Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome home, Wells!

Enjoy the last week or so in pictures!
I don't have time to write all the details, but the pictures really tell it all.

Having a little skin to skin time with my sweet man.
First time in Mama Susie's arms

Sleeping Angel

(They had to tape his feeding tube to his face, so that it would stay in place.)

Margaret meets Wells.

We had to wait for her to get over her stomach bug and virus to meet Wells, and she did a great job!
First Family Photo

Peek-a-boo. I see you!

(in the words of Margaret)

Saying goodbye to the intermediate section of the NICU.

He moved later that day to the official step-down area of the NICU and only stayed there two days.

The neonatologist, Dr. R., called us on New Years Eve and asked if we wanted to take Wells home today or next year--- Ha ha! Obviously, we chose to take him home on New Years Eve. We've only been waiting to take him home for two weeks!

Saying goodbye to our last pod in the NICU.

We had many wonderful nurses in the NICU this time around. Actually we knew many of them from Margaret's stay there. One of our favorties was Danielle. She was even there to help us discharge. It gives you such a peace of mind to know that your precious angel is being taken care of by qualified nurses who really care about you and your baby. Thank you, Baptist NICU nurses and doctors!

This picture cracks me up . . . my babies love their hands. Wells was breech just like his sister and always had his hands and feet up by his face.

Bye bye, NICU.

There was a little surprise waiting downstairs when Margaret got up from her nap.

This might be one of my all time favorite photos. It just warms my heart!

How blessed am I? I have an amazing husband and two precious children here on earth to care for and love. God is good!

You can almost hear Margaret's thoughts in this picture. How much does she understand?

Margaret loves Wells!

Our precious family of four.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Today just like this week has not really gone as planned. It was pretty miserable to wake up on Christmas morning with only one of our babies in the house with us. Plus, our little Margaret has been so distraught the last few days with a virus in her lungs and all these new adjustments; she was up from 3:00 A.M. to 4:30 A.M. hacking and crying. Luckily, I was up pumping during this time anyway. Needless to say, we are all sleep deprived trying to pump every three hours and take care of our sick and confused almost two year old.

Anyway, like most parents, I had dreams of my precious daughter running down the stairs on Christmas morning to find her gifts from Santa with lots of joy and laughter. However, sweet little Margaret was more confused and scared than anything. She would not even walk down the stairs. She wanted Daddy to carry her down, and then she did not want to leave his arms even when she saw the gifts. (She is addicted to Daddy right now, wants him to hold her every minute of the day. See picture below.) She warmed up to the idea of gifts a little later and now is in love with her new retro kitchen. (I'll put up pictures when I figure out how to get pictures from that camera to this laptop.)

(Refusing to smile and clinging to Daddy's leg)

After a morning of opening gifts with our families, we got Margaret down for a nap and headed down to see little Wells in the NICU. One of the biggest hurdles for me to get over last week was the fact that Wells would not be home for Christmas. It just didn't seem right or fair. We didn't want to choose between spending time with our two year old and our nine day old. We all should be together on Christmas.

Even though Wade and I had to let go of our expectations, we are still blessed. We have two beautiful children here with us and one little angel with our Lord.

We also received the best Christmas gift. The nurse allowed us to hold our baby today! After nine days, I was able to cuddle with my little man.

. . . and give him a feeding of my own milk through his feeding tube.

(Yes, he is in a Baptist Hospital stocking.)

While I left to pump in the lactation room, Wade spent over half an hour loving on baby Wells . . . such a good Daddy!

Mommy and Daddy love Edwin Wells. It was so amazing to have my little man sleeping in my arms.

He was pretty tired after all that cuddling.

Wells is doing great! He was hopefully taken off of his extra oxygen support tonight. So he will be free of one more tube (the nasal cannula). Then he will just have to master his feedings by bottle or breast (if I am there) and maintain his body temperature, before he comes home.

We don't know how long that will take, but we were excited to find out that he was moving out of the critical care area of the NICU and into the step-down or intermediate area. So we took one last photo shoot of his pod.

