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A Difficult Confession

I feel terrible writing this, but I just have to get it out.

I’m struggling to look at my baby, because he just doesn’t look like himself.

Sure, I’ve only known him for a month. I’ve only looked at his face for the past 30 days. But he was the tiniest little thing I had ever seen when this whole journey started. He was all of 5 pounds and 8 ounces. Tiny little head. Small, but poochy little stomach. His chin was super recessed giving him a very pouty lip. He was just so so small. And the past few days I’ve just been looking at him and he just doesn’t look like the same kid I brought to the hospital 12 days ago. He’s plumped up. His head is super round. He has a double chin thing going on. He just seems fuller and taller. I haven’t seen him in awhile without tape on his face and no tubes coming out of nose and mouth and surrounded by wires. I haven’t held him in over a week or changed his diaper or fed him.

I think it all just hit me. And then I felt guilty for feeling these feelings. But today I have cried multiple times while looking at him. This evening, I just got so worked up, I went and cried for awhile in the bathroom – our hospital room has no privacy. I don’t know where these feelings are coming from, because it truly doesn’t matter what he looks like, only that he is getting better.

But leaving just feels so far away. I need my baby boy to come home!

Family, Motherhood

Oh Hello There Pediatric ICU

Today was a day. Lately every day feels like a day. I didn’t think today was going to escalate as quickly as it did. One minute we are going through the daily motions of the pediatric floor and the next my baby is being intubated in the pediatric ICU.

Let me back up and start from the beginning.

First of all, I know the title of this post sounds light-hearted, but let me assure you there is nothing light-hearted about this situation. But you do what you have to do to make it through. Jameson needs me to be strong, so I put on my chipper attitude and get through the day. Yes, there are breakdowns, but I try to focus on the positives and the blessings in disguise. But in all seriousness, I’m literally crying as I type this, so there’s that.

Anyway, so things have really changed since my last update. On Monday night, Jameson stopped waking up and wanting to eat, so on Tuesday they had to put in a feeding tube. That was the biggest change. So I woke up today (Wednesday) around 9am. We were just going through the motions, I met the nurse and she did her examination. She felt that Jameson was breathing hard, so she bumped his oxygen to 4 liters. Pretty standard. I held him for a little bit that morning and could feel him breathing through the swaddle, putting pressure on my arm; that is not normal. When the nurse came in again to check on him, the charge nurse also came in to take a peek. It had been an hour or so on 4 liters and they didn’t feel like he was getting any better. After the doctor looked at him, they decided he needed high flow, so he would need to be sent to the pediatric ICU (PICU). Not long after that decision was made, we were whisked off to the PICU.

Once we arrived on the PICU floor everything was a frenzy. There were nurses, nurse practitioners, and respiratory therapists in the room getting everything set up and checking him out. He was put on 10 of high flow and all feedings had stopped. The nurses did their examination and ordered a chest x-ray. Upon looking at the chest x-ray it was apparent that Jameson had developed pneumonia. So they quickly switched him off high flow and onto a bubble CPAP. My sister-in-law arrived with some lunch for me, so I took a break and went outside to eat with her. Once I was back in the room, they informed me that Jameson’s temperature was low, so they were going to switch him to a warming bed. I helped them make the switch as Jeremiah arrived.

He had only been in the room maybe ten minutes when all of a sudden Jameson’s oxygen levels plummeted. They were in the 70s (when they should be 100). I found a nurse and asked if that was accurate and then it was a frenzy again. Nurses flooded in the room checking on him. I heard one of them tell someone else to contact the doctor. The doctor comes in almost immediately. Jeremiah and I just stand in the corner waiting to be told what’s going on. Once everything kind of calms down the doctor tells us that Jameson is starting to take breaks where he stops breathing and then starts breathing really fast. This is a sign that he is tiring out. So the decision was made to put him on a ventilator.

It took roughly an hour and thirty minutes for them to get Jameson intubated. Because his airway is so small, they had to put a camera down his nose in order to see where they were going. He had some bleeding in his nose and mouth from the trauma. From there they took some blood and tried tirelessly to get a second IV set up, but no such luck, so a central line is in Jameson’s future. The nurse also spotted some PVCs in his heart rate, but said not to worry; it’s not uncommon in babies, but they will keep an eye on it just in case.

