Dear Friends and Family,
James was born last Monday, kicking and screaming with his eyes wide open, weighing in at 3 pounds 3 ounces and 15 inches long and we were thrilled! The doctors had estimated that he'd only weigh about 2 pounds 9 ounces, so to hear that he was over 3 pounds felt like a miracle! He's a handsome little guy who has tons of brown hair and looks a lot like his daddy. :-)
He's been in the NICU and had been progressing steadily, even breathing without any assistance for up to six hours, until Monday night when things took a bad turn. While Keith and I were visiting James last night his heart rate spiked up to 320! (I didn't even know it was possible to go that high!) They got his heart rate back down to 180, but he started showing other signs of being very sick. Overnight and the next morning they have done some tests. He definitely has a serious infection at this point (most likely in his intestines but it could also be in some other area of the body) and all of the signs are pointing to him having necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC.) Some of the signs of NEC are: 1) a drop in his blood platelet level (that's stable since last night), 2) build up of acid in the blood (his has been increasing), 3) not tolerating regular feedings, 4) swelling of the bowels, and 5) . They are doing several things to treat him and monitor him very closely at this point. He is on a ventilator (tube down his throat) to help him breathe, is on triple antibiotics to cover just about any infection, he had a this morning since he's been losing blood in his stools, he has an IV line in his belly button for administering fluids, and they'll be doing frequent blood tests and x-rays of his abdomen to check for further/developing problems. He will be getting and they will suspend feedings for at least the next few days and possibly up to 10-14 days.
Since James was growth restricted in the womb, his body was sending more blood to the vital organs (brain and heart) as he grew, which means that other organs didn't get enough blood flow to develop properly/strongly, so he was at an increased risk for an infection of this kind. The doctors said they'll be checking x-rays for "free air" in his abdomen, meaning that there could be a hole in his intestines leaking air and this would need emergency surgery. Intestinal infections can get very bad, very quickly. If they discovered during the surgery that too much of his intestines had been damaged or the tissue had already died, he would not be able to digest food and he would not survive. Just the thought of that overwhelms me.
Keith and I are heading down to the hospital and will be keeping a bedside vigil. Please pray with all your heart and soul for James--he needs as many prayer warriors as he can get! Pray that he will respond well to the treatments he is on, and that his intestines will be whole and functional. Also pray for Keith and I so we can try to stay calm and provide the emotional support James needs right now. Pray that the Lord would bring us comfort and shield our minds (especially mine, since I'm the constant worrier) from thinking of all the horrible scenarios and things that could go wrong--we'll need some Divine intervention to stay positive through this. Also pray for emotional support for our families and Keith's mom Darlene, who is being a great blessing to us in taking care of Maddie.