I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting ICU to be like.
Maybe more rushing around, emergency life saving action.
That's not what it's like.
It's quiet. Eerily quiet. Babies with open chest cavities laying in bed where you can see their heart beating through the gauze. Nurses chatting quietly and, every so often, the beep of a machine needing to be checked. The lights are low and you lose all concept of time.
It was about 8 last night before we were able to come see him.
He looked much better then I expected him to and seemed to be resting really well. We rotated in the visitors that were here and within an hour everyone was gone and it was just Andrew, Gabe, and me.
Andrew and I stayed by his bed until around midnight and then decided to take shift sleeping in the sleep pods.
Andrew took the first shift since I was so amped up. Around 1am he spiked a fever and his rhythms got all out of whack. It took a big box fan, a lot of meds, and a whole lot of crying to get the fever to drop. He passed out pretty hard around 3 and I snuck out to get a couple hours of sleep.
The nurse called around 5 to let us know they had removed his breathing tube (yay!) and that he was crying for us. So Andrew went down right then and I joined him around 5:30.
The next 4 hours were awful.
After the breathing tube is removed, they can't drink anything for 6 to 7 hours. As you can imagine, his throat was very dry and scratchy and he wanted a drink bad. Having to look in his tear filled eyes and tell him no when he was begging for a drink was the hardest thing I've ever done. If he spotted a cup anywhere, he lost it.
About every 20 minutes, in the middle of screaming, he would simply pass out. It was so hard to watch, but I was thankful for those few sleepy minutes since they allowed us to catch our breath. And grab a tissue.
He was finally able to have a drink around 9 this morning and that helped a little. His arms were restrained because he kept pulling at his chest tubes, so he was very angry about that. He didn't want any help but wasn't able to do any of it himself. They ended up loosening his restraints and we just had to keep a very close eye on his hands.
All the wires and tubes were obviously very uncomfortable.
At around 9:30 the nurse got the OK to start removing them. That was another traumatic 20 minutes, but once they were all out, including his catheter, he instantly fell asleep. He's come in and out a few times, but is mostly resting and we are very thankful for that.
We loved his nurse last night. She was calm and really good at explaining everything. I loved how gentle and compassionate she was to Gabe, enough so that I was totally comfortable leaving him with her while I got a couple hours of sleep.
Today's nurse isn't as awesome. I won't say she's bad, because she isn't. She just happened to take over Gabe's care as he was coming fully out of sedation and her tactics weren't as loving as I wanted them to be. I know that everything she said and did to calm him down was totally needed, but when your baby is screaming and so obviously in pain, you only want sweet words whispered in their direction.
I'm currently taking a little break to drink some coffee.
Just a little.
It's been an excruciatingly long 24 hours.
I can barely remember what day it is and while I'm not tired at all, I feel like I could lay down and sleep for the rest of my life.
We are hoping that Gabe will get a private room in the next few hours.
He is ready to go as soon as his chest tube output levels off a bit. I think that being in a room where we can all be together and he can have us closer to him will do wonders for his little spirit.
He's had an awfully rough morning, but as we all know, God's mercy is new every single second.
And there's nowhere it's more obvious then inside the ICU.