So we are in the PICU indefinitely. I believe Jameson is getting great care here and it was a blessing he was brought to this floor when he was. Please keep the prayers and thoughts coming; I cannot express how much it means to me! ❤

Family, Motherhood, Pregnancy

Jameson’s Birth Story

On April 25th 2021 at 2:18pm we welcomed our son, Jameson Taylor Grey, into the world. He weighed 4 pounds 7 ounces and measured 17.5 inches long. He is the most precious thing I have ever laid eyes on! ❤

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At 8am on Sunday morning, I wake up and go to the bathroom. I pee and as I am wiping, I feel like it’s taking a lot to get clean, so I take a peek at the toilet paper and it is covered in bright red blood. This causes me to take a look at my underwear which is also soaked in bright red blood. I calmly tell Jeremiah that I am bleeding and to toss me my phone, so I can call our midwife. I call her, no answer. I text her that I am bleeding and she asks to see a picture of the amount of blood. I send it. She calls me and explains that it could be a placental abruption and tells me to drop everything and head to the hospital. She would call them and let them know we were on our way.

We arrive at the hospital and Jeremiah drops me off at the ER. As I walk in, they are ushering me out saying that I need to go to the other entrance across the parking lot. I walk across the parking lot and try one door – it’s locked. I walk to another door, it’s locked. I am starting to get really frustrated when a woman opens the door for me and asks if I am here to visit someone. I look at her and tell her no, that I am having an emergency and that the hospital is supposed to be expecting me. She tells me that I should go to the ER and I let her know that they sent me here. She finally calls Labor & Delivery and says they are coming to get me.

A group of L&D staff come down to the lobby to get me. I am put into a wheelchair and taken upstairs to a room – Jeremiah and Hazel follow behind. On the ride up, they tell me that my midwife might have thought this was a lot of blood, but that this wasn’t a lot of blood to them. Once in the room, one nurse puts an IV in my arm while another nurse asks me all the questions about my medical history, family medical history, and then questions about the incident today. After about an hour of questions, I have an extensive ultrasound. At this point, there are too many people in my room, so my family leaves with Hazel leaving just Jeremiah and I. Following the ultrasound, they do a pelvic exam with the speculum. So far nothing concrete is appearing as to why I am experiencing the bleeding. The OB comes in and says that the high risk OB recommends getting two steroid shots to help our baby’s lungs if he is born premature. Jeremiah reaches out to our midwife and after receiving more information on the pros and cons, we decide to decline the steroid shot.

Our midwife arrives to offer support and guidance and I am so grateful to have her there with us. I start to have what they called irritability contractions which are basically sporadic contractions that don’t cause any dilation that could have been brought on by the pelvic exam. I need to use the restroom, so I get up and there is blood on the rag beneath me. After I go, the toilet paper also has blood on it. The amount of blood is still a concern to me. I sit back down in the bed and start to feel more consistent contractions. The hospital staff is still not concerned and told me to just let them know if the contractions seem to get more intense. So far they don’t know what is causing the bleeding (their guess is something with the upper part of the cervix), but baby boy is not in any distress. After maybe another hour, the contractions are getting a bit more intense – I am having to curl my toes during them and they are coming much more frequent. I need to use the restroom again and this time there is quite a bit of blood on the rag beneath me and when I wipe, the toilet paper is pretty saturated. The blood is still a major concern to me, because it’s not normal to be bleeding at any point in pregnancy.

When I get back to the bed, the nurse does another pelvic exam and determines that I am in labor. The contractions are coming very frequent and I am having to not talk and grip the sides of the bed. Because of the situation they do not stop labor, but a c-section has to happen due to baby boy being breech. So everything starts to happen a bit quicker now. I sign a bunch of waivers, they call in the OR staff, and get Jeremiah and I prepped and ready for surgery. A little before 2pm, they take me back to the OR. They get the spinal block inserted into my back and get everything set up and ready. They do a feel check and I can feel a bit in my stomach, so they have to tilt me back on my head for a little bit to help the medicine spread. Before they make the incision, Jeremiah joins me. I can feel a lot of pressure as well as pulling and tugging, but nothing hurt and it wasn’t scary like I assumed it would be. The drape was very tall which helped my nerves. At 2:18pm Jameson was out! He came out feet first and was crying – which is a great sign! They showed him to me over the drape and then he was taken to the corner of the room to be examined by the NICU staff.

While they were closing me up, the doctors’ talked to me about what they were doing. The surgeon informed me that the way she sewed up my uterus would make it very possible for me to do a VBAC next birth if baby cooperated. They also gave me insight as to what my uterus looks like – normal shape, but has a septum. And confirmed that my placenta was tearing, but that Jameson had no bloody liquid around him, only clear, which is pretty amazing! I was in such good hands. When they were done, they wheeled me back to my L&D room to recover.

