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  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
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Entries in premature (13)

Wednesday
Mar162011

The courage to be a parent

Of all of the 'offices' I hold there is no office more important than being a father to my two children, Courtney and Liam.  Before I am a priest, before I am a scholar, before I am a servant to society I am a father.

I do not take this responsibility lightly.  Professor John Volmink once commented in a talk that "Just about anybody can give birth to a child.  Very few people have the courage to be a parent".  I tend to agree with his sentiment.  Having children and being a parent are very diffirent things!

Liam and Courtney are precious gifts from God.  I give thanks for them today.  Liam survived a very shaky start to life, having being born premature at 27 weeks.  Courtney survived a brain tumor at 11 years of age.  However, these are not the things that define these two precious people.  They are unique, special, gifted, beautiful individuals - created uniquely in the image of God.  Their lives lie before them, filled with endless possibilities and opportunities.  Of course there will be challenges, dissapointments and dangers along the way.

My role is to love them.  My greatest desire is to place within them a perspective of the world that says "The world is a good place.  God has made it good.  It is good to be alive.  I live in love and joy.  My life is full.  In fact it is full enough to spend it on others".

I will not lie to you, it is frequently a great challenge to create this space, this 'shalom', this fullness of life (John 10.10).  Sometimes I suffer under scarcity - I have a scarcity of financial resources, a scarcity of time, a scarcity of energy, a scarcity of love.  At other times I suffer under reality - we live in a poor nation, we live among people who are not 'good', we live in a society that values things more than people.

But, the great hope is that we know a different way!  That way is the way of a person, a person named Jesus Christ.  He is the one who established a Kingdom that is more powerful than the economic, political and social systems of the world.  His way is a way of grace, a way of acceptance, a way of inclusion, a way of transformation, a way of fullness, a way of abundant life.  His way is a way of love.

And so, the following quote from Stanley Hauerwas challenges me to be a parent to my children.  Pray for me. It takes couarage:

What must be said, and said clearly, is that the refusal to ask our children to believe as we believe, to live as we live, to act as we act is a betrayal that derives from moral cowardice. For to ask this of our children requires that we have the courage to ask ourselves to live truthfully.

- Stanley Hauerwas (via @invisibleforeigner's tumblr blog).

Today I celebrated with my friends Gary and Ilene whose daughter Madison was born - a healthy young princess!  I also remember my friends Zdzislaw and Heilie whose son Christopher passed away 4 years ago.

It is an immeasurable privelage, and responsibility, to be a parent.

Sunday
Oct212007

Africa has a way of making EVERYTHING look better. It must be the nutrients in the soil - just look at these pictures.

I was looking through some photos in iPhoto this afternoon. My eye was drawn to a photo that was taken of one of my students, Vuyelwa Sebolao, and myself. Vuyi, as she is fondly known, is wearing the traditional orange dress of a married Xhosa woman, I on the other hand am wearing the traditional red doctoral gown of the married nerd person....

The point is this, doesn't Africa have a wonderful way of livening up even ordinary occasions!? I have been to quite a few academic ocassions across the world.... The plain black fur lined hoods and gowns of Cambridge, the three barred tassled gowns of Northwestern University in Chicago and the bright red bath robe that I get to wear!

Wessel (pictured in the back, on the right in his red bath robe... He has a nicer hood than I do - purple, mine is porno gold...) and I often joke and say that the red of our gowns is actually the blood that was squeezed to earn the degree... Ha ha!


Just to prove that everything truly is more beautiful in Africa - here's picture of my wonderful family, taken on our lawn this afternoon. Liam, Megan, and Courtney - aren't they just wonderful?

Here's a photo of little Liam, enjoying the feeling of the African sun, on his African skin, as he sits on green African grass... A good African son!

Who would have thought, 11 months ago, that he would be so healthy, happy and perfect? I tell you it's the nutrients of the African soil!

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Thursday
Oct182007

It will be the most exciting day of my year! Well, except for the celebration of my miracle son's first Birthday!

Yup, 16 November 2007 will truly be the most significant day of this year for Megan, Courtney and I. On the 16th of November we will celebrate the miracle of our son Liam's birth. At this time last year Megan, as about 23 weeks of pregnancy (some way into her 5th month) had already been in hospital once in labour... It was one of
the scariest and most difficult times of our lives! Liam was born just 3 weeks later... Many of you will remember that he was just 1kg at birth (do a search for Liam, or click on December 2006's archives) to see some pictures....

