Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jack is a Beanstalk

The word "preemie" never really seemed to fit Jack. If a baby is born premature, the baby might be born at 35 weeks gestation and weigh five pounds, not the 23 weeks and 1 pound 2.4 ounces we saw with Jack. We recently found out there are some different categories of preemies, which may or may not be medical terms to break up this diverse crowd of younglings. In the four different classifications, Jack was in the smallest group called "micro." Not only was he born micro, but he was on the micro end of micro. Things have changed.

While he has not yet graduated, so to speak, to the next category, Jack has managed to more than double his size in the first month of his life. He celebrated his first month birthday on Monday and he's closing in on the day he would have been 28 weeks gestation. He weighs a ginormous 2 pounds 6 ounces, which means he now weighs more than the largest steak I have ever tried to eat in one sitting. If any of us doubled our weight in a month, we'd be candidates for the "Biggest Loser" show. For Jack, it's an amazing milestone to praise.

Having a micro preemie has really warped are view of regular babies - perhaps for life. In order to get to the NICU where Jack is, we have to go through the nursery where full-term, plump babies are resting, getting baths, and sometimes wailing for dear life. Usually we look at them wide-eyed, wondering if the baby is on steroids or perhaps suffering from some form of infant gigantism. Fat cheeks and newborn-sized diapers are quite the sight when you're used to seeing the miniature version. He'll catch up over the next few months he has in the NICU. We are told that he will be in the hospital until the time of his regular due date (September 6th) or longer, and even then he will still be a small little guy.

But Jack is also growing in ways that aren't so good. We recently received the news that he has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, an expansion of his brain ventricles stemming from the hemorrhages he suffered in the first week. In short, the inside of his brain is unable to properly dispose of excess cerebral fluid, which can put unhealthy amounts of pressure on his brain. We have consulted with his doctor and a neurologist, and they are preparing to put a reservoir in his head tomorrow that will allow them to drain the excess fluid as needed. Sometimes, this is all that is needed to treat the hydrocephalus, but a majority of babies with reservoirs usually require a shunt. The procedure carries the normal risks of surgery (infection, for example), but we're told that babies usually do just fine with this kind of operation.

As always, we take nothing lightly, but certainly with a perspective of faith, hope and love. Jack has already killed a few giants standing in the way of his own physical progress, so we continue to believe he can take on the challenges he faces in the coming weeks and months.

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Kim Pace said...

Wow. I'm still praying for him - and you guys. Who is his neurologist? I'm just curious because I worked for one in Missoula for a while (he didn't do kids). But I know some of the other MT neuro names - not all by any means. Just plain curiosity. Hope Jack grows more and more in the healthy sense and less and less in the bad sense!

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MagicKitchen.com Reaching To Parents Of Micro Preemie Babies With Graham's Foundation.

Jessi said...

Thanks Kim! His neurologist was Dr. Day.

Idaho Hodges said...

Keep fighting Jack!!

Ashley said...

Wow I see that on this day Jack grew to 2 lbs 6 oz. that's how big my soon was when he was born. Add of last night he was 4 lbs 9.5 oz! They are talking about us maybe going home in a few weeks (exciting). My son also has a brain bleed. So it's nice reading about someone else who had gone through this and see the "outcome"as a three year old! My sons brain bleed has been every grade at some point. Thankfully at this point they are thinking it's a grade one. Thanks again for your blog, I'm so glad someone recommended it to me!

Jessi said...

Hey Ashley!
I am so glad you found our blog! Thanks for reading and commenting. We love hearing from you.