Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sleeping Beauty




Snuggling with her Nana (Becky's mom)

I ask you, is there anything better than a sleeping baby? :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ahh, blogger, how I love thee ... I can't see what these pictures are until after I post them ... let's hope the captions make sense




Charlie loves "his" Emma!


She's such a good sleeper! She lays in her bassinet in the kitchen while commotion is going on all around her. Charlie even today wanted to show baby Emma a treasure he had found ("Look, Baby Emma! Mommy's phone! Dis button right dere is a no-no!") while she was sleeping and she MIGHT have gotten a little bonk on her forehead, but she's so patient with Charlie's affections. She even fell asleep in his arms last night while we read a book together on the couch. Be still my heart.





And we must all recognize the psychology of Christmas presents: Mommy and Daddy only have a few available at a time to keep the fresh thrill of new toys lasting as long as possible.
At the moment his trains are set up in the living room (just try to walk across the floor with a baby in your arms, I dare you!) and Mr Potatoe Head is waiting patiently on the piano bench for Charlie to .... ummm ... select his wardrobe ...yeah. I think there's an arm coming out of the top of his head, and Charlie is wearing his glasses as often as possible because it makes Mommy laugh.
Meanwhile, Emma (the most easy-going baby EVER) hangs out happily in her swing and rolls her eyes at Mommy's attempts to provoke a smile.

Charlie has decided he likes yogurt now:

What? What's so funny?

And every time it snows, he gets to do a very important big boy job. Nothing beats shoveling with Daddy!

He's a big help...

And this one is sort of a "new mom of two kids" coping mechanism ...

SOMEONE (not me, possibly my mom :)) taught Charlie that when it's cold outside you can breathe on a window and draw pictures in the condensation from your breath. Charlie has discovered that it's much more fun to draw pictures in the slobber that hits the window when you "accidentally" stick your tongue out when you breathe on the sliding glass door. This is surprisingly fine with Mommy, mostly because it entertains him for the amount of time it takes to load the dishwasher and mix milk for Emma's next feeding (still mixing formula with breastmilk). Plus, we then have the added bonus of even more fun activity time afterwords: WASHING THE WINDOW! YEA! Seriously. This child LOVES cleaning. weirdo :)


On a more serious note, I have a couple of prayers for today:
1) Emma's bottling is not going well. I think she's having some reflux and is starting to get a little fussy at the sensation of milk in her throat. This is potentially pretty bad as kids who get "oral aversions" or, as our ENT put it today, "forget how to eat" make this a battle that lasts YEARS. I'd really rather not have a feeding tube in a 4-year-old, so please pray that she turns this around sooner rather than later?

2) I am amazed and think it may be nothing short of a miracle that Emma is not sick. Obviously we're doing our best to keep Charlie's germs off Emma (his new skills at this juncture in his development are covering his mouth when he coughs and "rub rub rubbing" Purell hand sanitzer on his hands before he touches the baby), but Daddy and Charlie still have the crud hanging on. I actually worry about this on two levels: first, a cold could very easily become RSV for our little peanut with her tiny airways, which would mean back in the hospital she goes. But second, I love how much Charlie loves Emma and I don't want this stress to be complicating the adjustment to becoming a big brother. It's enough that Mommy can't always be at your beck and call anymore, but to WANT to be involved with the new baby and be told you have to stay away ... it's enough to break your heart. So I'm dancing a fine line here and praying for wisdom and strong immune systems!!

3) Speaking of RSV, Stellen over at MckMama's blog is back in the hospital. No, I don't know her in real life, but Stellen was born a few weeks before Emma and has a miraculously healed heart as well, so his story is close to my heart. I know, I admit it, I'm a blog-stalker ... but I suspect I have some stalkers as well out there (welcome, we love you and thank you for your prayers!), so click on the MckMiracle button and pray for the family if you have a chance?

Blessings to all!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Interesting

From the people I've talked to, this may be already over-used as a sermon illustration, but since we saw it in church last week, it's really stuck with me and I wanted to share it with you.

Penn of Penn and Teller has a video blog that he rants about different things on, none of which are terribly complimentary to the Christian faith. I believe he would describe himself as a preaching atheist. So this was a recent post:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JHS8adO3hM

not sure how to get the video on here, but check it out.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry merry

It's 6:00 and both of my children are asleep. :)

Emma will of course awaken again before the night is over, Charlie we're not so sure. He's pretty miserably sick, and he fell asleep on the couch with Daddy about 45 minutes ago.



Charlie and Daddy are both feeling a little under the weather.

Emma is doing great, however. I added a new item to the list of things I love about baby #2; you realize that sleepy babies will often just fall asleep if placed in a crib when they are sleepy! No, seriously, I honestly didn't realize that I didn't have to rock Charlie to a sound sleep and then gingerly put him down hoping he wouldn't wake up until he was at least 8 months old. Not that I regret those hours of rocking, there's nothing like a sleeping babe in your arms, but it's nice to know with #2 that just putting a drowsy baby down and letting them fall asleep is an option!

Emma also had a bath yesterday. Having never had curly hair myself, I'm not really sure what to do with hers!

Here's what her hair looks like after a bath:



And two hours later it's sort of matted. Do I seriously need hair products for my infant? :) I have to admit that would be kind of fun :)


So sleep deprevation mode is totally setting in, but other than that and the illness we're doing ok. I'm praying for the Holy Spirit to give me and Josh patience with each other; I'll be totally honest and admit that we weren't so good in that department at this stage with Charlie - lack of sleep isn't lovely on anyone, especially the love of your life, amen? I know you've been there.

So that's what Christmas looks like at the Watczak household this evening. We were at my mom's yesterday for Christmas Eve gift giving and game playing and this weekend Josh's family is coming down, but for tonight, for the moment, anyway, I'm enjoying a Silent Night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How are we doing, you ask?

Here's a few snapshots of the good, the bad and the hilarious.

Charlie's developed a cough ... please pray for no RSV for Emma!!!

Charlie LOVES his sister. We (against all medical advice with the exception of our family pediatrician who is a believer and knows Emma's story) went to church on Sunday and Charlie RAN to the nursery, saying "Come on, Emma!" We explained Emma was too little and he cried, saying "Emma come too?" He got over it quickly

Charlie LOVES holding his sister. "eat your green beans and I'll let you hold baby Emma"

Emma's little swing ran out of batteries yesterday and we didn't have replacements (because really, who has C batteries around the house?), but Charlie was convinced he could fix it for her. So he grabbed his screwdriver and went to work. All day, this was his greatest concern. He and Josh ran to Target to get some batteries last night and now the swing works. Charlie has been talking all day today about how HE "fixed da swing for baby Emma and now it works!"

Emma has a fussy period in the evenings, which is keeping Josh and I up way past our bedtime (it's his turn right now, so I'm posting :))

Emma did great bottling this afternoon, but we're still not even up to one full bottle a day. She took less than 10 mls and a full feeding is 50. It's a long road, but she's doing ok.