Liam spent 3 months in the neonatal ICU and almost left us a few times... However, God is faithful! Even to heretical theologians!!! Liam truly is a miracle child! So come and celebrate with us on the 16th of November. I'll give you some advance warning - if you would like to send Liam a message of blessing, or some form of
encouragement (remember, I am his dad... He'll need all the encouragement he can get!!!), then please drop a comment on the blog on the 16th. We will save all the comments and print them for him so that he can remember, one of the most special forms of love in Christ, is the body of Christ loving itself through its members!

Now, what will the SECOND most important day of 2007 be? Well, go to http://www.apple.com/ and take alook at the countdown to the release of the new version of Mac OS X,
leopard! I can't wait, Leapard is going to BITE M$ Vi$ta's BUT! Wohooo!!!

As far as I know only Pete, Wessel, and I are Mac addicts... Any others lurking out there?

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Monday
Mar052007

The smell of rain... This is a heartwarming testimony of God's love and grace!


Every now and then someone sends something by email that touches me to the very depth of my being. This morning I received the word document below from my friend Kerry.

If you get a chance to download and read it you will certainly be blessed! It is called "the smell of rain". I couldn't stop crying as I read through it. Yup, cowboys (and Vespa riders) do cry!

The smell of rain.doc (about 200K)

Much love and blessing to all as you start this new week!

Thursday
Feb152007

Liam the great is (re)born


Today is the 15th of February 2007 (but you knew that already, didn't you?) Tomorrow Liam will be exactly three months old (as you may remember he was born last year on the 16th of November). However, since he was only supposed to be born this past Sunday (11 February) he is now only really 4 days old!

Today was also a very special day for us all. We have been waiting for it since he was a week old. We have had to wait until he was three months old before we could take him for an MRI scan to ascertain the exact location, size, and extent of the brain damage he had contracted as a result of the two grade 1 and one grade 4 bleeds in his brain. Well, today was that day. This morning Megie fed him at about 4.30 AM and then did not feed him again until just before the MRI, we also did our best to keep him awake from when he woke up after that early feed (about 6.30) until it was time for him to go for the scan. It seems quite strange to keep your baby awake, when normally you are trying to get him to sleep! The purpose of this was quite simply so that if he needed to be sedated he would not have eaten, but if he did not need sedation (which we discovered he could not have because he is too small) he would feed and then fall asleep with a full tummy.

We only had one 'paid' shot at the MRI (our medical aid only covers one MRI per family per year). So, we needed little Liam to lie still in that huge tube for the 30 or so minutes it would take to get the scans that were needed. Thankfully he was VERY well behaved (as we have known him to be).


So, here's the good news! The MRI showed that none of the three bleeds had caused any further problems. Also, the most severe of the three bleeds (the one in the right hemisphere) had not formed into a cyst and was draining naturally! And, whereas it had previously damaged about 15% or the right hemisphere, it now only occupies about 3 or 4 % of the mass of the right hemisphere as this picture shows (the damaged area is the lighter spot you can see in the top center of this picture). Nice looking brain that! I hope he will be a Doctor... but not like his dad, I want him to be a real doctor... But who knows!?


In fact, our doctor thinks that this cavity will simply leave some scaring and disappear over time. She said it is a miracle that he had recovered so well! The report indicates that there is no further damage, and that the small scar that is left will present much fewer problems than any of us had anticipated! How awesome is that!? Neither Megie nor I can believe just how blessed we have been. We are so undeserving of God's grace! Although, we are grateful that we have received it. And, as my friend Pete's recent post points out, we also don't know why we are fortunate to benefit from this grace... All that we know is that it happened, and for that we are grateful!

So, as of today Liam is born... again.... he is perfect in every possible way! He is truly a gift from God to us! And we are grateful.

We also received another bit of great news today! The background is that we have a very good medical plan that is an arrangement between the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and Pharos Private Health Administrators. However, as with all health plans there are limits to the cover we receive. Liam's medical bills have reached close to R300 000 thus far, of which we have had to pay approximately R100 000, some of this was our members portion, but some had to be paid after we had reached a few of those limits, and in some instances simply did not have enough cover for necessary or required treatments (in particular he has to receive 6 injections to protect him from a respiratory virus called RSV, they cost R10 000 per injection! our medical aid can only pay R3200 for the whole year). We have jokingly said that we are going to insure his legs for R30 000 each! However, the reality for us was that after we had depleted our savings earlier in the year we took out a second bond on our home (which we are very fortunate to be able to do. Not very many ministers own property against which they could loan any money). However, here is the great news! Today we heard from the Methodist Connexional Office that they are able to assist us with half of the cost of the RSV injections! That is just so wonderful! It makes us feel so richly cared for! So, instead of having to pay R60 000 we only need to pay R30 000. What makes this even more special is that the representative from the medical aid, Sister Venter, sent the motivation to the Church office to make the request. We did not even have to do it ourselves. Now that is both grace and great service!

