Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rest In Peace my sweet baby boy 3-17-09 to 6-6-09

Our dear sweet baby Christian fought his battle long enough. He passed away in my arms yesterday afternoon at 5:02pm. They tried to resucitate him, but finally he just couldn't hold on anymore. I'll never be the same again, I have never felt this stale, hollow and hopeless in my life. Jason and I would like to thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. May Christian rest in peace and know that he was deeply loved by everyone.

God Bless,

Jason and Michelle

Christian Douglas Buktenica

March 17, 2009- June 6, 2009

I'll see you in heaven soon little monkey.
Mommy and Daddy will always love you

Friday, June 5, 2009

Daddy's Kangaroo Care 6-5-09

Jason got to kangaroo care for Christian this afternoon for 2 whole hours! He did so well and his little arms were wrapped around his chest the entire time! It was so adorable. His oxygen was able to be weened to 40 percent today! Can you believe that? I mean Sunday it was at a full 100%! Christian is a complete fighter and God is holding him in his hands with angels surrounded all around him. It makes me feel at ease leaving the hospital knowing that we have God to take care of things. God is good and lets continue praying!
With Love,
Jase and Michelle

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My First Kangaroo Session

This moment in time, stood completely still. The moment I felt his warm skin against mine was so unreal. He stayed content for 1 and a half hours. He slept most of it but did open his eyes for a few moments. I sang softly to him and kissed his head the whole time. I love my beautiful baby boy so much. He still needs your prayers. His lungs need to heal. P.S. He made 4lbs today!!!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jason Held Christian Today!!!

First, there was the discovery of the new world... Then, there was the first man on the moon... And today, there was me holding my baby for the first time in almost 11 weeks, a day in my life that I will never, ever forget. All is not lost with his recovery.

On Sunday afternoon last week, Christian aspirated, stopped breathing and took ten minutes of resuscitation to recover from his episode. The doctors told us that he would more than likely not live through the episode. They told us that we would be able to hold him if he passed. We cried like we've never cried before. We prayed like we've never prayed before. I begged like I've never begged before.

And our prayers were heard. All of your prayers were heard.

Though he is still critical, Christian is still very much alive and with us. He survived his episode, though at what cost is still unknown. He has been on a steady dose of three antibiotics and nitric oxide. His oxygen levels have been extremely high. He has dipped and raised, dipped and raised, but he is seeming to recover. His color today was very pink and healthy and his weight is up to 3 lbs. 13 oz. He continues to grow and to look healthy as an ox on the outside. His lungs are showing minimal improvement from the x-rays, but he seems to be slowly getting better. The doctors told us he was as sick as a little baby can get and that he was septic from a severe infection.

However, he was well enough today that the nurses felt he was strong enough to be taken out of his incubator and placed in his daddy's arms, and I can't even begin to describe what a feeling it was. To receive such indescribable joy from an event that is taken for granted thousands of times a day around the world... It was incredible. Time stood still. It is a moment that will profoundly mark my lifetime and leave a lasting impact on my psyche. I held him for an hour and begrudgingly shared him with Michelle (I say begrudgingly with the utmost of love and affection) so that she too could hold him for an additional hour. After the ordeal we have been through the past few days, this meant more to us than any single other thing that we could have possibly received, done, heard, etc... Multiplied one hundred fold. It was simply indescribable.

Our prayer for a sign was answered today, and we continue to pray for our little boy. Please continue to pray with us for God to hold our little boy in His arms and to heal him. We love you all and appreciate your thoughts and prayers more than you will ever know. You have had a profound impact on this family's lives.

With Love,

Jason & Michelle

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Today is the worst day Jason and I have ever had... We received a phone call at 8:00am this morning from one of the neonatal specialists taking care of Christian, and he informed us that Christian had collapsed a lung and had to have his settings on his ventilator adjusted to very high levels. As we made our way to the hospital, we had an opportunity to discuss the matter more thoroughly with the nurses and the doctors once we got there. Basically, the doctor told us that he had the signs of a very severe infection and we could see that his skin tone was a very pale white. Christian was completely lethargic. As we went to the lactation room to pump, once we returned there was a whirlwind of activity happening around us. Doctors and nurses were rushing to Christian's bedside because his heart rate had severely dipped from the normal 160bpm to around 40bpm... the doctors could not get him to increase his heart rate. Our doctor sat us down and told us that he more than likely would not survive and that there was little they could do to keep him from passing. It took them 10 minutes of resuscitation to ultimately bring his heart rate back up. He is alive still but in very critical condition as he rests in the NICU tonight. We have praying and praying all afternoon and evening, and we thought we had lost him. However, we believe through our prayer that he is still holding on and that God will provide him with a full recovery. We are reaching out to you all, our friends and acquaintances to please pray for our son in his most dire time of need. We need your support right now more than ever and you all have been so phenomenal in providing us with your support in the past. We are pleading with you all to please say a special prayer for our son so that God may hear all of us praying for our beautiful baby boy's recovery.

In Love and Gratitude,

Michelle and Jason

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Christian seems to be doing a little better today and yesterday. He may have to get the ROP surgery on his eyes, but the dr. said that he would rather wait it out til next week to see if it corrects itself. His weight is currently 3lbs 6 oz. Thank You for your continued prayers, please pray for his lungs.
Michelle and Jason

Monday, May 25, 2009

Please Pray

Christian has been having some oxygen trouble the past 2 days. It started Sunday morning around 6 am at shift change. He kept de-stating and hanging around 60 on his SPO2, and they had to bump his oxygen all the way to 100 percent. Poor baby, he was just not looking good. Well, finally they decided they would put him on nitric oxide which helped almost immediately. They were able to lower his oxygen to 57%. He got some blood today and now is on antibiotics. Please please pray for him. Pray that his lungs will heal and repair themselves. Pray for him to continue to be strong through all of this. Pray that his feedings will continue to go well.
Will keep you all updated.
Jase and Michelle

Friday, May 22, 2009

The BEST birthday present ever!