Charlie had his first "something has changed and I don't like it" meltdown the other day. He was eating breakfast at the kitchen table and I was changing Emma's diaper. I left my phone on the counter. The phone rang and I couldn't get to it. Charlie yelled (with increasing volume and panic) "Mommy? Mommy, your phone is ringing! Mommy! Oh, no! Mommy!" I, of course, was responding to every "mommy" with a calm "I'll be there in a minute" but for some reason the fact that I wasn't coming to answer my phone was cause for panic. I got back to the kitchen and there were tears streaming down his face. Seriously, child, I went to the bathroom and left things undone before Emma got here! But I understand that this is an adjustment for all of us. He's doing much better than I expected with everything we've been through in the past month. For the most part, he's his usual sweet and wonderful and WELL BEHAVED self ... for the most part :)

Emma has these great long periods of content alert awake time. She's looking around, making faces, tolerating her brother's affections, tracking toys that are held in front of her, and MAYBE smiling? I think she's smiling and that's all that matters, right? :)

And here's the hilarious ... picture this:
This was a couple of days ago so Josh was still home. Emma has two different prescribed antibiotic ointments that are in very similar-looking tubes, but one is for her G-tube site and the other is for a yeast infection she got in the hospital around her diaper area. So I was upstairs pumping and Charlie was "helping" Josh change Emma's diaper. Josh accidentally put the stuff that goes on Emma's tummy on Emma's bottom. No big deal, but he came running across the house with no diaper on Emma up to our bedroom to get the right ointment (picture him holding her out so as not to get peed on :)) Charlie came running after him. I'm upstairs pumping. Josh makes it up the stairs. Charlie runs into the wall. (or falls down the stairs, we're not really sure which) Of course, Charlie cries and says he needs someone to kiss his not-actually-injured-but-I-don't-know-that-at-this-point-head and make it better. So I abruptly stop pumping and run, still lactating, downstairs to my son. I ask, "Do you need kisses?" He replies, "No, I just bonked" and runs off to play with toys. I stand in the entrance to our bedroom with milk on my shirt and look at my husband (who, unfortunately in my mind, did NOT get peed on) and we laugh. Cuz what else can you do? :)

And I must say, we are getting spoiled by the meals we are recieving!! If you people are eating on a regular basis as well as you have provided to us every night this past week, how are you not all 300 pounds?? Bless you all. But how do you expect me to lose my baby weight with all this wonderful food??? :)

Merry Christmas! Christ's love and peace to all of you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just what the little dude's been waiting for!


He finally gets to hold her.
And as you can see by the picture, he's very proud and takes his responsibility very seriously


I can't tell you how much it warms my heart to see Charlie with Emma. He just loves on this little girl so much, I have to tell him, "Ok, no more kisses now until mommy's done changing her diaper."

I can't believe how much I am in love with these two kids.

But we'll see in 24 hours. :) tomorrow is my first full day at home with these two by myself. I am feeling right now like it's within the realm of manageable, but the big unknown is how independent is Charlie willing to be when it's just the 3 of us. Of course, I am not above counting on good ole Winnie the Pooh and/or Grover to help me out in that department, however :)

As one of Charlie's favorite books says ... I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

you have no idea what's coming! :)




seriously, we do have another child and i promise we'll post pics of him and the two of them together soon, but i'm still not sure what he'd do if i posed him with her and stood back to take the picture!

hmmmm

ok, for some reason I couldn't type in that last post after I put the pics in ... oh, well

no, she's not smiling for real yet, but if you sit with her with a camera for long enough, you can get a really cute picture of her with gas! :)

and can you see the eyelashes? love it!

Charlie is so proud of "Baby Emma." I'll have to post a picture of him soon, but I'm a little embarrassed; he's got the biggest goose-egg ever on his forehead. He was so excited on our first day with his sister home that he was running around and ran into a wall!! Seriously

And everything he does these days is "for Emma"
"I turn on da light for Emma"
"I read a book for Emma"
"I eat my green beans for Emma"

ok, so maybe I made that last one up, but he did crawl onto the couch and "read" One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish to Emma yesterday. It was pretty cute

Still trying to figure out how to care for these two monsters, and actually I'm a little in denial right now and therefore hiding in my blog because Josh left for work an hour ago!!! Yes, my mom is coming a little later, but for the moment, I'm alone in the house with two monkeys. What if they both wake up? :)

Love to all

Remember Tamara and her camera?




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We'll put pictures up again someday, I promise! :)

But the roller coaster continues. Bottling is NOT going well. She's loving her paci, but I put the bottle in her mouth and she screams!

I'm grateful that we have the tube to feed her, and I'm glad she's gaining weight, but we need to keep her from getting an aversion to oral feeding, and so far I'm a little worried. (what am I talking about "so far"? She did great on Sunday and these two days have been ... let's just say hectic.) My biggest concern actually is that she's not doing well because she's picking up my anxiety with this activity.

Thanks for all your support and prayers. I am absolutely convinced that the prayers of God's people DIRECTLY lead to Emma's healed heart, so I know bottling is small potatoes ... but it's frustrating nontheless

Ahh, sweet Emma

I'm in a good place right now and so is my daughter, so I thought I'd throw up a quick post.

I have no idea how to do this! But that's ok, right? What parent brings home a baby (particularly #2) and sits back and thinks about how easy this is?

Our pediatrician visit went well. Emma had another echocardiogram right before she left the hospital, just to be sure ... still nothing wrong with her heart! (they heard a murmur and thought that we were finally going to see what we thought was there, but it's not from a hole, it's the result of an "abnormality that is within the range of normal" that we don't need to do anything about. Emma's heart is fine ... a little different from most people's, but fine ... just like her :))

Charlie is such a good big brother! Josh and I are running around like stressed out chickens with their heads cut off (are there chickens with no heads that AREN'T stressed?) and Charlie peeks into her bassinet and says "Hi, baby Emma!" and asks if he can hold her hand. Again, the calm in the center of the storm is the 2-year old?????? I love my Charlie.

And I love my Emma. She's so snuggly and little and cute. She gets so many comments wherever she goes, and that makes me feel good.

It's a roller coaster, though. I'm stressed about finding time to pump, and then I'm stressed about how much to mix with formula (extra calories for our little one) and how much to freeze and then I'm stressed about putting the right amount in the pump and .... it's tough.

Our God will give us strength. When I was in labor, my mantra during contractions was "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Still true. I just need to remember it.

And maybe get some sleep, but we knew we weren't signing up for lots of that!! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

We're home!

Yes, she really came home today. I wasn't really ready to believe it until it actually happened. You should have seen Beck and I trying to figure out the first feeding together. Remember not so long ago when we posted our thoughts on being at the hospital at the same time? Maybe we should have done a little more of that...... Anyway, we figured it out, and now we're trying to figure out the getting Emma to sleep game........we'll keep you posted.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The day we thought would never come.....

....and secretly feared would. Emma is coming home tomorrow! Baring any drastic changes in the next 16 hours, we'll be bringing Emma home tomorrow afternoon. We're excited, scared, nervous, scared, scared, and excited!


Breathe....breathe.....So Beck and I (yes, this is Josh) spent last night in a room at Children's with Emma, all by ourselves. It was a little practice run, with nurses in the next room if needed. Emma was an angel. She was out by 10pm and still sleeping when I left at 7am. Apparently she slept till 8. I'm thinking the continuous feeds from 9pm to 9am are going to be a Godsend! We got a chance to use our new feeding pump and make sure we understood it. I think all three of us did amazingly well, especially Becky who actually got SOME sleep.

So today, Charlie went to the hospital to see his little sister.





Charlie wanted to "hod it", but luckily was satisfied with holding her hand.


Emma got a little upset, so Charlie, being the good older brother, gave her her paci very gently.



