First things first – happy 8 weeks to the little man! For this important day he decided “Enough with this breathing tube up my nose and into my lungs! What’s this bubble CPAP everyone talks about? I want to get me some of that.”
Benjamin had such a great weekend that they were able to ween him on the ventilator and by today was at minimum settings. And today the doctors were able to extubate him and put him on the bubble CPAP. So now instead of a ventilator forcing him to breathe, he is doing all his own breathing, but with a little help. The CPAP pushes a constant pressure of air (with some extra oxygen for now) to keep his lungs from collapsing and the bubbles oscillate the air a little to help with the exchange of gases. Or that’s sort of what I understand… It could also be magic.
While the CPAP is much better for him – less risk of all the issues that come with being intubated, like pneumonia and lung damage – it does look a little silly. He now has just two little prongs going into his nose, but they are on a horizontal tube that velcros to his face and then the tubes on either side of his face clip on to his little CPAP cap. He also has some stuff they stick to his nose to help protect it from all the gear. But all together it makes him look a little like a spaceman.
He has done well so far on the new set up – his oxygen saturation is great and he is only on 26% oxygen. His blood gases taken after he made the switch were also good. He is a rockstar.
In other good news Benjamin is also able to cry now that his breathing tube is out. We have not yet heard him, but the nurses said he would have a sore throat for a while since he’s has that tube in for 8 weeks. One day I am sure we’ll be sorry we said it, but we can’t wait to hear him.
I think what finally made him take the leap was both Henry and Dilan visiting this weekend (though they could not come in the NICU). The thought of them having so much fun out in the world lit a fire under his isolette.
Cannot tell you how excited we are… this is progress! And the method they use here for the bubble CPAP is one of the reasons we wanted to get Benjamin to Columbia in the first place. It’s incredible how many nurses have come over so happy to see him off the ventilator and to congratulate him. They say he is now officially one of them.
I need to remind myself that there are likely still rough days ahead, but for now we’re going to enjoy and celebrate.