Today I got to hold Christian for the FIRST TIME! I was so excited, I was sweating! It has been over 9 weeks, and I finally finally FINALLY got to hold him! Also last night his weight was 3lbs1oz! I am so so happy right now and thanking God and the AMAZING staff at Ochsner Hospital. Anyway, I got to hold him 2 whole hours! He was so warm and every now and then they would take his temp, and it was higher than when he was in the incubator. It was truly the best present ever.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Finally got Internet in the house!

Yay! We finally got our internet connection set up today:D
Christian had a great week. He weighed 2lbs 14oz today. He was up to 2lbs 15 oz about three days ago but it shifts. His feedings are 7.8 ml an hour now! Big boy! He likes the milk, because he is pooping alot! Today poor thing was sitting in a puddle of poop. LOL. All over his blankets. So I decided I would buy him some more back up blankets. Im trying to stay away from the hospital ones, I don't enjoy the clinical look more than I have to. Plus he looks so much more comfy in his colorful blankets.
Jason flew back to California for the week, so I have been making sure to take tons of photos to send to him. I feel so awful that he has to go without seeing him.
Well, Christian is currently 33 weeks old and he has grown so much and I am so so happy and thankful for what God and the great hospital staff has done for our boy.
Much Love,
Jason and Michelle

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Visit

Well, today my poor little baby had to get a heart ultrasound. They found that bruises on him, and also his middle finger on his right hand was blue. So they wanted to make sure there were no clots. They found none, but the dr. believes that it already shattered so thats what could be causing the blueness and bruising. His platelet count was low as well. Tomorrow they are going to run more test to make sure there is nothing abnormal going on in his body. Other than that, he looked so happy and his stats were great. I spoke to him and he loved that and opened his eyes and looked at me for about 15 mintues. He even SMILED!!!! Im still a nervous wreck but Im trying to calm down.
Jason is driving through New Mexico on the way back here so he should be here late tomorrow. Im sure he is thrilled to be back here with his family.
Thanks for all your continued prayers.
Michelle and Jason

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Christian was not a very happy camper today during my 3 hour visit. I walked in, and immediately my motherly instincts told me he did not look very comfortable. His swaddle blanket wasn't wrapped around him completely and his legs were hanging out. He didn't look too snug. So, I started singing to him and he was fine, then his oxygen saturation was just hitting the 60's and 70's every 2 minutes. So, the nurse tried re-positioning him on his back, then he started to cry. But there was no sound because of his tubes, but I saw his face crinkling up and his stomach moving up and down like a normal baby would look like when they cry. It broke my heart, I started having anxiety and felt very uneasy. His blood gas came out a little better than this mornings, so that was at least a good thing. His oxygen was up to 77, his weight back to 2lb 5oz and his jet vent rate was back up at 400. I felt like he was doing so well earlier this week and now he needs more help. Well this is the rollercoaster ride the NICU nurses warn you about. I am a nervous wreck, but I am just putting all of this in the Lord's hands. I've got to learn to calm down. I was very happy to know that his feedings are still at 6.7 ml an hour and he is taking to them very well. More updates tomorrow when I get back from his visit.
God Bless,
Jason and Michelle

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Hello All,
Christian has become a big potato! He now weighs a whopping 2 lbs 7 oz! He has filled out so much! He is up to 6.5 ml an hour of breastmilk and taking to the feedings very well! His rate on the jet vent is now at 280, and we are hoping pretty soon that he will be off the jet vent. He enjoys head rubs with the johnson baby lotion and just resting your hand on his head calms him down. The day before yesterday, I walked in and had a shock! The nurse was putting an outfit on him! It was so adorable. I will post a photo soon. Thank God everythng has been going very smoothly for our little boy, thank you for all your thoughts and prayers:)
Jason and Michelle B.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Long Overdue Update - 4.27.09

Good Evening Everyone... My sincerest apologies for not posting in over a week. My energy to post daily hit a wall a little while back and I'm newly committed to getting back on the horse again. It's just been extremely taxing emotionally and physicallyon Michelle and I and sometimes we just collapse into a heap when we get home and blogging is the furthest thing from our minds.

Where do I begin?

Earlier last week on April 22 Christian had what Michelle and I feel was probably his worst day thus far. His stats had dropped significantly on this day to the point where he was saturated at 100% oxygen and could not go any higher. He normally sits in a range between 40-60%. After his PDA ligation he had been doing so well- the ventilator settings were coming down steadily, his gases were good, his feedings were back up, and then..... he took a very sharp downturn. You have to understand that Christian has an extremely bad case of pulmonary interstitial emphysema in his lungs, which is basically a fancy way of saying that he has a bunch of cysts all over his lungs that are stopping him from being able to compress and decompress his lungs fully like a healthy human being. Michelle and I stayed at the hospital for over 7 hours and would have stayed longer had we not been kicked out nor had we been drooling all over ourselves from exhaustion. I've never seen Christian so lethargic and lacking movement. He usually is wiggling all over the place. He had lost weight, his stats were bad, he wasn't moving, his oxygen levels were alarmingly high and the ventilator settings had to be bumped all the way up, eliminating all of the progress he had made following his surgery. Michelle and I were a wreck.

