Benjamin Chance is here!

As many of you know, Sherri and I recently had a new addition to our family. Benjamin Chance was born September 17, 2009 at 6:16 am. He was only 24 weeks old and weighed in at 1 pound, 5 ounces and was 12.25 inches long. Needless to say, he was extremely premature and very small. After 5 long months in the NICU, Benjamin was able to come home on February 10, 2010. Benjamin is doing great now and is moving on from his stay at the NICU. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers; we really appreciate it.

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
Matthew 21:22

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
Ecclesiastes 11:5

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Unspeakable Joy - 11 months old

Wow! Todd and I have been having the time of our lives. Benjamin is so amazing! We now can see why parents have additional children. At first, it seemed like the worry alone was too much to take, but we have started relying fully on our Faith in God to get us through each challenge we face and the joy is abundant. Benjamin was sick at the beginning of July with a viral infection and was hospitalized again for a week. It seemed so much more traumatic than anything we'd seen before, maybe it was because we have had the opportunity to love Benjamin and spend so much time with him. He struggled so hard while in the hospital and even had to have emergent surgery due to a hernia getting stuck. The surgery went well and Benjamin bounced right back to everyone's surprise. His surgeon even seemed extremely concerned because of the condition of his lungs. He had to be put under anesthesia and intubated for a short time during the surgery but recovered well. Since then, he has been growing and developing by leaps and bounds. We are simply amazed each day as he discovers something new. We have continual help from both Grandma's (Mimi and Grammy), which has made things so much easier for us. Benjamin is so good natured; he smiles and laughs constantly. Lately, he seems more and more amused by his surroundings. We had a follow up appointment with his eye doctor this Monday to check his vision and the doctor said he doesn't see any issue with his vision and he will not need glasses. He is still getting physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nutrition consults. All of the feedback has been good. It sounds like Benjamin is doing well with his development and continues to improve. I can't believe he is already 11 months old. Thank you all for your support and continued prayers! We are so thankful God blessed us with Benjamin.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Benjamin's infection

Well, we have had a rough past week or so. Benjamin's cough continued to get worse last week and Todd and I kept calling his doctor's and taking him in for check-ups to monitor his cough. We began to feel like we were over reacting. Last Wednesday we called and got Benjamin's Pulmonologist and Pediatrician to fit him in for a follow up visit. Both seemed perplexed as to his severity of his cough because when he wasn't having his hacking/coughing episodes he seemed fine, even happy. We took him home Wednesday night and he had coughing attacks that lasted for over two hours, coughing every 5 minutes or so. We gave him his albuterol treatments to help with the airway, etc. Benjamin wouldn't eat much for dinner and by the early a.m.- 4:00 am he woke and should have been starving and again wouldn't eat. During his coughs he had some mucus and blood, so we then decided to take him to Texas Children's Hospital Emergency Room early Thursday morning.

At first, the doctor's were concerned that he was aspirating into his lungs during feeds so they scheduled a Swallow function test. Aspirating is very serious and could lead to pneumonia. The swallow function test showed he didn't have any trouble eating, swallowing, etc., but they still decided to put an ND tube in for feeding until we knew what was going on. This goes through the nose and down into the intestines so that when he gets fed through the tube, it will go directly into his intestines. This had to be one of the worst things I have had to watch Benjamin go through. Todd and I had to hold him down while they tried to position the tube just right. It felt like an eternity as he lay there screaming. I wanted to just stop it and take him home that second. We were still not sure he needed to be in the hospital since his only symptoms were coughing spells and reduced appetite. Since it didn't appear he was aspirating, they took some tests to see if they could figure out if Benjamin had an infection.

Throughout the day, Benjamin's oxygen requirement slowly began creeping up. He was on an 1/8 of a liter at home and when he was admitted to the hospital and by Thursday night, he was up to 1 liter. Even on a liter his oxygen saturation was lower than it was when he was admitted. We were so concerned, because he was still coughing so much and was in obvious pain. By Friday morning, he was maintaining and by that afternoon, we were able to begin to wean him back down. Saturday, he was doing so well, the doctors decided to take him off the oxygen! This was exciting, but we still didn't know why he was in the hospital and why he was coughing so bad.

Sunday, Benjamin was still off the oxygen and seemed to be doing much better, but we still didn't have any answers yet. The tests for various infections continued to come back negative, so it was getting frustrating for us and the doctors.

On Monday, they decided to do an Upper GI to see if he was refluxing so much, he was aspirating that way. This also showed everything was fine! Thank the Lord.

Finally, Monday afternoon, after being in the hospital 4 days, we got test results back indicating he has Pertussis (Whooping Cough). What was so unusual is that he had been vaccinated for this and has had very little contact with other people and none with other children. He also didn't have the "whooping" noise typically seen with pertussis, so we didn't immediately think about this. We are not sure how he got this, but at least we know what it is. Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do to shorten the duration of the cough, so we are planning on him having the cough for a while. Fortunately, the cough is much less severe and is happening much less now. The doctors decided that he was doing ok to go home on Tuesday. They decided to send him home on some antibiotics and without any oxygen.

We brought Benjamin home on Tuesday and he is a new boy! We were a little nervous at first because this was the first time he didn't have oxygen at home, but he is doing so well. He has no tubes and nothing holding him back. He is now sitting up in his Bumbo seat, holding his head up, and smiling constantly.

God has truly taken care of Benjamin and carried him through each and every obstacle he has faced since birth. Benjamin's Pediatrician said it was so amazing how well Benjamin handled such a serious infection.

Thank you all for your continued prayers. We are so blessed and are learning more and more about God's amazing grace as we go through these trials in our life.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New pictures have been posted. Here is the link...

Prayers for Benjamin

Please keep Benjamin in your prayers. He has developed a very bad cough and has started albuterol treatments at home, but his Pulmonologist said you can't really treat the infection since it is viral, all we can do is treat the symptoms. He said we need to watch him closely over the next 5 days to see if it improves or gets worse as it could be a minor upper respiratory infection or possibly RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus). At this point he is coughing a few times each hour which seems to really exhaust him. Other than that he seems to be fine, still eating and sleeping like usual. We know he will get through this and continue to thrive. Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We are enjoying every minute having Benjamin at home! He is smiling, laughing, and even trying to piece together babbles into words. He recently discovered his tongue so he is trying hard to speak. It is so cute! He has had several visits to be evaluated on his development and they all believe that he was doing good, even better than expected on his language and cognitive skills, which are the indicators for intelligence so we were very pleased to hear this. They also both agreed that he was slightly behind where he should be on his fine and gross motor skills, but they feel he should be able to catch up by two years of age. They showed us some exercises to do with him that should help. Overall he looks amazing. He is still on oxygen, but he did so much better at his OCRG Sleep Study so hopefully he will only require oxygen assistance a few more weeks. Oh, and our sweet little angel is sleeping through the night! It started over a week ago and we were waiting to see if it lasted and it has. I now understand what they were referring to in the NICU before discharge.

