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What a Difference a Day Makes

What a difference a day makes — especially in the life of a struggling child!
Little Stephen is so needy that his every move is monitored in our Henan Cleft Healing Home (HCHH).

Stephen spent time in the hospital after being rushed there for breathing and feeding difficulties. He was touch and go in their special Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) but eventually rallied. Finally, Stephen was taken off their respirator and tube feeding system and was able to return to HCHH — but he was still not out of the woods.

Stephen’s feeds are being measured, and every drop he drinks is recorded. Our NICU nurse had his calorie count worked out so finely that we know he needs to drink 435ml a day of the special high calorie formula for premature babies simply to cover his energy expenditure in feeding. Just a little more than this should help him begin to add some weight to his very fragile frame.

Our NICU physical therapist gave us useful information on positioning to help Stephen avoid regurgitation while lying in the crib. She suggested that a rolled blanket or towel be put under his arm from arm pit to feet to keep him in position as Stephen was expending energy just to keep himself in position. Our little fighter needed to reserve every bit of energy for putting on weight!

Anxiously we waited to see if he would climb from drinking 30ml to 50ml every 2-3 hours. Every day, the measurements were taken, pored over and recorded.

By the end of the week, on day five, HOPE escalated as Stephen’s cries were now louder and his daily intake of formula steadily increased to reach his target. He made some definite progress. Now we need to see him reach beyond and gain some additional weight! Thanks to this very special Henan Cleft Healing Home team of nannies and volunteers, I think he will do just that.

Julie Flynn Coleman is the Henan Cleft Healing Home Coordinator. She has been with LWB since 2004 in a variety of position, the latest of which was coordinating Loudi Foster Care.

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