Thursday, December 31, 2009

gRoWiNg

So, this was given to me today. Lincoln has grown a bit since they last took his foot prints. The foot print on the left was from today at 7.5 weeks old. The foot print on the right is from when he was 1 week old. He is now weighing in at 4lbs 3 ozs.


Photobucket

The nurse captured this adorable face while she was doing a photo for identity pictures! She said he wouldn't open his eyes because it was too bright. As soon as she turned the lights out, he opened his eyes but stopped smiling.


Photobucket

......and this is the little treasure I captured as I was leaving. You know, he sleeps the whole time we're snuggling but the moment I put him back he's WIDE awake. I think he's super smart and knows what he is doing. It's hard for me to walk away when he's awake and he knows it, it's part of his game plan!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

And a Merry Christmas it was!!

This is partially where we spent our Christmas Eve. Lincoln got all settled into his new bed at our local hospital(he graduated from the giraffe isolette...not sure what the new one is called)! It was an awesome feeling to be back!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

The rest of the night we had a nice Christmas Eve dinner, opened Christmas jammies, watched Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas, put out milk and oreo cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.

It was an awesome Christmas day! We started out with a morning snuggle

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket


A little weigh in first...

Photobucket
1719 grams which translates to 3 lbs 12.5 oz's!!

Then we ended the day with a nice warm bath and some comfy Christmas pj's

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Last but not least.....it's always icing on the cake when you have a handsome Daddy!!

Photobucket

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ever changing!

It seems like as soon as I make a post about Lincoln's condition or situation a big change happens right after! Well......for this time that is GREAT news!!! We got an early Christmas present.....Lincoln is going to be transported back down to our local hospital. I am so giddy I can hardly contain myself! They'll be transporting tomorrow morning, just in time for CHRISTMAS!!!

Super sweet....but a little mischevious!

Photobucket

Would you believe it if I told you Lincoln has really come a long way?? It's been two weeks since his surgery. Originally they were tapping twice a day at 14 ml's per time. They found that was really helping then they decided it was helping a little too much. They ended up tapping twice a day at 7.5 ml's per time. That also seemed to help, but just a tad too much. The next step was to tap only once a day at 14 ml's per time. NOW they're tapping only once every other day 14 ml's per time!! They did a head ultra sound the following Tuesday after his surgery and discovered his ventricles were decreased in size. They just did another head ultrasound on Monday and the ventricles have decreased even more. The nurse practitioner who was in charge of him last night said she could see a vast improvement not only in his ventricles but his physical state as well.



So many things to be grateful for, but I can't help to think how I would love to have him home or even at the hospital here in town. Hopefully we'll get him back to the hospital here sooner than later....that is a work in progress. He is improving so much though....he has had very few apnea spells. I held him yesterday and it was the first time in just about three weeks that all of his vitals were extremely stable the whole time! He's now weighing in at 3 lb's 9 oz's and is 17.25 inches long. The occupational therapist came by to see him yesterday and he was the most awake he had ever been. She assessed his situation and had nothing but GOOD things to say about his current condition. The nurse from the night before last informed us that when they drew blood for a few tests he wailed and wailed. She could hear his crying through his isolette! The loudest cry we've ever heard out of him was when he was first born. Since then we've only heard but a few peeps. Call me a mean mom, but knowing he can cry and did was extremely exhilarating for me!

Photobucket

In other news.....he fits right in with the other kids. He's super sweet, but a little mischevious. The nurses have had to put mittens on his hands because he keeps pulling out his feeding tube and nasal cannula!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Squeaky toy

We had asked the nurses when he was first born if we could bring in our camcorder to film Lincoln. They weren't so sure because of privacy issues for other babies. Well, we decided what would it hurt if our curtain was closed?? As I was holding him yesterday, he kept making these little squeaky noises when we discovered he had the hiccups! We couldn't resist....It had to be filmed! Scott used his phone to capture this precious moment.

video

Listen closely....it's kind of quiet!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I BeLiEvE

Lincoln had his first encounter with Santa.....It didn't bother him a bit

Photobucket

I can't quite tell what Santa is getting at here. Scottie automatically assumed Lincoln was on the naughty list because Santa is pointing at him.

I think he's on both the naughty and nice list. He can be a little mischevious. His vitals will go all crazy but the second the nurse comes into adjust him he'll self-correct.

But I also think he MUST be on the nice list because he's the sweetest baby ever!

