So close! For what I think may be the third time, Jack should be coming home any day. After the last concern with the norovirus, he no longer shows any symptoms! And he passed his hearing screen yesterday. Today we worked on scheduling a follow up pediatrician visit after his discharge. We celebrated his two month birthday yesterday, and anticipated spending most of his third month together as a family.
Yet, just when the Big Day seemed within grasp, it slipped away with more news. Jack’s breathing is labored again, there’s a trace of fluid in his lungs. His baby sounds seem congested, at least more than just his usual grunting.
The reports show nothing conclusive. Yet, for the sake of cautiousness, we’re back to waiting. And continuing to pray.
He’s now a big 4lbs at almost two months old. Jack LOVES to eat and let’s us and “his staff”=the nurses, know when it’s getting close to time to eat again. He’s very happy that after his couple of sick days when he wasn’t allowed to eat at all, to be back up to his previous breastmilk allowance of as much as he wants every three hours.
This morning his doctor let the words slip that Jack would be discharged soon… That’s what happened before his last sick days 🙁
This evening Elizabeth and I went to find Jack at bed space 8 in the NICU where he’s been for his whole two months and he was gone… No Jack, no Jack’s bassinet, none of Jack’s balloons, stuffed animals, family photos or artwork from siblings!!
His nurse rushed over to explain he had been moved to an isolation room after some of his blood work came back with the news that he had norovirus, a very contagious gi effecting virus often wreaking havoc on cruise ships. He does not act sick and may not have it anymore at this point, but will be in his isolation room until he is discharged to prevent the virus spreading throughout the NICU. But he likes his new room, it’s quieter and has more room.
Jack’s allowed to eat again, and he’s off antibiotics. Apparently he is his old charming self again and sleeping under a radiant warmer with the heat turned off.
He’ll have his hearing test soon as well as another car seat test … or car seat study if you prefer.
Jack’s under the weather today. His abdomen’s very distended and he’s breathing very fast. The doctor took an x-ray of his tummy but couldn’t determine anything from it. Jack’s also anemic, which is common with preemies, but Doc has stopped Jack’s feedings for today and put him on antibiotics. Jerry and I just arrived at the hospital to comfort our littlest guy.
Doctor Huesiswutz just called with great news. Jack should be going into an open crib today. If he doesn’t regress that will mean coming home this Friday or Saturday!! Doc doesn’t think regression is likely since Jack has an adjusted age of 37 weeks and he is a “vigorous little guy.”
So then we can plan on his hernia operation being the first week of May, and his medical OK to go to Kenya before late May.
This is very reassuring for us! Thanks for praying and please don’t stop now!
Note: We have more pictures to share, but our external drive with the pictures good copies is failing, so I want to fix that first before adding more. Stay tuned.
Jack’s todo list:
Breathe without a ventilator
Breathe normal air
Breathe without pressure assistance
Maintain lower billirubin count
Maintain target white blood cell count
Feed without umbilical line
Feed without an IV / PICC line
Feed without a stomach tube
Maintain body temperature with isolet on set temperature
Maintain body temperature in crib
Have a 36 hour(?) period without Bradyarrhytmia or apnea in the crib
Pass car seat test
Apply for his passport in person
Follow up visit
Fly to Kenya with us!
Breanna came up with this great idea for Easter. The onesies' feet kept flopping over the edge, even though his feet aren't in them yet.
For the past week we received daily assurances that “in the next few days” Jack will be taken out of his isolet and put in a crib. He meets the weight requirement for being in a crib (1500 grams), but his overall growth progress is slower than desired, so while the nurses would love to move him, the doctors have concerns about doing it too soon!
Today he is a whopping 3 pounds 13 ounces. His isolet setting has stayed on the lowest temperature and his feeding amount has been increased to “unlimited.”
He’s drinking well from the bottle, and spending a little more time awake, which works out great because he has also been receiving a lot of visitors.
My parents came by for a week, and last Thursday were able to hold him. Then last weekend Breanna’s mom and sister held him for the first time.
