Baby On Your Six



Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Aaron didn't make it.

About 3 hours ago, Aaron passed away. After speaking with his doctors earlier in the last few weeks, we decided that if at any point they were no longer supporting Aaron's life, but instead preventing him from dying, that we didn't want him to suffer any longer.

We reached that point this morning. Aaron had been struggling for life from Day One, and after surgery, and several weeks of fighting, Aaron ran out of strength. He fought hard, but the strain of surgery just proved to be too much for him.

I'm sure I'll feel up to posting more information later. I just don't seem to have any energy left in me for relating this at the moment. But I did feel it was important to share this information with all of you who have been keeping tabs on us. Thank you for your concern, your prayers, and your well-wishes during this difficult time.

We love you.

P.S.: I'd like to leave you with the following lyrics that popped into my head while we held Aaron as he passed away. They are from Jimmy Eat World's Hear You Me.

May angels lead you in
Hear you me, my friends
On sleepless roads, the sleepless go
May angels lead you in

[...]

And if you were with me tonight
I'd sing for you just one more time
A song for a heart so big
God wouldn't let it live

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Status Quo*

* (asterisk denotes super-terrific happy news, but not the kind that involves massive amounts of urine)

Everything is "as-is." I.E. as it has been. He's still not peeing, still high on the vent settings, and still in a very precarious situation. However...thanks to his tremendous nurse today, both DrummerWife and I were able to hold our little boy today. She took him out of the isolette completely in his bedding and set him into my lap. For 45 minutes, Aaron laid in my arms, and I talked to him, and cradled him, and cried over him. I've never been happier in my life than in the moments that Aaron was that close to me. He's beautiful, he's precious, and he's my boy. And no matter what happens, no one or no thing can ever take away the memories that I have of holding my son.

I'm going to attach a number of photographs. Since my flickr account is completely maxed out for the month (until Thursday) I'm just uploading them here. If you want to download them, click on the picture, and then right click on it in the new window that opens. Then choose "Save As..." and choose a destination on your computer.

And here come the pictures...









Well, a few hours of sleep later...

...and Aaron is still fighting. He is still very high on the ventilator, and barely oxygenating - but he's hanging on. We're all exhausted, but we're going back to the hospital early this morning. As much as it hurts, we need to be by his bedside.

We continue to pray for a miracle - that Aaron be relieved of his respiratory distress and that he relieves his adema by urinating.

Every time I pray, I beg God for a few more hours with my son. Thus far, He has obliged. Please pray that he continues to oblige. Because despite the struggles Aaron has endured recently, there is life inside his tiny body. He continues to kick. To wiggle his arms. He has life. Now we must pray that he gets a chance to experience it.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Mommy and Daddy slept over

It's about 10:30pm and this is the first time we have left the hospital since noon on Sunday. Aaron's having a rough time right now. I am tired but will quickly try to give a general update. First, we still need pee and lots of it. He still is just not peeing. Second, he is having some respiratory issues. Lets go back to yesterday.

We got there Sunday around noon - the doctor was there and went over Aaron system by system. When we got there his oxygen was at 95% when he was feeling good he was down closer to 21% (which is what we all breathe - 21% is room oxygen). So he was at 95% oxygen, he still was not peeing, he was swollen. Meanwhile his lab work was looking pretty good, and they were giving him fluids to try to fix the peeing issue. They looked at his kidneys which look ok, checked his bladder for urine and there was none. His 3 issues were - no pee, heavy oxygen support and the fact that his incision from the surgery had opened up due to the swelling. The doctor said she was okay continuing as long as we were - we called in our parents and pastor, but we were continuing. Within a couple hours he was back down to 65% oxygen which was good. Anyway, we spent the night just because we were so worried.

He had a good night last night. Stayed down on the oxygen. Had a good morning this morning. We stepped out to get some lunch and he was way back up on his oxygen and has been ever since. He is currently around 98% so we need him to come down from that. We came home cause even though he is high on the oxygen we need some rest for us. We'll be back down there early tomorrow morning.

Aaron needs lots of prayers for healing, but daddy and mommy could really use some prayers as well - it's been a really rough couple days for the 3 of us. We know God hears all these prayers and we appreciate them as well. So it was not so quick - but it was in fact a complete update.

Lots of love and thanks to all of you that are being there for us while we are being there for Aaron - Aaron knows he has a HUGE fan club - and he was glad so many came out this weekend. He also knows of his "virtual" online fan club as well. Thank you all for the thoughts, prayers and comments - we love you!