{Just keep growing}

Photobucket


I'm SO super proud of this boy!!! His reservoir is most definitely helping! He hasn't been swinging as much on his vitals as he had been before. They decided they have been taking off a little too much fluid so now they've come to the conclusion that when they tap they will only take half of what they have been....previously 14 ML's, now 7.5 ML's. They will continue to do this twice a day until they see the need is no longer there then hopefully~eventually they will get down to no tapping!

Photobucket

As for his transfer back down to our local hospital....we're on the edge of our seats to even find out a timeline! Hopefully in the next week we will have some idea.
They did an eye exam to test for retinopathy, which is a common issue with preemie's. He passed his test with flying colors!!

Photobucket

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Progress

Lincoln is always surprising us with his progress. He has been improving with each day. The latest thing they have been concerned about was his bowel movements. He didn't have one for almost two days. The worry in this is that the digestive system is not working correctly. If that is something that were to continue, it may require surgery. I had called his day nurse yesterday morning and she informed me "still no stool." I became a little worried. The last thing I wanted was for him to have to require another surgery. By the time we got to the hospital last night...still nothing. It was time for his cares, so as Scott and I jumped in to take his temperature and change his diaper, there was a little surprise in there. It was one little poopy! I had never been so happy over a poopy diaper. The nurse grabbed the measuring tape to measure his belly and right after that he made the cutest little face ever!! He was pushing and out came more poop. They have to measure both the urine and stool output and so she retrieved that diaper to weigh it. Oh no....it doesn't stop there, he kept on going. He did this about four times. It was the highlight, besides holding him of course, of my night :) When we first got there, they were also doing a head ultrasound to examine his ventricles and to see how the reservoir was working. I called his nurse this morning to see how he did through the night..."very very well"...and how his morning was so far. She informed me that "the report was back from the ultrasound and that everything was looking good. His ventricles are looking a little smaller and there is improvement." We are SO happy!!

Photobucket


hope (hōp): Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

faith (fāth): Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


*When I contemplate these past five weeks I can't help but think of how MUCH the words faith and hope were a part of our every day lives and still are.


grat·i·tude (grăt'ĭ-tūd', -tyūd'): gratitude is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.

praise (prāz): In its common usage, praise is the act of making positive statements about a person, object or idea, either in public or privately.


*I also can't help but to think of how much gratitude and praise our family has paid and still owes to our Heavenly Father.


The Plan of Salvation: The great plan prepared by our Father in Heaven before the creation of the world to enable His children to come to earth, receive mortal bodies, and return to live with Him and their families in the life to come. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is central to the plan of salvation, as it makes possible the overcoming of spiritual death, or sin, and the overcoming of physical death by the power of His resurrection.


*But I know it's all worth it in the end. When I think of The Plan of Salvation, it intricately weaves all of these words and definitions so tightly together that there is no denying of the truthfulness of it.


I am grateful to my Heavenly Father who loves us each SO dearly. He knows each of us individually and is painfully aware of our most trying tests in life. I am forever grateful to our Savior, Jesus Christ, who made it possible....no matter what this earthly life brings.....that we may be a family for Eternity.


I am extremely grateful for Lincoln and his fight. The physical trials he has faced so far have been far more difficult than I can imagine enduring and he has richly blessed our lives.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Surgery Update

Lincoln's doing great! His surgery went VERY well! His vitals were a little crazy last night and have still been crazy-but better today. The nurse practitioner said she is very pleased with his progress. We're letting him recover a bit and hoping we can hold him again soon. We're also hoping we get him back to the hospital closer to home!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today's the day

Lincoln's getting his surgery today. He's turning into a little chunk! He has been gaining lots of weight lately, which is just what the surgeons wanted. He is now around 3 lbs 2 ozs. The surgery is supposed to only have a 5% complication rate. We're praying hard that it is a success and that this will be just what he needs to fix his problem long term.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Not so long ago

I REALLY wanted maternity pictures while being pregnant with Lincoln since I wanted the same with Colten and it didn't happen. Well....being put on bed-rest made it merely impossible. Scott and I devised a plan that he would try to help me do my maternity shoot. We never really got around to it. I decided to take this picture about three weeks before I had Lincoln. I'm glad I did. I've been meaning to do a post on it since I took the picture, but it didn't happen...'til now!

Photobucket

Sunday, December 6, 2009

PURE HEAVEN

First off I must say, you have to listen to this song....it's Lincoln's

Photobucket

We cuddled today so....I was in Heaven

Photobucket

It had been two days since I was able to hold him....

