Through discussions with the babies' nurses and neonatologist, there is a concern with how well their actual stomachs are functioning. Currently, the belief is that both the stomach and the reconstructed portion of the small bowels are not functioning appropriately. With this in mind, I get the feeling that a jejunostomy feeding tube (a.k.a. j-tube) will more than likely be placed that bypasses the area of concern until a plan of attack can be formed to repair or remove or whatever plan of action necessary can be taken. J-tube placement is in overall plans, but it still remains in the (what I call) distant future. It is all dependent on how soon their wounds heal. There is good news to all of this, though. Once the boys have successful feeding abilities, whether it be via tube feedings, or via oral feeds, they get to come home!!! Now, before getting squeal-y, this process is still more than likely MONTHS from now, BUT it is ONE light at the end of the tunnel, rather than a ba-ga-jazillion (which is a really big, really scientific number).
The babies have also had a second hearing screening. (The first one was a total failure for both babies. They were turn-purple mad, and quite uncooperative.) The second time, Owen cooperated, passed in his left ear, and failed in his right ear. He is being referred to an audiologist for further testing. Emmett was simply uncooperative, and a third screening attempt will be necessary. If he is uncooperative or fails for a third time, he will be referred for further testing as well. That being said, Dave, the nurses, and I all KNOW that these boys can hear. They are too responsive to sound; but, they could very well have hearing loss and still require the use of hearing aids, or other alternative augmentative communication means or devices. This is definitely an area that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later so that language development is given every opportunity to be achieved at the appropriate age/rate.
As far as breathing goes, Owen's respiratory rate was completely removed from his ventilator settings, and he is doing a bang-up job of managing breathing on his own, though he still requires pressure support (as does Emmett). I believe that both babies may be allowed to try bubble c-pap again rather than being on the vent, and that, my friends, is a huge step for both of them. It would mean that they would be that much closer to breathing on their own!
During all of the craziness, Ethan and I found time to spend together, and we went on a date for the first time in a very, very long time, and boy-howdy was it a good one! I bought him a suit jacket for the occasion, and I wore a pretty dress. Dave even gave Ethan money to pay for our date with the instructions, "Don't lose this." So, for the trip from our house to the movie theater, Ethan kept one protective hand in his pocket around the cash. Upon arriving at the theater, we stood in line to buy our tickets, and I told Ethan, "Two tickets for 'Frozen' at 7::10," which he chanted over and over only stopping long enough to say, "Momma, I'm going to forget!" and then falling back into his chant. He ordered the tickets, thrusting the cash at the ticket-sales lady before she could even tell him how much! I chuckled, took the money back from the woman, and tried to help calm his nerves! She handed him $2.50 back in change, which he recommended that I hang on to, and then she handed him the tickets, and we walked to the concessions. After splurging on so many concessions that we could hardly carry it all, Ethan chose our seats, and we enjoyed a very cute film. On the way home, he told me that the next time we go out on a date (which should be every night, according to him), we should 'go to the place where you and Dave go dancing!' As Dave and I have never been dancing, I will have to figure out where that place is!
Since it has been a few weeks of taking shirt orders, we will be cutting off this next order date on Saturday. So if you missed the first order, make sure that you don't miss it this time! We will probably give shirt orders a break after this session.
As we are coming to a close for this update, I would like to ask for extra prayers for Dave, Ethan, and Liam. It is becoming more and more obvious to this momma that everything is beginning to wear on all of my boys (big one included), and unfortunately, there is not much of anything that I can do to alleviate the stress, anxiety, frustration, etc. We expected a year of hospitalization, and we are nearly 5 months in, but wow. A vacation from life with all my boys in tow would be a welcome respite.
Until that respite, here is my thankful-for list:
1. I am thankful for Fred and Linda Little who allowed the Ezell family to overtake their beautiful home! We will never be able to thank you enough for your enormous heart and generosity!
2. I am thankful for the nurses and doctors who take care of my babies when I am not able to, and who treat them like family! They are two lucky little guys to have such wonderful people surrounding them 24/7!
3. I am thankful for such an incredible family. Sarah, Tris, Helena, Maggie, Dean, Carol, Aunt Jeanie, Uncle Bob (aka Uncle David), Anya, Kevin, Natalia, Jeff, Tia, Ethan, Uncle Sam, Aunt Annette, John, Sarah, Alex, Landon (The Ezell side of the family); The Tindle side; the Bailey side, the Wilson side, and the extended side (aka all of you out there.) We love you all!
Happy Holidays, and may God bless you today!