Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Jackson had a great Halloween, even though he couldn't get candy or wear a costume, but he got his PICC line removed.  That was the last of the tubes and entries into him, other than his breathing tube.  Since he finished all of his antibiotics, there was no more need for the tube, and it was the last one left.  His oxygen levels are up and down throughout the day.

Jackson is eating well.  And digesting well.  He had a diaper today that ended up weighing over 22 grams, which is heavier than two half dollars.  He is on "full feeds" for a child of his size which is 4cc of milk and supplements every hour.  They are expecting him to start growing an ounce a day soon.  He currently weighs in at 1 lb, and 12 oz.

The parents did give candy out to trick or treat kids.  Our favorite costume was a girl dressed up as a ceiling fan.  She was wearing all black with the blades attached with overalls so they were right in the middle.  They could even spin slightly.

Hope everyone had a great Halloween.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday October 30th

Very Quick Update because not alot has changed....

1) they increased his feeds to 4ml/hour.

2) Jackson head scan was normal....which is great. So far we are in the clear for major brain issues. They will do a MRI before he goes home and that will tell us for sure what developmental delays, if any, he will have.

3) he will finish his last of the antibiotics tomorrow which means they will most likely remove his picc line.

4) his lung xray was better than its been, it showed improvement, but he still has a long way to go. He just needs to spend the next couple of days growing.

Friday- October 29th - ONE MONTH OLD!!

Friday Julia got home late from visiting our little peanut, so we waited to do the update. Greg has been sick all week, so he hasn't been able to see the boy, but thanks to the beauty of digital cameras he has seen alot of pics and videos. Greg thought he might be well enough to go see him last night, but out of courtesy to all of the families he decided to wait. We saw how hard the infection was on Jackson, the last thing we want to do is cause Jackson to go thru that again, or any of the babies there. So Greg stayed home. It will be interesting to get his take on Jackson, now that he hasn't seen him in person for almost a week.

He is officially a month old now. Unbelievable. He is doing well, except for those pesky lungs, but the doctors are working on that. He is up to a 3.8ml/hour feeding and handing all of the extra calories, vitamins and minerals that they add in. The nurses and Julia were joking that Jackson now gets "Powerbar" strength breast milk. He is still "Feisty Jackson" and since he is back on the oscillator they are giving him a little bit of sedative to calm him down so he will sleep more and not fight the feeding tube.The nurse who was caring for him last night was the nurse who admitted him into the NICU. This is the first time since that night she has cared for him, she was impressed with his progress and how big he is now.

Here is his "official Im one month old pic"! 

The little red glowing light is one of his monitors. Its strapped to either a hand, arm, foot or leg. It is the sensor that monitors his oxygen saturation on a continuous cycle. If it falls to low, it marks a "destat" and the oxygen has to be turned up just a bit. If it's too high, its marks "histat" and his oxygen is turned down. Each time it hits either level, the machine beeps and beeps until he is either able to correct, or the oxygen is corrected by the nurse. They usually let him try to correct before adjusting. Its all a balancing game. 

Thank you again for all of the support, love and prayers. We are so blessed to have a wonderful network of friends.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ahhhhh Friday - Jackson is ready for the weekend....

Jackson is in his favorite pose. He loves having his legs stretched. 

Relaxing and acting all cool.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday - October 28th

More of the same from Mr. Jackson. He is settled on the ventilator. They said he could go back to the oscillator at some point, which is normal for a little kid like him. They increased his feeds again to 3.8 ml/hour. He is eating and pooping machine. Tomorrow they are going to start giving him more vitamins and minerals in his food. They decided to lift the touch isolation today, which means no more gloves and gowns when seeing Jackson, not just for us but the whole staff. So Julia had to take a picture on her phone to text to Greg to let him know!!

We have decided to leave the camera there for now, which was great because Jackson's favorite nurse, Jackie, was able to get some awesome pics for us.

This one is Jackson's GQ shot.

 Arghhhhh its Pirate Jackson!!!!

Most Precious Pic-- he is trying to suck his hand

Thursday - October 28th Early Morning Update

Well, we knew the new breathing machine might not last long, and at 1am last night they decided to switch Jackson from the CPAP machine to a traditional ventilator. We are still pretty proud that he made it about 36 hours on his first try. They said he was just tiring out and needing more and more oxygen support. We will say there is nothing more frightening than a call at 1am from the hospital, but since we knew this was most likely coming, it wasn't too terrifying. And the Dr on shift last night is one of our favorites. She is very positive, which is what you need when you get a 1am call.

