Monday, September 30, 2013

Starting Over

CJ started over with getting breast milk through his feeding tube today. This breast milk is dairy free, so I'm hoping and praying that it won't irritate his stomach. 

Please say a prayer that everything goes well. We are ready to get our baby back on the road to recovery! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

First Set Back

This week, we've been dealing with our first set back for CJ. On Monday, he had some blood in his stool when he had a bowel movement. Due to this, his feeding was suspended for 7 days. He was put in antibiotics incase he was starting to get an infection in his stomach. The cause for this could have been either a start of infection, irritation to his stomach...increase of feedings too fast or an allergic reaction to cows milk protein in the breast milk...which I have since cut out all dairy from my diet...or worse case scenario, a part of his bowels are no longer working properly and he would require surgery at Riley. 
    Thankfully, his X-rays have came back normal since Wednesday. Hopefully, it was just a small irritation...either from the cows milk protein or from increasing his feedings too quickly. Since he has been stable since his X-rays came back, tomorrow he starts back in getting breast milk through his feeding tube. He will start slowly with 2ml and work his up as long as his system is handeling it well. 
 How has he reacted through all of this? Like the fighter he is! He seems to take everything in stride...only getting fussy when he wants to be left alone. His favorite time continues to be the 3 hours when we get to snuggle. He falls into a deep sleep and manages his breathing, body temp, and heart rate perfectly. 
  He is also more alert after our skin to skin time too. His eyes are wide awake and he tracks me with them. He also moves his whole body to the sound of my voice, turning his head and leaning in the direction I am standing.  He has been working a little harder to breathe, but as soon as he is aware that I am near, he calms down and his breathing goes back to normal. He is already a Mama's boy! Yes, I am thrilled! 

 He has started to take a pacifier...working on the development of being able to suck and manage his breathing. He is still a long way away from being able to feed from a bottle or the breast, but this will help prepare him when he is finally ready to try. Even though his feedings have been suspended, he is getting plenty of nutrients from his specially mixed IV bag. He has even gained some weight and is up to 3.3 pounds! He is still tiny, but he is starting to fill out more. 

He is definitely showing his personality more too! With his looks, I just know he is going to be a little heart breaker! I mean seriously, could my sweet miracle baby get any cuter? (Of course, I am totally bias! ) 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Got Milk?

   I do! This is the extra milk I have pumped for CJ that I keep at home. Needless to say, my baby won't go hungry! And yes...there are layers and layers of frozen milk in there! I even have milk with dairy and dairy free! Good thing frozen milk lasts for 6 months! 

And, the whole reason for the milk...
"Mom, no more pictures please!"  No, he is not impressed! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Tag Added to the Bunch

  When Clayton was born, I bought a necklace. This necklace had a charm or tag on it that had his name on one side and all his birth information on the other side. I have never taken it off. Once Lacey was I added another tag with her name and birth information. Again, I have never taken it off. I even have tan lines to prove it! 
   Once CJ was born, I ordered his tag right away to add to my necklace. I know that it is just a necklace, but it is a way to keep my babies near me when we are apart. 

  Isn't it funny that the smallest child has the largest charm? 
No, CJ's charm is not's just reflecting off of my phone case. Not to mention, isn't it funny that Clayton and Lacey were almost the exact same size when born? Makes me wonder how big CJ would have been if I were able to carry him full term. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

CJ's Birth Story:Part 1

    This blog was started first and foremost as a way for me to document what was/is going in with my family. It was something that I could one day show my children. It just so happens that other people wanted to also know what was going in with my As a warning, this post may get detailed....too detailed for some of you. Please remember that this is for me to remember a significant part of CJ's survival and a new chapter in our lives. 

