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My son Jim was born on May 30, 2007, at 27 weeks 2 days gestational age. Three days before that, my water had broken and I spent a few days on bedrest in the hospital, hoping that he'd stay in there a little longer and keep cooking. But, the contractions began and 5 hours later, there was our little guy. He came out pink and screaming and flailing around, just like a regular baby...but much smaller. His good color and obviously strong lungs were a sign that he was going to be OK...it just took him a while to get there.
Jim spent 63 days at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, 5 weeks in their Level III NICU and 4 weeks in their Infant Special Care Unit (the ISCU for short), which is a less-intensive care unit for babies. He started out on a ventilator in an incubator with an IV for fluids. After just a day, the moved him from the ventilator to a CPAP. Then a few days after that, they gave him a feeding tube and starting giving him just a wee bit of milk, then more and more until eventually he was getting his full feed through the tube and didn't need the IV anymore. Then he moved to a nasal cannula, then back to the CPAP, then to a vapo-therm (a high-pressure cannula), then back to a nasal cannula, and then finally after about 6 1/2 weeks, he went off oxygen altogether. At about 4 weeks, he moved out of the incubator and into just a regular open crib. At about 5 weeks, they started giving him food by bottle (he never did take to breast feeding), and slowly he began to increase the amount he was eating until he was eating all his meals on his own and they were able to take out the feeding tube. All that time, he was still having bradycardia (drops in hear rate), but once those went away, we were finally able to disconnect him from the machines and take him home with us.
Now that he's home, you wouldn't know that he had such a rocky start, he's just your typical happy-go-lucky baby. He's 5 months old now, 2 months corrected age, and is doing really well. His only preemie-related issue is that he has tense neck muscles, which he's getting physical therapy for and the PT thinks will be resolved in a few weeks. We didn't have to bring him home with any monitors or any special food, and he's growing and learning and getting cuter every day. He's even sleeping through the night already! His dad and I feel very lucky to have him in our lives, and I can't wait to watch him grow up and see what kind of man he becomes. I'm hoping he'll be the next Bill Gates and be able to pay for my retirement...but I'd settle for just healthy and happy.
Jim also has some non-preemie-related things that make him special (besided just his winning personality). His abdominal organs are all reversed, it's called situs inversus. Everything is a mirror image of where it would normally be. Because of the situs inversus, they ran a test to make sure everything was connected properly, which it is, except that he has no spleen. It's an organ you can live without, but it does mean he'll have to be careful about germs and getting all his vaccinations, and he'll be on antibiotics until he's 5 years old, and possibly longer than that, depending on what the experts think is the best thing at that time.
Anyway, that's my little guy...feel free to post if you have questions! I'm pretty proud of him, so I love to talk about him.
Wow, what a trooper!!!! I didn't realize that with situs inversus how suspectible he was to germs/vacs/antibiotics ~ I'm sure he will be the healthiest kid on the block!!! [/b]
Actually, it's becasue of his missing spleen that he has to take the antibiotics, not the situs inversus...although, the situs inversus may be related to the missing spleen. It's such a rare condition, it's hard to find anyone who knows much about it. The radiologist who ran the scan of his organs had never actually seen it in person before, only in text books, and that was at a pretty major hospital here in Seattle. From what I've read, his particular version of situs inversus (with the heart and lungs in the right place, but the abdominal organs backwards) is even more rare than regular situs inversus. And I keep getting confused, but I think combining his version of situs inversus with asplenia is even more rare than that--I think it's more common for kids with his situs inversus to have extra spleens, or tiny bits of spleen tissue scattered all over the body, instead of none at all. Also, kids with his kind of situs inversus often have serious congenital heart problems, but he doesn't. We always knew he'd be a one-in-a-million kid!
Thanks for your story tonight is the first time for me visiting this chat room. I will be 29 weeks tomorrow and i am in the hospital because my water broke 2 nights ago. We are hoping for a miracle. Did your baby have any problems with bleeding in the brain. THat is one of my concerns. We are scared right now but praying i dont go into labor at least this week. so glad he is doing so well =)
Thanks for your story tonight is the first time for me visiting this chat room. I will be 29 weeks tomorrow and i am in the hospital because my water broke 2 nights ago. We are hoping for a miracle. Did your baby have any problems with bleeding in the brain. THat is one of my concerns. We are scared right now but praying i dont go into labor at least this week. so glad he is doing so well =)[/b]
Hi there! I'm sorry I didn't post back sooner, I just saw your post. I hope your little one is still cooking in there!
Yes, Jim had an IVH (a brain bleed), it was a Grade 2 but it resolved itself before he left the hospital. The docs said that you only have to worry about CP or other issues if it's a Grade 3 or above. He doesn't appear to have any issues related to the IVH. That was one of the scary things for me too, because it seemed to be one of the things that could lead to long-term problems...there's so much scary info about it, it's like the more you read, the more scared you get. But it's hard not to try to read all you can, especially when you're stuck in the hospital waiting...anyway, I hope this is helpful info. Hang in there and please keep us posted about how you're doing on the NICU/Preemie board if you have a chance!