So tomorrow life gets turned upside down again. I'm not sure when we're going to get to posting again, but we'll do our best. We really appreciate everyone's support, and especially those of you who have made it clear that the support is just starting. It's gonna be a long road (we've got a lot of calls to make tomorrow for Dr. appointments just for this week) but we'll make it with our great support network.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Speaking of grace

I'm hoping you all will give me some grace for my thoughts on Jonah this morning. I re-read my post and I just want to make sure it's clear that I am NOT a fire and brimstone Christian. I don't think I phrased my comments right there. I just mean to say that sometimes we as Christians focus too much on the fact that God will forgive us and we forget to make sure we are striving to be right with him. Jesus came "full of grace and truth" and we have to make sure we never forget either the grace or the truth. Jonah was disobedient and got thrown into the ocean as a result, but God rescued him anyway, what an awesome and grace-filled God we serve.

Does that make Christ the whale?

Pardon the lightening bolt headed my way ...

hee hee ... I'm trusting at least SOME of you out there know me well enough to find the humor in my irreverent moments of comparing Jesus to a big fish...

Ok, back to my wonderful children.

Emma took 13 mls from a bottle today!!! And she didn't spell or anything! Yea, Emma!

And a huge PRAISE report for those who have been praying. The insurance company WILL pay for the pump and supplies for Emma's feedings. What a relief!

We had CPR training and pump training today, so I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the stuff we need to know and have and do for our little girl, but we'll get through it. I don't think anyone planning to become second-time parent thinks "oh, let's just get pregnant. Remember how EASY babies are?" So Emma will be a lot of work in a different way than Charlie was a lot of work, but it will be ok.

The doctor seems to think Wednesday is a pretty reasonable day to think about taking Emma home, but it ain't over until ... well, you know.

We're praying that she'll come home at the RIGHT time. Can't rush these things, I understand, but we're so excited to just get her here!!

Small victories

Another very good day yesterday with the little girl. We (meaning I ... this is the first time I actually got to do it!) tried another bottle and she did great! She was rooting and sucking and swallowing and pausing to breathe and everything just as well as any other kid! We have a special bottle for helping her get the most out of her suck since she has the cleft palate (which, by the way, if I have explained to anyone what her type of cleft looks like, i was wrong. The NICU nurse explained it to us incorrectly way back when ... so basically she just has no soft tissue on the top of her mouth and so it's open to her nose and we have to feed her sitting up. Oh, well. Heart's fine:)) So she's eating like a rock star.

Doing well on the feeding schedule, too. Yesterday during one of her first ones she showed signs of discomfort, but nothing like before. And really, that's part of the point, here. You know after you eat thanksgiving dinner and you swear your stomach will never be the same size again? That's how my Emma feels right now because we're stretching her stomach. She's just had a continuous slow drip until now.

So yesterday I was holding her after one of her feedings and she refluxed a little. I switched her over to her stomach in my hand and rubbed her back and watched her color. Her heart rate did drop a bit, but my nurse said she was really proud of me that I caught the event before the monitors did. Emma bounced right back and did fine without even needing to be vented (burped). I felt SO victorious! Like, yes, I CAN take this baby home without a monitor!

And I'm trying not to reflect on what "victorious" looks like these days. I'm trying to push "should" and "supposed to" out of my mind. Taking 5 ml of a bottle is victorious for Emma, and I need to practice this perspective for the rest of my life, I think. She will always be a little different, and I think I've finally (by God's grace and nothing else, mind you) arrived at a mental place where I can see "victorious for Emma" and truly "victorious" and not be sad about what life was "supposed to" look like. And that's a happy thing for me.

Anyway, back at home...





Again, so much for my attempts at photography. :)
We have a tree and lights and decorations. Charlie loves it!
He's such a good boy, too. Yesterday at the breakfast table we had a small "You're not allowed to say no to your Mama" incident and when it was over, he seemed to be thinking for awhile ...
C: "What happened to Jonah?"
Me: "I don't know, what happened to Jonah?" (not sure where he's going with this)
C: "He said no to God"
in his Bible there's a story that goes like this:
God said go
but Jonah said no
He got thrown off a ship with a big Heave ho
Got swallowed, got spit out
got on with his task
and did just what he'd heard God ask
I have to say as a side note, here, that I think I was in high school before I realized that the story of Jonah and the whale was about obedience. I think too often the Sunday School version of this story is that Jonah got rescued by the whale and not that Jonah was in the ocean in the first place because he was disobedient. And that can be a whole long philosophical discussion if you want about the short comings of many north american protestant churches (too much preaching on grace, not enough calling out sin ... i mean, obviously it should be all about grace, but why are we in the proverbial ocean in the first place? you know what i mean)
but this blog is about my kids, not theological debate (though if you ever catch me without my kids around, you know I'm ALWAYS up for a good meaty discussion) :)
So good job, Charlie's Bible, I think he actually got the point of the Jonah story ... and of course there is also the very fun picture of the whale ...
We had a long conversation about how Jonah had to learn to be a good listener to God just like Charlie has to be a good listener to Mommy and Daddy.
And did it sink in?
Apparently, when he was at Nana's house yesterday during my aforementioned bottle victory ...
C: "What happened to Jonah?"
Nana: "I don't know, is this a friend of yours at church?"
C: "In Charlie's Bible. He said no to God"


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

PS- prayer request

we're having a little insurance company battle - it seems they will not pay for a feeding tube pump at home ... which she needs ...

i love insurance companies

please pray that we won't end up paying the $1000 a month out of pocket! we don't have it :)

Go, Emma, go!

So after quite an ordeal to get her calmed down enough to do the test, Emma failed her hearing test ... initially. She can hear down to 40 decibels (conversation is between 30 and 40 and a chainsaw is at, like, 120 or something.) where the threshold for normal hearing is down to 25 or something like that.
But then they did a test that bypassed her ear canal and she can hear just fine.

Which means we get tubes put in her ears and she can hear just fine.

Praise God!

We also started the "bolus" feedings today, but it's going to be very gradual, getting her stomach to expand and get empty and having her be ok with it. Please pray that this goes smoothly. This is the last thing that could keep us in the hospital!

We are told that we can go home as soon as Saturday, provided everything goes well between now and then.

How are we feeling about this, you ask?
We are rejoicing! Like I said, it just takes a minute sometimes to come to terms with the situation, and there will be more bumps and more dips in the roller coaster, but today is good and we're so excited to get her home!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A good day

Have I thanked you all profusely enough yet for riding this emotional roller coaster with us for the past couple of weeks? If not, thank you!!! I can't tell you what your support means to me, both on days like yesterday and days like today.


Today was a pretty good day. Emma took 5 mls again by bottle and didn't spell, although she is showing signs of experiencing reflux, which is hard for her because she can't spit up or burp, so we're learning when to vent her tubes and when not to. I think it's harder for me than her, actually, but we'll get it figured out. We always knew bottling would be a long road for our Emma, but we're really glad that it doesn't seem to be preventing her from being able to come home.



Also, she's off the Jtube feedings! Yea! Now we only need one pump and we only need to use one tube. It's still up in the air whether that tube will be removed before we go home because if she needs to use it again it's a big pain to get it back in, but it's nice that we only have to worry about one once we're home.


Tomorrow we start trying "Bolos" feedings, which means instead of a continuous drip, Emma is going to have to start eating every 3 hours like a normal baby. This could be hard because her stomach hasn't done that whole 'hungry-full-hungry-full' thing yet.
Please pray also for her hearing test tomorrow? They are supposed to test her at 9:30.

But she passed her carseat test! Good girl! One step closer to home.

She had a lot of awake time today with Mommy and Daddy. I so love that alert little girl.


