Progress Report: Saturday, August 12th
We are very encouraged by the way Truman is continuing to hold his own.
The "Honeymoon" phase ended overnight back on Wednesday, and Truman had some trouble maintaining his blood gases and blood pressure at that time. At that time they had to turn up both his oxygen mixture and the force which the respirator uses, and they had to increase his blood pressure medication as well. However, by the time Thursday midmorning had come, Truman had stabilized and he has been doing surprisingly well since then. Dr. Shoemaker, Truman's neonatologist, even confided to Kara's obstetrician that "Truman is doing spookily well."
Truman has now been completely weaned from the blood pressure medication that he was previously being given, and his blood gasses have been coming back very well for two days now. Occasionally he has to be given a slightly higher oxygen mixture, but I'd guess that he's on actual room air (about 21% oxygen) about 75% of the time now. He is still using the high frequency ventilator, which provides him with something like 200 tiny, shallow breaths per minute, and which causes his chest to appear to vibrate. However, he is doing his best to breathe "above the machine," meaning that he is sometimes able to take longer, deeper breaths on his own, which is a sign of progress.
Yesterday, Friday, August 11th, Truman was given an echocardiogram (or simply "echo") which is designed to look at his heart and valves. This was prompted by the discovery of a heart murmur earlier in the week. They were checking specifically for the presence of a PDA, which occurs in approximately 80% of preemies under a birth weight of 2 lbs, 4 oz. A PDA is a condition where a valve that causes blood to bypass the lungs in utero remains open after birth. This valve is supposed to close on its own in full-term babies, but it's a very common problem for micro-preemies to have. The PDA is going to have to be closed by a surgical procedure in the next two or three days. We don't know exactly when the surgery will be scheduled yet. They will have to make an incision along Truman's side, go in between the ribs, and insert a clamp across this valve. We have been assured that this is a standard operation for these young kids and that it has a very high success rate, but it's still a scary prospect to know that your week-old preemie is going to have to go under the knife. We'll try to post that actual time and day of the surgery on this blog once we find out when it's going to be. We've also been advised that most preemies who undergo this procedure usually become sick afterwards, but Truman wouldn't be recommended for this procedure unless he were stable enough for it.
Truman is also scheduled for a sonogram on Monday of his brain for the first time since being born. We are hoping that there is no sign of any damage, but we have been told to expect to see some bleeding. We will be hoping and praying for the best possible result.
Clearly, week two is going to be just about as difficult as week one was in its own ways. We will do our best to keep everyone informed through this blog, and we appreciate all of your offers of help, well-wishes, and prayers.
In the meantime though, Truman is still doing as well as could be hoped for for a boy of his gestational age. We just hope that he keeps on fighting and making progress.