Home At Last

Getting out of the hospital was longer and more difficult than it should have been, but we are all home at last! Owen is in bed, and Mary is feeding Ivan (and he is eating very well, by the way). We will try to get some sleep and I will post more tomorrow if there is time.

Almost Home

Sorry I didn’t post anything yesterday – I know a lot of people were looking for an update.

Ivan has been in a new room where Mary can stay right there with him and feed him and hold him a lot. I think that’s one thing he has needed this whole time – we could not hold him much in the NICU. I’ve been sleeping at home and keeping Owen at night (Yesterday he spent the day at some friends’ house, and today he went up to the hospital with me for a couple of hours. He’s not sick at all, so I guess his “spill” on Sunday was just due to gaging on something).

Since we were on a new floor, that meant another new doctor, and another new opinion of what needed to be done and when we could leave. This doctor was younger, and told us right up front that he liked to err on the side of caution. That’s not exactly what we wanted to hear.

He thought that Ivan should stay for a few more days (“few” meaning 3 to 7!) to get more antibiotics and to monitor his feeding. The whole thing with the antibiotics was a “just in case” treatment. There was concern about a possible infection, but all of the blood tests have been negative and there have never been any signs of one. However, this doctor said that if there was an infection, the 7 days of antibiotics Ivan has had so far might not be enough to kill it off completely.

Basically, I told him “no”. I told him that I was confident that Ivan is fine now, and there is nothing left to do for him except to get him off the feeding tube so that he can eat normally and go home. We talked about it for 20 minutes or so, and he finally just asked us to think about it and said that he would think about it and we would discuss it more the next day (today).

After he left, we talked about praying for Ivan to start eating better and stuff like that, but Mary really felt like God was telling her to pray for that doctor to simply change his mind. So, that’s what we did. And can you take a guess what happened?

Well, he came back this morning, and said that he had spoken to the doctor down in the NICU, and that doctor had convinced him that no more treatment was necessary! He stopped the antibiotics this morning, ordered the feeding tube to be removed, and said that as log as Ivan is eating well from the bottle today, we should be discharged this evening.

God is good!

I brought Owen back home at lunch time to feed him and let him take a nap, and we’re going to go back up to the hospital for one last time tonight, and come home all together as a family.

Feeding

Mary just called to tell me that while she was out of the room, Ivan pulled his feeding tube all the way out! Then she gave him a bottle, and he drank more than half of it before falling asleep. Hopefully, the nurse will not insist on re-inserting the tube and Mary can get him eating well tonight.

Transfer

The doctor called me this morning to let me know that Ivan would be transferred out of the NICU today, and would be moved to a regular room where we could stay with him (even spend the night) and take care of him. He said Ivan was progressing nicely, and they would be taking off the air tubes and turning off the phototherapy lights. The only real concern left is that he is still not taking a bottle very well.

Our plan was to eat lunch quickly after church, and then all go up to the hospital for the afternoon. We needed to be there by 2:00 at the latest, because the hospital did not have enough of Mary’s milk to cover Ivan’s 2:00 feeding. However, as we started eating lunch, Owen “spilled the graham crackers” again.

So, we scrambled. We were considering trying to find someone to watch Owen for the afternoon, but we needed to leave in just a few minutes to get there in time. So, we decided that Mary would stay home and I would drive up to the hospital to deliver the milk.

On the way there, I got a call saying that Ivan was being moved and they gave me his new room number. I got there by 2:00 and was able to feed him myself. He took a little bit from the bottle, but wasn’t really very awake so I had to give him the rest via his tube. I spoke to the new doctor for a few minutes, and then headed back home.

I really don’t want Owen to have to spend another night away from home, so we decided that I will stay home with Owen, and Mary will spend the next two nights in Ivan’s room at the hospital. That way, she can try to work with him more on the feedings and hopefully get him to nurse soon.

I may ask someone to watch Owen during the day tomorrow so that I can go be with Mary, but only if he doesn’t “spill” again. I suspect that he may have gotten re-infected with whatever he had a couple of weeks ago, and whoever he got it from probably got it from him to begin with, so I don’t want to keep perpetuating that cycle. It could be just a one-time problem from something he ate, though. Mary even wondered if it might be stress-related, from all the shuffling around and being away from us for so long. It’s hard to know for sure.

So, we’re getting near the end of this, but still need prayer for a couple of issues. Please pray that Owen will not be sick, and also that Ivan will start eating properly so they can remove the feeding tube and send him home.

Thanks.

Day 5

Ivan EatingIvan is continuing his progress towards normal infant life. He’s no longer getting extra oxygen, although there is still a tube feeding regular air into his nose. That will hopefully be removed tonight.

He has started eating from a bottle a little more, but not yet enough to remove the feeding tube or to try nursing him. The last time I fed him he took about a fifth of his bottle naturally, but then got tired so we had to use the tube for the rest. For whatever reason, they were not warming the bottles beyond room temperature, so I suggested they try the next one a little warmer and hopefully he will respond better to that.

