Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Week Old and Making Progress

Quick update from Kristin:

Sam is exactly one week old today, and it's hard to process how much has happened in the last seven days. He's still a rock star today, and if you're wondering why, here's a list of his accomplishments from the past 12 hours:

1. Dr. Jaggers removed Sam's chest tubes first thing this morning.

2. Sam no longer has a foley catheter. He's peeing well, which means that his puffiness is starting to dissipate (and he no longer resembles a sumo wrestler, diaper and all).

3. His umbilical line was taken out.

4. He was taken off most his medications, including morphine. From now on, this tough little guy takes only Tylenol. I'm told that now the chest tubes are out, he's not in much pain.

5. Because Sam doesn't take as many medications anymore, his bed area doesn't look quite so much like the Starship Enterprise...perhaps more like the dashboard of a single engine jet.

6. He had his first bath! Unfortunately, it included an alcohol rub of his IV site, and he didn't like that part too much. But he smells really good now.

Now for the exciting (and scary news)...he's being weaned off his ventilator. They're doing little "tests" in which they turn off the ventilator for an hour at a time to see how well he breathes on his own.

The first test didn't go so well. The doctors were rounding and raving about how wonderful he was doing, and Sam, being his own man, decided to stop breathing once again. The doctors rushed in and bagged him until the ventilator started up again. I could have used some oxygen myself.

The second test went really well; he breathed steadily on his own for an hour. The nurse encouraged us to keep being patient because Sam needed time to exercise his lungs, little by little.

The third test is happening right now. So far, so good, but I have trouble taking my eyes off him and off his breathing monitor. I know there are plenty of nurses around, but I am apparently a protective mama bird. While my husband keeps encouraging me to take a walk (I have not stepped outside the hospital for a week now), I need a little further proof that my son can breathe on his own before I leave his bedside.

Oooh--breaking news: The third test is over, and once again, Sam has passed. Two out of three ain't bad, little man, especially considering how many changes you've been through today.

As big a day as today was, tomorrow will be the true test: Sam will likely be extubated (meaning the breathing tube will be taken out entirely--no more safety net). While Jason and I are a nervous, we're full of hope for our little man. Here's to you, Sam--we'll keep breathing if you will.


  1. How wonderful!! God is so good!

  2. Joanne and the rest of the StrassersMarch 23, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    he IS a rock star!!!! the Strasser family is doing a happy dance! actually, we are at dinner and we just toasted to him!!! xoxoxo

  3. He certainly did have a rock star day, way to go! Praying that tomorrow goes smoothly.

  4. We always knew that a little Leclaire would be a rock star...but seriously, I am just pumped for Wolfie (Sam)...I can't wait to see him and you all again! I also saw the cutest little sweater vest today and thought instantly of Sam, however, I did not buy it because poor kid will probably have a million sweater vests :)

  5. Wow, that is a busy day! Thanks for posting the updates. Deep breaths for all of you tomorrow. I'll be thinking of you.
    Love, Carolyn

  6. yippee Sam! Protective Mama is exactly what you should be. Your Mama instincts will tell you where you need to be. Love you guys, jules

  7. YAY! Good job Wolfie! Mr. Leclaire, you and your wife are so amazing and strong and Wolfie seems a perfect fit. Hold tight and steady, because your classes are right behind you following every move, holding every breath, and holding on to hope. Tell Mrs. Leclaire that mamas are supposed to be protective, that's what mamas are for! Keep up the good work Mr. and Mrs. Leclaire and of course little Wolfie

    Lots - o- wishes!
    Kila! :-)

  8. Way to go Sam!!! You are a little ROCK STAR!!!!

    My thoughts continue to be with the three of you! You are an amazing family with incredible strength.

  9. That's an impressive list of accomplishments for someone who's a week old. Wolfie, "Rock Star" may not even be a strong enough nickname for you (or for your parents). But standing ovations are in order, for sure. One breath, one minute, one hour at a time ... We're inspired by every milestone.

  10. Having had a premie and living 10 weeks in the PICU/NICU until he came home, I can tell you from experience that you need to be a protective Momma Wolf for your litte Wolfie, and no apologies to anyone about it. Those God-given Momma instincts are there for a purpose. Praying for you all.

  11. Kristen, I so understand your mama bird instincts! I wouldn't take my eyes off of our little Rock Star either. Here I am at home, checking your blog almost every hour for updates, and I'm not even Sam's grandmother! (Well, almost...after all, I rescued you from too much kitty love while Michelle and I were waiting for Jason to come home last Tuesday...does that make me an honorary grandma?)

    I continue to pray for all of you and hope that tomorrow will be a turning point in giving you proof that Sam really is going to escape the Starship Enterprise soon! My love to you all!

  12. Such great news! Lila was so excited, she took a photo of "new baby cousin Samuel" in to show her preschool class yesterday. Then, she dictated a letter to Samuel ( to me). We are all thinking of you and watching for your posts!

    uncle Pat

  13. That sounds really promising! I'm so glad for you all!
    Keep it up, little Sam! :))

  14. Read about your little boy, Sam, on baby Bowen's page and have been praying for your son since I read it. So happy he is doing well and will keep him in my prayers.

  15. The last line of this post brought tears to my eyes, and made me take a deep breath. You all are in my thoughts.
    Leslie Fichera

  16. We're so excited to hear that he's doing well! Good luck with the extubation (sp?) today!

  17. As a fellow mama bird with a son named Sam, I would like to share the following poem with you. I thought about this poem whenever my own son faced a new stage of his growth, and I think about it now as I read about your Sam's breathing lessons. Even though the poem is about a daughter, it describes so beautifully the act that all parents experience--letting go.

    First Lesson

    Lie back daughter, let your head
    be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
    Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
    your arms wide, lie out on the stream
    and look high at the gulls. A dead-
    man's float is face down. You will dive
    and swim soon enough where this tidewater
    ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
    me, when you tire on the long thrash
    to your island, lie up, and survive.
    As you float now, where I held you
    and let go, remember when fear
    cramps your heart what I told you:
    lie gently and wide to the light-year
    stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

    Philip Booth

    All of us are cheering on your little Samuel. We have faith that he will continue to "dive and swim" and that the sea will hold him.

  18. Samuel, You are an inspiration, little man.
    I am thinking about you and your parents.
    How I look forward to meeting you!
    Love, Walsweer