Walk With Me

Most parents never think that they will be challenged with their child’s survival each and every day for weeks straight…but that is what my husband and I endured…

In His Incubator

From Day 1 of entering the NICU we were told that our child was going to have challenges and would be fighting for his life. At 1lb 14oz and 31 weeks gestationally, he was already set apart in the world and defined as a preemie. According to God though, he was a fighter, with a purpose, and a future…As hard as it was to hear from the doctors and nurses in the initial meeting all of the problems we could face, I knew deep down God had a plan. There was a reason why our son was placed in the NICU. And as hard as it was to wait and find out what his future held there, I knew that no matter what God was watching over our son. And who better to have His eyes on our son than the creator Himself.

When Xavier was admitted into the NICU, he was hooked up to a feeding tube, a CPAP breathing device, a PIC line, and several monitors to check his heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, and lung activity. About three days into being on the CPAP breathing device, they needed to give our son a shot of surfactant (which is what your lungs use to expand and collapse) and this caused him to become intubated. Instead of worrying, we trusted God with what was going on and less than 12 hours after he was intubated he was back on the CPAP and off intubation. The nurses encouraged us to then start “Kangarooing” with him, which basically meant we held him skin to skin for about an hour to two hours a day so that he could start to regulate his own body temperature and get some snuggle time with us.

Kangaroo Time with Mom

So my husband and I snuggled with our little man as much as we could.

Kangarooing with Daddy

As time went on, we were moved to different rooms. In one of the rooms, we received a roommate. The parents were awesome. We became friends with them only to learn that their daughter was born without her corpus collosum, which is the sac of nerves that connects the left and right side of your brain. While missing the bundle of nerves was important it wasn’t a life or death situation so everything for them seemed to improve as the days went and we were roomies. About two weeks into our roommate relationship, I arrived to the room to see the Xman (our nickname for him) and walked into a doctor, two nurses, and a social worker with the parents. The first time I had seen my roommate parents cry was when they found out about the corpus collosum, so I knew these tears weren’t good. I immediately left and gave them privacy. When I returned they were moving my roommate and their daughter to another room. One of the nurses came to tell me that the mom would be in to talk to me shortly. A day went by and I didn’t press the issue because I knew that if she wanted to talk she knew I was here. I went over to check on them and when I did she told me she would come talk to me and tell me what’s going on as soon as the doctor was done in the room. And she did…

Her daughter was dying. She was diagnosed with Zellweger Syndrome, which is an inherited condition that is presented at birth and can cause a child to die anywhere from birth until one year. It is caused by a lack of peroxisomes, which are used in the body to get rid of toxic substances. Her daughter was 36 weeks gestationally, born 5lbs and some ounces, and was destined to die before her first birthday…We broke down in tears together. For once in my life I had no words. I didn’t know what to say. And then God told me to shared my testimony. I shared the healings I have witnessed through my friends, the impossibilities become possible, and my own personal healing through my belief in Jesus Christ. I told her that the reason I was in the NICU was to meet her and be there for her and no matter what fate the world had designed for her, God has other plans and that her daughter was in good hands. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I found out I had carried a child for 9 months only to find out that child would die. It was a heart wrenching experience and hard for me to even hear even though she was not my own child. The mother also explained that they didn’t want to switch rooms but the doctors made them. So we visited each other from time to time until her daughter was released from the NICU. We have kept in contact and to date she is still alive and fighting.

Just like her daughter was fighting our little man was fighting his own fight too.

Xaviers First Outfit

Still on oxygen, a PIC line, feeding tube, and monitors our little man fought enough to gain weight and get to wear some clothes (his first outfit is above). We were so excited and thankful to see him moving forward. All of the prayers we were receiving for our family were working (no surprise there!). Slowly our little man started to gain weight and with that many other accomplishments.

Gaining Weight

He started to suck on a pacifier…and then started eating from a bottle! We couldn’t have been more proud. Our little man was doing big things! He was shocking the nurses and doctors left and right with his improvements.

Eating from a Bottle

He was allowed to snuggle with clothes on! Big deal for a preemie his size!

Snuggling with Clothes

He even got to wear the preemie clothes his grammy, poppy, grandpa Joe, and friends bought him! What a stylin little man in the NICU!