Friday, May 26, 2006

We still need "Pee Prayers"...

Aaron is still not processing any of this fluid he's got trapped in his body. His dopemine has been reduced, in an effort to allow for more free flow of blood to the veins in his kidneys and bladder. The hope is that this will stimulate some urine production. Thus far - no dice. Maybe tomorrow will prove to be a better, more urine-productive day.

We can only hope. It's gotta be better than today was. DrummerWife and I both had to come face to face with some very grave realities regarding Aaron's prospects if he doesn't start recovering the way the doctors expected him to. He *NEEDS* to urinate. Has to, if he wants to stick around for much longer.

=/

Happy 4 week birthday baby Aaron!

Dear Sweet Aaron,

4 weeks and we have been through more than I thought possible. You are so sweet - even when you are so puffy. This week the name of the game was pee. You weren't peeing then you were, then you weren't and now you are a tiny little bit. We need more, lots more. Trust your mommy, you will feel MUCH better if you pee. We keep trying to tell you that. Your nurses take such good care of you and they want you to pee to.

There are so many people that care about you, and pray for you - some of them Mommy and Daddy don't even know. We get cards nearly every single day - it is amazing and we are so thankful. You seem to be following a lot of things that another baby girl in the NICU did. I talk to her mommy a lot and she makes me feel a little better, but I keep telling you that you don't need to copy her. Last night I was talking to Dr. Quayan before we left. He said that you have had mommy and daddy on a roller coaster ride. I told him that we were told to expect that but we weren't quite prepared for this and then he said that we were on the SIX FLAGS roller coaster :) He made mommy laugh! Then we were talking about how we just wanted you to start losing weight (it seems funny to say that, but we do want you to lose your liquid weight), and he said that he was going to put you on the South Beach Diet. He is silly.

Oh and my favorite thing of the week - you started to yawn this week - it is probably one of the cutest things I have ever seen. I thought that I just never noticed it before (hard to believe because mommy notices everything). But, I asked your nurse Heather about it and she said that it is definitely a developmental thing and it's because your older that you started to yawn. As if you weren't already cute enough.

Well baby boy - I wish you were feeling a little better today for your birthday and everyone will be praying really hard that you are feeling better soon! I love you SO much!

Love, hugs, and kisses,
Mommy

A little pee - but we need A LOT!!!

Aaron had about 3 cc's of pee over night which is not great compared to the level of fluid he has been getting. So we need lots of prayers for lots of pee. The doctor seems discouraged - but we know that Aaron has surprised everyone before. Don't misunderstand me - he's ok - they are just doing a lot to make him ok right now. We know last Wednesday and Thursday all the prayers worked and we want to see that again. We appreciate it!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Catch-22

So...Aaron's back in another holding pattern. But this one ain't such a pretty pattern to behold. He's not urinating. Which means he's retaining water and getting puffier instead of depuffifying. The reason he's not urinating is most likely because his kidneys aren't receiving enough blood to work properly. His kidney's aren't getting enough blood because he's so puffy.

So, he can't lose the puffiness until he urinates. He can't urinate until he loses some puffiness. Catch-22.

Now he has urinated tonight. 2cc's. And that's a good start. But something has to give. He needs to urinate like 10-12cc's at a time.

Also...his incision from last week's surgery opened up. The doctors aren't terribly concerned by that, as it will close naturally, and they'll do what they can to correct any resultant scarring.

So...pray for pee, folks. Lots of it. Do a rain dance, if that's your thing. Whatever. Just get this kid whizzing.

So much for that holding pattern.

Seems that Aaron's taken another one of those "steps back" that we all love oh so much. The wound from the hernia surgery has opened up on his stomach today, he's still swollen, he's stopped urinating, and his blood pressure is down. A lot, apparently.

Here we go again, folks. I'll be heading to the hospital when I get off work at 3:30pm. DrummerWife is already there.

...Prayers, please.

If I was a weatherman, I'd probably say:

"We're kinda in a holding pattern, right now."

Aaron's just still...puffy. And just still...recovering. Nothing really new to report. I wasn't at the hospital yesterday myself (my allergies destroyed me yesterday) but DrummerWife tells me that Aaron is just continuing to de-swell, and recover.

Wish I had something more interesting to report to you, but honestly, I'm happy to say that everything is just A-OK right now. As much as that means that there's no real good news to tell you, it also means there's no bad news either. So, we'll call it a good thing.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Aaron's got attitude.

