Well day 2 is almost in the books. By in large the boys are doing well. They made some improvements and the doctors turned down their "vents" a bit, but then their oxygen level dropped a little bit, so they had to turn them back up. To be more clear (as I am learning these things as we go), the ventilator (vent) is an apparatus that actually breathes for them. They can either add oxygen or take it away based on the ratios of oxygen and carbon dioxide in their blood. They draw what they call a "blood gas" every few hours to examine these levels and adjust their settings as needed. We talked to a doctor this morning and he kind of laid out that we need to expect a roller coaster ride (we know a bit about those) and that we really need to focus on our own personal health and mental strength in an effort to prepare for the not so good days. He also told us that Max does have some bleeding in his brain which they will continue to monitor and is very much "par for the course". He also said that there is some evidence that Max had a stroke at some point based on a blood clot that they found. What this means, they do not know, and may not know for a long time. The third thing they found was that Max does not have a septum pellucidum, which is a thin membrane of nervous tissue in the brain. This could be a significant issue, or it may not be an issue at all. There are just a lot of unknowns right now.
Kate and I had kind of a rough day as the adrenaline of yesterday wore off and the weight of the journey ahead set in. Kate is really struggling with missing the boys and feeling them move around in her belly. She has a difficult time seeing the boys in their little incubators because she feels like she is somehow responsible for them having to be put through all of this and face such a big fight. Please pray that God will give Kate the peace of knowing that she did EVERYTHING she could to give our boys such a good chance at life. Without going into too much gory detail, the breast pumping exercise has not been real rewarding yet either. The neonatal doctors and nurses have stressed how important it is for the Max and Wes, but emotionally it is tough for Kate knowing that our sons cannot yet digest her milk. We are both overwhelmed with all the information that has been thrown at us, and we are scared for Max and Wes. We are also struggling because we have not been able to hold our boys yet. We almost don't feel like parents yet in a lot of ways...this just isn't how we "imagined" this whole process would go. Our little boys are just beautiful, and I really want to get some pictures on here to show them off (but I haven't made it home yet). They look so small next to my hand...and I cannot help but wonder how small they must look in the hands of our Almighty Father. While Kate and I cannot yet hold our precious little baby boys, we find strength in knowing that their Creator has never let them go.