Eventually he was eating from a bottle at every feeding…then he went on to his next task, regulating his own body temperature…He was out of his incubator within a week of them weening him off. What a proud moment for us to see when we arrive and see a crib sitting next to the incubator being prepared for him! God truly was blessing us with all of these wonderful accomplishments in a short period of time! By Christmas our son was eating on his own and regulating his body temperature and his weight was up to almost 3lbs!

NICU Outfits

Our little miracle decided to surprise us once more because after that he decided to go off oxygen for a week and a few days in order to prove he was ready to go home! So at 3lbs 9oz, our little man had not only stunned and shocked the nurses but the doctors as well. He was ready to go home! He wanted to leave and get bigger and move onto better things that God had in store for him. All of the nurses we left as friends we will never forget. They were so informative, supportive, and overall stellar the entire time we were in the NICU. We couldn’t have asked for a better staff!

Sleeping at home

And all of our roomies and their daughters (yep Xavier is a ladies man already), we will never forget and hope to see soon!

Goofin Off

The one thing I will never forget at the end of this journey in the NICU is what the doctor said to my husband and I at our exit meeting…he said “Well this has been uneventful”…that’s right it has! My son is a son of the King and Lord most high! There is a plan of prosperity, a plan for a future, and I firmly believe my son will have a testimony that he will one day share with others just as I shared with all of you. Since people usually attach songs to a point and time in their life the one I would say stuck out to me during this entire process is “Walk with Me” by Jesus Culture     

Because without Jesus walking with me I never would’ve been so strong, calm, or positive when everything was stacked against our son.

Our little miracle

The journey of NICU parents isn’t always easy and it isn’t always hard. But God makes it all worth while no matter what the outcome…because having God makes miracles…and no matter how long they last the miracle itself is amazing. We thank God every day for our fun size currently 5lb miracle! He lights up our lives and we hope that one day he will light up yours!

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An Inside Look At The Big Day

I had never heard of preeclampsia before I was admitted into GBMC and the killer is I was reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” throughout my entire pregnancy. I’d like to make a suggestion to any pregnant woman or any woman thinking of becoming pregnant- GET THE BOOK. You will understand so much about yourself as you change, your body as it changes and the baby as he/she changes. Can I make another suggestion??? Read the section on problematic pregnancy. Not to make you nervous, paranoid or upset but to inform you. Honestly I wish I would’ve read it because I automatically assumed my pregnancy would be normal (plus there is a section on preeclampsia and other issues in it that are extremely helpful to know even if you never have those problems).

The book

The book

My experience with preeclampsia has taught me that it’s pretty much your body’s way of rejecting the pregnancy and that most woman that have it don’t even know they are sick. I honestly had no idea how sick I was until I had him. I felt like a whole new person when I had Xavier and kept telling the nurses I could do laps around the Labor and Delivery hallway. Looking back though I did have symptoms of it. The symptoms I dealt with were swelling in the feet and legs, sudden weight gain, headaches that wouldn’t go away, and pain on the right side under my ribs. And the reason why I got preeclampsia was because it was my first pregnancy. I didn’t have diabetes, high blood pressure, an auto immune disease, a blood vessel problem, a bad diet (because all I ate was fruits and vegetables while I was pregnant), and I wasn’t obese.

While in High Risk from November 9th until November 23rd, I was constantly monitored. I was on 24 hour urine watch (to check the protein in my urine), had sonograms every two days, had my blood pressure and temperature taken every 3 hours, my reflexes were checked as well every 3 hours, and I was weighed once a day. My arms had been pricked by needles so much to have blood drawn (in order to watch my platelet count) that I looked like I had a drug problem. I was constantly laying on my left side because that side provides the least amount of pressure on the placenta so that more blood and oxygen can flow through to my son. I couldn’t get up unless I had to use the bathroom and I was limited to a 5 minute shower.

My plea to everyone who is having a normal pregnancy or who has had one…please don’t ever complain about your normal pregnancy. Because if I ever hear you I will punch you in the face. Enjoy feeling fat and weighed down (your baby is healthy)…enjoy swollen feet (your baby is healthy)…enjoy back pains and pinched nerves (your baby is healthy)…I could go on for days…Just count your blessings that you haven’t experienced a problematic pregnancy.