Apparently last night's phlegm wad gave everyone involved a bit of comic relief. Tonight, his nurse Heather told me that after all the stress Aaron had them under, when they essentially pulled a nickel sized booger out of his lungs they had to chuckle that THIS was what was causing all the problems. (I don't know about you but a nickel sized phlegm wad coming from MY throat would be gross - imagine it from someone his size). She also said the moment it was out Aaron opened one of his eyes, looked around and started kicking his feet as if to say, "What's going on guys - what was THAT!" She said about an hour later after Aaron forced them to put him back onto the regular ventilator (because he was trying to breathe on his own when he was on a ventilator that is supposed to breathe FOR him), he looked at her like, "What did I do?" Of course these are words that Heather put in his mouth, but often Aaron's nurses and I have conversations and the nurses will talk for Aaron. Today he was more active again and did have his eyes open for a little while at different times off and on. We still hoping for a deluge of pee so that his makes himself a LOT less puffy, but the doctor's and nurses are pleased with how he is doing (even if he looks like his is about to pop). Mommy and Daddy would be a lot happier if he looked a little more like him! Soon enough, I guess. If anything we know Aaron makes (and breaks) all the rules!

Monday, May 22, 2006

So...ever nearly choked to death on a phlegm wad?

I bet not. But Aaron has. And just tonight, not even an hour ago, he coughed up that phlegm wad. Apparently, the doctor claimed that said phlegm wad was "life-threatening" and large, even by full-grown adult standards.

Monday's just are not Aaron's day. Thus far, he's been moved from hospital #1 to hospital #2 so he could get surgery, he's had the first broviac line installed, and now he's nearly choked to death on a ball of mucus - all on a Monday. That kid sure sucks at Mondays, doesn't he?

He's still puffy, but at least he's peeing.

Aaron is still retaining quite a bit of fluid post-op, but he's starting to pass some of that fluid today. In the past 18 hours, Aaron's had diapers full of 10cc's and 12cc's of urine, respectively. That's colossal, considering he was averaging 1 to 3cc's pre-surgery.

Here's hoping he keeps passing fluids - that way he'll keep shedding his adema, and return to his real weight and...girth. Then he can hopefully pass some solid waste again, and start taking feedings of milk.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

He's getting better - puffy, but better

Well it was a pretty good weekend for Aaron. Saturday when we got there he was pretty wide awake. He is very puffy right now because he has a lot of fluid pumping through him. He was not peeing yesterday which was contributing to the puffiness. Today they got him peeing again and they think by tomorrow or so they will start getting LESS puffy. Last night Aaron decided to surprise us - we went for a walk and came back to find the doctor and nurse around his bed. Turns out that his Broviac (also known as a central line) was clogged up. We THOUGHT we were going to be getting ready to leave and it turns out they had to call in the surgeon again - that was at 5:00. We had to stay to meet the surgeon and sign the paperwork. He got there a little after 7:00, they got started closer to 8:00 and had it taken care of around 9:00 - WE had not even eaten dinner then. We have learned now to NEVER make plans (our plan was to leave the hospital and be home to eat dinner - which is why we did not have dinner with us). Anyway, he has it in now and he is feeling MUCH better today. Now for the less puffy - and we can't wait for him to start eating!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Happy 3 week Birthday Aaron - our little miracle!

Dear Sweet baby boy,
We have had quite enough excitement for awhile! Can we slow down here for a little bit? This week you had 1 "procedure" and 2 surgeries. First, at the beginning of the week you had a Broviac (or central line) placed in you. You were going through IV lines and A-lines pretty quickly because your veins are so tiny, so the Broviac was inserted by the surgeon, Dr. Katz, and it should last you for a lot longer. All week the doctors and nurses were watching what they had diagnosed as NEC very closely and Wednesday one of the worst things had happened, you had "Free-air" which meant surgery...NOW!!! Mommy had just gotten to the hospital when daddy called and said he just spoke to the doctor and you would be having surgery right away. I had the shortest conversation ever with Grandma Pam - I told her "Aaron's having surgery today", she said she was on her way and we hung up. Daddy called Grammy Vicki to tell her what was going on she was on her way as well. When Dr. Katz came she decided to put in a drain rather than do the full surgery and she would be able to see at least some of the intestine to see if it was damaged. Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grammy, and Pastor Al waited patienly for the procedure to be over. The Dr. Ritterman came to get mommy and daddy. What they feared was coming true - you did have a perforation and you did have dead intestine - Thursday they would do the full surgery.