Overall, Benjamin is doing really well, but he has a very busy schedule. Last week he had an appointment on Monday with his Pulmonologist, Tuesday at Texas Children's Hospital (TCH) for Physical Therapy evaluation, Wednesday at TCH for Occupational Therapy evaluation, and Thursday Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) is coming to the house to work with him on his development. Friday- he had the day off! : ) He will be busy for the next few weeks.

Benjamin is eating great, no choking- thank the Lord, and has slight reflux but is taking Prevacid for it. He now weighs over 13 pounds. He is getting so big. He will be having surgery on May 13th for his hernia and will require anesthesia so please keep him in your prayers.

Thanks for all of your continued prayer support. Benjamin is doing wonderful and looks like a happy and healthy baby!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

46 Days Home Grown

To catch you up: A few weeks ago Benjamin's pulmonologist did the OCRG-Sleep Study and it showed he still needed the oxygen assistance. They said they would check him again in one month. His eye exam was much better news. The Ophthalmologist said Benjamin's eyes looked good and since it has been so long since his due date that he was no longer at risk of developing ROP. He said he didn't need to see him again for 6 months at which time he will start having normal eye exams to check his vision!!! Thank the Lord! His doctor's appointment to check on his hernia was fine. The doctor said they will plan to perform the surgery in a couple of months so that Benjamin will be old enough that he shouldn't have to stay the night in the hospital following the anesthesia and surgery. On March 17th Benjamin had his 6 month vaccinations and is now weighing 11 pounds 2 ounces. He also got his second and last dose of Synagis for this season. (Synagis is to help prevent RSV-Respiratory syncytial virus) At his 6 month visit, the Pediatrician said we need to almost double the milk intake Benjamin is getting. This is the best way to grow his lungs and get him off the oxygen. She also said we needed to switch him to a faster flow nipple so it would allow him to eat more, faster. We moved towards this cautiously, because we had been using this nipple before and he was choking quite a bit during his feeds, which increases the risk of aspirations, therefore increasing my blood pressure... Just kidding. It just causes even more fear, concern, etc... Thank goodness we know Benjamin is in God's hands and not only mine!

Our latest concern is that he seems to be having more acid reflux than before. This is causing him to breathe heavier, cough, and spit up lots. Please continue to pray for his body's development and healing.

We are enjoying watching Benjamin grow and mature so much. He is now smiling in response to us and seems so happy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Settling In

Benjamin has now been home for 21 days. We are so delighted to finally have him here! Todd and I have been super busy trying to get adjusted to his schedule. We finally learned that we might need to be the ones to set the schedule... Todd went back to work this week. It has been tough, but we have been fortunate to have help from both of our Mom's- which has made a huge difference. Benjamin has been doing great. He is now sleeping at night for 5 and 6 hours at a time. We are still trying to work with him on his feedings. He gets so aggressive and sometimes chokes. The fear is that he will aspirate the milk into his lungs so we are trying to be as cautious as possible. During one of his feeds, he did choke really bad and his lips started to turn a little blue. He coughed quite a bit, but finally he recovered. It was a scary moment and a reminder we still need to be extra careful with him. The Pediatrician said his weight gain has been great so we are very pleased with that. Also, his eye exam last Tuesday went very well, it was the best report yet. The doctor said his eyes were definitely improving and he didn't need to see him until two weeks later. We have quite a few appointments next week: Monday with his Pulmonologist- we are hoping and praying that he will be doing great and will no longer require oxygen assistance and the apnea monitor. Tuesday he has a follow up visit to check on his hernia and another eye exam. Benjamin will also be seeing a Developmental Specialist in a few weeks and we will be able to get a thorough evaluation and comparison on how he is doing versus other babies his age. We will continue to update you on his progress. Please continue to pray for his development.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Some more pictures of Benjamin have been posted.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 147 - Welcome home Benjamin

Wow! What a journey! After spending 147 long days in the hospital, Benjamin has finally left the hospital. Benjamin got to come home last Wednesday on only oxygen, an apnea monitor and multi-vitamins. Todd and I couldn't be happier and I got to have two Valentine's, just as I had hoped.

To take you back, a little over a week ago the doctors increased Benjamin to full bottle feeds (8 bottles a day) and told us that he would have a sleep study done over the weekend to see what amount of oxygen he would need when he went home. The sleep study is basically letting him sleep over night while changing his oxygen settings every few hours while being hooked up to a machine that records how he does on each setting. His study was a little longer than usual because he was tested on 3 settings - 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 of a liter of oxygen. We were told that if Benjamin could handle one of these settings, he could go home after his eye exam on Tuesday. After receiving the results late Monday night, the doctors told us he did very well and he would be going home on an 1/8 of a liter - the lowest setting - and an apnea monitor. So on Tuesday night, we decided to room in at the hospital so we could partake in "Care by Parent". While hooking Benjamin up to the apnea monitor, we had a few alarms due to loose leads which was scary and nerve racking. Those familiar with an apnea monitor can relate to the noise, those who are not, imagine a siren blasting in your ear. After settling in our room, we noticed how quiet it was compared to the NICU. Benjamin noticed as well since he started to cry and continued to cry for half the night. Todd and I took turns holding and rocking him and finally about 3am he went to sleep and stayed asleep until 9. The only time he woke up was for his feeding. The first night was tough; I guess Benjamin was breaking us in for parenthood. The following nights Benjamin has been home has been much easier since we had some idea of what to expect, plus we have had our mom's help us during the nights.

So far, Benjamin really seems to be adjusting well to being at home. We took him to his first appointment with his new Pediatrician on Thursday and he now weighs 10 pounds 6 ounces. : ) We are so thankful to God for our precious miracle and thank each of you for your prayers over the past 147 days. Please keep Benjamin in your prayers for steady progress and development as he grows and matures. He will have another eye exam this Tuesday and another Pediatrician visit on Thursday. He is scheduled for an appointment with his Pulmonologist in 1 month and hopefully they will determine he no longer requires oxygen assistance.

We are so excited that this day has finally come. We had no idea what was in store for us when I went into premature labor at only 23 weeks on that September night, but God did. He knew what a blessed day it would be when we finally got to bring him home. Our God is BIG! He has given us the most precious gift in the world with our son Benjamin.
New pictures have been is the link again.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Pictures

New pictures have been posted.

