attitude towards their work. As a nurse I understand that you sometimes have to work when you don’t feel like it or have issues in your own personal life but whatever the issue it is important to be professional. Our baby was very poorly and we wanted to feel confident about the person we were leaving him with over night. There was a couple of specs of blood on his nest from his last blood gas. We had only just changed all of his bed sheets so asked her not to change them again because we didn’t want to cause him unnecessary discomfort. We didn’t leave the ward until 1am and he wasn’t due anymore cares until 6am which we said that we would be back to do. I left with the feeling that she was going to do it anyway but wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. I asked her to phone through the night if there were any changes with Theo. Phil had noticed that she wasn’t always hygienic in her work. I hadn’t been paying attention to what she was doing so wasn’t aware. I’ve said before that we expected best practice when looking after Theo. He was one of our most precious people in the world, not just another baby on the unit. I really hoped she would care for him well overnight. Phil wanted to stay but we left the unit at 1am as we were so tired.

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