When Julia called to check on him this morning he was resting well and not fighting the tube, which means he really was worn out. we will see how he does over the next couple of days and who knows as he gets a little bigger he may be able to handle the CPAP even longer. On the growing side, they told us that they are increasing his feedings again to 3.6ml/hour. He is one hungry baby!! 

Julia is still feeling so blessed after being able to hold the baby. It was truly an awe inspiring moment. To think just 4 weeks ago, and we were given such a small chance that we would be here today. In some ways its unbelievable, in other ways, you just have to thank God for answered prayers. We are enjoying sharing this experience with all of you. It can be kinda lonely in the NICU, since we can only go 2 at a time. But when we come home and see all of the blog hits, emails and facebook posts, we are reminded that we are never alone. So thank you for your support.

Lastly, yesterday Julia ran into one of her prenatal yoga friends, and she told Julia that at the end of class they always send out the Sunshine Blessing to Julia and we send it out to all of you....

May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light that’s within you
Guide your way on

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday - Oct 27 One Very Awesome Day

can you believe it, Jackson has been here for 4 weeks!!! and today we got 2 huge treats.

Greg was able to convince the Doctors and Nurses to give us back our camera rights! Its a little modified. We had an extra digital camera, which will remain at the hospital, since it has now been sterilized. We are allowed to change out the memory cards. So we will be able to post lots of pictures.....

which leads us to treat #2. JULIA GOT TO HOLD HER BABY BOY!!!!!!!!!

Eventually Julia had to put him back in his bed. The best part was that Jackson reacted so well to being held. His breathing and heartrate didnt change. So we are hoping this will be the first of many snuggles to come. Below are just a few more pics from today.

 The one above reminds us of Home Alone. With his hands one both sides of his face! Too cute!!

 They had him pretty wrapped up so its hard to see how much bigger he is now. But don't fret, we will be posting more and more pics!  As you can see his breathing stuff is a little weird, but he is much more comfortable with this one, than the one down his throat.
 He was trying to get his fingers in his mouth. This reminded Julia of his Uncle Tommy who used to do the same thing as a child.
Just like his Uncle Tommy. and look how peaceful he looks!! Our little angel :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday - October 25th

Jackson made a decision today. He decided he no longer wanted to have his breathing tube in. Apparently he kept messing with it, loosing it and finally pulling it out. So his doctor told us, Jackson wants it out, we will take it out and see how he does. As of tonight, he was tolerating it very well. His gas numbers are still great, his oxygen is about the same. The best part is that Jackson looks so much more relaxed. He isn't fighting his tubes.

He now has a Nasal CPAP - Oxygen and positive pressure is delivered to Jackson's lungs by prongs in the nose that are attached to tubes going to a ventilator. This will help him breathe by keeping the lungs inflated.  With Jackson they will rotate between prongs and a little mask. It is so tiny!!
Another thing they are doing to help his lungs is that they started Albuterol which is a bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways and increases air flow to the lungs. Most asthmatics will recognize this medication as its used to help with asthma/weak lungs.

The also added a new medication which will help Jackson's bone marrow increase his red blood cell production. They are hoping that this will help decrease the number of blood transfusions he has needed.

And last but not least, they have increase the amount of breast milk fortifier. This will add more calories to Jackson's diet.

Again thank you for your prayers -- they are working!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday - October 25th

They increased his feedings to 3.2ml/hour. A little interesting note, they feed him in four hour increments. Before they reload the feeding line, they check how much he has left in his stomach. They do this by pulling back on the syringe that is attached to his feeding line. If there is any left it will come back up the line and into the syringe. Lately each time they check Jackson there is nothing. Which means his body is digesting and using all of the food he is getting per 4 hours. They call this his residuals. The residual measurement and the amount of poops he has a day is how they determine if they should increase his feedings.

He is doing well with the breast milk fortifier this time, which is great because now he is getting even more nutrients to help him grow.

His lungs are about the same. No big changes. We have a feeling that we just need time for his lungs to develop. Its too bad we can't just snap our fingers and he would have super healthy lungs.

