Monday, February 8, 2010


I spent hours in and around the NICU today.  Shadowing Dr. W, even for a few minutes, is like taking a fascinating medical class.  I absorb as much as I can and then feel little popping noises in my brain when it can't hold any more.  Today I met the brand new discordant twins he was working with.
           Discordant twins are those showing a marked
          difference in size (greater than 10% in weight) at
          birth. The condition is usually caused by
         *overperfusion of one twin and *underperfusion of the
Sure enough, one twin was obviously smaller and in greater distress than the other.  I kept moving from one incubator to the other, checking and rechecking. Marveling at the differences. And feeling so doctorial as I added "discordant twins" to the other medical words I learned today - hemodynamic and hypocondriachal.

My last run in with discordance was years ago with an assigned piano piece.  The music didn't sound right.  I was sure I was doing something wrong.  My teacher played the awful piece perfectly and assured me that I was playing the correct notes, the music was just discordant.  "Variety is the spice of life, Erin!"

There is no end to the variance and variety here in the NICU.

Today I talked with a 35 mom who has been in labor for two days with her first child.  We listened to the swoosh swoosh of her baby's heart beat and talked about her worries and impatience to have her baby out and safe.  A few minutes later I talked to an 18 year old mom who was hoping to get her tubes tied after her third pregnancy resulted in a preterm birth.  "How else am I going to keep this from happening again?" she asked me.   Argh.  A discordant note.

I peeked over the edge of a crib with an adorable, fat, curly headed baby inside.  This little girl just had to eat on her own one more time and she was good to go.   In a nearby incubator a tiny little alien looking baby, 26 weeks in, was struggling for each breath.  Discordant.

This week there was the addict mom, over all limits on three different drugs.  She prefered not to see her baby after birth, and quickly signed away all responsibility.  And not too far away, two anxious parents, desperate to have a baby, now stand between three incubators, praising the Lord for their three miracles.

Variance and variety. Discordant notes in the melody of the hospital and the music of life.

By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.  Psalm 42:8

*if you know what over/underperfusion should be writing your own medical blog!

1 comment:

  1. Matthew 21:21 from The Message
    But Jesus was matter-of-fact: "Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don't doubt God, you'll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you'll tell, 'Go jump in the lake,' and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from **small** to **large**, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God."