Thank you again for all your thoughts and prayers. We are doing what we can right now trying to juggle all of these logistics and emotions. Luckily, we are all done with the stomach virus and hope to be illness free for a while now. Wells will be home soon and we can begin our life as a family of four. Can't wait!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Edwin Wells

Edwin "Wells"

Born Thursday, December 16, 2010

5:50 P.M.

6 pounds 1/2 ounce, 18 inches long

We welcomed Wells last Thursday evening. It was a crazy, fast-paced evening. My scheduled c-section was still 18 days away, but I was able to identify a few early indicators of preeclampsia, a disease I have developed with the pregnancies of James and Margaret. After being admitted to the triage Thursday afternoon and submitting a urine sample and blood work, Dr. B. decided it was time to have a birthday party and discover who this little one was. (We waited until delivery to find out the sex . . . very exciting!) Preeclampsia hadn't completely hit my body, but one blood test came back higher than normal and Dr. B. didn't want to take any chances on this baby's health or mine.
So we headed into the operating room 45 minutes later. In about twenty minutes, we were completely surprised to find out that we were now parents to a beautiful baby boy! We were concerned about his health, like any parent, but we thought we were in the clear when it came to any major health problems. We made it to 35 weeks and 5 days, almost 4 weeks longer than Margaret's pregnancy, so we thought our little man wouldn't have the problems many premature babies have.

Wells was nice and pink and had quite an impressive set of lungs on him (crying like crazy). He was checked out by the nurses, wrapped in a blanket, and placed on my chest. I never thought I would get that blessed moment. To have him immediately next to me, cheek to cheek, was amazing. We fell in love! After twenty minutes or so, the nurse took him back to the warming table to clean him up a bit and he started to cry again and then grunt. That's when the first red flag went up and the NICU team decided to take Wells back to the transitional nursery to watch him and allow his grunting time to resolve itself.

Unfortunately, I was placed in recovery alone without my new love. Wade would come back and forth and give me updates, but Wells would not stop grunting. They said it could take anywhere from an hour to ten hours, so we waited patiently.

In the morning the next red flag occurred, our pediatrician, Dr. B., and the NICU neonatologist, Dr. R., decided it would be best for Wells to be admitted to the NICU. He wouldn't calm down and that was making his grunting worse. We were so distraught and confused. What had happened? Why was he getting worse and not improving? How long will he have to stay? Will he be home for Christmas? When can I start breastfeeding? Wade and I were extremely frustrated!
They started Wells on Vapotherm, a supplemental oxygen, through his nose; placed a feeding tube down his throat; and started a line with his umbilical artery through his precious little belly button. We had seen all of this before with Margaret, but just hadn't prepared our hearts for this with our 36 week old.
He struggled all day long. Being more mature can sometimes create more problems in the NICU, because his brain is more developed and he doesn't want to be messed with (he fights more). The fussing doesn't help his lungs or give them time to heal and recover. The nurses and doctors continued to increase his supplemental oxygen, and by the end of Saturday he was on the highest amount of vapotherm and percentage of oxygen.
In the middle of Saturday night, the next red flag occurred. It's never good when a neonatologist enters your hospital room, and unfortunately we woke up to one around 2 A.M. The doctor shared with us her decision to go ahead and place Wells on the ventilator. We had no other alternatives, and Wells needed time to rest his lungs. We were once again devastated. It was so hard to wrap our minds and hearts around this development. Were we really here again? Day 3 of Margaret's life this same event occurred, and here we were again. Why?
Unfortunately, Sunday morning wasn't much better. Wade and I finally calmed down emotionally and entered the NICU ready to fight this battle with Wells. However, the nurses informed us that Wells had high white blood cell counts, which could mean that he is developing an infection. They went ahead and started him on antibiotics, while they wait for the infection results (3 days).
So our little man has taken an unexpected path in his first three days of life. We are so grateful that he is here, but it's so hard to accept these daily struggles. Why is life so unfair? Can we handle this? When will we take little Wells home? Our faith is tested every hour. Wade and I pray constantly and feel the prayers of our family and friends. We are once again reminded how precious life is and how we are not in control.
Enjoy pics of our beautiful boy.
In love

Pitiful but so sweet

Wade's favorite . . . little precious feet

Daddaddy's (Edwin Dale) first picture with Edwin Wells

Saturday, September 18, 2010


(WARNING: This is a long one!)

