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               Day 90 6/18/10                                                                                   06/18/2010 08:42 PM
After 90 days in the NICU we are home! We took Thomas home early. Right now I am in our living room watching Thomas, who still
in his car seat sleeping, and Tom is ordering Chinese food. If feels bizarrely normal y, yet Tom and I keep thinking, "now what?"
Well he is all ours now, poor guy. I don't know how long I can blog on this site but I am thinking about starting a new one. I will let
you know, it is a great way to keep in touch. For now check out click on "view pictures" and login as
0321thomaskorte to view some professional pictures of Thomas that were taken today. I am not sure when the company will post
the pictures but it should be soon. Wish us luck for our first night home being parents!
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 88/89 6/16-17/10                                                                             06/17/2010 10:13 PM
Today is Thomas's due date. It is hard to imagine that the little person we have gotten to know and love over the past three months,
would just be joining us now. I do sometimes think about what should have been, but ultimately I am VERY grateful that Thomas
came into the world the way he was meant to and is healthy and going home soon. He looks fantastic, 8lbs 5.3 oz and 20.25
inches. He is a different boy than when we first met. The poor guy got circumcised today. We completely blind sided him and he
was not happy. When I first saw him after it was done, I was convinced the doctor messed it up. The nurse kept calling his penis
"angry" and it looked so weird. I am extremely glad he will not remember this because I don't think he would forgive me. Ouch!
Yesterday we finally filed down Tommy's nails. When we would see him in the morning, it looked like Freddy Krueger visited him
during the night, his face would be all scratched up. Though his face was scratched again this morning so maybe we filed them
sharper instead of shorter. He has pictures tomorrow morning so I hope he leaves his face alone tonight. Finally, we got training on
his heart monitor. Thomas will no be wireless when he gets home but he will be portable. The monitor is simple to use and is so
loud it could wake the dead. We will not be sleeping through that thing.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 86/87 6/14-15/10                                                                             06/15/2010 09:58 PM
The date has been set for Saturday for Thomas to come home! (as long as nothing sneaks up on us)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With another brady
on Monday and a little one today we are going home on a heart rate monitor. I am not too upset about this because I think it will be
a nice way to transition us from the NICU monitors to eventually nothing. Thomas's follow up eye exam went well today. They have
also put Thomas on the "back to sleep" program. Because of his reflux, Thomas's crib has been at an incline. So now they are
testing him flat on his back to see if he will brady or desat. So far so good. We might not need to bring a Tucker Sling home and
elevate his bed. We are so close.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 84/85 6/12-13/10                                                                             06/14/2010 08:20 AM
A lot has happened over the weekend. Thomas has bottle fed all of his feedings since Friday! They have taken out his feeding tube
again and hopefully it will not have to be replaced. So he gets to come tomorrow right? That is what we thought but not yet. As the
nurses put it, they have to "fine tune" him. Thomas was taken off the diuretic yesterday. So the doctors want to wait and see if he
will retain water again and how that will affect his lungs. Also, Tommy had two nasty bradys over the weekend. Typically if you
brady that puts you a five day automatic brady watch. You can't come home until you have no bradys for five days. They also need
to figure out what to do about his reflux. We might need a tucker sling that elevates Tommy in bed to help with the acid reflux.
Bottom line he might be home as early as this weekend or by the end of the following week.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 83 6/11/10                                                                                   06/11/2010 10:43 PM
The doctors attached some fancy electrodes to Thomas's head, messed around with some machine and finally determined that our
child can hear. I am not sure why they didn't just make a loud noise and watch him jump to determine that he could hear. I seems
much simpler. TC took six full bottles in a row today and I am anxious to see how he does tonight. Not much else for him to
accomplish. Just a few more bottles, survive his circumcision and pass his car seat test. Not quite 8lbs yet; 7 lbs 15oz maybe it is
time to get off the diuretic.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 82 6/10/10                                                                                   06/10/2010 11:30 PM
Had a nice surprise this morning. When I walked into Thomas's room he had no tubes on. The cannula was still out and his feeding
tube was gone. He looked great! Keeping the feeding tube out was short lived. We had to put it back in around 3:30. But the
cannula is still out and he is breathing well. Thomas is still anemic but his red blood cell count rose slightly so no transfusion.
Thomas had his last brain ultrasound today which came back negative. Which is good. Weigh in was 7lbs 14.5 oz.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine
               Day 81 6/9/10                                                                                      06/09/2010 10:55 PM
Still off the cannula and his vitals look great. Though Thomas was super sleepy today and did not take any bottles until 9:30pm
tonight. This may be a symptom of anemia, we will see with his blood work tomorrow. We had TC's car seat fitting tonight. He
looked so adorable in his car seat like a big boy ready to go home. Tom and I also had our infant CPR class tonight. I hope we
never have to use it but I am certainly glad we got the training. We switched his formula today in hopes of lessening his reflux pains.
The new formula seems to be working better. Weight watch: 7lbs 15.0 oz
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 80 6/8/10                                                                                      06/08/2010 09:58 PM
Attempt number three is in progress of getting off the cannula. Thomas has been off the cannula since 9:30 this morning. He has
successfully taken three bottles while off it. His vitals have been strong all day. Lost a bit a weight down to 7lbs 12.9 oz. Probably do
to the two massive diaper blow outs he had today.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 79 6/7/10                                                                                      06/07/2010 10:26 PM
We introduced Thomas to formula today. His demand for food has out matched my supply. Right now we are alternating every other
feeding between milk and formula. He seems to tolerate the formula well. Hopefully he won't have too many tummy issues. Since
we took him off all the other milk additives he has not had any two hour crying fits and we do not want them coming back. Weight
report: 7lbs 13.4oz Length: 19.75 inches Head 35 cm
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 78 6/6/10                                                                                      06/07/2010 10:19 PM
"He is so close. Maybe seven to ten days." That is what the nurse said to us today! I can't believe we are almost there! Finally! We
went from vague illusive time frames to something tangible. Interesting thing happened last night. I had another episode of
"phantom baby syndrome." Since Thomas was born I would have these episodes at night where I could swear I had the baby with
me in bed. I could actually feel him lying on my chest. Then I would sort of wake up and freak out when I couldn't find him. I would
often panic and Tom would have to fully wake me up and remind that Thomas was okay and in the NICU not at home. Last night I
was so upset and confused that I actually got out of bed and went into the nursery looking for him. It wasn't unit I saw the empty crib
that I got a hold of myself. Soon that crib won't be empty and we will have our baby with us. Weight watchers: 7lbs 11.4oz
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 77 6/5/10                                                                                      06/06/2010 11:12 PM
Thomas bottle fed 6 times in a 24 hour period. He did took 4 full and 2 partial bottles. He is really starting to get the hang of it. No
changes today except to up his milk to 2 oz. a feeding. Today was a very social day for Tom and I. This afternoon Annette hosted a
wonderful baby shower. It was fun be around so many friends and family. The little man will have lots of awesome toys, clothes, and
baby gear to come home too! While I was at the shower Tom has some daddy time with the baby. We got to meet Cole, TC's closet
second cousin in age. He was born 11 day after Thomas. It is still shocking to me how big full term babies are. Cole looks great and
I am excited TC will have a big buddy to play with. In the evening we went to a graduation BBQ for our friend Jeff, which was also a
great time. The night nurse today is Carolyn. She and I had a great conversion while I gave Thomas his 9:30pm bottle. Carolyn was
a NICU mom seven years ago. Her son was born at 25 weeks. It was therapeutic to reflect on our shared experiences and to hear
how healthy her son is now. She is pregnant with her second child and is anxious that she will end up in the NICU again. I guess
when you have a preemie the first time with no real underlying cause like Carolyn and I, the your risk of having a premature birth
again increases significantly. That was some unnerving news because no mom wants to go through this again. Especially with a
child at home. I pray that she is able to go full term. Weight: 7lbs 10.2 oz
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 76 6/4/10                                                                                      06/05/2010 08:42 AM
Thomas was able to take three full bottles today and two partial bottles! His feeding endurance is picking up. He is in full bottle
marathon mode. TC is still having those super fussy/my tummy hurts crying bouts. They have been happening every day and last
about two hours. The doctors have removed the additives from his milk to see if that will help. Hopefully he will feel better today.
