Today makes a week since Jackman had his major surgery to connect the two ends of his esophagus. Since he got out of surgery, the three of us could have opened up an amusement park with all the highs and lows we've had. This past week has been a long one... a tough one... and a crazy one... but a good one all the same.
The first couple of days after his surgery we really didn't see Jackman awake at all. They kept him asleep for a full two days after so the attachment would take. He really looked pleasant most of the time, and everything seemed like it would be perfect from that point on. Then they started to let him wake up.
To even begin to understand the kind of discomfort Jackman has been in is hard for me to understand, let alone describe. He had an incision as long as my hand is wide for the surgery, along with several "holes" for cameras and the scope. Besides that, his insides have been stretched for 5 weeks. Jackman has been on some serious pain medication during this whole process, and is pretty much having withdrawals while he is being weaned off of all that stuff.
Needless to say, he has been the picture of pitiful these past few days. He experienced throwing up for the first time (and several times after), and I'm sure it hurt him and scared him too. It has been absolutely heart-wrenching to see him feeling so bad. He hasn't really been crying, just whimpering. It even breaks the nurses' hearts, and you know they have to have thick skin to do that job.
I have to say that the nurses have been amazing. They have taken such good care of Jackman, and do their best to make sure that he is as comfortable as he can possibly be. I can't wait for about half a dozen of them to move in with us when Jackman comes home.
Anyway, after I think 36 days, we finally got to see a couple of smiles from the boy tonight. Me and Lisa haven't seen him smile since Sunday night, November 15. That is a long time. When we came in the door (to his new, private room in NICU), one of his nurse/friends was playing with him and getting some big grins. It was a sight for sore eyes.
It didn't last long enough to get a picture, but it was a welcome sight. He started getting tired not too long after that. Before we new it, he was dozing off.
So what's next? Well, he still has the chest tube. They decided it was better not to remove it yet, but hopefully that will be soon. I'd really like to hold him again... it's been over a month. Another thing is getting bottle feeding started. They had planned to start that today, but due to the same reasons that are keeping his chest tube in place for now, the bottle feeding has been postponed.
One thing might need some explanation. Jackman has to learn how to take a bottle. Me and Lisa understand this, but most of our friends and family don't know why it's such a big deal.
Jackman has never had any food by mouth, ever. That is not the norm for a baby. Even though his instinct is to feed that way, he has learned differently over the past almost 20 weeks of 8 feedings per day. Not only that, but he doesn't even suck a pacifier anymore after 5 weeks with a ventilator down his throat. He has to relearn that as well because he was basically weaned off the pacifier during the time he was asleep.
So, Jackman still has some things to overcome, but he's awake. He'll be feeling better soon, and we'll be able to hold him again before long. We'll get to have those long visits again soon where we play with him till we wear him out, and he gets all fussy, and fights going to sleep until he zonks out (hopefully really, really soon). We are excited, and looking forward to spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with him at his place. It's all good.
We've had a lot of highs and lows in the past week. We should have gone nuts by now, but we haven't. From the beginning, God has poured out so much blessing on our little family that at times we have felt like we were getting too much. Every single need has been provided for, and peace of mind to boot. Jesus promised if we seek God's kingdom and His righteousness first, that He would take care of all our needs. He wasn't joking.