#12 Juliana, Part 1

Many of you have seen the video of Noah's first run (see Noah's Heart Facebook page) It was a family outing where I got to push Noah in the running stroller while my wife, Jana, rode the bicycle.  In that short video clip, the one with the most enthusiasm was the two and half year old girl being pulled in the buggy behind Jana. This post will highlight that joyful little girl named JULIANA NOELLE RIEHM. Juliana is part of our quartet that makes up the D' RIEHM (pronounced: "reem") team.  (A little 1990's USA basketball spin off) Here is how her story began.Juliana is named after two of her great grandmothers-- Julia and Anna.  Being born close to Christmas, we decided Noelle was as a perfect middle name.  She arrived on a cold and snowy day in December of 2017 with just 12 days to go until Christmas.  In contrast to Noah's birth, Juliana's hospital course was relatively uncomplicated.  We brought her home just two days later.  While Noah came home on …

#11 How Great Thou Art

Noah is working really hard to establish oral feedings.  Because of his heart condition, he fatigues easily.  Someone told us that his feeding challenges are similar to an average person stepping out to run a 5k with no training.  Our medical team does not want him fatiguing past thirty minutes to get his full three ounces every three hours.  Sometimes he is able to gradually consume the whole amount, and other times we are faced with the decision to connect his nasogastric tube for the rest.  

As Noah works to improve his feeding efficiency, Jana and I are striving to find a balance with our time.  Yes, I am still running.  Sometimes fast and sometimes slow.  We are both trying to be more proactive while taking time-out for "mindfulness" in our own ways.  I'm trying to remind myself to use the creative portion, or right side, of my brain as mentioned in the About Me section of .  Music would be categorized as a right side activity of the brain, …

#10 Noah's Homecoming, Part 2

Click here for Noah's Homecoming PART 1
Part 2:

July flew by.  Despite our medical backgrounds, it has been a constant learning curve.  Jana is filling up our freezer with breast milk and we now have a huge supply.  There was a special milk bank when we were at the hospital, a place where we could store excess feedings.  Now we have our personal bank at home.  The nasogastric tube (feeding tube) placement can be tricky, especially when you realize it has come out at 4 am. Imagine milk dripping into the crib and the tortuous device has to go back in your baby's nose, down into his belly before the next feed.  
We are now in the interstage period (time between Noah's first two open heart surgeries).  There are a lot of details and precautions to constantly be aware of.  We send his daily heart rate and oxygen levels to the cardiology team at Nationwide Children's Hospital through a monitoring device.  His weight is recorded nightly, along a short video clip where the medica…

#9 Noah's Homecoming, Part 1

As a father, I can remember being handed the scissors to cut the umbilical cord when our first child, Juliana, was born two and a half years ago.   As a young physician in training, I would hand off the scissors to the new dad who was excited to be involved in the delivery process.  Everything was different with Noah's birth on June 9th.  I was escorted to meet my wife who had just received her epidural.  I thought to myself, I've been in this room before.  I can smell my surgical mask and the sterile operating field.  At the front of the room an anesthesiologist looked over his monitors and then greeted me to sit at my wife's shoulder.  Yes, I had been in the operating room before, but not like this. 

As I looked into Jana's piercing green eyes, I could read the emotion and fear but wanted to remain calm and know my place.  When I was in this room before, it would be me along with an attending physician.  I would use surgical retractors and anticipate the next step as …

#8 Father's Day

It's Father's Day.  Time to remember our dads and father figures.  My Dad can be described in many ways; hard working, faithful, witty, kindhearted... and he certainly had a positive impact on me.  Surely you can think of at least one father figure that has made a difference in your life.  I didn't always obey my father, but yet he was one of my biggest supporters.  He is soft spoken, but when he does speak up, there is often something very powerful said.  Ok, maybe he has not always been soft spoken.  I can remember many of my cross country races where I could hear him with a loud cheer from nearly a half mile away. 

He encouraged many, often cheering just as loud for my competitors.  That's just who he is.  More importantly, he has shown through example how to be humble and kind.  He mentored positive relationships within the family and with God.  He is not perfect (can't let his head get too big if he happens to read this) but he gave me a tremendous gift by sho…