Fast forward to today, and Christian looks much, much different. It's amazing what 5 days can do. Chrsitian is back down to about 60% oxygen saturation at my last call to the NICU about 30 minutes ago. His night-time primary nurse, Rainna, is watching after him tonight. I always feel really comfortable when Christian is in her hands. His primary nurse for the daytime, Auntie Erika was watching him today. She is the sweetest nurse EVER! We love her. I think it is important to have a primary nurse that you can relate to and grow to love as much as we'vegrown to love her. Christian loves her too, and it makes you feel that extra little peace ofmind when you know she is taking care of him. She even went so far as to buy us this adorable littlemonkey frame when she wasout and about on her day off thinking about him. Too cute. We definitely hope to have Auntie Erika in our lives for many years to come.

We spoke with Dr. Ginsberg today and he informed us that the pulmonary emphysema is starting to improve from his latest chest x-ray. Christian gets an x-ray every morning to see what's going on in his little lungs. It seems the right side of his lungs have shown significant improvement, though the left side of his lungs are stillvery much suffering from the disease. Chrsitian is also suffering from a loss of blood platelets and adepletion of white blood cells,so the doctor has put him on three courses of antibiotics to hopefully correct that. Christian also had a blood transfusion yesterday and today to compensate for the lack of platelets.

His feeding are going great! He continues to be on full feedings without any supplemental fluids, which is outstanding. He is receiving 5.2 mL per hour of milk, which equated to about4.5 ounces daily. He is receiving a calorie fortifier which should help him to grow more quickly. He is up to a whopping 1 pound 14 ounces now, and Michelle and I are crossing our fingers for 2 pounds this week! He is starting to really fill out his little body and to get bigger. The doctor says his ability to tolerate feedings is going to be his saving grace.

I don't think I've left anything out. We'll be back tomorrow with some hopefully good news to share with you all. Until then, thank you for your prayers, thoughts and warm wishes, and God bless you all.

With Love,

Jason & Michelle

Sunday, April 19, 2009

4-19-09 Visit

Christian is back on his feedings and ALL his bloodwork is beautiful:D His blood sugar is 117 and his gasses were great. I finally worked up the courage to stay by his incubator today as they pricked his little foot for a blood gas. I thought he would make a face and grimace, but it was like he didn't even mind and he just yawned as Adam was taking the blood. I guess thats a good thing, I hate to see him in pain and umcomfortable. I sat there and let his fingers wrap around my finger. He has got an iron grip on him! He was very alert today and definately recognizes our voices. When Jason talks to him, his stats go up very quickly and he seems engaged, as to when I speak to him, he seems to open his eyes right away, then go back to sleep. Haha. Hopefully soon, the nurse said, we can start kangaroo kare. Im super excited and plan on spending as long as I can holding him.

Finally an Update!

Hi All, We apologize for not updating sooner. We know many of you have been checking on him. Christian had his PDA surgery done on Friday afternoon, April 17th. They first discovered his murmur when he was 13 days old, but it went away. It came back this past Thursday and they went ahead and decided surgery was the best option for him. You guys do not understand how nervous I was. I was unable to eat and concentrate on anything the moment we found out this had to be done. He pulled through great!!! There were no complications and he was resting peacefully when we saw him an hour afterwards. He is off his feedings as for now, but should be back on them come sometime early this week. Hopefully tomorrow or Tuesday. When I went to visit him yesterday, his eyes were wide open and he was very responsive. Jason went later on yesterday evening and said he was full of life and kicking alot! His blood sugar levels are improving, they were in the 200's but now down to 170. Hopefully, this surgery will clear him of most of his problems and help out with his lungs. He is still on the High Frequency Jet Ventilator, but his oxygen is down significantly from before his surgery.
I'm still pretty tired from my c-section, but everyday, I try to do a little more to build up my strength again. It's hard and challenging, especially since I was on bedrest too. I feel like I owe Jason the world for taking such good care of me, I can't wait to heal completely so I can finally go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients to make him his favorite, Lemon Marinque pie:D
Thank You all for all the continious prayers and positive thoughts. Christian is living proof that God listens and hears all of our prayers. So Thank You.
God Bless,
Jason and Michelle Buktenica

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Little Pookie is up to 4.5 ml of breast milk an hour now:) He is doing very well and his arm IV is finally off so now he can move freely. We only had a short visit with him today due to the NICU closing because of a new admit. But right as we were saying goodbye he opened his eyes and looked right at us. It was like he was saying please don't go. It broke my heart. But his stats were looking good and he was just resting as usual. I am bringing him his Easter Basket tomorrow along with a Bear that I found at Wal-Mart that imitates the womb. He will enjoy that. We wish everyone a very Happy Easter and don't eat too much chocolate!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

4-9-09 Visit

Today was so much fun visiting baby. He is doing so well:D His stats were good and he was just laying on his side sound asleep. He is up to 4 ml an hour now and they are fortifying the breastmilk for more caloric intake. We got a chance to change his diaper and right as I took the diaper off he tinkled all over, followed by a poopy! It was so cute! He wiggles constantly and likes to push his stuffed animals all over with his feet. After his diaper change we placed him on his back, and he stared at Jason and I for a good 30 minutes until he fell back alseep. It was the most blissful moment today. Something so minor that most people who have term babies take for granted meant SO much to Jason and I. It felt like a little peice of heaven when he looked into your eyes. Breathtaking. I, Michelle, was having some aching pains on my incision last night, so I wanted to refrain from walking a lot today. I'm still aching a little, but I think I am just working myself up by reading c-section healing stories. I made Christian an Easter basket and will bring that in Sunday. I am trying, key word, "trying" to upload a video from yesterday. Bare with me! Lots of Love, The Buktenica's

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

4.7.09 & 4.8.09 Visit

We went to visit Christian with Michelle's mom today. I went down to speak with one of the doctors for a sleep study consultation while Michelle and her mom went upstairs to see Christian. Once my consult was over, I went up to see our beautiful little boy and he looks happy as ever! He always looks super cute when he is on his tummy, like a little tree frog! Yesterday we had a very exciting thing happen- he opened both of his eyes wide open to look at us!! That's the first time we have seen both of his beautiful little eyes! It was incredible to feel the emotion surrounding that event and very special.