Here's a pic that the nurse took a week ago that we finally have a digital version of. She's even less Yoda-ish now, but still I'm a huge fan of her expression in this picture:


She's got sort of a "I know something you don't know" thing going on here, don't you think? :)



And meanwhile, back at the ranch ...



Charlie is doing well. Again, I'm so enjoying my mornings with him. This morning we were playing with his Lego table (picture a coffee table that has a lego surface and a hole in the middle where a bucket of Legos goes).



He loves going downstairs to play "Legoblocks" and this morning when he dropped a peice on the floor, we started playing peek-a-boo through the hole in the middle of the table.



I swear, looking at me and Josh, you wouldn't think we'd have such cute kids! :)


Here's one more of Emma (I was going to post more, but I really should go to bed :)) after she passed her carseat test.

I think she looks quite proud of herself.

Monday, December 8, 2008

this is the day ...

This may be long winded, but i'm in serious need of prayer.

My friend Stephanie offerred to watch Charlie this morning while I went to see Emma, and when I got back to pick him up, he and his little friend Bete were singing "This is the day that the Lord has made." He sang it the whole way home. You all know that I love it when Charlie learns a new song but today it tore my heart in two.

Emma had a rough morning. Actually, she had a pretty rough morning and Mommy had a VERY rough morning.

The OT met me for bottle feeding at about 10:30. I should have pumped when I got to the hospital at 10, but she was all awake and cute and making silly faces with Mommy, so I just couldn't leave.

So at 10:30 the OT was holding Emma and trying another bottle. This time we were going to try 10 mls and she'd had her pumps off for about 30 mins, so she was actually hungry. This bottling started off well and she took the first 5 mls no problem.

Then I'm not really clear what happened. She turned funny colors and all her alarms went off. The OT told the nurse Emma was "having a spell," which means her heart rate goes way down and she sort of stops breathing and the nurse or OT or whoever sits there and with INFURIATING calm (just kidding, I was glad they were so calm, nobody screamed for a crash cart or anything) she flipped her over and patted her back and told her to breathe.

It seemed like forever until Emma woke back up (not sure if she was unconscious or just eyes closed or what, but it scared me) and then she sort of dry-heaved for awhile. And then she lay limp as a rag doll in the OT's hand looking pale and exhausted.

Seriously, the whole event took maybe 30 seconds and I've been assured that we will get used to how to deal with these, that it happens sometimes when she's learning to eat, but tell me that wouldn't freak you out!!!

This is the day that the Lord has made.

After a few minutes Emma still wasn't taking super deep breaths and so the nurse suggested she spend some time on Mom's chest. So we snuggled for about 5 minutes and Emma started to move her head again to look around and her color came back.

And then I looked at the clock and realized it was 11:15, that I was supposed to pick up my son at 12 and he was 30 minutes away and I hadn't pumped since 6:30 that morning!!

This is the day that the Lord has made.

I waited 5 more minutes to convince myself that Emma was really ok. (by this time the OT had left saying, "Ok, great, we'll try again tomorrow?" and "she really is coming along nicely, we got 6 mls in!") Then I asked the nurse to hold her (even though Emma was sound asleep and probably could have just gone down in her crib) and I went to pump.

And cry for awhile.

Let me just make sure to add that Stephanie was super gracious and even though she had kids to get to preschool at 12:15 she offerred to keep Charlie for the afternoon, but I was already feeling badly for waking him up and his naptime was approaching and the nurse suggested that Emma really needed her rest in her crib. I've never felt more torn and depressed in all my life. i kissed Emma and cried and the nurse told me she was fine and i left.

And then I walked into Stephanie's house determined not to cry in front of Charlie and he and Bete are singing "this is the day that the Lord has made."

sigh

And with toddlers, (or at least my Charlie) mommies are stuck singing along with songs for quite some time when little guys get them stuck in their heads.

I didn't really understand the term "sacrifice of praise" until this afternoon as Charlie and I were singing the call and response "let us rejoice and be glad in it"

We had McDonald's for lunch.

Now here's where I need prayer. As I was cleaning up lunch, I got the phone call I've been waiting for for almost 4 weeks.

"Hi, this is Dr. P. I just checked Emma out and she's looking great. She's going to be off the Jtube feedings by tomorrow and then we're kind of at the point where there's nothing that we're doing for her here in the hospital that you can't do for her at home, so I wanted to talk to you about a plan for that."

this is the day that the Lord has made

Am I appropriately conveying my emotions? I'm not really sure what to type next, here, but I'm crying and I don't know if I'm sad or just overwhelmed or scared or happy or all of the above.

So Josh is at the hospital now and hopefully nailing down some details. We still have a car seat test we need to do (they put Emma in her car seat for like an hour or something and leave her monitors on to check and make sure she's ok sitting like that for the ride home), we need to meet with some cleft palate people to make sure we understand what we're dealing with there and her brain/hearing test is scheduled for Wednesday, so we're looking at maybe the end of the week.

OK

Collecting myself, praying for strength.

This is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.

just give me a minute :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quick update tonight

Because, really, why am I not in bed? :)

Emma took a bottle today!! I was, unfortunately, not there to see it (stupid church - JUST KIDDING ... hey, was anyone praying during that time for Emma's feeding???), but her daytime nurse was doing Emma's oral motor skills program and noticed that Emma's sucking had gotten a lot stronger. So she filled up a bottle with 5 ml (yup, 5 ML, not 5 ounces, so we're talking a medicine dropper amount of milk, here) and Emma sucked and swallowed and breathed and got the whole thing down! The nurse said she thought Emma might have taken more but that the doc hadn't ordered oral feeding yet (there's a difference between that and being allowed to practice with small amounts, apparently).

(side note - has anyone else noticed that I use paranthesis entirely too often??)

(and let's play "count the typos" in this post ... again, why am I not sleeping?)

So I'm super excited! I keep reminding myself that this is going to be a learned skill for our little girl instead of it just coming naturally, so this doesn't mean that she's ready to just bottle all the time and go home tomorrow or anything. But it's a big step!

LOVED Pastor Dave's comment today - think God's powerful enough to handle this?

yup

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Our little man

My friend Tamara got a new camera (hee, hee, that's fun to say out loud)


Just for those of you who didn't see the cuteness on her blog, she was gracious enough to send the pic over here:

Thanks, everyone for your prayers for our little family!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mom of the year ...

or cheap and lazy, you be the judge. :)

So Charlie was re-counting his adventures at his friend Eli's house to me this morning and he mentioned that they had to take turns with Eli's guitar. Now, let me back up for a minute ... Eli's guitar is quite possibly the most annoying toy ever invented! (with the exception perhaps of the spider/ladybug that sings "sort, sort, sort my shapes, circles hearts and squares!" to the tune of Row Your Boat, but I digress) This guitar has buttons all the way up the neck and plays (or PLAYED until the batteries became irreplacably "broken") very loud electronic sounding ... ummm ... music (for lack of a better word).

But for some reason this guitar is a point of contention between the two friends and Moms always have to enforce turn taking whenever the awful thing makes it's appearance.

So today Charlie was talking about this and he sort of paused, thought for a minute and came up with a great plan:

C: "I wanna have a guitar at Charlie's house."
Me: "But we don't have one of those guitars."
C: "I wanna guitar at Charlie's house."
Me: "That guitar lives at Eli's house"
C: "We go to da store and buy a guitar for Charlie's house?"

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?! When has THAT ever been an option or solution to ANYTHING in my house?!?!?!?! He doesn't watch commercials ... where did consumerism pop into my sweet little angel's head???

