“Just breathe”… It all seems so simple but in the NICU world “simply” breathing is no easy chore for many. Premature babies are often born with respiratory issues requiring the use of mechanical ventilation and long term oxygen use. Langston was no exception and developed a very common condition affecting preemies called Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD). Babies with BPD sometimes develop fluid in the lungs, scarring and lung damage. “Dysplasia” in essence means abnormal changes in the cell. The cell changes in BPD take place in the smaller airways making breathing difficult due to the effects on lung function as a whole. BPD is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), there are between 5,000 and 10,000 cases of BPD every year in the United States.
As a mom it can be so difficult to watch your child struggle in attempts to carry out something that we normally do without a second thought. I can remember sitting at his bedside and watching his oxygen levels…praying. Longing for the day I could see that sweet little face without the masks/tubes, etc. I can remember like yesterday the first day Langston was changed to the CPAP ( a device to aid in breathing) and the respiratory therapist came in to change out his mask. That was the first time since the day he was born that I got a good view his ENTIRE face! I was so excited and snapped away with the camera of course. I was so grateful when his therapist encouraged me to lean in for a quick kiss. I remember the way his skin felt on my lips- that brief moment of “normalcy” meant everything to me.
As Langston grew and his lungs got stronger he was able to eventually be weaned from mechanical ventilation and was placed on Oxygen. For months we fought what I’ve deemed “the oxygen wars” as I then had a very busy baby who no longer felt the need to keep his cannula in his nose LOL! Most of the time this boy had oxygen blowing either on his forehead, in his mouth, his neck or on the bed beside him. It was QUITE the battle.
The day we were released by the Pulmonologist (a doctor who specializes in lungs) and the company came to remove all of the oxygen tanks, compressor, pulse oximeters and the like from our home I felt like I had won the lottery.
Thinking back I could remember feeling like we would never get there then all of a sudden we had made it! I praised God right there on my driveway as the tech loaded the items into his car. Now when I’m exhausted after a long day’s work and my sweet prince is allll over the place climbing and turning over garbage cans 🙂
I’m grateful to take it all in and JUST BREATHE…