Mommy and Daddy we so sad and scared that night - we put out prayer chains and requests EVERYWHERE we could - people prayed so hard that night and on Thursday - your Great Aunt even organized a prayer vigil at her church - we hardly slept. Thursday we got on miracle and we thanked God for everything. Before you surgery you were as healthy as they could have asked for - you recovered nicely from the day before. This time Mommy and Daddy waited with Grandma and Pop, Grammy and Pop-Pop, and Pastor Al. Once they started surgery they realized IT WAS NOT NEC (Praise God!!!). It was an internal hernia in your small intestine - they did have to remove a part of it, and now you have a stoma on the middle of you belly - that's how you will poop for about 6 weeks or so - and then they will go back in once you are over 3 lbs and they will put the two ends together. Today was your first full day of recovery (great 3 week birthday, huh?). You are recovering very nicely - you're just very VERY puffy right now (but, you are still the cutest thing I have EVER seen). Hopefully by the middle of next week you will start eating (very slowly).

Dear, sweet, Aaron - we were so happy yesterday with the good news we got - and we know that you'll be feeling a lot better soon! I can't wait to watch you start eating and growing! Mommy and Daddy will continue to be there for you every single day - as daddy tells you" just keep doing your job"! We love you SO much!

Love, hugs and kisses!
Mommy

Thursday, May 18, 2006

IT WASN'T NEC!

After a long day of sitting at the hospital, hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst, the surgeon came in to talk to us and revealed to us that things went better than anyone could have possibly expected. Aaron never had an infection. What he did have though, was a hernia. He had a loop of intestine trapped beneath another loop, and while it was never "infected," it was trapped and deprived of blood, so it was dead.

The surgeon removed the damaged loop, and thankfully, there is plenty more intestine left in there for Aaron. He's recovering peacefully from today's surgery, and was already at 28% oxygen (21% is room air) on the ventilator, and his other stats were all back where they were pre-surgery. He's doing fine.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers and well-wishes during this time. I fully believe that Aaron wouldn't have rebounded from yesterday's procedure so quickly, and wouldn't have been as ready for today's if not for those prayers, and for God's intervention. The surgeon actually said that Aaron was in as perfect shape for his surgery as anyone could have possibly hoped. God made Aaron ready, and your prayers guided the surgeon's hand during the procedure. In the end, everything is good, and Aaron is on the (long) road to recovery.

Thank you, everyone. Thank you, God. Thank you.

P.S. As you can see...I've attached an adorable picture of Aaron's face, post-op. He's BEAUTIFUL, isn't he?

Hope is still alive.

The surgeon told us yesterday that her best educated guess is that Aaron doesn't have a lot of infected intestine. But that she couldn't be sure until she opened him up. Despite that, he had a lot going for him - he was otherwise perfectly stable, and his blood gases were coming back acid-free (a sign of limited infection).

As of this morning, his last blood gas test came back with great results - meaning he was still largely acid-free, and that he had weathered the stress of yesterday's procedure well. These are both good signs.
  1. he's acid-free, meaning he probably doesn't have a lot of infected intestine
  2. he's still stable, meaning he handled yesterday's procedure and has a good chance of handling today's

This is all good news. But it doesn't mean that he's a sure bet to make it through this ordeal unscathed. He still needs all of the prayers that everyone is offering up for him, but he does stand a good chance. And that's all we can ask for right now, I suppose. =/

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Well - it's not looking so great.

The relatively minor procedure they were doing today (relative only compared to what's next on the table for Aaron) led them to find that he's not doing as well as he seems to be letting everyone else *believe* he's doing. He has quite a bit of infected (re: dead) intestine. It will be removed tomorrow, and if it's too much dead intestine, there is really very little the doctors can do for Aaron.

The surgery is scheduled for 2:00pm tomorrow afternoon. So, if you're so inclined - pray around the 2 o'clock hour - for DrummerWife and myself, for Aaron, and for the doctors, nurses, and surgeons who will be attending to him. Pray that God heals his intestine so that they can save enough of it. Or pray that only a small amount is damaged to begin with.

It's scary. I hate to say it, but I haven't had a chance to hold Aaron yet. And if things go badly, I may never get to. I want to cry every time I think about that. I need to hold my son, even if it's only once.

Funny how things change in a day...

Aaron's going in for surgery TODAY. He has what the doctor is calling "evidence of free air."

What that means is that his infected intestine is leaking air, either because of a rupture, or a slow leak, or something. So...the doctor made a point of stressing that this was a "pretty serious thing."

