Saturday, December 7, 2013

Day 147: Final exams and holiday shopping -- NICU style

Sneaking on his cap and gown a few
days early
A year ago , December 10, 2012, I was Christmas shopping, NICU style. I was preparing a bundle of goodies, not so much to celebrate Christmas, but to celebrate JAM'S impending graduation. I had snuck Jonathan's graduation gown on him and had taken few pictures in the NICU. Then I went to the store to get a ton of prints of Jonathan wearing his cap and gown with his name embroidered on the front. "Jonathan, NICU graduate." Seriously, if you want to get a celebratory item for your friend whose child is having a NICU graduation, THIS is it. Having it embroidered was extra special.

First final exam EVER! Just a little scared (carseat test)
I would be handing these, along with chocolates, out to everyone who had helped get him here -- the NICU nurses, the social worker that I'd come to appreciate SO much, the doctors, the therapists (respiratory, physical, and occupational), and even the really amazing cleaning staff who probably quite literally helped save Jonathan's life, just by doing a good job at their job. (I went back to the NICU a month ago -- I can't remember why, I think I was dropping something off for a friend -- but a custodian I barely remembered remembered both me and my son by name. Shocked my socks off. I guess a bit of gratitude goes a long way?)

Dr. Dad is trained in helping undergrads feel more prepared
during finals week. Here he counsels his son on surviving
his first ever final. You can pass this test, buddy!
JAM WAS going to graduate. Yes, he was. Two more tests (car seat & apnea/bradicardia monitor test) and his finals would be done. It was a matter of days away now, if all went well. And while I wasn't sure if it would be within the week (it would, barely), I was nearly confident it would happen before Christmas.

About his final exams:
Carseat -- could he sit up in the carseat for many hours without having an apnea or bradicardia event?  Would he remember to have his heart beat and breath, even in such a strange position?  If so, we knew he'd survive the trip home.

Monitor -- He was put on an event monitor for several days. It recorded every event he had (apnea and bradicardia episodes).  Basically they wanted to know if he was breathing well and if his heart was beating okay. If he passed, we could go home without a monitor for him. I had heard that the home monitors often gave false alarms and kept already exhausted parents up much of the night re-positioning or rechecking, so we hoped that his central nervous system was enough developed that we didn't need one of these.  Either way, we were glad we'd know for sure by the end of the week.

See, sometimes, to pass a final, all you've gotta do is breathe well and keep your heart beating. (Be inspired, oh college students... be inspired. You, too, can make it to the holidays.)

Remember the duck from the summer? This shows how he's grown.


  1. I love the ducky picture! I love this kind of picture comparison! And the graduation gown is adorable - what a great idea.

    1. My sister got that for him.
      Best. present. ever!

      The lady at the embroidery store was so touched when she heard his story that she gave my sister the embroidering for something like free (or at least a greatly reduced price?)

  2. Where can i buy the graduation gown and cap ?? My Son is a premature baby as well hopefully he'll be out of the hospital soon ..

    1. We bought the graduation gown and cap at Build a Bear. It is just the Build-A-Bear graduation gown, nothing fancy. We had a local embroidery company embroider the words.

  3. Where can i buy the graduation gown and cap ?? My Son is a premature baby as well hopefully he'll be out of the hospital soon ..


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