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