Asher and his twin brother, Titus, were born at 23 weeks and 2 days due to PROM (premature rupture of membranes) , and an incompetent cervix. My water broke around Titus at 19 weeks, and I was on bed rest for a month before they were born. I had no warning signs of this happening, I had everything checked at 17 weeks, including my cervix and it was a normal length at that time. We did know that twins could sometimes be born early...but we were thinking in the early-mid 30's, if anything, was possible. (Details about the day my water broke can be found here.) When my water broke, Titus was head down, in a delivery position and it looked as though he could deliver anytime. The next day, he had moved and was laying across my cervix, and my cervical length was long and normal again- much to the dr's surprise. We believe Titus protected his brother...he gave Asher more time in me so that he would be stronger when he came out and able to survive. Titus was bigger than Asher at birth- he contined to grow, even without fluid for a month. He was a tough little boy. Titus passed away about 45 minutes after birth because his lungs were too immature. With no fluid around him for a month, his lungs never matured past 19 weeks and they just weren't developed enough to respond to treatment. Asher was at Baylor Grapevine for a month. His first month was tough. There was one specific time we were told to come to the nicu "right now" if we wanted to say goodbye to him. He really didn't improve dramatically until after his PDA surgery. He was transferred to Children's Dallas for his PDA surgery at 5 weeks old and 1lb 10oz. He stayed there about 6 weeks, then went back to Baylor for 2 weeks, and then back to Children's for about 6 more due to finding the rare stricture in his esophagus. (The blogs about Asher's NICU stay start here.)
Right after birth
Big brother Titus - our angel baby
ASHER'S NICU STAY STATS:
-Born 17 weeks early at 23 wks and 2 days
-had chronic lung disease, PIE, ventilated for a month and a half, then c-pap, cannula, off oxygen by 39 weeks
-ROP stage 1 and 2 in zone 2 in both eyes- resolved by 44 wks
-No brain bleeds (praise the LORD)
-unexplained stricture in the esophagus (numerous procedures to stretch the esophagus, 3 in nicu and several after leaving)
-double hernias in the groin (repaired in surgery)
-hydro-nephrosis (fluid around kidneys)- resolved
-umbilical hernia- resolved on it's own before leaving the nicu
-left NICU with ng, and a month later had a g-button placed
- currently does not take bottles, (all milk goes through the button) but eats 1-2 oz of puree's 3x a day (sometimes, that is)
Asher goes to speech (feeding) therapy once a week and he went to PT once a week as well for several months. He was dismissed from PT shortly before starting to walk in June 2013! He checks in with OT once a month. He has been meeting developmental milestones with his corrected age.
GI/STRICTURE- We check in with them as needed. He hasn't had to have his esophagus dilated/stretched since August, so we are praying he won't have to do that again! GI monitors growth, and currently they have him on periactin for throwing up (and doesn't hurt that it's side affect is appetite stimulation) and prevacid for reflux.
EYES- He just had a 6mo follow up (6mo after leaving the nicu- Jan. '13) and the dr was very pleased with his eyes. She said "they look like any 11 mo old". This is amazing! We are praying his eyes continue to grow they way they should and that any lack of vision would just be due to genetics and not prematurity. UPDATE: January 2014, we checked in again with the eye doctor. His eyes looked completely normal, vision great! This doctor kept saying, "He's such a miracle."
DENTAL: We just went to his first appointment! (August 2013) His top middle 2 teeth are discolored and his bottom middle two teeth as well. We were told this is due to the stress of being premature, drugs received, and the breathing tube being in that area. There is nothing we can do about it except have good dental hygiene, and get check ups to watch for any cavities in the baby teeth. The dentist said his teeth/mouth looked great, AND he was actually AHEAD for his age! Meaning, he has a lot of teeth for an 18mo old (14 corrected). That's rare for us to be told he's ahead in something! We'll take it! UPDATE: Summer 2014, we went back to the dentist, teeth still look great! All 2nd year molars were making their way through.
EARS: We just got this checked (Jan '13), he passed! He'll go back in 6mo (in the summer) to do a behavioral hearing test. It was hard to get an 11mo/ 7mo corrected old to sit still enough for the hearing test that sleepy newborns are given--- so she didn't quite get all the numbers she needed. But, from what she got, it looked completely normal. Prematurity is a big cause of hearing loss in babies/kids. UPDATE: We went back and he passed with normal hearing, but we still need to re-check in one year.
WEIGHT: When Asher came home at 5 months/ 1 month corrected, he weighed 7lbs. By his 1st birthday/8 months corrected he weighed just over 15lbs. He has stayed consistently on the 2% line on the growth curve for his corrected age. So, he has grown very consistently, and stayed on his curve, but still has some catching up to do. And he'll get there. He's growing like he should, like any baby should at his age- gaining about 1lb a month. He was on 28cal fortified breastmilk until about 9 mo/5corrected when my frozen milk supply ran out. :( So, since then he's been on a few different formulas...Neocate, Prosobee, and currently we are transitioning to Enfacare. He's also on 30cal now as well. UPDATE: Asher slowly moved up the curve and is now between the 10th-25th percentile for his corrected age and is approaching the curve for his actual age! (August 2013, 18mo actual, 14 corrected, 20lbs 11oz.) ** UPDATE: By age 2 corrected, Asher was in the 25-50% for height AND weight on the curve for his actual age!! In June 2014 (now corrected age 2) he weighed 26.5lbs, and by August 2014, he weighed 28lbs!
God has shown His great mercy in Asher's little body!! He has done remarkably well for a 23 weeker! We are so thankful and we can't wait to see what plans God has for Asher's life!