Photobucket

Okay, Mom....that's enough. I need my beauty rest!
Oh..and you should know, he's smaller than he appears.
We're pretty proud though, he's 2 lbs 12.5 oz's

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Next Week

They say his surgery is now scheduled for next Thursday. I'm not holding my breath. I don't know whether to be happy or disappointed! Of course I don't want him to have surgery BUT if he needs it, he needs it. I know they're keeping a close eye on him and he's in good hands. So, we'll keep praying that everything goes well. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe (crossing my fingers, toes, arms, and legs) it will heal itself and he won't end up needing it.... I don't know. If there were ever a time I had a DEEP desire to fast for something, now would be the time. I'm trying to keep up my milk supply so it wouldn't be a good idea. PLEASE think of Lincoln and include him in your fast this Fast Sunday!!!!

hmmm...

.....ok, it's Thursday now... and still no word from the neurosurgeons! BUT it's only 9 am. Hopefully we'll hear something soon. OR maybe not hearing anything could be a good thing:)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Surgery

So, the verdict has come in. Lincoln will be having the surgery. He is tentatively scheduled for tomorrow. We're waiting to hear from the surgeons to find out the exact time. They are doing a head scan today and will determine if it will be for sure tomorrow. If it doesn't happen tomorrow it will most likely happen on Saturday. We'll make sure to let everyone know when we find out!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

..onto a new journey..

Well, Lincoln went for his very first ride yesterday. He was transferred up to Primary Children's Hospital via an ambulance. The doctors have been watching him closely because of a suspicion of hydrochephalus. This probably was caused from his brain bleed at birth. What's happening is the blood clot is blocking the ventricle not allowing the fluid to flow freely. A good majority of preemies with brain bleeds have this and most often than not it ends up taking care of itself. Lincoln's was quite stable, but then when they measured his head, there was a growth of almost 2cm in two days. The doctors have sent multiple scans up to Primary Children's to determine whether or not he would have to have surgery. UVRMC does not have neurosurgeons, hence the need for a relocation. The surgeons up at PC's wanted to monitor him a little closer to determine if he would in fact be needing the surgery. We have no idea how long he could be up there, it could be days...it could be weeks. Then if they decide to go ahead with the procedure they will keep him until they decide he is stable enough to come back down to Provo.
We will be very busy commuting to SL daily and staying up there for a few hours to visit with him. Scott met with one of the neurosurgeons yesterday after having Lincoln transferred. By looking at him physically, measuring his head, and looking at a growth chart, they determined he may not have to have the surgery. They will be doing their own head scans today to take a closer look though. HOPEFULLY it will take care of itself and he doesn't have to endure surgery. The good news though, is that he is stable enough to have it done if needs be.

Here he is all bundled up, wide-eyed and bushy tailed strapped up on his stretcher.

I joked that this will probably be the most expensive car ride he'll have .


Funny story....We followed the ambulance in our own vehicle on the way up to SL. We had seen a few puffs of black smoke from the truck and didn't think twice about it. We were about a mile away from the exit when suddenly the ambulance pulled onto the shoulder of the freeway. My heart started thumping and just about jumped out of my chest. We were debating back and forth as to why they would have pulled over. We figured if it were the baby they would have flashed their lights on and taken off faster. We remembered the smoke from the truck and though it must be that. The nurse in the ambulance called me on my cell and informed me the truck had broke down and another ambulance was on the way. She also told me not to worry about my baby, he was fine. Not five minutes had passed and the other truck pulled up. They took Lincoln's stretcher out and put it in the other ambulance then we were off! You know the saying...'If I didn't have bad luck then I'd have no luck at all'...? That would have to be mine and Scott's motto for this last year. We can laugh at the truck breaking down though....now if he were critical, that would be a different story. ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

...sigh...

I'm so excited!!! I know I shouldn't get ahead of myself, but it's too tempting! Lincoln is on his third day with no ventilators. He is breathing well on his own with a little assistance from the high flow nasal canulla!
You can actually see his face :) Now all we need to aim for is a little meat on his bones. This should be possible since how they're increasing his feedings everyday...knock on wood....and unless anything goes wrong he should be up to full feedings by the 29th.


