Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Zack is Home!

Sorry I have not posted, but it has been a madhouse. Zack has been eating like a little horse, and is sleeping well with no complications. Since about Friday all the nurses have been making comments like "He is doing so good" and "He will be outta here soon!"

Friday was a big day. Aubie came by for a visit to the NICU. (I'll have to put pics of that up later).

(Pictured is Nurse Debbie, one of the NICU nurses that were so good to us. The very first thing she and Nurse Dana did when we met her was pray for us and out baby. NICU nurses become part of your extended family.)

Sunday, the results from the spinal tap came back Negative for Meningitis. He also took his last dose of antibiotics. Then, out of nowhere we got a shock Sunday when one of his nurses asked if we would like to stay in the NICU overnight in a room with him. They do that whenever you are a day or two away from going home!!! We were expecting him to stay another week, at least!

So we spent the night up there Sunday night, and by Monday Morning the Neonate said he is ready to go home!

Fast forward to Monday......By Monday Lunch we were in the process of going home. After all the paperwork, an infant CPR class, one last consult with the Doctor, and a few sweet goodbyes from the nurses, we loaded up and headed home!!

The doctor said he is a normal healthy baby boy now and should have no recurring problems from the PPHN or the infection.

This has been such an incredible experience in many ways. In a 24 hour period a week ago Thursday, I watched our new son be born, and slowly start to fade away a few hours later. I watched as doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists kept giving him all that medical science had to offer, and yet nothing was working. I had no idea what was coming next. For the first time in my life I was completely helpless. I couldn't do anything to help him, and the stuff the doctors were doing didn't seem to be working either.

I have prayed many times in life about things, but I don't think I have ever been in a position where I had no other alternative but to believe that God is at work, I just don't see it, and that I had to sit back and do nothing but let God work. And the petitions and prayers offered by all of you have made all the difference.

In Luke 18:1-18, Jesus told the parable about the widow that kept coming time after time after time, and she didn't give up until she was granted justice. Jesus was using that parable to tell us to pray like that. And our friends and family certainly did, and He listened. We are forever in debt to you for the prayers we have received.

There is so much more to share, but that is all for now. We love you all and treasure you more than you know.


Thursday, August 13, 2009


I have thought of all of you this week as I get your posts, but today was really the first day I could respond...
Zack has has another big day, he has been off supplemental air most of the day and his oxygen stats have stayed between 98 and 100, which is wonderful!
He also had lumbar puncture today to rule out meningitis, so please that that culture comes back negative.
Mainly I want all of you to know that all of the notes of encouragement have blessed me and Brandon more than you can imagine. Everytime I leave the hospital and turn my phone on I have 5 or 6 new posts that are words of praise and prayer. Thank you so much. It is very hard to drive away from the hospital, but with these blessings coming on my trusty handheld it really helps me beyond words. God has blessed these doctors and nurses and sweet baby Zack! My love to all of you!
Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

Movin on Up

I came into the NICU at lunch time yesterday and Shannon was sitting there holding him!!! She was smiling ear to ear. I got to hold him and rock him a little bit too. It was awesome. he yawned and stretched, just looked like he was feeling good. Shannon said that she has a lot of time holding him to make up for the time he is spending in the NICU. Tomorrow is a big day...he gets to see Aubie! I will post pictures as soon as I can. His infection is clearing up, and he has a few more tests to make sure everything is okay in other areas.

We are continuing to be blessed by our friends and family, and all the prayers being offered on our behalf. Keep them coming. Not only for us, but for the 40 other babies in the NICU with Zack. And the 10 or so at Baptist East. For so many, this is just the beginning of the uphill battle they face. Some will go on to surgeries and long hours of therapy. Please remember their families and nurses and doctors as well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Big Brother Jay comes for a Visit

This picture was taken Monday night when big brother Jay came for a visit. He was so proud of is new little brother. He thought the scrubs were pretty cool. Friday, Aubie is coming by for a visit.
Zack is resting good this morning and is eating like a little pig!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Off the CPAP!

Zack had a great day yesterday. When I visited him at lunch time, the doc decided to take him off the cpap! He is now breathing on a nasal canula, the little tube thing that goes under his nose. He held down some epedialite last night, so this morning they gave him a little breast milk through the tube to his stomach. They are still thinking minimum 10 more days to finish the antibiotic, and then he will have to learn how to take a bottle and nurse without affecting his oxygen levels, which could slow things down a bit. Hopefully we are only looking at a few more weeks.

Its funny how we define success at different stages in life. Now, we measure success by the number of tubes and wires going into Zack's little Giraffe bed. Sunday, Zack had 12 tubes and wires attached to his body (and a few of them branched off into three other tubes!)....Monday he was down to 10, and today he is down to 7! We first were scared by all of them. Now we see them as some of Zack's most precious 'items'.