We have asked the nurses if they can take a new picture tonight for us. So hopefully we will have a new pic for the blog. Julia is getting really tired of the touch isolation. She understands its whats best for Jackson and the other NICU babies, but she really wants to be able to take pics of her cutie!!

Quick Update - Something We Forgot

as of Saturday night, he has grown!

He is 11.75 inches, up from his birth length which was 11.5 inches

and his head is 9cm, up from his birth head circumference which was 8.5 cm

his weight fluctuates from 1lb 8 oz to 1lb 9oz, up from his birth weight of 1lb 5oz.

good to see, despite battling the infection and working on his lungs, he still had some energy left over to grow!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


So, it was another quiet and relatively uneventful day in the NICU, which is fine by us.  One of the changes made was that they are trying the breast milk fortifier again.  So far he is tolerating it, and digesting it.  His lungs are still premature, and at this point it's kind of a waiting game. 

Grandpa McIlheran was in town this weekend and was able to see him a couple of times, and also take out the parents for some meals.  It's always nice having family in town both to see Jackson and get us out and about.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Weekend Update -

Jackson has been officially nicknamed by the nursing staff in the NICU as "Feisty Jackson".  He has been moving so much, and now pulling on his lines so much that they have had to restrain his free hand.  He actually was able to loosen his breathing tube last night.  He arm is not completely constrained down, but enough to where he can't reach the tube.

Grandpa Mike was in town and made a visit to see Jackson.  He commented on how much Jackson has changed since the last time he saw him, which was 3 weeks ago.  He has definitely gained weight and is getting close to needing a bigger diaper.  His chest X-ray looked better today than before, and they have adjusted down the settings on his oscillator.  He has also been weened off of the sedative, and is only being given it as needed.

Parents note:  we have had a nice relaxing weekend with Jackson doing so well.  Julia was able to go back to her first yoga class today and was able to do most of the poses.  Don't worry, she took it easy and didn't push herself too hard.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday October 22nd - A Very Quick Update

Not alot happened today....

Jackson had his head scan and it was clear for bleeds on the brain. That's 4 good reports. The chance of bleeds has gone down dramatically. It is a little unheard of for a baby Jackson's size not to have any bleeds, so we are very blessed that he has such good reports.

The breast milk fortifier was not settling with his stomach, so they have cut it out of his diet. They are feeding him just breast milk for now and might try the fortifier later.

His lungs are about the same. His settings are a tiny bit lower. Right now we will just have to wait. We just need him to continue to make "baby" steps. :)

Hopefully we will get some new pics soon...until then, thank you all for checking in on Jackson and for all of your prayers. He is definitely our little miracle.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday - October 21

It was a pretty quiet day in the world of Jackson, except for a small hiccup with one of his IVs. They noticed his hand was swelling, and they were worried about the vein collapsing or a clot. So they removed his IV and put some nitric paste on his hand which quickly reversed the swelling. The doctor called Julia to fill her in about all of the excitement. Thank goodness the nurses noticed it and made a quick move to remedy the situation. By the time Julia got there around 6pm, Jackson was waving his hand around like nothing happened.

Outside of that, Jackson had a good day. His settings were lowered a little more, and his oxygen levels are down a bit more. They didn't make any huge changes with his feedings, except now they are adding breast milk fortifier -  it increases the level of protein, calories, iron, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins and other nutrients. This will just boost the milk so it will be even more nutritious and help him continue to grow. 

Tomorrow they are doing a head scan to check for bleeding. He has had 3 of these and they have all been clear, so we are hoping for another good report. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010



For the most part things are going as usual.  It's been more of the same.  He had a slight increase in feedings to 2.5ml per hour.  He had to have a PICC line inserted as his last one clogged up and had to be removed.  This one is going through his leg, so he now has a hand free.  This is leading to a lot of movement and messing with all of the other lines/tubes especially his oxygen line.

He had another echo cardiogram on his heart, this time to look for "vegetation" of the bacteria that may have reached his heart and surrounding area.  It came back clean, and they re-iterated that his PDA still had not opened up again, which is apparently "amazing".

His lung scans are still about the same, and still need a lot of growing to do before he can come off the oscillator or respirator.  They are starting to ween him off of the steroids, from 4 doses a day to 3.  He is still on the antibiotics, and will be on one of them until Halloween.  This will prevent them from having to do another lumbar puncture.

