Once again, Eli is full of surprises.
Today was his one week birthday, yet he was passing out the gifts.
This morning they removed the cannula forcing air into his nose. So far he has not needed it back and is breathing room air. His breaths per minute remain unstable and he still has episodes where he stops breathing. But we are so proud of his progress we will cut him some slack.
The NICU offered us another surprise this morning when they told me I could try to nurse Eli.
How can I explain what it meant to me to be able to nourish my sick baby? To provide for him? I simply can't express the joy.
Of course the lactation consultant said it would have to be brief, but I was still thrilled. He did so well and nursed for four minutes. It was four amazing moments that during our darkest times I thought would never happen.
He had a little choking difficulty afterward, but we will keep practicing. The nurses were mostly just pleased he didn't tire out during the brief session.
Later this evening, Eric was also given a chance to feed Eli his 8 pm bottle of milk. Their first meal together......I'll let Eric explain....
Every time I see him he looks better, the room looks better. You don't notice the room at first. First you just notice him, and it takes my breath every time - just for a second, but it's audible. It doesn't matter if it's been an hour or a day later. After the initial shock of his equipment wears off, you start to notice that gradually there are fewer machines surrounding him, fewer tubes coming out of him, fewer cannon sized syringes being fed into him from green faced machines. He still has his IV placed in his scalp and his monitors tracking all of his vitals, but his improvements over the past 24 hours have transformed his room.
Every time the machines become less, he becomes more.
Today was special.
I could see his perfect little face with no vent strapping him down, no feeding tube blocking my view, nothing major keeping me from holding my son. Now we are getting to what I know how to do. Although I consider myself pretty smart, I tire and know nothing of these milliliters and grams, straps and protocols. Just give me a blanket and a bottle, and I can tame a baby into submission.
So I was not hesitant to hold this baby, Jack long ago beat that out of me, instead I just reached in and swooped him out. Something I desperately wanted to do his first night in the NICU - just instinctively grab my baby and run.
But tonight I held him up to my chest and just breathed.
Probably for the first time in a week.
Eli started rooting. He was hungry. I mean really hungry. Like "I just got voted off the island" hungry. This dinky little 30mls wasn't going to cut it. He knew it. I knew it. He stared at me the whole time and sucked down dinner as if he had straw instead of a nipple. It took less than a minute. I threw him up on my shoulder and proceeded to expel all the demons from him with a series of hearty back slaps. Amanda looked a little worried but Eli loved it and talked the whole time. Now this stuff is what I know. Two burbs later, we are reswaddled and ready for relaxing.
I knew if we could just get him to this point, we might be okay.
It's hard to keep this faith when you are watching strangers pour liquid into your newborn's lungs and suck it back out strangling his cries of protest.
You helped me do it.
Your prayers, your concern, your hope is getting my family though this and I cannot thank you enough.
Now I have to ask for more.
A lot more.
My baby sister needs you, all of you more than ever.
Stella's cancer is growing and it has to stop. I can hear her tiny Tinker Bell voice saying " I love you Uncle Eric!"
She is too sweet and so it ends here and now.
Our faith will win this time.