Tuesday, January 26, 2010


May 26, 2009: Bryce is thrust into a world he is unprepared to survive in. His underdeveloped, immature lungs can't supply his body with the oxygen it needs. His blood pressure is critically low, endangering his brain and limbs. Even if he knew how to suck or swallow, his GI system is incapable of digesting anything we would think of as food. He spends his days enclosed in a high humidity, temperature-controlled plastic box because he can't regulate his own body temperature. He is suddenly under assault from hordes of bacteria and viruses, and his premature immune system can't mount an effective defense. The future is grim.

September 26, 2009: Bryce is at home with his family. He is attached to an apnea monitor 'round the clock, and it beeps regularly due to bradycardia (low heart rate) episodes. Feeding is a trial: he chokes several times during each meal, and he hasn't been gaining weight since he left the NICU. At 6.25 pounds, he's off-the-charts small, even for his adjusted age. Bryce's doctors, not to mention his poor parents, are still seriously concerned that he may be blind, deaf and/or have significant brain damage. He's on half a dozen different medications and sees at least two specialists each week. Fear of illness and subsequent re-hospitalization have forced the entire family into pseudo-quarantine. The future is uncertain.

January 26, 2010: Bryce is a happy, healthy and fairly unremarkable baby. The monitors and medications are a thing of the past. He can see and hear, and proves it every day when he smiles, laughs, coos and plays with his family. He can roll over, reach for toys, and even sit or stand with limited assistance. At 14.25 pounds, Bryce is rapidly approaching average size for his adjusted age, and he meets or exceeds nearly every developmental milestone. Doctors and therapists are incredulous when reminded that this boy was born 16 weeks too soon, and his parents' biggest worry is that it's too good to be true. After eight months, Bryce's aunts, uncles and grandparents have finally been allowed to hold him. The future is bright.


Yes, I have painted a rosy picture, but I do think that the right word for Bryce's outcome so far is "miraculous". Bryce has his big follow-up appointment at the NICU clinic on Friday, and we're anxiously hoping the real experts will share our optimism. 'Til then, we'll enjoy our blissful ignorance of any bumps in the road ahead. Print this post


  1. What a great post! Bryce looks wonderful and it is indeed lovely to read about his great progress!

    I was recently visiting our NICU as part of the Support Group and saw a very, very small baby and was really taken aback at how small the baby was. Then I realized she was almost twice the size of Eliza. I was kind of surprised. Then it dawned on me that as the good things flow into our lives the memories of the difficult times fade a bit, and maybe that's a good thing?

  2. The future is bright indeed! Little miracle baby! Good luck at the NICU follow up appt!

  3. Awesome, Jason! Rock on, Team Sonnek!