We found out that next Wednesday they will do a brain scan, that will not only look for bleeding, but also brain growth and development.  This will be our first insight into what if any disabilities he will be facing from being so premature.  It will be a scan at his one month date.  Please continue to pray and hope that everything with this scan goes well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19th - Truckin...

"Keep Truckin, like the do-dah man. Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin on."

This has been Jackson's little theme song the last couple of days. He is making such nice progress and just truckin' along now. Today the doctors were able to adjust his settings down again, and his oxygen needs were even lower (around 35%) Regular room air is about 23% oxygen, so this is a major improvement for Jackson. As of Sunday he was still hovering around 75% oxygen. He is getting closer and closer to being able to support himself on room air oxygen. His morning xray showed some sign of collapse, so they adjusted the settings up and then his evening xray showed that his lungs were a little over inflated, so they adjusted a bit down. The good news is during all of this, he was able to regulate his oxygen needs.

His feedings are still going really well. They have increased again to 2.2ml/hour. When they check his residual its a tiny bit or none. This means he is digesting it all. And he is still pooping. Which means his digestive system is working well.

They turned off his jaundice light again. His levels are back down. Here's hoping they stay down.

We can't believe he will be 3 weeks old tomorrow. In some ways time has flown by, in others it seems like each day takes forever. But mostly we are so grateful for our beautiful little boy.

Pictures from October 17th

The NICU nurses at St. David's rock. They took pics for us again, because he was clean and looking good.

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18th - It Worked It Really Worked!

The steroids are working! Today Jackson showed MAJOR improvements - they dropped his oscillator settings and his oxygen settings. His last lung xray showed improvement, his lungs are opening up and there is less collapse.

They increased his continuous feeds to 1.7ml per hour and he is still tolerating it and digesting well.

The only set back is his jaundice levels crept back up. Basically his liver still hasn't passed all of the bilirubin. Since his liver is premature and they kept messing with his feeding, they said this was pretty normal. Now that he is eating more and pooping more we can only hope he will pass the rest of the bilirubin which is usually passed thru poop. He is getting light therapy again tonight. They have already seen an improvement in his levels, so hopefully he will be off the light soon.

On Tuesday morning, Julia will post some more pics that were taking on the 17th. The nurses were changing some of his stuff around and decided to take some more pics for us...and they are pretty cute. We can't wait to share.

Julia made it through her first day of work, she was a little tired when she got home. But was quickly re-energized by all of the good news from Jackson's doctors regarding his lungs.

Lastly, Jackson got his first bath last night. He was looking squeaky clean when we saw him today. 

Pic of Jackson - from October 16th

This is a pic one of the nurses took for us on Saturday night.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday October 17th - What a Difference a week makes

This time last week we were so worried about Jackson and his raging infections. This week our biggest concern is his lungs, which was to be expected since he was born so early.

He looks good, is gaining some weight (1lb 9oz), and eating well. They increased his continuous feeds to 1.5ml an hour. He pooped again on his own, which shows the doctors that his stomach is figuring out the whole digestion thing. He seems to be much calmer and resting comfortably.

They began the steroids, mainly because he wasn't making any progress. He was maintaining but his lungs didn't show any growth and his settings on the oscillator had plateaued. He gets a dose every 6 hours for the next week. We should start to see improvement within the next 24 hours.

His spinal fluid is still trending negative for infection. Because there were more than 5 white blood cells present in his fluid, they want to repeat the spinal tap on the 25th. They are being very cautious and since they had called in infectious diseases to consult, they have to make 100% sure he didn't/doesn't have meningitis. 

The nurses yesterday took a picture for us, so Julia will scan that tomorrow when she returns to work and will post it for all to see. They have also come up with a plan for us to be able to take more pictures while he is on touch isolation.

Thank you again for all of the love and support. We could not do this without the help of our wonderful community.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Today it was a good day"

Jackson's spinal tap test is trending negative.  The results will not be definite until they allow time for a culture to grow.  The settings on his oscillator are continuing to come down including the amount of oxygen, so they are waiting a little longer to see what happens before giving him the steroids.  The continuous feedings are going really well so they have increased them to one ml every hour.  He was really calm, restful, and relaxed today which is also a good sign indicating he is saving his energy for growing, and the end of the infection wrecking his system.

