Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Night

Just got back from our Sunday night visit. Her box was being cleaned and she was about to be moved to it. This allow more heat retention and less weight loss. It also means she is more stable and they don't have to fool with her as much. As you will see in the pic, she is off the ventilator. She is breathing with some stimulation through a nasal thingy (there is a technical term that escapes my memory) and doing well. If she gets tired she may have to go back on ventilator for a short time and back and forth as she gets stronger. But now that the ventilator is off, the tube that was between her vocal chords is gone and we are hearing little sounds which eventually will be cries. Can you imagine - you actually can't wait until you hear your daughter scream her head off!!

She did have a spinal tap today and one test that is very sensitive tested positive for meningitis. The doctor is not concerned about treating it, he said we just have to know to make sure we get it all. If he ain't worried, then I'm not worried.

She still have some brownish fluid in her belly, so for now they are holding off on breastmilk. Maybe tomm, maybe Tuesday.

What we are looking forward to is a few more tubes coming out and then we will be able to hold her. I don't know if they will be able to get Jennifer out of there when that happens. She has already mentioned that when she comes home she's not getting put down. And considering two older sisters and family, that might be true for a time.

Some sobering news was that they don't consider sending them home until 35 weeks. Even if they aren't 5lbs as long as they are eating and gaining weight. So we are in this for sure until July 20. They told us to be prepared for the due date - August 22nd. In the big picture, as long as she comes home healthy. Not all babies make it out of NICU, and why should I be selfish to think mine should come early? Our prayer to Jesus all along has been to work in Sara and our family's life in such a way that He gets the glory and His name is made known!

Jenny is doing well, having some trouble with her incision and blistering from medical tape. When that clears up in a few days it is going to be hard to hold her back. The girls are doing great also. They are sharing a room so Maw Maw and Paw Paw can stay and help out (and they have been incredible!). They are now trying to convince us they need bunk beds like their cousins, Benjamin and Jonathan. I'm thinking they are still in the honeymoon phase.

So many other babies and families in NICU, keep praying for them as you pray for Sara. And I can't say it enough - thanks for your support and prayers.

Peek a Boo

First time we have seen her eyes since she was taken by from Glenwood to St. Francis on Monday. More good news - ultrasound scan on brain was negative for blood. Great!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Doctor said Wonderful

He actually used that word - she's doing good, very good, wonderful. He told us in passing and we won't get to talk in length until tonight, but it was good to hear. The nurse walked us through the details.
1. She's off the oscillating breathing machine and now on a conventional breathing machine. It gives her 40 breaths a minute, even though she can breath over and between those breaths. Right now she is getting 50% O2. Monday it was 100%. We breath 21%. We were hoping it would be through the nostrils, but it is still down the mouth. We can be patient.

2. Her billrubin (sp?) counts have come down drastically and so not much longer on billi light or with those cool sunglasses.

3. Her stomach fluids are looking really good and if they look as good Sunday she'll get 1cc of breastmilk. (Hot dog - 1 down 200,000 in the freezer!)

4. She'll actually get to change position today to her stomach

5. If she responds well the breastmilk, he'll do the spinal tap Sun or Mon with some results after 6 hours and full results in 2-3 days.

6. Ultrasound on brain coming Monday which I think checks for bleeding on the brain.

The nurse remarked at how excited the doctor was when he checked her out this morning. We have such a good and gracious God. I know and he warned us anything could still happen. But we can't live in fear of the "what ifs" - so we thank Him for the peaks and trust Him for the valleys to come. Thank you all for praying - I really believe God is responding to His people. As Fil (Father in Law) told me today quoting someone - "As soon as the knee was bent, the prayer was answered"

Giving Blood

Got to do a cool thing Friday around lunch time - give blood directly to Sara. We have the same type and even though she wouldn't get it for a week, it's there. It's neat to be able to help out since I don't have milk.

The blood bank mentioned to our church secretary that no one donates anymore. So if you can, give. In fact there was a lady giving to her mom who needed 30 units of O positive. If you are in Monroe area and can help, email me and I will give you the name.

Our church will be hosting the LifeShare Mobile Unit on June 7th from 4-6. You can give in Sara's honor or just to give.

Friday Night 5-29-09

Had a good visit with the doc late Fri night. He reaffirmed how well all is progressing. He even said they may move her from the oscillating breathing machine to the conventional breathing machine Sat. Because of the weakness of her lungs, the oscillating machine gently puffs air into Sara at regular intervals. A very short puff at a time. This is a good move.

He also said he might try and do the spinal tap in a few days because she is going better. Again, that will tell him if the bacterial infection is in the brain and if they need to attack it differently. Regardless, she will be on antibiotics for at least 14 days.

Jennifer still has that beta strep infection herself, she started an antibiotic today. Pray for that to work. She is walking faster and getting stronger everyday and doing more. I actually had to make her stop doing laundry this morning. Moms - you are amazing. God gives you all something that he doesn't give dads.

We are going to head up there in a bit. Both grandparents have seen her Fri pm and Sat am, and they both are noticing more movement and good changes. I can tell you all enough how much the calls, emails, and comments have meant to us. Thx!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jenny and Sara

Jenny and Sara last night. She actually didn't have something attached or covering her hand. No, she did not grab her hand, but it was nice to be able to hold it.