Day 141- Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, " declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Well, we have been staying extremely busy trying to keep up with Benjamin's progress. We started out trying to be at the hospital to give him all of his bottle feeds, but soon it became too much. The doctors have been increasing him on the # of bottles he's taking quite rapidly. Just two days ago he was taking 6 bottles and yesterday they bumped him up to 8 bottles a day. We found out today that the plan is to send him home next week!!!! He is still on 1/4 Liter of oxygen and will be going home on some amount of oxygen but we aren't sure yet how much. They will conduct a few sleep tests to determine if he needs 1/2, 1/4 or 1/8 Liter. We are so ready to bring him home! Every time we visit and hold him it feels as if he is longing to get out of there. He is doing so wonderful-all thanks to God! He also has a tremendous team of nurses and doctors who have taken great care of him. Benjamin will have quite a few follow up appointments soon after leaving the hospital, but hopefully he will get home and really thrive. He is now weighing 9 lbs. 11.4 ounces. Wow!!! He is blowing through those clothes.

He will have another eye exam this Tuesday to determine if his eyes are developed enough to allow him to go home and just have follow up appointments from there.

Please continue to pray for Benjamin. We are so looking forward to bringing him home soon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 130- Great Expectations

Benjamin is continuing to make great strides. He now weighs 8 pounds 13.4 ounces. Wow!!! The doctors decided to wean his flow on his oxygen today, so he went from 1/2 Liter flow to 1/4 Liter. Next step would be 1/8 liter and then breathing room air like the rest of us. It typically requires a slight increase on his oxygen setting when the flow is reduced but so far he is still on track. He is currently around 30 % oxygen.

Today Benjamin's doctors advanced him from taking 3 bottles by mouth to 4. The plan is that he should be able to go home sometime very soon after he masters 8 bottles by mouth a day. The doctor's continue to seem amazed at Benjamin's progress. I realize it is a sign of God's true intervention throughout this experience. Benjamin has also begun non nutritive breastfeeding and will continue to learn until hopefully he is able to switch to full feeds this way.

Please keep Benjamin's eyes in your prayers. He has another big exam tomorrow. We're praying that they'll find his eyes have finished developing and won't require surgery. God is working miracles in this little guy's life daily and we are so thankful for each day we have with him.

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

Matthew 21:22

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 124- Graduation Day to Level II

Please keep Benjamin's eyes in your prayers. Today's eye exam showed an area of concern on his eyes and the doctor said he is somewhat concerned and will watch them. He also said there is a possibility they will finish developing and be fine. He is hesitant to operate since Benjamin's eyes are so far along and already so mature. We will wait and pray!!!
Benjamin had a very slow start on taking his bottle by mouth. The Occupational Therapist (OT) had tried for five days and Benjamin really wasn't taking it. He was averaging about 10 cc's (ml) each time out of 60 cc's. The OT finally decided maybe he didn't like the taste of it based on his reactions. She suggested we bring in fresh milk rather than giving him frozen milk that is thawed. Well...we tried fresh milk and he drank the whole thing! All 60 cc's of it. It brought tears to my eyes watching him finish his first bottle. How amazing! It is so crazy how many things in our life we take for granted. Since then the doctors have increased him to taking two bottles a day. We will try that today. Come on Ben!!! They would like him to be taking 8 bottles a day before he goes home.
Benjamin's doctors also told us on Sunday night that they were graduating him to Level II status. This is wonderful. That means he is much more stable and one step closer to going home. He will be in Level II until he goes home.

We are so thankful for all of your support. Please keep Benjamin in your prayers and especially regarding his eyes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 117 - Doing great

Benjamin has had a great past week. He is still on nasal cannula and yesterday they lowered the amount of flow he recieves from 1 liter per minute to 1/2 liter per minute. So far Benjamin is doing great with the change.

Benjamin now gets to play in a bouncing chair. They put him in it yesterday and soon after it started to vibrate, the batteries died, so he didin't get to play that long. The nurse said that he seemed to enjoy the few minutes it was on though. They will try it again today.

They should be trying him on a bottle in the next few days.

Today is another eye exam. Hopefully they continue to develop correctly.

Benjamin now weighs 7 lbs, 11 ounces.

Please continue to pray for Benjamin's development.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Benjamin getting ready for the big game!

Day 112 - Benjamin's Original Due Date

Today was Benjamin's original due date so he is now exactly 40 weeks old. Today he weighs 7 lbs, 4 ounces and was 19 1/4 inches long this past Sunday.

Overall, Benjamin is doing pretty good. He is still on nasal cannula, and has been on it full time for about a week, but is still adjusting to receiving just oxygen and no pressure. He has some days where he does really well and just cruises, but there have been a few days were his acid reflux seems to really effect him. He is still having some brady's where his heart rate drops. Usually he recovers on his own, but Monday he had a brady where they had to provide him breathing assistance by the resuscitation bag. The doctors just started him on acid reflux medicine so hopefully this helps him out.

He still has mild ROP in his eyes, but they are still developing. He will have another eye exam in a week.

Once he is more comfortable on nasal cannula, the next step is to try feeding him with a bottle.

Please continue to keep him in your prayers. We know God is still working in Benjamin's life.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year- Day 109

Happy New Year! Todd and I enjoyed ringing in the New Year at The Woman's Hospital NICU holding Benjamin through the countdown to 2010..

Benjamin is doing well on nasal cannula. He has been on it full time now for the past four days. He is still experiencing some Bradycardia's- where his heart rate drops, but we are told this is normal and his aren't occuring too frequently so the doctors aren't concerned. Lately, they've been happening about once a day. Last week a doctor came to look at Benjamin's Kidney's via a Renal Ultrasound. It turns out there has been some calcification and some stones have formed. They said this is a side effect from taking the Lasix, which he took to help get rid of fluid in the lungs. The doctors say these can heal on there own so we will keep praying that they do.

Benjamin's Neonatologists' recently had an ENT (Ear, nose, and Throat Doc or otolaryngologist) come check out his vocal cords they said his vocal cords actually looked very good, a little inflamed where the feeding tube has been, but that it should clear up once removed. It didn't appear he had any long term damage from being on the ventilator and having the endotracheal tube for so long. : ) So nice to get a good report. This is especially good news because it should make bottle feeding much easier and safer for him once they are ready for him to take a bottle.

The endocrinologist examined Benjamin and reviewed his Thyroid Panel. All but one category on the test looked good so they will take another panel to follow up on January 18th. The doctor was hopeful that all was working well.

Benjamin has had so much going on lately and more to come. Please keep him in your prayers. Another pertinent eye exam again this week on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Benjamin on Nasal Cannula

Day 103 - Update

Just a quick update...Benjamin now weighs 6 lbs, 7 ounces; he is getting so big.

Benjamin's eye exam today was the same as last week, still mild ROP, but his eyes are still developing.

We are still waiting on the report for his kidney's and that should be in tomorrow.

Benjamin tried nasal cannula (NS) for the first time today and it seems like he handled it ok. He did have another bradycardia while on NS during one of his feeds, but he bounced back. Hopefully this gets under control soon.

They are taking it slow with him right now-switching him between CPAP and NS every 6 hours for the first 24 hours. Tomorrow, depending on how he is doing, they will put him back on CPAP if he is not handling NS or extend the time between CPAP and NS to every 12 hour if he is doing ok.

