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Whose Breath is It?

1 week old preemie with breathing tube

Thursday, January 17, 2013 11:30AM, EST

Breathing on her own was always the goal.  The requirement to get us home.  The mark of “normalcy” or resolution of her “morbidities” in the medical field.  The news of her birth was misleadingly announced as a celebration in my church.  I received many a well-wishing quoted a favorite benediction “God is as close as your very breath.”  The words were both an insult and a prayer.  Looking at her choking on her intubation tube, listening to the alarms when she stopped breathing for a minute, only emphasized the chasm between our reality and hers.  And yet, the closeness of breath was where we hoped to be heading.

To this day, I cannot equate God with breath, despite what the Hebrew word ruah (spirit, breathe) suggests.

That is not to say that breathing is among the many things God is and does.  I posted the below lyric on her incubator because breathing and loving were things I hoped one day she “wouldst do.”

Thursday, January 7, 2010 6:41 PM, EST

Day 8

“Breathe on me, breath of God.  Fill me with life anew.  That I may love as Thou dost love, and do as Thou wouldst do.”

This inspirational quote resides on Grace’s isolette.  We received it in the mail today from an elder and choir member of my church.

It describes Grace’s day as her breath was better today.  They have weaned her down to 25bpm.  Normal infant breath is about 50-60bpm’s so this means she is doing half the breaths on her own.

She has had 3 feeds so far and we are still seeing how she is responding to them.  She needs glycerine to help it all pass through.  (Her schedule is 1ml every 12 hours through a small tube threaded down her throat.)

The Physical Therapist resident came to see her and the attending will come see her tomorrow.  Her shoulder is less internally rotated today than yesterday as she’s been moved into positions that help that.  She has a little more flexion too, so she can make more than a right angle up towards her shoulder.  They can’t start PT until she is “stabilized.”  So the first concern is getting her off the vent.  The doctor said she was pleasantly surprised by the progress Grace made in the last 24 hrs weaning from 40pbm’s to 25bpm’s.  Check out the resources page for a diagram about preemie lungs to get a better visual of what Grace is working with.

The head ultrasound showed her Grade 1 brain bleed was resolving!!!

Keep the prayers coming and the quotes are inspiring us and her.


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