Thursday, July 10, 2014

Micah is off ECMO

Last Monday evening the doctors gave the go ahead to wean Micah off ECMO.  Laura and I were really excited, but also felt concerned about the doctor's hopefulness.  We couldn't help but feel they were deciding to wean the ECMO simply because there wasn't any other better option of what to do. After multiple attempts at weaning the vent, I was prepared for the wean to go poorly.  Laura was at the hospital and sent me nearly hourly updates.  Each hour, they turned down the amount of work that the ECMO machine does in pumping and oxygenating his blood - while monitoring Micah's oxygen and heart beat.  Every hour progressed just fine and by the next morning he had successfully weaned to the lowest settings and still maintained solid oxygen levels.  At some point prior to the morning x-ray, part of Micah's lung collapsed (pneumothorax).  I definitely felt that this would cause a delay/cancellation of the decannulation (removing ECMO entirely) - but the doctors were able to remove the air that was between his lung and chest cavity and they didn't cancel the decannulation.  The last step was to have the surgical team remove the cannulas (tubes) from his neck.

After waiting around all day and being bumped in line, the surgical team came and performed their job.  Laura and I waited in the family waiting room for the surgeon to contact us.  Sure enough, everything went fine and Micah was stable. 

Micah's now been successfully off ECMO for a few days and they are even beginning to wean his ventilator.  The vent really helps keep his oxygen saturation levels high, but it also prevents us from holding him.  Even though in some ways, we are back to where we were a couple weeks ago, we are so thankful to be off ECMO.  There are so many risks involved.  Micah had a couple of clot scares and the recent development of blood in his stools could be from the ECMO machine.  We were talking to another couple at the CICU who said their baby, while on ECMO, was at a major risk of needing a foot amputated.  For some reason, there was no blood circulating to their baby's foot.  Thankfully, the doctors allowed a last ditch effort to get off the ECMO machine - which worked. 

Our main concerns now are the blood in his stool.  The concern is that he may have early symptoms of necrotizing entercolitis (NEC).  Hopefully the antibiotics will work and it doesn't escalate. 

Now that we're back on the vent, if everything goes well, we could be off the vent in about a week, be removed from the CICU and sent to their "step down unit" in the HKU (heart and kidney unit) in about 2 weeks and then sent home in about 3.  Micah's finally able to move around and interact with us.  It's very difficult to be a family divided like this.  I can't wait for the 4 of us to be at home, for Dylan to see Micah again and for Micah to grow and be healthy.  

Micah's already over a month old, but looks like he's still a newborn.  Here's a photo of Dylan and Micah at the same age. 

Thank you for the prayers and support.  Laura and I are amazed by how large our prayer network is.  The meal deliveries are wonderful as well.