Barrett David Schroeder was born prematurely on Friday, 03/03/2017.
Barrett was supposed to be born on 06/11/2017 and was born nearly 3 1/2 months early. Babies are supposed to be born after 40 weeks growing inside their mothers. Barrett was unexpectedly born after only 25 weeks and 5 days gestation. Barrett weighed just 1lb. 10oz. when he was born at Valley Care Hospital in Pleasanton.
Due to the intensive medical attention that Barrett would need to persevere and survive, Barrett was immediately flown on a Medi-vac helicopter to a more advanced level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for premature babies at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek. Due to how small and premature Barrett was when he was born, his biggest hurdle in the beginning was helping his largely underdeveloped lungs to get enough oxygen to his body and blood supply. Barrett had to be intubated with a breathing vent tube and needed multiple types of breathing machines to help his tiny lungs deliver enough oxygen to his body.
Barrett also had another condition common with premature babies which is a PDA, which is a hole in his heart most people know as a heart murmur. All babies, full term or premature, have an opening in their heart because while they are in the womb, they aren't breathing oxygen into their lungs and this opening ( the PDA) allows the blood to bypass their lungs and go to the rest of their body. In Barrett's case, his PDA opening was much larger than most babies and would potentially need surgery to close up the hole in his heart to help deliver the needed oxygen into his lungs and then be delivered to his body.
After 1 week at John Muir's NICU, Barrett sustained a ruptured intestine (which is fairly common in very premature babies) and was rushed by ambulance at 1:30 in the morning on 03/10/17 to the most advanced level 4 NICU at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland where he received an emergency procedure to save his life for the ruptured intestine. Barrett had to have a vent drain installed in his abdomen because it was determined that he was likely too weak and sick to survive a more invasive surgical procedure to close up and repair his ruptured intestine. The less invasive vent drain would allow all of the fluids and gasses leaking into Barrett's abdomen to successfully drain out and hopefully let his ruptured intestine heal on its own.
Fortunately, Barrett has proven to be unbelievably strong and seems to be healing fairly well. The vent drain was left in his abdomen for 2 weeks while he received a constant dosage of antibiotics to prevent an infection from all of the potential fluids and solids which may have leaked into Barrett's abdomen from his intestines. Barrett appears to be healing and the doctors ordered his abdominal drain removed on 03/26. Doctors continue to monitor Barrett's PDA and it appears to be closing up on its own, but needs to be continuously monitored along with the recovery of his intestines.
Barrett has been at Children's hospital in Oakland ever since 03/10/17 and continues to receive 24/7 constant medical attention to keep him healthy and stable. Every day is a challenge for Barrett and he has a long road ahead of him before he is able to be a healthy and strong enough baby to come home.
One of the most difficult challenges during this experience has been for us to keep all of our loving friends and family informed and updated regarding how Barrett and our family has been doing. We have been receiving such an amazing and wonderful outpouring of love and support from so many wanting to help and send their love and support. Unfortunately, Barrett's care is very intensive and makes it hard for us to keep in touch with everyone and send out messages and phone calls to all of those who are wishing Barrett well in a timely fashion. We set up the Caring Bridge website to help all of our loving friends and family stay in touch and receive updates for Barrett's progress.
The best way you can help our little family during this time is to send your love, prayers and positive thoughts to Barrett for a swift and successful recovery process in the NICU so that he can grow up and be a big and healthy baby that gets to come home to his mom and dad.