Sunday, September 8th 2013

      Sundays in the hospital were usually pretty low-key days. They were also my loneliest/hardest days. I think it was because I knew it was a day of rest for my family before gearing up for the long hectic week and they needed time at home to rest up. Plus...not much good TV to watch in Sundays.  However, this Sunday, Curt came up in te morning for a few hours to spend some time with me...very rarely would we get alone time just to talk freely without having to censor our conversation in front of Clayton and Lacey.  A few hours after he left, Clayton and Lacey came with my parents to hang out for a couple of hours. Both my kids just wanted to lay in bed with me and cuddle...of course, I was only too happy to oblige! 
 Little did I know...this would be the last time all 3 of my babies would be together for a very long time. 
   After they left, I had taken a nice long nap..visits really wore me out, I just didn't have a lot of stamina from being on bed rest and alone for so much of the time. Visits were definitely high stimulus for me. I had a nice dinner around 7:30 pm(I know this is weird to note, but it I super important to future events of the story). After my dinner, it was time for one if my routine monitorings. These were every 6 hours and would last a little over an hour, as long as everything was normal on the monitor. 
   For a few days prior, CJ had some dips in his heart rate every now and then in the monitor. This was slightly worrisome as the concern was that his umbilical corn was being compressed due to his growing size and no amniotic fluid to act as a cushion.
  After a little over 2 hours of being monitor, I knew something was going on. Very rarely was I in the monitor for so long without an update as to why. At about 9:30pm, the nurse came in to let me know CJ had a pretty big dip in his heart that had lasted about five minutes. He was going to need more monitoring, but it was up to me if I wanted a break from it and but back in the monitor at 4:00 am or to stay on it currently until 1:00 am. There was no way I was going to get any rest if I got off the monitor now. I would have been to worried about how CJ was doing. I told the nurse that I would just stay on it if how long was nessecary. So...that's what we did. Every 5 minutes, I would check the monitor from 9:30 pm to 1:00 am. There was no sleep or rest. I was on high alert to check CJ's heart rate to make sure he was ok. As far as I could tell, he seemed stable. When the nurse came in at 1:00am..she confirmed that he looked good ad I was to be taken off the monitor, but was going to be out back on in a few hours as a precaution. I like precautions...they help to avoid potential disastourous  or emergency situations. With some peace of mind that my baby was doing ok, I was able to get some rest...a very short rest. 

Monday, September 9th, 2013: 4:30 AM

        I was sound asleep and woke up to a gushing feeling. Now, you have to remember that this gushing feeling was nothing new. When my water had first broke way back in July 25, I had been leaking fluid ever since. Sometimes a light leak that I barely noticed, sometimes a large gush...depending on how I was laying and CJ's position in my uterus. So a gush was nothing new. This gush was larger than most I noticed...which, since I hadn't really leaked the whole time I was being monitored, I figured I was due for a large leak. To help fight off potential infection to the baby, every time I leaked, I had to change the pad. As I was getting up, I noticed that there was more leaking than normal. I turned on my room light and my heart stopped. I hadn't leaked the clear fluid I was used was blood...a lot of blood. It had leaked through the pad, through my pajamas, through 2 of the water proof pads that you lay on in the hospital bed. 
  My first instinct was to get myself cleaned up...don't ask me why I didn't call the nurse first. I felt like I needed to do something...I couldn't sit and wait. So I got up, got my self cleaned up, and them called the nurse. As I waited, I started to get a little nervous because I hadn't yet felt CJ move. Normally, he would be moving and repositioning himself...not this time. 
  When the nurse came, she was so calm and soothing. She quickly got my bed cleaned up, got me settled back in bed and got us hooked up to the monitors. I can't describe the feeling I had when I heard his heart beat on the monitor. Relief. Joy. Those words don't seem strong enough to convey the emotion I felt. 
  I knew I needed to text Curt what was happening, but I didn't want to worry him until I knew what was going on. I surely didn't want to wake him if this turned out to be nothing. He needed his sleep and did not need any added stress from me. I did text him just to say I was back I. Te monitor and had leaked some blood, but I would keep him posted, no need to panic or to come to the hospital. 
  After about an hour on te monitor, I started to have some small contractions every 5 minutes. I couldn't feel them, but saw them in the monitor. Luckily, CJ's heart rate remained steady through the contractions. Again, I was unsure if I should text Curt or not...but ended up texting him what was going on stressing to him I was ok, baby was ok and there was no need to come to the hospital. 
  About this time, I was hooked up to an IV fluid bag and the doctors were contemplating giving me magnesium sulfate to try and stop the contractions. I had heard rumors about "mag." I had heard that patients on mag feel like their body is in fire, terrible vomiting, even some hallucinations. Needless to say I was nervous about this, but was all for getting it if the mag would help keep me pregnant.  Turned out, it was decided to try the mag. Shortly after I was hooked up the walked Curt. 
   Thankfully, he didn't listen to me this time...or else he would have missed the birth of his son. 

To be continued....

Friday, September 20, 2013

So Excited to Gain Weight!

Our little teeny tiny 2.13 oz baby has surpassed his birth weight today...less than 2 weeks after being born at 28 weeks and 2 days! 