We continue to enjoy hearing from people everywhere who are concerned about his condition and assuring us they are praying. We are truly in good hands!
In a following post I will give a brief update on our plans.
Grace and Isaiah got to hold Jack today. How cool did they think it was? Extremely sub-zero cool. However, when Grace asked to take a picture, this is what she did.
Now, Jack, take it as a compliment. Your sisters and brother (& Mom??? 😉 have gone bonkers for Phineas and Ferb since discovering it on Saturday mornings.
Olivia fed Jack his THIRD bottle of the day
Jack’s a whole three pounds now! Each day God never fails to amaze us.
Jack continues to develop and grow, surprising everyone. The nurses changed his bed last week. Now the isolet maintains a constant temperature. The old one tracked his body temperature and added humidity. So Jack now regulates his own temperature, and, for the first time, he’s wearing clothes to help him keep his temperature up. He’s even cuter in clothes! 🙂
Jack sleeps most of the day, like any newborn, but is now waking and alert a quarter to half an hour before his feeding times every three hours. He’s also rooting (baby reflex to turn head to side and open mouth looking for something to suck on) and likes taking his pacifier. These cues showed he’s ready to bottle feed and/or breastfeed; so the nurses have started offering his breastmilk feedings in a little bottle. He’s doing great with it, drinking his whole feeding from the bottle, much to his nurses and doctors surprise. Usually drinking from the bottle is a big step for preemies because of the skill involved alternating sucking, swallowing and breathing plus the physical exertion of sucking.
Any milk he doesn’t finish from the bottle is given through his feeding tube so he’s still getting his prescribed 26mls every three hours. Saturday the doctor surprised us with the news he could start “practicing” breast feeding in what they call a non nutritive feeding. His first time breastfeeding he latched on and ate for five minutes before falling asleep, we were so proud of him! Though since then, he hasn’t been able to latch on and quickly becomes frustrated and angry. We hope he can master breastfeeding so that when he’s out of the hospital I don’t have to keep pumping breastmilk for bottles!
Grammy and Grandpa are here to visit from Texas and arrived on Grandpa’s birthday to a wide eyed alert Jack; what a precious birthday gift!
Yesterday big sister Olivia got to hold Jack AND feed him his bottle. He amused Olivia and me the whole time with his grunting and passing gas throughout his feeding that reminds me of big brother Isaiah as a baby -must be a boy thing! 🙂
Jack continues to grow and develop. Today the nurse told Breanna his weight: 2 pounds 11 ounces. Happily, we have become used to the daily doctor update being fairly… boring. The only item of concern is the soft spot on his head. Likely not a real issue, but the plan is for another head ultrasound tomorrow to make everyone comfortable.
Today, we rushed down to the hospital after lunch so Breanna could get there in time to hold him. After dropping Breanna off, the older kids and I ran down to the store and bought some “approved” (foil) balloons to celebrate Jack’s first month since his birth.
This month moved quickly. I don’t think I even got a good glimpse of it as it rushed past. Yet, at the same time, it feels like a different year and a far off place since Breanna first laid down in that hospital bed on the second floor. Many of us, myself especially, released a long held sigh of relief.
The next day filled with anticipation and waiting. Then Jack arrived, and I barely got a glimpse of him as he was rushed past. But he was in good hands. He always was, and he always will be.
I probably still have no idea the vast numbers of people praying for him. Every so often I see a glimpse when a near forgotten friend, or friend of a friend, sends us a note to encourage us. Many have asked how they can help. Many more have helped a LOT already. From vehicle, to clothes, to books and things on the way, the gifts keep coming. Thank you so much! I e-mailed about our mission account today. Last I knew it had numbers surrounded in parentheses. I squinted one eye when I opened the reply. Then I couldn’t believe it. It’s almost back to normal!
Today was a good day. Thanks to so many of you. And thank you God for an amazing first month with Jack, and the anticipation of You carrying him through the months to come.