The red blood cell count has dropped again. The doctor is still debating on transfusing him or not. If they give him a blood
transfusion then Thomas should be able to breathe easier and not get so tired because he has more red blood cells to carry oxygen
around his rapidly growing body. However, the transfusion would also override his own bio-feed back system, thus his body will not
make red blood cells on its own. For now, they are waiting another week to see what his body does. Weight watch: 7lbs 8.4 oz
Sarah has just introduced me to hilarious. If you need a good laugh check out these photos.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 74 6/2/10                                                                                      06/02/2010 10:38 PM
Another melt down this afternoon. Something is hurting our little guy after he eats. I am pretty sure it is his milk thickener. Hopefully
I can convince the doctor to change it tomorrow. Meantime, the occupational therapist taught me a new gas massage. This one
involves massaging his butt. The whole time I was trying out this technique the song "Highway to the danger zone" kept playing in
my head. I thought for sure Thomas would take the opportunity to leave a little "gift" on my hand. Thankfully he did not and the
massage did help him alleviate some gas. Too cute, I am watching both my guys take a nap together. Both Tom and I were able to
feed Thomas a full bottle today. TC is now 7lbs 4.9oz.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Day 73 6/1/10                                                                                        06/01/2010 11:43 PM
Thomas had a complete melt down today. He cried for about two hours. It sounded like goat boy (from Saturday Night Live) on
crack. I was frustrated that I could not sooth him but the professionals couldn't either, so I didn't feel too bad. One of many I am
sure. We suspect it was excessive gas, reflux or his milk thickener. They upped his prevacid to help with the reflux and gave him
some gas medicine. If those don't work they will change his milk thickener. They add a milk thickener to help keep the milk down to
prevent reflux. They were using a rice additive but changed to a gel based thickener because the rice would get stuck in the bottle
nipple and made it harder for Thomas to take a bottle. Since they switched thickeners TC has been a bit fussier after feedings. So
this could be the culprit. TC's eye exam went well today. The doctor did not see the ROP progress any from last week and does not
anticipate it doing so. He does feel that Thomas will be near sighted at a young age. He will be checked again in two weeks. Special
thanks to Sarah, Katie and Dre for flying out and visiting this weekend. Lots of laughs and lots fun-thank you I needed the break!!!
And a special thanks to Tom for putting up with all the excess estrogen. Weight watchers report: 7lbs 4.20z Thomas is still 19in
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

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               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 70/71 5/29-5/30/10                                                        05/31/2010 12:04 AM
Thomas had to go back on his cannula today. I was upset but it is for the best. Thomas can come home on oxygen but he can not
come home if he does not learn to bottle feed. Thomas never failed on the cannula; he was just breathing too hard to bottle feed. At
his next feed after going back on the cannula, TC took an entire bottle. Tom was the one feeding him and was quite proud! We now
have upgraded to Thomas version 7.02. Having a lot of fun with the girls.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 69 5/28/10                                                                05/28/2010 10:34 PM
Thomas has been off the nasal cannula for eight hours and counting!!!! VERY exciting news. He has not tried to bottle feed while off
the cannula which will be a challenge for him.his red blood cell count went up slightly so no transfusion necessary. The school year
is officially over and I am very thankful to the district for being so supportive. Finally, some girlfriends from college are coming in for
the weekend and I am really looking forward to their visit! Weight watch: 6lbs 15.8 oz. We almost have a 7 pounder!
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 68 5/27/10                                                                05/27/2010 11:09 PM
Thomas took his first full bottle today!!! The night nurse gave it to him and he just gobbled it up! While I was at work today, Annette
got to spend the morning with the little man. It was great to see the students and catch up with staff. I feel VERY thankful that I have
the summer off and do not have to worry about work and Thomas. Tom is feeling better and is spending time with Thomas tonight.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 67 5/26/10                                                                05/26/2010 11:33 PM
We have a new issue creep up on our radar, ROP (retinopathy of prematurity). Thomas has been diagnosed with stage 2 ROP. As
a preemie's eye matures it develops more blood vessels. ROP is when those blood vessels get confused and grow wrong. The
blood vessels can block out light and damage the retina by pulling on it, causing the retina to detach from the wall of the eye. There
are 5 stages of ROP. The good news is that roughly 90% of ROP cases spontaneously cure themselves within a few months,
leaving the baby with normal eye sight. If Thomas reaches stage 3 then the doctors will intervene with laser therapy. We will keep a
close "eye" on the situation and prayer the ROP does not progress. Going back to school for two days starting tomorrow. Looking
forward to seeing my students and closing out the school year. Tom is feeling better and will hopefully see the baby tomorrow.
Thomas's weight stayed the same tonight.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 66 5/25/19                                                                05/25/2010 11:39 PM
The nursery is becoming a scene out of Field of Dreams; "if you build it he will come." We have painted, added a chair rail and
wood trim, got a rocker, crib, turned a twin bed into a couch, got an area rug, curtains and painted a mural. It has gotten so bad that
when I shop I swear I hear that mysterious voice from the movie whispering to me to buy more baby gear. Tom thinks it is an
excuse to buy more or that my sleep deprivation is finally getting to me. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation has gotten to Tom, he is
not feeling well today. I have been awed by the schedule he has been keeping for the past nine weeks. Hopefully tonight he will get
some much needed rest. Weight Watchers report: 6lbs 13.9oz.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 65 5/24/10                                                                05/24/2010 10:24 PM
The results of TC's blood work did show a slight decrease in his red blood cell count. But it also showed a slight increase in his
ability to make red blood cells. Therefore, Dr. Maurer is going to test his blood again on Friday. If there is no significant increase in
his red blood cell count then Thomas will get the blood transfusion on Friday. The occupational therapists who work with Thomas on
his bottle feedings decided to put him on the "Dr. Brown" bottle feeding system for its "natural flow." As an added bonus it is actually
made in the USA by the Handi-Craft Company based right here is St. Louis. If hospitals are using this product maybe I should look
into buying some stock in this company. It is astounding the number of syringes(35) , rubber nipples (8), tubing (8), and other
medical supplies a single preemie goes through in one day. Cha ching $$$$. According to my insurance company, on average, it
cost $3,400/day for Thomas to be in the hospital. That is not including any specials or surgeries, just standard care. Our big guy is
now 6 lbs 10.8 oz and 19 inches!!
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 64 5/23/10                                                               05/23/2010 11:32 PM
We have graduated to newborn diapers!! No more preemie size. Thomas's weight tonight was 6lbs 7.9oz His feeds were upped to
52mls and he can now bottle feed twice a day. Tom did a great job tonight and got Thomas to drink 20mls. A little bummed today. It
seems like the doctors and nurses are slowly prepping me for Tommy not coming home by June 17th. It seems that his ligation
surgery and respiratory problems have set him back. But who knows, he is doing so well, maybe he will pick up bottle feedings
quickly and come home on time.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 62-63 5/21-5/22/10                                                       05/22/2010 11:23 PM
Friday the 21st was Tommy's 2 month birthday!!! He celebrated by giving the NICU staff a cookie cake, was held by mommy and
grandma Annette and allowed dad to bottle feed him for the first time!! TC lost a little weight last night, 6 lbs 3.4 oz but gained it
back tonight, 6 lbs 5.1 oz. The doctor upped his feeds to 50 mls and he still gets a try at bottle feeding once a day. Since he has
been on the diuretic he has not had a brady episode. So he will stay on a maintenance dose of the diuretic to help with the
respiratory problems. TC's blood will be test again on Monday to see if a transfusion is still necessary. FYI he loves his new mobile.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 61 5/20/10                                                               05/20/2010 10:51 PM
Weight watch-6lbs 4.4 oz; the diuretic is kicking in. No change in the game plan. Still on diuretic to see if it helps with the breathing;
which is appears to be doing. Hold off on the blood transfusion and keeping his feedings at 45mls, 8/day. I bought Thomas a mobile
last week and it already broke. So, I went to Target to replace it and got one way cooler. It plays Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, nature
sound and heart beat. It also projects a light show onto the "umbrella" part of the mobile. As well as doing the standard mobile
rotation. Yeah, it was like assembling a nuclear weapon. Not really, but it did require a philips head screw driver that I did not have
in the NICU. So I tried to Macgyver the thing using tweezers and a paper clip, no good. So I hunted down an elusive hospital
maintenance guy. Four different screw drivers and about two hours later it is assembled. Then Thomas slept the rest of the day and
so far night so I didn't even get to see if he likes it. Well, at least I am on a first name basis with the maintenance staff.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 60 5/19/10                                                               05/19/2010 11:39 PM
Back on the diuretic, or vitamin Pee as the nurses like to call it, to get rid of excess fluid. For two days Thomas will get a dose twice
a day and then a maintenance dose once a day there after. Another brady episode today. The doctor thinks one of two things is
causing the bradys. One, is that the excess fluid is getting into the lining of his air sacs and causing breathing difficulties. Which
then cause TC's heart rate to drop. This is fairly common in preemies who have been ventilated a long time like Thomas and have
respiratory damage because of the intubation. If this is the case then the diuretic should help. It could also be that his red blood cell
count is low. Which would cause breathing difficulties and heart rate drops because there are not enough red blood cells to carry
oxygen to the body; thus, making Tommy breathe faster and harder to keep up with the demands for oxygen. The remedy for this is
another blood transfusion, which might happen this Friday. Tom is donating more of his super blood tomorrow just in case. Dr.
