Wow. Life is busy. Sorry, everyone, that I haven't been updating, but I hardly have time to sit! Heidi got to see Lincoln for the first time about 8 hours after he was born. We visited him Thursday morning at about 3:00 am, and he was awake, so we talked to him and prayed with him, and I sang him to sleep. Thursday morning around 11:00, Heidi and I held Lincoln for the first time. As I sat there and looked into his face, I saw my whole world complete in that little guy. Never in my life has my heart felt so full of joy and love - I'm completely overwhelmed by the emotions and the feelings. Heidi and I are so blessed. Since I know what you all want, here's a picture of Lincoln; I'll update you all on the status after the latest pic of my beautiful son.
Last we talked, I told you about the criteria required for Lincoln to be able to go home: He had to be able to breathe on his own, eat, and maintain his body temperature (at around 98 degrees fahrenheit, they tell me). So here's what's up:
This Is the Air I Breathe
Lincoln is off the CPAP machine! Here's before:
And here's after:
It's an amazing difference, isn't it? When I went to visit Lincoln on Thursday morning, he had been taken off the CPAP. He was breathing on his own! What you see in his nose now is a nasal canula - just little tubes that blow air up into his nose. But there's no back pressure there, and he's breathing on his own with great O2 stats! When I saw it, I cried. So did my friend Jessica who was there visiting with us.
There have been a couple hiccups on the path to perfect respiration: Lincoln had a few episodes early Friday morning where his breathing was shallow and his O2 stats dropped down a bit. The nurse said that he recovered well on his own, which is great news, but we want to see him breathing well without any episodes or concerns. We're continuing to pray with him for his continued progress and development.
Get In My Belly!
Great news - Lincoln is eating! On Friday morning, they took the tube out of Lincoln's mouth that was draining leftover "stuffs" in his belly and inserted a feeding tube up through his nose. He is eating about 12 CCs of mommy's milk every three hours or so, and he's had a couple of dirty diapers now - we're super excited! Tonight, while he was feeding, Heidi and I were able to hold him and talk to him. It's such an amazing time. Lincoln is on the fast-track for the food (which, I have to say, is genetic on the Titus side).
Is it hot in here, or is it me?
Lincoln's external body temperature needs to hold steady at around 98 Fahrenheit (the hospital measures in centigrade, but those numbers are all European to me). Currently, he's been under a warmer that keeps him in about there. I went home this morning and washed some of his blankets, and when I got back, they wrapped him up in them to see if he could stay warm while swaddled. They took his temperature a couple of times tonight, and he was at 97 or a little lower, so they unwrapped him and put him back under the light.
According to the nurse, keeping the body warm burns a lot of calories, so it's important that while Lincoln is still trying to grow and gain weight, they don't want him to be hampered by warming himself. I totally get it, and I'm super cool with doing whatever we need to do to help Lincoln gain weight and grow. The nurse warned me that we may, at some point, come in and see Lincoln in an incubator. This isn't a sign that he is doing poorly; rather, it's just designed to keep him warm so his body can store fat and calories - this is how he'll grow.
So that's how he's doing. Like his daddy, Lincoln has no problem getting food down. He does, however, need to develop his lungs a little more and he needs to gain some weight in order to keep himself warm. So that's our prayer request - that Lincoln will continue to grow and develop and gain weight so he can come home to us. I talked to the pediatrician who has been with him the past couple of days - Dr. Juan Acosta of Riley Hospital - and he was super-impressed with how quickly he is advancing. Initially, Dr. Acosta told us Lincoln would stay in the NICU until he was term - May 8. Then, we were told that he was better than expected, so maybe about three weeks. After seeing him advance the past two days, Dr. Acosta told me this afternoon that Lincoln will probably only be in the NICU for about a week or so. We're so excited!
Also, say a blanket prayer for all the babies in the NICU. Lincoln is doing so very well, and Heidi and I are so blessed because of it. Friday, while Heidi and I were sitting with and holding Lincoln, we started feeling sorry for ourselves because we'll be going home Saturday without a baby in our arms (or, more appropriately, legally and securely buckled into a safety seat and driven home with incredible caution). While we sat there in the NICU forgetting about how great Jesus is, the place turned into a frenzy of action - a mother was delivering her baby at only 25 weeks old. Immediately Heidi and I looked at each other and thanked God for all of his blessings, and said a quick prayer for the new mommy and baby in that situation. We have so much to be thankful for.
Heidi and I go home tomorrow, and I'll update again soon with more pictures and any new details. You can get more regular updates on twitter.com/bltitus; you can see ALL the pictures of Lincoln at facebook.com/bltitus or at flickr.com/bltitus. Thank you to everyone for all your love and prayers.