JEFFERSON CITY -- Reporters Note: This is the conclusion of the story of Trent and Michelle Rogers and the birth of their son.
Trent and Michelle went into the surgery prepared for and expecting the worst. Their only hope was that the decisions that would need to be made would be clear cut. Then with a short but lusty cry of a tiny, red, shriveled cramped-up ball of a baby, the decisions became easier.
"I knew from my own past experiences that the cry was a good thing, but I wasn't ready to believe it until I saw one of the neonatology nurses give me the thumbs up signal and told me it was a boy. He weighed in at 1 pound, eight ounces or 701 grams if you prefer the metric system like I do, and he measured 12 inches when stretched out," Trent said.
"Typically, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) hospital courses for extremely low birthweight infants are filled with lots of peaks and valleys. It goes against my pessimistic and superstitious nature to say this, but this course has been mostly peaks," the father added.
The baby was on a ventilator for less than 24 hours, much less than anyone expected. At the time of this interview he has tolerated his feedings well. "This is often one of the scariest things to deal with in the NICU. He has had normal examinations of his head, eyes and heart, with the exception of some typical "preemie" minor problems, has transitioned well into what we call in the business a 'feeder and grower,' Trent said.
Grayson was a name Trent had picked out before Emma was born. It is also by coincidence the name of his great-great-great grandfather. Trent thought Thomas seemed to sound good with Grayson. "There has been some disagreement to his hair color, blond versus red. To whatever degree Emma resembles me, I think Grayson looks like his mother, something in his eyes. I guess it depends on your definition of a miracle, but I think it comes pretty close," Trent said.
"Michelle is as she is in all things, a solid rock. She has managed to make it to Columbia daily (to see Grayson) and at the same time still be Emma's mommy and buddy and my wife and friend. She did either misplace or throw away a bag of groceries recently, but I forgave her for that." he said.
Trent said big sister Emma handled everything from the bed rest to the restraints of the NICU, although he said the list of things she doesn't want to share with her new sibling keeps getting longer. "Her new room did ultimately get finished and she likes it and her "big girl" bed. We're pretty proud of it even though we did have to hire out some of the work on it," Trent said.
Trent said he certainly didn't want to downplay the emotional rollercoaster his family was on prior to Grayson's birth. "It all became a fading memory when his very tiny little fingers wrapped around mine. While being on this side of the NICU experience has been challenging, I think this whole experience has given me more empathy for what parents of sick children go through. I find myself more sensitive to the needs of the parents when I tell them their new baby is sick and going to need IVs and X-rays, and medications," Trent said.
Reporters note: Grayson Thomas came home to 1212 Elmerine Street Dec. 29 weighing nearly 5 pounds. Trent is the son of Dale and Peggy Rogers of Thayer and the grandson of Berniece and the late Jessie Rogers of Thayer. He is a 1988 graduate of Thayer High School. He attended the University of Missouri School of Medicine where he received his medical degree.
He did his post graduate training at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington, Vt.
Trent is now a pediatrician in Jefferson City.