Christian is feeding completely off michelle's milk supply, and the doctors boosted him up to 4.0 mL per hour today, which at his weight is the most they will feed him right now. If he tolerates this amount, they will begin fortifying the milk with extra protein and enzymes to boost the amount of calories he is consuming, ultimately increasing his weight.

Chrsitian began steroid treatments this morning. He is going to be receiving 40 days of injections to increase his lung functioning. The x-rays that came back showed lungs that were not functioning well and the doctors decided during rounds to begin steroid treatment earlier than expected as a result. Part of the problem is the fact that he is on a ventilator and that he is so young... his body and his lungs aren't supposed to be functioing right now, as they are supposed to be still developing in the womb. The nurse told me that these steroid treatments are very common in babies his age and that they should start to improve his gases soon. He has a high amount of carbon dioxide in his blood gases right now, which means his arteries aren't pumping enough of the gas out of his lung and heart. They have certain ratios of oxygen to carbon dioxide that need to be maintained and he is hooked up to an oxygen stream which can be inversely correlated to the amount of carbon dioxide leaving his blood. This is a scary time for us right now, as the longer he is on the ventilator the more potential scarring his lungs will endure.

In other areas, he is doing very well. His ventomiacin is no longer being given to treat his infection and it seems that it has been all cleared up.

Michelle is making Christian an Easter basket right now with massive amounts of ribbons on it. I'll have to take a picture and post it. She's extremely crafty, as is Corinne.

4.5.09 & 4.6.09 Visit

Our apologies for not writing sooner, but the past few days have been quite hectic with consults for my sleep study, putting together Easter baskets, taking Michelle to the doctor, and various other things. On to Christian!

Christian looks to be getting bigger and bigger! The nurse told us today that he weighs 1 pound 9 ounces, which means he has gained about 6 ounces since he was born. He looks healthy and happy in his little incubator. We spoke to the doctor for a while today about potential steroid treatments that Christian is going to need in relation to his lung development. Apparently, the steroids tend to make some babies lose weight if they are given too early, so the doctor wants to wait until Christian is taking more milk and consistently increasing in weight.

Speaking of which, Christian was up to 3.0 mL yesterday and 3.3 mL today in regards to his feedings. He is taking Michelle's milk extremely well.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

4.4.09 Visit

We just got back from visiting our little man a little while ago... I need to stop eating late at night so that I can work off this pregnancy weight. This is Jason-not Michelle- by the way. She seems to be doing just fine with that =)

Christian looks very healthy right now, which is all we can ask for. They increased his feedings from 2.0 mL to 2.5 mL per hour, which means he is receiving about 60% of his food by breast milk and 40% by IV fluids. Once he is able to take 100% of his feedings by breast milk the doctors will be able to remove the feeding tube from what we understand.

Christian's vitals are more stable tonight than they were last night. His oxygen levels and his heart rate have both been remaining relatively level and the same. He is on about a 65% oxygen saturation level right now.

He just looks really healthy. He opened up his eyes for Michelle and I again tonight... I can't tell you how special it feels to witness that and feel that... it carries so much more emotion for us. these simple little milestones and events mean so much right now- it really helps us to feel more connected to him when we cannot hold him or comfort him right now while he's in the incubator. He totally has my legs and my calves and my feet... He's going to look just like his daddy when he grows up! Hopefully he gets Michelle's nose though =) We will see.

We'll stop in tomorrow again to see our little monkey after church with his big sister. She's having a special date with mommy and daddy to go see an IMAX 3-D movie. On a side note, Christian still loves his Peter Cetera songs. I'm beginning to write the structure for my book about our experiences, which I plan to title, "Peter Cetera Saved My Baby." It will no doubt become an instant bestseller... we just need to get it to Oprah somehow.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Christian Opened An Eye!! 4-3-09

Today was absolutely amazing, it was one of the days I was waiting for, the day he would finally open his eyes!!! Jason was standing against his little house and he just opened his eye! His left one.
We were so ecstatic, we started taking pictures, but he slowly started closing it by the time we snapped so I only caught him with it half open. I'll post it anyway. His feedings are back up to 2ml. He looked quite comfy all snuggled up on his stomach and was drooling away. There was one time his heart rate dropped to 82 but he quickly came back to 160ish. Jason was having anxiety attacks today, probably because he was looking at the moniter too much. I learned to just look at Christian instead of the moniter b/c I used to freak myself out too.
I will post Christian's photo now for all to enjoy! Thank You for all the prayers! They are working:D

Thursday, April 2, 2009

4-2-09 Visit

Today was a much better day for Christian. When we got there, he was laying on his back and just kicking away!! They told us they gave him some blood this morning, so his color was looking really good. He's back on his feedings as well.
I wasn't half as tired as I have been, but when I got home this afternoon, I conked out. I haven't really been able to eat much. I think my body is dealing with alot of stress and my stomach has been acting up. Its not aching persay, but it's definately uneasy and a bit queezy. I'm scared my milk supply will start running low if I don't eat enough, so I try to force myself.
Jason seems to be doing better too. Of course, he always has an appetite!!!
He took Corinne to get ice cream thus afternoon and to buy some things at wal-mart. We don't want her to feel left out since we go see Christian in the afternoon's, so she was happy to hang out with him.
I try to arrange to pump at 7am so I can get Corinne ready for school. I know every minute she hangs out with us, she enjoys!
Hopefully tomorrow will be another uneventful day for Christian. Thank you for all the prayers:D