Brenner is pleased with Thomas's weight gain over all. Thomas is in the 50th percentile in weight and length. Brenner said most
preemies born at 27 weeks and with Thomas's respiratory and cardio problems, struggle to be in the 10th percentile of weight and
length. FYI Thomas is now 6lbs 4.2oz. I was also taught how to perform a tummy massage for Thomas. This is to help pass gas
(insert joke here). I was freaked out by how hard the occupational therapist wanted me to press on TC's stomach. I thought I was
going to crush him. But he did seem to like it, so I guess it wasn't too bad. Thomas also got a noggin nest for his head. The right
side of his head is getting flat, so this head rest is supposed to round his head more. The new car is awesome!!!
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 59 5/18/10                                                               05/18/2010 10:36 PM
We have now updated to Thomas Charles version 6.1. TC is over 6lbs now! His official measurement from last night is 18.75in!
There is talk of going back on the diuretic. Thomas has also had three brady episode in the past two days. Brady is short for
bradycardia or drop in heart rate.One was bad enough that he dropped his heart rate, oxygen rate and started turning blue. We
have not had these types of episodes in a while. Nurse Kathy is not sure what is causing the bradys. We will see what the doctor
has to say tomorrow. Tom and I pick up the new baby moma mobile (Chevy equinox) tomorrow. TC will have a sweet ride to come
home in. Almost forgot to mention that I fed Thomas with bottle for the first time today! It was a lot of fun until I realized I got more
milk on his shirt than in his mouth?!
Posted By: Korte, Katherine
               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 58 5/17/10                                                                  05/17/2010 10:32 PM
One day off the diuretic and TC gains 3oz. He is now up to 5lb 14.2 oz. Tommy also broke the 18 in mark on his weekly length
check. His blood work was good for the most part. His red blood cell count is still low but his body is making an effort to produce
more. No talk of another blood infusion, yet. The doctor really wants Thomas to make more on his own. He received his first two
immunization shots today and will get more tomorrow. It really is amazing how well he handle all the shots, taking of blood, physical
therapy manipulation, temperature taking etc. He doesn't cry much; just looks at you like, "what are you doing to me now?" I am
really surprised at how animated his facial expressions are. Everything is written on his face, joy, pain, confusion, pouting,
attentiveness, curiosity etc. It is very amusing to watch him. Of course his smiley, happy face is by far the best! It just melts my
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 57 5/16/10                                                                  05/16/2010 11:07 PM
BIG DAY!!!! Thomas fed from a bottle for the first time!!!! It was great. He drank close to half his 45ml. before he got tired. He took to
the bottle like a champ. Plus he made the cutest baby, happy, drinky noises. He did not spit up and did burp. Best of all he did not
desat. (drop his oxygen levels). They start off slow,so Thomas will start off taking a bottle once a day and go from there. Tom
experienced one of TC's atomic poops today. He went through 4 diapers and had to call in reinforcements. The nurse had to take
out the trash because he stunk up the room so bad. TC is starting to get quite the reputation around the NICU for his bowel
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 55/56 5/14-5/15/10                                                          05/15/2010 10:43 PM
The diuretic worked its magic again. With the water loss, Thomas has been able to breathe easier. His respiratory rate dropped.
Usually it is in the 70-80 breaths per minute. With the added water weight he was up in the 120-150. Now he is averaging 50-70.
Because of the lower respiratory rate they dropped his nasal cannula flow to .1 liters, which is practically no support! He has been
on .1 most of today and has handle it very well. Still no attempts on the bottle feed. We bought Thomas's car seat/stroller combo
thing. Tom and I looked ridiculous test driving all the strollers at Babies R Us. They all have a million different settings, angles,
handle heights, visors, etc. In the end we compromised on one that I thought was pretty and Tom liked because it was on sale. We
were excited that most of them have beer holders, a convenient feature. Until we realized the cup holders are supposed to hold
bottles for the baby. Whoops. We had a nice time a Becky's graduation tonight and wish her well on her adventures in New York!
Weight watchers report: 5lbs 10.7 oz
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 54 5/13/10                                                                  05/13/2010 10:37 PM
Thomas was taken off his caffeine medicine today. Dr. Maurer feels that the stimulant is no longer needed to remind his brain to
breathe. He has not had many apnea episodes lately. We were also told that Tommy is old enough to handle a crib mobile. So, at
night Thomas can now look at little turtles floating above his head. I got excited and also bought him a crib toy. It is called a tug and
play knot. It has a mirror, rattle, rings, different textures etc. It is also bigger than he is. I guess of got a little over zealous. Annette
and Sam painted his nursery. It looks great and we can not wait to complete the room! His weight stayed the same tonight, 5lbs
9.8oz but he looks a lot better; much less swollen.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 53 5/12/10                                                                  05/12/2010 10:34 PM
Dr. Maurer did decide to put Tommy on a diuretic, again. You can really see the fluid gather in his legs and feet. Despite the
diuretic, Thomas was able to gain some weight tonight, 5lbs 9.8 oz. Grandma Eileen went back to NJ tonight. We greatly thank her
for all her time, help and love! Thomas is starting to develop a rash on his chest? Not too sure what it is but the nurses are keeping
a watch on it. Also, on his chest he got a lead blister. Leads are the sticky pads they put on Thomas's chest to measure his heart
rate and respiratory rate. They are changed every night to prevent skin damage. However, Monday night he had a lead blister;
which looks likes any other blister, a circular piece of skin ripped off. It has healed up quickly and does not bother him too much
now. What a tough guy.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 52 5/11/10                                                                  05/11/2010 10:23 PM
Today Tommy was able to suck his mylanta through a bottle nipple for the first time! This is great news because it is the first step
towards bottle feedings! He was having such a great day that nurse Kathy and doctor Mauer decided to try him off his nasal
cannula. He lasted about 45min. and then had to go back on. He is not ready yet to be breathing entirely on his own. But he is
getting closer. The eye doctor did another follow up exam today and the exam went well. Nothing the doctor seems concerned
about. He will get tested again in two weeks. Thomas also got to meet his Aunt Sam for the first time today. We are excited to have
her home for a while. Our boy is tipping the scales tonight at 5lbs 8.2oz.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 51 5/10/10                                                                  05/10/2010 10:04 PM
For his weekly length measurement Thomas is 17.75in. Tonight's weight is 5lbs 5.1 oz! Dr. Maurer is thinking another diuretic is in
order. I am hoping they give him a few more days to see if his weight levels off a bit. The doctors like to see a 1-2 oz gain per day
but Thomas is sometimes gaining 3-4 oz per day. It does not seem to be bothering his breathing, so maybe they will just let him
grow. Tommy's chest x-ray looks good and the doctor said his arm/shoulder is healing nicely. When they talk about his arm, I keep
thinking about this movie call "The Rookie." In the movie a young kid breaks his arm; it heals weird but allows him to throw like a
major league pitcher. So he gets drafted into the majors and becomes a star pitcher. So, I am thinking because of Tommy's
preemie fracture he is going to have some sort of super arm/shoulder and be a freakishly awesome thrower of stuff. Anyway, back
to reality. . .His blood work looked good today, though he is still anemic. The doctor is going to test him again at the end of the
week. He said it is common for preemies to drop to a low red blood count before their kidneys and bone marrow kick into gear and
start producing red blood cells. But if they don't he will need another infusion of Dad's super blood.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 50 4-9-10                                                              05/10/2010 05:58 AM
The best Mother's Day present was finding out that we now have version 5.0 of Thomas. We have hit the 5 pound mark! In fact last
night's weigh in was 5.1! The big focus of the doctors is feeding and growing our little man. Thank you all for the Mother's Day
cards, texts, calls, emails and postings! I had a great day with our son and with two of the best Moms, Eileen and Annette. Both of
these women are great examples of motherhood and Tom, me and Tommy are blessed to have them in our lives. Another thing I
am thankful for is the NICU south. Apparently, not many NICUs, not only is St. Louis but the nation as well, have private rooms. St.
John's is a leader in neonatal care and I am sure glad we get to benefit from that great care! On a humorous note, the nurse
yesterday told us Tommy had the biggest stool she has ever seen from a preemie. Some parents are proud parents of honor roll
students, we are proud of our little pooper! I'm just shocked that he pooped that much and still gained weight! Needless to say our
Tommy amazes us every day. Plus, he makes the cutest baby noises. It is so hard not to pick him up out of the crib, make a run for
the door and take him home. Soon enough . . .