But then a wonderful idea occurred to me: he doesn't know the difference yet between Eli's and cardboard. I mean, he has a "lightsaber" at Nana's house that was made from an old tube of wrapping paper and stickers from those free return address labels we all get this time of year, so why not a guitar from an old cardboard box?

So we got our scissors and crayons and I must say he's thrilled with the result:


video

Sometimes I get self-conscious about the fact that all my videos of Charlie singing, etc, are Christian songs. I'm not trying to put an over-spiritual front out there and it's not like we have daily praise and worship time at my house, it's just that I'm overly influenced by secular music, so it's all we have on in the house and Charlie picks up on things frighteningly quickly.

That being said, however, I will be a proud geeky Mama and post the latest Bible verse that Charlie has memorized. (secretly he just likes to read my Bible because it has fun-feeling pages and so we read Ps 23, but I like that he learns stuff like this so well ... maybe in my next life I'll start being more intentional about all this, but for now please believe me that I'm not nearly as cool as I may look on my blog)

video

And tonight's Emma update: she failed her hearing test last night, but that doesn't mean she absolutely can't hear. It just means we need a more sophisticated test (with brain-activity sensors and such) to tell what she can hear and what she can't. There are still possible solutions like ear tubes and surgery and such if we find that there are things she can't hear.

And her weight is now 4 lbs 13.8 oz. Go, Emma, go!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another silly singing video :)

So quick Emma update: Bottling didn't go well today. She has the sucking on the bottle figured out, but swallowing didn't go well. She actually had a quick spell, choking, setting off all her monitor alarms, etc, which was a little scary. Our OT said part of the problem was that she's not hungry, so we're going to wait until next week and try again.

Also, she's having her hearing checked tonight. Last night they tried to check it but there was too much noise in the room, so we're trying tonight. If she doesn't pass this one they have to sedate her to run a more sophisticated test. No fun. Please pray she can hear...

But on a lighter note, Charlie is still bouying our spirits.

Hands down, his favorite song right now is Mighty to Save. I know for the rest of my life that song will have very special meaning. I framed the verse from Zephaniah 3:17 and put it by Emma's bedside to remind myself everyday that God is mighty to save and rejoices over us.

But Charlie doesn't really know that at this point, he just likes the song :)

And he also likes the snowman that sings "let it snow," so clearly the two should be combined.

And the hat was his idea, not mine. Not that I'm opposed to the holiday spirit.



video


I am so thankful that I can still have my mornings with Charlie.

This morning had the most beautiful snow outside so we tried for a artful pic of Charlie watching big white fluffy flakes ... I'm not good at photography.



Oh, well. Have a great night, everyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Again, cute kids!

Josh and I found ourselves at the hospital at the same time today ... hmmm, let's try to keep that to a minimum, what do you think, honey? :) In my humble opinion, it takes two people who are as madly in love as we are to openly admit to one another that sometimes you just want me to GO AWAY and LET ME HAVE MY EMMA TIME!


Emma is waking up and interacting a little now! Loving it!!

Deep thoughts, by Emma Watczak




Hmmmm. So you're my daddy, huh? Well, ok, if you insist, but there are going to have to be some changes in the "play time" activity list!


Just kidding. Actually, Josh was doing her muscle tone therapy today and Emma did very well. Our OT therapist stopped by yesterday and she said Emma has made great progress. We might even get to try bottle feeding tomorrow!!

Mommy loves the snuggles.

Rest up, little girl, you've got a big day ahead of you!



Don't you just love the frogs?




Ok, we do have a little boy at home, too, who gets lots of camera time. We've gotten out some Christmas stuff and he's really enjoying those annoying singing snowmen that we get from Hallmark every year. (yeah, I know, take it up with my husband ... )





A quick aside - anyone else who is using blogspot know how to avoid spacing issues when posting multiple pics? It's enough to send a person over the edge! :)
That's all for tonight, folks. As usual, we are so grateful for your prayers! God bless you all!

Monday, December 1, 2008

PS

Sorry, rambled so long down my strange spiritual path that I forgot tonight's prayer request:

Emma's hearing and vision are being tested this week. I know that's routine and not worrysome for most new parents, but if you look at syndromes indicated by everything Emma's had going on so far, hearing loss and vision problems typically fit right in. (still no word on genetic testing, but doctors are assuming certain syndromes are likely so that they can know what to look for for the sake of early intervention. I guess that's good... depressing, but good.)

Please pray that she will pass her tests?

Thank you!!

Hey, Mom, what's that?

This was the question of the morning over breakfast this morning.



I was pumping at the time, so I was a little worried that he was asking about how that was working, but ...



Charlie was sitting at the breakfast table, pointing toward the living room, asking about something.



Then I was worried he had noticed what was missing. I had a rough day yesterday because the flowers are dead and the balloons have deflated, but she's still not here.



But that's not what Charlie was pointing and asking about.



"What's dat? On da pah-no?"



On the piano? Oh!



Here's what he had noticed that I put out yesterday and arranged on the top of the piano:






Charlie was asking about our manger scene.



I realized yesterday as we were out and about and he was pointing out "Kiss-mess tees" that I hadn't really explained Christmas to Charlie yet. He wasn't really old enough last year, and I'd given short answers like "Christmas is Jesus' birthday," but we hadn't sat down to talk about it yet.



So I told Charlie the story of Jesus' birth this morning.



And while I was in the shower after this breakfast time chat, I was pondering how much of the story would sink in.



I mean, when Charlie got old enough that we started praying with him, I worried about what exactly we were going to tell him about this "God" fellow. The thing is, I wasn't sure what to tell Charlie about why we love Jesus. I would think about why I love Jesus and all He's saved me from, but it didn't seem appropriate to tell one's 18month old son, "You see, when Mommy was in college, she made some bad choices ..."



So why do we love Jesus? You know, the two year old version ... hmmmmm.



At the time, we just sort of plowed ahead and prayed and thanked Jesus for everything He had given us that day and prayed for help or healing or whatever seemed appropriate at the time. Lately, of course, we've been thanking God for family and friends a lot and of course every night praying for baby Emma to come home soon. But it's not like you sit down and present the gospel to your toddler. You just sort of hope they catch on?? That doesn't seem right, either, though.

So the thought that popped into my head today was this acronym I learned once when I was younger about God: TULIP. I'm sure many of you have heard of it and probably remember better than I do what all the letters stand for (is U unconditional love?), but I was remembering that the letter 'I' stood for 'irresistable.' As in, God in all his facets and the Holy Spirit working in someone's heart is simply irresistable.

(side note: I'm pretty sure P stands for something having to do with predestination, so I don't want to open up a big can of worms theological debate, here, particularly as I am making a point about my TODDLER. Calm down, Hammonds:) just go with me on this)

So on we go with Charlie, talking about how we can't go and see Emma but we can pray for God to make her better, and having Charlie singing songs about our God is an awesome God and so on. And I have no idea if I'm doing ANY of this right.

But despite my best efforts, I think my son loves the Lord, in his way. And I'm so proud.

Charlie loves to pray. I haven't had to explain to him that God hears him even though He's invisible and all that, he just simply loves to pray. God moves in our hearts and His presence is irresistable, regardless of our factual knowledge. (again, calm down, theologians, talking about the faith of a 22 MONTH OLD, here)

But I think about "am I explaining this right?" and "what exactly are the key points he NEEDS to know about Christmas?" and then I remember one of our Thanksgiving meals (we have several):

One of our family members prayed a very general beautiful prayer thanking God for the many blessings he's poured out on our family this year and we said "in Jesus' name, amen" and started to eat.