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

4.1.09 Visit

We went to go see Christian in the morning about 9:30 am, when the doctor typically does his rounds. We found out more information about his condition today, and Doctor H said that christian has something called PIE (Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema). Basically, the condition can result from prolonged ventilator assistance and an overpumping of the fragile lung sacks, which is why they chose to put him on a separate ventilator. Though we still don't completely understand what is happening and what this means, I remember the doctor saying that they had to get him off of the ventilator soon to minimize any serious lung scarring. When we saw Christian, he looked well. His color was back and he looked better than he had the prior evening. The doctors had taken away him feedings as a precaution but they are back on at 1.0 mL per hour right now.

We went back to see Christian this evening after shift change at 8:00pm. He still looks to be doing well, and his vitals seem strong. He reacts very well when Michelle and I talk to him, and the nurses suggested recording our voices while reading a story so that they can play it back to him if his vitals drop. His heart rate dropped once tonight while we were there but he pulled himself back up on his own very quickly, within 10 seconds. We don't know what is going to happen at this point and it's really scary... We aren't totally clear about what the PIE condition means, nor how badly he has it. From our research online, it seems preemies are supposed to have this condition at 72 hours or less after birth, not this far along. It also stated that this condition is only present in about 1-2% of preemie babies. I stopped reading because I didn't want to scare myself or Michelle... sometimes too much information is a bad thing. There is mortality associated with this kind of condition. Hopefully we will get more information tomorrow when we see the doctor during rounds.

On a positive note, the doctors could not hear any signs of his heart murmur today, and they think it may have gone away. Also, Christian looks very close to opening his eyes! they are becoming more and more unfused each day. We love him so much, it is so difficult to leave him.......

3.31.09 Visit

I left for San Francisco for a quick day trip to pick up all of our mail that has been sitting for about 6 weeks, to pick up our tax documents and to make sure the apartment hadn't burned down. Of course, on the one day that I wasn't with Michelle, something turns for the worst.

The day began much like every other day we have had with Christian thus far. Michelle went to visit in the morning with her mom and everything was fine. christian's vitals were good, he looked to be in good health and there was no cause for concern. It was a relief for me to hear, as I was having anxiety just being away from my family even for a day. It was the first day that I wouldn't be able to see Chrsitian in the hospital because I was traveling.

Fast-forward to later in the evening, and I call Michelle from my plane during my connecting flight from Las Vegas. She tells me that the hospital called to let her know that something had happened- when I called her, she was already at the hospital with her dad. Apparently Christian had to be changed to another ventilator because he had a condition called PIE. They changed him to a jet ventilator which pumps 420 bursts a minute rather than the normal respiration he had been receiving over the past 2 weeks. When Michelle went to see him, she said christian was pale and not moving hardly at all. He looked lifeless and frail. However, as soon as michelle began talking to him, she said his vitals picked up quickly and that he responded to her voice. Throughout the evening, he continued to get better. We called the hospital later, around 2:00 am, to ensure that he was still doing well. The nurse assurred us that he was doing well and that his vitals were still strong. We planned to see him first thing in the morning during his rounds so that we could have an opportunity to speak with Doctor Harley.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

3.29.09 Visit

Today we had one of our first scares with Christian... Michelle and I were witness to his heart rate dropping very low. though we have heard of these instances happening with him (very few and far between), it was the first time we actually saw them manually pumping air into his lungs and suctioning fluid out of him. That being said, we had the most awesome nurse ever today. She explained that when they suction fluid that has pooled in his mouth, they essentially "take his breath away" (her words, I'm definitely NOT trying to be funny here) when they remove it, which is why he had an episode. the fluid also tends to loosen when he is being moved into another position, which is why he needed suction from his mouth in the first place. It was really scary, and we both got very anxious and panicky, but all is well. The nurses were very cool about it and knew exactly what to do.

Otherwise, Christian is doing great! They increased his feedings from 1.2 mL to 1.5 mL today, which means he is continuing to take the breast milk well. Our second freezer is officially full to the brim with our supply of breast milk, so if anyone has any ideas about how to sell the stuff on ebay or something, we're all ears. Michelle is pumping away in very large volumes...

Our baby boy's vitals are all great. He has a little bit of irritation on his left arm where the PIC line was inserted, but we think it is just from all of the moving around that he does. He is a very active little guy.

My focus right now is on Michelle and trying to get her comfortable. If we aren't in good health, we aren't going to be able to be there for our baby. She is trying to do too much and is stubborn and it's all the reasons I fell in love with her in the first place, but she needs to rest somehow. Our nurse gave us a good scolding today, so we'll see if that helps =) I empathize with her too much and I can't tell her no when she wants to see the baby..... truth is, I want to go just as much as she does. I'm not a strong authority figure in that regard.