So, all in all it has been a day of great joy and blessing! Tonight I will sleep well (Megie on the other hand will wake up every two hours or so to feed. Thanks darling!) But, thank you all for your kind care, wonderful support, and constant prayers.

In these last months I have rediscovered the joy of talking to God and the privilege of living in community. It makes me feel better... It is the source of all true healing.

Thursday
Jan182007

What she looked like in her day... AND an update on Liam 18 January 2007


1968 vespa sprint 150
Originally uploaded by mennyj.

I found this incredible picture of a Vespa VLB Sprint on Flickr today. It shows you what my VLB would have looked like some 39 years ago when she was brand spanking new!

Today I was so pleased to have a Vespa! We only live about two blocks from Courtney's school, however traffic in Pretoria is so bad at the moment that it takes longer to drive there (about 25 minutes) than it would to walk that distance. However, we don't realy have time for either a 25 minute walk or a 25 minute drive! So, today we decided to go to school on my Vesparoogie! I managed to leave home at 7.05 and be back at the office by 7.15. Some of the other parents were still stuck in the traffic when I was already drinking my first cup of coffee and responding to emails!

Then, this afternoon I was called out to the hospital to pray with one of the parents of a baby in the ICU. The hospital is about 20km's away from my office, but it can take quite a while to get there. If I had taken my car, it may have taken even longer because there was a power outage and so none of the traffic lights were working. The cars were backed up for miles, I managed to get there in just around 20 minutes and be there in good time to pray with someone who truly needed to experience God's grace and care. It was not only great to be able to share God's love in that way, but it was fantastic to ride my Vespa; and a joy to save about an hour in the traffic on the journey there and back!

So, here's to my old girl! She is such a blessing! Tomorrow I will ride her to the studio in the morning to do a live broadcast with Prof van der Watt for the show 'Do you know what you're reading', a call-in program where folks can ask questions about the Bible and have them answered by a real Biblical scholar (Prof van der Watt) and an English guy with a Doctorate who is pretty much there because he can speak English (that's me!) Let's see if I need another push start ;-) I sure hope not! I may just park around the corner so that when we leave I won't be seen pushing my scoot down the road...

Now, onto the news that TRULY matters. Megie took Liam back to the doctor today for his checkup while I was at work. He has been home for two weeks now! He is doing very, very well indeed. The only little hickup is that he hasn't been picking up enough weight. He needs to pick up about 150 grams a week. This week he picked up somewhere between 80 grams and 100 grams, and only about 40 grams last week. So it is a bit of a worry for us. It would seem that he is still so close to that stage where feeding takes more energy than it gives him, that some feeds are actually causing him to loose weight, or simply balance out (Wow, if only I could eat and loose a bit of weight!!) Anyway, the doctor will keep monitoring his progress and we would ask for your prayers please.

Please could I also ask you to pray for the other babies that are still in the ICU, and for their parents? As I mention above, there are still some very real needs among the little kids who are there. Two of the parents who we got to know quite well have babies with serious struggles at the moment. How I wish we could waive a some magic wand and make them all better!

My father-in-law undertook to fast every Friday until Liam came home. I have undertaken to do the same until these kiddies go home with their parents. Sometimes we have to 'put our faith where our mouth is'.

God hears prayers and God answers them, but sometimes I need a little reminder that prayer is not always that easy, there is a cost associated with caring!

Thursday
Jan042007

Update on Liam - 4 January 2007

Here's an updated picture of our little lad! It was taken this morning (4 January 2006). You can see that he's growing, yet he is still SO SMALL!!! However, he has his dad's second chin already! Praise God, it is so great to see him looking like a 'normal' little baby.


Today Liam is 7 weeks old! In the last 7 weeks Megan and I have become part of the furniture at the Pretoria East Hospital (even the porters and cleaning staff know us by name). In fact, it is 9 weeks since Megie was first admitted to the hospital, and we have been there every day since (with the exception of one Saturday and Sunday between Megie's first and second admissions early in November last year).