Photobucket

I could just eat him up!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kanga and Roo

Well, he got just plain exhausted!! He tried the CPAP for almost a good 24 hours, but didn't last any longer. They felt his carbon dioxide off-put and oxygen in-take levels weren't where they needed to be. At this time they felt it in the best interest to put Lincoln back on the VIP ventilator. I'm okay with that. I feel like they need to do whatever is BEST for Lincoln. Their strategy is to make sure he makes progress, but to be safe while doing it. Their plan of action is to try it again in a few days.

NOW on to better news:

Photobucket

Photobucket

I FINALLY got to hold my baby boy!!! This is what they call the Kangaroo hold. It is so very important for these little fragile preemies to feel the skin to skin contact with their Mommy. Touch...and a positive touch.... helps him to remember me. Holding him helps him to hear my heartbeat as he once did while in my womb. They say, especially once you start feeding them their mommy's milk, they will recognize their mommy's smell. I've chosen one place I touch him every time I go in and that gives him another chance to recognize me, I hold his hand. My voice is something that is familiar to him and I make sure he hears it when I go in twice a day. When I was pregnant with him, I often sang the same song while in the shower. I make sure to sing or hum that song to him while I visit.

Photobucket

Photobucket
LOOK AT ALL HIS HAIR!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

My lil' Elephant

Lincoln was put on an oscillator ventilator right after birth. They tried to get him on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) ventilation, but weren't so successful. His vitals went crazy and he wasn't a happy boy.

What Is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)? Nasal CPAP delivers air into your airway through a specially designed nasal mask or pillows. The mask does not breathe for you; the flow of air creates enough pressure when you inhale to keep your airway open.

They then decided to put him back on the oscillator. After giving him a break for a day, they decided to try another ventilation system called the VIP on the 19th of November. It is very similar to the oscillator, but it allows him to breath more freely on his own. When I walked in for his morning visit on the 20th, I noticed he had finally graduated to the CPAP and he was doing excellent!! They informed me they changed to the CPAP at 1 am and everything looks great.

There's always a chance he won't stay on the CPAP for very long and may regress to one of the other ventilation systems. He may also do increasingly well each day and not have to wear it for very long and breath completely on his own. Either way, I just want him to be content and safe. And for now.....I'll just call him my lil' Elephant!!

It might look a little different....but this is a good HUGE step, especially considering he didn't have amniotic fluid for TEN WEEKS including the major weeks when his lungs should have been developing.



Photobucket

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One week old


Lincoln actually turned one week old yesterday evening at 6:o5, but I wanted to give an update of how he's been doing lately.

Please forgive the quality of the pictures :) The nurses actually took them, bless their hearts, but for some reason when I try to scan them in color they become EXTRA grainy.

So, the first picture is of him next to a dollar bill. Poor child, look at him hooked up to all that stuff! The second is obviously just a close up....look at those lips!!

Now, for his condition. He's made LOTS of progress in the last couple of days. He no longer has an infection and is off his antibiotics. He has had two full good days along with two full good nights (this is big for little Linc). They are getting ready to take him off the ventilator and possibly put him on the C-PAP...also another big step. They found out that his brain bleed is considered a grade 1 instead of a grade 3...HUGE news. Today they fed him my milk for the first time and his body is tolerating it very well!

Thanks again to everyone for all your prayers!! He has come a long way this last week. We hope to see many more improvements from here on out. There's bound to be bumps in the road and we're expecting them....I don't know how prepared we can ever be.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

LOVE


We can feel the love that has been offered to us on all levels. Not only have our family and friends been persistant in showing their concern, taking care of us, and knowing the very fragile state of our precious little baby, but so has the medical staff in the NICU. They have also been wonderful in recognizing how fragile our family has been. A few of the NICU nurses have showered us with words of encouragement, a gift basket, scrapbooked pictures of little Lincoln, and three little scrapbooks with pictures of Lincoln for Scottie, Savana and Luke to carry around. AND last but not LEAST knowing exactly what kind of care is needed for Lincoln in his fragile little state.


I can't say it enough:



THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

I only wish you could see the true size of his little hands and feet. These have been
enlarged just for the blog, they're not true to size.

Lincoln's medical issues

Mainly to have this as a record I can look back to, I'm going to list all the complications Lincoln has been having since birth.

Day 1...Nov. 9th, 2009:

Lincoln was born at 6:05 pm and immediately rushed to the NICU to be evaluated and taken care of. He was put on 100% oxygen. The main things they found were that he had some sort of an infection, he was having problems with his blood pressure, and also having problems with his heart contracting at a proper pressure.