Decorations

Decorations

Whew, now that I’ve voiced my thoughts and opinions lets get back to the adventure..So now that you know what it is I dealt with lets get back to the part where I was in the hospital until he was born. I had many visitors which pretty much kept me sane. My best friends, friends from church, family, an advisor from my school, and my placement supervisor are among those who came to see me and made my stay so much more easier.

My notes and calendar

My notes and calendar

I also had my family decorate my room. There were pictures, a countdown until my gestational goal, flowers, and plenty of magazines, coloring books, and books to read. On top of all that my baby shower was scheduled for one of the weekends I was on bed rest at GBMC so my family made sure to bring people who wanted to visit and the cake my sister had made so that I could still have a little shower throughout the day.

Our Little Monsters Baby Shower Cake Made by Monica

Our Little Monsters Baby Shower Cake Made by Monica

Preparing to huff it out until 32 weeks gestationally, I was all set with plenty of things to keep myself occupied. Little did I know that while my plan was to make it that far, God had other plans. It was Thanksgiving night and we had just enjoyed a fabulous feast my family brought for us when I got a headache that wouldn’t go away. The nurses gave me percocet and it did nothing. I was miserable. I couldn’t even sleep. My blood pressure over the past 24 hours had skyrocketed, my platelet count had gotten lower, and the protein in my urine had doubled in 12 hours.

At around 1am, I was moved to Labor and Delivery where I was hooked up to more machines and had an IV inserted. The on-call doctor had one more final sonogram done Black Friday morning to check on the baby since my symptoms had worsened. The placenta was either giving Xavier 0% or 50% of the blood he needed. It was time to make a decision. The doctor (who had told me I wouldn’t last until Sunday) came in and told me at 10:30am they were going to do a C-Section. It was 10am when we were told the news…my husband immediately got on the phone. He called each of our families as I was being prepped. I had to have a catheter put in without pain meds (that was not fun)…and was put on a mag (in order to help me not bleed out to death)…my family came in to see me one last time before the surgery…I can barely remember speaking to them…I wasn’t scared and I wasn’t nervous. My soul focus was making sure my son survived. I was wheeled into the OR room and my husband had to wait outside as I got the epidural. The anesthesiologist missed the first time…AWESOME…so he had to do it again…so not only did I get stuck with one needle to numb the area where the epidural needle got put, I got to experience that twice! Finally I was set…with both of my arms spread left and right and strapped down, my legs strapped down long ways, and my entire body tilted, they brought my husband in. The surgery began as they cut me open..I couldn’t feel pain but I felt like a super fat person having someone else jiggle all their fat around as the doctors were moving everything around in order to get to our little man…My husband wasn’t allowed to watch but at his angle he could see it all unfolding…I apparently squirted on the doctors as they cut me open and both doctors yanked my sides in order to get to Xavier to bring him out.

First Picture of Xavier

First Picture of Xavier

When they got to him and pulled him out, I heard the doctor yell “Time of birth 11:10am” and I heard Xavier making squeaky, high pitched noises to let us all know he was here. My husband got up and went over to see him and take pictures. They immediately put him in a crib to head up to the NICU and showed me before they left. I saw his small little face just looking off to the side and was so thankful he was alive and okay. Then I felt unusual pain in my chest and my  heart. I started to throw up and feel even more pain. I honestly thought I was going to die on the table and my only thought is “I will be so pissed if I worked this hard to die”. Needless to say I lived and am so thankful I didn’t encounter any complications.

Seeing my baby for the first time

Seeing my baby for the first time

Our joke is that on Black Friday while everyone else was shopping, we were shopping for a kid…Xavier Eli Chin born 11:10am on 11/23/12, the greatest miracle in our lives and he was so beautiful that only God could’ve made him!

Now the next part of our journey was recovery and having a NICU baby…

Not What I Expected…

Baby Belly Shot 1

Baby Belly Shot 1

Now here is where things got interesting…I knew I was having a boy and was under close watch by my OB/GYN. She scheduled me for another appointment on Friday, November 9th around 3:30pm (I was 29 weeks).