On another note, Greg's parents have been in town all weekend providing us some much needed relaxation.  They have been treating us out to dinners, lunches, and some good company.  They also, surprised us with a little present of relaxation that we can use later when they might not be able to be here. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday October 15th 2010

Today's big event was Jackson's lumbar puncture (spinal tap).  They had to stick a needle into his spinal column and draw out some of the fluid to test if the infection reached his spinal/neurological system.  So far there are no conclusions on the test, but we will keep you posted.  We hope to know more before the weekends done. 

Jackson is now on a continuous feeding schedule where he gets half a ml every hour.  This should do a better job of priming his digestive system, rather than larger feedings sporadically throughout the day.  This seems to be doing the trick as he had two relatively massive bowel movements today.  Definitely the most his little digestive has done in quite some time.

Otherwise there have been little other changes, specifically the lungs.  They removed the caffeine that was trying to help jump start his lungs.  They changed it out for something stronger.  If this doesn't help they will resort to having to use steroids.  Otherwise things are going well and should continue to progress.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday Oct 14th

Jackson is doing well. His latest gas numbers are "beautiful", his oxygen number is a little high - but steady, his settings on the oscillator are lower. His last chest xray was better, but still hazy. To help his lungs they are going to switch from a caffeine based stimulant to a different medication that is a little stronger. This is option #2. If it doesn't work they will use a steroid medication, but we are hoping to avoid that because the side affects are more long lasting.

They have canceled Jackson's feeding for today because his stomach was full. They are going to let him digest what is in there and then slowly start the breast milk again.

We have decided that he looks better, he is looking less fragile and looks like he is putting on some muscle.

That's it for now. When we went to visit tonight, it was so nice, because the Doctor just waved at us instead of waving us down to talk. :)  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Oct 13- 2 weeks down....

YAHOOOOO Jackson made it to 2 weeks. He will most likely be in NICU for another 16 weeks, but gosh it feels good to have those 2 behind us.

His health continues to improve. They talked to us tonight about the spinal tap to check for meningitis. If he continues to be stable, they will do it in the next couple of days. They also increased his feedings to 3ml every 3 hours. Since he is in touch isolation we couldn't take a picture to mark his 2 week milestone. Oh well, you can't win them all.

Today Julia was at the hospital and witnessed Jackson's first temper tantrum. He was resting comfortably and the nurse had to check him and reposition him. Needless to say, he was very angry that he was disturbed and let us know about it. He was pounding his little fits in the air and against his pillows. Kicking his little legs and trying to move his breathing tube. After about 20 minutes he settled down and went back to sleep. It was pretty funny to watch, but also a little frightening that at 25 weeks old he is so hardheaded--he must take after Greg.

Speaking of Greg, we have had alot of inquiries to how Greg is doing-- he is back at work, which is good because its a distraction from the waiting game, but he is also pretty tired. Between going to work, seeing Jackson and trying to make sure our dogs don't stage a coup, he is kept on his toes. Each day that passes he falls a little more in love with Jackson but is still very nervous about the whole situation.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday - October 12th

The news from NICU is that Jackson is doing well. Both his tracheal and blood are now testing negative for bacterial infection. His lungs are just so so but are showing signs of improvement. They increased his feedings to 2ml every 3 hours. Also because of that he has now pooped, officially.

In order to officially close the case on this infection they want to perform a spinal tap, just to make sure the bacteria didn't get into his spinal fluid. They will wait a couple more days before doing that.

They placed his picc line today, which is in his left arm. They also had to replace one of his IVs, and the best vein they found was in his head. It looks a little weird, but its a great vein and wont hurt his brain. It shouldn't have to be in for a long time, just until he finishes all of his antibiotics, which will be at least 10 more days.

We asked about the touch isolation and how long Jackson would be under those orders. Apparently the bacteria he had is "a nasty one" so they are trying to make sure it doesn't spread thru the whole NICU. We are officially the parents of a dirty kid (just kidding). We are actually glad because it makes all of the staff take extra precautions when handling Jackson, so hopefully the chances of this happening again will be reduced.

In parent news, Greg let Julia drive to the hospital tonight. Julia's doctor said she could drive once she felt like she could slam on the brakes. Julia is healing quite well, but still tires very easily. The hardest part is reminding her that she can't do everything all at once like before.

