Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chaim

It's probably time to tell the story about Chaim's birth.  It's been 4 months, and I'm still a little in awe of how God blessed him.  Since my uterus ruptured, his little body was fighting to survive in my body.  As he was delivered via emergency c-section, he wasn't breathing, and his heart rate was falling.  Once they were able to get his breathing up and his color back to pink, they placed a 'cooling cap' on his head, and ushered him to the NICU.  For 3 days, he had the cooling cap treatment, which is a cap placed on his head that is hooked up to a refrigeration unit.  They keep the head extremely cold so that the brain does not begin to swell.  Basically, the brain tries to over-correct itself when a baby is born without oxygen, and begins to place water on the brain.  This in turn causes brain damage.  The cooling cap makes sure that the brain stays in a stable condition and does not swell, thus minimizing and even eliminating the brain damage.  We prayed a lot during this time that his brain would be able to respond to this treatment. 
 


 Finally, after 3 days of being on the cooling cap, they took it off.  It took about 6 hours to do this, since they had to warm his head up slowly.


 And for the first time since he was born, I was able to hold my little Chaim Michael.  It was amazing to realize that both of us were going to be okay.  We still didn't have any of the tests for Chaim to confirm that his brain would function normally, but when I held him, it was like touching heaven.



 Each day, they removed more and more tubes until at last he was not hooked up with anything.  His EEG results showed that there had been trauma on the brain, and they weren't able to conclusively say if his brain would function.  That was a difficult day.  Finally, a week after he was born, he had an MRI which came back "normal".  It was a moment of pure relief and joy.  We still have to see specialists to make sure he is okay, but I feel like he is more than okay.  The cooling cap is a fairly recent treatment within the last 10 years, and they have found that newborns that would sustain moderate brain damage from birth trauma are not experiencing any sort of brain damage.  It's truly a miracle treatment, and we are so grateful for this medical advancement.


 Finally, we were able to go home.  As amazing as the NICU staff had been, we were so anxious to get this little guy home!




 Finally, the girls were able to meet their brother two weeks after he was born.  They had come to see me in the hospital once, but the rules didn't allow them to go to the NICU.  They were so relieved to come home and know that everyone was okay. 

 And suddenly, once he was home, he started growing like a weed!



 And that is how little Chaim Michael began his life.  I completely recognize I am biased, but I think he is the most amazing, handsome little boy.  Even though I'm completely exhausted from the newborn schedule, I recognize how lucky I am that I have this little one to cuddle in my arms.  We had chosen his name "Chaim" before he was born, because we loved that it is the Hebrew word for "life".  And each day, I recognize how amazing it is that we get to see Chaim alive and healthy.  L'Chaim! 






Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Noel's FIRST Book

I know this book doesn't have much of a plot, but I was so excited when Noel FINALLY read this book without painfully sounding out every single letter and sound!  It felt like all those days and weeks of sounding out "Sam" just might be worth it.  Oh, who am I kidding?  It's totally worth it!  
 I was so proud that we called both sets of grandparents and bragged about this first reading accomplishment.  We told her preschool teacher when we dropped her off that day.  Basically, I told anyone who would listen that Noel had read her first book.  So...here it is for you to enjoy
"Sam and Mat"
 
  video


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Abandoned Christmas Card...Again

There's fashionably late, and then there's late late.  My attempt at sending out Christmas Cards failed (again).  I knew I wasn't going to get them out at the beginning of December or even mid-December, but I thought I could possibly squeeze them in somewhere between Christmas and New Year's.  I wrote the letter, visited the photo lab and almost placed an order for a photo-card to accompany it.  As luck would have it, we ended our year of years by all getting sick three days before Christmas.  So--big and small--here's a wrap of the year (and it won't be coming in your mailbox)...

We learned about cooling caps, NICUs, and what it means to have a miracle baby named Chaim.  We learned that being able to hold Chaim was the best moment we could have experienced.  This little guy's birth happened when Brooke's uterus ruptured at home, and a trip to the hospital ended with an emergency C-section and a 10 day stay in the NICU.  We are so grateful that God placed the nurses and doctors where we needed them to be before we even knew we needed a miracle.  Brooke and baby Chaim came through the experience with the help of many people and many prayers, and our family is very grateful for the wonder of life.



Brooke is learning how to handle 3 kids at home while still working part-time as a Scholarship Advisor (it's a slow learning curve--she is resorting to frozen dinners often).  She is learning rules of the NFL (thanks to tutorials by Scottie).  Most of all, Brooke is falling in love with her kids again now that she isn't sick from the pregnancy or worn out from the blood transfusion.  Life is good.



Scott has learned that Brooke will watch NFL if he explains the rules to Brooke.  ;-)  He has learned everything possible about cooling caps, NICU schedules, and calling for an ambulance in the middle of the night.  He also is somewhat (really) happy that Chaim is his twin--including the red hair and complexion.  We are going to buy stock in sunblock.



We learned that all rules of nutrition go out the window when you are on a flight to Florida with children.  We learned that reading a map of an amusement park is helpful during the first hour you are there--not the next day (which is how we approached it).  And finally, we learned that a day at the beach in November is a very different experience, including howling winds and frozen toes.



We have joined the craze of all things Frozen, dressing up as Elsa (Noel), Anna (Juliet), and Olaf (Chaim) for Halloween.  Noel has loved her year of preschool and is learning to read...through multiple readings of the Bob Books.  Noel thinks they are great, Brooke is ready to hide the "Sam sat. Mat sat." book after the 100th reading.  Juliet is learning how to write squiggly mountains and pretend they are letters.  The girls are pretty good at helping Mom--it now only takes 30 minutes for them to get dressed instead of the usual hour.  We're hoping to make some progress on the morning routine in 2015.



Chaim learned a lot in those first few days.  We are grateful for amazing nurses and doctors that acted very quickly to save his life, and help his brain perform normally.  As of now, he is a normal little baby.  Every moment that we have with him is a treasure.  (By the way--the name Chaim means "life" in Hebrew)


That's the year in a nutshell.  We're grateful for our family, our faith, and the gift of each day.