Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Julian Thomas. Born at 37 weeks weighing 10 lbs 7 oz and 21.5 inches long he was the biggest baby I had ever seen! Gestational diabetes along with pre-eclampsia caused a need for an induction at 37 weeks. I labored until I became fully dilated, but when it came time to push Julian just wouldn't come down the birth canal. His heart rate began to drop and I developed a fever. This is when the OB made the call to have a c-section. I nodded half-heartedly, my heart broken, but at that point I just wanted everything to be over with. Complications caused him to suffer 2 brain bleeds along with hypoglycemia and respiratory failure. Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy. Big scary words that held little meaning. All we knew was our baby was very sick and we were advised to baptize him as soon as possible. Hearing those words from your doctor leaves little hope in a paren'ts heart. As Julian's 2nd birthday is approaching in just 3 short weeks I have spent some time looking at some pictures from when he first came into this world. Looking at these pictures and seeing how far he has come leaves me with no doubt of God's powers. My eyes still feel with tears even nearly two years later when I see these pictures of him covered by tubes and monitors. The anxiety filled days and nights of not knowing what the future had in store for our little family were almost unbearable. The power of prayer is unimaginable. When word spread that Julian was having some problems, he became quite the popular little guy. I am pretty sure we had everyone in the tri-county area praying for him, lol. Now he stands before me, or rather in the kitchen getting into my drawers and cabinets "cooking" and I can't help but to be so thankful for the precious gift I have been given. He is an amazing child full of imagination and energy. I look forward to getting to know the little boy he is growing into and the man he will become. Sometimes it is so hard to not get frustrated with him as he is very two and all boy! However, there will never be a love quite like a mother's love. When a little boy walks up to you holding a cup and a fork, reaches out and says, "Here Mama, breakfast," how can you not smile and just want to squeeze and love on him? A 4 week NICU stay, g-tube, physical therapy, occupational therapy, developmental therapy, speech therapy for feeding, a whole lot of doctor and specialist visits and even more prayer, look where we are now!
Elliot Louise. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was pregnant with her! Julian was only 10 months old and in no way were we planning to have another so soon! A visit to my endocrinologist left me with the knowledge that I was indeed expecting. Boy, did the emotions begin to rollercoaster! We were set to close on our first house the following week, Julian was turning 1 in a month, and we had just both started back to school. Wow when it rains it pours, huh? The major thing that I have learned in the past two years is if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. So many times do I have to repeat this to myself. Once again gestational diabetes complicated things. Elliot was to be my VBAC baby, we had a doula lined up and everything. Upon discovering I was pregnant I immediately began to read every thing I could find on VBAC, natural childbirth, the Bradley method, doulas, breastfeeding, you name it. However Elliot had other plans for us. She had turned breech at about 30 weeks. Hoping that she would be a "normal" size baby this time had us hoping that I had plenty of time for her to turn. I tried everything from bouncing on the birthing ball, lying down with my pelvis elevated, to a chiropractic technique called the Webster technique that I traveled to Peoria (as no chiros in Springfield had experience with this) to have done. At 36 weeks I went to my OB visit which had become bi-weekly with an NST one day and a BPP the other. Upon having the NST Dr didn't like the way her tracings were looking. He sent me over to have the sonographer do a BPP, she couldn't get the baby to move either. Well, actually she was moving her fingers, but that wasn't good enough. Lazy baby, haha. Dr came in and we chatted about worst case scenario. He sent me over to Labor & Delivery to spend a few hours being monitored. I hadn't eaten since 9 am and it was now 2 pm. Being diabetic I was becoming shaky and nauseous. I asked for food and started getting the run around. They needed to contact my OB before giving me food and drink "just in case." The nurses never said what "just in case" meant, but they didn't need to. I knew all too well. I called Jerry and filled him in. He finished out the day at work and headed up to the hospital as he got off at 3 pm anyway. They finally had reached the Dr and I was allowed 4 oz of orange juice basically to just get my blood sugar back up. Around 5 my Dr showed up after seeing his last patient at the office. He confirmed my suspicions. We were going to have a baby around 7 pm. October 19, 2007 at 7:02 pm, Elliot Louise was born weighing 10 lb 1 oz and 20.5 inches long at just 36 weeks. Apparently I am destined to make GIANT babies! I kept asking Jerry 'is she all right, is she all right' as I couldn't hear her crying or anything. No one said much until the neonatologist came over and said that she needed to go to the NICU, she was having trouble breathing and her blood sugar was deathly low, but that she was hanging in there. The nurse brought her over in an incubator as they had already intubated her. I cried seeing my little girl for the first time and once again I was reliving the NICU nightmare all over. She was on a vent for 6 days as her right lung had collapsed upon birth. Her first accucheck registered around 10 when average for a newborn is 60-100. We were also informed that due to the diabetes she had an enlarged heart. There are not words for the feelings I felt. I immediately thought it was my fault. If only my body had not done this, if only I had not failed her things would be different. How quickly did I learn that those feelings brought me nowhere.
I am so extremely proud and grateful to say that at 5 months old Elliot is flourishing. After spending 3 weeks 4 days in the NICU we brought her home. She was a slow eater in the beginning and had some low muscle tone. The eating is fine now and she is seeing an occupational therapist once a week to help with tone issues. She rolls over tummy to back with ease and is consistently working on mastering the back to tummy roll. She scoots all over the place when put on her tummy and loves attempting to sit up. She chatters constantly and just adores her big brother. We plan to introduce solids around 6 months and go from there following her lead. Elliot is such a happy baby; I could not ask for more in a child.