 CJ continues to be doing very well. His feedings continue to increase and he is currently up to 24 ml per feeding. Soon, he will be getting more calories added to his breast milk and he will slowly be weaned off of the nutrient bag. Once he is off of this and is stable, he will get the PICC line out! 
   With his increased feedings, he has also increased his bowel movements which has helped him to keep his bilirubin levels down (3.8 today) and off of the blue light. 
Thank you all so much for your continued prayers! We couldn't be more blessed with our little miracle and our family of 5! 

A Note From CJ

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers for me! All of your prayers help me to stay strong! I am eating more of my Mommy's milk and still breathing in my own! Today I had a huge blow out diaper all over my bed and my nurse. Mommy told her it was a present from me since that's all that if can give her. Hopefully, the big bowel movements will help keep my bilirubin levels low and I can stay off of the blue light.
   My favorite time of day is when I get held by my Mommy and my Daddy....and when I get fed too! I can't wait to meet my big brother and big sister. I've heard a lot of stories about them! 

 Mommy and Daddy think I'm starting to look more like my big brother...what do you think? 

   When Mommy got to the hospital this morning, I had a huge surprise for her. I have passed my birth weight and now weigh 3lbs!!! That was even with another big blow out poop which my nurse had to change my bedding again... Heehee! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

So Peaceful...

Our miracle baby continues to defy all odds! He is gaining back the weight he has lost ( up to 2.12 lbs!) and his feedings are continuing to increase!  He is officially off the CPAP and is breathing all on his own! He and I have been having our snuggle time daily for 3 hours...
which happens to be one of my favorite times of the day! 
 He seems to love it as well! Thank you all so much for your continued prayers! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Indescribable Joy

Today, CJ is officially 1 week old.  Again, this is an amazing medical miracle.  I have had so many friends and family members in the medical profession tell Curt and I that there is no medical explanation for how or why CJ is progress so well.   We continue to be in awe of his strength and resilience.  For such a little guy, he is sure is a tough fighter...and makes it look so effortlessly!
   At 1 week after birth, preemie and micro-preemie babies will get a brain ultrasound to detect any brain bleeds.  These brain bleeds can happen in severity between level 1-level 4 (level 4 being the worst and can lead to cerebral palsy).  Needless to say, Curt and I have been very scared of the results of this ultrasound.  CJ got his ultrasound this morning and the results would not be ready until this afternoon.  While I was with him this morning, the NICU doctor came to visit.  She said the 2 most magical words, "ALL CLEAR!"  His brain ultrasound showed NO BLEEDING IN HIS BRAIN!!!  Again, words can not describe the amount of joy and blessings that we feel have been surrounding our miracle baby.

  I was fully prepared to celebrate this amazing medical feat that our miracle baby was not only alive, but in fact thriving and defying all odds.  What I was not prepared for was the indescribable joy of holding  my son...really holding my son...back to my body as he was only 1 week ago.  Many of you may have heard of this as either "Kangaroo Care" or "Skin-to Skin Care."  I simply call this JOY.

 The benefits of this care is that it helps babies to regulate their breathing and heart rate.  Helps the baby to not only gain weight, but to manage their temperature.  It helps the baby to get into a deep, restful sleep and prepares them for future breast feeding.  It also as benefits for the parents as well.  For both the mother and father, it helps with forming that special bond with your baby.  It helps to keep both parents and baby peaceful.  For moms who are breast feeding, it can help stimulate milk production.  

I was beyond thrilled to be able to start this care so soon.  Today, one week after his birth, my baby and I were reunited, skin to skin for over 3 hours!  During this time, he maintained his heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature.  He would squirm and snuggle up against me and make his sweet baby noises.  I would quietly sing/ hum to him or just tell him all sorts of stories about his 2 older siblings.  I told him how proud of him we all were and just how much he was loved.  As soon as he would hear my voice, he would snuggle even deeper against me and let out a sigh.  I had been worried that he wouldn't know me.  I spent a lot of time on bed rest alone...not talking (shocking for me right?) and I was scared my baby wouldn't recognize me...especially being in the NICU with all those sounds and I couldn't be with him 24/7.  Today completely put me at ease.  This baby, my miracle baby CJ....he is beyond amazing. 