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 49 5/8/10                                                              05/09/2010 05:18 AM
Quick note to say another good day for Thomas and a busy one for Tom and I. Looking forward to my first mother's day. I will post
more info later tonight.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 48 5/7/10                                                              05/07/2010 10:41 PM
I am loving the new pictures the nurses have taken in the past two days. The night nurses are the ones who take the photos for
baby icu. I think they get bored at night because they so "crafty." This morning we got a Mother's Day card from Thomas care of his
night nurse, Steph. It was a nice black/white photo framed with construction paper and had a loving message from Thomas wishing
us a happy Mother's Day. A nice surprise and a great keep sake. Another great day with steady progress. The next big hurtle is
being able to feed from a bottle. We have not tried it yet but I am hoping he will be able to give it a go next week. Grandma Annette
got to hold her grandson for the first time today. He is starting to get to know the family. Hope he is ready for all of us! Weight
tonight was 4lbs 12.4 oz.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 47 5-6-10                                                              05/06/2010 11:27 PM
This afternoon Thomas was put on some mylanta to help sooth his reflux. We are hoping this gives the little guy some relief.
Tommy's respiratory system was also changed from high humidity nasal cannula to a low humidity cannula. This new system
provides less volume but more oxygen. It seems like Thomas has outgrown the need to have a constant pressure in his lungs. So
he is on a very low flow of pressure, .2 liters. The switch appears to help lessen the amount of air in his belly, thus helping him
digest better and hopefully have less reflux. It is also one step closer to not needing any oxygen help at all. He had little to no
desats while we visited him tonight with this new system. TC is also doing an awesome job maintaining his body temperature and
continues to enjoy an open crib. Tonight's weigh in was 4lbs 11.3 oz.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 46 5/5/10                                                              05/05/2010 10:13 PM
The big surprise when my mom and I showed up at the hospital was that Thomas was in an open crib! I may have shed a few tears
of joy. TC has been able to maintain his body temperature all day, so hopefully this is a permanent change. Tom and I are also
getting more comfortable handling Tommy. Today was also the first day I lifted my son up. Normally, the nurses do all the handling
and place TC on us for kangarooing. But today we lifted him out of the crib, in and out of the bath. It is amazing how something so
small like lifting up your son can bring such happiness! Medically, no big changes. His feeds are going up from 30ml to 32ml every
three hours. Tommy's reflux is still bothering him quite a bit. He is already on an antacid (prilosec) and they may put him on mylanta
as well. I hope they do because it seems the reflux really burns and hurts him when it flares up. Plus he often desats when he is
having reflux pain. Tonight Thomas weighed 4lbs 9oz. Can't wait to see what good surprises tomorrow brings.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 45 5/4/10                                                              05/04/2010 09:54 PM
The doctor took Thomas off his diuretic today, which a good thing since he is down to 4lbs 6.7 oz (he was up to 4lbs 11oz at one
point). He is a long baby, now measuring 17.25 inches. Grandma Eileen got to bond with her grandson today, holding him for the
first time! Other than that not much new today. Hopefully, tomorrow we will start going up on his feeds again.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 44 5/3/10                                                                05/04/2010 09:42 PM
Weight watchers, there is an error on the site. He is NOT back to 3lbs. As of posting he is 4lb 10.3 oz. He didn't lose that much fluid.
A little bummed right now. Tom and I are here for his 9pm feed and kangaroo session but Thomas was too cold to come out and
play. Apparently, he had his first spit up earlier this evening. It got his shirt and blanket wet which in turn made him cold. So we
must admire him from afar tonight. This first spit up can be viewed as good or bad. On the good side it might demonstrate that
Thomas is now mature enough to get the reflux milk out of his system instead of just hanging out in his throat and irritating it. On the
other hand, it could be bad because it is a change in his usual m.o. So, the nurses will keep a close eye on it tonight. They have
assured the worried momma and poppa bears that their son will not choke on his spit up. Tommy's blood work and chest x-ray were
all normal. Though his red blood cell count was a little low. Preemies sometimes have a hard time having their bone marrow
reproduce red blood cells. It doesn't help that they are always taking blood from him for blood tests and glucose tests. But such is
the life in the NICU. Again, something they will monitor and if need be he will get a transfusion of Dad's blood. Did I mention Tom's
theory on what caused Tommy's turn around. Thomas started getting better right after his trip to the OR for the scoping procedures.
Well, before he was taken to the OR he was given a blood transfusion. The difference between this transfusion and the one before
his ligation surgery, is that they used Tom's blood (his blood was not processed in time for the PDA surgery). Therefore, Tom feels
that his blood was the cure (maybe I should start wearing his blood around my neck Angelina Jolie style like a talisman). Who
knows maybe it is time for another "booster" shot.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 43 5/2/10                                                                05/02/2010 10:12 PM
We are enjoying the south side immensely. Our neighbors are great. I even took a nap on the couch while Tom surfed the net in the
recliner and TC napped in his incubator. A relaxing family moment. Thomas continues to gain weight, maybe too much weight. He
has maxed out on his food to weight ratio. The highest amount, 34 ml, seems a bit much for him. While he does a nice job digesting
his food, he tends to have oxygen desaturations during his feeding and for an hour afterward. Dr. Mauer believes Thomas is
retaining some fluids. He thinks that some of those fluids are caught in the lining of his lungs and is making it difficult to breathe. He
has put Tommy on a diuretic to eliminate some excess fluids and dropped his feeding to 30ml every three hours. Also, he thinks
reflux is an issue. They already added a thickening agent to the breast milk to help keep it down and they may switch him to a
special formula if necessary. Right now they do not want to push his feeding too fast that it harms his respiration. Getting to put on
Thomas's clothes is a lot of fun. Today we dressed him in a preemie button up t shirt with a frog. It is a shirt that the girls on my club
volleyball team, that I helped coach, gave us. It is adorable!!
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 42 5/1/10                                                                05/01/2010 10:01 PM
Today was full of surprises. First this morning, Thomas had his PIC line remove. Which means no more IV fluids!! He is only taking
milk now. One huge step closer to becoming wireless. Secondly, in the afternoon both my brothers flew in to surprise us as a
belated birthday gift to my mom. So, Tommy had lots of visitors today: Mom, Dad, Uncle Luke, Uncle Charlie, Grandma Eileen,
Grandma Annette and Aunt Ronni. A big family day for our little man. Good thing we are South Siders where we can all fit in his
room! The third surprise was his incubator being switched skin to air. This means he is starting to regulate his body temperature
and can start wearing clothes. I finally get to put on some of the cute outfits friends and family has given us. Some big steps were
taken today and I am grateful family was around to enjoy it with us.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 41 4-30-10                                                               05/01/2010 06:05 AM
The little man got the call to the "show." He made it to the major league South side and is now playing with the big boys. In fact I am
blogging from his luxury suite right now. We are in the butterfly pod. Which is one of six pods that each have 10 rooms. I do enjoy
the symbolism of that; from small caterpillar to blossoming butterfly. The room is approximately 14X12. Has its own sink, couch,
recliner, pumping machine, privacy curtain, cabinets, sliding glass door, controlled lighting and cork boards to personalize and
decorate. Best part is that it is sooo quite. Thomas move down here around 7pm today. The ironic part is that when we got here
there was another baby in his room. From 8-10 there were tornado warnings. So the baby across the pod in a room with a window
was moved into Thomas's room during the tornado warning. We are all excited to have our own room and then walk into a his room
which is crowed with another baby with her mom and grandma as well as her nurse. Our first experience with a private room was
not so private. But it is peaceful now and a great space to watch Tommy grow and thrive.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine
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               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 41 4-30-10                                                            04/30/2010 11:32 PM
The little man got the call to the "show." He made it to the major league South side and is now playing with the big boys. In fact I am
blogging from his luxury suite right now. We are in the butterfly pod. Which is one of six pods that each have 10 rooms. I do enjoy
the symbolism of that; from small caterpillar to blossoming butterfly. The room is approximately 14X12. Has its own sink, couch,
recliner, pumping machine, privacy curtain, cabinets, sliding glass door, controlled lighting and cork boards to personalize and
decorate. Best part is that it is sooo quite. Thomas move down here around 7pm today. The ironic part is that when we got here
there was another baby in his room. From 8-10 there were tornado warnings. So the baby across the pod in a room with a window
was moved into Thomas's room during the tornado warning. We are all excited to have our own room and then walk into a his room
which is crowed with another baby with her mom and grandma as well as her nurse. Our first experience with a private room was
not so private. But it is peaceful now and a great space to watch Tommy grow and thrive.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 40 2-29-10                                                            04/29/2010 10:54 PM
Thomas is now up to 1 oz. at every three hours and digesting his food well. His breathing continues to stabilize. Changing a boy's
diaper is challenging. He keeps peeing almost every time I switch his diaper. Sometimes he pees on his bed, sometimes his leg, he
has even gotten his chest. I am just waiting for the shot to either my face or his. Since he is still in the incubator and has a lot of
wires to contend with, it is difficult to be quick with the diaper change. I saw a pee teepee, which is a cloth cone you put over his
privates to prevent showers. But I don't think we are ready for that extreme measure yet. Though one shot to the eye might change
my mind. We picked up his crib and a rocker/glider today. Makes me excited for the day he comes home.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 39 4-28-10                                                            04/28/2010 11:19 PM
Today my Mom and I took a class on preemie development. It was interesting to learn about Thomas's sensory system; how it
develops and what it is sensitive to. Interesting fact: by 8 weeks gestation a fetus will respond to and withdraw from stimulation in
the womb. Touch is the first sensory system to fully develop by 20 weeks gestation. Basically the class wanted to teach parents the
signs that your baby is overstimulated and how to calm him down when this happens. Also, they teach you how to recognize when
they are ready for interaction and what behaviors are appropriate to expect from your preemie. The nurse also talked about
adjusted vs chronological age. So, when Tommy is chronologically 6 months old his adjusted age is three months. We can expect
Thomas to behave like a 3 month old when he is technically 6 months. The estimate is that TC will be "caught up" by the time he is
three years old. One of the other nurses put it a another way. She said, "Look at it this way. Most 32 week gestational babies are
still in the womb not breathing and not eating. So Thomas is very advanced for his age. He is breathing and eating and pooping and
interacting with the world." Infant massage was also touched upon in class and TC had his first go around with massage today
during kangaroo time. Lets just say he did not enjoy his first scalp and shoulder massage. We are told massage has many benefits
so we will try it again. Maybe he will turn into a little spa baby after all.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 38 4-27-10                                                            04/27/2010 11:27 PM
It is incredible how fast Tommy is starting to grow. Tom and I leave him at 10:30pm most nights and by the next morning I swear
you can tell he grew over night. Thomas is weighing in at 4lbs 2 oz and is 16 3/4" long. He is up to 20ml on his feeds and still at
volume 3 on the cannula. He had his first eye exam today. The results were that his eyes are premature. Well, duh he is premature.
