You will have significant experiences.
I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of
them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh
your memory of these meaningful and significant things.
Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you.
Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some
may build upon another until they represent a lifetime of
special experiences.
- Gordon B Hinckley

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Hungry Baby...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been 12 days since Everett's surgery and Zac and I have been enjoying 12 days of good news!  We are relishing in every moment of sweet success and little triumphs for our son and many of the worries and fears of the last five months are beginning to fade.  We are breathing a small sigh of relief and find ourselves again daydreaming about the memories to come when Everett finally makes his appearance home.

Everett weighs 6 lbs 3 oz!!!  His days of wearing preemie clothes are over.  He is sporting the "big boy" newborn size and he actually fills them out quite nicely.  His abdominal incision is healing well (the surgeons went back in through his original incision).  His belly button looks like a smile and Zac and I find ourselves staring at his belly, amazed and overjoyed to see it without the ileostomy bag.  He is off the ventilator, breathing completely on his own, and has had his feeding tube removed.  He is feeding entirely from a bottle and has not experienced any of the problems with swallowing that plagued him before.  He is up to 13mls of breast milk every three hours.  He sucks it down in two minutes flat and then roots around for more.  He is eager to eat.  Each day the doctors have increased his feedings by three mls.  At this rate, Everett will be at full feeds in just 11 days.  The nurses are watching him closely for signs of feeding intolerance, such as vomiting and diarrhea, which would indicate that his feedings are being increased too quickly.  But so far, so good :-)  We hope his intestines continue to handle the challenge. 

Just a few days ago I got to experience something first poopy diaper.  I was holding Everett and noticed that he started to stink :-)  I questioned his nurse about it and she said, "Well, check out his diaper."  I opened it to find a huge surprise waiting for me.  I was very embarrassed to have to ask his nurse how to change a poopy diaper, as this was my first one.  She laughed and gave me some tips.  But I figure it this way, having Everett in the NICU gives us the advantage of receiving one on one parenting and baby care training.  So, needless to say, another moment I will never forget and am happy to get to experience.  He has been having regular bowel moments every day and night.

After three months at CHLA, we finally met the head neonatologist of the NICU.  And about two minutes after meeting him, he very bluntly told Zac and I that it was time to have a meeting regarding Everett's long term prognosis.  We were completely taken aback.  While Zac and I are very aware of the realities of risk involved in having a baby born at 25 weeks, we also just wanted to enjoy this time of good news (something we haven't had too much of) and not cloud the positive emotions with additional worry and upset.  So, Zac and I went to great lengths to avoid this neonatologist while we were at the hospital (including ducking into corners and switching hallways).  But, he finally lured us into his office under false pretenses and proceeded to have the very discussion that we didn't want to have.  He started by saying "What is your knowledge for the prognosis of a baby born at 25 weeks?"  Very early in our journey, Zac and I agreed not to research information on the Internet regarding preemies.  We decided that most of the information would do nothing more than scare us and make us hyper critical of our son.  We decided instead to place our confidence in Everett and in his doctors to tell us what our concerns should be.  So, with our limited knowledge, Zac answered his questions by saying, "Well, it can't be good." 

At this point I wanted nothing more than to run back to Everett's bedside.  I have often described the moment of when the doctor told me I was going to deliver Everett like this...a feeling of quiet calm came over me and I knew, just knew, deep within my heart that Everett was going to be fine.  While every bump and boulder in the road has tested my belief, I have remained confident in my maternal instincts and in God's healing hands.  Now I was sitting in front of a doctor who threatened all the hope that I had been clinging to for five months...and my "fight or flight" response kicked in.  I stood up and told the doctor, "This is a conversation I don't want to have today.  We have good news to celebrate and that's exactly what we are going to do.  I don't want this moment ruined with your projections for his future."  He looked at me stunned and a little dumbfounded too.  Then he said, "Mrs. Bollinger, why would you think I have bad news?"  He then proceeded to tell us that Everett's future looks very bright.  He does not believe that Everett will have any of the major long term problems that some micropreemies have.  The two largest risk factors are retinopathy of prematurity and brain hemorrhage.  Everett's retinopathy has reversed itself and he hasn't experienced any brain bleeds...we thank God for this!  He then told us that the biggest factor that can influence Everett's future is love!  A huge grin came over our faces when he said this and both Zac and I responded with "Well, I think we can handle that."  We left the meeting relieved and beaming.  I think it is just the neatest thing that despite all the modern medicine and high tech interventions...the best thing that we can do for our son is simply to love him!!!

On that happy note, I will conclude by saying, as always, thank you for your love.  Everett and Zac and I thrive on it. 

With Relief,

The Bollinger Family

P.S.  Everett's projected discharge date is in less than eight weeks :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment