Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's been one week...




This week has flown by and it's crawled by all at the same time. Mr. Noah is beautiful, wonderful, perfect, precious, sweet, cuddly, etc... Also, he is LAZY. Trying to teach him to nurse has been a little challenging since he prefers to sleep constantly. Usually, about 2 minutes into feeding him, he cracks one eye open up at me and gives me this look as if to say, "you know, if I don't wake up, they're just going to put some milk in this little tube. Easy breezy. Can you just snuggle me, please, so I can get back to my nap?" News flash, little buddy... you can't come home with a feeding tube, so WAKE UP! :)

We are so blessed that although little man was born 5 weeks early, he had little to no complications. I've kept a little journal over the past week to keep track of his progress. He's doing so great.

Day 1 - March 20th - He was born at 6:15 am and was 5 pounds, 11 ounces and 19.5 inches long. He was admitted to the NICU where he had a nasal cannula for oxygen, IV antibiotics, IV nutrition and a feeding tube. He is on a 3 hour feeding schedule: 8,11,2 & 5 am & pm.

Day 2 - March 21st - He was put under bili-lights for jaundice and they reduced the amount they were feeding him due to residuals in his belly.

Day 3 - March 22nd - Discontinued oxygen and IV antibiotics. Mommy's milk came in! No formula + tummy time = little to no residuals in his belly, so they began to increase his feedings again.

Day 4 - March 23rd - we were allowed to start non-nutritive nursing 2 times per shift for "practice". We tried for the first time at 8pm.

Day 5 - I was discharged from the hospital in the morning. We were allowed to start "real" nursing sessions 2 times per shift. I fought the battle of the bottle/paci with the NICU nurses and won! Now he has a sign over his bed that says "NO PACI's" and "NO BOTTLES". They probably think I'm a little crazy, but I don't care. Also, he had his lowest recorded weight today: 5 pounds, 4.5 ounces.

Day 6 - Noah has been tolerating his feeding increases really well, and blowing IV's left and right, so they decided to give him a big increase (from 19cc to 25cc) and completely remove his IV nutrition. This was the first day he showed a weight gain - 5 pounds, 6 ounces. I checked in to the Ronald McDonald House, which is on site at the hospital, in anticipation of needing to be here around the clock to nurse at all 8 feedings.

Day 7 - All of Noah's IV's were removed. We were allowed to start breastfeeding at all 8 feedings. (I skipped the 5 o'clock feeding to go to church, but as of the 8pm, I will not be leaving the hospital until my itty bitty comes home!). He posted another weight gain - 5 pounds, 8 ounces.

So, here we are at the start of Day 8. Last night was the first time I fed him around the clock. I would get up 15 minutes before his feeding time, walk over to the NICU, feed him (or try to feed him while he worked on his Rip Van Winkle impersonation), come back to the room, pump, sleep for an hour and 45 minutes, then repeat. I was worried I would be exhausted, but the Lord has really sustained me through all of this. It wasn't that hard at all to get up each time when the alarm went off. I am comforted by the thought that this is only for a short time. My heart breaks for families who live in these situations for weeks, months, and years with terminally ill children or family members. The family that shares a bathroom with me has a little girl in the PICU with a heart defect. They've been here almost a month and likely still have a few weeks ahead of them. They have FIVE other children at home. My situation pales in comparison and I can't help but feel blessed. (Please pray for them, if you think about it. Parents are Michael & Patricia and their baby girl is Tiana). Anyway, we're hoping that one week from now will find us at home with our sweet boy, assuming he decides to wake up! Even if that isn't the case, we are encouraged by the favor the Lord has shown us so far. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and the ways so many of you are serving our family. We have the best friends and family and we love, love, love you!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy Spring

Spring is here! The trees are full and green.
 
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The mountain laurels are blooming and making the backyard smell like purple kool-aid.
 
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The weather is perfect for being outside.
 
Clothes off – check. Bubbles blown – check.
 
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Popsicles slurped. Double check.
 
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Gracie just loves to be outside. She even wants to bring her favorite indoor activities out. Puzzles on the deck, anyone?
 
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Has anyone seen Bubba?
 
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Bubba is inside playing on the Kinect.
We need to get him outside, pronto.
 
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Army wishes Ben would have stayed inside.
“WHY do you have to involve ME in your plans,” he is thinking to himself.
 
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Hilarious. Inappropriate, but hilarious.
 
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I was in the hospital with Noah and really missing the kids, so Brian took some springy pictures for me to get my fix!
 
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Happy Spring to you! I hope you are enjoying the sunny, breezy days and blooming flowers, too!

Monday, March 21, 2011

What's in a name?

I've really enjoyed (with the help of my opinionated husband) choosing names for our little clan. When we were pregnant with Ben, we decided that we liked the idea of giving each child one biblical name and one family name. I also like knowing the meaning behind names. Brian isn't as concerned with knowing what a name's root is, but he is adamant that we don't use any "weird" names. (I have giggled much over the years at what names have fallen into the weird category for him.) Anyway, agreements over Ben and Grace came fairly easily. Here's how we got there:

Benjamin Wayne
- Benjamin is a strong, Old Testament Hebrew name and it means "Son of my Right Hand." While it was the name of the youngest of all of Jacob's sons, I love the word picture that is painted when thinking about our firstborn. Jesus is mentioned over and over as being at the right hand of the Father. It makes me think of Ben as holding a special place of honor in our family, which he certainly does!
- Wayne is Brian's dad's name and Brian's middle name. I like that his middle name recognizes both his Grandad and his Daddy. He also has the same initials as his Daddy and his Uncle Brad. Oh, and because I'm sure you're dying to know, the name Wayne is of English origin and means craftsman or wagon-driver... random. :)

Augusta Grace
- Augusta is in honor of my paternal grandmother. She lived next door to us growing up and raised me right alongside my parents. She was quite a character. I could fill a book with stories about her and the ways she made me laugh, the ways that she doted on me, the ways that she made me crazy, and the ways that she embarrassed me. (I was staying with her when I, um, became a woman, and let's just say that discretion wasn't one of her strengths.) Mostly, when I think about her, I think of her work ethic, the pride she took in her family, and the way that serving others came so easily to her. Naming my baby girl after her was the least that I could do to say "thank you" for the love she showed me over the years. I've found a couple meanings of the name Augusta. One is "great" and the other is "venerated." I think they're both appropriate references to my Maw Maw Gus!
- I've wanted to use the name Grace since high school. I had a classmate named Grace and I thought it was the most beautiful name. As an adult, the name has taken on even more significance as I've grown in my faith and experienced the unmerited favor and love that Jesus offers me. As a mom, I am continually moved by God's grace... I receive it daily despite my many shortcomings, and God is teaching me to offer it, in turn, to my husband and children. My baby girl's name is a constant reminder of the way that God loves his children: generously and unconditionally.
- People have asked us why we named her Augusta Grace instead of Grace Augusta, since we would be calling her Grace. I have a very deep answer for that: because I thought it sounded better. Also, Brian's mom was given the name Judy as a first name, although she goes by her middle name, Diane. Now we have a little family trend going. :)

So, what about number three? I've been pretty convinced of our name choices from the beginning. I think it's been harder for Brian because although we talked about names all the time, we didn't have to commit to one because we didn't know the gender of the baby. For girls, we talked about Anna Elise or Annalise Mae. I couldn't decide for sure, probably because I was 99% convinced that we were having a boy. For boys, we liked Jacob (but it didn't flow with Barrick) and Connor (but it wasn't a family or bible name). Brian really liked Caleb. I really liked Noah (my boy pick before we knew Grace was a Grace). Regarding Noah during that pregnancy, Brian said, and I quote, "It's TOO biblical." To which I replied, "Short of naming a child Jesus, can a name really be TOO biblical?" (This resulted in a short recess to discuss the merits of the names Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai & Malachi.)
This pregnancy, when I suggested Noah, Brian climbed on board. (Thankfully, his memory is short.) So, Noah it was... until I was in recovery and he was in the NICU and he returned and told me he wasn't sure that Baby Boy was a Noah. Sigh. Ok, then take your time and let me know on birth certificate day. We revisited Jacob and Caleb while steering clear of Connor. I kept thinking about Noah. Ben was calling him Noah. My super nurse, Erika, and I talked about why I like Noah and before I knew it we were both crying. In my mind, he was definitely Noah... Brian just needed some time to get there on his own. When I was finally able to go down to the NICU with Brian (just 17 short hours after delivery) we rubbed his little head and held his tiny hands and it all just came together. I love you, Sweet Noah, and all that your name will come to mean to our family!

Noah James
- Noah, like Benjamin, has a strong presence in the Old Testament and is of Hebrew origin. About Noah, the Bible says he "was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God." It also says that "Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord." The name Noah means "rest" and "comfort". The richness of all of this is too much to discuss here, but it makes my heart pound and swell with affection for the ways I know that the God of the Universe can bless and use my sweet baby boy.
- His middle name was chosen as a tribute to our family doctor, James Martin, who has walked us through three eventful and sometimes scary pregnancies. He has looked over the well-being of the five of us with a diligence and committment that typically only comes from close family. He has made us feel safe and cared for, and he treats us as though we are his favorite patients in the world. I imagine he makes all of his patients feel this way.

Anyway, so sorry for all the name drama. I'm sure it seems pretty anti-climactic for most people. We weren't trying to decide on the most unusual or epic name in the universe. We just wanted to be sure that the names we choose would do three things: that they would honor God, that they would be a fitting tribute to some special people in our lives, and that they would be a source of encouragement and pride for the precious little ones who will bear them. We love you Benjamin Wayne, Augusta Grace and Noah James!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Noah's birth story

This little guy was apparently itching to come into the world. I felt much more uncomfortable with this pregnancy than with my other two, and I just had the feeling that I would not make it to my scheduld C-section on April 15th. However, I NEVER dreamed that our newest addition would make an appearance this early.

Yesterday morning, we said good-bye to Brian's mom (Grammy), who had come to help us out with the kids over spring break. I was supposed to be resting as much as possible. Fast forward a few hours and we headed to church. I felt fine. I was sore and moving around a little slow, but nothing that I thought was unusual. We went out to dinner, came home and put the kids to bed, and relaxed on the couch. I noticed the contractions around 10, and they reminded me a lot of the ones I had a couple weeks ago. They were uncomfortable, but not unbearable. I told Brian to time them. They were 5-7 minutes apart. Again, I wasn't thinking labor, because a few weeks ago I was having a contraction every 10 minutes, like clockwork, for 5 days straight! By midnight, they were still every 5 minutes, but they were getting really uncomfortable. I would get out of bed to walk around and see if they would stop, but that would only make them come closer. Bri kept asking if I wanted to go to the hospital, but I didn't want to go to the hospital... plus I was thinking, what in the world are we going to do about the kids?!

By 2 am, I was sobbing in bed. One, because the pain was insane. Two, because I knew something was actually happening and I didn't want to admit that this baby might be coming so early. Brian got up, flipped on the lights and started making phone calls. With Aaron on his way to stay with the kids, Brian packed a bag and called the clinic. 15 minutes later we were on I-10 and headed to the hospital.

The next 3 hours were AWFUL. I sat in the L&D waiting room... in labor... in an uncomfortable chair... for TWO HOURS. (Apparently there was an emergency ahead of me and no triage nurses available.) We finally made it into a bed and I was hooked up to a monitor at around 4:30 am. The most horrible nurse on the planet (seriously I think Bin Laden would have had a nicer bedside manner) checked me, said nothing, and walked out. She came back 5 minutes later and said, you're in labor, we paged a surgeon. That's it. No explanation, no discussion about whether or not we could stop the labor. I asked if my Doctor had been called and I was told that he would not be called because he wasn't "on call." Side note - my doctor is the Chief Medical Officer for the hospital and I'm pretty sure he's NEVER on call. Regardless, he would have definitely shown up had they notified him. It was two days later when one of my nurses called him after I requested him again and he was livid. I'm pretty sure some heads rolled on the L&D floor that afternoon as he made his way around asking for names and explanations. I tried to warn Nurse Ratchett...

Anyway, so there I was in a triage bed waiting on a surgeon I'd never met. I STILL hadn't spoken to a doctor. The nurse informed me that I was 5 centimeters and the surgeon would be at the hospital in 30 minutes or so. The pain was getting worse, but all I could do was wait. I was pretty freaked out to say the least. The rest of the morning was a bit of a fog until they walked me to the O.R. There are no words to describe how happy I was to see the anesthesiologist. I bet I was a 7 or 8 by the time they gave me that spinal. Minutes later, Brian was next to me and they were delivering a baby, a sweet little BOY! I saw him for a minute before he was whisked off to the NICU.

