There hasn't been a lot of new things going on with Hope over the last month but definitely some very BIG things. On September 1st Hope had a bronchoscopy done. She was put under general anesthesia and her Ear, Nose and Throat doctor took a look at her airway. The main reason Hope got her trach was because her airway was under-developed (because she was born so prematurely). This is a condition that for most kids resolves on it's own over time.... and for Hope it seems it finally has! The doctor said her airway looks completely normal!
With this wonderful report we were able to take the next step toward getting the trach out. So a few days after the bronchoscopy we began capping Hope's trach. To do this we simply put a cap on the end of the trach which forces her to breathe through her mouth and nose. We started out just a few minutes a day and quickly added time with each day. The goal was to have the trach capped whenever Hope was awake. We made up to 8 hours and then Hope got sick. We weren't sure if it was a cold or if it was the same type of bug she had back in July so we started her on some antibiotics just to be safe (didn't want to let it get bad if it was the same thing she had in July). Unfortunately it meant we had to stop capping her trach for about a week.
Thankfully once she felt better we were able to start capping again and very quickly made it up to all day capped. Once Hope goes all day with her trach capped for three weeks then we will call her ENT doctor and schedule taking the trach out. As of today we are on day 5 :) For the most part Hope does great with it but because the trach is still in place in her airway it does make it more difficult to breathe than it would for the rest of us. She sometimes panics because it's hard to breathe but once she calms down or gets distracted she breathes normally again.