From the first day we arrived in the NICU, I felt that the doctor we were assigned was somewhat of a pessimist. He seemed to have a "we better do everything, just in case" attitude, and he was talking in terms of weeks instead of days. There was talk of a PICC line and a spinal tap (to check for certain kinds of infection). It just seemed like overtreatment to me, but I was trying to trust him.
Yesterday (December 1st), he told me that at the beginning of the month the doctor teams rotated, so there would be a different doctor starting on the 2nd (today). I began to pray that God would send us an optimistic doctor. I prayed that he would come in and look at Ivan and say that a lot of this stuff is unnecessary - that Ivan is a healthy baby and we need to get him out of the hospital and back to normal life as soon as possible.
That is exactly what happened!
The new doctor came in today and looked at Ivan's stats, looked over his history, and looked at the treatments that had been recommended. He said to cancel the PIC and the spinal tap, wean him off the oxygen today, and start feeding him with a bottle and try to get him nursing tomorrow. He does want Ivan to finish the antibiotic treatment they started, which will last until next Tuesday (7 days total), but he sees no reason why we should have to stay here after that.
The previous doctor was actually in the room, and argued a little. Even one of the nurses who has been taking care of him tried to say that he's not ready to eat, etc. The doctor said "It's time to start treating him like a normal baby. He's vigorous. He can do this stuff. Push him."
So, Mary tried to feed him a bottle shortly after that. He's still got a feeding tube down his throat (they started feeding him via the tube yesterday), so it may take him a little longer to get the idea of sucking for food, but we've started down that road so I'm sure it won't be long.
God is so good! Please continue to pray that Ivan will grow and develop properly, and specifically that he will start to eat without the tube.
We are out of our sleep room here at the hospital, so we will probably be staying at home the next few nights and driving down here during the day. We haven't seen Owen for a couple of days now, but he is with good friends and we've been told that he is behaving and having a great time. Hopefully, we will get to spend some time with him tomorrow or Sunday. Thanks again to everyone who has helped out. We have such great friends!
A quick Ivan update:
He is no longer on assisted breathing, but is still being given oxygen through his nose. He's still working a little harder to breathe than he should have to, so the doctors don't feel that he can eat normally right now, because he may not have the energy to both eat and breathe. So, they are putting in a feeding tube and will begin feeding him that way, and remove it once his breathing is close to normal. He has also developed jaundice, which is typical in these types of cases, so he's under the lights, as you can see in the photo.
We are staying in one of the sleep rooms on the NICU floor for at least one more night (tonight), and then we will find out tomorrow if we can stay longer. The doctor expects Ivan to be here for at least a week, maybe two. I would prefer not to have to drive back and forth from our house each day - especially for Mary's sake, having just given birth on Tuesday.
We've had a lot of support from friends and family. Thanks to everyone who has brought us food and other stuff, come to visit us, and taken care of Owen during this time. And we especially thank you for your prayers.
A lot has happened since I made the initial post declaring that mother and baby were both doing fine (that was only minutes after he was born). It’s a very long story, and maybe one day I’ll write out the whole thing, but for now I will summarize.
Ivan is about a month premature (just over 36 weeks). As a result, his lungs are a little underdeveloped, and we noticed pretty quickly that he was breathing a little funny, and possibly even struggling a bit at it. After working with him at the house for a little while, our midwife contacted a pediatrician she knows and he recommended we bring the baby down to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
To make a long story short, he was looked at by a dozen doctors, and went from the walk-in clinic to the emergency room to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Chest x-rays revealed that his lungs were a little young and that he had a pocket of air in his chest next to one of the lungs that was restricting his breathing. Several doctors assured me that this was not unusual in early births, and that many children have a mild case of this (I forget what they call it – they’ve been throwing a lot of terms at me) that goes unnoticed and resolves itself over time.
Their main concern was not that it would be a long term problem, but that he would not get enough oxygen which could obviously cause other, more serious problems.
So, he spent last night in the NICU with a breathing tube down his throat, and oxygen tubes in his nose. The doctor estimated that he will have to be here about a week. Mary and I have been given a room here at the hospital to sleep in, so at least for the moment we are living here. Owen is with the Fadelys, and is having a blast playing with his buddy Dean.
As of this afternoon, the tube has been removed, and he was breathing on his own, but still working a little harder at it than they would like. They may have to put the tube back in, but will try some other methods of assisted breathing before they go that far. The pocket of air in his chest is almost completely gone. He’s still getting oxygen, but he’s down to about 30% of where he started.
Mary is doing well. She is sore, and of course tired, but otherwise feeling good.
I cannot even begin to tell you how much God has blessed us during this process. From the moment I walked in, He has given us favor and led the right people to “happen by” and take some action to help Ivan. As one example, the NICU normally does not accept any babies that were not actually born at Vanderbilt. I still don’t know who made that decision or what led to it, but I know that God was here before me preparing the way.
I will try to update as we get new information. I don’t have a lot of time to just sit and write, but hopefully I can update at least once a day, and Mary will try to get on and write her side of the story as well.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and especially for Ivan, and please continue to do so.
God is good!
Look who came for a visit today!
Ivan Harrison Kelso
Born: 11-29-2005 9:53 AM
Length: 20 Inches
Weight: 7 lbs. 14 oz.
It all happened VERY fast. Mother and baby are doing great. More details later...
Just in case there is anyone reading this that doesn't also read Mary's blog, we've decided to name our second son (due December 25) Ivan Harrison.
I like this name for a number of reasons:
It took us a lot longer to decide on this name than Owen's name, but I'm sure we will like it just as well. I'm just glad to know what to call the little guy. We're getting really close now...
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