Monday, May 23, 2011

Taylie's LifeFlight ICU story

Taylie's LifeFlight ICU Story




It has taken me a while to sit down and do this Blog entry.


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Mostly because I haven’t really wanted to re-live our experience. But driving home from work last week I saw LifeFight land in West Bountiful and I decided that I need to write down my story before I forget the details.


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Warning to all, I can already tell this will be a very long post. There are many details that seem totally random, but really you need to know them in order to understand how everything fits together. I think that sometimes writing things down can be therapeutic, and I’m hoping that after this I can continue trying to go back to normal life.


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It was a Friday night just like our usual Friday nights. I have loved to watch the Dateline Murder Mysteries for many months now, and Judd has come to accept this is our Friday night TV show. We fixed dinner for the kids, brought Taylie and her highchair into our room so she could be with us. She had hotdogs, cheese, milk, and crackers.


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We usually put the kids to bed around 7:30, but on the weekend we let them stay up and watch a movie in Kaden’s room until about 8:30. Taylie had thrown up a very small amount of her bedtime milk in her bed the previous night so I put a clean sheet on her bed and tucked kids in.

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For about 2 weeks I had been taking Tylenol PM every night to sleep. This pregnancy has brought on insomnia in the middle of the night that I don’t remember having with the other pregnancies. I had a Huge project that I was Project Manager of in the morning for work, I needed to have sleep. The Tylenol PM totally knocks me out. I don’t wake up for anything until morning. I remember going out to the kitchen to take the Tylenol and then I remember being back in bed again, having forgotten to take it.


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Judd and I fell asleep between 10 and 10:30.

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At about 11:15 I woke up. I didn’t know why, until I heard one of the kids making noise. Usually my kids do not wake up in the middle of the night. They are great sleepers. I waited for a minute and heard it again. It sounded like Taylie babbling in her bed. I figured she would fall asleep soon and closed my eyes again. Right before I fell asleep I had a thought come to me about the previous night. I remembered that she had thrown up that milk, and by morning the rotten coagulated milk smell is terrible. I got up to go check on her. When I reached the hallway it then sounded like the noise came from Kaden’s room. I waited there for a minute to make sure that I woke up the right kid. I heard it again.

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Definitely Taylie.
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I opened the door but didn’t turn on the light. I walked half-way to her crib and I could smell that she had thrown up. And then I heard the weird noises. It wasn’t babbling. It wasn’t anything that I had heard before. I turned on the light and when I went to her crib, she was awake, and she was lying there, but she wasn’t moving. She just stared up at me making those weird noises and I could see through her pajamas her chest sinking in each time she took a breath.

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She was struggling to breathe.


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I picked her up and called for Judd. I sat in her rocking chair to try and figure out what was going on.
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Side note: You need to know that my kids have been diagnosed with Asthma. Sometimes it can get pretty bad. There are many times when they make weird sounds that we have to determine what is causing it. Sometimes they get Croup and in a matter of 30 minutes it has triggered their Asthma and they have terrible issues breathing. In Feb we had to take Kaden to the ER to get a Epinephrine shot to make it so he could breathe.


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So while I sat there with Taylie, the whole checklist of things was running through my head. I was trying to note everything because I already knew all the questions the doctors would ask me. The only thing was, this wasn’t anything like what we normally hear with any of their breathing problems.


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I couldn’t figure it out. I have started to video the kids during any of their episodes with my phone so that the doctor can hear what they sound like (much better than me trying to make the same sounds for the doctor). I told Judd to grab my phone. I recorded her for about 20-30 seconds.



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Right after that she got worse.

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I am not the type of person that wants to rush to the doctor for anything that I don’t have to. Growing up we rarely went to the doctor for anything. Most times when our kids have had their breathing troubles (including the time we rushed Kaden to the ER), I was more calm than Judd. In semi-emergency situations I am usually able to think clearly and logically while he tends to get more frantic. I was trying to rule out everything I could think of.

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..Then I remembered when I was little I got a piece of bologna stuck up my nose. I thought maybe one of her hotdog pieces got stuck in her throat when she threw up making it hard for her to breathe.

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And then I prayed. “Is this an emergency?”


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Right then I had an overwhelming feeling to get her to the ER NOW. At that moment my calm/logical self turned into a not so calm and logical person. I told Judd we’re going to the ER, ran her out to the kitchen and put her in her carseat. Judd followed right behind and was with her while I threw on some clothes, grabbed our insurance card and credit cards, and by the time I got back out to the kitchen Judd was holding her while she sat on the counter and threw up.


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The noise she was making was getting worse.