He will be retested in two weeks.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 37 4-26-10                                                            04/26/2010 11:42 PM
Another solid day for Tommie. A few minor desats but nothing too bad. Unfortunately, the largest one of the day happened right
when the doctor was performing his rounds. Just great, the boy already has testing anxiety! This is no way to get into the South
side. I got to hold TC for three hours today! Is it weird that I think he smells really good? Is there such a thing as new baby smell?
The nurse took off Thomas's bandages over his PDA ligation surgery incision. It was the first time I saw his scar. Of all things this
one really hit home for me. The incision was much larger than I thought. It is one inch long, which is what the doctor told us it would
be. But when looking at it in proportion to his body, it looks huge. Plus, it is this angry red line marring his otherwise perfect soft
skin. The scar will fade with time and soon it won't be noticeable but for now it is a reminder of something I could not protect him
from. While the scar temporarily makes me feel maternally inadequate, it also demonstrates how Thomas is incredibly resilient.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 36 4-25-10                                                            04/25/2010 10:31 PM
We have broken the 4lb barrier! His gavage (stomach feeding through a tube) feedings have increased to 12ml. As his gavage
feeding increase his TPN fluid intake through the pic line decreases. Once the TPN fluid stops his pic line should come out. One
less wire! Thomas has also gone down on his nasal cannula litter flow from 4 to 3. When he gets to 2 and is stable the next step is
to remove the cannula. So we have some big steps to look forward to. Also, we heard we are wait listed for the NICU South. At St.
John's hospital they have the NICU North and the NICU South. The North is the more intensive area for babies who a not stable.
The South is for what they call "feeders and growers", babies who are stable and just need to eat, sleep and grow. The South is like
luxury preemie condos. Every baby has their own room with crib, recliner chair, sleeper sofa, artificial hard wood floors, cute
decorations. It is so quite and peaceful there unlike the casino floor atmosphere of the North. Where the monitors of each baby
compete to see who can make the most ear piercing, soul wrenching, continuous beep possible. I swear when I go home I still hear
the beeping of the NICU in my sleep. I joked with the nurse that at the next NICU parent meeting we should play a game of "Name
That Beep." Each machine makes a different noise, ventilator, CPAP, cannula, gavage feeding tube, fluid dispenser, vital monitor,
the three different incubators all beep differently, temperature probe etc. Often each machine has several different beeps depending
on what their problem is. It is sad spending so much time here, that just from a beep I know what is going on with my son. Oh, his
oxygen is low, his feeding is finished, he is cold, the prongs are out of his nose and oxygen pressure is low etc. You even know
what is wrong with other babies in the NICU. The South is the place to be and has been like our own personal mythical and elusive
unicorn to catch.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 35 4/24/10                                                              04/24/2010 10:33 PM
Thomas is continuing to progress. The doctors upped he feeds again to 8ml every three hours. He is not giving back many pgas (I
do not know what pga stands for but it is what they call it when the nurses remove Thomas's stomach contents before they feed him
again; it is a measure of his feeding tolerance). Plus, we got lots of smiles during his night time kangaroo with Dad. I am putting out
a request to the Moms out there. Every time I go to Babies R Us I get overwhelmed. I would love to know what are your top five
must have baby stuff. From big things like playards to small things like bottle types. Any advice of what is good and what might be
overrated and unnecessary would be great. Thanks for the input.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 34 4-23-10                                                              04/24/2010 12:02 AM
"Tough as balls." That is the description my brother Charlie gave of TC after one look at him when he was two weeks old. Being a
state trooper, I guess it is his job to size up somebody quickly. While I might have a problem with Charlie's simile (I personally don't
feel like "balls" are particularly tough) I strongly agree with his sentiment. Tommy is one amazing little person. What he has survived
through and how he has thrived is truly inspiring. I often catch myself finding strength in Thomas's ability to adapt to difficult
situations. One example is the bedside scoping he received on Tuesday (he was actually scoped four times on Tuesday, through
the nose awake, mouth awake, bronchoscopy asleep and laryngoscopy asleep). Thomas at first did not like having the scope down
his throat, he made an upset face, then calmed down. Then he made the best of the situation and began sucking on the scope,
looking rather content. This displeased Dr. Forsen who could not get the view he wanted because of sucking action. Thomas made
a stressful situation rather funny. What a trooper (pun intended). Overall, a great day for TC. No major desats, they upped his
feedings, and lowered his air volume on the nasal cannula. He did lose some weight, mainly water weight. The doctors thought he
looked "puffy" from the extra fluids they were giving him because they stopped the stomach feedings; so they gave him a diuretic to
get rid of the excess fluid.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 33 4-22-10                                                              04/22/2010 09:41 PM
A great day for Thomas. Very few desats. and he is back on feedings. Both Tom and I got to kangaroo today and we are hoping to
make it a daily routine. Me holding in the AM and Tom in the PM. TC had another brain ultra sound that came back negative for
brain hemorrhaging (good). He does have an intestinal infection which he is being treated for with antibiotics. We are told this is
common in the NICU. The game plan is to stabilize his breathing and get him to start digesting food again. Grandma Eileen is back
in town and we already have a "to do list" for her. Hope she doesn't mind . . .P.S. the feral has eluded capture but has been officially
evicted from the house; we closed off the soffit so he can not get into the attic but I still see him prowling around the house and
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 32 4-21-10                                                              04/21/2010 11:28 PM
Happy One Month Birthday Thomas! Thomas celebrated his one month by getting off the CPAP and back to the nasal cannula. Bye
bye Hannibal baby. He had a great day with few desats. and only one that required stimulation to get him breathing again.
Hopefully, TC will start his feedings again tomorrow. Tom gave Tommy a bath last night and did a good job. Last night he weighed
3 pounds 14 ounces. Other news, we now have three primaries. Primaries are nurses that when on shift only work with our son and
the baby he is paired with. The purpose of primaries is to have consistent care for Thomas. The NICU has 130 nurses. Being in the
NICU for three months we could potentially end up with all of them at some point. Now we have Bev and Kathy as day nurses and
Kelly as a night nurse. The nurses typically work three 12 hour shifts per week. So these wonderful nurses will get to know Thomas
and understand how best to care for him. They will be with him until he is discharged to come home.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

              Thomas Charles Korte : Day 31 4-20-10                                                              04/20/2010 02:12 PM
Good news! The procedure went well today. Thomas has no abnormalities, no congenital defects, no physical obstructions in his
airways or lungs. Also, he did not have to be put back on a ventilator. So, what is causing his respiratory problems? The specialist,
Dr. Forsen, did see some swelling and a healing ulcer caused by the ventilator tube. He did mention that Thomas does have
malacia ( a soft and collapsing airway that takes time to become rigid like a full term baby) but does not need any intervention to fix.