Pray, wish us all luck, and by all means, keep us in your thoughts. I'm on my way to the hospital right now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Status Quo

All is quiet on the Aaron front. We're pretty much playing a game of wait-and-see right now. That's why this update is going to be so very, very brief - there just isn't much to say right now. He's holding his own, and just cruising along. Gaining weight, and generally looking like the cutest baby in the NICU.

Sometime soon, he'll be having surgery, but the surgeon and doctors are all content to just wait until he gains some more weight before sending him under the knife.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Well, Aaron's Got a Case of the Mondays...

...EVERY Monday.

It seems that Mondays aren't Aaron's day. Last Monday, he got moved from Hospital #1 to Hospital #2. Today, the doctors had to install a central line - by essentially grafting a IV line right to a vein in his neck. Supposedly, this will help him get fed more calories quicker, as well as keep the doctors from pricking him for any more IVs.

The idea is that they'll get him fattened up quicker, and then if they do have to operate, he'll have some weight on him, and hopefully the surgery is a little bit easier on the little fella.

Also: got some new pics uploaded to http://www.flickr.com/photos/drummer.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day, DrummerWife

Well, I know it's not exactly how you foresaw your first official Mother's Day as a mom playing out, but hey - it counts. And you're little baby boy will soon know exactly how great of a mom you're going to be for him. Just you wait.

Also, I guess this is as good a time and place as any to say "Happy Mother's Day" to DrummerMom and DrummerMother-in-Law, as well. DrummerWife and I have been blessed to have the two of you not only throughout all of this, but throughout our lives, as well. Thank you.

(Also, Aaron wanted us to pass along the following message to you both - "Happy Mother's Day, Grandma." He's a thoughtful little fella, isn't he?)

As a special Mother's Day treat, I think DrummerWife is going to get to hold little Aaron again today. She's done it twice already, and she's getting to do it again. I was going to hold him for the first time, but I thought I'd just let DrummerWife enjoy her first Mother's Day by holding her baby. I'm a nice guy like that, I guess.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone. If you haven't called your mom yet, do it. Seriously. :)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Happy 2 Week Birthday Baby Boy!

Well Mr. Aaron, we had yet another exciting week. You are such a trooper. Let's look back to the beginning of the week. On Sunday it started to become pretty evident that you were not feeling well. Every blood culture that they did was coming back negative though, so we weren't quite sure what was wrong. On Monday, an xray showed that you had an inflamed loop in your small intestine. Immediately the was a concern- the doctor's started you up on antibiotics and you have been xrayed to keep an eye on things 2-3 times a day since then. On Tuesday, the doctor's thought it would be best to transfer you to Bryn Mawr hospital which is right up the road from Lankenau (and about 15 minutes closer for mommy and daddy to come see you). The doctor and nurses said that you loved your first "car" ride (even if it was in an ambulance). Mommy and Daddy like the NICU and Bryn Mawr better - so I am glad you are there. The nurses keep a nice close eye on you and IF you have to have the surgery for the NEC (that's what the name is for the inflamed intestine) they will do it right there.

We met with the surgeon a couple times this week - on Tuesday we thought that the surgery would be that day or very soon. Then you (you little peanut), decided to start showing slow signs of improvement. Your examines on your belly got a lot better - two days you xray was very very slightly improved they thought. So they want you to rest you belly for about 10-12 days and then we'll see how you are - chances are when they start up feeds again you aren't going to like it very much - and that is when the surgery will come in - but you will be older and bigger by then. You really scared Mommy and Daddy and everyone else this week - but I am so glad to see that you are feeling better.

The best news - yesterday mommy got to hold you for an hour. Mommy has been waiting for that for a LONG time (13 days to be exact - well, more like since the second I knew I was pregnant). It was so nice to cuddle with you and I could stop kissing your head. You loved being held, and I LOVED holding you. Well Aaron, you keep fighting and keep getting better!

I love you Aaron Keith - you're the sweetest thing ever!

Love always,
Mommy

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Still no surgery.

The surgeon says that Aaron is more than stable. In fact, with the exception of his x-rays, everything points to Aaron's status actually improving. His vitals are good, his abdomen feels softer, his white blood cell count and platelets are no longer decreasing. He seems to be, in a word, improving. Albeit ever so slightly.

I've decided to attach a photo of Aaron's monitor, and to explain what all the numbers mean.

The green line at the top is Aaron's heart rate - it's at 169, which is high for you and I, but is perfectly normal and healthy for a 27.5 week old preemie.

