The first time I got a real look at Maddie, the medicines being pumped into her had swollen her body and stretched her skin to its limit. I didn’t know her eyes were blue for two weeks because they were swollen shut. The tape that held her ventilator in place covered her face. The tubes were everywhere. She had a PICC line in her right arm, an IV in her left arm, an umbilical line, a forehead IV, and three chest tubes. Punctures in my brand new baby’s skin. Punctures in my heart.
I’d never heard of chest tubes before Maddie. Basically, it’s a tube that goes directly into the chest to help remove excess air. Maddie needed chest tubes because the ventilator she was on kept popping holes in her tiny, weak lungs. Air would seep through these holes into the pleural cavity, or the area between her lungs and chest wall. That air would prevent her lungs from expanding, making it impossible for her to breathe. From all my reading, chest tubes are extremely painful - not only the inserting, but also the removing. Maddie had five chest tubes at one point, and when one would stop working, it would be moved. She has a roadmap of scars all over the right side of her chest. Scars all over my heart.
The Spohrs are Multiplying is a guest blogger on Bridges.