ryan's story (part I)

Ryan is our Baby B.  He's our little bonus baby.  Unexpected, but loved like no other.  We had such a tough time naming him.  I must've suggested 300 different names to Seamus, and nothing really fit.  Or was good enough.  It came down to Ryan and Paul.  We decided on Ryan because get this:  the day I was put on bedrest, was the day that Ryan Callahan became the captain of the NY Rangers.  So yes, my son is named after a hockey player.  Go figure.

Ry-guy (a nickname he's had pretty much since birth) followed his brother closely, being born only one minute after him, at 5:16am.  He also weighed 1 lb. 10oz. and I'm guessing was somewhere around 12-13 inches long.  Here is the first picture we took of him:

Birth day
Ryan was also intubated after birth, but only stayed on the vent for about 2 weeks.  His lungs improved quickly, but he had issues with his digestive system.  He wasn't able to tolerate breastmilk consistently until he was around 2 months old.  Before then, he got his nutrients via IV fluids.

Halloween - My first time holding Ryan

Seamus holding Ryan for the first time
5 weeks old - 2 lb 7 oz

When Ryan was one month old, and about 2 lbs, he had his first surgery.  He was diagnosed with hydrocephalus (also the result of a Grade III & IV brain bleed/IVH) much sooner than Aiden, and the pressure on his brain was just too great.  He was too little to be shunted, so his neurosugeon opted to insert a reservoir through which he would be able to tap Ryan's brain for CSF daily.  The purpose of this was to prevent further brain damage.  If you ever notice the bump on the right side of Ryan's head, that is his reservoir.  It is no longer used because he has a shunt, but it will most likely stay there until he decides he wants it removed. 

Nov 17th - first time wearing clothing
Ryan came off oxygen much sooner than Aiden did, and was able to start PO feeds.  He did so well his first time.  But then things went down hill.  You see, a full term baby is born with the suck-swallow-breathe reflex which allows him to feed.  Preemies have to learn it.  Instead of sucking-swallowing-breathing, Ryan would suck and just breathe.  Which made him choke.  There were two instances when Ryan choked while feeding, turned blue, and had to be bagged in order to start breathing again.  At this point, the neos thought it was a good idea to give him a little bit of a break.  They suspected it was Ryan's hydrocephalus that made it hard for him to learn how to eat.  We were asked to come in to meet with all the doctors, and we were told that Ryan had to be transfered to rehab facility that would teach him how to eat.  I broke down that day.  We were already in the hospital for so long, and now they were telling me that Ryan had one more stop before he could go home.  Needless to say, I was not happy. 

Dec 9th - 4 lb 12 oz - no more oxygen!

Dec 12th - first bottle
Eventually we agreed it would the best thing for him and put in for the transfer which we were told would take a few weeks.  The day before Ryan was accepted to St. Mary's, a new neo was brought on to his case, and agreed to let him try the bottle again.  And he did it.  He ate his bottle and didn't choke.  And didn't need St. Mary's.  It took another 2ish weeks for him to come home. 

5 lb 3 oz - big boy crib!
Ryan has had 4 surgeries to date.  His hydrocephalus is more severe than Aiden's, and we were told immediately that he would need more intervention than Aiden in order to hit his milestones.  Ryan had a rough start in life and his struggles do not end in the NICU.  Although he will need to work extremely hard to do even the simplest things, I have no doubt that he can accomplish anything. 

I look at my babies every day and my heart explodes with love.  I know that we were meant to have these sweet boys.  The last 10 months have not been easy, but we thank God every day for the blessings He has graced us with.  We vow to do whatever it takes to make sure that they are happy, healthy and loved unconditionally.

Ryan today - around 15 lbs.

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