The yellow wavy line below the heart rate is Aaron's respiratory rate. It's a little high there at 82, but not abnormal. He is on a ventilator right now, so it's fairly controlled.

The blue line beneath that is Aaron's blood/oxygen saturation rate. It's currently at 95%, which is EXCELLENT. 100% would be too much for someone his size, and damaging to his eyesight, we're told. Anything about 88% is good, and 95% is just about perfect.

The white block beneath the blood saturation is Aaron's last blood pressure reading - a little low by adult standards, but just fine for a preemie.

The next yellow wavy line is a graphical representation of his current blood pressure. According to the nurses, that's about what it should look like.

So, you can see by the monitor image that he's doing just great. Hopefully that continues, and he keeps on getting better and better. Cross your fingers, pray, and do whatever else it is you people are doing out there. Because it's working.

P.S.: 3 new photos.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Well, no surgery...

...for now. The surgeon tells us she'd like Aaron to gain a little more weight, grow a little, and then she'll look into operating on the little guy. She'd like to see him hit 1 kilo before she cuts him open, and she seems to think that he can wait that long. Or at least a little longer.

The problem is that he has air or gas trapped in a long portion of his intestine. The worry is that he has what is called NEC or necrotizing enterocolitis. It's an infection and inflammation of the intestine, that causes air to trap, and nothing to move through that portion of his intestine. If it progresses too far, and he can't recover with the aid of antibiotics, the surgeon needs to operate and cut out the infected portion of his intestine, stint the gap, and then reattach the two ends of the intestine at a later date. Sounds like fun, huh?

Anyway...Aaron's hanging in there - his vitals are all good. And the surgeon felt as if his abdomen was softer this afternoon. A good sign. So, he just needs to grow a little, and then maybe he can get his little gas problem fixed up. :

Aaron's On the Move

Aaron is being moved to Bryn Mawr Hospital (about 10 minutes up the road from his current hospital) in case they have to operate on his intestine. So, anyone out there who checks this today, do me a favor, and pray a little...for Aaron, for DrummerWife, and for myself, because it looks like they most likely will operate, the only question is when. On the plus side - all of his numbers are still good, so he's pretty healthy - but this just needs to be done, I guess. =/

Monday, May 08, 2006

Not So Good

Today wasn't exactly a good day. Aaron's having some trouble. The doctors tell us that he's got some sort of blockage/infection/bubble in his intestine. Their primary concern is that it might burst, rupture, or perforate. If this happens, surgery is the only option.

If it doesn't burst, rupture, or perforate, they're going to assume that it's nothing more than an infection, and they'll treat it with antibiotics. Here's hoping that it's an infection, and nothing more.

I have to confess something, and this is as good a place as any to do so - I don't like being in the NICU when Aaron's having trouble. Even the little problems he's had a long the way - I hate it. I feel so useless, and so invaluable. I just have to stand there, watch my son in distress, and rely on the nurses and doctors to fix it, and it never happens quickly. So...I stand there, wanting to cry, and knowing that I can't because that'll just set DrummerWife off. And the last thing she needs is for her husband to break down when she wants to cry herself.

And tonight...tonight was just downright painful. Aaron looks pale, isn't moving much, and is BACK on the ventilator. All of that is a byproduct of his "infection", but that doesn't make it any easier to look at it. Especially not for a new dad who feels like he's a waste of space standing next to his struggling son's isolette.

Wow. That got really heavy there for a second. Sorry about that. :)

Oh yeah...on top of everything tonight, the radio SUCKED on the ride home. It was polite enough to play me a little bit of Yes, and a Police song, but overall, I think even the radio was out to make me feel like crap tonight.

Also...one new photo at http://www.flickr.com/photos/drummer.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Well, things didn't go QUITE as planned today...

According to the rules, DrummerWife should have gotten her first opportunity to hold Aaron today. Aaron, apparently, doesn't play by the rules. Instead, he had several apnea/bradycardia incidents (where he momentarily forgets to breath, and then allows his heart to stop beating for a little while to boot), and as a result, they couldn't get the feeding tube out of his belly button, so they couldn't get him out of the isolette and into mommy's waiting arms.

So, it'll have to wait until tomorrow at the earliest. Hopefully tomorrow. Because it was awfully hard on DrummerWife to leave Aaron at the hospital today after expecting to get to hold him.

