Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Will continues to deal with the lymphatic fluid around his lung. He needed to be tapped again this afternoon because it was compromising his breathing. For now, they've decided that it is better to continue tapping him when needed rather than insert a chest tube. We're certainly OK with that; the idea of him dealing with a tube for a couple of weeks or more -- and the requisite discomfort and threat of infection it brings -- isn't pleasant.

Whether it's because I'm noticing it more now or because there simply are more things going on these days, premature babies seem to be in the news a lot lately. Local media around here have carried several stories about small babies recently, including a few about the UI NICU, and now the smallest baby ever is making headlines in Chicago and around the world. Rumaisa Rahman was just 8.6 oz. when born Sept. 19, and is now more than 2 lbs. and doing well. She was 26 weeks gestationally, which means that despite her low weight, she had two more weeks to develop in utero than Will (26 weeks and 5 days vs. 24 weeks and 3 days officially). Even more in her favor is her gender. "Boys are wimps," the Chicago Tribune quotes Rumaisa's doctor about the better luck of premature girls. While I'm sure Will would beg to differ given what he's been through, we've been told from day one that it's tougher for premature boys, particularly when it comes to lung development. Wouldn't you know that adhering to this truism is the one time Will decides to be predictable.

The stories about Rumaisa allude to difficulties she and her 1 lb. 4 oz. twin sister have faced, but I'm amazed at how few hurdles were described. Then again, a news story about Will would likely mention the PDA ligation, some fluid retention issues and now the chylothorax, I suppose, leaving out those
undocumented daily struggles that few beyond parents and caregivers can truly comprehend. The good news is that these twins are doing really well and will go home soon. Like the many other stories we have heard over the past two months about tiny babies spending months in a NICU, it has a happy ending. It will be tough to wait, but soon it will be Will's turn.


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