Nathan responded really well to CPAP. Within a couple of days they had turned off the "extra" breaths the machine was giving him so that it was now only providing the continuous pressure and additional oxygen support.
Perhaps the most exciting thing of having Nathan off the ventilator, though, was that it was now safe to go ahead and start feeding him. Since he had been on the ventilator from birth, he had never really had any nourishment other than intravenous fluids, principally TPN.
TPN stands for Total Parenteral Nutrition. It is a complete form of nutrition, containing protein, sugar, fat, and added vitamins and minerals, as needed for the individual it is being given to. The TPN was yellow-ish in color, so we just called it "expensive Gatorade."
When Nathan was on the ventilator (for 10 long weeks), it was difficult and very risky to try and feed him. It required them placing a tube up his nose and down into his tummy. But with the ventilator tube down his throat propping his airway open, if he were to throw up, the possibility existed that he would breathe it into his lungs causing an aspiration. Very scary and very, very not good. They had tried to feed him a couple of times while he was on the ventilator, but the risk was just too high to continue it over the long haul.
Even though he was now off the ventilator, feeding Nathan this time also required a feeding tube, which ran up his nose and into his tummy. Since they were unsure how his tummy would respond to milk an/or formula, they started him off slow...1 Tablespoon every hour! As he did well, they would increase the amount every few hours by another Tablespoon.
For the most part, Nathan did very well "learning" to eat. Sometimes his tummy appeared not to like it or maybe he was too full and would throw up. So feedings were going to be pretty slow going, but it was another step in the right direction.