January is a busy month for us, it is almost like Christmas all over again! We kick off the month with Nemo’s birthday first. My birthday comes next, my mother in law and grandmother in law have birthdays mid month, and mid month my older two, Turtle and Bookworm both have birthdays towards the end of the month. I’m not sure if I should mention that my nieces and a nephew have birthdays ALL in January too :).
When I start thinking about birthday season, it makes me so happy that my kids have all had another year, another year to learn and grow in the Lord. Another year for God to plant seeds, another year to play and to live life . It also makes me sad, you see I am a momma and there is something about my kids growing up that makes my heart swell with pride. It also makes me want to hold on to each day longer and sometimes ” place a brick on their head” and keep them small.
Each of our children is different and unique. God has a special plan for each of them and Nemo my youngest is no exception. The Bible says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”. I know this is true for all my kids and I clung to it throughout my pregnancy with Nemo and his birth. Talking about his birth is something I need to do, but the days and weeks that followed were some of the hardest and darkest in my life. I am forever thankful for my God walking me though that time, my husband holding my hand and being there as my strength and rock in the flesh, and my mom who held together my other two and kept things going for us so we could focus on my baby boy during that time.
Let me back up for those who don’t know the story…..
( The first picture was from my older 2’s birthday party, when I really realized how sick he really was) ( The second was from our time at Children’s Hospital in Columbus)
During my pregnancy with Nemo I was put on restrictions, he was showing markers for Downs Syndrome and they didn’t want my heart rate to get above a certain amount. Also, I was scheduled to go monthly to Ohio State University to have 4D ultrasounds. During the first one, the Dr wanted me to have an amnio so that then I could discuss “my options”. My husband politely told her ma’am, we will not have an abortion regardless so that test will not happen, not to mention the issues that can come because of the amnio.
There was not a definite test out there that would 100% tell us one way or another and for us, it did not matter. God had a plan regardless of what may come after the baby was born, it was in his hands. Downs Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome or what have you, we would enjoy our baby and do our best by him. So we declined most tests, deciding to enjoy the pregnancy and trusting the one who created the world and that precious baby, with his future.
Emotionally during my pregnancy I had so many thoughts. I can’t tell you how many conversations I had with my mom about this. Also I must give credit to a few other people who helped get me through this time and the days and weeks that followed his birth. When Nemo was born, he was cleared of ANY markings of down syndrome etc, HOWEVER, as a mom I knew something wasn’t right. I had nursed 2 other children, I just knew. From the get go he was very sleepy. I couldn’t get him to wake to eat. We had a box fan brought into the room, we would strip his clothes off and do cool clothes on him. He would NOT wake to eat. My husband would get him and mess with him till he got mad by tickling his whiskers on him. It could take 45 minutes to an hour to wake him up. When we finally got him awake and put him on the breast, he would fall right to sleep. Something was NOT right. I spoke to the nurse and to the lactation consultant, both assured me he was ok, they said that some babies were just tired a few days. Two days went by and we went home, he was slightly jaundice but not bad, they asked for us to come back to the Dr in a couple of days. By then he still was not eating nor awake anymore then he has been when he was first-born. My other two kids running around did not phase him, them messing with him did not phase him. We tried dropper feeding him and cup feeding him and still nothing. We went back to the Dr and she was concerned as he had lost more weight, I finally got her to check his tongue for tongue tie, you can read about that in a few minutes when I attach the past blogs, he was tongue-tied and clipping his tongue did seem to help, for a feed or 2.
Time went by and I think one of the hardest days for me and when I realized how sick he really was, we had a birthday party at McDonald’s for my older 2 boys. My family came up for it too and my sister-in-law was taking pictures. I played with the older boys, we went through the whole party and not one time, not once did he wake up. I passed him to folks from church, my sister-in-law moved his blankets and such around to get better pics and then I looked at the clock and realized it had been over 4 hours since he last ate. 4. For a newborn nursing that was a very long time. So I took him out to the van to nurse him, I began to cry as even in the cold van he would not wake to eat. My husband said lets just try again at home, it was only about 2 minutes away. I was so determined to get him to get him to nurse but he wouldn’t. When I look back at his pictures from that party, my heart aches. How did I not know how sick he was? I kept thinking in my heart he would be ok. I had plenty of milk, thank goodness I had the sense to pump too or I would have lost that.
