Friday, August 28, 2009

Things That Weigh Five Pounds

Things that weigh five pounds:

1. A normal sized Chihuahua
2. A 5 lbs. dumbbell
3. Around 2500 Plain M&Ms
4. Around 900 Peanut M&Ms
5. A 5 lbs. sack of potatoes
6. Around 905 U.S. Pennies
7. 20 Quarter Pounders at McDonalds
8. 5 loaves of bread
9. A pair of work boots
10. Baby Jack this last Tuesday

It only lasted one day, but Jack hit the five pound mark this last Tuesday (He's now around 5 pounds, 3 ounces). He celebrated by having surgery on his hernia.

As I've said before, hernias are the norm for extremely premature boys. The surgery went very well and we're very happy about that. What's been amazing is his recovery from the surgery. Like a determined prize fighter, Jack took the surgery hit and bounced back like a champ. By the time they rolled him back into the NICU from the operating room, Jack was fighting with three nurses to take out the ventilator tube from his throat. After trying to pin him down into respiratory submission, the doctor decided to take him off the ventilator. He has done so well that his nasal cannula is doing very little for him at this point. He is also back on feedings. I don't know why I always underestimate his strength and will, but he always surprises us with his stellar progress.

Jack's recovery skills will again be tested this coming Tuesday when he goes back into the Operating Room to face the neurosurgeon. The doctor will be placing a permanent shunt that will drain fluid from Jack's brain into his abdomen. The risk for infection increases with this surgery, and the first 6 months from the time of placement is crucial, so say a little prayer that the surgery goes well and that the shunt will function properly.

Other than the shunt surgery, here are a few "tests" Jack will face before he comes home:

1. Feedings - This is the biggie. Jack must be able to nurse or bottle feed for all of his feedings. He's not quite there yet. That little tube down his nose is how he gets around a third of his feedings right now. Sometimes being a champ makes him tired, and he gets a little lazy. His feedings will stop for the shunt surgery, but he should be back on milk within a day or so. Getting milk through normal feedings is so much better than getting preemie Gatorade through an IV in the head.

2. Eyes - Jack has had weekly eye exams for the last two months to check for retinopathy, a common problem in preemies. After initial test showed he was in the early stages of that condition (which would require laser surgery), recent tests show his eyes are healing. Good news that he may actually avoid one surgery many preemies get. These very invasive check-ups aren't Jack's favorite thing in the whole world. He fights the eye-doc so much that the doctor said he felt like he was dealing with a two-year olds strength. Little known fact that may be useful if you are ever a contestant on Jeopardy: Stevie Wonder was a preemie that went blind because of retinopathy.

3. Car Seat Test - The ride back to Clancy is about two hours if you go the speed limit. I'm not sure if we will even go that fast with our new precious cargo. The car seat test is where a baby sits in the car seat at the NICU for the same amount of time as the drive home. If they are able to handle it without going nuts or having bouts of apnea, they pass. If not, Jack goes back to car seat school.

4. "A's and B's" - Jack must go for at least a week without any apnea (forgetting to breathe) or bradycardia (reduced heart rate). He's actually done pretty well in this department as his lungs improve.

Now that we know Jack can speedily recover from surgery, Jessi and I are constantly playing the guessing game about when he will go home. Anyone want to start a pool on that one? I wouldn't be surprised if it's the week of Labor Day, but don't take that one to the bank. That's okay because Jessi and I still have quite a bit to do to get ready for Jack to come home. Having a baby at just over 5 month gestation kind of takes a huge chunk of baby prep out of the mix. We've already gotten some big help from family and friends. With any luck, we'll have everything ready to go by his original due date on September 9th.

Thanks for all your emails, calls, and prayers!


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Debbie said...

Great job, Jack! God has blessed him sooo much...and you!

Blalock said...

Another good update. You are in my prayers daily, so I'm always looking for an update to see what to pray for next. We'll be praying for the next surgery.

katieoz said...

so heartened to read these updates! amazing little guy (and his parents too)!

Barbara said...

Yay Jack! What a fighter. Sending positive energy to you all for the shunt surgery.

Tyson Harold said...

Nice post.

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