Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Boys doing Great....Sad Day for Us

My faith really is crumbling right now. Our boys are doing great but it’s midnight and Steve and I just returned from the vet where we had to put down our cat Dutch, who has been in my family for 15 years - he suddenly developed saddle thrombosis and his hind legs became paralyzed. The hits just keep coming. I’m not sure why God would chose to take him now or how much more I can possible bear before I just break.

I spent the last two nights writing this week’s post (it’s taken me so long b/c there’s so much to update on) and actually had to leave tonight for the vet when I was in the middle of finishing it up so I figured I would go ahead and just post it now even though it’s unfinished. I’ll try to post again later this week with the additional updates. In any event, here’s a start to the past week’s update on the boys:

What a busy week the Michalanko boys had, I'm not quite sure where to begin! This weekend was a particularly special one for numerous reasons. Foremost, at the ripe old age of 10 weeks, Landon and Logan were formally introduced to almost all of their grandparents!! On Saturday, Grandpop Russ and Grandmom Helen both had the distinct honor of being the first family members (other than Mommy and Daddy of course) to hold our little men and the boys just loved it! Grandpop Russ was so excited to sit with Logan and did so for well over an hour talking to him and telling him lots of jokes and repeatedly making him smile. Grandmom Helen held Landon and hummed songs to him as he slept, although he made sure to wake up for a few minutes to get a good look at his grandmom. On Sunday, the boys were finally able to meet their Nannie as my mom held Logan first and then Landon, and much the same as on Saturday, Logan was wide awake the entire time staring at his Nannie while Landon spent most of his time with Nannie sleeping. It truly was a comforting and emotional moment for me to finally see my mom, who is also my very best friend, holding my two sons for the very first time.

Another exciting event of the weekend was that Mommy and Daddy were allowed to give the boys’ their very first tub bath on Sunday night, what an indescribably wonderful moment for us as a family. We bathed Logan first and Daddy held him upright while Mommy washed his little head and body. Of course I was overly concerned about hurting my delicate little boy so I moved a touch too slow and Logan gave me a few good cries to let me know he was cold and I needed to hurry it up! Landon was next and I held him while Steve gave him a good washing, being careful to move a little quicker this time and spare him the prolonged exposure to the chilly air to which poor Logan was subjected!! He definitely enjoyed it a bit more than Logan did but was sure to still let out a few strong cries when he was unhappy. It almost brought me to tears just hearing their beautiful little cries and seeing our 4 pound sons (yes, they’re both around 4 lbs. now!) act and look just like any baby would when he’s getting his first bath. I’m aware this might sound strange to some people, but you have to remember that when we first met our sons, they were barely bigger than the palm of our hand, their skin was translucent and painful to the touch, every bone in their body was seemingly visible, their eyes were fused shut and covered by goggles under a phototherapy light, they couldn’t cry because of the breathing tubes down their throat, they had leads all over their chests, wires running in and out of their belly buttons and IV’s in their arms and/or legs. I certainly didn’t feel like a mother and my sons certainly didn’t look or act like any baby I had ever seen. Now, 10 weeks later, to bathe my sons completely free of all of the wires, tubes and IVs, to hear them cry while we’re cleaning the little rolls of fat under their chins, to wrap them in a towel and hold them while we dress them in their pjs….it was a moment that, on some of our worst days, I wasn’t sure we’d ever see.

Of course I probably annoyed the nurses (and my dear husband) with the camera and all of the pictures I wanted taken but I just wanted to ensure we saved this tremendous night. Again, most parents have the privilege of bathing their child for the first time in the comfort and privacy of their own home and it’s a tender moment that a mother and father share, and one that I feel should be remembered with pictures. I didn’t want our experience to be overlooked or feel any less significant simply because we couldn’t experience it the way most other parents do. I suppose I’m simply trying to somehow regain and maintain some semblance of normalcy in our unfortunately abnormal situation and if we were at home during their first bath, I would have taken dozens of pictures so why should it be any different for us in the hospital?

Well, believe it or not, there’s MORE good news to report! While Landon and Logan are still getting their breastmilk predominantly through gavage feeds, they are taking the bottle for their feeds 2 times every 24 hours! They are both doing a great job coordinating the suck, swallow, breathe routine and although they don’t always finish the entire bottle (they tire easily), they sure do give it a valiant effort. Logan usually has a difficult time getting started but once he catches on, he houses his bottle in no time flat! Landon is very inconsistent in that during some feeds he’s extremely slow and not interested in taking too much, while at other times he gulps down half his bottle before we even have a chance to stop and burp him! For the next few weeks that is the way we expect things to go – they will have good feeds and they will have bad feeds, and that’s ok. We are pleased and excited after the good feeds and hopeful after the bad feeds that the next one will go better.

Now that they’re both up to over an ounce of breastmilk every 3 hours they are making huge strides in weight gain - Logan is up to 4 lbs., 3 ozs. and Landon is a few ounces behind at 3 lbs., 14 ozs. Although it may seem like Logan has a leg up on Landon, it’s not quite as drastic a weight difference as it seems since we must account for the extra fluid in Logan’s head from the hydrocephalus and the fact that he has edema (quite common for preemies) and is a bit puffy in his lower extremities.

Finally, since the boys are now over 2 months old, they have both started receiving their vaccines this week. They will be getting five of them prior to their discharge from the hospital – Hepatitis B, Polio, Haemophilus Influenza (Hib), Diphtheria, Tetanus & Pertussis (DTap) and Pneumococcal Conjugate. Thus far, they have received all of them except the Hib and Hep B. They have both become anemic again and are in need of another yet another blood transfusion so they have discontinued the vaccines for the time being and they will get the remaining two closer to their time of discharge.

Just a brief detail on anemia – all micro preemie develop it due to many factors (ie- premature babies’ bodies do not make many red blood cells and the ones they do make don’t last very long) and it is treated through blood transfusions, of which both Landon and Logan have already received half a dozen in their short lives. Around 2 months after birth, preemies should begin making their own red blood cells at a quicker rate and no longer need the transfusions. However, for whatever reason, the boys are still struggling with this at 10 weeks of age. Landon, in particular, has been showing signs that his anemia is affecting him in that he’s extremely pale, tachycardic, and has been having an increased number of bradys, therefore needing some additional oxygen support. He is still on 21% but his nasal cannula flow has been bumped up to 2L flow, whereas his big brother Logan is down on 1L flow (although his oxygen requirements are a bit higher at 23-25%). The doctors are extremely cautious about simply giving him another blood transfusion because at his age his body needs to learn to make its own red blood cells, but in the event that his symptoms continue, Steve & I went to Red Cross tonight and donated our own blood in hopes that they could use it for their next, and hopefully last, transfusion.


1 comment:

mcweix said...

Annie, first off, thanks for sharing this link with us on DIJan, I cannot tell you how often the ladies PM me praying I'd have an update for them......we've all been praying hard for you guys.

Second, the boys look so great and sound like they are growing well. Keep up the vigil Momma! It's working wonders! I'm so proud of all of you......