With Gibson’s diaphragmatic hernia and being intubated and extubated twice, he was at a high risk for having vocal cord paralysis. He has been without the breathing tube for a few weeks and has had a very quiet voice and cry. His cry kept slowly improving over the weeks, but never as loud as we all had hoped for within that time and knowing the risks that were possible. An Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor came to his bedside and lead a tube down his throat with a camera on the end to look around his voice box. Luckily, he was able to find what he needed to and we were able to know exactly what and if something was affecting him. He found his right side of his vocal cords to have paralysis. After finding that out, we all immediately decided it was best for Gibson to discontinue breast feeding. Vocal cords produce voice when air that is held in the lungs is released and passed through the closed vocal cords, causing them to vibrate. When a person is not speaking, the vocal cords remain apart to allow the person to breathe. Someone who has vocal cord paralysis often has difficulty swallowing and coughing because food or liquids slip into the trachea and lungs. This happens because the paralyzed cord or cords remain open, leaving the airway passage and the lungs unprotected. Because of this risk of aspiration they wanted to do a swallow study to check if he was getting milk into his lungs. He went on another field trip to radiology and drank barium from a bottle while the radiologist took x-rays to follow it and see where it went. It immediately went into his lungs so they stopped that bottle and switched to a thickened version of the barium. Good news; he passed!! So new eating plan. He is taking a bottle instead of breast feeding. We mix the fortified breast milk with a thickener and feed him four times a day with a bottle. He doesn’t drink much compared to his full feeding, but for him he’s doing great! It’s a lot harder for him to pull the milk out now that it’s thicker than regular milk, but he’s doing it and liking it! He gets worn out and goes right to sleep afterwards. The remaining milk that he can’t get from the bottle goes into his feeding tube. Good news is the doctors think that his vocal cord wasn’t permanently damaged and that over time, as Gibson continues to get stronger his vocal cord will heal itself.
Mom and Dad have both put the feeding tube down through his nose into his stomach as practice for when we do go home. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. Gibson has made amazing progress! He’s tolerating all of his meds orally. He is off of the Nitric Oxide that helped keep his blood vessels open for the lung blood pressure and is doing great without it. They are slowly coming down on the high flow and he will be on regular oxygen soon.
We’re sorry for not updating as much as we used to. Always remember no news is good news. Since Gibson is no longer “critical,” there isn’t much change from day to day like there was before. He’s still sick, but has definitely come A LONG WAY!! We are so proud of him. He amazes us every day. We still can’t believe how cute he is. He gets cuter by the hour. We’ve been busy enjoying our baby and getting to know each other. We are so excited for the day to finally be parents and not just “guardians.” Gibson has been clicking his tongue and smiling so much. We can’t believe how happy he is after all that he has been through. He loves life. He loves people. He’s the happiest baby!!