Well . . . I can't believe it's been over three months since I have posted. That's pretty ridiculous, but we've been busy. Busy going to the beach, the hospital, Morganton, Monteagle, the zoo, music class, Mother's-Day-Out (MDO), the swimming pool, and many, many doctor's visits.
Margaret has developed so much in just three months. At the beginning of the summer she was walking but pretty hesitant on her feet. Now she is full out running, spinning, and even attempting to jump, which is pretty hilarious to witness! I think she has gained over 2 pounds in the last few months, and her hair is finally starting to grow and thicken. Her vocabulary is expanding by the minute. I love the little phrases she puts together "daddy's shoes" and "beep by boo" (peek a boo). Her favorite song is "Old MacDonald"; she loves to sing the "ee-i-ee-i-o" parts and gets upset if you don't sing the verses. I love waking up to her chanting, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, dada? (pause) mommy, mommy, mommy, dada?"
The biggest event of our summer (even considering Margaret's second surgery and her full arm cast) has to be the news of our third pregnancy. We were all pretty shocked in May to find out that we were expecting again and that I was already 6 1/2 weeks along, but after that first ultrasound and appearance of a heartbeat Wade and I fell in love immediately with the idea of having another child. We always wanted to give Margaret a sibling but didn't know if it was going to be possible. We didn't know if my body could handle another one, if our hearts would be brave enough or even our faith strong enough to go through this miracle.
However, here we are. We are doing it and I have to say that both my body and spirit are holding up nicely. We are just over 23 weeks along, and I feel great. I am still on the lowest possible dose of blood pressure medicine; there is no trace of protein in my urine (a major sign of pre-eclampsia); and I only see my main OB, Dr. B. From this point on I will see him every two weeks with an ultrasound every four weeks. The baby looks great and is measuring right where he or she should be (by the way, we're not finding out the sex this time around!) The doctor hasn't placed any restrictions on me but wants me to be mentally prepared for bed-rest in the future--we'll see, maybe not!
But that's just the physical update, I don't think I have felt this good mentally or spiritually in years. God is truly working in my life. I am full of gratitude right now. Wade, Margaret, and James are the greatest gifts God has ever given me. I am so blessed, so I don't fear anymore. This probably doesn't make sense to anyone but me and might sound strange, but I know that even if something goes wrong with this pregnancy I am going to live through it and we'll be okay. I have an amazing husband, a precious daughter, a loving family, the greatest friends, and most importantly God is with me. What more could I ask for? As much as my personality will allow (haha), I tend to let things roll off my back now. Traffic . . . oh well. Margaret's tantrums . . . it'll pass. Blood pressure checks . . . just a routine procedure. I don't fear the next few months or if this baby has to go to the NICU for a few weeks. I am thankful for all of our life experiences and for the opportunity to strengthen my faith.

Sooooo . . . I apologize for not updating more frequently but here is a photo album of all of our summer adventures . . . Margaret is naturally the star of most of them!

Announcing our exciting news!

Wade and I never get out alone or dress up, so here is a pic of us before the Swan Ball. P.S. We found out we were expecting a few days before this night, and I felt pretty sick!

Rosemary Beach Girls Trip 2010

Margaret and I joined my mother, sister, and niece Katherine for a week on the Gulf Coast. This was Margaret's first experience on the sand. She wasn't the biggest fan.

Even sitting on the towel looking at the sand disgusted her.
I love this face!

She wasn't a big fan of the sun either!

So we had to take most of our photo-shoots on the bricks.
Margaret and her cousin Katherine

Our little ballerinas

My sweethearts

Mama Susie trying to help Margaret adjust to the sand.

Beach Babes

and another set of beach babes . . .

Margaret loved the nightly festivities on the lawn.
Here she is dancing.

I quickly learned that sandals were the way to go.
Ocean shot

I love this boardwalk shot . . . should be a postcard!


Katherine and Margaret loved the bike buggy.

Group shot- we had so much fun on our girls trip!
Thank you Mama Susie!