We are home again for the night and ate some great sandwiches which were left over from Lael Fadely’s first birthday party, which, regrettably, we missed yesterday. Owen was able to be there, though, so I’m sure he represented the Kelso household well (and probably ate all of our share of birthday cake).

Less than an hour ago, Travis dropped Owen off at our house, and he was so excited to see us and be home. It’s hard to believe that we went 4 days without seeing him! It was already past his bedtime, but of course we let him play and talk a little and read some stories to him. He told us about going to Chloe’s house and Jayna’s house and Grant-Dean’s house and how he went to a birthday party and played with balloons and trains and all sorts of other things. He was resistent to going to bed for a very short while, but I think his tiredness soon caught up with him and he was glad to lay down when we finally made him.

We have been told by many of our friends who kept him over the last four days that he has been so well behaved for them. I’m so glad to have such an easy-going kid. It made it just that much easier to deal with this whole situation with Ivan knowing that Owen was well taken cared for and not causing anyone too much trouble. A great big thanks again to all of our friends who took care of him (as well as those who offered to help but didn’t get the chance).

Oh, yeah – as Owen came in the house, he said “I like that Travis”.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go ahead and go to church and teach my class, and Mary will stay home to get some rest and spend time with Owen. Then we’ll take Owen with us to the hospital for the afternoon. He won’t be allowed in the NICU, but being a children’s hospital, they have a lot of play areas and interesting things for kids to do and see. We probably won’t stay real late because of having Owen there, but at least we will be able to take turns visiting Ivan a little. Monday, we’ll spend most of the day there again while Owen stays at the next-door neighbor’s.

If all goes well, we will take Ivan home on Tuesday!

New Doctor, New Outlook

Mary giving Ivan his first bottleFrom the first day we arrived in the NICU, I felt that the doctor we were assigned was somewhat of a pessimist. He seemed to have a “we better do everything, just in case” attitude, and he was talking in terms of weeks instead of days. There was talk of a PICC line and a spinal tap (to check for certain kinds of infection). It just seemed like overtreatment to me, but I was trying to trust him.

Yesterday (December 1st), he told me that at the beginning of the month the doctor teams rotated, so there would be a different doctor starting on the 2nd (today). I began to pray that God would send us an optimistic doctor. I prayed that he would come in and look at Ivan and say that a lot of this stuff is unnecessary – that Ivan is a healthy baby and we need to get him out of the hospital and back to normal life as soon as possible.

That is exactly what happened!

The new doctor came in today and looked at Ivan’s stats, looked over his history, and looked at the treatments that had been recommended. He said to cancel the PIC and the spinal tap, wean him off the oxygen today, and start feeding him with a bottle and try to get him nursing tomorrow. He does want Ivan to finish the antibiotic treatment they started, which will last until next Tuesday (7 days total), but he sees no reason why we should have to stay here after that.

The previous doctor was actually in the room, and argued a little. Even one of the nurses who has been taking care of him tried to say that he’s not ready to eat, etc. The doctor said “It’s time to start treating him like a normal baby. He’s vigorous. He can do this stuff. Push him.”

So, Mary tried to feed him a bottle shortly after that. He’s still got a feeding tube down his throat (they started feeding him via the tube yesterday), so it may take him a little longer to get the idea of sucking for food, but we’ve started down that road so I’m sure it won’t be long.

God is so good! Please continue to pray that Ivan will grow and develop properly, and specifically that he will start to eat without the tube.

We are out of our sleep room here at the hospital, so we will probably be staying at home the next few nights and driving down here during the day. We haven’t seen Owen for a couple of days now, but he is with good friends and we’ve been told that he is behaving and having a great time. Hopefully, we will get to spend some time with him tomorrow or Sunday. Thanks again to everyone who has helped out. We have such great friends!

Jaundice

Ivan under the lightsA quick Ivan update:

He is no longer on assisted breathing, but is still being given oxygen through his nose. He’s still working a little harder to breathe than he should have to, so the doctors don’t feel that he can eat normally right now, because he may not have the energy to both eat and breathe. So, they are putting in a feeding tube and will begin feeding him that way, and remove it once his breathing is close to normal. He has also developed jaundice, which is typical in these types of cases, so he’s under the lights, as you can see in the photo.

We are staying in one of the sleep rooms on the NICU floor for at least one more night (tonight), and then we will find out tomorrow if we can stay longer. The doctor expects Ivan to be here for at least a week, maybe two. I would prefer not to have to drive back and forth from our house each day – especially for Mary’s sake, having just given birth on Tuesday.

We’ve had a lot of support from friends and family. Thanks to everyone who has brought us food and other stuff, come to visit us, and taken care of Owen during this time. And we especially thank you for your prayers.