Please continue to keep Benjamin in your prayers.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 102- Big Steps Ahead

Benjamin is doing very well, but tomorrow will be yet another big and challenging day for him. Tomorrow he will be taken off of CPAP and allowed to breathe on his own with just a little supplemental oxygen via nasal cannula. The plan is to try it for about 6 hours and see how he does... Come on Benjamin!!!

Benjamin is also experiencing some apnea (pauses in breathing) and bradycardia (drop in heart rate) during his feeding. He went over 21 days since his last one, but he has had one episode a day for the last three days. Right now, we are just watching it, but we think this may be related to acid reflux. Hopefully, this gets under control.

Tomorrow he will also have another eye exam. We are so hoping that we are told his eyes are continuing to develop correctly on their own. They are also going to do a Renal Ultrasound to check on his kidneys.

God continues to amaze us with all he is doing in Benjamin's life and ours.

Thank you for your prayer support.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 99- Merry Christmas!

What an amazing day it has been! Benjamin is doing wonderful. He seems so relaxed and happier than ever. He is tolerating his assessments and being held much better than just a week ago. It has been such a special day for us; we enjoyed spending Benjamin's 1st Christmas with him in the NICU. We took in his stocking and a few of his presents. : ) I held him skin to skin earlier in the day and Todd held him swaddled this evening. What a blessing he is.

Benjamin has now hit the 6 pound mark! He weighs 6 pounds 1.2 ounces. The doctors even bumped up his feeds a little more today- watch out full term babies. His doctors are planning to try and take Benjamin off of CPAP and try him on only oxygen thru a nasal cannula in 7-10 days. This will be another huge step for him. They have said it could be challenging, but we're ready for him to try it!

Thank you for your continued prayers and Merry Christmas! We are so thankful for the special gift God has given us.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 96 - Big day ahead

Benjamin had another good day today. His eye exam remains the same, which is encouraging. We are all hoping his eyes will correct themselves and heal properly. The doctor is watching some areas closely to see what happens. Benjamin is still breathing a little faster than preferred with his settings weaned on the CPAP from 6 to 5 on PEEP. Tomorrow early a.m. he will have quite a few tests. He is going to be getting an Echo done to check and see if his heart is still working properly on both sides with the changes in CPAP settings. If everything looks good this will also indicate that his "chronic" lungs aren't as bad anymore.

He will also have a chest x-ray to see how his chest and lungs are looking, a CBG to look at the blood gases and a thyroid test as a standard test to be performed.

With all of this in store for him tomorrow morning, I am hoping to get to hold him skin to skin tomorrow afternoon so he can relax and have some bonding time with Mom.

Please keep Benjamin in your prayers. He has so much going on. We have already seen him overcome some of the biggest hurdles imaginable and he still has so many additional areas to continue to develop and mature.

All of your prayers are truly helping Benjamin- he continues to amaze the doctors, nurses, and his parents! : )

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 95 - Getting Bigger

Benjamin is still going strong and is really growing. He is now 5 lbs, 12 ozs and is starting to act just like a full-term baby.

Benjamin's lungs are starting to improve and look and sound much better. They have now lowered the pressure settings on his CPAP from 6 from 5. This may sound like a small difference, but it is really a big step. He is making some great progress.

Tomorrow is another eye exam. Please pray that his eyes are still developing correctly.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. Please continue to pray for his eyes and lungs.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 89 - Going Strong

Benjamin is doing pretty good and is continuing to grow and get stronger. He is now 5 lbs, 4 ozs and is 17 3/4 inch long.

His lungs are still an issue, but they have lowered some of his settings so they are slowly improving. We just have to be patient and remember that it takes time.

He had another eye exam today and they still look the same - mild ROP.

We are still holding him and reading him a bedtime story each night which puts him right to sleep.

Please continue to pray for his eyes and lungs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New pictures have been posted

New pictures have been posted. You can really see how far he has come.

Here is the link....

Day 83 - Santa's Little Helper

Benjamin is doing great this week. Today he took pictures with Santa! He seemed to have a good time, I know we did. He had all sorts of outfits to pick from. We have updated some pictures tonight, including a few with Santa.

Benjamin's doctor today hadn't been on rotation to take care of Benjamin in about 1-2 weeks and he said Benjamin was doing so much better than the last time he saw him. He also said he is doing so good on the weight gain that he was going to cut back just a little on his milk intake.

The doctors have been able to continue to wean his Nitric Oxide that he is on for his lung development and his oxygen requirements are still around 35% which is also pretty good. We will continue to be patient and wait on the Lord to finish developing his premature lungs.

Benjamin's eye exam this week was the same as before - mild ROP and the eyes are still developing.

Benjamin also weighs just over 5 lbs now.

Thanks for your continued prayer support!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 81 - Still cruising

Benjamin is cruising along and is getting bigger; last night he weighed 4 lbs, 12 ozs and is 17.25 inches long. He is looking so good.

His eyes still have mild ROP, but they are still developing, so we are just waiting to see if they continue to develop correctly on their own.

Recently, when he feeds, his oxygen requirement goes up, so it looks like his acid reflux has returned. This was happening when he was on the ventilator, but once he was put on CPAP, it seemed to stop. So today, to try to help, his feedings were changed to continuous feeds instead of once every three hours. This should help his acid reflux because he is always getting a little bit of milk, instead of a lot at once. Hopefully this helps him get the reflux under control.

Benjamin seems to be doing well. He is very alert and will look at you when you talk to him or touch him. He looks like he is trying to process what is going on. He also likes his lullaby music as it puts him right to sleep.

Right now, we are just waiting on his lungs to develop further. He is making some great progress. We are so proud of him. Please continue to pray for him!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 73 - Making some progress

Benjamin is still hanging in there. He is still on CPAP and is growing, but he is having some trouble keeping his CO2 levels low enough. His Co2 levels were going up over the past few days, but today it was much better than it had been in a while, so hopefully this trend continues. If it goes back up and stays up, the doctors have told us that he may have to be re-intubated and be put back on the ventilator. Right now, he is right on the edge of having to go back on the ventilator so hopefully his levels continue to decrease.

Benjamin has another eye exam on Tuesday. His last exam this past Tuesday looked similar to his previous exams. He still has mild ROP, but his eyes are still developing so they could heal on their own or he may need surgery to correct the issue.

Benjamin is growing and getting bigger. Benjamin weighed 4 lbs, 5 ounces last night. He has had some nice weight gain over the past few days. Hopefully this continues.

Sorry for the lack of updates recently; the Thanksgiving holiday threw our schedule off.