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I called my mom, and told her to come stay with Kaden. We think Taylie is choking on something and we are on our way to the ER. I don’t remember what else I said. It takes my mom about 15 minutes to reach our house, but I knew we had to leave immediately.


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Judd and I were running frantically through the house grabbing what we needed. I took her carseat and sat in the back of my car between the two carseats so I could be by her. Each time she threw up it made it worse so I wanted to be there if I needed to pull her out. She was just barely getting enough oxygen each time she took a breath.


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By now it was about 11:30pm, so not many cars around. Good thing because Judd was speeding to Davis Hospital faster than I’d ever driven.


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As we got out of our neighborhood my dad called. He said my mom was on her way. I said I left the garage open but we had to leave. He said my mom would be there soon.


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As we got on the overpass towards the onramp of the freeway I had a thought come to me. “Call911”


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I of course thought to myself “that is the dumbest thing ever, what are they going to do, have the ambulance chase us to the ER?”


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And then another thought came to me “Call 911 so the doctors are ready when you get there.”


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And so I did.


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Up until this point I don’t think I had cried yet. I’m not really that type of person. But as the 911 operator answered the phone I lost it. I realized that there is something wrong with my baby, and there was nothing I could do. This was an emergency, and I didn’t know if we would make it to the hospital in time. I had to repeat to the operator a couple times because I was sobbing and she couldn’t understand.


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Me: “I have a 1 year old baby that is choking. She is still breathing, but just barely. We are driving to Davis hospital, can you call them so that they are ready when we get there?”


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Her: “can you pull over so we can have someone help you?”


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Me: “No, we are on the freeway 2 exits away”


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So she said to make sure and not to hit her on the back, that it would make things worse and she would call the ER. She came back on the line as we reached the freeway exit for the hospital. She said they were ready and that two nurses were standing outside the ER ambulance entrance to take our baby when we pull up.


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As we were reaching the road of the Hospital Taylie’s lips were turning blue.
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She is the most calm baby ever and had been somewhat calm and not crying (only making the gasping noises) up until now. Then she started scratching her throat because she couldn’t breathe, and she started to try to cry. Each time she would take a breath in, the sounds would stop and it would be a while before she could get enough oxygen in to take another breath.

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I told Judd to hurry. I think we drove through the ER parking lot at 40 MPH. When we parked in the Ambulance entrance the two nurses ran to Taylie’s door as I unbuckled her and handed her to them. They ran with her into the ER while I tried to get out of the car. I told the 911 operator that we were there and hung up.


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I went to open my side door but forgot that it is child-proofed. I told Judd that I was locked in, so he kept pushing his unlock button because he couldn’t understand me when I said it was the safety lock. Finally I was able to tell him to come around and open my door. I ran into the ER while Judd parked the car.
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A nurse ran up to me to show me where they took Taylie. She was in the big main trauma room with about 8 people already there.
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She was still making a little noise, laying on the bed with her knees bent. They already had her pajamas off and hooked up to machines.

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I sat in the chair on the far side of the wall and answered all the questions as the Doctors/nurses shouted them out.


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Even though she was being hooked up to everything my anxiety started to reduce because we were here.



We were in an ER.

There are doctors everywhere.
They will fix her.

She will be fine.

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As I was explaining the events that led up to this moment, Judd ran in.

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Soon after he sat down the alarms went off. ...


...At once everyone stopped asking me questions.


The doctors shouted orders to the nurses,

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we watched as her oxygen levels on the monitor dropped from 60


to 50,
to 45,


40…30…..

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In my head I had been thinking the whole car ride “Just get her to the ER, they’ll pull something out that she was choking on, we’ll go home, she’ll be ok”.

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Everything was happening so fast, but seemed like slow motion at the same time.

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Her knees fell
Her body went limp
They put on those things on their chest for when they have to use the defibrillator
25…. 20…


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I started to panic.


Everything started to become more real. .....


It hadn’t even crossed my mind that once we reached the ER that she wouldn’t be ok. Then I remembered how I had videoed her breathing before we left our house. For a moment I thought to myself “What if that video was of her dying, and what if it was the last video that I had of her?” I started shaking and sobbing uncontrollably.


Judd put his arm around my shoulder..
A nurse pushed the code button on the wall
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They pulled out the crash cart


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More doctors ran in


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I walked out


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I remember my prayer because it was simple. I didn’t know what else to say.


..“Heavenly Father… I love her very much. Please don’t let me watch my baby die.”

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I paced the hall for a couple minutes a nurse came out to see if I was ok. She gave me a hug, said they are doing everything they can, and that the doctors are working on her. I thought about how weird this all was.