Shannon is doing great. She is resting well, and is able to go see him as much as she wants. Shannon's Mom's best friend, Shelia is down here spending time with us helping with Jay and Co-Co. Her grandkids call her Nay-Nay, and my kids are so country they call her NEE-Nay. Her and Norman are so special to us.

Thank you all for your continued prayer and support.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Off the Ventilator!!

Yesterday (Sunday) was a great day! The big news is that they took him off the ventilator and removed the ET tube from his lungs. He is now on a CPAP machine that is giving him 35% oxygen. It was such a surprise that he was doing well enough to take him off that it really caught us off guard. We were very excited. They took him off around 5:00 yesterday, and he made it through the night without having to be put back on.

He is having to breathe on his own more, which is more work for him. As hard as it is to see him struggle to breathe, we know this is all part of the hard work he has to do to get stronger and better. He is off all the sedatives and blood pressure meds. he is so long, that when he stretches, he sometimes props his feet up on the end of the 'Giraffe Bed"( the incubator thing he is in).

Tonight we will bring Jay up to the NICU to see him.

I read a little in Psalms 8, where it says "Who is man that you are mindful of him?....yet you have given him dominion over all the works of your hands" I always took it to mean that we are caretakers over His creation, but it took a different meaning today. To see what doctors and nurses and technicians can do to a sick little boy, to make him well, is truly amazing. There is no way man would have been able to discover this knowledge on his own, without God allowing it to be known.

We never know if God will work through medicine, or doctors, or technicians, or if he will just work all by himself. But He has been good to us, and has been faithful to all the hundreds of prayers that have been offered. Thank you all.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Update on Baby Zack

So much has happened since we spread the news about Baby Zack arriving. It is hard to update everyone individually, so hopefully this blog will keep everyone up to date on whats going on.

To get everyone up to speed, Zack has Pneumonia in both lungs, was exposed to Strep B in the birth canal, and has PPHN, Persistent Pulmonary Hypotension. Basically, his lungs and heart think that he is still in the womb, where the blood bypasses the lungs and gets oxygenated in the heart. His heart thinks the blood should should go to the lungs where it belongs, and his lungs say no, I'm not born yet, go back to the heart. Right now we are in the long, slow process of getting them to get along better, like their supposed to. He is on a ventilator, and is in the NICU at Baptist Hospital in Montgomery.

Here is the long story:

A few hours after being born, I saw that the blinds were closed in front of Zack's crib window. I peeked thru the crack and noticed they were holding an Ambu bag above his face. I knew that was not good. I went inside and saw that the oxygen level in his blood was 80%, when it should be 98-100%. The nurses were blowing air across his face, and the Oxygen levels went back up to normal, but fell as soon as she took them away. They called the Neonatologist and he immediately sen him to the NICU where he was xrayed and put on a CPAP machine.

Initially the fear was that the strep B had set up an infection in his lungs, but we do not think that is the case now. Shannon was given 2 antibiotic injections, so he is ahead of the curve in fighting the infection. An ultrasound showed that he also had Persistent Pulmonary Hypoytension. What that means is that his lungs and heart were acting like he was still in the womb. It is a very serious condition.

By 11:30, Zack still had Oxygen levels in the low 80s and dropping, though he was being given 100% oxygen thru the CPAP. His respirations were double what they should be. He only took shallow breaths, but a lot of them to compensate. He had ingested and inhaled some fluid durng birth, and this fluid, which is like black tar was keeping his air sacs from opening. They asked me to leave the NICU, since the doctor made the decision to sedate him and intubate (put a tube in his mouth and throat to help him get 100% oxygen in his lungs). He was transported across town by Angel One to Baptist South in case the next step was needed.

They gave him a surfactant, a soap like substance that helps dissolve the stuff in his lungs. He responded immediately and his oxygen levels ran up to 98, but his breathing rate was still high.

By 1:00 AM I got to go into the Baptist South NICU to see him. He was still at 98% Oxygen level in his blood (Good!) and had been weaned down to 50% Oxygen. Confusing , I know, but the ventilator was not having to give him 100% oxygen like the Cpap was.

By 3:30 AM he was still stable and they had weaned him down to 45%. He has been stable since then and as of today is breathing the same oxygen level you and I breathe (21%).

We do not know how long he will be in NICU, but they are saying to be prepared for two to three weeks or longer.

Thank you for your love and care and concern during this last 48 hours. We have expierenced so much of God's love and grace through you all that we will never be able to repay it, except by passin it along. We have heard some of the most beautiful prayers offered for Zack by doctors and nurses at Baptist, and friends and family. We plan on updating this blog as much as possible, so check back to see the latest. Things happen so quickly in a situation like this, and we cannot have cell phones around the NICU, so I hope this way we can do a better job of updating everyone here. Still do feel free to call and check in.

Zachary Garrett is Hebrew and Latin for 'The Lord Remembers the Courageous'....and he is earning his stripes. Keep praying for us and Zack.