Please pray that Benjamin's lungs continue to develop and he doesn't have to be put back on the ventilator. Please also pray for Benjamin's eyes that they continue to develop properly.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 66 - Still fighting

Benjamin has had a trying few days. He is still on CPAP and is working really hard to stay on it, but he is getting to the point on his settings where his lungs may be tiring out. If this trend continues, he may have to be taken off of CPAP and put back on the ventilator. X-rays show his lungs still look ok, but his heart rate and oxygen requirements have gradually increased over the weekend. Tests show he is not getting an infection, so this indicates his lungs may just be too immature right now.

Saturday night Benjamin was so uncomfortable and was crying a lot. He just could not get comfortable. Today he was much calmer, so hopefully this continues, so we can go back to holding him. We haven't been able to hold him since he was put on CPAP because the doctors want him to rest and stabilize.

Benjamin will have his next eye exam on Tuesday. Last week indicated he has mild ROP, so the next few tests will probably indicate if he is going to develop his eyes properly on his own or if surgery will be needed to do that.

Please pray for Benjamin's lungs and eyes. He is trying so hard right now and is doing everything he can to stay off the vent.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 62 - Big News for Ben

Benjamin decided on early Tuesday afternoon that he has had enough of the ET tube in his mouth and pulled it out again. He was looking good and the doctors decided to try him on CPAP again. Well, he is still on it and seems to be doing pretty good so far. He is still working hard to breathe, but is no where near where he was the last time. We will have to continue watching him because he could tire himself out and may need to be put back on the ventilator, but every hour he is on CPAP is a big deal. Please continue to pray for his lungs.

Benjamin had another eye exam to check for ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity). His eyes haven't finished developing yet and at this point he does have mild ROP. They will continue to monitor his eyes and see how they develop. Right now, it could go either way; his eyes could develop correctly on their own or he could need surgery to correct the problem. He has another exam on next Tuesday, so please continue to pray that his eyes develop correctly.

Benjamin is now regulating his own temperature. Before, his isolette regulated the temperature based on his body temperature. Now, the isolette is set at a temperature and it is up to him to warm/cool himself. So far he is doing really well and they have continued to lower the temperature inside. Eventually, he will get to the point where he will get out of his enclosed isolette and will get an open one. Because he has to regulate his body temperature, he is now wearing clothes. He looks so cute with his little outfits on.

Benjamin gained weight and was up to 3 lbs, 11 ozs. Tuesday night, but because he was on CPAP and working out, he lost weight and is now 3 lbs, 9 ozs.

Please continue to keep Benjamin in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 59 - A lot going on

Benjamin has had a lot going on with him in the last few days. He decided to pull his tube out again two nights ago. This time, when the tube came out, he was crying and breathing some on his own. His heart rate was also staying at a good level so they decided to try him on CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure-oxygen is delivered through a nasal cannula). Benjamin was working really hard trying to breathe but was using a lot of energy. After watching him for a while, they took an x-ray and decided his lungs were just not ready for CPAP, so they took him off of it and re-intubated him. Benjamin was on CPAP for about 6 hours. He is not there yet, but he is making progress and this was a step in the right direction.

We didn't know Benjamin extubated himself until the next day, but Sherri happened to read a Bible verse during the time Benjamin was trying CPAP for the first time.

The Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. Genesis 2:7

This is just another reminder God is in control and he is going to get Benjamin to that next step and allow him to breathe life on his own. We need to remember to be patient.

Recently, the doctors have become concerned with his weight gain. He has been gaining weight, but not as fast as they would like. He is still growing at a "normal rate," but he is on the low end. To help him gain some weight, the doctors decided to add some oil (triglycerides) to his milk, which should help him. They want him to get bigger because this will help his lungs get healthier and help his body continue to develop correctly.

Benjamin also got another blood transfusion yesterday. They are just taking it out faster than he can produce it right now.

Last night Sherri and I sang him nursery rhymes and other songs while he fell asleep. Benjamin really seemed to enjoy it and doesn't seem to mind our off-key renditions of the classics. The same can not be said for the nurses that were within ear shot.

Sherri held him today and we both gave him a bath tonight. He seems to really enjoy both and responds well when we are around.

We took his measurements tonight and the oil seems to have helped him already. He is now 3 lbs 9 ounces and 16 1/4 inches long.

Please continue to pray for Benjamin.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 54 - Successful Eye Exam

Benjamin had his third eye exam today and everything looked good. He is now going to get an exam every two weeks instead of weekly.

Benjamin also extubated himself again last night. While we don't want him to continue this practice, this time wasn't as bad as he handled it much better than last time. Hopefully, very soon, if he extubates himself again, he will handle it really well and the doctors will decide he is ready to get off the vent. Also, in the process of pulling his tube out, we found out he has acid reflux. We didn't know why his stats would drop when he was feeding, but now we know and it can be treated. Just another piece of the puzzle needed to be solved.

The nurses are really supportive and are allowing us to hold him frequently. We were able to hold him skin to skin for two hours straight today. Research has shown that this method works wonders for his development.

Thank you everyone for your continued thoughts and prayers; this too works wonders in Benjamin's life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 53- Holding Steady

Benjamin is holding steady. The doctors say he is still making progress it is just going to take him a while. His lungs are slowly developing... In the meantime, Todd and I continue to hold him twice a day. Benjamin really likes being held and put to sleep in the rocking chair. : ) I must say, Todd and I really enjoy it as well.

He weighs about 3 lbs 3 ounces and last night they measured him and he is now.... 16 1/4 inches long! Growing fast.

Tomorrow is another eye exam. Hopefully that goes well. Thank you all for your continued prayer support for Benjamin.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 51- Two steps forward One step back...

Benjamin has made quite a bit of progress over the past week. The doctors have been able to wean his vent settings from delivering 40 breaths per minute to 20 breaths per minute which means he is now doing more of the work on his own. His oxygen settings are still around 40 to 50 percent. We need to see a decrease here as well as on some of the other settings that determine how much pressure is being given. He has a lot of work to do and still a lot of lung development necessary to get there.

Benjamin is getting more and more fidgety and active. He accidentally extubated himself the other night. He was lifting his head from side to side and his tube that connects him to his ventilator came out. The doctors said the way he responded shows that he is definitely not yet ready to be weaned off of the ventilator. He had difficulty breathing and needed to be revived by using the resuscitation bag.

I know it sounds like so much going on; but he has had a tremendous amount of improvement this past week even with the setbacks. I know we are asking a lot of Benjamin to get him where he needs to be, but I keep reminding myself- Our God is Big. He will get there!

Benjamin will have another eye exam on Tuesday of this week. Please continue to pray for his eyes and his Lungs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 47- Successful Eye Exam

Benjamin's second eye exam went well. Thank you for your prayer support! He will have his next exam in 1 week.

He is looking good. We just need him to stay free of infection and to continue to develop and grow. The doctors were able to wean Benjamin down to even lower settings on the ventilator today. : )

Todd and I were both able to hold Benjamin for quite a while this evening. He seems to sleep peacefully while being held. He is now weighing about 3 pounds and is 15 1/4 inches long.