As soon as I arrived the nurse did the usual, weight and blood pressure check. I was around 158lbs (my starting weight was 140) and my blood pressure was 154/110. The nurse was concerned so she tried my other arm. Nearly the same result 154/109. For a person like me whose blood pressure should be around 120/80 this result was extremely high. The nurse took me back and immediately got my OB. They turned the lights off in the room and asked me if I was stressed out. I honestly am rarely stressed out, I am a unusually calm and patient person. So I answered no and they asked me to lay on my left side for about 15 minutes in the dark and relax and they would try my blood pressure again.

A few days before admission

A few days before admission

The slowest 15 minutes of my life…but finally it was over and yet again my blood pressure was 156/108. They tried it one more time, 15 minutes in the dark and came back and it was 152/109. No such luck on getting my blood pressure down. So my OB/GYN sent me to GBMC to have blood work and a urine analysis done (since they could complete those way faster than the lab downstairs). I called my husband and told him what was happening and told him not to panic. They just wanted to make sure everything was alright. I could be stressed and not know it. So I met him at his workplace and we rode together to GBMC Labor and Delivery. Once I was checked in, they hooked me up to everything under the sun. They did a sonogram, had me on the heart monitor for my heart and the babies. Took my blood pressure a thousand times and of course did a urine analysis and blood work. My blood pressure upon arrival to GBMC was what had caused all of this to happen…it was 162/114. The nurses were concerned and the doctor came in to talk to me after seeing the results from everything. They decided to keep me overnight to watch over me and make sure I didn’t have a stroke or seizure.

Hooked up to the baby monitor

Hooked up to the baby monitor

If someone was to ask me at that moment whether or not I was panicking or “wigging out” the answer is still no. I could hear my sons heartbeat and feel him moving around like crazy so I was calm.

After I was held for 24 hours and had multiple tests done, the doctor called and said he wasn’t 100% on sending me home but he wasn’t sure he wanted to keep me either. He ultimately left the decision up to me…

You know that feeling you get when you have to make a decision and it’s almost like you aren’t the one speaking or making the decision…the answer just kind of comes out and you have no idea why you even said that let alone who just spoke on your behalf because you swear it isn’t you? Well that’s what happened to me at that moment. The nurses asked me what I wanted to do. My answer was “Well if the doctor isn’t 100% on sending me home I don’t want to go home just yet. I would feel way better about leaving if he was telling me it’s okay to go.”

So that’s when I got admitted…And I am telling you I never would’ve answered that way if it wasn’t for God. God was watching over me and our son that entire time. He raised my blood pressure, got me into the hospital, and gave me the wisdom to answer that question correctly. Ultimately with my condition either I or my son could’ve died if I hadn’t had His wisdom and guidance to keep me at GBMC.

And it wasn’t until about 24 hours after I agreed to stay that I was diagnosed with preeclampsia…

It’s a ___!

So as you might guess since I had found out I was pregnant, the next step was obvious…telling our family members and friends. The trick here was to keep everyone quiet (aka not posting any messages on facebook or twitter, or calling anyone else) until we had told everyone we needed to tell.

The first victims of our telling spree were my mom and Ed (my stepdad). They were home on a Saturday morning when we drove over to stop by to pick up my mail that was still getting delivered to the house. We told them we needed to speak to them in the living room and they had concern on their faces. They had absolutely no clue what we were about to tell them. I told them since they had an argument the day before that they needed to stop arguing and they both looked puzzled as I threw the pee stick at them (don’t worry, it was in a ziploc baggy!). Only a video can best describe what happened from there (use the link below to see what I am talking about)…

Our next victims were my mother-in-law and father-in-law along with our siblings. Each one had the exact same excitement and joy in welcoming a new baby into the family. We got everything from “I can’t wait!”, “Are you gonna find out the gender?” to “I can’t wait to make cupcakes, cakes, and give him all the sweets in the world!” And then the chaos began…doctors appointments and sonograms galore!

The first shot of our little man

The first shot of our baby

My diet had changed drastically…Fast food made me want to vomit, I couldn’t eat chickfila anymore because I almost did vomit eating it, and whatever the baby didn’t like the baby made sure to let me know and never forget about it. I couldn’t touch hashbrowns, chicken salad, or chicken. I mainly ate fruits and vegetables and if I ate meat it was only beef or steak. I also had to have cereal for breakfast because any sort of hot breakfast made me feel even more nauseous. While I never got morning sickness, I did have a bunch of headaches. Other than that, I had a smooth and normal first and second trimester.

