Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mine to Celebrate

Eight months today. And five years, 6 months and 13 days today. That's how long I've been a mom.

Happy Mothers Day to me!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Best Days

I'm still here! Just in case you wondered... It's the beginning of a new year still, right? I recently came to the conclusion that these are the best days/years of our lives. I wake up to two smiles in the morning, often both tucked in beside me. The littlest smile has sprouted a tooth nub, though you must feel it to know it's there. We snuggle every moment we can and I continue to be enraptured and amazed by God's blessing of a little brother. The big brother steals a snuggle every now and then and often has to be reprimanded for rolling around "too much" with his little bud. Yes, wrestling already. He can't help it. He waited nearly five years for a brother. Cherish each moment. Absorb every hug. Snuffle each wisp of baby hair and each big brother ear. Love. Always.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Short Haircut

It's been a while since my last post, but I felt the need to update the world on the latest happenings in my home. This week, Josh got a haircut. A little trim. He looks pretty handsome. And boy, did that haircut ever make me pleased. So Josh had been occupying himself upstairs while I was on the phone (it always happens when we are on the phone, right?) and when he came down he had this sweet little smile on his face. I thought it was because of his outfit, but it only took me a couple seconds to see what his smile was really about. I had to cover my mouth to keep myself from laughing, because you're not supposed to laugh at this sort of thing, are you? I kept my cool and made reference to him wanting a short haircut. He thought it was funny, until he realized that I was serious. If he wanted a short haircut, I'd be more than happy to give him one. I didn't think too long about it and proceeded to march him into the kitchen so I could cut the rest of it for him. Josh proceeded to scream and cry that he didn't want a short hair cut. Well, he should've thought about that before. And I couldn't help but be pleased with my undelayed reaction.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thanks Be to Our God

Psalm 46:7  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

I would be remiss if I did not say that God is amazing. He answered so many, many prayers that were offered up for our son. People that we do not even know cried out on our behalf. God showered us with love through His people. And He healed our little boy. I was speechless and overwhelmed to hear of the numerous brothers and sisters in Christ who were interceding for us. I know that through those prayers, God granted me a peace and sustained me through the weeks that Jake was in the hospital. I am grateful beyond expression.

               Psalm 46:11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

(I had been reading my Bible one evening with Jacob lying next to me in bed. I decided that since it was just me and him, I would read aloud to him. I happened to be reading Psalm 46 and came upon these two separate verses. "The God of Jacob is our refuge." This was the first chapter I ever read to Jake and God blessed me with these verses. A token of good from a God who loves us.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cherishing Every Moment: Wrapping Up the Baby Story

It sinks in a little more as time goes on. Life is so precious. His is a miracle, in so many ways. Those two weeks in the hospital may have seemed long, but being able to bring him home was a dream come true. That dream does not always come true for many families of babies who contract Group B Strep. Thanks to early detection and prompt, proactive treatment and a God who knows the end from the beginning, little Jacob Alfred is here in my arms.

I was going home on Friday. He would be staying. There would be no more midnight trips to the NICU to hold my little baby. No more spur-of-the-moment treks down the hospital corridors to find my boy, just because I wanted to see him. My visits would have to be planned out and I would be dependent on others to help me get to where I needed to go. The thought of leaving him behind brought tears to my eyes every time I thought of it. Even though I reminded myself that "it was only two weeks" and "at least I get to bring him home", it was still painful. What if he needed me and I wasn't there? What if I needed him? But I still had Wednesday and Thursday to go through before Friday would come. And so I would get up and have the nurse wheel me down to the NICU at 2 in the morning, I would scrub up and down my arms for the allotted three minutes and I would go, sit, and soak him in during those late night hours.

He was NPO, which meant "nothing by mouth" until Friday afternoon, so I pumped milk for him to drink eventually and hoped there would be no great learning curve when the time came where I'd be allowed to nurse him. Penicillin was given and a stronger antibiotic for the meningitis in it's appropriate doses. Jake's swelling gradually went down and eventually the massive hematoma on the back of his head disappeared. He began to look like a normal baby. We waited anxiously for cultures to come back from the lab. A second blood transfusion was given over Wednesday night. An IV had been placed through Jake's umbilicus which lessened the risk of infection with a regular IV line. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and friends came to visit, though not all were able to see Jake at that time. He was looking better and better. He was by far the biggest baby in his room. His neighbors were tiny preemie babies, one of whom was born at 24 weeks, 5 days. Jake dwarfed them all, being born at a whopping 10 lbs, 2 oz.

Friday morning came and so did Adam and Joshua. We procrastinated as long as we could. Dawdled in the NICU kissing our boy and little brother. I held the tears in until we got to the car. We weren't home ten minutes before I was wondering when we could go back to the hospital. Uncle Jim and his fiance were coming into town and they were going to go up and see our new baby. It seemed like days before we were finally back in the car and on our way.

And so it would be all week. Anxiously waiting for the minute I'd be back with my tiny boy. I had friends and family who graciously volunteered themselves to drive me to the hospital, friends and family who made meals, and friends and family who cared for Joshua during the afternoons while I held Jake. I was given the okay on Saturday to finally try nursing my baby for the first time. He was four days old. Someone must've been praying that'd he be able to nurse, as that learning curve I'd been afraid of was non-existent. Everything seemed to be going very smoothly.