On a side note, I had a heck of a time playing "balloon" with Corinne tonight. She is such a bright light in my life. Her laugh and her smiles and hugs and kisses....... It's incredible. It was fun giving her a bubble bath tonight- I haven't done that in a while. She was even my little laundry helper and worked with me to clean her room tonight.. she's so sweet. It's fun being a dad =)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

3-28-09 Visit

Today was another great un-eventful day for Christian. Which is exactly what we want. We got there and the nurse imformed us that he had pooped so much that she had to change his blankets out. Ha Ha. We were very happy to hear that. We also changed his diaper again and his feedings went up to 1.3 every hour. His eyes are almost opened now! When he raises his eyebrows, you can see that his eyelids are slighty opening and his beautiful eyelashes are sprouting! He is so adorable! He was definately giving the nurses a hard time by pulling and tugging at his wires so much that he pulled his leeds off. He also drools alot and sucks on his fingers. He is developing so well.

Friday, March 27, 2009

3.27.09 Visit

Let me start off by saying that our little boy has an absolute iron grip when he gets a hold of our fingers.... It's amazing to think that someone so little can grab you so strongly, though he has had a strong hold on our hearts from the moment he was born =) Today was an uneventful day for Christian, which in our world is a good day. We'd like many more uneventful days, please! The PIC line was successfully implanted yesterday and the IVs running from his belly button were successfully removed today. It was so nice to sit with him and just watch him and touch him and relax today..... Michelle and I sat with him for hours just enjoying his company and laughing and smiling. Just being with him makes any feelings of anxiety completely melt away.

Michelle is pumping milk like a factory... it's crazy! She filled up 3 full bottles in one sitting today! I swear we are overachievers... even the nurses did a double take when they saw the bottles. They must think we are watering them down or something. Poor Michelle is walking around with massively full breasts right now... it's really quite amazing to think that her body started producing milk at 19 weeks- it's as if God began preparing her body early knowing Christian was coming at 24 weeks...

Today marks 26 weeks for Christian- our little boy is doing very well! He is a little wiggle worm- he can push his butt and his torso up in the air with his strong little legs! mommy threw me a bone today and let me change him- I'm becoming much more comfortable with how tiny he is and the fact that he isn't as delicate as he appears to be. I felt like I was walking on pins and needles the first few days, but a comfort level has now developed. I also feel like I am bonding more strongly with him now. It is different for a father and a mother and it has taken me a bit longer than Michelle, who had an instant connection with Christian. As fathers, we often feel like we are standing on the sidelines watching the game. However, when we get an opportunity to be involved in the diaper changing, the feeding, the cuddling, etc. it makes huge impacts on the bond that we share with our newborn children. I feel like I mentally wrestle with Michelle all the time for dibs on changing diapers (sick, huh? That's our relationship, folks), but in the end it's because we both love him so much. I think today it finally sunk in completely that this is MY baby... It's such an incredible and proud moment for a father to feel. That's my little boy and I'm so proud of him...

I'm looking forward to seeing my little lucky charm this weekend and bringing him his freshly-washed stuffed monkey and stuffed monster. We decided on monkeys & monsters many months ago as our nursery theme. I love this baby stuff........ It's so much fun!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

3.26.09 Visit

My little pumpkin is developing so well! Michelle and I spent some time researching preemie babies on last night and we came across a ton of great information. We found that developmentally, christian seems to be exhibiting the behavior and mannerisms of a preemie at 27-28 weeks in gestational age. He will be at 26 weeks tomorrow. This was a very comforting thing to read, as Christian has been audibly crying at times for us, he has spontaneous movement with his arms and legs (lots of it!) and he has an iron grasp on our fingers. I take all of the credit for each of these traits, though I'm sure Michelle with argue that with me.

We found out today that Christian has had his feeding volume increased to 1.0 mL of breast milk per hour, which means that he is taking to mommy's breast milk extremely well. According to the formulas the doctors utilize, he is currently receiving about 25% of his maximum nutrition for his age via the breast milk, and about 75% intravenously. He is moving along very, very well thus far.

Today also marked the day that the doctors were going to remove the IVs attached to his belly button. Michelle and I spent about 30 minutes or so chatting with the team about potential options. We were told that the belly button IV he currently has is only meant to last about 1-2 weeks after he is born. Beyond that period, he will need a new IV to be inserted elsewhere to encourage abdominal healing and to decrease the risk of infection. Every time his skin is broken with a needle he is prone to infection, so a minimal amount of poking is optimal. I tend to adopt this credo myself. I once fainted at ten years old when faced with a simple menangitis shot in Kuwait...... but that is another story for another day, and is neither here nor there. Anyway, back to topic- the doctors were attempting to replace Christian's IV with something called a PIC line, which is a plastic piece attached to a very thin, spaghetti-like wire that would transfer nutrients directly into his major artery. A successful implantation of this PIC line would mean that he will only need to have the IV changed this one time if all goes according to plan in the future.

Our little boy did such a wonderful job with the procedure!! They sedated him to eliminate most of the pain, and they were able to successfully implant the PIC line on the first attempt. Christian is now able to receive better nutrition from here forward. Mommy and I are extremely proud of him... he is such an incredible little boy.

Also, his eyes are beginning to open! We can see the eyebrows forming now. We can also see more hair developing on the top of his head (dark brown like mine). Well, mommy has dark hair too, but I'll claim the genetics. His eyes appear to be half-fused and half open, so we'll see how long it takes to see those beautiful little brown eyes of his (also going to be mine). I'm predicting this will happen in less than a week.

I told all of my clients about Christian today and sent them multiple pictures. The outpouring of support we have been receiving is phenomenal, and we are so thankful for it. It really helps to lift us up especially on those difficult days.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

20 mil a day now!!

