Breathe, Little One

>> 11.18.2009

Breathing is the greatest pleasure in life.
Giovanni Papini

It appears that Liam too is wondering what in the world is going on! (Excuse the quality of these pictures- they were taken on my phone.) Yesterday, he started breathing too quickly so they did a chest x-ray which came back "hazy" [quite the technical terminology]. He is back up to 4 liters of oxygen and has started "chest compression therapy" to move the fluid around and prevent pneumonia.

I found some information on lung problems in premature infants here and, of course, Liam, being very white and very much a boy, is at a greater risk for lung complications.

I think the hardest part is that every little complication, every time Liam has a set-back, it extends the time before he will be able to come home. When these things happen everyone assures me that he will be fine... and I appreciate the words of comfort because I want more than anything else for him to be fine. But, on a very selfish level, I also want him home! I want to be able to hold him. I even just want to see him graduate to the back row, make it into an open bassinet and be considered a feeder/grower, and not just for his sake [though mostly, of course, for his sake] but also for my own sake...because I hardly remember what it feels like to take a deep breath anymore. Living your life on pins and needles is hard. And kind of pointy.

Every time we walk in and his oxygen has gone up or he has had a large residual or whatever the case may be, I watch the 6 weeks stretch to 8... then to 12...and so on. I am already so sick of the NICU and we have only been there for 22 days. There are babies stuck there for 222 days. And obviously, I would take the 222 days over the alternative if it is necessary... but I just get so very tired thinking about it. Big. Fat. Sigh.

Okay.. I am now choosing to stop all this negativity. On the other side of things, watching Liam transform from fetus to baby before my very eyes is pretty amazing. Of course, I would much rather NOT be watching it while it happens inside of me but since I have no other choice, I have to say.. it is really cool. He has gone from this wrinkled, tiny, pink, sleeping lump of a thing to an active, alert and not so wrinkled [but still very tiny] baby... in a mere 3 weeks! It is incredible.

For instance, the banner at the top of this blog was taken 3 days after Liam was born. It is already ridiculously out of date. He looks completely different. It is rather amazing.

He is also becoming much more aware of his surroundings and in one nurse's words, quite the busy-body. He is constantly yanking at his tubes and wires. He managed to pull his feeding tube completely out the other day and I swear I saw a look of satisfaction on his little face... until, of course, it was shoved right back down his throat- and then... he was PISSED.

His little hands are into everything. He also makes sure everyone is aware of how he feels about things- his night nurse told us that he is starting to get very mad when they mess with him because he has been messed with so much. He also fusses when his diaper is dirty because little princes' bottoms should not suffer contact with such filth for even the briefest of minutes, you know.

He has learned to suck!! And works a pacifier like a rockstar. [Yes, that massive one in the picture above. Except it isn't really massive at all. It just looks massive in comparison to his peanut head. And it's all vanilla scented and fancy.] He also tries very hard to make eye contact with whoever is talking to him... on the rare occasions he can be bothered to wake up enough to listen, that is.

Yesterday, I walked in and peeked into his isolette to find him staring at the ceiling with a look of wonder on his face. I sat next to him for a long time, just watching his eyes wander around the room, taking in all this sensory input that he would not be experiencing in the womb. His arms waved...his feet kicked. He opened his mouth- he closed his mouth. He pulled on his ears. He blinked and winked and rolled his eyes. Finally, he scrunched up his face and pitched a fit... or, you know, a squeak. [All of that cuteness was actually just Liam's way of filling his diaper.] So I changed him and talked to him and loved on him as best as I could... and he watched me the entire time with his big, dark eyes.

If you are pregnant... take a moment to be completely amazed that this is happening inside of you. All of these things I am watching Liam learn, your little one is learning before he or she is even born! It is almost unbelievable.


Julia November 18, 2009 at 1:03 PM  

I was sitting here with my hand pressed into my belly feeling my little one kick and squirm while reading this, and it is AMAZING.

I am sorry for the dissapointment you are facing I hope Liam gets better each day

Thinking of you often...Julia

~Angela (mommylawyer) November 18, 2009 at 10:43 PM  

I took a deep breath, shuddered, and teared up at your last paragraph. Thank you for reminding me of the miracles we BOTH have - as my pregnancy continues and as your little boy grows and learns before your eyes. Liam is in my thoughts and prayers - and, you're right, he is changing so much!

Toni November 19, 2009 at 5:44 AM  

You and Liam are so blessed, even though I so know it doesnt feel like it at the moment, but sucking on his pacie is SOOOO big! For there to be no feeding tube later in life, he has to want to eat, eat, eat and I'd give anything for some of my little friends to have that big cheers to Liam!!!

I also must say he does, indeed, look very different and really grown up in this last pic you took.

I'm sorry your time in the NICU must be so long and I know you must truly want your boy home, but it will happen, and this will all be a long memory, its just temporary, but again, remember he's making good progress.

lori November 19, 2009 at 1:52 PM  

i just stumbled across your blog on babycenter, and i am hooked. you write so vividly. i am so sorry that your family is enduring these tough times, but it is wonderful that your little guy is doing so well. i agree with the previous commenter...sucking on his paci is HUGE. i hope that your health also is improving. i had severe pre-E and HELLP syndrome at the end of my pg with my oldest, a girl. we were lucky enough that i had it late in the 3rd trimester, so she had no ill effects. i had a lot of issues caused by the HELLP syndrome and had a long recovery, but am fine now. i look forward to keeping up with your blog and your growing boy.

Meg November 20, 2009 at 1:28 PM  

Your son is SOOO precious and strong and SOOO lucky to have so much love in his life. And I agree with the previous comment--you are a great writer and I love your blog :) And WAY TO GO LIAM for sucking the pacifier!!! Woohoo!

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