However, this story ends with great joy! Liam has steadily grown. Your prayers have been palpable, we have seen him overcome obstacle upon obstacle. We have watched him move ahead, even when Doctors said he may not. In truth, he is nothing less than one of God's amazing miracles! As individuals, and as a family, we have grown and deepened our faith, and rediscovered elements that we had long since forgotten about. It has been an amazing experience of God's providence and grace.

This morning he weighed in at a whopping 1.855kg's. That is a whole 700 grams heavier than he was on the 16th of November. The astute reader may notice that his weight is slightly down today. This is as a result of good news, not bad news. The good news is that Megie started breast feeding him on Saturday lasts week (just one feed a day when he got to just over 1.7kg's). That first day he was so tired after his first feed that he didn't wake up for almost a whole day! However, the next day she moved onto two feeds. It didn't go too well and we thought that we might have jumped the gun a little. However, he was just getting into his stride! Liam was topped up with tube feeds after the breast feeds, and was also tube fed for the other 6 feeds of the day. On Monday he was wide awake and crying for his milk before each 3 hourly meal! That was so great to see, so the Doctor told Megie to up his feeds by two a day, she was now up to 4 breast feeds a day. He was handling the exertion well, and was getting enough milk to keep him hydrated and his little tummy full! We knew we were half way there. On Wednesday the Doctor said Megie should increase the feeds by one more (to 5) when one of the nurses asked if Megie shouldn't just board at the hospital and try the full 8 feeds. The doctor agree, and so, that's what happened.

Megie stayed at the hospital last night and Liam fed well (but did loose a bit of weight... It's all that exercise!) So, even though he was not supposed to be home for another month and a half (his due date was to be in the middle of February), and he only weighs 1.855kg's, the Doctor was happy to send him home!! How incredible is that!? We could hardly believe it. We knew that it was not that long to go, but we didn't expect it to be so soon.

The picture below was taken in the lounge outside of the ICU. This is the first time in his life that Liam had been outside of the maternity section of the hospital. As you can see, I was quite pleased to have him out!


He will still be under 'lock and key' for another two weeks or so at home. Since his immune system is not yet fully developed we have to slowly introduce him to all the wiles and ways of the world. That means that we will restrict visitors (please be patient!) and not take him out of the house unless necessary. Megan, Courtney, and I, still go through the ritual of disinfecting our hands with soaps and sprays before touching him or picking him up. We will also not take him to Church for a few weeks. However, as his weight picks up, and his immunity builds, the threat of infection becomes less and less important. So, he will soon be out and about. Watch out world!

Courtney is LOVING having her brother home! She has held him for hours on end today and as been a real help to Megan and I. She had only seen him three times in the 7 weeks and couldn't believe how much he had grown since she saw him at Christmas (2 weeks ago).


The care and love that we received from the nursing staff, and our doctors, was such an inspiration and a blessing. They truly ministered a gift of healing, not only to our little boy, but also to our sore and anxious hearts. They were kind, patient, supportive, wise, and supportive. We will pop in and see them all again next week when Liam goes for his check up, and stop in from time to time to show how much he has grown. Of course they may also get the occasional call when we are not sure what to do! He still receives some medication and we're not the cleverest when it comes to working out dosages and such.

There is nothing quite as nice as having Megie, Courts, and Liam, all at home! At least the estrogen is being balanced by a bit more testosterone.

The great blessing is that he will be at home for my birthday on the 14th of January. At one stage we thought that he may still be in hospital, but here he is! So, I will celebrate my 35th year with everything that any person could want, the love of God, the love of my wife, daughter, and a healthy son. I'm quite pleased! Can you tell? And, NO KEV, I'm NOT getting fat! It is an optical illusion.....


Other than missing the kind and knowledgeable staff of ICU, we will however, appreciate not having to drive to the hospital and back a few times a day (even though the trip was only about 30km's, I managed to do over 4000km's in my new car just between his birth and now!)

So, a new chapter in our lives, and Liam's, begins today! Of course we are well aware (as many have told us) that premature babies often go back into hospital. However, we are grateful to have him home, and if he must go back at any stage we know that he will have the best care. AND, thank God, each re-admission is a new event for our medical aid (they have been phoning us since before Christmas to tell us to start looking out for a good government hospital to transfer him to since we were reaching our limit for his care). Thank God we have not had to do that and have been able to cover all the costs between the Medical Aid and ourselves thus far.

Thank you so much for everyone who has prayed for us, phoned, sent messages, and supported us with love (and great food!) We are so grateful for all your care!

Friday
Dec292006

Update on Liam 29 December 2006 - So much to give thanks for!

