Friday, July 10, 2009

Jack in the Box

Have you ever watched a little kid play with a jack in the box? They love the brightly colored box, turning that little crank, and hearing the tune "Pop Goes the Weasel." But most of all, they love the moment when they are caught off-guard by the sudden springing of the "jack." That's not unlike our own experience with our little Jack. We gleefully waited for his arrival into the world, but we were certainly jolted by his premature popping from his first first box (Jessi's tummy).

Jack's new box for the last eight weeks has been a baby incubator, also called an isolette. It doesn't match what his first box would do, but it does try to duplicate some of the same things including heat control and shielding him from disease and germs. It seems a bit cluttery at times, but that's because there are so many things Jack needs to keep him well and to ensure his box is adequately decorated. At his peak, Jack had five wires, four IVs, three blankets, two beanie babies, one superman cape and a partridge in a pear tree. Much of that has been removed, like the IVs. Right now he only has his central line and his feeding tube. Once he gets a bit bigger, he will call U-haul and leave his isolette for a more upper-middle class crib in the NICU.

Jack has also renewed his relationship with CPAP, the graduated respiratory contraption. He's not a big fan of CPAP because it requires two prongs to remain in his nose to keep the positive airflow going into his lungs. He wiggles and squirms to get them out of his nostrils, which also has caused a small sore to develop. I've seen him do a full-blown push-up off the bed just to see if he could escape from the tube that holds his nose hostage. That's why the CPAP has to be tightly secured around his little head. This has made his underdeveloped skull a little misshapen. Over time, his head will gradually grow back to a normal shape. That is, unless he has my genes. If you've ever seen my cranium, it resembles a bowling ball sitting delicately on a toothpick of a neck. Let's hope he gets Jessi's genes on that one. The next step after CPAP is a nasal cannula, which could be one week away or one month down the road. He's hoping it will be sooner so he can say. "You're whack, CPAP," and go on with life.

A few days ago, Jack was also taken off the preemie Gatorade and is now totally dependant on fortified breastmilk - the breakfast, lunch and dinner and midnight snack of champions. He is fed through a small tube that goes into his mouth and down into his stomach. Perhaps in a month he can try out a bottle. He seems to be taking this change well because he moved past the 3 pound mark on Thursday (if you remember he started out at 1 pound, 2 ounces). So the next time you have 12 Quarter Pounders at McDonalds, think of Jack. He has also graduated to the next level of diapers. The X-Small Preemie size just wasn't cutting it when Jack really had "to go," if you know what I mean.

I have to spend more time in Helena these days, and that is tough. But I do feel a little less anxious when I leave Missoula because he seems to be doing well given the circumstances. He is at least two months away from going home, possibly three months. Even then I'm not sure we'll make our home in Clancy his new "box" right away. Jessi may stay in Missoula to remain close to his medical providers and the NICU that knows him. It's hard to predict that far out into the future, so we try and stay content with having nice, gradual improvements in his health day-by-day. It's amazing to think of the hurdles he's jumped in the past two months. Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. Some day Jack will thank you too,

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TxsChatterbox said...

He is doing SO well! He looks great and is having some incredible improvements. These little ones are full of surprises and I bet he'll be revealing more great things to y'all soon.

I'll continue to pray for Jack!


Brandi said...

I am so thrilled to hear of Jack's constant improvements. We are cheering for him! Great pics. I love getting to see you both cuddle with him. Love you all

Blalock said...

We keep praying and he keeps fighting. :) Glad to hear that he is doing well.

Jessi said...

Thanks everyone!

Barbara said...

Yay Jack! I love the mommie and Jack picture!