But Charlie's hands were still folded.

"Pray again!" he said adamantly.

"what should we pray for, buddy?"

"Emma"

Dear Jesus, please don't ever let me forget to lay all my trials at your feet. Thank you that you work in our hearts to remind us of your presence always. Thank you for my children and please continue to heal Emma and keep her safe. Amen

Thursday, November 27, 2008

This year, I'm thankful for poop and puke!

And no, I have not given our children creative new nicknames! :)

Emma had quite the morning today. I went in and commented to the nurse that her beautiful hair was looking kind of greasy. The nurse took a look at Emma's Gtube site and decided that it had healed sufficiently for her to have a bath.

Huh?

No, seriously. You're telling me that there's a hole in Emma's side through which a tube travels directly into her inner organs and we're going to submerge her in a normal infant bath tub?

Yup.

Apparently it heals very much like a pierced ear and doesn't let water into her insides (which baffles me), so we gave Emma her first real bath today!

So why am I thankful for poop and puke?

Well. I don't know many parents who can say their infant loved their first bath, and Emma was no exception. I took her diaper off right before the bath and it was very wet. I'm naive. I've forgotten how little their bladders are at this point. So I picked up a naked little Emma. It felt so normal and nice to just pick her up like that, so I snuggled her for a minute. OF COURSE she peed on me. But I was so happy to just be holding a little Emma that I really didn't mind. No, seriously. That sounds like I'm lying. I know the novelty will wear off. But seriously, I was just holding my little girl and she was so cute and naked and soft (and I have these hormones or something) and I laughed and enjoyed a thrillingly NORMAL new baby moment.

So then we put her in the tub. And she hated it. And she pooped. Again, no infant has ever done anything so wonderful and sweet in my mind. Again, I'm not lying when I say that I SERIOUSLY rejoiced in the normal baby moment of having to refill the bathtub. Her digestive track is working!

So then, when the bath was over and she was all clean and soft and good-smelling and snuggly, I sat down in the rocking chair to rock her to sleep. Now bear with me, here, this next part requires some technical explanation. Because of the way they re-attached her stomach and esophagus (again, anyone out there know how to spell that?), when her stomach fills up and expands, it works as a one-way valve (not sure how, doesn't matter, though) to keep her from getting terrible reflux. Which is great, but anyone who's fed a baby knows that what goes in must somehow come out and sometimes gas and urps need to make their way back up, right? Emma is unable to do that for the time being (she'll outgrow this eventually, we're told). So there is a port in her Gtube that leads out for gas and urps to escape if necessary. This has been empty for Emma until today because her stomach feedings have not been big enough to start this process, but now whenever we hold Emma we have something clipped to our shirts that needs to stay above Emma so gas can escape. Today, of course, just as Emma was falling asleep after the bath, it leaked. On me. I looked at the nurse, just to clarify that I was understanding what had just happened, and she nodded and said, "yup, what is now on your shirt used to be in her stomach."

So in the course of 2 hours, I got peed on, pooped on, and puked on.

And I'm not lying when I say I walked out of the ICC unit with dirty clothes and a big smile on my face.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In my opinion, we've got some cute kids!

We'll start with the littlest tonight.


She's doing ok. Her tube feedings into her stomach are being absorbed VERY slowly (don't ask how they know that, it's kind of gross), so they aren't adding any more to those feedings. This feels like a slow process, but we have to trust they know what they're doing. We talked to the doc today about what different "going home" scenarios look like, and it's hard to picture for us right now. There is a possibility that she will go home with a heart and respiration monitor for her room in addition to all the feeding apparatuses (apparati?) that we'll be bringing. It was a hard conversation for Mom and Dad, but we realized that there are scenarios that would fall under the heading of "coming home too soon." I never would have pictured saying that in a million years, but she really is being well cared for right now ... and she's not ready to come home. WOW ... between that and "eat your broccoli," parenting is hard when you have to do those "in the best interest of the child" things ... (I don't think I said that well, but I think you know what I mean)


As promised, here are some pictures of her in her adorable "preemie" sized outfits.

I think that last one deserves a caption, but I'm having trouble ... something along the lines of "what? little old me?"

And for those who are curious, the yellow tube is her feeding tube, and that's what she'll come home with.

In the middle picture she's got some therapy equiptment on her hands. They are working on some upper body strength with Emma right now, including neck strength and hand grasp. I was pretty proud of her today, though, she made eye contact with her therapist and followed her with her eyes when the therapist moved her head. Good girl!

And her oral stim program is going really well. It's like a little face massage, and I think she's actually kind of enjoying it, which is really rewarding for Mommy. At the end of the program, she gets a finger or a paci dipped in milk to practice sucking on (since she's not eating from her mouth yet) and after that she's usually sleeping like a little lamb. And then Mommy gets her snuggles! Love it!

And it's been awhile since I have posted anything about my son that should be used for future blackmail, so I thought I'd get the camera out this morning and wait for him to do something cute. :)

It didn't take long.

This is how potty time goes in our house. I promise the video doesn't show anything inappropriate, but if you're in a sporting mood, find someone else to watch with and take bets halfway through about whether or not he falls in!!

video

Did you win any money? :)

And how am I doing, you ask? Well, I'm not gonna lie, this sucks. I feel SO torn between my two kids, and Charlie asks several times a day if he can go and see Emma at the hospital, which breaks my heart as well. Pumping is ... well, let's just say not nearly as nice as breastfeeding and leave it at that. We're getting into a routine, but as often as people say completely true and well-meaning things about how Charlie needs me, too and I can't neglect my own health ... you tell me if you wouldn't feel any guilt about the fact that you are either not with your son or leaving your daughter alone in the hospital 25 minutes away! I HAD A BABY AND SHE'S NOT HERE. Yeah, this sucks.

But.

There are blessings. I have met some wonderful people. By definition, the other parents and family members I meet in the ICC are going through crappy stuff, too, and it's an interesting community. The girl in the bed next to Emma's has been there 7 weeks and her mom (who I've had lunch with and really have enjoyed talking to) just got the news today that she gets to take her little girl home tomorrow! I got goosebumps and hugged her and was almost as teary-eyed as her mom was when I heard the doctor tell her the news!! I'm so happy for her.

And I guess the rest of my emotions about the experience can be summed up in my experience a LIFETIME ago when I had the MRI test. God's here. I got to snuggle with Emma for a really long time today and God was there.

Yea, though I walk through the valley ... thou art with me.

And really, I just need to keep reminding myself that that's all that matters.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

...and now for the rest of the story.....

As Becky said, apologies for the lack of posting. We will try not to go three days without posting again. We appreciate all of you who checked up on us to make sure we're still on the up and up!


Emma is doing great and making progress towards coming home. In fact, I think she's doing the best out of the four of us. She has constant feedings, so she never gets hungry, and if she's sick of what you're doing to her, she falls asleep.....sounds nice. I think it's safe to say the other three of us are hitting the wall in our own way.

Charlie cried hard tonight over the tiniest of things. He repeatedly got worked up to the point that he couldn't breath. It's been a good 6 months since he's gotten that worked up. When we were going through his bed time routine tonight, and he and I were snuggling, I tried to put him down 5+ times before I finally got him down. Every time I tried, I got a "*sniff*snuuuuggle....sit down chair*sniff sniff*". How do you tell that little boy no, especially after he's been crying all night and has just settled down? After 30 minutes of this, I had to say "5 minutes buddy", the line we use when we need him to do something he doesn't want to do. And as usual, when I said "ok, time to go", he got up without whining and climbed into bed.