Day 2...Nov. 10th, 2009:

His oxygen level had been taken down to 30% and they found he was doing well with his lungs. They were able to stabilize his blood pressure. They also noticed that his heart was now contracting properly. They found the duct in his heart, which all fetus' have and should close at birth, had not closed. He had become very swollen. The swelling and infection was preventing this duct to close. It is VERY crucial that this duct close. If the duct would not close on its own or without three doses of ibuprofen every 24 hours they would have to opt for surgery to close it. They had given him blood pressure medication the previous day and were seeing it was now stabilizing.

Day 3....Nov. 11th, 2009:

They found he had a brain bleed which was diagnosed as a grade 1 (grade 1 being the least concerning). This is common in premature babies, but as long as it's not significant bleeding it should be fine. They had been evaluating the severity of it through out the day. They had given him some ibuprofen to help with the process of the duct closing in his heart. We were also informed that the infection Lincoln had contracted came as a result of bacteria entering the womb after my water had broken. He may have swallowed the bacteria that was in the amniotic fluid...the small amount that was in there...and/or it may have gotten into the placenta.

Day 4....Nov. 12th, 2009:

One of the partner neonatoligists approached us as we were visiting Lincoln. He had gone over a second x-ray of Lincoln's brain and had expressed that he was very very concerned. We were previously told the brain bleed was a grade 1 and they were now looking at a grade 3. There's a good possibility that the administration of the ibuprofen increased the bleeding in his brain. The swelling had gone down a bit and the hole in his heart had still not closed. At this point they were really stuck between a rock and a hard spot. They were hesitant to give him more ibuprofen since they were thinking that was the culprit in the increase of his brain bleed. They also weren't able to do the surgery because he was not stable enough. WE NEEDED THE DUCT IN HIS HEART TO BE CLOSED!!!

Day 5....Nov. 13th, 2009:

We woke up with the news that a miracle had taken place. They had done another ultrasound on his heart and found that the duct had closed overnight!!! That was a huge concern and now we could all let out a big sigh of relief....at least for a few minutes. The doctors had noticed he had a few suspicious movements that could be indicative of seizures. The seizures would be a result of blood on his brain which we were already aware of. They were giving him medication to prevent the seizures and just keeping an eye of the seizure activity.

Day 6...Nov. 14th, 2009:

The news of the possibility of the severity of his brain bleed was once again emphasized. There is a little discrepency as to how severe the brain bleed is. Dr. Minton and Dr. Miner seem to have differing opinions. Dr. Miner has diagnosed it as a grade 3 and more severe bleed. Dr. Minton has diagnosed it as a severe grade 1 bleed. They have opted to send the x-ray up to the radiologist at Primary Children's to have a third set of eyes to determine what it could be. Also, they were still concerned with the combination of the brain bleed and the seizures. And he was once again having problems with his blood pressure.

Day 7...Nov. 15th, 2009:

We received a phone call from the NICU at 7:30 am. He had a rough night. At approximately 11:00 pm on Saturday, his blood pressure had dropped and they also noticed some more seizure activity. From about 11:00 pm to 3:00 am they were trying different things to stabilize him and finally got him situated.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

....WOW....

The title pretty much sums up this last week and to be honest it is quite of an understatement. The morning of November 9th looked to be one of our "regular" routined days. I had a specialist appointment with Dr. Schemmer, who would do another in depth ultrasound to tell me of the progress of the baby. Everything went well. Right after my appointment with Dr. Schemmer I had one of my two non-stress tests that were scheduled for that week. Everything with that also went well. I went home to continue the rest of my day just like any other. Savana was ready for school and we were just waiting for her ride. I started feeling a little off, a bit crampy and thought if I just layed still it would subside. Well, it didn't. It continued and started getting a little more intense. I called Scott a few times to keep him updated on what was going on. This all started at about 1:00 in the afternoon and by 3:00 I called Scott and told him I was pretty sure they were contractions and I was having them about every three minutes. When I called him that time he was already on his way home from Park City. My mother in law brought the kids home from school at about 3:30 and Scott got home at 3:45.

