Day 3: Slow Changes

Three things are different than yesterday in this photo. Can you spot the changes? Give up?

Okay, here they are: his hair is WASHED! His eyes are OPEN! And, most exciting of all, his ventilator is OUT!

Ambrose has had a solid day. First of all, that hair! It was pretty nasty — I don’t think it had been washed since the womb, and on top of that it had a lot of goo in it from the EEG head wrap he had on yesterday. (I didn’t share a picture of that because it was so tragic looking.) Apparently all the nurses had been dying to wash it, but since it was unnecessary and would have required that sedative, we’d declined it up to that point. Last night, though, the nurses had to insert a PICC line, and to do that they had to give our little buddy a bit of sedative. Since they were already giving him the sedative, they decided to wash his hair. Now it’s silky smooth. It seems he got the texture and color from me, and the crazy volume from Dad.

Additionally, he’s been opening his eyes a bit more as he is weaned off the sedatives. Which is a really exciting thing to see. It’s a bit too dark in the NICU to see the color yet, but I trust when people say they’re blue. We’ll see if they change!

The most exciting news is that ventilator removal! Right now we’re still trialling it. If Ambrose has some trouble breathing on his own, they’ll put him back on the ventilator, but right now he seems to be doing okay with it. It’s a step in the right direction — he still needs additional oxygen, but he’s using his lungs to breathe. And that means Mom is one step closer to holding him!*

Other news: he’s been given a drug and is peeing up a storm, which will help with his swelling. (He shouldn’t actually be that puffy, poor kid.) We’re down to a 4 ppm on the nitric oxide, which is a huge improvement from yesterday’s 15. This is the drug he needs to be off before he can get his MRI; apparently the last 5 ppm are the hardest, and particularly the last 1. But if all goes well, we should be getting a peek into his brain within the next couple days.

As for me, I’m feeling a bit more positive. I mean, don’t get me wrong. There’s still a lot of scary stuff going on with Ambrose. But I feel like my mood is normalizing. I still have bad moments, especially when I’m lying down trying to rest and my brain is on overdrive, but the busier I keep, the more I’m able to survive moment by moment. Maybe this is a bad thing? I know I’ll have to come to terms with the fear of the future and the regret of the past soon enough. But I feel like my days have developed a rhythm of visiting bub, pumping, and eating. And family is in town — Grandpa Shantz and Aunt Becca are in for the weekend.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Ambrose improves tomorrow. Me, I’m going to take another morning off to recuperate. Mom’s gotta stay strong for the kid. As hard as that is.

*Yes, it’s official. I’ve turned into one of those mothers who refers to herself in the third person. I wonder why that is?

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17 thoughts on “Day 3: Slow Changes”

  1. Praise God…opening his eyes and breathing on his own is huge! I had a good talk with God and asked him for a miracle for Ambrose…this morning I was listening to my favorite Catholic show and get this….they were interviewing a WRITER who has written a book on MIRACLES!!! Chills….😇

  2. Bless you and know that whatever you are feeling is the right feeling. Look forward.,Take care of you–it’s as important as anything. What a difficult, trying thing you are enduring–and enduring with grace and strength that Mamas do. Love to your whole family.

  3. Keeping the prayers lifted for you and that precious baby boy of yours. Our situation were different with Seth but the momma emotions very similar. Memories come back seeing the tubes and wires. 5 weeks at Riley’s. The blessings of RMH. I know you are a very busy momma but should you want to talk with someone who understands what your going through. I’m putting out an open invitation anytime.

  4. *Mothers refer to themselves in third person because that way, baby learns who “mommy” is…same goes for dada! It’s some strange nurturing phenomenon or something.
    Super excited for the improvements and we keep praying hard for little Ambrose! Miss you and love you guys so much!!

  5. I am SO happy to hear that there is improvement!! I immediately noticed that his eyes were open <3 Picc lines are so much easier to use than constantly getting poked for a new IV site every few days. He might need a heating pad on it if gets sore…although that's hard to tell with a baby. And you get to hold him, YAY!!! I know that Grandpa and Aunt Becca are thrilled to see the newest member of the family. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!!

  6. Happy tears for the great day! Taking care of yourself is so important when your little one is in the NICU, but also difficult. I didn’t do it well and took longer to recover than I should have. Try a hot bath with one cup each sea salt, baking soda, and Epsom salts. My doula suggested this but I didnt make time until week 2. I should have done it much sooner! You are a wonderful momma already; try to keep up the positive spirit!

    1. Thanks for the bath recipe Jackie! I told my mom my stitches were bothering me yesterday and she scolded me for not taking a bath yet, so I made sure to get one in last night and this morning. Seems to have helped some 🙂

  7. I’m a friend of your aunt Darlene’s. Emily you wrote and shared so beautifully I could almost smell Ambrose’s sweet smellinghair LOL and as you know there’s nothing that smells better than a newborn freshly bathed. We are surrounding all of you in pray. May strength and healing come to your beautiful little boy. Hugs!!

  8. You are so courageous and right on!!
    Sweet Ambrose is in the best possible setting receiving outstanding care.
    Self- care is a must for you. Know that so many of us in Goshen continue to pray for your Ambrose, and your entire family!

  9. So glad to hear he’s doing better! Hope and pray that the slow changes keep coming for the better!

    PS: Not important, but maybe you need things to think about: in my linguistics studies I’ve heard it hypothesized that the trend to refer to oneself in the third person is an adaptive structure since it takes children a while to learn to understand pronouns. So it is more comprehensible to him. Also that “parent-ese” is a real thing across the globe and it probably due to how infants are able to perceive. The higher pitched voice is easier to hear and the exaggerated inflections make it easier for them to understand. And they probably respond more, encouraging parents to do it more.

    PPS: Just FYI, as a parent with kids age 8 and 3 1/2, the third person is seriously hard to kick. I’ve dropped the “voice,” and I had started to get rid of third person when Jared was 4, and then Kaylee was born. She’s totally old enough to get pronouns now, so I keep telling myself to stop calling myself Mommy, but I still do it ALL the time.

  10. Continuing to pray! He looks GREAT! I remember the first time I took a photo of our little NICU guy and he finally had all the tubes out- I still look at the photo on my phone and cry!

    He’s doing amazing and we will continue to pray! Such a LOT of hair your dude is rocking there!!

  11. Thinking and praying for you and your family. Trying to get your mom to stay with you and I’ll catch her babies. Diana, CNM

  12. As first time great-grandparents we are in awe to see the changes that we daily see in baby Ambrose status.
    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Huffman family for all of the turmoil that you have gone through thus far.
    We constantly uphold your family in prayer for Ambrose continualy receiving healthy improvement.

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