That's right ladies and gentlemen, I did say EATING!!! The last 12 hours have been so encouraging and Jonah has shown us he will not disappoint.
We were told by Jonah's cardiologist that he should have at the very least 13 ounces in 24 hours to remain hydrated. But, we were also given a list of criteria that Jonah should be meeting throughout his feeding trial. Yesterday, we fed Jonah 15 ounces through his NG tube before removing it at 5pm. The majority of yesterday was much of the same reflux, irritability, and sleeplessness that we were experiencing for the last week. With a prayer and a huge sigh of worry, we pulled the tube and Jonah was finally free of his ball and chain. He seemed to have a new light in his eye, as if he was experiencing his surroundings for the first time. Now we have seen this before when we have changed the tube and always knew he was so much happier without that slimy thing, but this time we were so excited to have some time to enjoy this moment a little longer. Jonah lasted about 15-20 minutes; smiling and playing all the while. He then fell asleep...a very restful, uninterrupted sleep until about 1030pm. In the meantime, my mom again came to our rescue with meals, caffeine, and energy to get us through our "intervention". We all just got settled in to bed when we heard Jonah cooing in his crib. There was no blood-curdling cry, no eruption of reflux, just a happy hum of a little baby who woke up ready to play. We offered Jonah a bottle right away, but he did not do much with it. He didn't refuse it and get upset. He did what he had been doing prior to this week...allowing the bottle in his mouth while he thought long and hard about whether he wanted to possibly swallow that milk:) The rest of the night was alot of up and down with more naps than anything. But with our "right-hand man" here, we were able to take turns and get some sleep.
This morning around 5am, Jonah decided he was ready...with a little tease:) Not that he was attacking his bottle or anything but he easily took 10mls. I know 10mls doesn't sound like it's all that impressive, however, Jonah was able to suck-swallow-breath and repeat to accomplish this and that alone was thrilling. Fast forward 12hours later and Jonah has taken a total of 5 1/2 ounces of formula and pedialyte along with an entire jar of pears!!! Should I repeat that??!! This is HUGE!!! For a guy who came from eating n.o.t.h.i.n.g by mouth, this is major!! Back to the other criteria that Jonah's docs gave us, he is meeting all the requirements to keep going...except one-drinking 13 ounces. We talked with Jonah's nurse and she was very pleased with how things were going so far and as they told us before; they are willing to look at other factors to determine Jonah's hydration status and allow us to proceed. They too know and admit it will be slow-going but Jonah is showing very good signs he is moving in the right direction.
We are no fools to think we are in the clear here. We have a LONG, VERY LONG way to go. Of course we are celebrating every milliliter Jonah has taken today and as we watch him willingly take his bottle we are praising God for answering our pleading prayers. I have felt His loving support and presence of the Holy Spirit surrounding us all day! We have always seen the potential in Jonah. Rob says something like "when Jonah is faced with the greatest adversity, when he gets pushed to the limits, he usually surprises us and does the unexpected". We could not be more proud of this child!!
Thank you for all of your prayers and lifting our spirits with kind words of support! We graciously ask that you would continue with us to pray for Jonah on this day and going forward. Tomorrow we will go into the pediatrician to get a professional look at him, but I have a feeling we will be plowing forward full steam ahead!