Becky was coming home from the hospital the other night and thought she was on a one way street, so she was driving in the far left lane. Turns out it was a two way street, as evidenced by the car coming the other way in her lane. Let's just say Becky isn't going to visit Emma at night any more.

And me, I'm trying to balance seeing Emma and being there to learn how to take care of her, spending real time with Charlie, helping Becky work through the after effects of pregnancy hormones, and putting enough time in at work to get done what I need to do there. Sleep....what sleep?

Thankfully God knew what he was doing when he brought Becky and I together. So far we've done a good job of not falling apart at the same time, and therefore being able to hold each other up during the other times. As we head into week three, we're definitely getting into survival mode. We're hoping to have our little girl home by Christmas.

Thank you for all of the support. We REALLY appreciate it and can't start to express what's it's meant to us.

The good news ...

Josh and I have a deal that I'm only allowed to post the good news for today ... he says he'll be back on later to update what life REALLY looks like with baby #2 in the hospital.

So apologies for the lack of posts lately. Emma's doing really well.

Her feedings are increasing through the tube into her intestines (she has her IV out now! did I post that already? don't remember...). We're up to 14 ml/hr, which gets her about 12 oz a day for you non-metric types. :) She's on continuous feedings right now, so we have a couple of transitions to go through before she can even think about going home. She still needs to have nutrients in her tummy instead of intestines (which they are starting, but VERY slowly) and she needs to "eat" every 3 hours or so like a normal baby instead of a continuous feed like she's on now. And she has to be at least trying bottle feeding.

Which gets us to her first therapy appointment, which was yesterday. We're working on oral muscle development. You know how when kids lose a tooth they just can't keep their tongue out of the spot where the tooth used to be? Well, Emma's tongue is habitually stuck up in the roof of her mouth due to the cleft palate. So we need to do exercises with her to get her tongue to lie on the bottom of her mouth where it is supposed to be because that's where it needs to be for her to suck on anything. The goal at this point is for us to get a finger in her mouth on top of her tongue and get her to suck on it. So we do things to stimulate her cheek muscles and stuff like that. It's hard work for both Mommy and Emma and she's usually exhausted after a session and up for a good snuggle.

Her second therapy appointment was today with someone from the same OT team, but this time they were assessing her motor skills and body muscle development (I didn't think a 2 week old baby had motor skills ... what did I know?). They tested reflexes and muscle strength and stuff like that. She passed almost all her tests except her neck muscles. She picks her head up when she's on her tummy but she doesn't lift her head forward if you pull up on her arms when she's laying on her back. So tomorrow we'll have another set of exercises to do to strengthen the areas of weakness.

I'm glad we have people assessing these things so that we have early interventions in place if she does need more OT in the future, but it's a little overwhelming. I mean, I know that a tiny baby who has basically been lying on her back for two weeks probably needs some muscle work, don't get me wrong, but can't I just hold her?

Speaking of which, her opening in her tummy where the tube goes in has healed nicely and we're actually able to hold her and handle her like we would any other baby. I had been being so gentle and only holding her cradled in my arms and hyper-aware of where all tubes and cords were that I hadn't even thought about the fact that she, like all babies, is going to need tummy time. So we had a really good snuggle today.
And she has fun awake times now.


For a little while, anyway ... :)The outfit she's wearing is a "newborn" size. We got her in a preemie sleeper today and it fits MUCH better. I can't believe how little she is!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

BEST DADDY EVER!

After getting Charlie in bed tonight, Josh and I were thinking about settling down for a long winter's nap and Josh sighed and said, "I kinda want to go and see her."

So he went!

That girl has her father wrapped around her little finger already and she's not even old enough to know it yet!!

Men, take note, there is NOTHING more attractive to a woman than a man who is a good father (in my opinion, anyway, but then again washboard abs are just not in the cards in our house so ...).

Anyway, before I get all gushy (too late? sorry) ...

Both our little ones are doing really well. Emma is handling her tube feedings nicely so they are increasing steadily. One nurse today was hopeful that maybe Emma can be off the IV feedings as soon as tomorrow! This would be a really exciting step, if for no other reason than she can finally wear some of the adorable outfits we've got waiting for her!

I do have a prayer request, however, and I hope you'll be ok with me not posting details. I'm struggling with worry about Emma's genetic testing. Please pray that God will grant me peace?

Charlie is cuter than ever these days! He's actually carrying on the most BIG BOY conversations. Tonight, for example:

C: "Daddy read me this book?"
J: "Sure! Are we reading in Charlie's room or on the couch?"
C: "On da couch"
J: "Ok, come on over."
C: "I get blankey a lovey and make a nest?"
J: "Ok"
C: "Ok, Daddy, I go get it and den I come back a read a book" (run away to carry out his plan)

Seriously? When did my baby boy start expressing all of this? I mean, for those of you with older kids, I know the above conversation is nothing profound and all, but when did MY Charlie get old enough to form sentences and make requests and all that? He's still my little boy who wears footed pj's and sleeps with a paci and needs "kisses make it all better" at least twice a day! When did he become so independent and confident and all those things we are so proud of and dread all at the same time? (again, for those of you with older children, I know this is nothing compared to driving away to college or the prom or something, so just smile and nod and let me have my cute little "young parent" moment:) )

sigh

life is good with little ones.

And my Prince Charming is home, so I'm off to hear about our little Princess.

Big Day!

Emma had a very exciting day yesterday. She moved from the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) to the ICC (Infant Care Center), which is a level 2 nursery at Children's. In reality there isn't a whole lot of difference between the care in the two areas, but it's smaller and quieter, and a big step towards moving home! Charlie spent the night with Nana, so Becky and I spent the night soothing a cranky Emma, which was actually refreshingly normal. Here's a funny story to convey where we are at this point. She was fussy and the nurse was on break, so Becky and I checked all of her wires and tubes to make sure they weren't pulling, and we held her, rocked her, tried to give her a pacifier......nothing worked. Then we had a "duh" moment as our parenting skills kicked back in, and decided to check her temp. It was 37.0 degrees (I know, it took me a while, but I've learned that's 98.6 degrees for us slow people). Hmmm, why could she be so fussy? After longer than I'd like to admit, we got to her dirty diaper. We changed the diaper, I rocked her, and she was happy as a clam staring at me, ensuring that she still has me wrapped around her little finger, and giving he a "took you long enough!" look. So apparently we need some refreshers on basic newborn parenting 101, which the nurses are providing to us in short order.

Here's a pic after Mom worked her hair into a frenzy last night.

We hope to bring our little girl home soon. She's up to 5ml of breast milk every hour through her feeding tube. It doesn't sound like a lot, and it's not, but it's more than the 1ml/hr she started with. It's being fed straight into her intestines, and that's going well, so soon we should be moving to putting it into her stomach and hoping that that works as well.

Thank you for the continued prayers!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gee, I sure am glad I got the flu shot this year!

Pastor Dave used a sermon illustration this past Sunday about a kid puking while riding one of those octopus scrambler rides at a county fair.

The only possible explanation for the state of the Watczak house at the moment is that Dave, in an effort to REALLY make the point sink in for us, snuck into the church nursery on Saturday night and ...

Just kidding.

But Mama and Charlie are still sick, in case you haven't guessed.

And I can't go and see my Emma while I'm sick.

