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

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.
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