Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mitchell is slowly improving!!!

Mitchell has been battling with a condition called PPHN (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn) which basically means that he cannot exchange gases effectively and he would suffocate w/o the assistance of the ventilator. He was on a machine called CPAP - which just supplys O2 to the back of his nose, and it wasn't working so they intubated him. Intubation is a tube that goes through his mouth down through his vocal cords, and directly into his lungs. This is a more effective way of delivering him the O2 that he desperately needs. He is seen here underneath a blanket that Kellie sleeps with, and then covers him so he can smell his mommy. We are stongly advised not to disturb him for 6 hours at a time, because any extra stimulation makes him work harder thus requiring more O2 which comes at a premium for him - hence the yellow earmuffs and dark blanket over his head.

We can't hold him, and sometimes we can touch him if his vitals are stable. Most of these photos are taken during the small time frame each day where they adjust his cords, draw blood, and reposition him on his bedding.

Those are IV lines that you see in his head there. Unfortunately he has taken his fair share of pricks w/ the needle since he has been in the NICU. He has had one in his head, foot, umbilical cord, arm and they constantly have had to change them considering an IV line can sometimes give out in less than 24 hours. They actually had us consent to a more permanent line that goes through his arm almost all the way to his heart that will stay in for as long as needed. They need to draw blood through these lines, as well as supply his body with the nutrients he needs to survive. They have also had to transfuse him, and they may need to do that again.

He was somehow infected with a bacteria and became septic, which he contracted during pregancy, labor or delivery that has been the true culprit of his PPHN. They were shocked to see his white blood cell count plummet after being in the NICU for only 24 hours. They covered him with 2 antibiotics immediatlety upon entering the NICU, and gave him another one later the next day. If the infection were of a viral nature then his body would just have to work it out as we were told, and the outcome would potentially be very bleak. However, if it were of a bacterial nature then the antibiotics they had given him would hopefully clear it up in time. So, we were on pins and needles, and before they were able to confirm what bug he had, the doctor started him on a different antibiotic called Flagyl (metronidazole). His condtion has improved drasticially since then. He has now been on that antibiotic for approx. 2 days and has been getting better at a very steady rate. He will have to stay on that antibiotic for 10 days.

By all accounts things seem to be predicable at this point. He is healing very nicely and is expected to make a full recovery. However, he still has quite a ways to go.

He still has a nice stong sucking reflex, even though he is sedated.

They have been weaning him off of his breathing support slowly and hope to be able to remove his tube in a week's time. He will at that time have to learn how to digest his food orally, which could take quite awhile, and so we have not been given a definite time frame as to when he will be coming home. Most everybody surmises that it will probably be another 2-3 weeks. That sucks. However, they want to return him to us completely self-sufficient and if that only takes a few short weeks then we will take it. In the meantime, I have taken work off until next Thursday, and will be here with the family. Kellie and I take shifts going to Mitchell's bedside, and get over there probably 2-3 times a day. When I go back to work next Thursday, my sister Hannah is flying in to help us out a bit. After that, our friend Annie will be here, followed by Kellie's mother who will be here well into July.

Kellie and I love this little guy so much, and are so very grateful that he appears to have turned the corner towards a full recovery and will come home to us soon. We are so very grateful to the doctors, nurses, and most importantly to our Father in Heaven who have healed our beautiful son.

Here he is nice and sedated. It is a good thing considering all the science experiments being run on him every couple of hours.

I still have not seen him open his eyes yet, but Kellie saw him briefly one day while they were changing him.

Kellie's sister, Chelsey, has been a huge support.

Kellie trying to be happy leaving the hospital.

Reesa and Kellie back together at long last.


  1. awww. i'm sorry he has to be in there. how long do they think it will be before you take him home? I hope you are doing okay, I know you must be so tired and stressed from it all. You are such a good mom, I know Mitchell is already so blessed to be in your home! I miss you! Make sure you are letting lots of people help you out!

  2. I am so sorry. I would never want someone to have to got through all the worrying that the NICU brings. Mitchell is an angel! What a handsome guy. He's strong too! I can't wait to get there. Hang in there, and I love you all so much!!!
    Love, Hannah

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  4. I'm so sorry, it is the saddest thing to see all of those IV's coming out of such a little guy...We'll be keeping u all in our prayers, and let me know what time u want us to come over tomorrow to help!

  5. Kellie! It's been a few days since I have checked your blog! Congratulations on the birth of your new son! I'm so sorry to hear that he is still in the hospital! I can't imagine how that feels to come home without your baby. It's amazing what we can get through when we have supportive family and a strong testimony!
    Our prayers are with you!!! I hope little Mitchell continues to get better and comes home soon!

  6. Wow, what an ordeal! Thank goodness for modern medicine. We're keeping you in our prayers, and hope Mitchell makes a full recovery (and soon)!

  7. Kellie and Jake...we are thinking of you and pray that eveything goes as planned with Mitchell. I had to leave Miller in the NICU for a couple of weeks and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. And I didn't have any other kids at home! I can't imagine dealing with all of that. You guys are awesome. Congratuations and you will make it through this. Love you!

  8. I didn't even know that you had a blog! First, Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby boy, Mitchell. I love his dark hair. So sorry to hear about his condition. We pray for your family and for Mitchell's quick recovery. Lots of love, Chelsea and Kyle

  9. Jake And Kellie i love you guys so much and I am sorry you are going through all this. I know totally how you feel. Brooklyns situation was very similar and i can relate with all the Lines and the PIC line and all that. I know its torturous to see your baby suffer and there is nothing you can do do comfort him. But I also know that at your lowest moments the Lord is there to comfort and carry you. I truly beleive hospitals are almost more sacred than churches because of the Lords presence there and all the angels watching over Mitchell. He will be home and in your loving arms soon. We are praying for him and your family everyday.

  10. Mitchell is beautiful!!! Congratulations!

    I know what you are going through. My little Wyatt had pphn and contracted a blood infection too. His blood platelettes dropped to 4, and as you know, newborns are usually between 125 and 200.

    Wyatt is now 13 months old and doing great!

    God bless your little family,
    Melissa Leavitt