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!!

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


Charlie meets Emma







Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Here's some pics







A few details....and praises!

I just got off of the phone with Becky (who sounds great, by the way--you'd never know she'd just given birth a few hours ago!) so I have some updates to share! First, here's a list of praises from the mama and daddy of this sweet baby girl (who I'm told has a head full of dark curly hair!):
--------
*Emma is breathing completely on her own--aside from a couple of IV's, she's not hooked up to any tubes or machines at all!
--------
*Emma was stable enough following delievery that Becky was able to hold her and enjoy those moments of bonding with her precious daughter!
--------
*Emma gained nearly a full pound between the last growth scan (last Tuesday) and her birthday. God is good, and make no mistake about it--it is through His power alone that this tiny baby, who WASN'T GROWING in utero suddenly picked up the pace and started packing on weight! Praise the Lord!
--------
*The cardiologist made the decision to wean Emma from the heart meds that were administered at birth to "see what her heart does on it's own"...and Ultrasound tests show that her heart is pumping just fine. Can you see the hand of God here??!! This is nothing short of a miracle, and we are rejoicing!!
--------
*Oh, and remember when Josh and Becky were told (at multiple scans, mind you!) that Emma had an "absent nasal bone" which is a marker for a variety of genetic disorders?? Well, God saw fit to just go ahead and replace that bone for Emma. So it's there now. Again, we're in awe. We serve a Mighty God!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And now, regarding the diaphragmatic hernia: The tests that they've completed to this point show that yes, Emma's stomach is in her chest cavity. This will require surgery sometime in the next few days. The doctors are in the process of running another test to determine the extent of the hernia (is it just her stomach, or is there part of her bowel being pulled up into her chest as well?). They'll be doing surgery either way to repair the hernia...these results will only provide for them the information of exactly what they'll be fixing... Also, it was learned that Emma has a cleft palate (but no cleft lip, which is again, something to praise God for!). This is a condition that will require surgery, but not until she's 6-9 months old. It seems surreal that she's actually here, and that they are talking about the possibility of her NOT NEEDING HEART SURGERY AT ALL! Seriously, I'm in awe! Thank you Jesus! Keep those prayers coming!!! I'll update as I hear more from Josh and Becky.

She's Here!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Emma Faith Watczak
was born at 3:39am this morning.
She weighed in at 4lbs. 5 oz and is about 18" long.
~~~~~
Mom and Emma are both doing well.
~~~~~
We rejoice in the arrival of this precious miracle and we marvel at God's goodness and faithfulness.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Change in Plans...

Hi--This is Becky's friend Tamara, and I'll be posting updates for the Watczak's for the time being. Despite the attempts to plan an induction for this Friday, Emma has a different idea of when she'd like her birthday to be...sooo, Josh and Becky are at the hospital, labor is happening on it's own and we're all anxiously awaiting Emma's debut! I'll update as they call! Keep those prayers coming!!!!!!

We're still good!

Another scan this morning and Emma's still getting perfect 10's! And Mommy is even starting to dilate a bit, so we're looking good for a baby by the end of the week.

Thanks for your prayers, we're so excited to finally meet our little girl and feeling almost overwhelmed by the prayers and support of the body of Christ!

Love to all

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Advice for my sisters ... :)

Ladies, heaven forbid you ever end up in a "high risk pregnancy" situation, but if you do, let me just give you a piece of advice:
When you get to that time after 35 weeks when baby has run out of room and moving around less often, NEVER say to your loving husband, "Gee, I haven't felt the baby move in awhile."

I sympathize with the husband's situation; it's gotta be hard not being the one carrying the baby and feeling the little kicks and getting used to how much motion is normal for this particular child and all that.

HOWEVER, you will be dragged to the hospital whether you want to go or not before you even get to shower for the day and strapped into a fetal heart rate monitor for at least an hour and poked and prodded and I HATE THAT!

It takes a fall into a hole or CHILDBIRTH to get me to willingly take myself to the doctor, which I realize might not be the best philosophy in the world, but that's the way I am.

So you all can thank Josh for the fact that we have another perfect BPP score to report from this morning. Emma is still a perfect 10! :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

T-minus 7 days and counting!

Emma passed her tests today with flying colors again.

But our doctor is not a fan of the idea of leaving Emma in there until she shows distress. If she's not growing and we get her past 37 weeks, what are we waiting for? I couldn't agree more.

So we have a date! Emma will be born a week from today, Friday the 14th! (unless God has a sense of humor and she comes sooner ... )

We're so excited to finally meet our little girl!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Just a quick one tonight

Tomorrow, once again, we check to see if Emma's still ok in Mama ... I'm struggling a little with this idea of waiting for my daughter to be in distress.

But, no, actually, my overwhelming emotion is wonder at how NOT panicked I am. Is the logical scientist information junkie in denial? Not fully grasping the situation?

