Thursday, July 1, 2010

Most wonderful 2 weeks!!

I hope that all of you who read this are also my Facebook friends because these past 2 weeks have been the craziest, most wonderful 2 weeks of my life and I have not found the time to update this until now.

My hospital stay got much more exciting Wednesday June 16 when I starting having contractions and strange pain that made the nurses and doctor afraid my placenta was abrupting. Mom was staying with me that night and around midnight I made the call to Brad that this may indeed be it. As he made his may to the hospital, my doctor was on his way too, and we all prepared for an emergency C-section. There was a strange calm and even excitement that we would soon meet our son.

Timothy Ryan was born at 2:11 AM on Thursday, June 17th, and he let out a small cry that let us know that his lungs worked to some degree! He was 3 lbs 3.7 oz and 15 3/4" long. The NICU team immediately started working on him and were very encouraged by the condition he was in. He was put on a ventilator to help him breathe easier and was taken to his new home in the NICU to grow bigger and stronger.

One third of my placenta had torn away so it was definitely the right call to go ahead and deliver Timothy at 29 weeks.  I spent the next 3 days at the hospital recovering from surgery and then it came time to pack up what had been home for the past 9 weeks and head back to my real home.

I never expected the tears that came that Sunday afternoon. I always thought I would be rejoicing to leave and go back into the real world. Looking back now, I know some of it was due to a huge hormonal shift, but I was also so grateful for all the nurses I had grown to know and it was very difficult to leave while my baby stayed.

It was also surreal to get in a car for the first time in 9 weeks, see places that had been affected by the flood that I had just seen on the news, and walk back into a house I hadn't seen in several months. Over the past two weeks, I have been recovering from surgery, trying to gain strength I lost on so many months of bedrest, and going to see our sweet son almost every day.

The journey continues in the NICU and is best described as a rollercoaster ride. We have joyous days and then days of setbacks, but overall Timothy is doing great! After dropping down to 2 lbs 15 oz

he is up to 3 lbs 10 oz today and is eating very well. 

He has been on regular ventilators, oscillating ventilators, nasal cannula, CPAP, and on nothing at all over these past 14 days. He has even pulled out his own ventilator tube on one occasion!

One benefit to Timothy's birth date that I still cannot believe is that I got to be the maid of honor in my sister Katelyn's wedding, June 26th. We had initially had plans to Skype into the ceremony from the hospital room, but not only was I there, but I walked down the aisle right before my sister during the ceremony. Tears are flowing now just thinking about how good God is to give me that special gift. Truly overwhelming!

As we go forward, Timothy will remain in the NICU until he is able to breathe and eat well and is at least 4 1/2 pounds. As a general rule, they say babies are normally discharged on their due date, which would be September 1st for him, but it could happen a few weeks earlier or later as well.

Life has definitely changed, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. When I look at his sweet face or get to hold him, I know without a doubt that this entire journey with all its complications and struggles was well worth it. He is truly a miracle baby and I give God all the glory that he is here. Thank you also for all your prayers. This child has been lifted up by thousands and we are humbled and amazed. Please continue to pray for him as he seeks to get bigger and stronger. Please pray specifically that his lungs would continue to develop and that the doctors and nurses would have wisdom to make the right treatment decisions at the right time.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

28 Weeks!!

So we reached a milestone today that has been discussed from the beginning...28 weeks. I don't think anything magical happened as the clock went past midnight last night, but I do know that our baby is in much much better shape than he was when he entered the hospital almost eight weeks ago.

As Brad and I were talking to our doctor this morning, we got a little better perspective on how unusual our journey has been. He let us know that chances are if we had gone to a different hospital in Nashville, lived in a different country that operates under a different medical philosophy, or possibly even had the same experience a few years later under a different healthcare plan in this country, that our options would have been radically different. We would probably not be sitting in this same position at 28 weeks.

When I think about all the care I have received over the last 2 months, I am amazed and thankful that this place even exists. Thankful for high risk OB doctors that believe that every life is precious and worth fighting for, thankful for health insurance to cover all the care, thankful for a workplace that is supportive and affirms life at every stage, and so thankful for many prayers offered up to God for this unborn life. Thankful all around.

I truly believe that God knit together this baby in my womb and that he is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14) and am getting very excited to meet him! While we have reached this milestone, every day continues to matter and we still have a journey ahead for which we covet your prayers.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The nurses have told us that on this floor sometimes their most stable patient becomes their most critical overnight. Well Tuesday night, we got to experience that firsthand.

About 11:30 pm I woke up with some pain and called the nurse who put me on the monitor just to make sure everything was ok and ease my mind. Less than 10 minutes later, nurses were barging through the door, turning on lights, and putting me on oxygen and fluids. It seems that Timothy's heart rate had plummeted for about 7 minutes...not what you want to hear. His heart rate did go back up pretty quickly, but the staff was concerned that I might be in back labor, which rarely shows up on the contraction monitor.

Mom, Brad, and I spent all night and most of Wednesday trying to get all this under control. Over the next several hours, I was given multiple doses of different medications to try and stop contractions. I was also given morphine for pain control. While I know people react differently to different drugs, morphine and me don't mix well! The combination of all the medicines made me very shaky, weepy, nauseous, and feel like my skin was on fire. I've also been on continuous contraction and fetal monitors, and the contraction monitoring will continue for now.

Most of the side effects wore off when they decreased the medicine dosage, but I still look I have a nice little sunburn and my face constantly feels hot, but I'll take that compared to all the rest. We just spoke to the doctors and my blood work did show some high levels today that can signal infection, so they are keeping an eye on that and I'll stay on continuous antibiotics for now.