We arrived at the hospital, they got me into a room and checked me. I was dilated to a 3 and 80% effaced. They put a call into my dr. and they decided at the moment they would just try to stop my labor. They gave me a shot and the contractions subsided for a bit. Dr. Berry put a call in a few minutes later and had decided to proceed with a c-section. The baby was breech...and not just feet first breech.....bum first breech. I was extremely nervous at this point. Not only was this the first time having a c-section, but the c-section was going to be a cascade of events. Some would be exciting but many would be VERY VERY scary. The first thought I had was when he was born would he take his first breath? That was one of the main fears we've had this whole time with my water having been broken for ten weeks. The second thought I had was if he made it passed his first breath what struggles would we have after that?? I knew there would be many.

As they were performing the operation I couldn't help but listen to my heart rate that they were monitoring. I could hear it in rhythm with the pounding in my chest. This wasn't at all an emergency and they seemed to be confident and calm. They talked me through it and then it was the moment of truth.....they held my baby boy up over the curtain to have a peek. Right then he let out two little squeaky cry's. I no longer could hold my tears of joy back and the flood gates had opened. He was beautiful...teeny, but beautiful. He had quite a bit of hair. The sad thing is because all of it was so rushed we didn't capture it on video. I didn't even have a "hospital bag" prepared. They rushed him to the NICU right after that and got him situated. The doctors took care of me and then got me in my room to recover. After I was fine they wheeled me in my bed to see my baby lying in an incubator with all kinds of wires and tubes hooked up to him. I could barely see him through all my tears. His final weight and height:
2 lbs 5 oz's 13.5 inches long. For as little as he was this was a relief to me. He seemed to be a "decent" size. We named him Lincoln.
Photobucket

Right away he was put on the ventilator at 100% oxygen which meant he needed complete assistance in breathing. The next few days would be just the beginning of an extreme variation of emotions. One day we would be completely happy thinking things were going our way and it took but a few minutes and a few words from a doctor to break us down to the lowest point a human could possibly be.

Through out my stay I found myself just wanting to be pregnant still and wanting all of the events at the hospital to have never happened. At another point I found myself just wanting to curl up in a ball and to have someone just wake me up when it was all over and Lincoln was ready to come home from the hospital. Through out our experience with Colten and all the ups and downs through out this whole pregnancy with Lincoln, I never felt as weak as what we were going through now. I wanted to feel and think positive and see the big picture. BUT he was here now and he was REAL he was....tangible. And I knew at any moment I could loose him.

In the picture below they've covered his eyes with his beanie hat just to make sure he doesn't have too much stimulation....his little 28 week old eyes aren't ready for this big world yet.
Photobucket

I've always considered myself a pretty spiritual person, but THIS has defined another level of being spiritual for me. The outpoor of love from everyone has been intense. The outpoor and connection I've had with Scott has been intense. Knowing I have children at home and knowing this little soul who is so so fragile I then know they are depending on me, I find myself pulling it together. I know that they're looking up to me and waiting for my hand to pull them through.

As I left the hospital it was bitter sweet. Sweet in the sense that I had three little children at home that had not seen me in five days. Sweet in the sense that Lincoln would have the very best of the best taking care of him. Bitter in the sense that I just experienced...again....the joys of being pregnant and delivering a little miracle, but coming home empty handed. This time being empty handed is temporary and I am SO grateful I live only 5 minutes from the hospital.

Photobucket

The NICU generally keeps premature babies until the babies due date, that would put us at February 2nd. I'm thinking of starting a separate blog for Lincoln to keep everyone updated and informed on his progress. When it's put together I'll make sure to let everyone know. In the meantime I have A LOT of healing to do.

This is going to be an ongoing battle and it will also be what they describe it as a "roller coaster." Keep us in your prayers!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A year we'd like to forget

Warning: this is a pretty long post. I wanted to give an in depth exlpanation of what we've been experiencing and I also wanted to make sure I had a record of the events that have taken place with our little baby boy up to date. BUT please read :)

May 13th I took a pregnancy test and had a positive result. I couldn't believe I was actually pregnant especially with everything that we went through with Colten. I found myself happy, but extremely nervous and anxious.

Everything was going really well. Naturally, with all my pregnancies and an exception of Colten, I am very lucky. I don't get any kind of morning sickness, maybe occasional fatigue, but other than that I have it REAL easy. I found out that I had been exposed to the Human Parvo Virus, also known as fifth disease. This virus isn't normally harmful UNLESS you are pregnant. We had a few suspicions that I could have contracted it, but didn't know for sure until I took a blood test and the results came back positive. I was extremely concerned. The day the results came back was July 3rd. That night I had contractions, heavy bleeding, and was convinced I was having a miscarriage (that being one of the side-effects of the virus if pregnant). I couldn't believe I was going through this again. I was so petrified that we would be experiencing another loss. We rushed to the E.R. to at least have a peace of mind whether or not the baby was ok. At the time I was nine weeks along and knew nothing could be done and if it was the worst case scenario we would have to let nature take its course.