We were just at home.


Everyone was ok.


We were all sleeping.


Now we are here, and I don't know if everything will be ok.

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I got a couple stares from the other people in the different ER rooms.
Another nurse came by and gave me a hug.


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Then someone came out and told me that they were able to intubate her and someone was now pumping a bag so she can receive oxygen. They are trying to get her stable, but she will need to be LifeFlighted to Primary Childrens.


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I walked back in to be with Judd. They pulled the Xray machine in and I had to walk out again since I’m pregnant.


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I text my mom “I think they are going to take her to Primary’s”


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I went back in. They said that one of her lungs was almost completely white on the xray (meaning almost collapsed.)


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As her oxygen levels rose, they started to ask me questions again.


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A kind nurse found this to be the best time to lecture me “maybe you shouldn’t give your baby hotdogs, grapes, or peanuts anymore”. Which of course made me feel great, even though they hadn’t determined that she even choked on a piece of hotdog.


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The doctor said that he didn’t see anything in her throat when he did the intubation, and that they didn’t see anything big on the xray indicating that she had choked on a piece of hotdog.


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Judd and I called our parents. I told them LifeFight would be here, and they’ll let them take her as soon as she is stable. Then they’ll head to Primary Children’s.


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I don’t know all of the communication that happened with everyone else in between the doctors talking to us, giving us driving directions, signing more forms to allow them to do whatever they needed on the helicopter if she crashed again.


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I must have looked pathetic because I kept getting hugs from random nurses, male and female. I hate hugs.


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There were two nurses that were very kind that we had seen before. One of them gave Kaden the Epi shot when we were there just a couple weeks ago. She said “weren’t you guys here recently with your son?”.
We tried to make small talk.

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They said we could stand by Taylie, and touch her feet.


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They had given her a sedative to knock her out so she wouldn’t pull out the tube in her throat. She now had tubes, and wires all over. She had an IV, and about 5 red marks on her arm where they had either drawn blood, or injected something. She looked very pale. She didn’t look like herself. Her skin was almost plastic looking. You could see all of the veins through her skin.


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I watched as the nurse would squeeze the bag to pump air into her. There was one time that she had to reach down and untangle a cord that she didn’t pump in rhythm and the buzzer went off again. I started to get anxious because hello, please pay attention as you are breathing for my daughter.

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More Xrays, back out in the hall


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Lung was still almost completely white. This means that it wasn’t just a piece of something that got stuck, there was actually a lot of stuff in her lung.


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Lifeflight came


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I know that most people would find it weird that at a moment like this, I would take a picture. But at that time I honestly just needed to convince myself that she would be ok. That this would be a memory soon. To convince myself more of this, I took pictures. It gave me something to focus on for a few minutes, rather than worrying about everything that was going on.




They had to hook her up to a new machine that breathed for her (instead of the girl pumping the bag by hand), and see if she would handle it for 10 minutes before they would take her on the Helicopter.
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They had to decide if she would go to the ER at Primary Children’s, or to the NICU.
This all depended on how critical she was.


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They did more evaluations with the Lifeflight team. They talked to the ER doctors at Primary, and determined she would be going to the ER.


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I called my mom. She said my dad was already on his way there, that Katie my cousin was going to pick my sister Madison up from my parents, then drive to my house and get Kaden so that my mom could go to the hospital.


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More things happened that are now a blur.
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Technical things. More signing of papers.


.A nurse handed me a bag for the things I brought with me. I forgot I even had anything in my hand when I came in the ER. I had her pink blanket and a clean pair of PJ’s because I thought we would be going home.

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They said that we could walk out with them as they put her on the helicopter, but that there wasn’t any room for us to ride. They had 3 paramedics and the pilot. I started to cry again because that meant she had to ride to the hospital by herself. And then I started thinking stupid things like the chances of a helicopter crashing, and then the NieNie plane crash story popped in my head.We walked her out. They loaded her up and said it would take about 26 minutes for them to get to the Hospital and they would call me when they arrived.




As Judd and I walked back to the Hospital the nice nurse said it was a good thing we called 911. That usually it takes time for doctors to get ready, and determine if it is a true emergency.

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As we walked down the halls and out the ER I felt empty.


It was a strange feeling.

Anxiety and relief at the same time.


We ran to our car.
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They had given us a map to Primary Childrens with driving directions.


We stopped at the stop sign at the Hospital to say a prayer.


As we did this we could hear the helicopter taking off and flying above us.

Judd and I didn't say much on that drive.


I was watching the helicopter light as it flew into Salt Lake.


