Eight pounds & almost ready to fly

Jun 21 2012 Published by under After NICU

We almost hit a routine, which is kind of something new for our family: Grace and Isaiah went to Vacation Bible School at a nearby church faithfully last week. And the theme was “Sky.” I’m sure many of you participated in something similar. On Thursday night, after I was done with church music team practice, Olivia, Grace and I scrunched into a gondola on a tethered hot air balloon ride that rose up to the heights of the church roof. The sky is the limit with God, and as the kids learned the beautiful truth that they can trust God no matter what happens around them, it added to my personal lesson of trust while I worked on a video and song about Jack.


This week, we started off things differently. As you realize, we have stayed in the US a little longer than originally planned, and hope to be here until mid July. We realized it would be wiser to give Jack extra time to follow up with specialists and make sure things continue trending towards improvement. The improvements come as snapshots as we hear the results of the follow up appointments.


Jack’s periphal area of his retina is slightly damaged (typical of many preemies). Each check up has shown gradual improvement. The check is clearly uncomfortable for him. You can see the spreader (speculum) they use to force his eye open, then they insert depressor inside agains eyeball.

After a "long" five minute exam, the doctor said his retinopathy showed improvement, but was still not completely resolved. Not unusual, since it resolves around 56 weeks, apparently. So, at least one more test to go before we leave.

Jack endured his second eye exam as a baby “on the outside” of the NICU. Same routine as before: 3 eye drops to dilate his eyes, then an uncomfortable eye exam using an intense light focused through a lens, a speculum to keep his eye open, and an eyelid depressor to move the eyeball where needed. Because of Jack’s larger size, the technician had to hold him very firmly, wrapped in a blanket, while the doctor examined each eye. Jack swelled into a full blown wail during the five minute exam, not the small mewing cry of a preemie. After a long five minutes, the doctor said his retinopathy showed improvement, but was still not completely resolved. Not unusual, since it resolves around 56 weeks, apparently. So, at least one more test to go before we leave.

“He’ll need another exam four months after the next one.” The doctor told me. Four months. Huh. Add to the list of to do items: find a pediatric opthamologist in Nairobi, or at least an opthamologist comfortable examining infants. But the exam showed routine progress, and even though Bre waited in the lobby because  she wasn’t feeling well, we left encouraged. “I could hear him all the way in the lobby,” she said when we got home.

Breanna was still feeling lousy the next morning, so I took Jack in to see the pediatrician. After many questions I could not answer, about his eating, I realized the doctor seem concerned, and confused about the number of calories I said he was eating. I made a mental note that Breanna needs to come to his next pediatric appointment, even if she’s wheezing and barely conscious!

Doc also wanted to know our schedule for specialists follow ups, especially with a cardiologist. “His heart murmur is louder.” She shot out, after I gave her another blank look, while I mentally sifted through my ill prepared memories of future appointments Jack needed to keep. She admitted it may be just to his bigger size, and not actually a real concern, but we need to try to visit the cardiologist before going back.

For those of you keeping score at home, Jack’s now 7 lbs 13 oz. and 19″. I ran some numbers and he’s taking in about 700 calories per day. Adjusted to someone my size, that would be 18,480 calories/day or 34 big macs.

He is growing. It’s really fun to hold a strong eight pound baby. He can hold his head up fine, stand on his legs, and pushes his chest off the mat with his arms.

Isaiah (and all of us) pray for him every night, and I know many of you do, as well. We still plan on flying back to Kenya in mid July, but we’re very aware our plans could change with a report from the opthamologist or cardiologist. We’ll also look into finding a pediatric opthamologist and pediatric cardiologist, or an acceptable equivalent, in Nairobi before we leave. As always, the sky is the limit with God, and we’ll continue to trust Him, ready to stay and ready to go.

3 responses so far

  • Nancy Crabtree says:

    What an awesome update! Love good news about our boy, Jack! Will keep the continuing concerns in prayer too. Sorry, Bre is feeling bad! She just doesn’t have time for that, huh!?

    • jerry says:

      Thanks Nancy! Re: the illness, we’re passing it around :(, while praying and hoping Jack weathers it OK.

  • Kay Hawkins says:

    Hi Jerry! I found your site via Connie’s Facebook. Your story is a testament to God’s amazing provision and care of every minute detail of our lives. I’ll be praying for you! Kay (Fern’s brother Gene’s daughter)

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