At the E.R. they did an ultrasound and found out the baby was completely fine. The baby looked great and as far as they could see, there really was no explanation for the bleeding and they released me with the advice to just take it easy. I had a regular prenatal check-up scheduled and was referred to a specialist. The consequences for the baby of the virus could be anemia and also problems within the brain. We had gone to the specialist to follow up on any of the possibilities. From what he said everything with the virus was looking ok. BUT upon looking into things in depth he had found I had a HUGE blood clot in my uterus which would explain the bleeding.

He wasn't very optimistic. He was now more concerned about the blood clot over the virus. I guess it's very common to have a blood clot while being pregnant, but they normally don't get so big and tend to take care of themselves. Mine took up over fifty percent of the space in my uterus. I found myself crying at the end of the appointment, convinced that the result of what was supposed to be a happy event, was just going to be another heartache. We continued to set our future appointments as if my pregnancy was going to continue, and it did. I made it to my next prenatal and specialist appointments.

Everything started looking good and the blood clot looked to be shrinking. We were ecstatic thinking things could be taking a turn for the best. About two weeks went by after my specialist appointment. I was eighteen weeks along and I woke up in the early morning to what I thought was bleeding again. It wasn't bleeding this time and I was a bit confused. I made a couple trips to the bathroom. The third trip is when things got real scary. I had left a trail that went all the way across my bathroom and ended in a BIG puddle in front of the toilet. I yelled for Scott and told him we needed to get to the hospital right away because I believed my water had just broke.
We ran over to labor and delivery at the hospital where they did a number of tests along with an ultrasound. The baby looked great. They did a test to confirm as to whether or not it was amniotic fluid. The test results came back negative. We were told it was probably just a build up of mucous. I was really confused because I had never heard of that before, but was relieved everything was fine.

Again, two weeks later, I went to a check up with the specialist. Immediately the ultrasound picture looked different to me. The technician asked me if I had been leaking amniotic fluid. All the fears and concerns I thought could be pushed away and forgotten came rushing back. I told her that in fact I had an incident and made a trip to the L&D two weeks previous. The specialist came in and informed me that I had virtually no amniotic fluid and it had probably been a result of my water breaking. The cause of my water breaking was from the blood clot. Again, here we were facing a very grim outlook.

So, what could result from this would be: going into labor at any point, contracting an infection in my uterus as the result of no amniotic fluid as to which they would have to deliver the baby no matter the gestation, the baby passing as a result of cord compression, and if the baby would make it to viability the next concern would be lung development. With no amniotic fluid it is extremely hard for the baby's lungs to develop, amniotic fluid is a key component. At 24 weeks is when the baby's lungs start developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help the air sacs inflate once the baby hits the outside world.

My doctor informed me that if we make it to 34 weeks we would deliver the baby. There is a chance though that when he is born he wouldn't make it because of pulmonary hypoplasia (improper lung development). All we could do is hope for the best and take it one day at a time. I had previously been on partial bed rest then had contractions and bleeding. After that my doctor ordered full time bed rest.
I'm now 26 weeks along. The doctors are surprised each time I come back in and am still pregnant. The baby moves a lot and is still growing. With all of the ultrasounds they have been doing, all of his vital organs, not including his lungs, all look adequate. The lungs are something they can not see by ultrasound though. Even with a CT scan, or any other measures they would use to examine his lungs, there is no way to be able to track the development. That is something we will have to wait to find out at birth.

Professionals consider the baby viable at 24 weeks gestation. The specialist sat down with us to go over any and all options. The first option he gave us was for me to be admitted to the hospital full-time until the birth of the baby or seeing a significant drop in his heart rate multiple times. The other option would be outpatient care and go to the hospital twice a week for a non-stress test. I wanted the best for the baby, but really didn't see it being the best option for me to be in the hospital full-time. So, that's what we chose, to stay home. Immediately after my appointment with him they gave me a steroid shot which is supposed to help his lungs.