June 18th Sonogram

June 18th Sonogram

As the time passed and it got closer to our gender reveal sonogram, I was confident our baby was a boy. While my husband and I wanted a boy since day 1 of finding out I was pregnant and that’s what I 100% believed the sonogram would reveal all and we couldn’t wait to find out! August 31st had finally come and we knew that night we were having family and a few close friends over for the gender reveal so we had hoped and prayed our baby would show us the goodies! My first appointment that day was my regular monthly appointment and I asked my OB/GYN to see if she could get a sneak peek..no such luck..our baby was hiding and wasn’t releasing ANY information to anyone…I began to worry that at my second appointment we would have the same problem…NOPE! That boy flashed us four to five times with his goodies! So much that the sonographer said “The baby is 100% without a doubt a boy!” We were so excited and couldn’t wait for that night to tell everyone!

28 weeks

28 weeks

When I got home I baked the cake and decided green would be a good color for a boys cake and yellow for a girls. So obviously I made the cake green and that night everyone was so excited that they threatened my life if I made them eat dinner before cutting the cake. In order to preserve my life, I cut the cake only to reveal the greatest mystery of all time…ITS A BOY!

Gender Reveal Cake

It’s a boy!

I am WHAT?!?!?!

Me and Doug

Me and Doug

For those of you who don’t know my husband Doug and I and our family let me introduce ourselves. My name is Mollie, I love working with kids, enjoy laughing, and my favorite actor is Johnny Depp. My husbands name is Doug, he loves wrestling, comic books and memorabilia, and football. We have two dogs named Boogie (a shihtzu who is 9 months old) that loves to eat everything from cords, wood, sticks, shoes, squeakers from the squeaky toys, and playstation controllers AND another dog named Bubb or Moo Moo (a Japanese Chin who is 8 years old) who loves to eat human food, play with Boogie, and sleep all day.

Our entire family at our wedding January 6, 2012

Our entire family at our wedding January 6, 2012

And this is the story of our first big adventure since marriage…It all begins on a cool, calm evening in May 2012…

My husbands family had come over with steamed crabs to have dinner at our house. Once they had arrived I knew something wasn’t right because the smell of the crabs absolutely nauseated me. Initially my mother in law and sister in law joked that I was pregnant and I laughed it off. I responded saying “no way. i would bet money that I am not pregnant.” The smell proceeded to make me super sick to my stomach so I excused myself from the table and explained I had to leave the entire house so that I did not hurl on the table and ruin their dinner. I went to my mothers and told her about what was going on. She and I stayed at the house until the house had been rid of the crab smell. The next day I was due for a crime scene in my pants (funniest way to put such a terrible TERRIBLE curse upon all women kind). I felt empty and thought something was up. But because I had this type of situation before where I felt empty and was a day or two late, I waited to find out what would happen. A day or two later I told my husband Doug I was buying a pregnancy test because at this point I believed that if I took the test I would find out that I am not pregnant and get my monthly. When reading the box it stated to wait for the mornings pee because that is the most accurate (lovely so now I won’t get any sleep wondering if it would be positive or negative). So I let him know that next morning I was going to pee on a stick and send him the results since he was working and I was going to have to go to work as well. It was about 8am when I peed on the stick and watched the pee go through it. I was nervous but confident at the same time I was just late and this was just a fluke…and then I saw what no one expects to see when they aren’t trying but are leaving it up to God…TWO FREAKING LINES…

May 2012

May 2012 Pregnancy Test

sheer and immediate panic went into my body…I began talking to myself in the bathroom out loud stating this thing was lying and that it couldn’t be true…So I grabbed the second one from the box and peed again just to make sure…the same results..TWO MORE FREAKING LINES…at this point I knew I had to tell Doug. So my message went pretty much like this: “Oh s***” with the picture attached to it. I never cuss so I am pretty sure I had lost my mind. Doug received the message and immediately called me and said “Are you serious?” and I said “Yes.” And it was silent on the phone for minutes…neither one of us knew what to say to each other because we were still trying to process what had just happened. I don’t remember who said the first word after that but we both knew this was going to be the start of something adventurous…