Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back at Home

We are home from the ICU, hopefully for good this time!  It is scary to be without the monitors and Kristopher and I have checked him with the stethoscope at least a dozen times each already...but it is good to be home.Barrett goes to see the cardiologist in the morning for a checkup and more tests.  After his appointment is over, the doctor asked if Barrett could participate in a promotional marketing segment for the hospital -- he'll be famous!  The segment will show the cardiologist treating Barrett and giving him an echocardiogram, etc.  In the meantime, we're settling into a routine at home.  Here's a few pictures from his first "real" bath in the whale tub.  He really seems to like the water~  The bright red marks are left over from the heart monitor sensor pads they used in the ICU.  Ouch :(

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bringing in the Big Guns

The cardiologist explained that Barrett's heart apparently didn't respond as well as he hoped to the oral heart medicine. So now, he is putting him on a bigger, stronger medicine that should keep his heart under control. It will take the new medicine about 5-8 days to "load" into Barrett's system before it will be effective. We'll be in the ICU for a while until the doctor sends us home on a loading dose of an oral version of the new medicine, in addition to the old medicine. Thankfully, Barrett's condition is not as critical as the last stay in ICU because he was not in SVT long enough to put him into cardiomyopathy.
Right now, we are supposed to go home tomorrow. I have to say, I'm nervous to leave the ICU because I've become pretty reliant on looking at the machines and monitors to constantly check his heart rate...
Here's a picture of Barrett hanging out in his bouncer -- we scooted it up to his mini-hospital bed so that his IV cords could reach.

Here he is propped up in his boppy in the hospital bed.

Oh no...

The day after we came home from ICU, Barrett was fussy so I decided to try out our handy dandy new stethoscope to check his heart rate.  After several tries, I kept counting it as over 200 (200, 230, 240...).  I wasn't sure if I was counting correctly and couldn't believe this could already be happening again.  I called Kristopher; he came home immediately and tried to check the heart rate too.  After the heart rate didn't go back down when he stopped crying, we took him to the ER at the advice of the cardiologist.  His heart rate was 258 -- he was in SVT again.  Just like last time, a whole team of doctors and nurses hovered over our tiny baby to try to get an IV line to administer the medicine to break the SVT.  They couldn't get an IV in his little veins, so dunked him upside down in a bucket of ice water to break the SVT.  After this didn't work, they sent him straight to the pediatriac ICU where the doctors and nurses specialize in tiny veins.  Thank goodness, Ashley, an ICU nurse, finally got an IV in his foot and they injected the drug to stop the SVT.  Barrett's heart rate returned to normal...until he broke into SVT again, and the entire process started over again.  Barrett was in SVT six times that night, lasting over seven hours.  It felt like hell on earth to helplessly watch this happening over and over to our baby and Kristopher and I could hardly stand it.

The Power of Prayer

After we received the terrible diagnosis, my parents drove in from Birmingham that night and got to the hospital in Baton Rouge about 2:30 a.m.  Kristopher's family also came to the hospital to be with us as the horrible news sunk in and while we watched Barrett's condition. Luckily, parents are allowed to stay overnight in the PICU, so Kristopher and I stayed all the time and only ever left to go home for showers.
We learned that, in a nutshell, the SVT caused his heart to beat too fast and the cardiomyopathy caused his heart to stop beating. If we can control the SVT with medicine, we can control the cardiomyopathy. But unfortunately, it did not look like Barrett's SVT was the type that would respond to medicine. Unbelieveably, Barrett's condition radically improved -- The doctors put him on a ventilator and feeding tube so that Barrett's little body only had to work on making his heart beat.  This worked!  His heart started responding to the medications and the echocardiogram showed that his heart muscles were pumping again!!
We know that this was God's work.  We are just overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends and family who took care of us and prayed so hard for little Barrett.  It still gives me chills to think of how things almost turned out and how blessed we are to have our little boy.
Although we were orignally told we might be there for weeks, we only had to stay in ICU five days.  The doctors sent us home with Barrett's new heart medicine and an appointment for two days later to discuss his condition and lifestyle adjustments.  All of the doctors and nurses marveled over his remarkable improvement.  We are so proud of Barrett ~ he is a fighter!

Broken Hearted

When Barrett was 2 and a half weeks old, we took him to the pediatrician because he was vomiting. After the doctor checked him out with a stethoscope and looked in his ears, he called in another pediatrician to also look at Barrett. The doctors told us that his heart rate was too fast to count and that we needed to go to the emergency room immediately. In fact, because the pediatrician's office is near the hospital, they told us we should drive him there ourselves and not wait for an ambulance.
When we got to the ER, the doctors and nurses were waiting on us and we took him straight back. His heart rate was 279 -- the result of a condition called SVT. At one time, we counted twelve doctors and nurses trying to get an IV in Barrett to give him medicine to break the SVT and make his heart rate go down. They even shaved a little patch of his hair to try an IV in his head. After the medicine was finally in his system, his heart rate went down and they took him up to the pediatriac ICU for further treatment while we waited.
After a while, the pediatriac cardiologist brought us from the family waiting room to a private conference room. He explained to us that Barrett was in SVT for a while and this caused cardiomyopathy, making his heart enlarge and eventually tire out and become unable to beat. Barrett's condition was deemed critical and we were told to prepare for the worst, including the very real possibility that he would not survive. Without doubt, this was the worst day of our lives.

Too many cords and monitors for such a tiny baby.

First bath

Bath time is pretty fun so far, but will be even better when his umbilical cord falls off and we can put him in his whale tub and let him splash around in the warm water. Until then we are trying to keep him distracted with lullabies so he won't feel cold during the little sponge baths!

Baby Barrett

Barrett Caldwell Klar

Born Monday September 28, 2009 at 5:15 p.m.

7 pounds and 10 ounces

21 3/4 inches long

So far, his hair looks strawberry blonde and his eyes are navy blue. We are in love already~