Tomorrow will mark 2 weeks, we can't believe how quickly it seems like time has gone by, because in other ways its seems like it has been months. Neither one of us could have made it thru without the love, support and prayers from our friends, family and strangers. Thank you all for continuing on this journey with us.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Evening - October 11

Sigh of relief as the doctors are feeling much more optimistic about Jackson's recovery. It seems the bacteria is under control and dwindling thanks to the antibiotics. Jackson is back on a oscillator because that seems to help him regulate his gases better (oxygen and carbon dioxide).

They are resuming feeding him breast milk every 3 hours, they had stopped because they didnt want his body focusing energy on digestion they wanted it all focused on getting better.

His lungs are still hazy but clearing. They were able to dislodge and suction out a good amount of mucous. The amount they are suctioning out is also reduced which tells us the infection is dying down.

His jaundice levels are back down, so he is off light therapy for now. again.

Tomorrow assuming the bacteria culture again test negative they will place his picc line. we will know for sure after his 6am culture swab.

Again thank you all for the prayers and good thoughts. Knowing our network of friends and family were lifting our sweet son in prayer was so comforting. It has been a stressful couple of days. We know we have many more to come, but now that we have made it thru our first real scare we feel like the next ones wont be as frightening. All the NICU parents remind us that it is 3 steps forward 2 steps back but in the end we are making forward progress.

so tonight we give prayers of thanksgiving for Jackson's recovery and continued growth.

Monday - October 11th

Quick update- Julia went to check on Jackson this morning. It looks like we finally might be turning a corner on this infection. Thank you so much for the prayers and good thoughts. They are definitely being heard and answered.

They changed his ventilator from an oscillator which has helped his lungs clear out some of the fluid build up. As the hours passed, the amount of fluid and the quality has changed and diminished. His gas levels are much better and the doctor is pleased with the progress he has made over the last 12 hours. They also removed his central line from his belly button, which was something they would have done normally in the next day or two. They went ahead with removal just incase some bacteria had attached itself to the tube. so at this point, Jackson has had all of his lines changed out. After we get confirmation the infection is gone, they will put in a picc line which is a more permanent stable line for administering fluids and treatments. For now they have an IV line run. 

The initial test on the culture swab taken on October 10th was negative, so we will wait and see if anything grows out--but if its truly a negative that will be a great sign, because it means the antibiotics are working.

As mentioned the Doctor was very pleased with the last 12 hours. Jackson was getting a chest xray when Julia was leaving, so this evening we will have more updates regarding that.

On lighthearted news, Julia was able to help change his diaper for the first time. :) 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday - October 10 - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good: Jackson had a head scan and there is still no evidence of fluid on the brain. which is great.

The Bad: His infection is still raging. They have changed out his breathing tube because bacteria loves plastic, and they wanted to make sure if there were any colonies attached to the tube, they removed them. They are also in the process of changing his other lines. They think the antibiotics are working, but we wont know for sure until tomorrow. The process of testing a culture takes 24 hours, because they have to give the bacteria time to grow once they take the sample. So far the samples taken over the last couple of days are still testing positive, but the Dr. seems to think we may get a negative for the sample from the 10th.

The Ugly: Jackson's lungs are really struggling. Since he does have an infection in his lungs they have labeled it pneumonia. The doctor's are working on getting his lungs to clear out again. Tonight when we were there, the Doctor walked us through the treatments he was thinking about to try and clear up his lungs. They have also called in the infectious disease specialist and placed Jackson on touch isolation, which means before we can see him we have to put on gowns and sterile gloves along with the 3 minute hand wash routine. We are also not allowed to bring anything into his area, which includes our camera. So until he gets better, we wont be able to post new pics on the blog. But will continue to post updates to his condition.  

Please continue to pray for Jackson that his lungs begin to clear out and his infection starts to respond to the antibiotics.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday the 9th

Fighting the Infections -

Jackson getting a chest X-ray
Overall, Jackson's day was rather calm.  He has an infection that is requiring antibiotics, which leaves him vulnerable to yeast infections.  He is fighting both right now, and will be on antibiotics for a total of 10 days.  He started them 2 days ago, and so he has another 8 to go.  After all the blood infection has been cleared up they will have to do a spinal tap to make sure the infection didn't make it into his spinal fluid.

Jackson will be receiving more milk increasing from 4 times a day to 8 times.  They will continue to increase the amount he gets steadily.  His eyes are open and he looks around a little which is really nice to see.  He's been much less active due to the doctors giving him a little more sedative to make sure he stays calm and works on fighting the infections, breathing, and growing.

