Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From Manatees to Turtles

(Grandma holding the Wee Ski)

Yesterday, Thomas's on-call pediatrician had prepared us for 10 full days in the NICU. She talked about a departure date of next Sunday or Monday, as his improvements were occuring, but not as quickly as hoped.

We are living in a world right now where each day feels like a week. It wasn't the best news but it wasn't the worst either. We were finally starting to feel like "real parents" with feedings and diapers and baths and consecutive sleepless nights. Though emotional and at times exhausting, it is awesome. We've got the 'power through' attitude going right now...that each step will bring us closer to taking our son home with us.

And thankfully, the good moments far outweigh the bad ones.

Mom and I went to the Communion Service in the Chapel yesterday. The homily was about preparing for Lent - giving up the things that really separate us from Christ. Not the stuff people gave up as kids (candy, dessert, etc) but the things that prevent us from a real relationship with him.

The number one thing that was mentioned?


How true that is. Our lives have changed 180 degrees in a few short days. My "busy" now revolves around our family and its changing needs. Mom and I asked God for his grace to help me keep the main thing...the main thing.

I finished 24 hours of feedings with him around 3 am this morning. I really am missing Jonathan, as he's staying at our house and doing his best to keep up with 'life as usual': taking care of the dogs and going to the office in addition to spending time here as papa to his son. The time that we have together is relaying news and information, prepping for Thomas's feedings and learning about caring for the Wee Ski.

We soak up as much from the nurses as we can - they're like a little pot of gold full of information...we've learned so much about parenting him, things to do (and not do) for his care, and reminders from them that there is life beyond here. We definitely don't deserve how well we've been treated, but we're really thankful that they believe Thomas does deserve it. :)

Later in the morning, we learned that Thomas is graduating from his "Manatee Room" (all the rooms in the Special Care Nursery are named after animals). He's heading to one of the "Turtle Rooms". I immediately began crying (not such a rare occurence anymore :) ) because I knew what that meant.

It meant he would be coming home soon.

The Turtle Rooms are for parents who begin assuming full care for their newborns in the NICU. It's a little like a trial run for caring for him before he is discharged from the Special Care Nursery. The child's mom can stay with him the entire night and sleep in a bed right next to his crib. I can hear him cry for to be changed, or his fussiness when he's ready to eat.

So today, the pediatrician told us that we could plan for Thursday or Friday for him to come home. We were stunned and in tears. His bilirubin results had dropped from 18.1 to 13.2 in one day, taking jaundice off the table. His heart murmur was gone entirely. His blood sugars were regular, and though his platelet count was still low, it was improving. They removed his sensors for the three-lead monitors, and he no longer needed the light blanket.

He was simply a baby boy with only an IV left, and that is only used for antibiotics.

None of us could believe it. We can pick him up and hold him whenever we want. We don't need to rush through feedings, and can rock in the chair with him without worrying about him missing valuable treatments.

He can even wear clothes now.

In addition to that, Mom gave us an incredible gift tonight. She headed out to the house to stay the night there. She packed out stuff that we no longer needed, took care of the dogs, and cleaned, as its been nearly a week since I've been home. Jonathan is able to stay here on the hospital campus and avoid the drive home, the crazy pupcakes that demand attention the moment you drive down the driveway, and get to spend more quality time with Thomas.

One of the things that's gotten us through are the comments on the blog, messages through Facebook, and emails sent to us. It's been such an encouragement as we are in the "black hole" of the nursery without wireless access or cell phone reception. We walk outside occasionally, and my Blackberry fills up with a backlog of messages.

We can read through them walking between the hospital and the Sunshine House and save them for later, when I'm finishing Thomas's baby book.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us - what a gift you've been!

Here's to Thomas becoming a Turtle!


Elizabeth Ann said...

WoW! Amazing~ the power of prayer!
Many, many prayers!

Jenn & Noah said...

That is AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL news about Thomas improving so much and that you'll be able to bring him home to start living your new life in your own surroundings. We've been praying for you guys and will continue to do so. Oh, and I love seeing the pictures of him -- he is sooooo adorable!!

KCina said...

What a beatiful picture of the little man! I've really gotta quit reading your blog from work...I always end up in happy tears!!!

Continuing to send you guys lots of virtual hugs and prayers!
~ Kathy

Unknown said...

This is the best news! I am crying at my desk at work. The power of prayer is an amazing thing, and it is so beautiful to watch it playing out in Thomas's birth, life and recovery.

Know that we love you three so much, and we pray for the growing Ski family.

God bless little Thomas and his amazing parents.


Anonymous said...

Oh YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah for turtles! Slow and steady wins the race :-)

Those pictures are just beautiful.

I'm so glad you get to spend the nights with him now--I never got to until we went home and it was very overwhelming. Hip hip hooray!

Anonymous said...

I am so excited for you guys to begin your life as a "normal" family! I cannot believe how much of a turnaround these little guys can have so early on- Tommy sounds like a resilient baby! Must get it from the momma & poppa! Thinking of you... Lindsay

Anonymous said...

Did you ever think that becoming a Turtle would be such a blessing from God?!

You have an amazingly strong little boy, and did I mention how handsome he is! Thomas is a testiment to the power of prayer and what amazing parents you both are. Stay strong and before you can imagine you the three of you will be home together building your new lives.

Hugs and prayers to all -
Michelle Gutzman

Anonymous said...

Such good news! Thank you for such wonderful updates, he is absolutely beatuiful, and Yeah to getting to hold him whenever you want..that is the most wonderful news of all. We will continue to pray for more blessings to come your way. Love to you all...the Meadows Family

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