I came across some photos this morning that I took with my cell phone camera (so please forgive the quality). They were taken over the last 7 weeks.

In these photographs you can see just how far Liam has come!


This photo was taken about a week after his birth. Here Liam weighed around 1.2kg's. He was so fragile and small (as you can see his whole body was the size of my hand, he still had oxygen, a feeding tube, respiration sensors, temperature sensors, blood oxygen probes, and heart rater sensors).


This is a similar photo, look how small he was! When he was first born, at 27 weeks, he was still very foetal. He seldom dropped his legs. Megie and I used to joke and say he looks like a cornish hen!

I have posted this photograph before. It gives a real perspective on just how small and thin little Liam WAS. Notice the emphasis on WAS! We praise God that he is not like this at all now. He now weighs 1.755kg's (that's about 600 grams more than his birth weight). That is almost a 50% weight gain, and it is amazing how much that growth has filled him out. Look at Liam's little premature nappy in the photos above. The nappies almost covered his whole torso at that stage. Now, however, they fit like regular nappies.


Compare Liam's size in relation to his teddy in this photo and the one below.


In the first 'teddy photo' (taken in week 1) Liam was almost exactly the same size as his little teddy, however, in this second photo (taken in week 5/6) his little teddy is not even half of Liam's size. How incredible is that for 5 weeks!? Also, see how his cheeks have filled out! He is turning into a chubby little lad. He is still tiny (about the size of a 3/4 loaf of bread).


Well, we certainly have SO MUCH to be thankful for (here's little Liam joining us for a prayer)! Liam has been infection free, peaceful, and grown consistently over the last 7 weeks. We cannot thank God enough for God's faithfulness, mercy, healing, and care! Liam now weighs 1.755kg's. He started with one breast feed a day two days ago. Now it is just a matter of getting him up to 8 feeds on the breast per day, making sure that he get enough food from that to both stay hydrated and grow, and then if he keeps that up for a few days he may be allowed home early! He will be on one breast feed a day for a few days (as he gets used to feeding, slowly picks up his weight over 1.8kg's, and gets used to the 'exercise' of having to suck for his food. His lungs will grow and mature through all of this). If he keeps his weight and manages one feed for a few days, then he will have two feeds for a few days, then three, four, five, all the way up to a full eight feeds in 24 hours. This could take a few weeks. However, at his current pace he should be home at least two or three weeks earlier than expected (perhaps some time in the second or third week of January). So, please keep praying for him, and all of us. We give thanks to God, and ask you to join with us in thanking God, for Liam's healthy growth.

A blessed and joyous year ahead. May the miracles of this year be found in and surpassed by the ordinary events of 2007.

Tuesday
Dec262006

The greatest Christmas ever!

Three posts in one day!? It's little wonder that it has been raining here over Christmas! However, we have so much to share and give thanks for.

Here's a picture of little Liam and I on Christmas eve (can you tell from the decorations in the background?) Here you can see how Liam has grown. He is still a little thin, but at least he looks like a baby (and not like an old man!) He is growing up so quickly! He now weighs 1.68kg's and is saturating naturally. In fact if he continues to grow so well we may have him home in the next two or three weeks!


Megie, Courtney and I spent Christmas with our little lad Liam in the neonatal ICU. He is the greatest gift ever!! We are so grateful for the nurses and doctors who spent Christmas day at the hospital. Their dedication is inspiritational. Courtney got to visit with us since it is Christmas. We scrubbed her down, and then she got to hold her little brother Liam for almost an hour. It was bliss for her! This is only the third time that she has seen him in 6 weeks, and the very first time that she has been allowed to touch him. We are so thankful to God for the care and mercy that God has shown us in Liam's growth and good health.


Hey Pete, notice that I'm wearing my favourite T Shirt! Thanks for the gift friend! I could hardly believe it when the package arrived and there was a Vespa T Shirt from Pete in there. I have been looking for one for years now!!!!

A blessed Christmas to all our friends and family. Thank you so much for your prayers, good wishes, and kind support. We pray that your experience of the gifts of being in Christ will be as rich and deep as ours has been over the last two months. It is wonderful to be in Christ, and a member of Christ's body.

Friday
Dec152006

Update on Liam - 14 December 2006.

Yesterday Liam the Great (slayer of Oxygen, dirtier of Nappies, conqueror of Neonatal ICU, lover of Incubation) celebrated his 4 week birthday! This is an answer to prayer, and a real milestone, because he gets a little bit stronger each day. Megan and I both feel confident that he passed the major danger points, now it's just fattening him up! His last weight was 1.4kg's.