On a lighter note, Jackson got his first piece of mail yesterday.  We had him added to our health plan and they sent us the new cards.  However, they changed Jackson as the plan holder and deleted Greg off.  So because of that, the mail came in Jackson's name, rather than Greg's.  Greg will have to wait until Monday to clear this up, and get his name back on the card, and the owner of the plan.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Oct 8th - Answered Prayers!

Guess what we found out?? Jackson's PDA has closed up!!! The medication worked!! This means he should not have to have surgery. There is a slight chance it could reopen, but that really drops once he is over 14 days old (so 5 days away).

His lungs have really cleared up and are looking much better.

And his eyes are now open!

He has gained weight too! At one point he had dropped to about 1lb 2 oz and now he is up to 1lb 7oz, which is 2oz over his birth weight. He is getting a little breast milk and tolerating it well. Hopefully they will start increasing the amount of breast milk he receives soon.

Our only concern right now is the infection, which is being treated with antibiotics. They will continue to monitor and treat.

Overall today was a good day.

Thank you all for your prayers, they are working for sure!!

Friday Oct 8th- Double Dose of Jackson Today

Julia and Pat went to visit Jackson this morning since Pat was going home today.
He was just about to have his eco-cardiogram and was very relaxed and looking good. Just had to share a couple of pics from that visit-- we will be back later tonight with an actual update on his condition after Julia and Greg go for our nightly visit.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday Oct 7th

Jackson was started on antibiotics today because his red blood cells count was low and he has had fluid on his lungs. They took a culture sample and we will know more about the infection in 48 hours. but instead of waiting on the results they decided to go ahead and just start the antibiotics to be proactive and hopefully keep the infection from really setting in.

His chest xray this evening was much clearer and they think the surfactant given yesterday is beginning to help.

Tomorrow is a big day because Jackson will have his follow up eco-cardiogram to see if the PDA medication has helped and Julia will be having her staples removed.

He is no longer getting light treatment for jaundice so we are able to see his cute little face. They did have to increase his sedative because "he is a little punk" and tries to remove his tubes. I guess he is hard headed like both of his parents. 

One thing Jackson hasn't had issue with yet is his blood pressure. Here is a picture of his blood pressure cuff--its so tiny!!

And here is a picture of him resting this morning. He is too precious and he has definitely stolen our hearts.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Im One Week Old!!

Today marks Jackson's one week mark. its crazy to think about the ride we have had the last seven days.  We appreciate all of the kind thoughts and prayers from our friends all over the world.

From the Doctors: Jackson was having a little problem with his oxygen saturation and breathing, so after a chest xray they decided to give him some medication, which is surfactant. Surfactant is a substance composed of lipoprotein that is secreted by the alveolar cells of the lung and serves to maintain the stability of pulmonary tissue by reducing the surface tension of fluids that coat the lung. As the doctor was explaining this to Julia, she almost passed out. It was alot to take in at once. But the good news is when we went this evening they said the medication was working well and they were pleased with the current results. Jackson will have another chest xray in the morning.

Here is a pic of Jackson tonight-- he was just chilling and looked very relaxed this evening.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday - October 5th

We got the results from his eco-cardiogram. The medication worked but not completely. His PDA has gone from moderate to slight-moderate. Since his vitals are still very strong, he is able to do another round of medication to see if the PDA will completely close. This round of medication will be given over 3 days and they will repeat the eco-cardiogram on Friday. So we can only hope the medication keeps working, if it doesn't we will then talk to the doctors about doing surgery. Other than his PDA medication, he seems to be doing well. He was wiggling around today giving the nurse a hard time because she kept trying to get him into a position.

One question we get is just how tiny is Jackson. Below is a picture of a newborn diaper and one of Jackson's diapers.  As you can see--he is quite Tiny!! Kinda hard to believe but we love our tiny tiny boy!!

Monday - October 4th

Glory Day! Julia was released from the hospital. Pat arrived just in time to help Julia and Greg pack up all of their stuff and make one last visit to Jackson before being released. Jackson wasn't getting light therapy when we arrived so we were able to get a good look at his face!! He is too precious.