Then Monday happened. Another scare for Mommy. My friend and I were sitting in the NICU and I was nursing Jake. We'd been there about a half hour. Jake's heart-rate monitor begins to sound it's alarm, which is entirely normal, and I tell my friend that it's a false alarm, assuming it is like every other time. Except that this time it's not. The alarm continues to sound until his nurse peeks around the curtain to see what is going on. His heart rate is up at 250. The neonatologist is called and a few other people too. Ice is applied to my baby's face and the doctor talks in a quiet voice to those now standing around my boy. I don't know whether to be brave or to cry. My friend stands by with me. After about 20 minutes, Jake's heart-rate goes back down on it's own. There was speculation that this high heart-rate episode was caused by the UV line, which was due to come out the next morning. Often times, the line gradually works it's way in too far and "tickles" the heart into a fast rate or tachycardia. But this was not the case, as three days later, after the line was pulled, again Jake's heart went into a tachycardia, only this time it did not resolve on it's own. Two doses of a medicine which I do not know the name of were given, and finally his heart rate went down. I think I am thankful I was not present for the second episode, as it sounds like it was more intense than the first. The neonatologist called me at home to tell me of what happened and again I waited anxiously for my ride to arrive.

The cardiologist prescribed my baby propranolol to keep his heart rate down and we have not had any more episodes since then. They diagnosed Jacob with having SVT's due to immaturity of his heart tissue and an overactive electrical system. There is hope that he will grow out of it and will no longer need to be medicated. Left untreated, if an SVT continues for over a couple days, it can cause heart failure. I am again thankful to know that this is possible and we can be proactive and work to prevent such an occurrence.

After that, our stay in the NICU was uneventful and we played the waiting game, waiting for Jacob to be cleared to come home. Two weeks after his birth, our little boy was given the okay to come home and joined his family. I am cherishing every moment.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

A Little More of the Baby Story

My little baby in the Special Care Nursery, before being transferred to the NICU.
They were going to transfer my baby to Strong. By 11am, my little baby, not quite six hours old, was struggling to breathe. Not only was he in pain from his traumatic birth, he now was wheezing and not able to catch his breath. It became apparent to the nursing staff that this new little baby was sick. By the end of the day, Jacob had spent several hours in an oxygen bubble, had a chest x-ray, numerous blood cultures, and finally a lumbar puncture (or spinal tap). Initially it was determined Jake had an infection in his blood, but toward the end of the day, after the L.P., there was substantial reason to suspect the infection had spread into his spinal fluid and the fluid surrounding his brain. I feel like I took the events of the day all in and still kept my wits about me and my emotions under control, for the most part. Though maybe I have blocked out my most intense emotions of the day... By the time I received the information that Jacob would indeed be transferred to Strong Hospital, the best hospital and NICU in our area, Adam had gone home for the night to get some rest. Still, I had a few family members come to see me and my baby that evening. My brother Dave and his wife were there with me when the nurses in the Special Care Nursery told me of their decision to transfer Jake and also warned me that I may not be able to transfer along with him. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I found great comfort in the fact that my big brother was there at that very difficult moment. It didn't matter that Dave and I hadn't really been speaking much lately, somehow I could feel his love and compassion in spite of our strained relationship. Something about having him there... My biggest fear was not being able to accompany my baby as he went to another hospital. I did not want to stay behind. Tears started every time I thought about it. I prayed that there would be a bed available for me. There was no way I was ready to be discharged. That would be my only other option. Or stay where I was. I had just had a 10 lb 2 oz baby and was in great pain. I knew I needed to stay in the hospital longer. Praise the Lord I did not need to worry long. A bed was available and I was able to transfer right after Jacob.

Big brother so wished to hold our little one, but he had to wait many more days before he would get his chance.
My first peek of little Jacob in the NICU was at about 11:30pm. He was swaddled tightly and hooked up to all kinds of wires. He still had a nasal cannula in his nose and was lying in a little bed with a nurse tending to him. I cannot remember if I held him at that time, but right before he had been transferred, I had been allowed to hold him for the first time since he was born. I soaked in that moment as only a Mom could. Jake opened his eyes and looked at me, his little mouthed opened like a little bird. His body relaxed in my arms and I was thankful. Here he was. Alive. In my arms. Getting the best care possible. Being loved and prayed for by many. He had received his first dose of antibiotics as soon as an infection was suspected. The pediatricians and nurses had been working proactively to care for my newborn son.

After seeing Jake was safe, I went back to my room to sleep, only to be awoken at 2:30am by two doctors from the NICU coming to inform me that Jacob's blood count was low and he had to have a blood transfusion. But that wasn't it. They suspected he had meningitis and he also would be having a brain scan. They asked me if I was familiar with meningitis. I blinked sleep out of my eyes and asked if I should go see him. They told me that I should, as soon as I could. Deep breaths. I told myself my baby was going to be okay, he's going to be okay, he's going to be okay. I found myself down at the NICU, staring at my baby. It was going to be a long week.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Just a Little Love

Jake's first night home. Getting some big brother love already. (September 25, 2012)