More Evidence of God's Grace

Had a neat conversation with a nurse this morning. She was one of the ones who came and picked Sara up Monday from Glenwood NICU to transfer to St. Francis. She was telling us how well she is doing, etc.. And I asked her how bad was she when you saw her Monday. She said that she was really concerned about her Monday - she was very sick. She has come a long way.

She also mentioned that if Sara would have stayed in the womb any longer the infection she has would have more than likely gone to the brain as meningitis. So again - it was a good thing she came early. We hate the storms of life, but we fail to realize our Father is trying to rescue us with a storm. And so we praise Him!

Friday AM

Sara is steady as she goes, slowly improving. Had a good conversation last night with her dr, and this morning with a nurse. By the way, dr's and nurses here at NICU have been beyond incredible. Not just their skill and expertise - but their care, concern, and willingness to talk to us, share information, explain all the technical info, and be genuinely nice. For such a difficult job they have exceeded their calling. We could not be more thankful. Jennifer is already talking about baking goodies for them just to say thanks.

Sara's numbers are all improving. She is off NO2 machine completely. Heart is strong, lungs are stronger, kidneys are working (even saw a little #2 last night), she is wanting to move so much they are having to give her a little sedation so she doesn't get to aggravated with all the equipment on her. In fact, the nurse used the word - she's wants to get a little wild and move too much. And I thought, great - another wild one. I wonder if there is any medicine for that while she is in here.

Her main obstacle is the strep infection. It is better. There is less fluid in her body that is produced by the infection. She is really too sick to do a spinal tap, but the doctor wants to make sure the infection has not gone to the brain in the form of meningitis (more on that in next post). If she improves quickly he may do one and will treat differently if infection is in brain. If not then she will be treated with antibiotics for 2-4 weeks to clear it all up. They are not worried about it even though it sounds terrible to me. The bacteria is holding up her overall improvement - so pray the antibiotics would work.

Jennifer was discharged yesterday and now we begin to daily trips to the hospital. We'll take a long one during the day and then one late after the kids are asleep. Soon when Sara can be held and fed we hope and pray we will be able to take advantage of a courtesy room and be closer to bond. And Abigail and Emma Grace could come up for a while and at least be closer to us as we take care of Sara. Pray for that to work out and for God to help their little minds understand the best they can this whole ordeal. Jenny explained to them at supper last night that part of our family isn't here and we need to do all we can to get us together at home. They have been doing well.

The diary has been running efficiently and thankfully the nurse just told us that when she begins to eat it will only be breastmilk. Later down the road if she needs to gain weight they may add some high calorie supplements to it. Jennifer is working hard to get her a good supply.

Jenny is doing great, getting stronger everyday. Tears come at various times through the day for both of us. Like when someone next to you in line at the hospital pays for your lunch, when you think about the number of people who care and are praying, when you think about the all the help you have received and has been offered, when you think about two little girls who wouldn't leave their mother's side when she came home yesterday, when you drive home from the hospital with your wife without your baby, when you think about the day when you will drive home from the hospital with your wife and 3 wonderful girls.

But don't get me wrong -we aren't moping around sad. We have been laughing and joking as we usually do. Like when Emma Grace was mad at Paw Paw for leaving the seat up and she fell in the pot. That girls knows how to get mad at someone. How we celebrated our 10th anniversary at midnight last night on our couch with milk and cookies. (made by Juliann, and the plan was Ruth Chris Steakhouse -I'm not bitter) It's been the hand of God Himself walking us through. We have a peace that really does pass all understanding. Philippians 4:6-7 really is true after all. (Hey that sounds like a sermon). The journey isn't over, but His Faithfulness has already been abundant. Thanks for praying - keep it up!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Late Wednesday Night

We saw Sara tonight around 9:45, she is still stable and doing well. Blood pressure is actually better. Main area of concern is getting the strep bacteria cleared up. That is causing fluid build up in the body which is affecting the salt levels. Too high or too low salt levels can cause convulsions. Pray the new antibiotics would be effective.

I got to take the girls to church tonight and then get them baths and put them to bed. Try to give them some normalcy. It was very enjoyable. They couldn't snuggle close enough to me in the bed (EG is sleeping next to Abigail on the trundle while Paw Paw and Maw Maw have her bed staying to help so much). EG fell asleep quickly and then Abigail just wanted to talk until M and P got back from the Hospital for me to go back. Sweet times with two little girls.

It was great to see everyone at church -they are so supportive and kind. We began to sing some hymns about how good God is and I just could hardly get through a verse. My emotions were peculating near the surface and at least a dozen times I would have to take a few deep breaths. Until once when I couldn't hold it back. But that's ok too.

