Sorry it’s been so long since we’ve checked in. As you can probably imagine, life has been pretty hectic since the boys were born! 🙂
Rachel was discharged on Monday September 21st. We had hoped to stay in a “Boarder” room at Kaiser to be close to the babies while they were in the NICU. Unfortunately there were no “boarder” rooms available, so we spent the week at various hotels that were close to the hospital. This was an unexpected expense, but totally necessary so that we could be around the boys as much as possible. Recovering from a C-Section is ‘no joke!” Rachel in true warrior fashion – persevered and is feeling pretty good now. There is a still long way to go, but she is getting better with each passing day.
We were hoping to get the boys transferred to Kaiser Santa Rosa as soon as possible. It is much closer to our house. (20 minutes vs. 1 hour 10 minutes!). Kaiser Walnut Creek is a Level III NICU, while Kaiser Santa Rosa is a Level II NICU.
Here is a basic description of each NICU Level – (NICU = Neonatal Intesive Care Unit):
Level I (basic): a hospital nursery organized with the personnel and equipment to perform neonatal resuscitation, evaluate and provide postnatal care of healthy newborn infants, stabilize and provide care for infants born at 35 to 37 weeks’ gestation who remain physiologically stable, and stabilize newborn infants born at less than 35 weeks’ gestational age or ill until transfer to a facility that can provide the appropriate level of neonatal care.
Level II (specialty): a hospital special care nursery organized with the personnel and equipment to provide care to infants born at more than 32 weeks’ gestation and weighing more than 1500 g who have physiologic immaturity such as apnea of prematurity, inability to maintain body temperature, or inability to take oral feedings; who are moderately ill with problems that are expected to resolve rapidly and are not anticipated to need subspecialty services on an urgent basis; or who are convalescing from intensive care. Level II care is subdivided into 2 categories that are differentiated by those that do not (level IIA) or do (level IIB) have the capability to provide mechanical ventilation for brief durations (less than 24 hours) or continuous positive airway pressure.
Level III (subspecialty): a hospital NICU organized with personnel and equipment to provide continuous life support and comprehensive care for extremely high-risk newborn infants and those with complex and critical illness. Level III is subdivided into 3 levels differentiated by the capability to provide advanced medical and surgical care
In order to be transported to Kaiser Santa Rosa, several conditions needed to be met:
- +35 weeks gestation
- Weight +1500 g (+3.3 lbs.)
- Unassisted respiratory (breathing room air) or Low Flow Nasal Cannula, (no CPAP or High Flow nasal cannula)
- Availability (room for 3 babies) at the receiving hospital
I believe that some of the conditions above were a requirement of the transport provider, so that they could provide the safest conditions possible in order to move the babies between facilities.
Makani & Keoni were born with some respiratory issues (standard stuff, not life threatening). Makani was placed on a CPAP for the first couple of days and then a high flow nasal cannula for a couple of days. Keoni was on a low flow nasal cannula for a couple of days and Makani was placed on one on September 20th. All three boys were breathing room air, unassisted by the 23rd.
We were told on Thursday September 24th that the boys would be transferred to Kaiser Santa Rosa in the morning. The transport teams can only move 2 babies at a time, so 2 teams would be used. Later that evening we found out that Santa Rosa no longer had the room to take the boys! 😦 Expectations turn into resentments when they don’t go the way you that you expected – knowing this, we did not set our hopes very high until we actually saw the boys being loaded up in to the ‘Airborne Life Support Systems’ transport unit (see above)!
On Sunday afternoon we were told that they were moving the boys to Santa Rosa on Monday. 😀 Unfortunately, only one transport team would be used, so 2 boys would go in the morning (9am) & 1 in the afternoon (4:30pm)! 🙂 What could go wrong, right? Well, Kaleo & Keoni made it to the hospital in a little over an hour. We arrived at the hospital around the same time as the boys. Makani would have to travel solo on the evening transport. It was scheduled to go through rush hour traffic, so we didn’t expect to see him until 6 or 7pm. At around 630pm we got a call from Dr. Anderson, the Walnut Creek NICU doctor. He said that the ambulance broke down on the way and they had to send a new rig to transport him – FFS!!! Hahahaha, They actually had to turn around and go back to the hospital and feed Makani because it had been over 3 hours since his last feeding. After that, they would be on their way. They really made good time and our family was finally reunited around 8pm!
Whew, what a great feeling to have them all so close to home!!!
That’s it for now…
Mahalo Ke Akua!!!
Keoni (LL), Kaleo (Middle), Makani (LR)
Here is Rachel 1 week, postpartum (she still looks great, doesn’t she???):