Friday, June 26, 2009

Jack of all Trades

Each and every day seems to bring big changes for Baby Jack. Last Monday, the doctor decided he was probably strong enough to go off the ventilator. Long term reliance on the ventilator can lead to chronic lung disease, so it's important to get him off it as soon as possible. That means Jack has been given his first job - remembering to breathe. He doesn't always remember, but he's doing pretty good. It's probably because he's too busy thinking about what he wants to be when he grows up.

Now that he's off the ventilator, he's graduated to a new contraption called C-PAP, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. The C-PAP machine blows air at a prescribed pressure into his nose, keeping his lungs inflated. This odd looking machinery resembles some kind of elaborate scuba gear, so we think he's considering deep-sea diving as a career. Sometimes he holds his breath like he's practicing for the time when he first goes under water, but we give him a little nudge or rub his back to remind him that oxygen is pretty important these days.

This new breathing machine is also inspiring him to consider becoming a rapper, since C-PAP sounds like such a nice gangster name. Now that the ventilator tube is out, it will be possible for him to eventually make sound, squeaks, and squeals. He's also considering taking on the name Pee-Dogg, since his favorite thing is to urinate on us when we hold him. We think he's just showing off since he has finally got his kidneys working again. It's kind of like his own mark of Zorro. He also likes to wear his X-Small Preemie diapers (which are still too big for him) down low. Thug life in the Missoula NICU.

There have been so many changes/upgrades in the past week that it makes me a little nervous sometimes. For example, he's had his own private nurse since the moment he was born. On Wednesday, they decided he was stable enough to share a nurse with a more stable preemie. Also, they moved him out of isolation into the larger room with other preemies. And finally, the doctor thought he was doing well enough on milk feedings to start increasing them every 24 hours. Part of me thinks, "Awesome! He's improving!" The other part of me thinks, "Hey, you sure about this, Doc?" I have to remind myself that he needs to be tested now and then if he is ever going to get stronger. It also gets a bit tougher to visit him because his monitors can drive you mad. I watch during those tense moments as his oxygen levels go low, his heart rate go down, and his breathing stops. I find myself holding my breath when he does and taking big gasps when his lungs fill back up again.

So you see, baby Jack is growing up fast. Doctors remind us that he's still in "day by day" mode right now, so we are thankful for each day when we go in and the nurses have had quiet nights, full diapers, and good test results. He's six weeks old today, which is crazy to think about. One nurse told us that many in the staff thought that he wouldn't make it past the first week. He's not out of the woods by any means, but many prayers have already been answered during this past month and a half. We hope that some time in the next few months he can graduate from the NICU and see the world outside his incubator.

Pin It!


Barbara said...

Love the picture of you and baby Jack! Sending you all my love.

Blalock said...

Wonderful that these changes are taking place! It's been hard to be without Internet because I wonder how Jack is. Last time with Internet again for a couple days and looking forward to hearing more improvements.