How tiny breaths teach us big things

Guess who’s a month old!


Apologies for the delayed status update, but Struthers has been busy growing and teaching Mommy how to get things done and take care of herself over the last week or so!

The highlights (for both of us):

Weight: 1330 grams (2.9lbs)
Length: 14″
Age: 30 days old, 31 weeks gestational age (crazy that at a month old, he’s still not supposed to be outside the womb for another 2 months!)

Struthers surprised Mommy and went off of CPAP last Sunday, only to be put back on it about 12 hours later when he began working too hard to breathe. The NICU motto is “two steps forward, one step back”, so I wasn’t surprised. And now, a week later, he was again weaned off of it again this morning and seems to be doing OK thus far! The CPAP requires a little hat with the headgear attached, so we really hadn’t seen his hair or his head too much since all that ‘furry newborn’ look went away. Now that he’s ‘free’ of his little headgear, we can see that his reddish-blonde hair on his head matches that of his little eyebrows, so I guess he got a little bit of red from both great-grandmothers and Mommy. It’s been hard to tell until now who he looks like, but he’s making it more obvious lately when he furrows his tiny heavyset browline…that would be Daddy.

Struthers is what they call a ‘hot potato’ in the NICU…and, no, that doesn’t mean he gets tossed around. It simply means he gets hot easily. He manages to ALWAYS work one foot out of even the most perfect tight swaddle. And they usually don’t like or expect to move his isolette to manual mode until 32+ weeks. But he blew through that milestone early, and is now regulating his own temperature without the assistance from the fanciest little bed you’ve ever seen! That little jump was significant to Mommy, simply because it means we get to dress him in real clothes now! In theory…it’s hard to find clothes small enough or that you don’t mind cutting for wires or tube access. But we have a friend who sent us a few outfits designed specifically for ‘tethered’ NICU babies and they are really cool (and TINY!).

At the prompting of Daddy and our favorite nurse, Mommy made her first trip home in over six weeks, if only for a few hours. The weather was beautiful enough to enjoy sitting on the porch for a little bit. I’d planned on a little hike up to my prayer rock, but I was just too tired and sitting down to relax was what I needed. I also had the chance to finish putting away some shower gifts and inventory the nursery…I had a shower the weekend prior to being hospitalized and had not really put everything away or organized any of it yet (if you know me, you know this little detail has bothered me for weeks!) Then I sat in the beautiful glider lovingly rehabbed by my mother-in-law and sweet friend Jessica. And I just rocked…it felt so normal. I’ve sat and rocked in that chair prior to now, and dreamed of the little boy I would be holding. And now, that little boy has a face and a name and it was the most therapeutic rock there ever was. I can’t wait until he’s in my arms in that chair. I am trying to strike a balance, and will likely try to schedule day-trips home about once a week. Our room at Ronald McDonald House is still a godsend, and we don’t want to lose it by spending a night away.

Mommy is still recovering well, and her blood pressure has stabilized on just one drug for now. But a vascular intervention is scheduled for mid-January, and we will know more about what might be needed to longterm stabilize the carotid in particular after ‘eyes are on target’. I’m still trying to figure out what time off from works look like, given that my leave will be exhausted before he’s even home…continued prayers for that to work itself out would be greatly appreciated. Again, my employer has been amazing, but there are still logistics and practicalities to work through.

Thanks for your continued prayers–

Eli, Cami and Struthers

1 Comment

  1. Cami Bremer

    Comments imported from CaringBridge (10 comments):

    What a great update! He is a fighter! Prayers for all of you!
    —Kim Conley, December 15, 2014

    So glad Struthers is making good progress. Before you know it, you’ll be able to take him home! I’ll continue to pray for you, Eli, and baby.
    —Roya Seymore, December 15, 2014

    Thanks for keeping us updated. Struthers is a wonderful little miracle and it’s a blessing to hear how good God is. Keep leaning on Him!
    —Phoebe Wetherbee, December 14, 2014

    Just gotta say -// that foot out of the covers thing? As silly as it sounds, he for that trait from me! For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt like I couldn’t breathe if my feet were under the covers! And the hair? Most definitely from his mom? Crooked little fingers? That’s from you and me both. He does look like his daddy, but his mommy and daddy actually look very much alike. I think God has marked this baby so that everyone who sees him will clearly know he belongs to you two. God did that as a gift to both of you.
    —Coni Grebel, December 14, 2014

    We praise God for Struther’s continued progress forward! He is a strong little boy! All the Dillards continue holding you close in prayer.
    —Susan Dillard, December 13, 2014

    How awesome that he is gaining weight so quickly! Praying for you all.
    —Sherry Askey, December 13, 2014

    What a blessing to be able to hear about your journey! We feel as if we were there. Your walk with Jesus is very precious and inspiring! We are praying!
    —Don and Brenda Adams, December 13, 2014

    Thanks for your update; Glad all of you are doing fine
    —Ann Alvis, December 13, 2014

    Cami, This update is so precious. We love to hear how all of you are doing. I was a preemie at 3.4lbs a long time ago. I know God has had his mighty hand on me. I am praising God every step for you guys.
    —Gayle Meagher, December 13, 2014

    Thanks for the update on your “little man” Will keep praying
    —Rosalyn Forsyth, December 13, 2014

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