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Conan comes HOME!

After 82 days in the NICU, Conan has finally been discharged to come home to be with his family! We brought him home earlier this afternoon and are loving having him home! The girls were so very excited to be able to touch and hold their brother :)[...]

Two Months Old!

It has been while since we have written an update--we apologize! While having Conan in Riverside makes him closer geographically, we have now gotten to the point where our lives have gone back to "normal," meaning John-Paul is back to work and Shannon is caring for the girls and our home full-time again. This also means visits are now mostly in the evening, which is exhausting at the end of a long day, and we must take turns so that one of us can stay behind with the girls. But we always look forward to our Conan snuggles at the end of the day![...]

One Step Closer...

On Monday, December 1st, Conan was transferred safely from Kaiser Downey to Kaiser Riverside. We were so pleased to have him moved so much closer to home! Not only will we not be spending as much time in the car, we will be able to visit him for longer periods of time and far more frequently than we were before. No more sitting in traffic on the 91 for an hour and a half at a time just to visit our son! However, it was bitter-sweet to leave Downey; we had come to love the staff there, including many of the nurses, the neonatologists, the respiratory therapists, the full-time NICU lactation consultants, and the social worker. The professionals at Kaiser Downey will always hold a special place in the heart of our family and in the story of Conan’s life. While we are happy to have Conan closer to home, we are regretful that the care team that Conan began with will not ultimately watch him complete his NICU stay and be discharged to come home. We will just have to be sure to keep them updated with pictures when Conan is ready to come home.[...]

Thanksgiving

So much time has passed since Conan was born and he is still not home. Today, as we kick off the holiday season, it is difficult to believe that there is a very good chance that Conan will spend the entirety of the season in the hospital. However, on this day of thankfulness we know we have a lot to be thankful for. Here is an incomplete list of things we are thankful for today.[...]

General Health Update, 1 Month

Conan is now one month old and is doing beautifully. We are so proud of him and the hard work he has done to keep growing! This week he has experienced a slight set-back with his breathing, something his neonatologist has assured us is quite typical around 4-5 weeks of age in preemies diagnosed with Respiratory Distress Syndrome because they become fatigued. To treat this, Conan received lasix on Tuesday (11/17), a strong diuretic to help him rid the excess fluid in his body and lungs as well as albuterol, a drug typically used for asthma which helps to open up the lungs. Oxygen levels were also turned up to around 40%. He has continued to receive doses of diuretics this week, only in much smaller doses, however by the very next day, Conan was able to breath well with 28% oxygen and by Thursday was at 26%. His doctor is expecting to be able to wean him from his vent during the next several days. Once this happens, and he is only on oxygen (no pressure or "breaths" given), he will be eligible to transfer to the NICU at Kaiser Riverside which is a mere 15 minutes from our home as opposed to 1.25-2 hours from our home. This will allow us much more time to visit with our baby! [...]

November is Prematurity Awareness Month and Today is World Prematurity Day.

Conan is one of the 1% of babies who are born before 28 weeks of gestation and was considered to be extremely preterm. Prematurity is the number one killer of infants worldwide. As parents of an extremely preterm baby we have learned just how little we knew about preterm babies prior to this experience. Before Conan was born we were placed into the position to have to decide if we should continue the pregnancy or not. As the pregnancy progressed we had to discuss resuscitation options. Would we ask for Conan to be resuscitated or not? Thankfully, when Conan was born, due to well-timed steroids and magnesium, there was no need for resuscitation and he has been on the road home ever since. [...]

I Finally Held My Son (by John-Paul)

This last Friday, November 7th, was my birthday and I could not wait to hold Conan for the first time. I had previously planned on holding him the day before, but due to his difficulties breathing that day I waited. Knowing that I may not be able to hold Conan, I tried to not get my hopes up so as to prevent disappointment. As I walked into the NICU, I was mentally preparing myself to finally hold Conan. I was worried about how light he would feel in my arms, what I would need to do if he started to have breathing difficulties, and how I would try to focus my attention on my son and not on the monitors. When I arrived at Conan's isolette, the nurse and the respiratory therapist both told me Conan was having a great day. They assured me that if I wanted to hold him it would not only be okay but it could also be beneficial in aiding him to pass some gas that caused him intestinal distress.[...]

14 Day Update on Conan's Health (by John-Paul)

Conan has been with us for 14 days! In the past seven days Conan has had some first experiences. The haziness on the x-rays of Conan’s lungs continues to be of concern. For the first time since his birth, Conan’s oxygen levels have been increased from 20-28% to 35-48%. The doctors are still not sure what is causing the excess fluid. Most likely, today there will be an ultrasound of his heart to again make sure that Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is not to blame. One doctor has asserted that the lung issues may just be a product of Conan’s size and that as he and his lungs grow this will resolve. That of course leaves us on edge. There is something particularly frightening to us as we witness our child struggle to breath.[...]

Halloween! (Written by John-Paul)

Well Conan is back on the bililight, which is normal for a baby of his gestational age. This means when we see him he is all blue under the phototherapy light. For some reason when I saw him this time, in the context of Halloween, I could not help but think he looked like a little Smurf. So, I guess for Conan's first Halloween he is dressed as a Smurf with a whilte hat, pants, and booties. [...]