Here's a picture of Liam getting his first bath from Megie (he had previously had a quick wash down from one of the nurses). His bath had to be done with the oxygen attached, however, we disconnected the probes from the monitors. It also had to be a very quick in and out since he cannot keep his body temperature for too long


Bathing him was quite a big deal for us, since it is something 'normal'. Megie did so well! Remember, it has been about 7 years since we've had to do this. Of course the fact that he still has a few tubes and lots of wires makes it a little more complicated. However, this is one instance in which is size is a real plus. He is small enough for Megie to hold him almost completely in one of her hands, with his legs and a few bits dangling onto her wrist. I, of course, did what most dads do... I held a video camera!

I can, however, assure you that I am a champion at changing nappies! And, at this stage, quite adept at feeding (although our hope is that soon I will not have the 'equipment' to do what is necessary). Until then it is a daily joy to hold him for an hour or so whilst he gets his feed.

Once again, thank you so much for all the encouraging messages, prayers, and practical help (yesterday Jules, one of our worship leaders at Bryanston, arrived with about 10 frozen meals!) It is wonderful to be loved, and incredible to experience God's provision, both in supernatural and miraculous healing, and in tangible care and concern! Where would we be without our faith in Christ, and the love of the body of Christ?

Tuesday
Dec052006

Update on Liam - 5 December 2006.

Firstly, a huge thanks from Megie, Courts, Liam (AKA BJ) and I for all the prayers, calls, messages and emails! It is wonderful to be cared for in this manner. It reminds me of a line from the Emmaus spiritual directors handbook that is shared at one of the community gatherings which says something like "isn't it wonderful to see the body of Christ caring for itself in such love?" We do truly feel loved and cared for!

Well, here is a recent picture of our little lad. Please forgive the poor quality of the image, it was taken with my cell phone. The GREAT news is that he picked up a few grams in his weight. He is now weighing in at a whopping 1.19 kilograms. He has been getting a supplement that helps him to gain weight a little faster (it gets mixed into the 25 Mils of breast milk).

Some folks have asked why he needs to be fed through a tube. There are two reasons. Firstly, he has not yet developed the sucking reflex that allows him to feed on his own (I believe that only comes somewhere around 34-36 weeks). Although he is learning to suck a little, it is not yet at the stage where he could feed. Secondly, until he weighs around 1.8 kilograms, the effort it takes to feed would be greater than the nutrition he would get from a full feed. So, in essence, he would loose energy (and so weight) rather than gain it at this stage. So, the solution is to pop the milk directly into his tummy for him to metabolise it from there. He seems to do that pretty well! He is realising that feeds come every three hours and so he starts to niggle a little when it gets close to feeding time.

Here's another picture of little Liam contemplating the weight to energy ratio of premature infants in neonatal ICU. I could show you the mathematical formula he wrote out for me to understand this discrepancy, but that would be showing off! So, take my word for it, differential calculus is a breeze for him at 31 weeks!

At this stage Megie and I are juggling our time between the hospital and work. Megie went back to work last week for half days, and has taken leave for half a day to be at the hospital in the afternoons. She needs to do this so that she can save her maternity leave for when Liam comes out of the hospital some time in January or February (more or less when he was to be born). Unfortunately if she stays away from work now she will loose almost two months of her maternity leave.

I have also been running between various meetings and my office to the hospital. I try to spend an hour or so at with Liam in the late afternoons. However, I tend to take the nights at the ICU and take my laptop and some work with me so that things can carry one more or less at a regular pace.

Wednesday
Nov222006

Update on Liam - 22 November 2006.


The good news is that Liam is stable. He is now completely off oxygen, and is managing to metabolise about 8 millilitres of his feed. He is still fed through the little tube in his nose and receives supplements via a drip. Megie was discharged on Saturday evening. She is doing so well! Now, however, we spend our days and nights running between home (and work) and the hospital.

The bad news is that Laim had a cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding on his brain). It was a grade 4 bleed, which is not good news since it is the most severe. Thankfully there is no paralysis, and it seems as if the immediate threat has passed. However, we now have to guard against post-hemorrhage hydrocephalus (a blocking of the cerebral spine fluid drains). And, then of course, since it was such a severe bleed he is likely to have sustained some measure of damage to his brain. We will only be able to ascertain to what extent he has sustained damage once he is a bit older and more stable and can be examined by a neurologist.

Please pray for Laim, and also for us. These are difficult times.