 This picture was taken on Sunday, September 8th...the day before CJ was born.  This was the last time that I had all 3 of my babies together.   It will be awhile before they are all reunited again, but that's ok.  We will all be ok. Thank you all so much for your continued prayers, support, texts, emails, gifts, and kind words.  Curt and I continue to be so grateful for your kindness and generosity. 
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pictorial Update (Just for you Dad!)

 On Thursday, September 12, 2013, I was officially released from the hospital.  It was the first time I was home in over 5 weeks. It was the first time that I was reunited with my husband and 2 oldest children.  While I was over thrilled to be reunited and home, but was beyond sad to be so far away from my miracle baby.  It was the first time in 7 months that I had been without him.   Tomorrow, CJ is officially one week old...but he should still be in my uterus as a 29 week and 2 day baby.  In his first week of outside world...well, NICU world, he has remained stable and has been progressing wonderfully.  Again, doctors and nurses can not explain the reason why he is doing so well medically.  However, I know that he continues to thrive and progress due to all of your prayers and well wishes.  Our baby continues to prove that he is a fighter.  When he was born, his lungs were stiff.  Due to this, he was put on a ventilator known as an oscillator to quickly vibrate his lungs to make them more flexible.  He was off of this ventilator in a little over 24 hours and moved to a small ventilator and after a little over 48 hours, he was moved to a CPAP.  The CPAP is not a ventilator, meaning it does not go through his mouth and trachea to his lungs.  It is oxygen through his nose and he breathes on his own.  The CPAP is as a reminder to him to breathe if he needs it.  Thankfully, he has been doing well on the CPAP and hasn't had any alarms set off!  He does have a feeding tube and gets fed about 2 ml of breast milk every 3 hours.  He has a PICC line through his neck instead of an IV.  This PICC line can stay for a long period of time and saves him from having to be re-stuck by an IV every few days.   The other other cords on him is a blood pressure cord and cords to monitor his temperature and heart rate.  To say that this is all he needs is beyond a miracle.  He is doing surprisingly well for as early as he was born.    As for me, recovery from a c-section has been way more difficult for me than my previous two vaginal deliveries.  I also think that the being on bed rest for over 7 weeks has had a huge effect on my recovery as I tire very easily since I try to compensate for not using my stomach muscles.  BUT I'M NOT COMPLAINING! My miracle baby CJ is alive and thriving as is my 2 oldest children.

Ok, now for what you have been waiting for...PICTURES!

Our first touch...about 6 hours after he was born...

Daddy and CJ...first picture together. 

Mommy and CJ...our first picture together...sorry for the scariness... I had lost a lot blood and was still not strong enough to stand for a long period of time.  I actually passed out from too low of blood pressure about an hour before this picture was taken..nothing was going to stop my from seeing my baby though! 

A day or two later...this pictures shows just how teeny tiny he really is. 

On Friday, the 13th...our miracle baby opened his eyes for the very first time!  This was also the day the graduated to the CPAP and off of the ventilator. Who ever said Friday the 13th was unlucky has never met our miracle baby! 

Most babies like to be snuggled up tight, to mimic how they were in the uterus...not our baby! He loves to stretch!

Today, he was moved from an isolated room to the "general population"...( joke)...when moving him, he had to have his CPAP off.  I got to see his whole face for the first time today!

6 days after he was born, I got to hold my miracle baby in my arms for the first time.  Words can not describe the joy and blessings that I felt to be able to do hold him.  He, of course, took this as if it was no big deal and slept the whole time.  He was able to keep his oxygen, breathing, temperature, heart rate, everything completely stable.  The nurses were amazed at how well he did and kept commenting that he knew his Mommy was holding him.  Of course I fought back tears of joy the entire time...and every time I look at this picture! 

I'm still working on his birth story...hopefully I'll have the done next week...recovery has been rough!  Thank you all so much for your continued prayers, gifts, good thoughts, texts, and emails.  This journey is long from over, but we couldn't have came this far without all of your support!  
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our Miracle Baby

  On Monday, September 9, 2013 our son was born.

He is our true miracle.

Curtis Glen Chase, Jr...aka...CJ (short for Curt, Jr) came into this world early at 28 weeks and 2days by C-section. He weighed 2 pounds and 13 ounces and was 16 inches long.  Hearing his little cry was the most amazing blessing. He came into this world fighting and remains fighting in the NICU. CJ has tolerated everything in the NICU wonderfully and is in critically stable condition. Critical because he was born so early, but stable in that he is reacting wonderfully to everything the NICU staff is doing to help him.  Curt and I couldn't be more grateful to all the staff for their great care of CJ. He is truly in the best place to help him.