Thank you for your continued prayers. Here are some specific ways you can pray:
  • Continued health for Timothy
  • No contractions at this point
  • Strong lung development for Timothy
  • Decreased side effects from medication for me
  • Strength and perseverance for family who spend so much time here
  • Doctors and nurses to have wisdom and make good decisions

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fun visits to break up the days

Over the past few days, we have had several visitors who really help break up the monotony of the hospital stay. It is wonderful waking up in the morning and knowing that someone is stopping by later to just say hello.

I have really loved the babies who have come by. Our friend, Gretchen, brought her precious and funny baby boy Tripp and it was a wonderful reminder that there is a real prize at the end of this journey!
Rosemarie Shipley also came to do a Mary Kay facial, hand treatment, and makeup session. It's amazing how far a little pampering goes around here!

This past weekend, our great family friends, Tim and Juanita Denton, drove down from Ohio and spent the weekend at our house. I am so grateful for the work they helped Brad do around the house. Apparently, we have new shelving in the garage and Juanita got our closets moved around and organized so we have some space for Timothy and all his baby stuff! I guess I will see the fruits of their labor when I finally get to go home. It was wonderful to just spend time with them and have fun in the hospital as well.
This picture shows them playing with the thumb wrestling set I was given. (Thanks Teena for the great to-do basket!)

So many others have also stopped by, sent cards, given gifts, or called to say they're praying, and we are overwhelmed by everyone's support.

In medical news, Timothy continues to grow and stay strong. One night while I was on the monitor, I was having some contractions, but have not had any in several days now. We need Timothy to stay put much longer!

I will be 26 weeks tomorrow and am really beginning to feel pregnant. This is really the first time I've realized that my regular clothes just don't fit anymore, but it's about time. I know if we are able to have other children in the future, I will look back at that statement and be envious of this pregnancy! Please continue to pray against any type of infection and that I will not go into pre-term labor anytime soon. Thank you so much for your continued prayers for our family!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dreaming at four weeks

Today marks 4 weeks of the hospital stay. In one sense, the time has flown by but when I think back to the last time I was in my real home, I believe it! I am definitely thankful for how Timothy seems to be thriving in this environment and I'm trying to keep that in mind when I start to go stir crazy.

I have found myself dreaming of out of hospital excursions...then I wake up and remember that I am still here and make my peace with it. I'm amazed that it's the simple things you miss: cooking a meal yourself, running an errand, going to work, or just being home. At the same time, I know there will come a moment when I am home with a newborn baby that I think if only I had some time to myself to watch a movie or read a book! The grass always seems greener on the other side!

During this season I am reminded that God often calls us to wait as a matter of obedience. May I wait patiently for Him and seek His face.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Sunday, May 9, 2010

First Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms! I am especially grateful for my mom's dedication throughout my entire life but even more so since I've been in the hospital these last three weeks. She has spent many nights up here, done laundry, made food, and most importantly prayed for Timothy!

Yesterday, my whole side of the family got together for a joint celebration. Brad went to Trevecca's spring/summer graduation. He is so close to being more semester of internship and he'll actually be able to put the diploma in the holder he received Saturday. I am so proud of him!!

We also decided to celebrate Mother's Day a day early and it was a full house with mom, dad, Katelyn, Chad, Nanny, Dado, Candee, Adam, and Brad all piled in the hospital room. We had great food and got to exchange presents and cards. I even got a Mother's Day card from Timothy himself! Katelyn and I surprised mom and got her this bag. She can't wait to officially be Cici!!

While mom and Brad were here at the same time, the three of us also went up and toured the NICU. I will be 24 weeks Wednesday, which is a huge marker for viability, so they wanted us to be familiar with the NICU just in case. While I am amazed at the care the babies receive and what all can be done to keep them healthy and growing, I'm all for Timothy staying put as long as possible!

Tomorrow, I will receive the first round of steroid shots that are designed to help Timothy's lungs mature. One of the biggest risks with premature babies is lung development, so we are trying to get a jump start. Please pray that Timothy will continue to develop well, especially his lungs, and will see no reason to make his grand arrival anytime soon. Thanks so much!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nashville Flood: Before & After

For those of you who live in Middle TN, you have probably been captivated by news footage over the last few days just as I have. We have several friends who were stranded in their homes and others who had significant damage. Because our house is on top of a hill, we escaped the major flooding but if you drive less than a mile down the road and it's a different story. This is the footage from YouTube. Needless to say, the main road to our house is still impassable.

The hospital had 3 feet of water come in the first floor which also led to some minor electrical fires. Of course, you don't think they are minor when you hear code red and see towels being stuffed under your door! Thankfully, the alarm was canceled quickly.

The day before the storm hit, good family friends, Patty Rucker and Jan Gregory, came up to bring mom and I lunch. For those of you who know them, you can guess this was not just any ordinary lunch. There was a devotional for Timothy, prayer time, blue plaid cloth napkins, gerber daisies tied with blue ribbon, and yummy homemade desserts. Truly a treat!!

I think people must have felt guilty that I stayed at the hospital alone during the storm (no one could physically get here for 2 days) so I had quite the entourage show up Monday afternoon. Katelyn and Chad took me on my second wheelchair ride where my skin saw the sun for the first time in over 2 weeks! Mom, Candee, and Brad came later that day to join the party!

The doctors continue to remain positive about how things stand at this point. We have enjoyed hearing Timothy's heartbeat at least once a day and we even got to hear his hiccups one day and him kicking the doppler monitor another. We have been coming up with our own theories about how he feels about all this monitoring. Some seem to think he loves it while I'm not so sure that he just wants to be left alone. I guess we'll have a better idea of his personality in a few months after he makes his arrival!!