Happy 1st Birthday, Declan!! We love you, sweet boy!
One Year Ago – Today
12/27/08 – you were born. At 4:55 in the morning. After being up most of the night and trying to stop contractions, it just became too dangerous to leave you in, so an emergency c-section was scheduled, and out you came! You fought the doctors the entire time! Poor little thing, you had bruises all over your teeny tiny body from struggling the way you did. Who knew a two-pound baby could put up such a fight! We were very scared when they got you out and after they put you in your incubator and wheeled you off to the NICU. They let me look at you for one second in your incubator before you left, and you were laying there with one hand stuck straight up in the air, like “Here I am!!”, even though you weren’t able to make any noise.
We didn’t know it at the time, but we had to believe the nurses and doctors in the NICU were going to take great care of you and help you survive. The longer we were there, and the more we got to come in and see you, the more comforted they made us feel. It’s never easy to leave your baby in the care of others, and they knew that. You would have your good and bad days, but those ladies that looked after you became your second mothers, and they loved and cared for you in all the ways we couldn’t. They knew how to help you breathe, what medications you needed to help you feel better, how to clear your lungs of fluids, and eventually comforting you when you cried and we weren’t there, and they did it all with an extraordinary love. You spent your first four months with those ladies, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place the day you went home.
January 19, 2009 – You had been having problems with your blood pressure and your oxygen saturation. You were on lots of medication, and it didn’t seem to be working. Finally, they determined that you would need surgery to close your PDA valve. They had to sedate you and cut a little incision under your arm to get through your ribs and place a clip on your PDA valve. We waited in the “conference room” for the 30 minutes surgery, neither saying anything, and finally they came in to tell us they had finished, and everything went fine. We got to go in and see you, but you were sound asleep and would be for the next couple of days while your body healed. We hoped that would be the first and last surgery you would need! But we were glad that the problem could be fixed and you wouldn’t suffer from it anymore! You needed to come off the ventilator, and this was our first step to getting there. Your oxygen sats had to come up, the amount of oxygen you required needed to come down, and this helped them to do that.
I got to hold you for the first time! Exactly one month from the day you were born! What a long time to wait to have your baby in your arms…
You came off the ventilator (finally, it seemed!) and were able to be put on a CPAP.
Your oxygen requirement came down, and you went into “grow” mode. Toward the very end of the month, they even moved you from the CPAP on to a cannula.
This was actually a pretty big month for you and your growth and breathing! You hit the 4 pound mark this month as well (more than double your size at birth) and even started taking “real” baths!
You were still getting fed through your feeding tube, although they continued to up the amount you ate as the month progressed, to help you gain those necessary pounds! You always tolerated the feedings very well, digested well, and hardly ever spit up at all!
At the beginning of March, you moved into a real big boy bed and out of the incubator!
We had to keep you wrapped up really tight to keep you warm, so we wouldn’t have to move you back. Your body temperature had to stay around 97-98 degrees and we would check you every couple of hours to make sure you were staying warm enough. You were able to stay on your cannula, and we started feeing you with a real bottle! This was going to be a very difficult process, and sometimes it was frustrating, but you finally got it, in your own time, when you were ready. The first time you had a bottle, you at 6 ml’s! Pretty crazy to think about, because now you can drink 240 ml’s in one sitting :) Some days you would do better than others. Sometimes you would fall asleep right away, some days you would forget to breathe, and we’d have to help you start back again. But some days you would take 20 ml’s, no problem! It was always hit or miss, but you continued to improve as time went on. You hit 6 pounds at the end of March!
You started staying off your cannula most of the time, sometimes using it to feed, but that was rare.
On April 6, you came home.
You did great for a few days, but then you had some stress on you at your eye doctor appointment and were outside for the first time ever and the air quality was very bad that day. Your little lungs were worn out, and you started de-sating, and we would have to rub you to get you to breathe again. It was very scary, and we took you to the emergency room. Since it had only been a few days since you’d been discharged from the NICU, they let you go back in. They put you on some oxygen, and you perked right back up!! That was all you needed, a little boost! So, they observed you there for a few days, and you got to come home again one week after your first discharge. They sent you home on some oxygen this time, and we never had another issue with your breathing!
You stayed on the oxygen full time for probably a week or two, and then we started weaning you off, and that was it! You never had to go back!
You were home for good! We got into a routine, and had lots of help from Emi and Pop and Mimi. Momma and Daddy liked being able to get some sleep while they were there! You definitely didn’t make it easy, needing to be fed and changed every 3 hours. But that’s what babies do! We went to take your newborn pictures, and they were absolutely adorable! You are the most precious and beautiful baby we have ever seen!
You continued to grow and change. You would be 2 months this month if you had been born on your due date (April 5). You had several doctors who we took you to see after you came home. You had your eye doctor, your heart doctor (who released you after 2 visits!), your pediatrician (who we went to see every two weeks, then finally every month, and then 3 months…). We didn’t have to go to a pulmonologist because your pediatrician listened to your lungs every time we went and they never sounded bad at all! We had to give you two inhalers twice a day to try and prevent any problems there. You also started going to “Our Children’s House” who would evaluate your development and tell us what we so desperately wanted to hear: that there were no issues from your prematurity and you were doing great!
You started smiling this month! The most adorable thing ever! You also made your first trip to Milam to see your Pop & Emi! Growing up too fast!
You were holding your head up like a pro this month, starting to play with your toys, and interact with everyone! You were SUCH a good baby! You would go to anyone who wanted to hold you, you hardly ever cried, and you were just easy, breezy!! Sleep, eat, and play! We got a video of you laughing this month, too! I thought your smile was the cutest thing ever, well, turns out your laugh is cuter!
You got to start eating “real” food (baby food) this month! You liked bananas the very best, but you also like sweet potatoes and applesauce. You were really starting to become a real little person with a personality! I got such good photos of you doing little baby stuff :) Your faces are classic. Everyone says what funny faces you make! You especially like to put on your serious face when you see new things. Your eyebrows scrunch together, and you look very confused…
The older you get the more fun you are, and the more emotional and loving you become! You like to play with people, you don’t really like being left alone. As long as someone is in the room with you, you’ll play all day! You’ve started sleeping through the night. And I mean REALLY sleeping through the night, not one single mid-night bottle feed!
First Thanksgiving! You weren’t able to eat any of the big people food, but that was okay, I think you still enjoyed it :) You got to meet your Great-grandpa then, too! You also got your first two teeth this month and started trying to move/crawl on your own.
Well, here we are, one year later! You are one exceptional little boy who we love very much! We have big hopes and dreams for you, and our wish is that you look back and remember a happy and healthy childhood. We pray that we, as your parents, remember to take it one day at a time and cherish every moment of you growing up.
So many people love you and prayed for you while you were in the hospital, and so many people continue to pray for you, I know that God will do something great with your life. You have a purpose, you are meant to be here! You have changed our lives in the best ways imaginable.
HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY!!