Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A parental conundrum (43 days)

This morning, Christie and I found ourselves confronted with yet another instance of conflicting priorities. Bryce's new breathing apparatus, called a CPAP, can be configured to provide him with a certain number (called the "rate") of mechanical breaths each minute. The mechanical breaths supplement his regular breathing -- the goal is to get him to a rate of 0, at which time he'll be switched to a less-intrusive apparatus called a nasal cannula.

Early this week, Bryce was doing great on the CPAP with a low rate, so yesterday they turned the rate to 0. He did okay with the new settings, but had a bad spell this morning, so they decided to turn the rate back on, which basically means he isn't quite ready for the nasal cannula. Unfortunately, Bryce is not a big fan of having two hard plastic CPAP prongs shoved up his nose, so he squirms around a lot, which is causing his poor little nose to get inflamed. Over time, too much chafing can cause serious injury, so they'll be forced to switch him to either the nasal cannula (which he isn't ready for) or back to the mechanical ventilator (which damages his lungs) if he doesn't calm down.

The good news is that whenever Christie or I stand at his bedside and gently cradle him with both hands, he stops squirming and his vital signs improve. So, it seems that he's fine with the CPAP, as long as either Mommy or Daddy is holding him. Practical concerns such as eating and sleeping aside, I doubt I need to explain why the ideal solution of "one parent at Bryce's side all day and night" is difficult to implement when you have careers and a toddler clamoring for your attention. Nevertheless, I gladly spent seven hours with Bryce today, and Christie and I are busy devising plans for Thursday and Friday which maximize parental bedside time. Meanwhile, we're hoping that he'll grow out of this stage shortly.

Other than that, the kid looks great. He's doing very well on his feedings, which are up to 6 ml every two hours, and he currently weighs in at a hefty 2.4 lbs. His cries are getting stronger, and they've weaned him off the narcotics, which means he spends a lot more time interacting with Mom and Dad. Watching your micropreemie grow from outside the isolette is all well and good, but feeling his tiny fingers close around yours is downright magical.

And so ends another day in the life of a preemie parent! Hopefully, better (or at least more relaxed) days are ahead. :) Our sincerest thanks to everyone who has supported us through the trials of the past few weeks, whether directly or indirectly -- Christie and I were touched by your cards, gifts and generous donations to the March of Dimes. We'd especially like to thank our babysitting squad and the angel that left the 'My Little Pony' at Chloe's graveside; it made our day. Print this post

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