On top of all of that, we ended up calling it an early day at the hospital. My allergies, finally in full bloom (pun absolutely intended), have gotten the best of me, and worn me out. I'm beat, DrummerWife is wearing herself down with our daily hospital trips as well, and we just decided instead of running ourselves ragged, and sick, we'd call it an early day, and come home, and rest up a bit.

Tomorrow, I return to work for the first time since last Thursday. So, that'll be a big day for me - working until 3:30pm, and then driving to the hospital, probably until about 8:30pm, and then driving home, just to do it all over again.

Wish us luck. :)

P.S. New pictures have been uploaded to http://www.flickr.com/photos/drummer/ as well.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Happy 1 Week Birthday Aaron Keith!

Dear Aaron,

Well - it's been a heck of a week hasn't it? You and mommy have both been through a lot this week physically - everyone else has been right there with us mentally and emotionally. Mommy and Daddy are becoming quite the medical experts. We have learned a lot about respiratory functions, ventilators, apnea, CPAP, heart valves, etc. We are quite smart, really. You have had a very good week as far as we are concerned. You are off the ventilator and only on the CPAP. The CPAP is a tube in your nose that gives you a little bit of oxygen (room oxygen actually - what we all breathe). Basically, it was explained to us that your lungs are like a balloon and a balloon is really hard to blow up at first - but once you get it inflated so much it's much easier. The CPAP keeps your lungs inflated that first little bit - so you don't get too tired out.

Daddy and I have been down there everyday - mommy left the hospital on Tuesday - that was a really rough day for me. It was very hard for us to go home without you - even if we know you are in the best place and getting the best care possible. Aaron, there are so many people praying for the 3 of us and doing so much for us - giving mommy and daddy meals - and so much more. We are overwhelmed by the pure outpouring of love and support. It's a lot for mommy and daddy to take in. We are SO thankful for everything. You are such a fighter - we know that we are going to have our hands full with you! Boy are we going to have fun!

Well Baby Boy - you hang in there and keep up the good work :) It's going to be pretty amazing watching you grow and being able to see it all right before our eyes. As soon as you get some of those lines out of your belly mommy and daddy will be there to hold and cuddle you! We'll wait until you're ready though - no need to rush! We love you soooooo much!

As the emails you send us say - A million hugs and kisses Aaron!

Love,
Mommy

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I never thought I'd be so excited to see someone poop...

...but I am.

Aaron's probably in the middle of his first actual bowel movement right as I'm typing this. He was starting when I changed him around 8:00pm, and the nurse thought she might find a little surprise waiting for her when she changed him next.

As weird as this all sounds - his first poop is a big, big step for the little guy. He's still chugging along, breathing room oxygen, on his own with just the aid of the CPAP (which simply keeps his lungs open, so he can easily fill them).

Also, the nurse practitioner informed us that they could no longer hear the murmur from his PDA valve, so that may have finally closed. We'll know for sure after the next heart ultrasound tomorrow.

That's all for now. Nothing really new to report other than the above. That's probably a good thing. :)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Newsflash!

Big news today - Aaron is breathing on his own. The nurse did a couple of blood/gas tests last night, and they came back so positive, that the doctors decided to try taking Aaron off of the ventilator. He's breathing on his own, but gets a little bit of help from the CPAP. (As you can see in the pictures conveniently located to the right.)

The CPAP keeps his lungs partically inflated so that he has an easier time inflating them himself when he inhales. He's breathing through his nose, and when he exhales, he blows adorable little spit bubbles out of his mouth.

Additionally, a second brain ultrasound looked good, according to the nurse. So, everything is full steam ahead, I guess.

Also, you can now view all the Aaron photos directly at http://www.flickr.com/photos/drummer. So, bookmark that page, AND this one, for the latest and greatest in baby Aaron-based news and photographs. :)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Today was a big, big day.

Well, first off, for those of you who haven't heard the news, we had baby Aaron baptised this afternoon. Our pastor was kind enough to drive down to the hospital, and baptise little Aaron in the NICU. I think that having Aaron baptised helped make it easy for DrummerWife to leave the hospital, and leave Aaron there.

Also today, we've recieved word that Aaron's PDA valve (a heart valve that should shut upon birth) is indeed open, but it is also responding to treatment, and God-willing, he won't need any kind of surgery to close it. As evidence that it's closing, Aaron's latest chest x-ray revealed that there was little-to-no blood on his lungs, which is a very, very good sign.


For those that don't know, Aaron's heart and brain ultrasounds both looked good. The heart ultrasound revealed the open valve, but otherwise looked good. And in the words of the doctor in the NICU, his brain ultrasound "looked perfectly normal."

