Saturday, October 31, 2009


Hey all,

On Thursday, just as many of you were probably carving pumpkins to make some jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, Jack was once again going under the knife of the neurosurgeon in Missoula. Earlier that day ultrasounds confirmed that his right ventricle continued to grow. Normally the brain ventricles communicate with each other, but the shunt on his left side was only draining the left ventricle. The surgeon recommended surgery to place an additional shunt that day, so we found ourselves taking our immune-deficient boy into the disease-ridden, virus infested, swine flu sanctuary of the Missoula Pediatrics Intensive Care Unit.

The surgery (Jack's sixth so far) went well and we hope he can bounce back from it quickly. Having two shunts is not unheard of, but it is fairly rare. The neurosurgeon hopes that some day one can come out as his brain grows. We have him home now, and we don't think he picked up any extras during his stay in the disease incubator known as the hospital. For the short term, he is probably going to have weekly checkups to monitor his brain and the shunts.

Before this latest hiccup, Jack was on track for his weight. We took out his feeding tube over three weeks ago and he continued to average an ounce a day in growth. The day he went into the hospital, he weighed exactly 9 pounds. It make take him a week or two to get back to normal growth.

Not too long after I sent the last update in September, Jack decided to surprise us with something we will never forget. He was especially alert one evening, so we decided to snap some pictures. As Jessi sang him a tune, we were able to snap a picture while Jack was showing us his first real smile. The moment was so important for Jessi and I. Few people know that just days after Jack was born, and he had suffered significant brain hemorrhages, the doctor gave us the option to cease all medical treatment and let Jack die. It may have been an option for the doctor, but it never was for us. We knew that even if there were possibilities like cerebral palsy, mental handicaps, and other difficulties, Jack would somehow find happiness and purpose in life. His big gummy grin a few weeks ago gave us a glimpse into a baby that was now proving us right. It was a great day.

Happy Halloween,

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Tami said...

I just LOVE his little smile. He brightens up the room for sure. Continued prayers for little Jack that his shunts do their jobs correctly and that sides of his brain start communicating better.

Happy first Halloween little Jack!!

Julie said...

He is so cute as a Jack O Lantern! And as a frog! What an adorable baby you have. :)