Jessica’s Fight Back: Day 3 Jessica | My Life 17 NOV 2010

So while day 1 and day 2 left us with a positive taste in the mouth, unfortunately day 3 had to bring us back down to reality a bit, before a final chance moment that left us invigorated with hope once more.

So let’s elaborate a bit shall we?

Monday night did not go so well for little Jessica. She started losing color and a suspected infection was picked up. This meant an increased oxygen flow, the start of an antibiotics course and of course a lot of fussing around her in order to make sure she stabilised.

Dr. Edson was kind enough to keep us in the loop, but needless to say, this information upset Chantelle to no end, leaving her in tears for a good part of the morning. The next bit of news received was that the heart scan confirmed that despite the heart structures all looking fine, the open valve problem common in premature babies is definitely there, meaning Jessica is now starting on a medicinal course for that as well. Next, the NICU staff noticed some blood in her excrement during the day, prompting the stopping of her feeding for now, until her gut stabilises again.

Finally, one of the blood test results indicated the onset of jaundice, so out came the ultraviolet light post haste, and with her eyes securely covered, the now exposed Jessica is currently lying bathed in the blue light so as to extract the jaundice through her skin before that nasty stuff has a chance to attack her body and brain.

Then, to top it all off, I had a stressful morning when via a chance phone call to Discovery to find out how my benefits currently cover little Jessica, I learned that there is currently no authorisation active for Jessica’s current treatment in the NICU! Thankfully though, after a couple of stressful phone calls I was assisted by a fabulous woman by the name of Kim from Discovery Health’s authorisation department, who managed to phone around and collect all the necessary details, before loading the necessary authorisation onto the system! (Whew, I can breathe again)

Chantelle, aware that I'm bugging her by passing the time by abusing the camera, attempts to give me the Evil Eye

As for Chantelle, I was rather pleased on entering the hospital yesterday to find her walking around far more freely (i.e. less bent over double like an old woman) – most likely the effect from the Voltaren pain relief injection she was finally allowed to receive. So in summary she’s still in a fair bit of pain (and remains very swollen, particularly in her legs), but that pain is now far more manageable than what it was on Day 2, which is a small blessing for now.

Oh, and her breasts are now finally coming to the party, meaning that Daisy the cow is now slowly but surely moving into full production – Parmalaat would be so proud! :P

Unfortunately her blood pressure is still remaining at its dangerously high levels and as such, Dr. Albertyn can’t release her yet, and so will motivate with the medical aid that Chantelle has to stay in hospital care until at least Friday, though indications are that Chantelle might now have an underlying blood pressure problem which we’ll slowly but surely suss out as the time passes.

And we finally lost our status of being the only ones in our ward, with another mother that was wheeled in for a emergency Caesar joining us, but in her case she was able to receive the baby which of course makes it a little hard for Chantelle who still hasn’t been allowed to hold little Jessica and will have to wait still for a while before that can finally happen.

(But on a side note these newcomers annoy me to no end – no respect for the hospital rules, doing what they want, insisting on a private ward and as of this moment, have walled off the entire half of a ward for their own “private” area. Oh well, to each there own I suppose).

Anyway, the presents and flowers have continued to roll in, as have the visitors and the phone calls, and yesterday Chantelle and I welcomed Monty and Cheryl, Mom and Ryan, Trish and Karl-Heinz and Andri and Malcolm, all of whose visits were greatly appreciated – for both the support and the fact it helps pass the time that much quicker! :P

I’ve continued my day-long vigil alongside Chantelle’s bed and I’m pretty sure Achilles and Olympus are beginning to wander where we are, considering that I only get home each evening well after 22:00 at night! Still, this must be done and I’m only to glad to be currently playing the part that I am in this whole saga.

But now for the far more important, positive news to come out of the day.

Just before I was to leave for the night, I had to go through to the NICU to tag and bag Chantelle’s latest batch of freshly produced milk for the refrigeration system, meaning one final visit to Jessica for the night. Chantelle shuffled in a little later and while we stood there beholding our little miracle, the nurse stepped in to start the changing nappy process, which involved removing a whole lot of the pipes and tubes, and flipping Jessica from her tummy and on to her back.

Which of course meant that our little miracle awoke.

She cried, she waved her arms, she flexed her toes, she played with her hands, she stretched her feet and most important of all – she opened her eyes! This was the first time Chantelle and I had experienced our daughter being awake and alive since coming to the NICU and immediately the joy and hope washed over us anew.

Our beautiful daughter is still very alive and functioning perfectly fine despite all the problems currently knocking at the door.

The half an hour that we stood there, holding our daughter’s hand and foot was probably up to now the most special and heart warming moment we have yet experienced through this all. Her beautiful eyes and expressions were just too much to behold, meaning that we when we finally left for the night, we left with renewed hope and joy, and more importantly, elevated excitement at being Mommy and Daddy to the most beautiful little baby in the world! :)

My little miracle. This size perspective photo pits Chantelle's hand against Jessica.

P.S. Much to Chantelle’s dismay, I’ve banned her from eating chocolate as the nurse warned that while chocolate can be consumed in moderation, it does carry with it a risk of introducing colic, and so not wanting to unnecessarily introduce yet another problem for little Jessica, I promptly confiscated the TV Bar I had just bought for Olifant Pootjies and scoffed it down in front of her. Shame, poor wifey! :P

About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.