Ponte Vedra 2010
A few weeks later Margaret and I decided it was time to take Daddy to the beach :) ! We had a few days as a family of three and then my sister and her family joined us--so much fun!
Margaret was definitely more comfortable at the beach this second time around . . . another postcard shot . . .
Daddy and Margaret looking for shark teeth

Margaret relaxing in a tide pool

Margaret LOVED Hudson's rides on the boogie board in the tide pools!

Charlie was a GREAT assistant!

He even showed Margaret how to fill up the bucket.

Here's a shot all the cousins playing in the tide pool. Katherine had just received tubes in her ears, so she needed a little assistance in the water.

Happy Birthday Uncle Josh!

Fourth of July on Monteagle mountain.
Here we are watching the parade in Sewanee.

Margaret loves helping Mama Susie cook!

She also loves giving kisses and love to Daddaddy!

Unfortunately, Margaret had to experience her second surgery in July. For much of May and all of June she had a cold and ear infection after ear infection, so she had to get tubes in both ears. They seem to be working . . . thanks Dr. C.!
Here she is in her hospital gown getting ready for the long 5 minute surgery. Once again, she did not like waking up from the anesthesia.

We also had our first trip to the emergency room in July. We were having a wonderful Saturday morning getting ready to meet some friends at the pool. Wade and I were brushing our teeth, while Margaret walked into our shower, which she does frequently to hand us our shampoo. However, this time Margaret decided to put her right hand through the small gap between the glass door (the side with the hinges) and the glass wall and shut the door with her left hand. It was AWFUL. Her middle right finger immediately started to swell, and it took us a minute to get it out. Blood was gushing from the top of her finger, so we headed to the ER and cancelled our pool date. I won't go into the details of the ER visit because I let things roll off my back now, remember? I will say it was an awful 5 hour experience with a fresh out of med school resident who wouldn't let me speak to the attending and was very excited about his position in the ER. Anyway . . . Margaret walked away with a tiny fracture in the top of her finger, a few stitches, and a full arm cast!

Poor thing . . . have you ever tried to explain to an eighteen month old that she is going to have to keep that "club" on her arm for 10 days and she can't use her fingers during that time?
Not fun!
Thank you Dr. G. for saving the day. Three days later we visited a wonderful pediatric orthopaedic doctor and he evaluated Margaret's finger and said the full arm cast wasn't necessary!
In August, we celebrated Margaret's success and growth at the annual Baptist Hospital NICU Birthday Party . . . what a blessing those doctors and nurses are . . . thank you!
Miss Moo was scared of the Titans Cheerleaders but loved the football!

Even with tubes in our ears, we enjoyed many days at the pool. Here's Margaret at G-G-Ma's pool enjoying some down time with her buddies Crosby and John Christopher.

The pool at the Maryland Farms YMCA was also a big hit!

Our last trip of the summer was to Morganton, NC to see my sister and her family.
We needed to celebrate Katherine turning one and my sister's birthday!

Happy Birthday, Aunt Lolli!
Sorry for getting confetti on your glasses!

Walking on the Greenway in Morganton


Picking apples at the orchard in Morganton

Gosh, this is hard work!

Cousin shot . . . say apples!

Mother's Day Out
Margaret started mother's-day-out a few weeks ago. I was getting nervous about how she would react to this weekly adventure, but she seems to like it so far. She cries a little when I first leave but settles down quickly. We're still working on the take a nap at school part, but she'll adjust one of these days.
Her first lunch . . . did she eat it? No, but one of these days, right?

Getting ready to leave for the first day of school.

Everyone's excited . . . Mabel says, "I'll eat the lunch!"

She was so excited to see me at the end of the day.

Standing on the steps

Her good buddy Crosby is in the same class!

Nashville Zoo
Checking out the gibbons . . . I love Crosby's expression . . . the gibbons were making some pretty funny noises!

Margaret loved it!

Crosby soon caught on too! So cute!

They also loved the play area at the end.

I love this face . . . it looks exactly like Wade in his childhood photographs.

Look, Miss M. and Miss L.! I do know how to nap!

Can it get any better? I love our Miss Margaret! She makes every day a treasure!