I am slowly recovering and adjusting once again to this life journey we currently find ourselves on. Thank you all so very much for all of your support, prayers, and well wishes. Once I have regained more strength and stamina, I'll get started on a post of the details of CJ's birth.  Right now, my top priority is trying to recover enough strength to spend time with the newest and tiniest member of our family of 5.
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

What do you do?

Other than, "how are you doing," this is the most frequent question I am asked.   For those of you that know me in real life....not via the Internet ...know that I am a person who is always doing something. For example, when at home, I can't just sit and watch TV, I have to either fold laundry, work on school stuff, read....something! I relax by doing something....which doesn't seem like too relaxing to most! When we first told people that I was going on bed rest and being admitted to the hospital, everyone was stumped on how I was going to manage STAYING PUT ALL DAY.  So, to answer this question and to document for my own record, here is what I "do" all day while being on bed rest in the hospital.

8:00-8:30 am
    I usually wake up around this time every day. I do my quick version of a morning routine: use the restroom, wash face and brush teeth (sitting down of course).  Then I get all snuggled back in bed with my "leg shackles" ( SDs: air compression wraps that i have to wear 24/7 to prevent blood clots in my legs) and covers and pillows. since being in bed all day, I like the room to be cold to snuggle up.  Curt and Clayton always call and leave  me a voicemail message on their way to school. I like that their voices are the first ones I hear in the morning, reminds me of being home. Good Morning America is my go to morning show while I check all my social media accounts.

9:00 am
  Meet my day nurse (I've just about made it through all of them at least once!), take my vitals and start the first baby monitoring of the day. Around 9:30, I call room service and order breakfast. Food delivery usually takes about an hour. While on the baby monitor, I must lay as still as I can for abut an hour....sometimes more depending on how the baby does. I usually watch Kelly and Michael during this time and play Candy Crush...remember I can't ONLY watch TV!

10:00-10:30 am
   Time to get off of the monitor! Then it's time to use the restroom...again...climb back into bed and get situated. Room services brings breakfast around this time which I eat in bed.

  During this time is the busiest for the hospital staff to come in. I will see the doctor on call for a quick check in...usually lasts 2 minutes tops. The head nurse, nurse, dietician, massage therapist,  and etc. they usually come about 1/2 hour. In between their visits, I'm using the restroom, searching for something on TV, reading, Internet surfing, texting, etc. I also have visits from nurses that are on duty, but not mu particular day nurse. They just pop in to talk, sometimes staying 45. All the nurses are great! Sometimes, I also get in a mini-nap....30-45 minutes...once you see my night schedule you'll know why!

  Order lunch from the hospital menu...making sure that any condiments I might want I have to order along with telling them how many. Wait for lunch to arrive...more candy crush, reading, surfing via the Internet, or my new game...Jelly Splash. Once lunch arrives, I have to take my time eating. When you are laying down 90% of your day and pregnant, the acid reflux can be killer. By eating slowly, it gives my food more time to digest and the reflux seems more manageable.

   Nap. It is crucial to me being able to function!

    Another round of baby monitoring for an hour or more. TV watching, reading, checking monitor, this time.

   Shower! If its a change the IV day (every 96hours) I get to shower without a plastic bag engulfing half my arm. I only get 10 minute showers and must sit during them, but they are so glorious!!!! While I shower, the nurse changes the linen on my bed. I know it's a little thing, but a nice shower and clean linens sure do something uplifting for my mental health!  Then the nurse and I okay a fun game of "where should the new IV go." Since being admitted 29 days ago....who's counting?.... I have had 9 different pokes of an IV. It's really not so bad, the tape to secure is much more annoying!

5:00-6:00/6:30 pm

This is usually the time when visitors come during the week. I try not to have any visitors come on the days that my kids are here. It is crucial to me that they get special attention from me. They don't come every day, which makes my time with them priceless.

   Order dinner, wait for it, and eat. Usually the evening shows are starting to get better so that helps keep my attention. The nurses switch shifts at this time so I meet my night nurse and say adios to the day nurse.

7:30 -9:00pm
     I make my nightly phone call to my babies at home. They are getting in to bed and I get to help...lots of kisses and hugs over the phone and heading them say, "I love you Mommy" always brings tears to my eyes and makes my heart melt every time.

  Another round of monitoring and vitals. I try to talk with


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