Shepherd Immanuel Janis

June 27, 2010

*cross posted from facebook

Hello friends, I want to thank you for your prayers and steadfast support. Leslie and I have had a very surprising 24 hours, and I would like to help catch you up if you are a little behind on the details. Leslie and I went in to see our midwife last week and she thought our baby might be a little small (no big deal, he could have just been hiding), so she ordered a sonogram to get a better look at him. We went in yesterday at 2:30 for our sonogram, and we were excited about getting to see Shepherd again. We were surprised to learn that there wasn’t very much fluid for him to be swimming around in, and that he was in fact smaller than he should have been. They sent us over to Denton Regional to get an IV for Leslie to hopefully help with the fluids and to better monitor our little baby. While we were there, they discovered that Leslie was having very small contractions that were causing Shepherd’s heart rate to drop from around 130 bpm to 90 bpm. Now normally, pregnant women have these tiny contractions all the time and don’t even feel them (leslie couldn’t feel them yesterday either), but because there wasn’t any fluid to act as a cushion, it was creating this problem for Shep. The doctors at Denton Regional told us that we were not in the ideal location for a 33 week old baby delivery, as they don’t have a NICU. So they transferred us to Medical Center of Lewisville at 6:30pm and our little guy did fine all the way down here and for an hour after we arrived. We caught our breath and talked to the doctor here, and she told us that they were trying to buy some time to help develop his lungs, but that we needed to get ready to have our baby very soon (like tomorrow). At 8:30 and after a couple of dips in his heart rate due to those tiny contractions, it was decided that it was better to take him out on our time table than his. So they quickly got Leslie ready and wheeled her in to have a c-section. Shepherd Immanuel Janis came out at 9:09pm and was quickly taken care of by the NICU team of wonderful ladies. I stayed with Leslie while they finished with her surgery and then went to look at our son. He was squirming and squawking and stubbornly fighting all of those nurses, just like a good Janis.
By this time, our families were on their way, and several of our friends had driven down to celebrate with us. Leslie has been the poster girl for having a c-section, and was able to talk with everyone and laugh and enjoy everything that was happening. She’s been up moving around today, went in a wheelchair to see Shep, and will be eating solid foods and walking by tomorrow morning.
Shepherd is doing great too. He’s sooo tough and obviously you guys have been praying. He is developmentally at 33 weeks today (8 months), but he is roughly the size of a 29 week old baby (7 months). That means he’s skinny just like me. He was born at 2 lbs 2 ounces, but he is 16 inches long! The truly amazing part is his lungs. Leslie has severe asthma, and it’s been something we’ve prayed about for Shepherd, and him coming early made this of extra concern. But God has been good, and he has exceeded all of our expectations. When he came out, his lungs weren’t elastic enough to process enough oxygen to meet his little body’s needs, so they put a breathing tube in to help him out. Remember this was at 9pm last night, and by 8:30 this morning we was breathing so well on his own that they had to take the tube out because he was getting too much oxygen! Now they still are giving him air through one of those little nose tubes that old smokers wear, but they already turned down his oxygen levels again because he’s breathing so well on his own that he is getting too much oxygen with that extra help.
So what happens next? we’re not too sure. We do know that Leslie is likely going home on Sunday, but Shepherd isn’t coming home for a while. He’s got a list of things he has to do to graduate from the NICU. He’s got to keep his heart rate, his breathing, and his temperature stable on his own for more than 24 hours, and he’s got to get up to 8 successful feedings a day. That really means he’ll be in the NICU for a month, and our lives will exist in two places for a while. We’ll know more about what that looks like tomorrow, and we’ll keep everybody informed as to what we’re doing and if there is anything you guys can do to help out.
In the meantime, if you want to come visit us, we will gladly welcome you between 10 and 11:30am tomorrow morning. Keep in mind however that Leslie will be back in Denton by monday and that because Shepherd is in the NICU there isn’t even a way to look at him, much less get to him. But we’ll be sure to keep the photos coming. We love you all, and again are so thankful for all your prayers. Keep them coming that Leslie would heal and that Shepherd would pack on the pounds.
with love, ~jesse


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