Christian is up to 20 ml a day now! It was very exciting to see him today. He looked like a little tree frog the way they had him laying on his belly! They had a blanket folded long ways rolled up underneath him and his feet and arms were laying off to each side. I laughed he looked so cute! We also were informed that they were going to put a new tube in him (i forgot the medical term it was called) but it is a more permanent IV. We got a chance to talk with Carsten, a nurse, and he took the time to answer all of our questions. Lee, Christian's nurse mostly during the week let me change his diaper. It was so exciting, for this was my second time and I wasn't half as nervous. He had a good amount of stool and urine. So I was excited to wipe him. The rest of the time we would hold hands and Jason read him a devotional passage. Not that he understands what we are reading him anyway;) His oxygen was at 28, which was really good and his billy ruben is at 3.0. We are praying for his health every day. We have faith that God will bring Christian all the way through this safely. We praise His mighty work. And we rely on him for everything. So once again, we Thank God for the wonderful day He gave us to have with Christian and many more to come!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Back on Respirator

Well, last night, when we called to check on Christian they had told us they put him back on his respirator. I was a bit saddened but I know he is still really young and small. They told us the reason for them doing this was because his heartrate kept dipping and he would forget to breathe. He was back on the UV lamp too. His belly ruben is 2.9. Which is still really good anyway. He looked so cute today!!!! Yesterday when his respirator out, I heard him cry for the first time!!! It was so amazing!!! Jason didnt get to hear because he was washing his hands in the front:(
He is starting to blossom some nipples! Yay!!!
Im also starting to feel alot better too. My scar is healing very well. I walked alot today, well in my opinion anyway, ha ha. Now Im a bit sore, so Im just going to lay down for the rest of the night.
God is SO GOOD! I thank Him for ALL his has given us and without Him there would be chaos.

Monday, March 23, 2009

03.22.09 Visit

Christian received a new blanket today- it had duckies on it! Soo cute! We got to see him right around 1:00pm. Corinne came with us today, and did a great job being patient while mommy and daddy spent time with Christian. She made him a special present and delivered a four-leaf clover to him that she had found in our backyard. We delivered his monkey and two of his blankets to try to create a less "clinical" feeling in his incubator.

Today was a monumental day for us in terms of Christian's progress; the doctors were planning to take out his respirator to see if he can survive breathing on his own. The doctors told us that there is a chance that they may need to re-insert the tube if he cannot sustain his own breathing, but we know our little boy is a fighter and will do everything he can to breathe all on his own. It is incredible to think that this little one is capable of something so "grown up" already. We were most fearful about his lung development when we thought Michelle was going to deliver early, and this would put many of those concerns to rest. He has been undergoing caffeine treatments to stimulate his senses. The doctors tell us that he has been doing most of the breathing on his own since the day he was born and that the respirator has been running on its lowest setting. Christian has been breathing about 40 of his own breaths to about 12 of the machine.

Our friend Sarah came to visit us at the hospital with her husband, Bobby, and her two children, Trey and Elizabeth! Her children are adorable!!! She brought us a wonderful gift and she has been an excellent source of support and a great friend through this process. We really look forward to spending time with her and her family once things settle down for us. Michelle knows Sarah from the time they spent together in Kuwait in high school.

We checked on christian at about 8:30pm and he is still breathing on his own without the respirator. The procedure was a success! We had a chance to see him right after it had been performed and it was incredible to see him breathing all on his own. He is growing so much already! We can really start to see his facial features becoming more defined. He is such a strong little guy and our testament to God's miracles. We are so happy that he is doing well and we will see him again tomorrow.

03.23.09 Visit

We went to visit Christian at the hospital today around 2:00pm. Michelle was feeling really dizzy and went to go see her OB first. He is always really great about seeing us right away. He examined Michelle and found nothing to be out of the ordinary, but prescribed some medicine to hopefully help with her condition. We also spent some time speaking with the billing department at the hospital in regards to paying for Michelle's delivery. Got to love insurance companies and their lack of maternity coverage.

Christian is still continuing to breathe on his own while being off the respirator. The nurse told us today that he had a few episodes between yesterday and today in which he stopped breathing for a short while. She said that the little ones are prone to doing this, as they sometimes forget to breathe. He actually had an episode where his heart rate dipped very low and he had stopped breathing right at the moment we came in to see him, and obviously we were in a panic. However, the nurse calmed us down, thankfully, and explained the situation to us. She also told us that he is pooping regularly and is doing very well otherwise. Today is the first day that we saw him laying on his stomach- he was soooo cute! The nurses put his little monkey in the incubator with him and his new green "Lucky" blanket on top of the incubator. It's so hard to say goodbye to him at 6:00pm when the nurses are changing shifts. We never want to leave our little guy.

We really like our nurse, Lee. Though the nurses rotate, we have a few that we really like that take care of Christian more often. Everyone there is really sweet. Christian is doing very well and there is talk of removing a few of his IVs and increasing his feeding frequency if he continues to take well to all of the treatment. They say it is a miracle that at his weight and maturity level that he has breathing on his own for this long without the respirator. We continue to pray for him and love every moment we get to be with him. We will see him again tomorrow.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Questioning Our OB/GYN

At 9 weeks, Michelle and I have a scheduled visit with our OB/GYN in downtown San Francisco. We had met with him previously and felt comfortable with him, though he was a new doctor for Michelle. We discussed Michelle's hemorrhage and he seemed to be very nonchalant about it. He told us that these things have a tendency to take care of themselves and that the body will either bleed it out or re-absorb it. We discussed our plans to travel over the next few months between San Francisco and New Orleans to see Michelle's family and he had no problem with it. He simply told Michelle to take it easy and try to not do too much. He put her on modified bed rest.

