Saturday, November 9, 2013

PAM FOD #9 - Preemie complications: Apnea

Prematurity Awareness Month
Fact of the Day
Day 9

Q: What is apnea?  How is it treated?
A: Apnea is when a person stops breathing for 15-20 seconds. You may have heard of sleep apnea. Apnea of prematurity is similar. In preterm babies, though, it's not sleep but an underdeveloped nervous system that is the cause.

JAM sporting CPAP.
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Do not use without permission.
That's the easy way to understand it. In addition to breathing support (like CPAP machines) and monitoring breathing and heart rate, doctors may give medical grade caffeine in order to help stimulate the baby's central nervous system and keep the baby breathing regularly.  As sleepless parents, we were more than a little jealous. We were pretty sure Jonathan's caffeine was much better than the really bad hospital coffee in the family waiting room.

All that said, on crazy days when I feel rushed, I find there's a lesson in all this. Learn from the babies. 

  • Breathing is important
  • Some days it's hard to breath
  • Caffeine may help

I sip my coffee and stare at the fall leaves. Yes, this is therapy. Respiratory therapy. Take a moment, sip some caffeine, breath. Calm the nerves. Breath again. A sigh or two may be good, too. Enjoy the moment, wake up the body. Now the day will be easier to conquer.

As always, I am not a medical professional, just a NICU mom. Do not use my website as professional medical advice, please. Especially the parts that are intended for humor only.

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