Wednesday, October 22, 2008

three days: so far so good, a name, photos, a blog

Dear family, friends, and comrades,

As always, sincere thanks for your continuing words, actions, thoughts, and prayers of support. It truly means much.

Before we start, a quick critical request. The most common source of problems is germs. If you are considering seeing us and have a cold or other contagious illness, or have recently had one, or are even around someone with one, please let us know, and we'll assess the situation.

First, the baby boy has continued to do fairly well, all things considered, during his first 72 hours outside the womb. All tests and indications so far are good to reasonably OK. Some details are below. But we've been warned that there is often an initial "honeymoon" period of few or no problems. And several hospital staff have warned us that, even in the best case, this will be a very turbulent journey, with lots of steep ups and downs. Preemies are generally in the hospital until the due date, give or take a few weeks. That means 3 to 4 months of this.

Second, the little guy has a name: Loki Sky. Regarding the first name, I was interested in having a name that reflected traditional cultural inheritance. I read that, many years ago, the Netherlands region followed Norse mythology: Thor, Odin, Freya, valkyries, etc. Loki was a major figure, sort of one god of many. His role is not unproblematic: He was the Trickster, the trouble-maker, the source of mischief. Many cultures have a similar figure, like Coyote of southwest Native Americans. Trouble was needed to prevent boredom. We've certainly had our trouble, and look forward to years of mischief.

Third, Mom is recovering. She still has some pain, but is eating solid food and walking a bit. She should be discharged tomorrow, on Wednesday. Her surgery was not minor, and was even more severe than a typical C-Section. Because the baby was so young and delicate, a larger opening than normal was needed. The doctors said that her uterus was very small, and crowded with little Loki. We believe that the water breaking last week bought us some time, and the little man was able to grow one more crucial week.

We are still in "shell shock" and feel a bit disconnected from reality. I suspect that it will hit us sometime like a bag of bricks. This feels like the best thing and the most difficult thing to ever occur to me. For now, it is amazing to meet this wonderful new delicate person, but at the same time it is very difficult to fully process just how uncertain the future is. For me, words like "born," "father," "baby," and especially "congratulations" are strange. I don't have a crying baby to hold; He is in a box instead. And the blessings are very mixed right now. Despite this ambivalence, it is a joy to place my hands inside the box, and have his tiny feet press against my palm, wiggling the smallest toes imaginable.

Today happens to be my birthday, and we had a little celebration in Mom's hospital room. I have already received the best gift ever, and it was easy to choose a wish when I blew out the candle. And as I turn 34, I realize that I have many more grey hairs than I did a month ago.

Back to baby Loki: His brain, heart, and kidneys were scanned by ultrasound. His heart initially had a slight murmur, which is common, but its gone now. He has just one kidney, like his Mommy, but it appears to be functioning fine. There was some minor bleeding in his brain. Most of this occurred in a part of the brain that is not used after birth (the germinal matrix). Some of the bleeding is near the ventricle. This location and degree of bleeding is fairly common during the birth of preemies, and often decreases around day three. If this decrease is observed soon, then we have one less thing to worry about. He has a bit of jaundice, also common and - if cured quickly - probably not a problem, and is under a strange blue light to treat that. His initial weight (610 grams) was a bit above average, and has since went up and down. It should go down a bit as he looses some excess water. His urination was initially not frequent enough, but has since become appropriate. His breathing is assisted in two ways: a respirator that pushes air in and out, and a higher level of oxygen. We really hope that respirator can be removed within a few days. Lowering the oxygen level is also important, but not as much. It has gone down from 30% to 25%. He is surprisingly long and skinny, at 12 1/2 inches (about 32 cm). His diapers are tiny.

My mother arrived yesterday, and that has been a huge source of support. Mom's mother and step-father arrive tomorrow.

Feel free to call Mom's cell to talk with her. Keep in mind that we have limited time and energy, and are sorry that we have not yet returned all your calls. Also, please do not call her between 9 PM and 8 AM, nor me between 11 PM and 8 AM. We must leave our phones on in case of emergencies. Remember that Indiana is 3 hours later, and the Netherlands is 9 hours later.

With love,

4 comments:

mpsprenger said...

I am speachless. What a little, tiny, beatifull baby Loki! Tears are popping out of my eyes when I read your words and see the pictures. I wish I could do more than give you words, I promisse I wil send even more positive energy each day. I wish the 3 of you so much luck in this journey and a boost for you; I spoke 3 collegues, one was a premie himself, 750 grams. One got a premie, nowadays a strong 4 year old. The other had premietwins in the familie, two girls at the age of 13 now, everything good. Besides that another told me that premies become more care-taking, sensitive adults. Remember this! Lots of luck Martin and I are with you, XX Marieke

Naaoomieh said...

Dear Mom and Dad,

A candle is burning for your beautiful Loki! The three of you are in our thoughts...

Love, Naomi & Stefan

Cheryl said...

Dear "Mom" and "Dad",
Thank you for taking the time to let us all know how things are going at a time when I am sure you are "running on empty". I am thinking of you all, and am glad you have so much support.
I think Loki Sky has already demonstrated his intense desire to be in this world, and his strength and yours will surely be tested--but I've learned that these little ones are so incredibly and miraculously strong. Plus you are in GREAT hands at Alta Bates--they are pros...Congratulations on becoming parents, both of you.
Love, Cheryl Theis and family

rennie said...

We just found the site. He looks great. Please know you all are in our prayers.
Hang in there!
Take care!
Rennie & LeAnn

About Loki Sky

Loki Sky is a special little man. He was a very early micropreemie, weighing only 610 grams (1 lb, 5 oz) after 24 weeks, 3 days gestation, born to an American Father and a Dutch Mother in Berkeley, California on October 18, 2008.

On January 11, 2009, while still in the hospital NICU, his one kidney stopped working. It was repaired after three surgeries. After spending time in three hospitals in three cities, Loki came home on February 17. He struggled with eating, and then stopped in July, leading to 8 days in the hospital, a failure-to-thrive diagnosis, and a NG feeding tube. On October 10, a minor surgery installed a G feeding tube. Another procedure replaced it with a new one, and then again with a Mic-Key button in Jan. 2010.

In August 2010, he and his parents moved to the Netherlands.

Read about his first name.
Read & hear about his middle name.
See photos.
See videos.

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