Over the Christmas holidays, Michelle decided to get a second opinion from her OB in New Orleans- the doctor who had delivered our first daughter, Corinne. Something instinctual told her to do so even though we had a scheduled appointment less than a week later. Her OB would later tell her that the subchorionic hemorrhage was one of the largest he had ever come across in his. He would consult with his colleagues. He put Michelle on restricted bed rest and told her that she should under NO circumstances travel on an airplane. This really upset us, considering our OB in San Francisco had been so nonchalant about the issue. We ultimately decided that it would be better for Michelle to remain in New Orleans with her family where she could be taken care of and watched over 24/7 as opposed to being left alone during the day in a new place. I would travel from San Francisco to New Orleans every 2 weeks to visit. It was hell being away from my family.

The Second Trip to the ER

Our first trip to the ER was on a Thursday evening. That following Sunday, Michelle again began gushing blood. We made our second trip to the ER that evening. Again, Michelle was diagnosed with a threatened miscarriage. Our baby's heart tones were stronger than before at 155 bpm, and the ultrasound again revealed a strong baby. However, the subchorionic hemorrhage looked to be a reality that would follow us through to the end of the pregnancy. Michelle and I are hesitant to announce news of the pregnancy because of our fears; we want to make it to the second trimester first. At this point, we are only 7 weeks into the pregnancy.

The First Trip to the ER

Michelle and I had been planning to move out of downtown San Francisco and into a more suburban, family-oriented neighborhood for a few months. Now that we had a baby on the way, we had more of a sense of urgency to leave our beautiful apartment in the city for something more practical. Plus, it wasn't fair to my six-year-old daughter, as she was living right smack in the middle of a concrete jungle. She's got way too much energy that we need to get out before bed time.

We found a beautiful place in Dublin, about 35 miles east of San Francisco. From the moment we toured the property, it was a no-brainer. The apartment was twice the size, updated, and $1,000 less than what we were paying in the city. I would no longer be able to walk to my office every day, but the hour-long commute would be a nice relief and a great way to relax and unwind on the way home from work. We signed the contracts that day and began our moving plans.

Michelle and I decided to move into our new home over Thanksgiving weekend, when I would have a full four days to get everything all squared away. We had made some plans to have help on moving day, but those unfortunately fell through. Since Michelle was pregnant, I became a one-man moving show. After 8 hours of loading and another 5 hours unloading the next moring, we were in! And I had a heck of a back ache.

With ourselves somewhat situated, Michelle and I began to prepare our first Thanksgiving dinner together. As the resident chef of the house, I delegated some of the more "helpful" tasks to Michelle. As she was peeling potatoes at about 5:00pm, our worst nightmare began. She began gushing blood down her legs, and we thought for sure that we were having a miscarriage. in tears, we called the OB from our bathroom, and he told us to go immediately to the ER. Having just moved to this area a day prior, we had no idea where the nearest hospitals were. Thankfully, the navigation system in the car gets us to one in nearby Pleasanton only 1.5 miles away.

The doctors diagnose Michelle with a threatened miscarriage. We find out that she has a subchorionic hemorrhage, which is a mass of blood developed between the placenta and the uterus. This mass of blood can be potentially life-threatening to the baby. However, our baby's heart tones are strong at 145 bpm, and the ultrasound reveals the strong heartbeat. It is an extremely emotional and difficult night, but we go home hopeful and thankful. Thanksgiving will never be the same from here after.

The Beginning of the Story

Michelle and I conceived Christian back in late September 2008. We still argue over where he was conceived- and when- but that is neither here nor there. We were ecstatic when we found out that we were going to have a baby. It was Halloween night, and Corinne (our daughter) had already gone around trick-or-treating at my clients' offices throughout the afternoon and early evening. We decided to call it an early evening and retire to our apartment in the city, as it had had been drizzling most of the day. For the the few days prior, Michelle had been having symptoms that made me wonder..... "Is she pregnant?" One day it was vomiting and nausea, the next day it was dizzy spells and sleepiness, the next day it was an uncharacteristic short temper... I mean, i know I'm a man an mostly deserving of criticism, but this was out of the ordinary. finally, it was the cravings. Anything and everything that had to do with tomatoes. Tomato sauce, tomato soup, spaghetti, lasagna, grape tomatoes... you can make just about anything with tomatoes. She reminded me of a particular Oscar-winning movie that I'm fond of.

That evening, I told her, "Michelle, i think you're pregnant," knowing full well that I may incur her wrath for even suggesting it. Thankfully, i got a pass for it. So, I headed down 4 blocks to the Walgreens to pick up a pregnancy test. What a mess I was- I had no clue what I was looking for. this was an entirely new experience for me. All that I knew was that I didn't want to use a test that I had to interpret... Is it pink or blue? Positive or negative? Did we do it right? Etc. I followed my instincts and went straight for the ridiculously overpriced, patented, super-goomer pregnancy test. It tells one either "yes" or "no." No annoying little lines or colors to interpret. Perfect. As i head up to the counter triumphant in my safari, the 60-something year old gentleman working the cash register tells me, "Well, there's one thing I can tell you for sure. You're definitely NOT pregnant." Thank you, kind sir, for making me feel even more sheepish than when I walked in. Perfect.

I make my way home, and my wife and I anxiously tear open the box and read the instructions. She's impressed that I navigated the taboo aisle of feminine products so fluidly. Without getting down to the nitty gritty, she takes the test. She, Corinne and i anxiously surround the wand as if it's a ticking time bomb ready to explode. After 5 minutes we have the results and......... Corinne begins running around the house screaming in joy! Jumping up and down! Michelle and I are much more subdued and possible in shock, but we embrace as a family and we are excited for the miracle that has begun to grow in her body. This day will inevitably change both of our lives forever. This is the beginning.