Thursday, January 5, 2017

We Made It To Our Due Date!

We made it. Happy 40 weeks to Bennett Jimmie. My whole heart and soul loves every perfectly formed ounce of our Bennett. I never thought his due date would roll around, but here we are, 104 days later. 

It all still feels very hazy. I wake up every morning and consider that maybe it's all just a bad dream having a baby 3.5 months early and all. But you know what? We have survived (to my SERIOUS surprise) and we're going to be okay. The pain doesn't get any smaller, but the hope does get bigger. 

For those who know little about preemies, one of the most basics things you should know is that once the due date arrives, (today in our case) babies are considered newborn. So, although he is 3.5 months old, he only has the capabilities of a baby who was just born today - and even still, he could lag. He won't be rolling, crawling, sitting, or walking "on time." For the next two years, we will be followed closely by a team that tracks preemie babies. Yes, we'll be discharged soon, but no, the doctor appointments won't end. Once Bennett is 24 months old, he should be caught up to others his age, or close there to it.

It only recently hit me how life changing this whole process has been. Not only for Bennett (especially for Bennett), but for me. And I assume for my husband too. 

We still have some work to do in the NICU and are hopeful for a discharge in 2ish weeks (Lord willing). Each and every day since stepping foot into that world, I have been molded to be a different me. For those who knew me well before Bennett was born, I want to say that I'm sorry if you look at me now and see someone else. We are probably going to have to get reacquainted. I can't unsee, unhear, or undo the past 104 days. 

My number one goal recently has been to guard my heart. If that seems selfish, then so be it. But unless you've been in a similar situation, it will be hard for us to connect some days because this world consumes me. If I appear to not be as trusting as I once was, it's because I am still in survival mode. I'll get back to being more trusting eventually. 

Also, I just want to say that it really means a lot to me when others hurt with me. Instead of offering good words about how this will all be a memory eventually, sometimes I just prefer to be told, "I am crying with you." For everyone who has cried and hurt for us, it means so much to know that we're not alone.

Anyways, since today is pretty special, I want to rave a little bit about our Bennett.

First and foremost, surprise, here's a sweet picture of my angel with zero tape on his face. We got to experience him like this for two whole days.
THE NOSE. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.
Mom, you're not really going to eat me, are you?
My handsome.

No oxygen and no NG tube in those pictures. What a joy! I kept saying, "he's a real baby!!!!!!" As most of you could probably guess, I basically ate his entire face off during those amazing 48 hours. I swear, if I was left alone with him in a room, I probably would've licked his face raw. I'm laughing because that sounds psychotic, but I dare you to try having a baby that is as delectable as Bennett and NOT lick him.

But seriously, look at this text Ross sent me. Ross sent this text on the same day that he knew I would be going to see our baby boy completely tape-free. I laugh. (p.s. Ross meant to say, "wear" not "where").

Bennett has been sitting right at 6lbs 15oz for the past week. 
The one and only reason Bennett hasn't crossed over the 7lb mark is only because we've been doing a lot of experimenting with his feeds. At this point, his ability to eat full feeds is the only thing holding us back. We've tried TONS of different avenues to getting Bennett to eat more and better, but what it comes down to is that our baby boy is taking his own time and learning things as his own pace. He WILL figure it out, but we're all on Bennett time. We're back on P.O. feeding (bottle) & gavaing the rest through the NG tube. 

We are absolutely praising the Lord and so joyful to say that Bennett passed his hearing screen. That is such a relief.

Also, most importantly to Bennett's progress, he is 100% off breathing support and has been since right before Christmas. We were waiting several days to make sure he was in the clear, and it turns out, YES HE IS IN THE CLEAR. He doesn't need any support at all, even during feeds. He is 100% all.on.his.own. Seriously just thanking God every single moment that I can for this amazing gift he gave to Bennett and to us!

One thing that we would love to have you pray for is for Bennett's sweet little eyes. His eyes are still underdeveloped at this point, so the doctor can't say right now what Bennett's future is with sight - if it'll be absolutely perfect, or if we'll have to pursue treatment. Of course we are believing that his eyes would be healed 100% from a preterm delivery, but statistically, babies born at 25 weeks generally have issues with their sight. My mama heart is worrying sick, but I know that each prayer is heard.

Last but not least, I HAVE to share this sweet video of Bennett. Ross sent this to me the other day and I thought it was so sweet! 
video
Thank you all for loving Bennett so well for the first 104 days of his life! 

4 comments:

  1. What a precious little angel!! Happy 40 weeks to Bennett!!

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  2. I am a friend of your mom's from college (I didn't want you to think I was a crazy creeper lady!). I am praising God with you for this miracle! And he is stinking cute on top of it all!

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  3. HAPPY DUE DATE LITTLE MAN! Or should I say "big" man! He's grown so much!!

    And can I just say that my heart does absolutely break for your and your sweet, sweet family. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and heartbreak that these past 104 days have been. But you have all come such a long way, and with that, my heart heals for you all. Praise God that Bennett is 100% breathing on his own!! Such a huge accomplishment and blessing. And those pictures?! Be still my heart! And that text from Ross. Honestly, just everything. I am overjoyed with good news for your family and for Bennett's constant healing. And continued prayers for the coming weeks, months, and years for sweet Bennett.

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  4. This has to be such a hard time for you and your family, but I love reading about those strong and determined preemies out there! They are tough, and loved and resilient. Every milestone is also so special (as with any baby), but congrats on Bennett and to his due date! Keep staying strong- sounds like you guys are doing an amazing job.

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