So, basically, everything sounds good so far - he's as healthy as we could hope, and he's very active in his little incubator/isolette. He's keeping the nurses busy with all his little movements - his punches and his kicks - but activity is good. It means he's in good shape.

I've scanned in the faux birth certificate the hospital gave us when we left today. Feel free to take a look at it. It'll be attached below.

Keep us in your prayers and well-wishes!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Changes [Part 2]

The next morning, after several doctor visits, Dad gets to go visit with Son. Mom is still on bedrest, and can't leave her room. So...dad gets to touch his son for the first time. He cries. A lot. The nurse on hand is very understanding and explains all of the machines that Son is hooked up to, and Dad feels much better. He goes back and explains everything to Mom, and the small cadre of family that have assembled in the hospital room.

Much of the weekend after that is a blur. Partially from sleep depravation, and partially because so much emotion has been expended that it's hard to think straight about it.

The end result, as of right now, is this - Aaron Keith Young was born at 12:44am on April 28th, 2006. He is 1 lb. 5.9 oz. and 13.5 inches long. He is beautiful. And he is very fragile.

Mom is healthy. She comes home from the hospital tomorrow, and that is going to be a very, very hard day for her. It will be a hard day for me, too. Because it's going to take every ounce of strength in our bodies to leave him at the hospital and come home.

The next several months (at least until Aaron is near full-term) will be spent driving back and forth to the hospital when we're not at work. We hear that in the near future, we'll be allowed to hold Aaron outside of the isolette, to continue to change him, and in the VERY near future, he'll start getting feedings of the milk that Mom is pumping for him.

You'll notice that on the right side of this blog, the Phillies Update is gone. Never to return. In it's place is going to be a link to a flickr site of Baby Aaron's photos. Feel free to order prints, if you want them, download photos, or whatever. They're there, so that our friends and family can get a good look at the little fella.

Also, this blog will shift from a running diary of Mom's goofiness during pregnancy and Dad's nervous expectations of his baby to Mom and Dad's running updates on Aaron's health, improvement, and development. So, stay tuned, folks. It's going to be a fun couple of months. :)

So...uh...thing have changed a little bit...

Allow me to start at the beginning. And by the beginning, I mean 4:00pm, last Thursday afternoon.

I was driving home from a meeting with a work client. I was about 10 minutes from home, and thinking to myself "I can get home early, grab a water ice from the freezer, fire up the cable, and watch some X-Play on G4 (I have to get my video game TV-fix), and just chill out until DrummerWife gets home from the doctors."

Then...my cell phone rings. It's DrummerWife. She tells me that the doctor is sending her over to the hospital for monitoring because her blood pressure is a little high. No worries, probably just in and out, but she'd like some company.

No problem, I think to myself. I'll just turn around, and head to the hospital.

About 30 minutes later, Nikki's getting monitored, the baby is getting monitored, and everything is hunky-dorey. Then they draw blood. 1 hour later, we find out that DrummerWife is SEVERELY pre-eclapmtic. So much so, that the doctor on staff that night decides that we need to be transferred to another hospital, because...DrummerBaby is probably going to be delivered by c-section TONIGHT, and because he'll be premature, he needs to be in a better NICU than the hospital we're current in has.

One frantic, scary ambulance ride later, we're in the new hospital. The surgeons, and doctors, and nurses, and student doctors, and God-only-knows-who-else, is telling us that the baby is coming tonight. DrummerWife will be in surgery in a few hours, as soon as they get her platelets up, and then it's party time.

In the meantime...grandparents-to-be, aunts, pastors, and who-knows-who-else are rushing to the hospital. Uncles and other relatives are praying at home. Dad is crying and praying in Mom's room, and Baby is just snug as a bug in a rug, hanging out in Mom's uterus.

At 11:30pm, DrummerWife is taken into the operating room. Drummer is suited up for battle, and invited into the operating room where he takes a seat at DrummerWife's head. About 45 minutes after that, the surgeons say "The baby is clear," and the new Mom and Dad hear their beautiful son cry for the first time. Dad starts crying, too. Then, the doctors put a tube down DrummerBaby's throat, and he doesn't cry anymore. He's stable, breathing with help, and after the new parents get a quick view, he's rushed off to the NICU.

After Mom is stitched up, she and Dad are taken through the NICU where they get their first real look at their little son. He's very pink, very, very small, and very, very hooked up to machinery.