Monday, December 10 came, and the sun rose. It was our 7th wedding anniversary, and I was worried sick. We couldn’t head over to see our son until the doctor came to see HTBM. She had been over to see Leo again late Sunday the 9th, but the blood pressure was still a concern so we were grounded until the doctor made rounds. I hadn’t shared any of my research or worries with HTBM, but she could tell something was wrong. After I shared my concerns, she insisted I call over for an update on our son. This time, she was the rock “You’ll see – everything is okay,” she said.
I was able to speak to our nurse, who happily told me that the CO2 levels had started to drop overnight, and that he was having a great morning. As I was quickly becoming accustomed to doing, I started to cry like a baby. I knew enough that these positive signs on day 4 were what you wanted. He was going to be okay.
As expected, he kicked the RDS, and continued his progress with his breathing. HTBM started to pump breast milk, which enabled them to start small feedings with Leo. He definitely got his mom’s strength: it wasn’t long before he was off the CPAP and on to a high-flow nasal canula, which he quickly worked through down to a very low-flow. Finally, on December 18, just 11 days after being born at 29 gestational weeks, he pulled his nasal canula out twice in the span of a couple hours. After the second time, the doctor simply said, “Listen, he’s doing great, I think he’s just telling us he doesn’t need it. Let’s leave it out!”
And it never need to go back in. The kid decided he didn’t need the help anymore, and called the shots. I like that a lot. Can’t wait until he takes the training wheels off his bike by himself :) A few days later, the IV came out. Less wires, more Leo :)
Six days after coming off oxygen assistance, he was moved from the NICU to the Special Care Nursery. He no longer needed intensive care, and was called just a couple weeks after birth “the healthiest kid in the entire NICU.” So he was moved, on Christmas Eve. What a gift.
Two days later, and he continues to thrive at the Special Care Nursery. We hold him every day, mostly via kangaroo care. We both got to hold him today. He’s now 2 lbs, 13.5 oz and growing every day. He’s on full feedings and tolerating them beautifully. Mom got to give him a bath today. Dad’s becoming an expert with diapers (he’s not there yet). Instead of talking about oxygen saturation and lung development, we’re talking about hearing and vision tests, and car seats for him to go home in.
He’s not ready yet. He’s got to learn to eat, which he may be ready for in a couple weeks. For now, he just needs to eat and grow. But soon enough, it will be our turn to take him home.
People use the word miracle too often in my calculation. Getting a good grade on a test, or getting a promotion, to me these things don’t qualify. You either prepare, or you don’t. A miracle requires divine intervention, whatever you believe that to mean.
I am confident in saying Leo is a miracle. This kid started ‘life’ as a frozen blastocyst. He was our last resort, our last shot at IVF. Our last chance at a biological family. We weren’t going to do this anymore, and he was just our way to finish off our shared risk program. And then, he stuck! He kept growing. After all of these procedures, during which we were continually told we had such a great chance of that time being ‘the time’….this one no one held out much hope for. Not mom and dad, and certainly not the doctors. But it did work.
And he’s thriving as a preemie. He had to come early, but he’s nothing short of fantastic. He truly is our little miracle. Words can’t describe…..how much he is loved. If you could see HTBM with Leo….it’s just, there’s nothing else that matters. The love that woman has for our son has never been topped. It is, without question, the most wonderful thing I have ever witnessed or will ever witness. It’s, quite simply, perfect.
Our home life, our nursery, continues to be on hold. But it’s short-term. Leo will come home, and soon. Maybe 5 weeks. Everyone should have that opportunity. Our prayers continue to be with all those who battle infertility. It’s a battle that sometimes includes more than you think you can handle. It’s a battle that can get quite scary. But it’s a battle that is so, so, so worth it. Keep fighting. Fight through everything thrown your way. Never. Give. Up. Because one day, you will have this.