The solution is time, growth, love and prayers. All of which he has a lot of. Tom and I thank you all for the great love, support and
prayers.. Knowing so many people are praying and thinking about Thomas and us has made this difficult time endurable. P.S. they
did put Tommy on a new breathing support system. It is still a CPAP but instead of the nasal prongs they gave him a "mask". It
makes TC look like a cross between Hannibal and a rhinoceros. But he does seem to tolerate it better than the prongs. For all you
weight watchers, they have differed his weightings. Since Thomas has not had stomach feeding in a few day you might see a
weight drop when they do weigh him again.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 30 4-19-10                                                              04/19/2010 09:45 PM
Another trip to the operating room tomorrow at noon. The procedure is called bronchoscopy. Tomorrow should just be an evaluation
procedure looking into Thomas's throat and lungs to check out what is causing the strider. After a diagnosis is made we will see
what the next game plan will be.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 29 4-18-10                                                              04/19/2010 09:36 PM
Early Sunday morning Thomas had a few bad respiratory episodes. His heart rate dropped, respiratory rate increased and his
oxygenation dropped. Each episode lasted for a few minutes and required stimulation from the nurses to get Thomas breathing
again. Because of this, the doctors put Thomas back on the CPAP. Unfortunately, this is a step in the wrong direction for us. There
are a few possibilities on why this is happening: (1) there is an obstruction in his throat making it hard to breathe (2) infection (3)
because of his prematurity the cartilage in his throat is too soft and not rigid like an adult thus, collapses every once in a while. The
nurse who has been working with TC all weekend thinks he has been working so hard to breathe on his own this week that he just
got tired and need some more help from the CPAP. Thomas has done well on the CPAP today, not as many desats (drops in his
oxygen saturation) as the previous two days. But it was upsetting to see him struggle and take a step backwards. The doctors have
taken several cultures to rule out infection. We have not gotten the results on these yet and he is still scheduled for the scoping on
Tuesday. They have stopped his stomach feeding to give his digestive system a "break" and increase his intravenous fluids.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 28 4-17-10                                                              04/18/2010 12:21 AM
Bathing Tommie was a lot of fun. The night shift nurse gets to bath and weigh Tommy. To do this they first take off all his wires
(except feeding tube, PIC line and nasal cannula) and then his diaper. He gets weighed on a scale under a heat lamp. After being
weighed he gets a sponge bath. This is where I helped out. I was so gentle and careful that I think he was just as dirty after the bath
as before. Normally, the preemies do not like bath time and cry through it. So I thought Tom and I would get to hear his wail. But as
I bathed him, Tom did a "touch/hold" (comforting a preemie by placing a firm touch on their head and bottom to provide a sense of
boundaries like the womb). Thomas didn't cry at all! He handled the bath so well. It was a great experience and we look forward to
doing it again. TC's respiratory problems are continuing so the doctor has ordered him to be scoped again. The scoping is
scheduled for Tuesday. The throat specialist will determine what type of scoping; either the the "easy" one through the nose or
"hard" one that requires sedation and ventilation. The doctor is starting to think that Thomas does have a subglottic (below the vocal
cords) blockage, which is why he not getting better. Best case scenario it is just superglottic (above vocal cords) swelling that will
heal with time and medication. Worst case scenario he has scar tissue that will require another surgery and a tracheotomy. Trying
not to worry too much until we know more on Tuesday. The little guy has three days to show some improvement to avoid all this,
which is what I am praying for.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 27 4-16-10                                                              04/16/2010 09:36 PM
For the most part a good day. Thomas is still having some breathing difficulties. His swelling or strider (as the doctors call it) is
persistent. When he was scoped through the nose last Tuesday, the doctor reported no structural damage but considerable
inflammation in his throat. Because of the inflammation they could not scope all the way down to his lungs. The specialists was
hoping to rule out scar tissue below the vocal cords as a cause of strider. The concern now is if TC continues to have trouble
breathing (wheezing, increase respiratory rates and decrease oxygen saturation) they will have to scope him again but this time
they would have to sedate him and use a scope with a ventilator. Not a nice procedure and I won't mention what they have to do if
they do find scar tissue. I think he just needs some time and he will be fine. He has made such great strides over the past week and
needs time to heal. I am watching my husband and son kangaroo right now and in a few minutes we are going to give him a bath
(the first time we have done this)!! That should be interesting. By the way, the little bugger totally pooped on my hand today while is
was changing him. . . gross.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 26 4-15-10                                                              04/15/2010 11:14 PM
Thomas's weight has been an issue this week. Let me explain. The night before his operation last week they stopped his feedings.
Thomas gets fed two ways. One through his PIC line where he receives what they call TPN, intravenous fluids. The second way he
is fed is through a feeding tube in his nose, where he receives breast milk. Before the operation they stopped his breast milk
feeding and upped his intravenous fluids. After the operation for about a day and a half the breast milk was still on hold and he was
only getting intravenous fluids. Tommy was gaining weight nicely before the operation but began to lose weight afterward because
of the lack of food. Also, being on the CPAP caused digestive issues. Since the CPAP provides continuous positive air pressure
(CPAP), some of that air gets in his stomach and slows digestion. Thus, more weight loss. The transition from CPAP to nasal
cannula was tenuous. In fact, today the nurse told me TC was hair's breadth away from going back on the ventilator on Monday
(yikes, glad he pulled through on the cannula). Because of how stressful Monday and Tuesday was for the baby, the nurses did not
want to wake him up and handle him during the night to weigh him. This website will post the previous weight again and again until
a new weight is entered. His weight dropped do to surgery and breathing problems, then was stagnant because of no new
measurements and now has jumped because he has been doing so well for the past few days and not been weighed in a while. He
definitely looks like he is beginning to fill out. Overall another great day. The doctors are weaning him off his steroids and
decreasing his oxygen dependency. The next step is to let him feed and grow for a while until he figures out the suck, breath and
swallow reflex which come around 34 weeks gestation. Tom is 31 weeks gestation today! p.s. mailed our taxes in today at 5:30pm,
cutting it a little close; also the feral cat still eludes entrapment
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : 4-14-10 New pictures and video links                                          04/15/2010 08:48 AM
I hope these links work . . video of Thomas smiling: video of Thomas hiccuping: Picture link with new photos added (hopefully without login required)
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 25 4-14-10                                                                04/14/2010 11:04 PM
Wow, odd to write that I have no major news today. Little Tom had a calm and restful day. In fact he smiled a bunch today,
ridiculously adorable. I got a great video clip of him smiling and I will attempt to perform my first Youtube posting tomorrow, so look
for the link. Tom got to kangaroo our son for two hours tonight. It melted my heart to see my two guys bonding and cuddling. Since I
have no new news, I will report on some old news. On Monday the doctor informed us that Thomas has a fracture on his right
femur. They are not sure when he broke his arm, they suspect during delivery. The doctors only noticed the fracture because it was
already healing. They can trace the fracture back to his April first x-ray, so it happened sometime before then. The orthopedist
came to check him out and said the break would not have and lasting impact. Thomas has good movement in his arm and does not
seem to be bothered by it. Also, his other bones look strong. No indication of any type of bone deficiency. Tom and I were not
happy to hear that first they broke our son's arm and second did even know it. My angry momma bear alter ego wanted to break
something of the doctor's. Fortunately, we have been really happy with the care and treatment Thomas has been receiving so I just
settle for giving them the evil "I'm watching you" eye. On a different note, you might have noticed that I refer to our son with a
variety of names, Thomas, TC, Tom, Tommie, Tommy. This is because Tom and I can't decide what to call him yet and are testing
out the name to see what fits. My sister in-law insists that we do not call him TC. She feels TC is a "meat head" name and that a
child will grow into his name. Though if you watch our little guy bust out of his snuggly and move about, he might already be
demonstrating some meat head qualities. He is a pretty beastly preemie.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 24 4-13-10                                                                04/13/2010 08:08 PM
A quite day for the most part. So far only one major bradycardia/apnea episode. Little Thomas looked really good today. Normally
he has some eye crustiness. He was started on some eye medication which has really helped. Also, he usually has mouth
crustiness from the CPAP making him blow bubbles through his mouth. Since he is no longer on the CPAP those crusties have
lessen as well. Tommie did have a visit from the eye/nose/throat specialist today to assess his throat swelling. The verdict is that
the swelling is normal for babies who have been on the vent and to continue the anti-inflammatory treatments he has been started
on. I tried to kangaroo with Tommie today for the first time since his surgery. Unfortunately he did not handle being positioned on
his stomach so well and started wheezing. He was put back in the incubator only after five minutes of holding. I was bummed about
this because he usually does well kangarooing and it is such a great bonding time for us. Maybe tomorrow. Tonight Tom and I went
to a NICU parent support meeting. I was nice to meet and converse with other NICU parents. It did feel a little AA like, "Hi, my name
