Exactly 4 weeks ago today little Judah had a major surgery to repair his heart. Two weeks ago today we moved from the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit up to the 8th floor recovery area, and today we moved one more time to a new facility, a step down pediatric rehabilitation clinic! Just five weeks and a few days ago our little boy was born, and he has had so many milestones since then.
This afternoon we moved over to the Children’s Institute to begin the final phase of Judah’s rehabilitation, figuring out and correcting his feeding situation. Judah has been feeding from a tube since 4 weeks ago after his surgery, and with all the irritation to his throat from breathing tubes and examinations who can blame him for not wanting to swallow. He has recovered very well from the open heart surgery, is coming down or off of almost all of his medications, and once he gains the strength to feed regularly from a bottle and put on some weight, we will finally be able to take him home.
It was a lot of excitement moving to the new facility, as daddy met the ambulance there, the first thing the tech’s in the ambulance said to him was “this is by far the cutest thing we’ve ever had in our ambulance”. Since mommy and daddy each had to drive their own cars over there, Judah’s little guardian angel Yoda rode with him and watched over him. Yoda has not left Judah’s side since he was first placed there. He was with him during surgery, in his crib with him during his entire stay in the CICU and recovery room, and even when Judah had to be taken down to the O.R. for procedures and scans, Yoda always came with him. Once Judah and Yoda got to the Children’s Institute and we were shown to our room, the line of nurses began to wrap around the hallway, as apparently word had traveled from the Hospital about how cute Judah is.
The next few hours were spent meeting the new team of therapists, doctors, and nurses who will be taking care of us for the next several weeks. They outlined the plan to get Judah feeding from a bottle again, and gave us every bit of information they could right now. Obviously the plan and length of stay will change based on how well Judah progresses, but the feeding program at the Institute is top notch, and the team wants to be as aggressive as they safely can to help Judah get back to eating normally, gain some weight, and to get us all on our way home. Although the first few days will be sticking with the plan he was on at the hospital to monitor him before making major changes, our first therapy session today was already moving in the right direction, letting Judah try to eat a little from the bottle before giving him the rest in his feeding tube. He did very well!
Things are much more laid back here than they were at the hospital. Once we are on track with his therapy sessions, and everything looks good, we will be able to take Judah out of his room, walk around the gardens and parks on the facility grounds, and even around the block! In time, we might even be able to walk him around the neighborhood and bring our dog Rider over to have a meeting! Adorable dog-meets-baby pictures will of course follow.
Recovery-wise Judah is doing very well, and everyone comments on just how good he looks. Developmentally Judah is doing fantastically! He is even doing some things that a baby his age shouldn’t be doing yet! He is making excellent eye contact, following and focusing on the animals on his mobile, he smiles (especially at mommy), and he has even begun rolling onto his side. He also has begun holding his little hands up to his pacifier to keep it in his mouth. He really is showing great signs of development, especially considering all of the things he has been through!
We are very confident about this new facility and program. Just as we put our confidence into our surgeons and doctors, so do we put our confidence into our therapists. They all tell us how wonderful it is that both mommy and daddy are so involved, and they are simply surprised and impressed to see us doing his feedings, giving him all his medications, and knowing so many details about his needs and care.