Jenny is pumping every three hours around the clock. I thought I had the summer to get my mind wrapped around the nighttime with newbies. AAAGGGHHHH But amazingly, you get up, you move your feet, get it all done, get the milk down to NICU and get back in bed. You try not to talk too much or it might not be pretty. It's great for Jenny, she really feels like she is helping Sara. Even though it may be a week until she is fed this milk, it is being produced around the clock. The Hawthorne Dairy - 16 bottles a day, 24/7 (ok I may feel some pain for that one)

Well, the pumping is almost done, down to the NICU and then to bed. The dr told us he'll see us in the morning, so we probably won't check on her tonight. But you never know, I may get the urge around 2:30. By the way -this dr is amazing- I don't think he has slept since we have been here.

Sara was taken off heavy sedation sometime Tuesday evening. So she began to move. On our visit Wed morning around 2:30am she was moving alot more and it was a beautiful sight for two hoping parents. This is her about 7 hours later. Much more exciting to see this than a baby not moving at all.

We have posted most of these on Facebook, so these are for those not on FB.

Evidences of the Grace of God

Halfway through the surgery, the surgeon noticed there was an abruption or tear in the placenta. It was tearing away from the baby, and Sara was losing blood. A few minutes later, he called me up to look. He showed me a medium sized knot in the umbilical cord. Those two factors caused him to remark that if Jenny would have carried Sara much longer, she would have been still-born. So what appeared to be NOT a good thing - it was the only chance Sara had to live. In fact the dr noted that the abruption in the placenta is what sent Jenny into labor. Could our Father be that wise in creating these bodies to have such a cause and effect? We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made!

This happened on Memorial day, we had been in Gulf Shores the previous week. What would it have been like if this happened a few days earlier, or on the trip back? No doubt, He would have those scenarios handled also, but it would have been that much more difficult.

Jenny felt bad enough to not take Abigail to Horse lessons Monday morning about an hour from our house. Usually she would just push through the pain, but she didn't. And.. I was going to take her myself, but due to Jenny's condition and some work I wanted to get done, I decided not to.

I still don't think we know how sick Sara was when she was born, something I plan to talk to the dr about down the road. But no doubt, God's hand was clear and present in numerous ways that we are not aware of.

How we got here

Hey guys, we wanted to start a blog about Sara to provide information to drive your prayers as well as provide space to praise our Great and Good God! Hope you enjoy reading as much as we enjoying having you all walk through this with us.

Jenny's pregnancy was progressing along fine through the first 27 weeks. She had the possibility of placenta
previa (sp?) during the first trimester but God worked all of that out and it was ok. She was just beginning to get into the miserable, I don't like being big and pregnant, I have never been pregnant in the summer like this and I don't think I want to.. stage. Well, needless to say she would change all of that now. We just got back from a vacation in Gulf Shores last week, had a great time, Jenny did great, was tired, but was careful, and came back ok. She did not feel well Sunday at church, but we thought it was fatigue from the vacation and PVD (Post-Vacation Depression). Through the night she did not sleep well, very unsettled and again we thought -well your 27 weeks pregnant, your not going to sleep well.

Monday morning came, I went to the office to work around 6:15 and she called me about 7:30 telling me how bad she felt, was feeling a regular contraction and did I think they were braxton hicks. She couldn't get off the couch to go read about them, so she asked me to look it up and read it. I did and we thought - well she doesn't have other labor symptoms so for now we are ok. I walked back to the house (our church parsonage is on the church grounds) around 8 and we began to talk about what to do. I came home mainly to take care of the kids, I began to work on unpacking while she rested and our girls (Abigail 7 and Emma Grace 4) ate breakfast, made beds, etc.. We decided to call the dr's office, but they were closed for Memorial day and told us if we needed medical help we would have to go to emergency room.

Well, when do you make that call, we've never gone to the ER for anything - either for us or our kids. But, she was not feeling any better and we decided to begin moving that way. She took a shower, I began to pack, get arrangements made for my dad to get our girls, and off we went.
As we got into the car and on the road, Jenny's pain and intensity of contractions was increasing. There was an interesting correlation between her pain and the heaviness of my right foot. Got to the hospital, hugged the girls, had to pull Emma Grace off Jenny (not fun), got into the examination room.

dr saw her 30 minutes after we got in and within 10 seconds he said - "your fully dilated we have to take the baby now". How do you take that? Jenny's biggest concern was the baby, mine was her. As her contractions increased my fear was her getting past the point of C-section (she's had 2 previous ones). Maybe it wasn't grounded, maybe it was, but this was driving my prayers. I did the best of could to call our parents and let them know - hard phone call to make. Within the hour she was in surgery and Sara Rose was coming into the world, but it would not be a great start.

They worked hard to resucitate her and get her lungs open and going, but they would not cooperate. They moved from the operating room where things were not going well to NICU at Glenwood. They were pumping in so much O2 they were afraid the pressures were getting to great and the lungs could develop a leak. They moved to St. Francis NICU after about 1-2 hours at Glenwood. Strange thing seeing your baby wheeled in to you in a plastic aquarium and then out to an ambulance. But the dr's were kind enough to let Jenny and I see her, even touch her hand before they went.

We were overwhelmed by family, friends, current and prior church members who stopped by, hard to not be emotional. Their visits and encouragement meant the world to us. Jenny got moved to a room in the early evening and Sara was in the hands of a great team of dr's and nurses at St. Francis as well has the hands of our Father.