is Katherine and I am the parent of a preemie." The parents have preemies at all different gestational ages and different lengths of
time in the NICU. Some babies were born at 35 weeks some at 25 weeks. Some are new this week and others have been here for
10 weeks. One parent is leaving with their baby this week. It made the ideas of actually being able to take our son home seen like a
possibility. Going on four weeks here makes the NICU feel like home and home feel like a temporary place. It doesn't help that
home currently has a feral cat living in the attic. Today a pest control company set a trap out to catch it. I have a feeling this is going
to be very amusing episode getting the cat out of our house.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 23 4-12-10                                                                04/12/2010 09:50 PM
One of those roller coaster days again. First they were going to take him off the CPAP. Then he went into some bad
apnea/bradycardia episodes so the doctor decided to keep him on the CPAP. Later in the day he had some more episodes so they
did take him off the CPAP. The new plan is nasal cannula, back on steroids, reposition his body and give him a vaporizing
epinephrine. All these treatments are to open up his upper respiratory airways which appear to get blocked because of swelling. It is
normal for babies who have been on respirators for a long time to have swelling in their lung and air passages. The nasal cannula is
so much smaller than the CPAP. So, we finally get to see most of Tommie's face; which of course is super precious! My Mom left
for NJ today. Miss her company and help already. Tom and I are exceptionally grateful for her time, love and support. Hopefully she
will be back in STL permanently soon! I did get my Jersey fix tonight with a visit from my BFF Lisa and Rod, who are out here on a
business trip and stopped by to meet the latest Korte.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 21/22 4/10-4/11                                                         04/11/2010 01:53 PM
Doing well on CPAP for the past 2 days and will be alternaiing with a nasal cannula. The cannula is less irritating to his nose. We
are starting to dabble with a's and b's of prematurity which stands for abnea and bradycardia. Abnea is when the baby stops
breathing and bradycardia is when his heart rate drops. This is very common with premies his age and happens because his brain
is not fully developed to remind himself to breathe. Therefore, the nurse sometimes has to gently stroke his belly to breathe.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 20 4/9/10                                                               04/09/2010 10:00 PM
The big news for the day is that Thomas is off the ventilator!!!! The transition was not a smooth one and a bit nerve racking for Mom
to see her son struggle to breath on his own. However, he pulled through like a champ and is doing great. He has been off the vent
for 12 hours now. He is still getting some assistance on a CPAP machine. This machine requires prongs up TC's nose and provides
moistened constant pressure to his lungs to make breathing easier. The poor thing might have gotten a tube out of his throat but
gained prongs up his nose, a hat with tubes pinned on it and a cloth to tied around his head and jaw to keep his mouth shut. TC
looks slightly pathetic right now. We should be posting pictures this weekend so you can all see what we mean. Luckily I was able
to hold him during his 3pm feeding and Dad was able to hold him during his 9pm feeding. It is amazing to see his vital stats
maintain perfect levels when we hold him. I think he like us! Well, he better, he is stuck with us and we absolutely adore him. TC
was also able to get his chest tube out today and his hand IV!. He also got a visit from his Great Auntie Grandma Julie from Iowa.
All in all a great day with hopefully more steady improvement to come. . .
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 19 4/8/10                                                               04/08/2010 01:23 PM
The surgery went well yesterday. No real complications, though TC came back with a chest tube. That is normal with this
procedure. His lung envelope is easy to nick and puncture. They put a tube in so the lung does not collapse. The surgeon said TC's
duct was the same diameter as his aorta; a big duct that he would have trouble closing. This confirmed that the procedure really
was necessary. Little Tom's vitals are strong today. He is finally coming out of his sedative stupor. The plan is to wean his off his
ventilator today and hopefully remove it tomorrow morning. His chest tube might also come out tomorrow, along with this arm IV.
Then we will be closer to getting one of those fancy wireless babies! As always, thanks for the support and prayers. Maybe add all
the NICU babies to your prayers. There are many babies in here who all need a lot of love.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 18 4/7/10                                                               04/07/2010 03:47 PM
Surgery was a success!!!!!!!! Tom and I are much relieved. TC is starting his recovery. Will post more details later.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 17 4/6/10                                                               04/06/2010 09:42 PM
Wednesday at 1:00pm is the scheduled time for Thomas's PDA ligation surgery. The doctors feel that the duct is preventing him
from getting off the ventilator and progressing on his feedings. The medications did not work, so this is the best option. TC is a good
candidate for the surgery. His size and stable vitals are all positive factors going into surgery. Dr. Marbarger will be performing the
surgery. We met with him today. His has been a cardiac surgeon for 25 years and said he performs PDA ligations about 12 times a
year. The surgery itself is strait forward. They make an incision under Tom's left scapula, go between his ribs, move aside his lung
and make three sutures around the duct. They stitch him with dissolving stitches and send him back to the NICU for recovery. With
that being said Dr. Marbarger went thoroughly over all the possible consequences and complications of surgery, but these are
typically rare occurrences. There is no real recovery time line; the staff says he will recover at his own rate. This is a big hurdle for
the little guy and we are hoping he will make some substantial gains after the procedure and recovery. So, please say a prayer for
Thomas Charles tonight. I will post an update on the surgery tomorrow night.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 15/16 4/4/-4/5                                                          04/05/2010 02:05 PM
Sunday update: Easter was a great day. It started off with a surprise visit from my Dad. He flew in from Texas, surprised us at the
NICU and joined us for dinner. The Easter Bunny visited TC and brought him a stuffed bunny, chocolate and stickers for his
incubator. Since chocolate eggs can not fit in his feeding tube, TC was nice enough to share his candy with the NICU staff. His
bunny went on top of his incubator and his stickers jazzed up the incubator. If you haven't noticed yet his incubator is very stylish.
After spending the morning and afternoon with the baby we went to Annette's for dinner. We (TJ, Kat, Eileen, Charles) had a
fantastic Easter with the Lanmans. Dinner was amazing and we ended up having a bag ("corn hole") tournament. TJ and Becky
formed a unstoppable team and dominated the tournament. Very Duke like of them. Sunday night we held TC. Not kangaroo style
but normal in your arms style. Even though there was less contact it was great to be able to stare at his face while you held him.
Nurse Sarah took a picture of the three of us and posted it in his incubator. So Mom and Dad can watch over him always. Monday
update: Walked into the NICU this morning the doctor hit me immediately with the news of surgery. TC had an echo cardiograph
this morning and his PDA is the same if not larger. His x-ray showed some symptoms of the PDA affecting his lungs and heart.
Needless to say I had a not so mini break down (Tom is holding strong but is worried) but we know this is the best option for TC. It
has been two weeks and he is not off his ventilator. The PDA is also preventing him from increased feedings. His surgery is not
scheduled yet, but will probably be either Wednesday or Thursday. Tom and I will meet with the cardiologist soon to be briefed on
the specifics of the procedure. Love to all and keep the prayers coming. . .
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

                 Thomas Charles Korte : Day 13/14 04/2-4/3                                                                  04/03/2010 08:11 PM
Friday update: Friday was a rough day for our little guy. The doctors wanted to test him off his ventilator. So around 2pm they took
him off his ventilator and he fought the technicians all the way. I believe the word all of them used was "spunky." About three and
half hours later he started to fail and was put back on the ventilator. The doctors forewarned us that it was a strong possibility that
he would have to go back on, but it was still difficult to hear/see him struggle. TC cortisol levels tested low which could be a
contributing factor to why his duct is not closing. They are giving him synthetic cortisol as a last effort to close the duct before
surgery. He is still asymptomatic, so no one is rushing to perform the surgery and we are all hoping it will close on its own soon!
Saturday was a nice quite day for Tommie, no too many labs or test. He was really tired from yesterday and has been sleeping
most of the day. Friday and Saturday was a big move day for us. We are so fortunate to have many friends and family help us with
our move. A HUGE thanks to, Annette, John, Eileen, Charlie, Ronni, Becky, Dee, Linda/Dan, Lynda, Doug, Gene, Heather, Chad
and Dan. You made a large endeavor quick, fun and organized! Our new address is 446 Forsheer Dr. Chesterfield, MO 63017. We
do not have the internet at our house, so we will post as often as we can. Happy Easter!
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

                 Thomas Charles Korte : Day 12 04-01-10                                                                     04/01/2010 10:24 PM
If you are looking for the other postings they are under "Archives." At the end of the month, the old month gets archived and new
month starts all over. The latest echo cardiograph showed that the duct is still open. The interesting thing is that TC is
asymptomatic, he shows no signs of being bothered by this open duct. As long as he is asymptomatic the doctors want to try to
take off his ventilator and see what happens. They are in the process of weening him off the ventilator. He may be off the ventilator
as early as tomorrow. Tom and I have mixed feelings over this. On the one hand, TC hates the ventilator and will probably pull it out
himself soon; so it would be great to relive him of this irritant. On the other hand, we don''t want to see him struggle to breath. For
now there is no treatment to close the duct. The doctors are waiting to see if it will close on its own. If it is not obvious yet, TC does
things at his own pace. If he become symptomatic, starts having breathing problems, then they will opt for surgery to close the duct.