The NICU

IvanA lot has happened since I made the initial post declaring that mother and baby were both doing fine (that was only minutes after he was born). It’s a very long story, and maybe one day I’ll write out the whole thing, but for now I will summarize.

Ivan is about a month premature (just over 36 weeks). As a result, his lungs are a little underdeveloped, and we noticed pretty quickly that he was breathing a little funny, and possibly even struggling a bit at it. After working with him at the house for a little while, our midwife contacted a pediatrician she knows and he recommended we bring the baby down to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

To make a long story short, he was looked at by a dozen doctors, and went from the walk-in clinic to the emergency room to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Chest x-rays revealed that his lungs were a little young and that he had a pocket of air in his chest next to one of the lungs that was restricting his breathing. Several doctors assured me that this was not unusual in early births, and that many children have a mild case of this (I forget what they call it – they’ve been throwing a lot of terms at me) that goes unnoticed and resolves itself over time.

Mary looking at IvanTheir main concern was not that it would be a long term problem, but that he would not get enough oxygen which could obviously cause other, more serious problems.

So, he spent last night in the NICU with a breathing tube down his throat, and oxygen tubes in his nose. The doctor estimated that he will have to be here about a week. Mary and I have been given a room here at the hospital to sleep in, so at least for the moment we are living here. Owen is with the Fadelys, and is having a blast playing with his buddy Dean.

As of this afternoon, the tube has been removed, and he was breathing on his own, but still working a little harder at it than they would like. They may have to put the tube back in, but will try some other methods of assisted breathing before they go that far. The pocket of air in his chest is almost completely gone. He’s still getting oxygen, but he’s down to about 30% of where he started.

Mary is doing well. She is sore, and of course tired, but otherwise feeling good.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much God has blessed us during this process. From the moment I walked in, He has given us favor and led the right people to “happen by” and take some action to help Ivan. As one example, the NICU normally does not accept any babies that were not actually born at Vanderbilt. I still don’t know who made that decision or what led to it, but I know that God was here before me preparing the way.

I will try to update as we get new information. I don’t have a lot of time to just sit and write, but hopefully I can update at least once a day, and Mary will try to get on and write her side of the story as well.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and especially for Ivan, and please continue to do so.

God is good!

Surprise!

Proud FatherLook who came for a visit today!

Ivan Harrison Kelso
Born: 11-29-2005 9:53 AM
Length: 20 Inches
Weight: 7 lbs. 14 oz.

It all happened VERY fast. Mother and baby are doing great. More details later…The Weigh-InIvan Harrison Kelso

Another Week

I didn’t post anything this past week, although several times I have started to, but when I got down to it, I didn’t enjoy writing what there was to write. So, I just didn’t do it.

Owen has been sick for 5 days now. He’s had the runs pretty bad, plus he’s been “spilling the graham crackers“. I hate it for him. He seems to play and be fairly happy for most of the day, but occasionally he will start crying and it’s obvious that his stomach hurts, and then before long, well, there’s a mess to clean up. Today has been much better, though, and I feel confident that he’s close to a full recovery.

We didn’t let it totally ruin our holiday. I had a half day on Wednesday, and then was off Thursday and Friday, so I’ve had a 4 1/2 day weekend which was much needed. There’s a lot that I probably could have accomplished, but with Owen being sick, I chose to just take it easy and spend as much time as I could playing with him (and occasionally cleaning up after him). I actually had a fairly nice time despite the sickness. It was good to not have to go anywhere (at least not much) for a couple of days.

The places I did go:

Thursday, we went to Bobby and Becky’s for Thanksgiving dinner. Mary’s dad and brother were also there, and the food, as always, was great. We stayed for most of the afternoon but then Owen… well, I’ll spare you the details but we had to go home.

Friday, I was invited by a friend to go play a game of touch football with a bunch of guys. I had been thinking this week about Thanksgiving when I was a kid, when all the cousins and the uncles would play a game of football in the afternoon at my grandparents’ house. I figured there wasn’t much chance of doing anything like that for at least several years when Owen gets old enough to do that sort of thing, but then my friend called and suddenly I was playing football like old times – except that this time I was one of the “old guys”. It was very fun, though. I’m a little sore, but it was worth it.

Saturday I didn’t leave the house except for a run to Lowe’s to get a few household supplies. I refilled the water softener salt and fixed a shelf and replaced some batteries in a few items. That’s about all the work I’ve done this weekend.

This morning was church, but only for me. Mary stayed home with Owen. The service was great, though. Pastor has been speaking on thankfullness this month (I know, not very original), and it’s really been a great series. Next week, he’s doing an illustrated sermon and there’s supposed to be a bunch of videos of some of our pastors doing crazy things like bungee jumping and skydiving and racing go-carts. It sounds like they just went out and had fun and then built a sermon around it. I’m sure it will be very good, though.

Tomorrow, it’s back to work. I don’t really want to go back, but there’s that whole paycheck thing that I rather enjoy, so I think I should keep doing it for at least a little while longer.