Or reassured by evidence of God's hand working in the lives of those around us ...

If you haven't clicked on the MckMiracle button on our blog yet, you need to. MckMama (who I don't know in real life and will never meet but have wept and rejoiced with multiple times in the last few months) shares the story of her newborn son whom she was told would die in utero. God absolutely has the medical professionals scratching their heads on this one!

And with the news today from another dear friend who recieved a "fully healed" diagnosis for their son today, after they were also told years ago that their hope was foolish, God is surrounding me with witnesses and living testimonies of His power and desire to work for the good of those who love Him.

So when Angie over at Bring the Rain posted some verses to pray for our families to pray over our children this morning, two spoke to me deeply in our situation. I'm hoping that these verses speak to you in your lives as well, because God is moving in our world! Will you join me in praying these for all of our families?

Let the morning bring us word of Your unfailing love, for we have put our trust in You. Show us the way we should go, for it is to You we lift our souls. from Psalm 143:8
The Lord your God is with you; He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with His love, He rejoices over you with singing. from Zeph 3:17

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

As requested ...

Just a couple of quick Charlie pics with his new haircut ("Like Daddy's!") playing on a old exercise trampoline at Nana's house. (scroll down for Emma post)






Ah, the look of care-free joy on a toddler's face. Just try and be worried or depressed with this little dude around!!!

And the verdict is ...

I'm still pregnant!
Emma was poked and prodded and scanned and discussed at length this morning and it was decided that she's staying in Mama until she tells us (by way of failing a BPP) she's ready to come out.
The heart doctor we talked to confirmed everything we saw before: still a hole in her heart and still a narrow aorta. He told us that they both needed to be dealt with but that they are mild to moderate given other heart issues he's seen. Within her first couple of days of life, Emma will have surgery to fix the aorta, which will be an incision in her side under her arm and not an open chest cavity. The heart doctor, however, felt the hernia would need to be dealt with first because those are typically more serious.
The perinatologist, though, still thinks the heart situation is more serious because our hernia situation is fairly mild. Either way, two corrective surgeries will need to be performed on our little girl in the first couple of days of her life, with a third (the hole in her heart) occuring within a couple of months if necessary.
Which brings us to why I'm still pregnant ... Emma is only 3 and 1/2 pounds at the moment. I'm almost 36 weeks pregnant and she's measuring like I'm only 30 weeks, and the difference between gestational age and actual size has gotten bigger in the last two scans. In a typical situation, this would result in Emma being delievered today because she's not exactly thriving in there. However, we have to get her as big as possible for these surgeries. She's still passing the BPP tests, so she's not in distress, so we're keeping her in until she shows signs that she's ready. Our doctor is guessing that's not far away; he said he'd be surprised if I made it to 38 weeks.

So that's the scoop.

Not really sure whether to be thankful that she's still safe in there or scared for the reason why she's still in there, but the Great Physician is keeping her safe and will continue to do so. I keep telling nurses who look at our charts and then look at me with pity that "she's in good hands, she'll be ok." ... most of them look at my cross necklace and know what I mean, which either results in a condescending pat or a sigh of relief that we are leaning on our faith. Our nurse today was very sweet and told us that God knows what He's doing. It's good to find fellowship in a hospital!

Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Like Moses' friends ...

So we've been told tomorrow that some sort of decision will be made about the birth of our little Emma. Like I said before, I'm not really sure what to pray for at this point.

I'm reminded of Ex 17, which has been one of my favorite images of fellowship and prayer for a long time. Amalekites attack the Isrealites, and during the battle, Moses goes up on the top of a hill and raises his hands in prayer to God. When his hands are raised, the Isrealites are winning the battle. He soon gets tired, but if he lowers his hands, the Isrealites start losing. So Aaron and Hur get Moses a rock to sit on and they hold his hands up for him.

Thank you to everyone who is praying for little Emma. We are so touched by the love of the body of Christ! When we're feeling a little like Moses, so exhausted and overwhelmed that we can't do more than groan (read:whine) to God, we know there are Aarons and Hurs our there lifting us up. Wow, how humbling is that???

I'm actually pretty optimistic at this point, though. We're prepared for everything the doctors think will happen to happen and maybe the healing we've been praying for will come in the form of the best care in the country for our little girl and she will be surgically healed. OR ... well, with God all things are possible!!! :)

Praise God that He's already there. He knows when Emma's birthday is, and He knows what's going to happen after she's born. He goes before us. Like Tam's verse in Dt says "God HIMSELF goes before you." Could we ask for anything more?

I was assuming that I wasn't going to be able to sleep tonight, waiting to see what the doctors are going to tell us tomorrow, but I feel a lot of peace, and I'm sure this is a direct result of the angels I know surround me because of all of you who are praying. Thank you for all your prayers!!!!