Monday, October 4, 2010

72 hours plus (Sunday)

Jackson is over 72 hours!!! His chance of survival has now increased.
Sunday was a rest day for Julia and Greg. We rested all day and had very few visitors, which was needed. the sleepless nights were catching up and we really needed some quiet time to gather our thoughts about everything that had happened over the last 5 days.

Jackson was given a medication to help his slight heart murmur. Apparently the murmur is caused by a PDA which is a open valve that hasn't completely closed, which is normal in pre-term babies. He was a good candidate for the medication, which is about 75% effective. He will be given 3 doses over 36 hours and then will have another eco-cardiogram to see if the PDA has corrected itself.

Below is a picture of Jackson, at 100 hours old!! He was still getting light therapy at this point, which is why he is wearing his tiny foam sunglasses.

48-72 hours (Saturday)

Jackson had a good night and was still stable. At this point the doctors were very pleased with his progress. even though he was tiny, he was really fighting.

We spent most of the morning resting. The most exciting news of the morning was that Julia's breast milk had come in. Even though Jackson would be getting very little, this was emotional for Julia because now she felt like she was contributing to Jackson's care.

Around game time, Melissa and Lisa came by the chips, salsa and queso. They were determined that Greg would have a good game day. Even though the Longhorns lost, Julia and Greg were happy because Jackson was quickly approaching the 72 hour mark.

The first 48 hours (Thursday & Friday)

Thursday and Friday were very slow days as we were waiting for any news regarding Jackson. Greg's parents arrived on Thursday morning and Julia's Dad and Nancy arrived Thursday evening. Due to NICU restrictions, only Dad and MaryAnne were able to see Jackson. Of course they both instantly fell in love with their tiny grandson.

Even though Jackson had a rough start that morning, he was again labeled stable. Julia was still confined to her bed, but was enjoying the constant distraction of visitors. On Thursday afternoon Lisa came by to get all of the details for the In Mammary of Mom fundraiser, since she was going to take the lead--obviously Julia would not be running the show this year. Elisabeth came by to get the last of Julia's work related worries on paper and to try to convince Julia to stop thinking about her work and clients.

Tommy and Jaime were able to come into town on Thursday evening, so we would have someone to care for our dog children-- Duke and Friend.

Our doctors were still working on Julia's blood pressure, but her other vitals were improving. Since Julia was still confined to her bed, Greg was in charge of going to visit Jackson.

Friday morning, Melissa and Lisa stopped by to finalize the plans for the benefit. Luckily before all of this had happened, Melissa and Julia had come up with the plan that Melissa would fly in from California for the benefit and OU game. A couple of guys from Greg's office stopped by to check on Greg and deliver the most awesome snack basket. We had lots of vistors that day, which was a great distraction for us from watching the clock.

As we hit the 48 hour mark we were getting updates from all of our friends that they were having a good time at the benefit and they were all thinking about Jackson. Julia was finally allowed to get out of bed!! Which means Julia was allowed to visit Jackson! Even though it was very very hard to see her baby it was comforting to know he was in good hands.

The Day Jackson was born

Jackson Joseph was delivered via emergency c-section on Wednesday, September 29th at 7:53pm.

On Wednesday afternoon, Julia wasnt feeling well, and had thought she had a touch of a stomach bug. She was at work and just decided to drive herself to the hospital, because she felt like she just needed to be there. Once she was checked in, the doctors realized she has eclampsia- meaning her blood pressure was very high, protein in her urine and very low blood platelets. The doctor's said the only way to cure eclampsia and to save Julia's life was to deliver the baby.

The c-section went well, and they wisked Jackson off to the NICU. He weighted 1lb 5oz and was 11 5/8 inches long. Greg was able to quick peak at Jackson once he was in the NICU, but was quickly escorted out so they could start working on Jackson.

We were told the first 72 hours would be the most critical. So we just had to wait and pray. and wait. Luckily we have some amazing friends. Elisabeth made a run up to the hospital to bring Greg a care package and Eddie brought Greg some dinner, and Lisa came by to check on Julia and Greg. Julia was out of recovery around 9pm and in her room.

We were told Jackson was very tiny, in critical but stable condition. Julia was hooked up to IVs and monitors. With her blood pressure not stable, it was a very restless night, because the staff was constantly in her room checking her vitals. After mentioning to a nurse that she hadn't seen Jackson yet, the nurse was kind enough to go and take some pictures for us and have them printed. It was comforting to see our baby.