On Friday, the 16th of October, I went in for another test and when I was about to walk out the door the nurse decided to take my temperature. The thermometer read 99.8. It became a concern to them that the low-grade fever could be an onset to an infection. They decided to admit me to the hospital overnight for observation. A few hours after I had been settled into my hospital room they took my temperature again and it had decreased. They pumped me full of antibiotics and so graciously hooked me up to an I.V. My normal doctor and specialist both were out of town and as a result of that I would be communicating with the doctors on call.

The initial thoughts of me just staying overnight turned into staying until Sunday. Then from that it turned into me staying until Tuesday when my primary O.B. would be back in town. They had me all hooked up to an I.V., a monitor for the baby's heart-rate and a monitor for any contractions. The first night I was there the monitor had recorded a significant decrease in the baby's heart rate for almost three minutes straight. They watched it closely and had decided if it had taken one to two more dips they would have delivered my baby via c-section that night. The nurse came in and had me change positions. Luckily after that we had no other scares.

The worst part of my hospital stay, including all that I was bound to, was that my children could have ABSOLUTELY no access to my room because of flu season. I was devastated. As far as I could tell they were going to keep me in the hospital for the entirety of my pregnancy. I couldn't fathom the thought of not seeing my children and that in itself would have been the result of my insanity.
My husband stayed with me the first three nights while my mother stayed at our home with the children. We had devised a plan so that we could at least "see" each other, even if our view was 150 feet away(no exaggeration). The only good thing I could say about staying at the hospital was my view.


It was beautiful. The room had a north facing three pane window that looked over the valley. I could see the mountains and the hustle of the thousands of people who went about their daily lives. There also was an area with grass, fountains, benches, and statues on the hospital grounds. That is where I would stand at the window, cell phone to ear, and I.V. in tow to "see" my children. The thought of this experience still brings tears to my eyes and a tug at my heart.

I guess it was the unknown that hurt the most. The unknown of EVERYTHING. How long would I have to stay in the hospital? How long would it be until I could see my children in person again...smell their smells and hold them in my arms? After being in the hospital, for who knows how long, would the outcome of this oh-so delicate process would I FINALLY be able to hold my little newborn in my arms or be heart-broken and have to pick up the pieces again? I knew if I would stay in the hospital that I would truly go insane, but I knew I would adjust and be helping the chances of my little baby's survival.

My mother came to visit often while Scott would take over for the care of our children. They tried to do whatever they could to make me comfortable. Scott brought my laptop so I could still try to keep in touch with the "real world." He also brought magazines and upon my request, a Cold-Stone chocolate ice cream with roasted almonds in a waffle bowl. My mom had taken the children to Thanksgiving Point on Saturday where they had loads of fun. Her gift to me was a vase with flowers, a card, and a halloween sign that had a witch on it and said "Best Witches." She's always so thoughtful.

My doctor paid a visit to me on Tuesday and had an in depth conversation with me. He felt comfortable leaving it at my discretion as to whether or not I thought I should stay in the hospital. He felt that knowing us really well, having delivered 2 of my babies already, and with me being only 24.5 weeks along, he was really okay with whatever my decision would be. I chose to go home. I knew what the signs were to look for with an infection and I would continue my bi-weekly non-stress tests. There was an important lesson I learned from that hospital stay. We have to find the positive in everything. When first being on bed rest I was depressed thinking of all I was missing out on . The hospital bed gave me a new perspective and I longed for my couch.
Ultimately, I know that there are a few things I can do to make this a positive outcome and I am taking those measures. I also know that it is not in my control what my story will be. Having been through the loss of a child once before only confirms that to me over and over again. I know Heavenly Father STILL and ALWAYS has a plan for me. I REALLY don't want to lose another child, but know that He is in control and KNOWS what I can handle.
I continue my multiple doctor visits, non-stress tests and bed rest praying that all will go well. I continue to intrigue the doctors as to why I have not delivered yet and I hope to keep them guessing. Each day he stays in my tummy is another day on my side. Each Tuesday is the mark of my new week....this coming Tuesday I will be 27 weeks along. The closer and closer we inch along the more and more optimistic I become. My fingers are permanently crossed. My ULTIMATE goal is to make it to 34 weeks. If I can't make it that far I hope for 30 weeks. We'll take whatever we get, but I am now preparing myself for a baby who will possibly spend an extended period of time in the NICU.

My spirits are good and I have been just trying to take it minute by minute....enjoying each movement of the baby, relishing in the fact that I feel his hiccups or when he decides to roll over a bit. I will be keeping everyone updated on my blog of this new experience. Thanks to EVERYONE for all of your help, love and concern!