The next day I went back to the Dr with my baby and we ended up in the hospital. He was 3 weeks old by then and still was not gaining weight. I was determined to not give him formula, as I said I had plenty of milk. We spent a few days in the hospital in Newark, we watched them poke and prod on our precious baby boy. I cried and my husband held me. I wanted it to be me and not my child. He suddenly became a human pin cushion. After a few days there, the still could not figure out what was wrong with him or what to do, so they transferred us to Children’s Hospital. At Children’s hospital, they ran many tests and we found out all he didn’t have, but not what he did have. I was still trying to nurse and determined to not give formula, fortunately the Dr’s did not push it, not one of them did. They were VERY supportive of me nursing, brought me a hospital grade pump and did everything they could for me. I am so thankful for their care and tenderness in looking out for not just our son, but us as well. One day the nurse insisted my husband and I leave for a bit to eat. She promised to watch him and page if he needed us. They were really wonderful. After a few days there, we finally got an MRI and they figured out that our son had a stroke in utero. He was a tad droopy on one side, even trying during a swallow test, to use a bottle it dripped out all over the place. So with that knowledge what to do to get him to gain weight? Well I had milk. TONS of milk. We discovered he could latch onto my breast but could not suckle out the milk. So I had a good cry at the realization that he would never nurse normally. I grieved the loss of that like a death in the family. I wanted so badly to nurse him. My husband held me again while I cried and cried. Then I did what every momma would do, the best for her child. I found a bottle he could drink out of and I began to pump for him every time he ate. I also made sure he had the smallest nipple on the bottle so he had to work harder and build up his muscles. I would pump, feed him or my husband would, and then I would follow that with him nursing. After a few days he started to gain weight! Praise The Lord!!! The Dr’s were thrilled with the results! They wanted me to continue trying to nurse him and also to keep following up and getting MRIs but we finally got to go home after 8 days.
For many months I pumped every 1.5 hours-2 hours day or night, including during a PCS move to Ft Bliss, TX and after my husband deployed for the second time to Iraq. It was exhausting, I was tired but God was so good during this time. My husband and I grew stronger in God and with each other. God humbled me, you can read about that in a link below too :). God lead me to PWOC . Most important, we believe that because I pumped and Nemo got all the hind milk and foremilk together each feed, he used all the goodness in that milk to heal him!!! On Tuesday Nemo turns 4 years old. Recently the Dr’s here reviewed him and have declared him a miracle, he really is healed. He has nothing lasting from the stroke!!! Who could ask for more? He is a typical rotten little boy, full of mischief and sweetness, he is thriving and learning each day. My cup overflows with blessings. I realize how different things could have been with my child and I am grateful.
As a military wife during the time we were in recruiting in Ohio, I was blessed to get to know two friends really well during this time. My good friend Lin I have blogged about before, she listened to me cry my heart out and was there to drive all the way to Children’s hospital in Columbus to bring us snacks and cards with scriptures on them. To this day I still have those cards, she put stickers on them and made them pretty. I cannot tell you how much her and her husband has meant to us through the years but that day they showed up at the hospital, I just cannot tell you what it meant to both my husband and us. My friend Beth and her husband, another military wife and her husband served with mine at the same recruiting station, Beth was there always for lunch and to get together with the kids and to always make me smile. Their friendship is so important to us, we miss them so much! The people at Bible Baptist Church in Newark Ohio, they brought food and offers to help in any way they could. I can never thank them enough. My sister/cousin Krissy, who knew my heart even when I couldn’t speak it. My best friend from growing up Carla, who was there for me so much too! Lara, your prayers and visit and friendship through the years can never be replaced! To so many others who prayed I just cannot ever thank you enough. Writing this 4 years later is still hard, it is a place in my life that while there were many blessings I do not wish to go back too, but at the same time knowing full well that God used a dark time and place for his glory. AMEN!
So Happy 4th Birthday (on Tuesday) my sweet baby boy! You are a blessing from God and we are so thankful for you!!!
Below are the links to the past blogs from 2009
I urge all of you, if your going through a trial, to allow God to use it to grow you and make you stronger. Cling to him and the promises in his word. Let him hold your hand and guide you.