One year ago today, we said goodbye to the patriarch of the family. Thomas Francis Xavier Reilly Senior died one month to the day after his wife of 60+ years passed. Four months after his death, Sofia and I found out we were expecting. Shortly thereafter we were told we were expecting a boy. This would make him the first Reilly Boy of the next generation. Although I don’t like to put much importance on these kinds of things, it does seem like the perfect way to memorialize my grandfather.
The above picture is of the male line of my grandfather. Henry Thomas Reilly is now the only boy of the only boy of the only boy. Although his path into this world was a complicated one, he has been making slow and steady progress. He is now double digits. At eleven days old, he is still 16 days away from his due date. But it barely seems to matter. He is already six and half pounds and gaining.
The last three days have been up, down, and back up. We now feel like we have officially passed one of the biggest early milestones for Gastroschisis. Since birth, he has had a tube down his throat that goes into his stomach. As his intestines heal, that tube has been suctioning out all the bile that has backed up into the stomach. Since it takes time for the intestines to heal and properly pass anything, we didn’t expect him to be able to pass such a large amount of bile.
On Friday, the surgical team took him off suction. The amount of bile that was coming out wasn’t worth it anymore. And the color was starting to look closer to stomach acid. So they tried it. For 18 hours, he was great. He was comfortable. We felt like he was speeding along and prepping for the next step–pooping. When we returned Saturday morning, however, we found him back on suction. He had puked up some of the bile overnight. That made Saturday one of the hardest days since his birth. It felt like a setback even though it was only returning back to where we previously were.
But he was actually fine all day Saturday. When we went in Sunday morning, it was the same. No bile and barely anything coming out of the tube. When surgical rounds came by, they decided suctioning was no longer worth it. They took him back off suction and made it sound like they would try other things if he puked it up again. He was so much more comfortable throughout the day and seemed to get much better sleep than he had in days. By the time we left last night, he was doing great. And he’s doing fine this morning.
We are taking it day by day. Eleven days down, a few weeks to go. If he remains good off suction for the next 48 hours or so, we can turn our attention toward his first post-intestinal-healing bowel movement. We are considering buying a copy of “Everybody Poops” and reading it to him every day to encourage him.
Sofia and I are going through the ups and downs of NICU life too. It’s hard seeing him attached to so many cords, but we are rather used to it. It’s great to hang out and hold him throughout the day, but weird to know we can go see a movie without getting a babysitter. It’s unique, but humans adapt to their environment. We know we’ve done what is best for Henry by having him at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado. We may be homesick, but nothing will be better than bringing him home in a few weeks.
I will be forever grateful for my grandfather and the family members who have helped with exploring our genealogy over the years. Because of their research I can tell Henry about where his family comes from. Some day I’ll even listen to the eight-part autobiographical tapes that grandpa made of his life with my son by my side. There is likely no better way to introduce him to the great-grandfather he never got to meet.