Thanks so much to all of you for your prayers.

Day 47- Continued Development

Benjamin is still making progress. The doctors continue to wean his settings on the ventilator a little at a time. Hopefully, he will be able to get off the ventilator soon.

He has his second eye exam this morning. Please continue to pray for Benjamin's eyes and his lung development.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!
Benjamin decided to dress up as an alien.

Day 44 - Happy Halloween

Benjamin continues to do well overall. His ventilator settings were reduced some today and he seems to be ok with the new settings. The doctors say his lungs are responding slow to the treatment; we believe Benjamin's lungs will develop soon enough. He is on the right track; it just takes time and for him to continue to grow.

Benjamin weighed in at 3 pounds 1 ounce Friday night, which is an overnight gain of about 4 ozs. He definitely looks like he is growing, but the doctors believe a lot of that weight gain is just water weight. He was given a diuretic to help him pee it out. He will be measured late Sunday night and we should know his true weight and height Monday morning.

Tonight was bath night for Benjamin and we got to help clean him up again. He did really well with it and looks good; he cleans up really nice. After his bath, he was wide awake, so I held my hand over his back and after a few seconds his eyes started to slowly close and went to sleep.

Sherri continues to hold him every day and from what I hear, he does really well with it and seems to enjoy it. I have been working a lot lately and haven't been able to see him as much as I would like, so I look forward to when I am able to hold him again.

Please continue to pray for our little one and for his lungs to develop.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 42- Benjamin is 30 Weeks today!

Benjamin is really growing; he is now up to 2 pounds 13 ounces. He had another good day today. His oxygen is remaining between 38-48% which is good considering he was maintaining around 50-60% and higher at times. The doctors say he needs to require less oxygen assistance and maintain it for a while before they will attempt to wean him from the ventilator. We need his lungs to continue to mature and then with God's help he will be strong enough for CPAP(Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), which will mean he is doing the breathing on his own and utilizing the CPAP to help keep his lungs from collapsing all the way during exhalation. This will be a huge step in the right direction, but can be challenging for babies his size and age.

I got to hold him again tonight, but Todd had to work late. Benjamin is such a little angel. I think he really enjoys being held. I know it puts me in a place of complete peace when I am holding him close.

I am so thankful for this little blessing that has come into our lives.

Thank you for the continued prayers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 40 - Eye exam update

Benjamin had his eye exam today and everything looked good. He will have an eye exam every week for a while, so hopefully his eyes continue to develop properly.

Just waiting on his lungs now so we can wean him off the ventilator; please continue to pray for him.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 39 - Eye exam tomorrow

Just a quick update tonight. Benjamin is still doing ok. He was weighed and measured last night - he is now 2 lbs, 11 ozs and 15 inches long.

His lungs are still his main issue; he is fluctuating a lot on his oxygen requirement. Hopefully he gets past this and his lungs begin to get stronger.

Tomorrow morning is Benjamin's first eye exam to see how his eyes are developing. We should know the results tomorrow morning and will post the results.

Please pray for Benjamin's lungs and his eyes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Todd got to hold Benjamin today. A few more pictures of Todd holding Benjamin have been uploaded in the 10/24/09 Upload set. He did really well today and you can tell he enjoys being held.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Holding Benjamin for the first time!

Day 37 - Finally holding Benjamin

One of the days we were waiting for finally came - Benjamin is stable enough where we get to hold him. Right now, we can hold him one time a day for 30 minutes. Tonight, Sherri held him and tomorrow, I get to hold him. Benjamin did really well with it. He fell right asleep in Sherri's arms and she held him for the entire 30 minutes.

Eventually, we will be able to hold him more often, but we have to wait for his lungs to develop more and he no longer requires a ET tube connecting him to the ventilator. Last night, his oxygen requirement had to go up and was up all day, but but the doctors think it is just due to his immature lungs, so hopefully that is all it is. His tube was out of place some this morning, so that may have been part of the problem.

His PICC line did come out last night, so now he just has his ET tube and feeding tube in him now.

Overall, he seems really peaceful and happy. Benjamin really enjoyed Sherri holding him and hopefully, he does as well with me tomorrow.

FYI - new pictures have been uploaded

Please continue to pray for Benjamin's lungs and his eyes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 35 - Bath time

Benjamin is still growing and seems to be doing pretty good. He is now up to 2 lbs, 8 oz.

Yesterday evening was Benjamin's bath day. Our nurse waited for us to get there so we could help out and participate in bathing him for the first time. He really seemed to enjoy it - the nurse said he had a peaceful look on his face the entire bath. Sherri washed his body and I washed his head. He particularly enjoyed the shampooing of the hair and head massage.

He has increased his feedings and is doing really well with digesting so the doctors said his PICC line should come out soon. They use this line to give him extra nutrients, but since he is tolerating the milk and eating enough, he will no longer need it. This is a big step because it decreases a site for infection and he is getting big enough to get the nutrients he needs from the breast milk.

Overall he looks good; the only issue is his lungs. Please continue to pray for Benjamin.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Benjamin's footprints!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 33 - Still hanging in there

Benjamin has had a few good days recently. He is starting to really respond well to the lung therapy and his oxygen requirement is starting to improve. The settings are still not where they were pre-move, but he has started to improve over the last few days and is heading in the right direction.

He is still tolerating his feeds and they have continued to increase the amount he gets and is now up to 15 ml every 3 hours.

Next Tuesday, Benjamin gets his first eye exam to see how his eyes are developing. They are also testing for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Other than that, he is resting and doing pretty well. Please continue to pray for Benjamin's lungs and that his eyes are developing correctly.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Benjamin with his eyes wide open!

Benjamin says Hook 'Em Horns!

Day 31 - Still waiting on the lungs

Benjamin is still doing ok and resting, but he is not really improving on his oxygen requirement since his move. The lungs take a while to develop and Benjamin is still waiting for them to do so. We aren't sure why it is taking him so long to improve, but the doctors say it may just take some time due to his immature lungs. They are also running tests daily to make sure it isn't due to an infection. Todd and I got to participate in his assessment again tonight by changing his diaper and taking his temperature. He looks so cute. He also flashed the "Hook 'em horns" symbol at us a few times... See one of the new pics for proof. I guess he is happy about the win over the weekend.

We are so thankful to all of you for your prayers; we believe God is developing Benjamin and will continue to take all of us through this. Let's pray for a good week to come.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 29 - Moving day

Benjamin moved nursery's yesterday. The hospital was going through renovations and they finally finished it and all the babies were moved to the new nursery.