Being born at 35 weeks, Jameson does have to go to the NICU for some extra recovery after birth. On my way up to my postpartum room, they wheel my whole bed in there next to his little bassinet, so I can say hello. I get to see my little guy and he is absolutely handsome and amazing!

our first picture with jameson
Motherhood, Pregnancy

Hazel’s Birth Story

On April 26th 2019 at 11:28am, my husband and I welcomed into the family our daughter, Hazel Felicity Grey. She weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces and measured 19.5 inches long. She was absolutely perfect in every way! ❤

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The night of Hazel’s due date, I received a call from my midwife. Due to multiple consecutive days of high blood pressure, she was becoming concerned about preeclampsia. She gave me my options: continue to wait for labor to begin on its own, come in tomorrow for her to run more tests, or go to the hospital to have the baby. She also informed me that preeclampsia can develop very quickly – within 24 to 48 hours. First, I called my mom to update her, then I drove to the coffeeshop to discuss the situation with Jeremiah. In the end, we decided not to chance any complications and just go to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at 8am the next morning. After checking in, I was led to a room and told to put on a gown. I refused to put on the gown and felt so awkward and out of place. This was not how things were supposed to go. After awhile a nurse came in to ask me a bunch of questions, then she was replaced by another nurse, and then she was replaced by another nurse. Eventually, they got through the questions and left us alone. The midwife on call came in and informed me that they would be taking some blood and putting in an IV. I tried to refuse the IV, but I to compromise with a saline lock.

Later, the midwife returned to announce that I had developed preeclampsia and we needed to get this labor going. I now had to choose what form of induction I wanted to use. In order to choose wisely, I had to be examined. At this point – about 11am – I was 5 centimeters dilated and about 70% effaced. I was very frustrated about having to be induced, but I didn’t want to put Hazel in any danger, so I chose to use Pitocin to speed up the labor. At 1pm they started me on 2 of Pitocin.

For the next 7ish hours, my Pitocin level was slowly raised until it reached 10 with no change. The Pitocin wasn’t working on its own, so we had to choose another option to accompany the Pitocin. The midwife on call broke my water at 8pm and not long after I finally started to feel contractions.

Over the next 8 hours, I labored naturally without any pain relief medication. Honestly, the first 5 or so hours were very doable. I was shocked by this, because I had read and learned in class that Pitocin induced contractions can be especially brutal. Getting through each contraction was so interesting, because it was nothing like what I had expected and I didn’t do much of what we learned in our class. I had intended to labor in the water, but due to my preeclampsia that wasn’t allowed, so I had to figure out what I liked and disliked hooked up to monitors in a hospital room. I did a lot of leaning against the wall while swaying and sitting on the birth ball while bouncing. Having Jeremiah massage my lower back was incredibly helpful too.

Around 4am I felt like I needed to push, so my midwife said that I could try, but after an examination by the midwife on call, we learned that Hazel was posterior and I was still 5 centimeters dilated, but 100% effaced. By this point, I am absolutely exhausted and am having to tell my body to stop trying to push. It was extremely difficult to stop “pushing” and to get into these weird positions to try and turn the baby. I was crying, my body was shaking, and my teeth were chattering. Through my tears I told those who were helping me that I needed help, because I couldn’t do it anymore. I had been awake for over 22 hours and active laboring for over 8 hours when I decided to get an epidural.

Deciding to get the epidural was very emotional for me. All I wanted was a beautiful natural birth with no interventions, but instead I had been having to get intervention after intervention. I felt like a total failure, but as my teeth chattered and my body shook, I knew that I had reached my limit. At 6am, I was given the epidural and became a whole new person. I was laughing and joking. I remember them asking me if I felt a contraction and I just giggled in awe that I couldn’t feel a thing, but this wonderful warm feeling in my legs.

After getting the epidural, I took a two hour nap. When I woke up, I was completely dilated and effaced and Hazel had turned into the anterior position. About half an hour later I was ready to push. Honestly, pushing was my favorite part. It was incredible, empowering, and difficult to literally push my baby into this world. Even with the epidural I could tell when my body was ready to push and I was jump the gun begging the midwife and nurse to let me push. After two and a half hours of pushing – although it did not feel nearly that long – Hazel made her debut. Jeremiah helped pull her out and he got to cut the cord. She was immediately placed on my chest and she was the cutest thing I had ever seen!

