Sunday, August 24, 2008

An Update on Ryan

I sent this email out to all of our amazing friends and family:

I thought you all might like to hear an update on Baby Ryan. I know Dwight sent you all a link to the family’s website with some pictures right after he was born. Hopefully, you were able to actually view them. ( Here’s the rest of the story…

When Ryan was born, he did not cry in the delivery room. They worked with him for several minutes and gave him oxygen, but he still didn’t cry. After being in the nursery for a couple of hours, they determined that his breathing, while not labored, was much too fast. He was taking about 120 breaths per minute versus the average baby’s 40-60 breaths per minute. They did lung x-rays and found out that his lungs were “hazy” or “wet”. They transferred him to the NICU and told us they expected him to be there for 24-48 hours.

Blood work showed a lot of leukocytes (or immature white blood cells) indicative of an infection. They started IV antibiotics and kept him on monitors. They put a tube in his throat to feed him so that eating wouldn’t stress him any further. After 3 days of antibiotics, his lungs were still hazy and his blood work still showed signs of infection. It was determined then that he’d need to have a 7 day course of antibiotics. They weren’t confident that the infection was the cause of his rapid breathing. They had anticipated his lungs clearing much faster. Even when his lung xrays eventually came back clear, his breathing was still much too rapid.

So, they did LOTS of tests … CT scans, kidney ultrasounds, ECGs, chest x-rays, daily blood work, chromosome panels, head ultrasounds, etc. After 7 or 8 days in the NICU, they even talked of sending him home with monitors and a “G” tube. (A G tube is a feeding tube surgically implanted in his tummy.) During the first week plus of his life, we never heard him cry. He basically just slept. I remember numerous times of walking into the nicu, hearing a baby cry, and hoping it was Ryan. There was always a feeling of sadness when I realized it wasn’t him.

Since I had a c-section, they had me stay at the hospital during the 2 weeks. This enabled me to provide “kangaroo care” (skin to skin contact) which they have found to be extremely helpful with NICU babies. It also enabled me to nurse as allowed. He was fed every 3 hours round the clock. Most of the time, I would go into the NICU, hold him while he was fed through the tube. When he was finished eating, I would go pump so that they would have milk to feed him for the next feeding.

Eventually to make a really long story must shorter, after about 10 days, he woke up. They found everything to be normal, except for 2 minor heart defects. The neonatologists think he was a “premature full-term baby”. Many of the problems he had were common for preemies, but at 38 ½ weeks and 7 ½ pounds, he wasn’t technically a preemie, but he did have many of the symptoms.

As for the heart defects … The first defect is fairly common and is a mild form of the problem. They anticipate it will correct itself with time. The second defect is not so minor and they anticipate it will need surgery at some point. For now, we will be following up with the Pediatric Cardiologist frequently. It could require surgery in a month, or it may not require surgery until he’s in his teens or later. We will just have to see (and pray for miracles).

Speaking of miracles… during our 2 weeks in the NICU, we witnessed numerous miracles for our family and others. Even prior to delivering Ryan, there were blessings. Some of you already know, that I had felt very impressed to change hospitals, which required a change in doctors. It was a hard choice to make as I really liked my OB. It worked out to be such a blessing that I did change. The new hospital is only 2 miles from home instead of 20. Additionally, Ryan would have been transferred from the old hospital to this one. If he had been transferred, I would not have been able to stay with him for the 2 weeks. This would have probably resulted in a G tube. Additionally during our stay, we were blessed with the best specialists, nurses and friends. Our dear friends brought dinner to our family each evening, and lunch to me each day. We had more offers for help than we could even use. We felt the power of the many, many prayers being given on our behalf. And, for all these blessings and miracles, we are very grateful!

We are SO thankful to have Baby Ryan home and that he has found his voice. (He really can cry! J Who knew that with my 6th child I would feel gratitude for his crying.)

We thought you might enjoy seeing some new pictures. If interested, go to:

The password is: mannguest
(all lower case)

On the left side, you’ll see a list of our photo albums. You’re welcome to browse them all, but if you click on “Baby Ryan”, you’ll see our latest pictures. This will give you a small image of each picture. But, if you click on “Slide show” on the upper right side, then you can see the images and the descriptions. I hope that’s clear…