Benjamin was not too happy about the move. When he got to his new bed, he was not getting enough oxygen and was having trouble breathing. They tried increasing his oxygen but that was not really helping. After a few hours and a couple of x-rays and a few changes to the breathing tube, he finally settled down. Overall, he is ok, but the move seems to have set his lungs back some. He is on some breathing treatments to help his lungs develop, so hopefully this is a temporary setback and he recovers as he should.

At 28 days (28 weeks gestational age), Benjamin weighed in at 2 lbs, 4 ozs. Even though his lungs are having trouble, overall, he is doing ok and still having good days; he is resting, eating and waiting for his lungs to develop. Please continue to pray for Benjamin and for his lungs to develop correctly.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 26 - Resting Comfortably

The last few days have been really good for Benjamin. There really is not a lot to report, which is a good thing. His nurse said he deserves to be a boring baby right now and we agree.

His feedings have continued to be increased and he seems to be digesting really well. He is growing and now it is started to show because he graduated to bigger diapers today!

We are still waiting for his lungs to develop. They are starting to look better, but he has some work cut out for him. This just takes some time.

These last few days have really been a blessing; please continue to pray for many more good days.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Benjamin with his teddy bear!

Day 25 - Still resting

Benjamin had a really good weekend. They continue to place him on his side and stomach, but they have to strap him down and really watch him because he likes to move so much. They used his teddy bear to keep him from moving, but that only lasted a few minutes.

Benjamin was weighed over the weekend and is now just over 2 pounds. His feedings have continued to be increased since his surgery since he is digesting it really well. You can all ready tell when he gets hungry because he starts to get restless.

Overall, Benjamin looks pretty good. The concern right now is still his lungs, but he started a steroid yesterday that should help those grow. Hopefully the good days continue; please continue to pray for Benjamin.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 22 - Benjamin is growing

Benjamin has had a few good days. He seems to be recovering well from his surgery and really enjoys sleeping in the new positions.

Benjamin was weighed last night and he has gained 10 ounces since being born. He is up to 1 lbs, 15 ozs. Looking at him you can tell he is looking bigger.

He also had his first bath last night and seemed to tolerate that; hopefully that continues.

Overall, he has had a quiet two days and is just resting and recovering. Lets all pray that this continues and he continues developing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Benjamin all tucked up!

Day 20 - Recovering from surgery

Benjamin had a pretty good day today. As expected, his stats dipped a bit, but as the day went on, he seemed to be getting used to the new oxygen flow. It should be another day or two before he is completely over the surgery. He is on pain medicine and will be until he settles down.

This evening, since his chest tube came out and he was improving, we got to change his diaper. Sherri changed him this time, and while it turned out better than when Todd did it, Benjamin really hopes we both get better at it. After we changed him, we got to hold him in our hands again. It took him a few seconds to get used to being held, but he settled down and we each held him in our hands for a few minutes. Unofficially, he is growing as his body feels heavier and looks longer. His face is also chubbier; he is starting to look really cute!

Also, since the tube is out and he is more stable, the nurses put him on his side and stomach for the first time. This helps with the muscle development and gets him used to sleeping in different positions. He really seemed to enjoy being tucked up on his stomach. This position should also really help his lungs. He needs more oxygen than before, but this should begin to decrease as he improves from the surgery.

Overall, it was a good day; hopefully the first of many. Amazingly, Benjamin already turns 21 (days) tomorrow. Please continue praying for his recovery and development.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 19 - Surgery Update

According to the surgeon, Benjamin's surgery "went as well as it could have gone." His blood pressure went up already, which is good, and he seems to be doing really well. The doctors told us that in cases like Benjamin, where the PDA originally closed on its own and then reopens later, it may take a few days to see the full effects of the surgery.

The tube that was in Benjamin's chest also came out during the surgery. The air sac looks like it has healed and no air accumulated overnight.

Since the surgery was performed in his isolate, a sterile environment was needed, so they removed his little bed. After the surgery, they let us take the bed home he has been on since he was born.

Overall, Benjamin seems to be doing really well. He is hanging in there and we are taking it one day at a time. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 18 - Big day for Benjamin

After an uneventful Sunday, Benjamin decided to have a big day today.

First, Benjamin had another head ultrasound this morning. The doctors ordered an ultrasound because he had the busted air sac and sometimes bleeding in the head will happen if the baby is under a lot of stress. The ultrasound came back normal so unless something happens, he will not have any more head ultrasounds for a while!

Next, the busted air sac in Benjamin's lungs looks like it is healed. The doctors decided to clamp the tube that is in his chest today to see if air accumulates in his chest. The x-ray this afternoon came back normal and it looks like no air has accumulated in his chest. He has one more x-ray in the morning and if the x-ray shows no air has leaked, the tube will be coming out!

Thirdly, the pneumonia and the E. Coli infections still seems to be under control. Benjamin seems to be doing much better and the infection is beginning to clear up.

Finally, after we left late Sunday night, Benjamin's stats began to fluctuate and the nurse continued to change his oxygen setting on his ventilator to try to stabilize him. He was never in any real danger; the nurse just wanted to get the settings right so his stats wouldn't move so much. This morning, the doctors checked his heart and heard a murmur. This murmur, coupled with the fluctuating stats, lead the doctors to believe his Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) opened back up, so an echo scan was ordered. It turns out, the PDA was moderately open. Because of the size of the opening and other medicine Benjamin took, medicine to close the PDA was not an option. Surgery is needed to close it. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

We were told this surgery is very common for premature babies, but Benjamin will be put under anesthesia and will be completely sedated. Benjamin will be placed on his stomach and the surgeon will make a small incision in Benjamin's back to close the PDA. The surgery should only last for about 10 minutes and hopefully once the surgery is finished, Benjamin should begin to improve and his stats should become more stable. This surgery should help stabilize his blood pressure and help minimize his oxygen requirement.

Even though this surgery is common, it is still scary and a lot can happen. Please pray that the surgery goes well and that there are no complications.

Benjamin seems to be improving and hopefully this surgery will be the final thing he needs so he can really begin to grow and develop. Please continue to pray for Benjamin.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Benjamin with his pacifier

New pictures have been updated. The link is below.

Day 16 - Starting to look good

Benjamin is really beginning to respond to the antibiotics and is starting to get over the infection. He is still on medicine and will be for another week or so, because the doctors want to be sure the infection is all out, but he is starting to look much better. He is starting to chill out and just sleep and let the medicine and ventilator do its job.

Benjamin's lungs are starting to look better also. The busted air sac is still leaking air, but all his x-rays are looking good and the tube in his chest is working as it should. Hopefully the air sac will heal on its own in a few days so they can take the tube out. Both of his lungs are now inflated and they are slowly weaning his oxygen down. His lungs are still too underdeveloped to breathe on his own, but he is going in the right direction.

Last night Benjamin tried a pacifier for the first time. The nurse put it in his mouth and after a few seconds he started to suck on it. He kept it in his mouth and it really seemed to comfort him. Even though we gave him the smallest pacifier, it was almost as big as his whole head!

