We arrived at St. Joe's today around 10am, and learned we had just missed one of Zach's feedings, so we took the opportunity to speak with Terri, today's nurse, and check on his progress and the prospects of his coming home. The first thing we noticed was Zach was cleared to sleep/move/be held/feed in ANY position by Dr. Handler last night!! Praise Jesus! He's living proof in the power of prayer, and blesses our lives with each new day! Daddy's best buddy Rael even came by and brought Zach his first toy truck to play with!
The plans for the day flip flopped because Mommy and Daddy didn't bring Zach's car seat today, so Zach's circumcision was performed around 11am. Daddy went with him and watched the whole thing (Mommy tends to pass out at the sight of blood or surgery!). He was an angel during the ten minute procedure. In fact, he was asleep the ENTIRE time, and didn't even flinch or let out a peep. The doctor was amazed at his level of slumber, but Daddy just passed it off as old hat. He's been through back surgery, various meds, and breathing apparatus' for the past five days, what's a little snip of the foreskin?
After that Zach slept for another couple of hours, then woke and breast fed with Mommy for 20 minutes. He's a natural, and feeds at breast or bottle, making feedings a little easier on Mommy and Daddy. After his feeding it was back to sleep. This was when the little glow worm came out to play. Zach has had a little jaundice for the past few days. His Bili levels have not been high enough for treatment, but the nurse practitioner felt it was better to give him the light treatment now rather than him coming home with us and needing treatment down the line. To treat the jaundice they place a blue light pad (Bili Blanket) along Zach's back or chest, swaddle him in a blanket, and let him sleep for a few hours. As you can see in the pictures he glows like every one's favorite late 80's toy, and even gets a sweet pair of sunglasses to wear to protect his eyes!!
After sleeping for 4 more hours, Zach awoke, Daddy changed his diaper (yes, he managed to pee on Daddy AGAIN!) and had another feeding, 25 minutes this time. I love the picture of Zachary staring into Mommy's eyes, it's just pure LOVE. After the feeding and some rocking Zach was put back to sleep with his new "glow" and "stunna" shades!! Tomorrow Zach has a big day with his car seat test and hearing test. The car seat test consists of him being placed in the seat as if he were headed home, then placed on the floor and monitored for an hour and a half to make sure he can make an extended car trip without problems. The hearing test is given to all babies after birth and will be administered tomorrow night when things are nice and quiet in the NICU.
As for Monday, Dr. Handler ordered one last head ultrasound to test whether any hydrocephalus has developed. If he sees good things on the scan then Zach will be cleared and can come home Monday afternoon or evening!!! Several followup and diagnostic appointments have already been made for the next few weeks, including meeting with the orthopedic surgeon to get Zachary's club feet corrected. It has only been five days, but they all have been filled with miracles, improvement, and healing. We just pray that all the positives will continue.
One last thought before we go to sleep for the night. We've already mentioned how great the staff has been at St. Joe's, but there is also another group that makes things a little less painful and having your child in the NICU less scary.... other parents of NICU children. There's a definite sense of community every time you enter the unit. I'll admit we have not spoken to hardly any of the other parents, but just the encouraging looks, and their presence each day makes things easier to handle. Even former NICU parents have made an impact. Today a mother of twins who she said "graduated" from the NICU this past summer brought in beautiful Christmas stockings filled with popcorn and sweets for EVERY child currently in the unit. What incredible generosity, not to mention a little slice of hope and joy during this holiday season. God Bless our little Zachary, all the little one's in the NICU, and all of their families. With thanks and praise - Brian + Kimmie