But I did get to hold her for a really long good snuggle before I felt so icky, so I'm looking forward to that again.

Praise God for grandmothers taking care of Charlie so I can rest.

She's doing well, though. They are feeding her through her tube at the moment and backing off on IV nutrients. This is an exciting first step to getting her to eat. The road ahead of us is still long; first she had to thrive getting her calories pumped directly into her intestines with no IV feedings. Next she has to thrive with milk getting tubed into her stomach with nothing going straight to the intestines. It's a process of sort of "waking up" the system, we're told.

But for right now, she's our beautiful little princess, and I'm anxious to get to hold her again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today's Pic

Emma is doing great. We'll post details tonight, but here's today's pic.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pics!


Josh here. Apparently it's my job to get some pics up here, or so I'm told.

Here's the cutie that greeted me this morning.

Then she got a little warm and decided to show up a little more skin



And here's sleeping beauty.


For those of you looking really close, that's her big brother Charlie watching over her.....OK, actually, it's a picture of him that we taped up in her isolet.

Prayer, please :)

Just a quick post tonight. Emma's doing great. She's off the vent and breathing on her own. There are a couple of signs she's still in pain from her recovery, so they are watching her and giving her Tylenol and an anti-anxiety med. But she had her first ml of Mama milk through her feeding tube today! Exciting steps for our little girl!!

I, however, have caught what Charlie had.

Charlie's better, still not eating great, but better. Mama is sick.

Thank God Josh's mom is still here, but I'm sad I can't go and see my little girl tomorrow.

Please pray for speedy recovery for all of us and especially pray that Emma doesn't catch anything!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

You've GOT to be kidding me!

Emma had a good day today ...

HOWEVER! The Charles Monster is vomitting every 20 minutes.

One in NICU and the other home sick ... ok, deep breaths ... I can do this. Ready, go! :)

I apologize to any we may have infected at church this weekend, and I'm praying that we haven't carried anything in to little Emma.

She's recovering from her surgery really well and has been off narcotics all day now. Her pain is being managed with Tylenol. They watch her face, heart rate, and blood pressure to assess pain; we've been pretty impressed by how in-tune they are with keeping little Emma comfortable. We are thanking God for the gifts he gives the medical community to care for our little girl.

So they are hoping to take the breathing tube out tomorrow morning! Praise God! If that goes well, we may get to hold her again for the first time since the surgery. I'm so excited. She woke up for a little while today and we got to at least have some good eye contact. This was, of course, after they gave her some caffiene to really make sure her lungs were ready for tomorrow. Josh said he was jealous that she got her first "Mountain Dew" so early in life and wanted to know where he could get something that put caffiene directly into one's blood stream!

Our "care coordinator" nurse also came to visit us today. She is the one who gave us our tour of the NICU when I was pregnant and sat in on our consult with Emma's neonatologist that day who described the multiple heart surgeries he anticipated Emma having and the long road ahead of her. She said she would never have guessed that Emma would be doing as well as she is right now. "Miracles do happen," she says. We agreed.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Home

Becky, here, up from an early morning of pumping. Milk is definitely coming in, I'll spare you details, but pumping is going well and we'll have a good supply for Emma when she can start eating.

Both our kids had rough nights last night. I had the alarm set for 2:00 to get up and pump , but at 1:30, I heard Charlie screaming. I ran downstairs and he screamed through tears "I BONKED! Big boy bed together?" His big boy bed crib rail had fallen off somehow (although I have to say I'm not sure how it would have happened without a little help from the monster, so I'm not feeling too badly about it). It was kind of nice, however, to see the little dude and comfort his tears (obviously not injured) when he was sad because he was already in bed when I got home last night.

So we got the crib put back together and Charlie back in bed and I went up to pump. We can call Emma's nurse at any time, so I called when I was done and she hurriedly told me into a speaker phone that she was "in the middle of something" and would call me back. Fighting the urge to get in the car ...

It turned out Emma's breathing tube had come out as they were trying to do some adjustments with her. It's kind of a fiasco when that happens because of her small jaw and her small size in general; it took them quite awhile to get it in for surgery and she needs it during recovery as the pain meds she's on have the side affect of causing little ones to forget to breathe ...

But she's ok. It's back in now

I think yesterday was just about the hardest day of my life, but GOD WAS THERE.

One of the nurses working in Emma's area (but not with Emma) had a break in the action on her side and was chatting with me for awhile yesterday. She heard Emma's nurse getting stuff ready for surgery and asked me what the surgery was for. I told her Emma had a DH and she was shocked. She looked at Emma's nurse, looked at Emma, and clarified, "She's got a diaphragmatic hernia?? Doesn't she need a ventilator?" I have to keep reminding myself that this could be soooooo much worse.

And then I talked to a friend of mine yesterday who doesn't have internet at home to ask for prayer for the surgery. I had lost track of who I had talked to and who I told what to, so it took me a minute when she asked "which surgery is it today?"

I said, "Oh, no, God healed her heart, she only needs one."

sigh

Friday, November 14, 2008

Emma is out of surgery

Hi--This is Becky's friend Tamara again. I just talked to Becky and Emma is out of surgery. Everything reportedly went according to plan and everything is back where it belongs. Emma did fine and is currently in recovery. She will remain intubated/on the ventilator probably through the weekend, as she will be pretty drugged up. Emma now has a feeding tube and a waste tube in place that will allow her stomach to rest and heal. Once the stomach has had that resting period, the next step will be to start feeding Emma through the feeding tube rather than through the IV which is what is feeding her now. This will be a slow process. Once her stomach is able to handle being fed through the feeding tube, they will transition to bottle feeding. Again, this will be a long road to recovery and so we ask for your continued prayers.

Becky was discharged from the hospital this morning and will be heading home later tonight. Please pray specifically that she and Josh would have peace and rest as they are having to deal with leaving sweet Emma at the hospital. It has been a long, exhausting and emotional day for the Watczak's, and I know that they covet your prayers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You just can't get enough, can you? :)

Becky here! ISN'T GOD GOOD?!?!?!?
After a quick and easy labor and a 4 pound baby out with only one push, I'm feeling great!! God gives us no more than we can handle, amen? I can't imagine going back and forth between NICU if I were recovering from surgery.
But you're not here to read about me :)

Here she is, getting over the "swollen newborn Yoda look"

(Sorry about the fuzzy picture of a picture)

I just can't get enough of that hair!

So, prayer warriors, God is faithful! We got official confirmation this morning that there is nothing wrong with her heart and that she does not have an absent nasal bone, which is confusing to some.

Anyone confused? Didn't think so

We are continuing to bathe her in prayer tonight, though, she's got a big day tomorrow.

Friday at 1:00 she will have surgery on her hernia. Obviously there are risks with any surgery, so we're praying for that. We're also concerned about the road ahead, too. She'll come out of this surgery with a feeding and waste tube that won't be removed for quite some time.


But we're greatful and thankful for what we've had so far! Our nurses took pity on us today and let Charlie come and meet his little sister today.


He brought her blankey and lovey and held her hand. He was excited to see her and told us all about her eyes and nose and hair and mouth. He tried to give her a paci, but she wasn't interested at the time :) Most touching, however, was that he sang Jesus Loves Me to her. Not a dry eye in the house.




Sorry about the rotation, we'll fix it when we're not trying to do this from the hospital computer! I swear, it's an incredibly adorable picture of Charlie giving Emma her paci! :)
That's all for now! Thank you all immensely for your prayers!
God is Good