Both our parents called, they were already at Primary Childrens so Taylie wouldn't be there by herself when they land..


As we got close the map directions from the hospital were wrong.


The street it said to turn at wasn't there.


We had to back-track a few times and we were both frusterated.

The LifeFlight crew called to say that they landed safely and that there were two grandma's with her.


We finally made it to the hospital with directions from our parents. When we walked in the ER room my grandparents and mine and Judd's mom's were waiting there.
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They took us back to where she was.

They did more evaluations of her

Taylie was given a blessing.

We were waiting to see if they wanted to do the Broncoscopy tonight or in the morning.

They decided to wait and see if any of the fluid in her lung reduced by itself and do the Broncoscopy in the morning. .


Arrangements for Kaden were made. My cousins would watch him and take them to the family Baby Shower that was happening the next morning.


Everyone left so we could get her transported to the ICU.

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When we got to the ICU they reported our arrival over the intercom. In 5 minutes there were 7 doctors/nurses in her room. Just like in Grey's Anatomy one of the lead doctors announced her condition, the events that brought her here, and the course of treatment until the morning.


We were introduced to our full time doctor that would be in her room at all times. The ER doctor stopped by to go over things, and tell us what to expect for the next 12 hours.



They kept Taylie sedated




That night was long.


It was a blur.

I don't think we even finished the move to the ICU until about 3:00am?

There was a rocking chair and a chair that pulled out to lay on.
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The ICU was setup so that there were only a few rooms like ours.

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It was comletely private with glass doors. The other parts of ICU where all the other babies/toddlers were, wasn't private. When I went to go get some blankets I walked past other babies that were crying. One had a parent that was there sleeping upright in the chair next to him. I asked the nurse the next morning why we were the ones with the private room. She said that the more critical patients that are going to undergo surgery have the private rooms. .


They would watch Taylie's heart rate and oxygen levels to determine if she was comfortable and getting enough oxygen. Throughout the night the alarms would go off. It was a very sleepless night.


The next morning a few doctors came by.

Most of that morning was a blur.

At 7:00 am and 7:00 pm you are kicked out of the ICU during shift change.

This is probably a good thing because otherwise we probably wouldn't have left for breakfast.

Around 10:00 my mom came with toothbrushes.



About 11:00 Ina (Judd's mom) came and we all wheeled Taylie to the OR.





We waited in the waiting room for them to finish.

My dad arrived.


Soon after the doctor came out and said that they were able to get most of the gunk out of her lung. He said it looked like a bunch of Cream of Mushroom soup, but no piece of hotdog.

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Later the doctors said she must have just asperated on her throwup. That she most likely did not choke on a piece of hotdog. ..


They wanted us to give them 45 minutes to get her settled back in ICU.

We all wend down to eat lunch at the cafeteria.

When we got back she was not sedated. And after about 30 minutes she wasn't doing very well.


The surgery allowed the doctor to go through and spray out the stuff in her lung, but doing that gave her asperation phnemonia. She now had a fever of 104, and was shaking pretty bad. There were 3 nurses taking care of her now.

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After the surgery they removed the intubation tube to see if she would be ok breathing on her own. She didn't sound good.

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The doctor there was trying to determine how long they would let her be that uncomfortable before they put the intubation tube in again....
If a baby her age is resting and comfortable then their heartrate is around 125 or lower. There were many times that her heartrate would go to 207-215.


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I asked if they could sedate her again, because she was so miserable and in pain. They said they wanted her to be awake to see how well she tolerated breathing without the intubation tube. It was hard to see her so miserable. ...


Later that night I was able to hold her for the first time since this whole thing started.



Don't mind my zombie look. Lack of sleep isn't fun.


The rest of the day was basically monitoring her.

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Then another sleepless night. ...

She cried a lot, and they were able to help her pain more with medication.

She would try to pull out her IV's and take off her nasial canula.

Finally in the middle of the night they said she could have a binky.


She was much happier.





After that it was very easy to tell when she needed more pain medication.




If she started crying to the point that her binky would fall out of her mouth, and she wouldn't keep it in, that was the indication that she needed another round of morphine.



About 15 seconds after the binky would fall the alarms would sound and a second nurse would run in




All this time they wouldn't let her eat. Finally at 6:00am Sunday morning she got to have a bottle. She was too exhausted to open her eyes, but she was so happy for food.





The rest is still a blur.

At some point we were able to move from the ICU to the main floor.

This was actually more exhausting than the ICU.

In the ICU she had her own nurse there all the time. Here I felt like I had to watch her 24/7.

My mom came two nights and let me go home to sleep.