Faith, Pregnancy Loss

Love, Loss, Rebirth // A Faith Story

Back in May of this year, Jeremiah and I found out we had lost our first baby. For eleven weeks, we had been the happiest couple on the planet; overjoyed at this life we had created and excited for what the future held for us. At ten weeks we had gone in for our dating ultrasound where we would get to see our little bean for the first time, but instead received the news that no baby could be located. I sat in the chair with tears leaking from my eyes as I waiting for some kind of explanation that never came. We were instructed to come back the next week to see if anything changed. Nothing did. Those two weeks were the longest, loneliest, and scariest weeks of my life. I spent most of my time huddled up in our closet buried under blankets with my childhood stuffed bear. Sometimes there were tears, other times screams, and often silence. I was lost. I didn’t know where to go from there. I didn’t understand why this had happened to me… to us.

My mind and heart just couldn’t grasp any kind of explanation for miscarriage. I had so many questions and prayers that went unanswered and I felt absolutely betrayed and abandoned by God. I blamed God for the loss of our baby and held onto that hurt and anger for the better half of this year. After hearing the news that our baby had stopped growing and going through the trauma of a miscarriage, I did not want to talk to – let alone worship – a God that could do this to someone, so I stopped going to church.

Then in August, Jeremiah and I found out that we were expecting again. Those first couple of weeks after finding out were brutal. Instead of being over the moon with love and excitement, I was nervous and scared. I had multiple breakdowns involving crying and shaking, because I just knew I couldn’t handle losing another baby. I just kept thinking that it was going to happen again. God was going to take my baby again. We knew from the beginning that this pregnancy was going to be different… more tender, more cautious, but not any less loved. We chose to go in for an early ultrasound to reduce the risk of being blindsided at the end of our first trimester with bad news and we saw our baby and every few weeks afterward we went in and were able to hear its heartbeat. This relaxed my mind and opened my heart to our new baby, but I still wasn’t sure if I trusted God.

Over the last couple of months, we had talked a little bit about where I stood and what the future looked like with my faith. We discussed if I would be willing to give it another chance, and if so, what we wanted out of a church. I wasn’t done with faith or being a Christian or God, but I wasn’t sure when I would be ready to give it another go. Stepping foot into a church seemed like I was accepting what had happened and I just hadn’t… how could I?

Jeremiah received an invitation from his brother to visit their church and when he initially brought it up to me I agreed to go, but it started to eat away at me all day. The more I thought about it, the more scared and freaked out I became. That night I lost it and admitted that I didn’t want to go. The truth was that I wasn’t so hung up on the idea of going to church, but more that I was going to have an audience for this huge reunion between me and God. It just felt like too much pressure for me to go through motions of a normal Sunday morning and “like” it than for me to have an honest experience. So we ended up coming to an agreement: we would attend a new church where we don’t know anyone.

So a few Sundays ago, Jeremiah and I got up to attend a local church service. I woke up semi-confident to face my fear and to open my heart. We walked in a little bit late in the middle of worship. Worship has always been my favorite part of church. I love singing and feeling the emotion deep inside with the music all around me. But that morning was different. I didn’t feel comfortable singing, so I just read the words on the screen. I read song after song until I came to this one song that read:

Your presence is an open door
We want You, Lord
Like never before
Your presence is an open door
So come now, Lord
Like never before

Those words just kept repeating in my head. We want you, Lord, like never before. In those first couple weeks of losing our baby, I needed God more than ever, but I felt like he didn’t show up for us. He left us brokenhearted and then just deserted us. So why did I want to sing at the top of my lungs these words of wanting God? I sat through the rest of service listening and trying to stay brave. Communion came around and I took my piece of cracker and my cup of juice and was completely prepared to take the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of what Jesus did for us when the preacher said “while you take this, remember and be thankful for how God was there for you in your hardest times” and I just froze. I got stuck on those words, because I didn’t feel like God was there for me in my hardest time. How can I take this and be thankful when I’m angry and sad? I sat there for awhile and a few tears slid down my cheeks in embarrassment that I couldn’t get over this one thing and move forward. Eventually, I dropped my cracker in the juice and set it under the chair in front of me.

Although it wasn’t a perfect Sunday morning and I didn’t sail through service without any hangups, I did face my fear and walked through the doors. I opened my mind and heart to forgiveness and healing. It won’t be a quick or easy process, but showing up and being vulnerable is just the beginning.