TC was taken off of photo therapy today. No more tanning and special mask. We actually get to see most of his face and eyes!! TC
got to meet his Uncle Charlie today and his uncle was nice enough to buy him a great coverlet for his incubator. That way his eyes
are protected from the harsh lights of the NICU and it gives his incubator some flair. The closing went well and we officially have a
house for baby Tom.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

  Baby NICU       Archives    2010    March

  Welcome to Parent Journal Archives! Here you'll find all the posts for the past months/year. Please select appropriate year from the Archives menu on the left
  and click on the month to view old journal posts. The numbers in brackets '( )' indicate total posts for that particular month. Some months may not be visible as
  they may have no archive history.

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                   Thomas Charles Korte : Day 11 10-31-10                                                                                     03/31/2010 11:10 PM
  Not too much news today. Tommie had a quite day today, no big tests. He rested peacefully and demonstrated his first obscene hand gesture.
  While the nurse was taking a picture of him to update the babyicu site, he gave her the middle finger. His hand was resting on his head and just
  formed "the bird." Unfortunately he did not hold the position long enough to take a picture of it. Baby's firsts are such priceless moments.
  Tomorrow is a big day: echo cardiograph to see if the PDA closed, chest x-rays and biliruben level check. By the way did i mention we are
  closing on our new house tomorrow as well! Tommy boy is no longer homeless!!! I can not wait to start setting up the nursery. Big day
  tomorrow and I need my rest. . .who am I kidding, sleep is such a foreign concept. Nothing like being a new parent!
  Posted By: Korte, Katherine

                   Thomas Charles Korte : Day 10 03-30-10                                                                                     03/30/2010 11:22 PM
  The NICU was not as crazy today as it was yesterday. The nurses say that full moons and severe storms send women into labor. They don't
  know why the moon has such a strong effect but they said when a storm comes up, the barometer goes down which can send women into
  labor. Weird. PDA news. The echo cardiograph showed the duct was still open; no improvement from last week. The new plan is to try a
  different drug. Instead of using ibuprofen they are going to use indomethacin. He is going to get three doses. His first was tonight. They will do
  another echo cardiograph on Thursday. The ibuprofen is considered to have little to no side effects which is why they tried it first. Indomthacin
  is what they traditionally use to treat PDA, but it does have some side effects. Though nothing too drastic or horrible. This drug only seems
effective for the first two weeks of a preemie's life, so time is limited. I wish I could just will that duct closed. We are praying that round three will
close the duct. Luckily the PDA doesn't seem to bother TC too much. The doctors are trying to prevent it from causing future complications.
Tom got to Kangaroo tonight and Tommie kept pulling on his chest hair. It was really funny, like he was exploring some foreign texture, which I
guess he was! Becky (Tom's sister) is using her master sewing skills to make us some "scent blankets." Tom and I wear this fabric on our skin
and then we place it in the incubator with the baby. Our scent is supposed to sooth Tommie. Don't know if it does but at least I feel like I can do
something to help.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 9 03-29-10                                                                                03/30/2010 06:52 AM
Yesterday was a little scary. After enjoying a nice session of kangarooing little TC's temperature got very high. Since preemies can't sweat, his
heart rate and respiratory rate shot up and he was very distressed. It was awful not to be able to comfort your child for fear of overheating him.
It took several hours for him to settle down and it became a late night for us in the NICU. Early start for us today to see the doctor and for
Tommie's echo cardiograph. Yesterday in general was such a zoo in the NICU. Lots of new preemies and they performed two bed side
surgeries right next to TC. It was a very stressful and upsetting environment to be in. On the positive side little Tom met his Grandpa Shudtz for
the first time and during kangarooing he held my thumb the entire time. Big day today and I am praying for some good news.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Baby Pics!                                                                                    03/29/2010 06:34 PM
Below is a link to see pictures of the baby! Hopefully it works if you copy/paste into browser. You should be able to use this link to see new
picture that we add over the next weeks and months. If it doesn't work check for an email with the link. Thanks! Enjoy!
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 8 03-28-10                                                                                03/28/2010 11:49 PM
Today was a nice quite day for the little guy. No major tests, no technicians doing chest x-rays or ultrasounds or echo cardiographs, so he got
lots of rest today which is exactly what he needs. We did get results for his biliruben level, they took a significant jump from 5.8 to 6.9. The
reason for this is probably two fold. One he was severely bruised from delivery. The bruising looks so much better which means his body is
processing the biliruben. This could account for the high levels. Also, he is just now pooping, which is how the biliruben is expelled from the
body. So the levels might have been backed up. Bottom line we are hoping they do not jump again tomorrow and if fact start going down. Little
Tom had fun with his Dad today. When Tom was changing his diaper he pooped. Then when Tom put another clean diaper down, he pooped
again! It is not easy changing him in the incubator and with all the wires/tubes attached to him so I hope TC had a good laugh! Good Night . . .
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 7 03-27-10                                                                                03/27/2010 11:48 PM
Tom's kangarooing last night was an amazing moment for our little family. Truly indescribable. I got my second chance at holding the baby
today and again a magical moment. we only get to hold for an hour a day but it is time we cherish so much!! Medical update. The
echocardiogram showed that the PDA is still open. So Little Tom is going on a second round of medication to close the duct. The course of
medication takes three days and then they will check him again. The duct needs to close before they can attempt to take him off the ventilator.
Big Tom changed his first poopy diaper. Way to go Dad! They also put Tom on a new ventilator, which he is responding to beautifully. His CO2
levels are coming down nicely. Tomorrow he gets his blood/gas levels checked, platelets checked and his biliruben checked as well. Tom also
gets his second chance to hold the baby. We will be posting a link to a snapfish album on Monday for cute pics. God bless.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 6 03-26-10                                                                                03/26/2010 06:14 PM
Lots of good news today. First, little Tom had his brain ultrasound to check for intraventricular hemorrhages and it came back negative. This
indicates no brain bleeding. Second, his PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) sounds like it is closing. The doctor could not hear any heart murmur
today. Tomorrow he will verify the status of the PDA by an echocardiogram. They also put in a feeding tube today. His digestive system should
not be handling food at this time of development so it will take a while for him to adjust to the intake of food. But this is an important first step.
Tonight we go back to the NICU and Tom gets his chance to hold the baby for the first time!
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 5 03-25-10                                                                                03/25/2010 11:52 PM
The doctors said this journey would be full of advances and setbacks, much like a roller coaster and today is a good example of that. On the
plus side: I got to hold little Thomas today and it was a great joy! In the NICU, they advocate something called Kangarooing; which is skin to
skin contact. I sat in a recliner and they put little Tom on my chest, belly down for an hour! He was calm and slept. We only get to do this once a
day for an hour since he needs photo therapy the rest of the time. Tom will Kangaroo with him tomorrow! Kangarooing is great because it
promises of a better future! We also got to take his temperature and change his diaper, just like real parents! Some of the down stuff: Still on
respirator: he is having trouble expelling CO2; so they increased his dependency on the respirator His PDA in his heart is not closing: all babies
have this opening, it usually closes within the first few days of life but preemies have trouble with this; the doctors are treating it with medication
but if it does not close in two days it will require surgery. So let’s pray that it closes. His bilirubin levels are increasing; these levels have to do
with jaundice and Tom's ability to break down red blood cells; he already had blood infusion; they are high because he is so young and was
very bruised during delivery; so we are keeping a close eye on these as well Weight: you may have noticed that his weight is decreasing; it is
normal for preemies to lose 10% of their birth weight; he should be at his low point and gain from here Tomorrow: Tom will get a brain ultra
sound to check for brain hemorrhaging; this is an important indicator of brain development and damage The specialist assures us the little guy
is within the norms of a preemie his age and not to fret over the daily numbers because they will fluctuate a lot; as long as the trend is for the
better, that is a good sign. Keep us in your prayers. Thanks for all the calls and emai
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Day 4                                                                                    03/24/2010 09:30 PM
TC is still on ventilator but close to trying without, he is off his blood pressure medicine. A pick line (IV) was put in to replace old IV in belly
button. Chest xrays look good. He has received blood infusions today to help with red blood count. Still likes to break free from blankets and
stretch his legs and arms. Thank you all for your support in helping us through this stressful time.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Tuesday update                                                                           03/23/2010 04:46 PM
Just wanted to thank everyone for the good wishes, prayers, flowers, and baby gear. Mom is doing well. She has been freed from all of the
tubes and wires from delivery and is up and walking around little by little. Mom gets to go home Thursday morning. TC is doing well and resting
a lot. He seems comfortable most of the time and likes to stretch his arms and legs, still a long way to go though. Wish we could add more pics
but they are posted by the nurses, probably a couple a week from here on out.
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

               Thomas Charles Korte : Our Baby ICU                                                                             03/22/2010 05:58 PM
1+ Days Old. Mom is revovering well and is comfortable. Thomas Charles is in good hands and doing well. Check back for updates and
Posted By: Korte, Katherine

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