I spent the rest of the day recovering and sending Brian back and forth to the NICU to get reports for me (I wasn't allowed out of bed until atleast 12 hours after my surgery). It was really hard to not get to hold or even see my little boy, but I am grateful that he is here and healthy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fake Noses & Bed Head

The kids brought home these fake glasses from a birthday party and Grace doesn’t want to take them off!
 
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Of course, Ben would not be out done by his little sister!
 
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They are equal parts silly and precious!
 
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On an unrelated note, Grace wakes up with some of the most impressive bed head I’ve ever seen.

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I’m going to be combing this for hours!
 
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Zoo-ba-dee-doo

While I was a work today, Brian and the kids headed to the zoo. The weather was PERFECT. All of the animals were out and about, stretching their legs and exploring their habitats. It’s important to get to the zoo when the weather is nice like this, because in a month or so, both the animals and the people are going to want nothing more than to be hiding out in the shade or air conditioning!
 
Bri took some great pictures of all of the animals. Have we mentioned how much we are loving the new camera?
 
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They don’t let us ride the real animals at our zoo, so it’s important to take advantage of the next best thing – riding the animal sculptures.
 
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I’m not sure what my kids are thinking here. “Hey Grace, when the hippos come by, turn to Daddy and flash the camera!”
 
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OOOHHH, you wanted a picture with our shirts ON? No problem.
 
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Oh, this handsome guy… too big!
 
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Brian decided to take the kids to feed the lorikeets. I’ve never done this with them (mainly because birds horrify me).  Ben thought it was pretty cool…
 
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but Gracie LOVED it! Bri said it was hysterical how excited she was… I wish I could have been there to see it (standing safely outside the bird exhibit, of course).
 
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Gracie + Lorikeet + Cup-o-nectar = PURE JOY!!!
 
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I love spring time at the zoo… even when I just have to experience it through pictures.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Getting by with a little help…

This pregnancy has been really hard on me and recently our doctor has suggested that I try to take it easy as much as possible. He didn’t come out and say “You’re on bed rest,” but he did encourage me to look for ways to slow down and give my body a break.
 
This is easier said than done with two little ones running around. It’s really hard for me to ask for help. I feel terrible sending B & G off to someone else while I just lay around. I also feel guilty that I’m not spending that much time with them, because I know that their worlds are going to be ROCKED over the next few months.
 
Despite all of my insecurities and weaknesses, I am learning that sometimes you just have to get the help you need.  Luckily, I have some awesome ladies in my life who are more than happy to step up to the plate. My friend Lindsey watched Grace for me this weekend (she has a little girl Gracie’s age) and they went to the park. She took this picture and emailed it to me. There’s not much that Grace loves more than swinging! I wish I could be the one outside playing with her and enjoying the awesome weather, but it’s SOOO comforting to know that we have friends who will love on her and show her a good time. I’m even more grateful that Lindsey was thoughtful enough to capture her joy on film so I could share in it, too!
 
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Girly Girls

I hosted a girls night for the YL girls. My friend & co-worker sells Mary Kay so she offered to do make-overs for us. We also got our craft on and ate yummy dessert.
Here are my fantabulous chicas… ready to get made over.
 
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First they washed their faces and posed for a before pic. Two observations:
#1 Before pic apparently = sad pic, and
#2 No one shared this truth nugget with Lauren.
 
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Jenna walked them through some make-up techniques. Gracie really wanted to participate and the girls were happy to oblige. They spoil her rotten. :)
 
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While the girls were pampering themselves, I was taking this out of the oven! It baked up sooo pretty!
 
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The icing didn’t go on quite as pretty, but it was still DEELICIOUS!
 
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I love my beautiful girls. They are even prettier on the inside. :)
 
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For craft time we made felt flower hair clips. The girls are hysterical crafters. They ask me to plan things like this and then they freak out the whole time because “I CAN’T do it!” and “Mine is not turning out right!” and “Someone sew mine for me… I don’t sew!” So I think 2 or 3 of us actually made flowers while the other girls supervised. They’re so crazy, but I couldn’t love them more!
 
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