Benjamin has had a few good days; hopefully this will be the start of a good long run. Even though a lot is going on, Benjamin is really starting to improve and look good. He is very stable and his vitals continue to hold even when they lower the oxygen, take him off medicine, etc. He really seems to be improving each day. Please keep him in your prayers.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 14 - Getting Better

Short update today - Benjamin had a really good day today. The nurses said he was stable for most of the day. He still has an infection and the tube in his chest, but he looks like he is doing much better.

Benjamin also had to get an i.v. in his scalp today; the veins in his arms and legs are too beat up. In order to put the i.v. in, they had to shave some of his head. So Benjamin got his first haircut today! They saved the hair for us and we took it home.

Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long period of stability. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 13 - Better, but still not there.

Benjamin is on the road to recovery from the E. Coli infection, but we learned yesterday, that he has pneumonia in his lungs. The doctors believe they caught it early, so it should be a few more days until he is over this.

Another setback today, in addition to the pneumonia, Benjamin had another spontaneous air leak. An air sac busted open again; this is called pneumothorax. This happened the other day and the doctors were able to needle the air out and the leak healed on its own, but this time, too much air escaped and air was filling up in his chest. Benjamin had a minor procedure done this afternoon to insert a tube into his chest to constantly suck out the air while the leak heals. If all goes well, the tube should only be in there for a few days. Luckily, the nurses and doctors were watching him closely and responded quickly. Benjamin is responding well to the treatment and his vitals are looking much better already.

Hopefully in a few days, Benjamin makes a full recovery and is over all of this and continues his development path. He has had a rough few days, but is continuing the fight. Thank you to everyone for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Todd holding his son for the first time!

Day 11 - Tough Day for Benjamin

Benjamin's infection seemed to get worse overnight and was in full swing by this afternoon. By this evening though, he appeared to be leveling off and doing much better. They are still watching him, but the doctor was optimistic that they caught the infection early and he should be on his way to recovery. Hopefully tomorrow will be better as the infection begins to clear up.

Benjamin's lungs are still a concern right now. He had the busted air sac, but the air did not reaccumulate, which is good. The chest x-ray looked slightly better today and they will continue to monitor it.

Benjamin's blood pressure was really low today. The doctors believed that the ductus in his heart opened back up, since low blood pressure is a sign of an open ductus, but they did a scan and it is still closed. They are now trying to figure out why the blood pressure is so low; right now it appears that it is just due to the infection. This was returning back to normal when we left this evening.

Benjamin's head ultrasound came back normal, which is great news! This shows no bleeding in his brain. This was an important ultrasound since most bleeding in the brain will happen in the first 10 days.

While making sales calls in the medical center today Kayla (Sherri's sister) met a missionary. She works in the hospitals and nursing homes throughout Houston and mentioned she wanted to go see Benjamin and pray for him. When Sherri and her mom arrived to see Benjamin tonight, she was already there. She prayed with them and lifted up Benjamin with her words and praise. It was very comforting to hear her certainty in God's work and power. Sherri believes she might be a guardian angel that came across Benjamin's path today.

Please continue to keep Benjamin and us in your prayers.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 10 - Infection Update

We figured out what was causing Benjamin's infection - e. coli. Obviously, this is a pretty serious infection, but Benjamin has been on general antibiotics for a few days and now on specific e. coli antibiotics, so hopefully he can beat it. It appears the source of his infection was from the lines going into his stomach for blood transfusions, i.v.'s, etc. These lines were going to be coming out in the next few days anyway, but since they were harboring the infection, they had to come out a little sooner than planned. These lines were removed today and he now has three lines going in him - one on both arms and one in his left leg.

The doctors have also been watching Benjamin's breathing; he was having difficulty maintaing a proper oxygen supply. It turns out an air sac in his right lung was punctured and this is caused by too much pressure going into the lungs. The doctors are treating this and we should know more tomorrow. Hopefully this will heal with minimal treatment. The doctors mentioned this happens with babies this small.

Benjamin has had a rough few days, but he is fighting. Everyone keeps saying be prepared, it's a roller coaster and we now know what they mean. Please keep us in your thoughts and say a prayer for Benjamin.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 8 - Benjamin has an infection.

The doctors called us this morning and they believe Benjamin has an infection. They started him on antibiotics. We are not sure what type of infection yet, but hopefully we caught it in time and he will get through this. The doctors said all babies will get infections at some point, and the key is to catch them early. Premature babies don't have much of an immune system, so he can't really fight this off on his own. We are just waiting at this point, hopefully this is nothing serious and he can fight through it.
Please continue to pray for Benjamin!

Benjamin is 25 Weeks Old (7 days in the NICU)!

As we are just getting started, we are a little behind on the updates, so we will use this first post as an update as to what has happened in Benjamin's first week. So here we go...

Benjamin started off a little bruised in the face. The doctor's said that was normal and was expected, but this would go away in a few days. The pictures don't show the true colors, but his little face was black and blue, but after a few days,the bruising was all gone.

Two head ultrasounds were done to check for bleeding in the brain. Both came back normal and he has another one scheduled for Monday, Sept. 28, so hopefully that one looks good as well.
Benjamin's lungs are very underdeveloped so he needs help breathing at a level his body needs. He was put on an oscillating ventilator to help him, and so far he is slowly improving.

As expected, Benjamin, had a bout with jaundice. He was put on light therapy to help him get through it. His levels improved and was taken off of the light, but the next day the level rose again, and they put the light back on him. This was expected and he is now off the light, hopefully for good.

Benjamin's eyes opened during the time he was off the light the first time! When he was born, because he was so young, his eyes were still fused shut. While he was on the light therapy, the doctor's placed an eye shield over his eyes because the light was so bright. When they removed the shield - he opened his eyes!

It appears that Benjamin's patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is now closed which is a good thing. While the babies are in the womb, there is a valve in the heart that remains open until birth. In full term babies, this valve will close on its own, but in premature babies, they usually need help to close it through medicine or surgery, but Benjamin did it on his own. Hopefully it will remain closed as it should.

Benjamin is now being fed breast milk. He seems to be handling it ok and he actually looks like he is starting to plump up now.

We got to hold Benjamin for the first time in our hands. He fit in Todd's hands and seemed to enjoy it all around. Todd also changed his first diaper! Benjamin hopes he gets better at it! :)

Benjamin got a new hat. Someone came around to give hats out to all the babies and our nurse picked an owl hat for him. It is so cute and appropriate since Todd just graduated from Rice University and their mascot is an owl. The nurse did not realize this, but felt so proud for picking it once we told her. He looks so cute in it.

Sorry for the long post, but we had to get everyone caught up. The next posts should be shorter easier to read.

Those are the highlights from the first week; Benjamin appears off to a good start. Let's all continue to pray for his development. We are so thankful for our little miracle!