Dear Henry, Just breathe
8 days ago we all took in a deep breath with Henry.
Up until this day, the ventilator (BiPAP) had been helping him by giving him 20 breaths a minute, on this morning, the doctor walked in to look at Henry, he said, he is doing well, let's try taking him down to 10, and we will see what he does, it might be time for "high flow". I felt like it was a big jump so I was scared, but I really wanted this next step for us.
I was having major anxiety, could this really be Henry's big day? I was so on edge everyone around me started to feel it.
3 hours later Henry was still doing well, so they drew his blood to send to the lab, to check his blood gas. We needed him to have a lowish CO2 if he had hope of moving off the ventilator. Anything under 60 is acceptable and anything under 50 is great, I was hoping for a 54, but Henry surprised us all with a 49!
I was so happy when Tara said that we were ready for the vapotherm! Vapotherm is the brand of a high flow nasal cannula with humidity. This is the next step... it goes 1. Intubated (Killed that one) 2. BiPAP (see ya) 3. Vapotherm 4. Wall oxygen 5. nothing
Before we knew it the respiratory therapist (RT) showed up with one and it was time!
Matt and I were happy that Tara was the one to do this transition. This is the biggest moment in Henry's life, and she deserves to be a part of it! From here on out Henry is on his own, if he wants to breath he has to do it on his own, it's a thing we all take for granted, but this is a gift and a massive milestone for my little family.
Tara took his little hat and nose mask off in one swift motion, Henry had his eyes closed, the light is bright when you've been hiding in your hat for so long, but he took a deep breath in (while I exhaled for the first time in what felt like a week). Matt and I took a moment and celebrated this victory with one look. A look of pride, hope and love. Words weren't needed.
Then it all came down to this... Tara wrapped him up, in what she calls a baby tamale, and handed him to me. I got to hold him like a baby....
It was that moment that I didn't get in the first minutes of Henry's life. The moment that I had been dreaming about for years. When someone hands you your baby and you get to hold him and look at him. Up until this moment he had been placed on my chest and I couldn't look at him, and my arms were just there to support him. But this was different.... this is what it's all about.
These are the moments we fight for.