...

It was also good to go home and see Kaden. He kept asking where sister was.
I broke down crying every time driving to and from the hospital. How sad it would have been if Kaden didn't have a sister anymore.

These next pictures are from a couple days later. She slowly became herself again.


She developed a huge fear of nurses. In the ICU they would poke her fingers or toes for blood gases every 2 hours. She had many poke marks from the blood they had to get. Every time someone in a yellow coat would walk in she would start to cry.



I'm thankful to the many people that visited/texted during those days.


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It really was nice to hear from people when we were sleep deprived and it felt like we would never get to go home.


We had many specialists come in.


They all were trying to figure out what happened to cause this.

They are still trying to determine if she has a narrow airway.


Or if she has bad reflux (gerd), that caused her to spit up.

Or if Gerd is causing her Asthma.


She also had to see a specialist and do a Barium study to see if she asperates normally when she swallows



We spent many hours rocking her because that was the only thing that made her comfortable. It was nice to see her get her personality back.

The day before we left she was feeling good enough to play with some toys.









She wouldn't touch real food, but she was sure happy to get her bottles.








We were finally able to go home.

The next day we had a doctor appointment, and then the barium study where they watched her swallowing with an Xray.

We have another Broncoscopy on June 6th to determine if her airway is too narrow or if there is errosion from reflux.



The following days after bringing her home was almost more scary than having her in the hospital. At the hospital at least there were nurses there in case something went wrong. Her first few nights of sleep were very restless for me.

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Fear is a crazy thing. It can take over your life. I spent many days being so scared of her sleeping that it was making me crazy.
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The weekend after it happened was hard.
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I couldn't help thinking that we were so close to having a funeral


The ER doctor said that 5 minutes longer and we could be looking at a totally different outcome.

5 minutes. 5 short minutes and it could have changed everything.
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I couldn't deal with feeling crazy anymore. I didn't want to be scared of her sleeping every night. I just wanted things to go back to normal.


Judd and I had long talks about how blessed we are. There is a reason why she is still here.


There is a reason I forgot to take that Tylenol PM that night, that I had the feeling to check on her when I heard that noise, that I had the feeling to call 911 on the way to the hospital.


We were blessed.


There are so many things that happened that made this story end well.


Realizing how blessed we were has helped us all to leave the fear behind.

..
This experience helped me to be reminded again of what is important.


Family is everything.

I am so happy and thankful that we are all here together.

I'm thankful for the friends/family that helped us


..Taylie is slowly becoming herself again.



..I think she'll recover faster than her parents :)

9 comments:

ariel said...

well i just bawled my eyes out. what a scary scary experience! what a miracle! i'm so glad she's ok. good luck on the 6th. i'll be thinking about you guys.

Jenny said...

Even though I couldn't be there for her, I was constantly worrying and awaiting any news about how little Taylie was doing. Many kept her in their prayers out here! SO thankful for the turnout! Love you Taylie!

Kim said...

o heidi. i just sat and cried through the whole story. i can NOT believe that happened. you are much braver than me... i think i would have crumbled.
i am so sorry you guys went through this. you are such a strong, amazing mom!... way to follow your motherly intuition and spiritual promptings.
i have been meaning to email you and tell you that i see Taylie's birth announcement at my OB doctors office every time i go! she is so pretty. im so glad things are ok and she is on the mend. thinking about you and your beautiful family.

Coopers said...

wow. what a scary experience. so sorry. i'm just glad that things turned out ok.
thanks for sharing. you did amazing for all that you went through. and i hope you can find out what caused it.

kristen said...

wow heidi! You did an amazing job documenting that whole story! I'm so glad you did because it made me want to hold my babies a little longer today. Life is so short. I'm so grateful things turned out okay for you. I'm so glad little Taylie is okay. Your family will be in our prayers.

ThE oLdHaM's said...

i'm so glad that everything worked out! You were definitely blessed! I can't even imagine that happening..you guys are in our prayers!

MKS said...

i feel so bad that i didn't know this was going on. we could have brought you something since we live near the hospital. glad to hear things are better. thanks for sharing. it reminded me of the most important things.

Kell said...

So sad, I couldn't help but cry at your words! I'm so, so happy she is doing okay. Taylie's story has touched me and reminds me how precious my babies are. Also, reminds me to trust in those promptings.
By the way, I loved your previous post with all the updated pics :)

Your kids are so cute :)

The Bairds said...

HOLY COW..you guy are so brave. I am in tears reading this. You never know when something like this is going to happen. its good thing you were tuned in to those promptings! I'm glad to hear she is doing much better though.