Life Inside The ICU

So surgery day was emotionally draining as I expected it to be but I was surprised that the time actually waiting during the procedure wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. Children’s has a liaison nurse who kept us updated at least every hour or so and we had my parents, Tom’s mom Barbara and Aunt Carol physically with us while we waited.  It was cathartic to write blog posts and facebook updates to keep us distracted.

Once we arrived in the ICU at around 2 pm we were able to see and touch Julian…well at least the parts of him that aren’t covered by wires. He is on a breathing tube and they are giving him medicines to keep him sedated and keep his blood pressure low.   He has a nurse 24/7 who also administers some pain medication as well.  The goal is to slowly get him to the point where he can get off the breathing tube.  The nurses and doctors here say he is doing quite well recovering.  Dr. Emani stopped by and gave a positive report.

He has been waking up and kicking his legs and such giving the nurses a bit of trouble  - that’s our active little guy! Supposedly it is a bit of a science to get the right “mix” of sedation and wakefulness.  Right now as I type the nurse Jim just updated me that Julian is at a great place right now and the next step in the wee hours of this morning is to work toward removing that breathing tube. Julian is making good progress!

To make Julian feel a bit more at home here, we brought stuffed animals from home along with a light blankie Julian likes (thanks Lynn) and a musical seahorse that plays soothing sounds (thanks Rick).  I debated bringing hand knit blankets made for us by Kathy and Liz, but I didn’t want them to get dirty. A friend of mine Melanie suggested that I bring a shirt I had slept in over the past few nights to put in Julian’s crib so he can smell me which I did.

Uncle Terry came to visit and we tried to keep the mood light with smiles but the elephant in the room is really just how hard it is to see Julian like this.  As you can see from the photos below he is just a tiny baby with lots of big medical equipment helping him to recover.

I brought in an album my dad made for us as a christmas present which was a suggestion from another friend Sarah so the “nurses could see what he looked like without all the wires”.  I have found myself flipping through the album to remember Julian’s big blue eyes, gentle demeanor and his cute smile.  I miss him.

After Tom and I took a quick break to walk to Bertucci’s and grab a bite to eat around 7 pm (thanks to Kristin who gave us a gift certificate!), I fell asleep around 9 pm and slept until 1:30 am or so and now I am writing to you. I feel pretty rested but am going to try to sleep a bit more.

I don’t know where Tom is right now – he must be sleeping in the “family suite” they have here at the hospital – which is on a separate wing. It is a very small room with a twin bed and a nightstand so I have no idea why they are called “suites”! But it is a dark room with privacy which is as good as gold here in the hospital. Not surprisingly, I’m finding it hard to really sleep right now though so I will have to be satisfied with naps for now with the comfort of my childhood teddy bear Snowy.  Tomorrow (well technically today) is another day….

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ICU room for Julian++The peanut gallery++Seeing Julian for the first time after surgery++We love you Julian++Monkey and seahorse keep Julian company++Stroking Julian's soft hair++Hi monkey!++True love++J's digits++Are monkey and seahorse still there? Yes++Computers everywhere++Pretty intense++My childhood teddy Snowy++My babycakes++Our amazing surgeon Dr. Emani++Another monkey! (thanks to Tom's work)++Keeping a watchful eye on our babe++Hooo hooo heee heee!++Julian likes to put his legs up++Tom and his bro Terry++Constant care++Passed out++Mommy and baby++You'll be off all those tubes soon little bud++

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8 Responses to Life Inside The ICU

  1. michele says:

    So proud of strong little Julian & look forward to seeing him (and his parents) back at home soon!

  2. Lynnell Stern says:

    Dear Gretchen, Tom & Julian,
    We are so happy the surgery went well and that Julian is already healing so well. We look forward to hearing that the breathing tube is being removed, since that is quite a milestone. Thank you so much for sharing your words and the beautiful pictures of Julian! Despite the wires and tubes, he still looks so beautiful and precious. We all look forward to the day when you are back home. In the meantime, we will enjoy reading your wonderful posts.
    With our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery!
    Lynnell, Juliana, Elizabeth and Dylan

  3. Joe and Jetsy and our Family says:

    it’s hard when he’s all wrapped up in wires and tubes. but i too look different when i am wearing what i need to be warm and staff when the winter comes and the snow starts to fall. Julian’s just wearing his winter coat and mittens. And he’s still Julian, and still so freakin’ cute. (can I take him for a few years? Promise to give him back!). With such a family near you, you (and Julian) can literally accomplish anything. Lucky dude. Really.

  4. Jen says:

    So happy to get your updates…thank you for taking the time to keep us all updated. I do not know what you two (and more) are going through and I couldn’t imagine but the pictures show how much love is in that hospital. Julian is a lucky little guy. I am certain that he feels the love that surrounds him. You and Tom are lucky to be surrounded with friends/family that are there to support you. Thinking about your family and sending lots of healing thoughts to Julian. Keep up the good work little man!

  5. Patti Corcoran says:

    Thanks so much for the updates and the pictures. I can see what you mean by his “wild” hair. But cute is still cute & I swear he’s smiling in some of these pictures. He’s such a strong soul. I know you can’t wait to hold him and you will before you know it. Just remember, we’re all thinking about all of you and we can’t wait until you’re home together again.
    Much love, Patti

  6. Hope Noar says:

    I know how hard it is to see your little guy hooked up to all those tubes, but when he has recovered, his heart will be as good as new. During this time, we all need to think of the future, and how the surgery will help this little guy to grow and be healthy. Julian is an adorable child, surrounded by so much love, and with all this he will become a very secure and happy little boy. If I could be there right now, I would be holding your hands and giving you support. Here are some kisses and hugs..xxxxoooo. Thanks for keeping us updated, Tom and Gretchen.

  7. glm0210 says:

    Katrina Steinmetz Soltero I so appreciate how you are keeping all your loved ones updated. The stuffed animals are a great way to make the ICU as homey as possible. Love to you!
    January 5 at 9:11am · Like

    Erica Crane Wright I’m so glad things went well yesterday. Hoping each day is better and you guys get your little man home soon.
    January 5 at 9:14am · Like

    Trish McGovern Following along with all the news….and thinking about you guys constantly!!! What a little trooper you have there….
    January 5 at 9:36am · Like

    Kim Klemek You two are such amazing people, such loving parents, and so strong to be getting through this as well as you are. Thank you for sharing all of the photos and progress notes. Know that you have so much love and support whenever you need it.
    January 5 at 9:47am · Like

    Renee Muller I am so happy to hear everything went well.
    January 5 at 6:53pm · Like

    Jennifer McDonald Congratulations on your little guy doing well through surgery and in the ICU. I’ll be thinking about you all, wishing Julian a speedy recovery and you an end to sleepless nights…
    January 5 at 9:39pm · Like

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