Life Is In The Blood

posted Nov 29, 2010, 6:44 PM by Grady Smith   [ updated Dec 2, 2010, 7:14 PM ]
 Grady Jeremiah received his first blood transfusion today (you can see the line going into his arm in this picture). We looked away for a few minutes while he was resting during it. When we looked back, he had pulled his little hat from the side of the isolette and had covered himself with it!  We guess he already wants a security blanket :-)
November 29 (PM)
- In  Leviticus 17:14, God said, "For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life."  We are beginning to understand this truth in new ways.  We are realizing how much you can learn from the blood.  Any time the doctors get worried that Grady Jeremiah might have an infection, guess what they check?  His blood!  Three of the four key monitors to which he is attached measure things related to his blood...  heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation of his blood.   

As I mentioned in a previous post, the doctors have been watching his hematocrit, which is the percent of his blood that is red blood cells, the part that carries oxygen to the body.  For premature babies, their hematocrit drops after birth, and does not usually pick back up until six weeks when their bodies can start making red blood cells on their own.  Grady Jeremiah's hematocrit has dropped to 26 (26% of his blood volume is red blood cells), but is still in the safe range. 

However, after many conversations today with doctors and nurses, we have agreed to give the little guy more blood.  Right now (Monday, 9 p.m.) he is receiving his first transfusion.  Actually, he is receiving 18 ml of  concentrated red blood cells.  The doctors and nurses say that he will eventually need it, since it would be hard to go three weeks on his current levels.  They also want him to use his calories to grow, not try to make more blood right now.  In addition, they hope that it will help his breathing.  His recent "dsats" (alarms when his oxygen concentration in his blood drops too low) have dropped to very low levels - in fact, the lowest we have seen since he was born.  In the last two days we have seen moments where the oxygen saturation dropped well below 25%.

Please pray that he will have no adverse reaction to the new blood and that he will not have any infection (now or later) from the blood or the IVPlease also pray that the added red blood cell volume will help his breathing.

In other updates today...

Grady Jeremiah had a very restful day!  His nurse today put a neck roll (tiny cloth rolled up) under his neck.  It pushes his head back, helping keep the tiny airways in his throat opened.  It worked!  In fact, it worked so well he was able to stay on his back all day without many breathing lapses.  Typically he spends a lot of time on his stomach since it makes breathing easier.  We were so encouraged to see him resting and breathing so well while laying on his back.

He also did well with his feedings.  The doctors have now added oil to his milk to give additional calories.  It is pretty much a fatty oil.  One nurse called it crisco for premature babies!  The little guy is one of the few in our society who now needs more fat, salt, and calories in his diet :-)

We will update you tomorrow once we see how he does with the added blood volume!  Thank you for continuing to pray!