Monday, February 28, 2011

Justin Day 4 in the NICU

Monday. We arrived around 9 this morning. Had to stop by Target on our way in. Traffic was a booger today. How, in four short years, have we forgotten about the traffic in B’ham? Day four in the NICU. Really? Time is flying by. Justin is getting cuter and cuter. His little face is not as swollen. The milk came in! Yay!

Justin was on 28% oxygen when we arrived this morning. J’s nurse is Lindsey and she is fantastic! She gradually weaned him from the oxygen, I was able to hold him for quite a while today and he did fantastic! Fed him with a bottle without any oxygen and he did great. Lindsey still needed to keep him in the isolette so when I wasn’t able to hold him, he had to stay in the isolette.

Dr. St. John (female) is his doctor today. She said he was doing fantastic, eating like a “pig” – yes, those were her words and we needed to get him out of the NICU!

We think he’s going to be strong! He’s definitely a little fighter. Still is on fluids but is taking the bottle well today. Yesterday (forgot to mention) he almost was put on a feeding tube because he wasn’t taking the bottle. Turns out he needed a bottle nipple that mimicked his pacifier (a Soothie pacifier). Yes, it was my idea :) I thought that we needed to try another nipple before sticking a tube down his throat! That did the trick!

The plan today was for Brian to stick around and wait for the orthopedic doctor to come for a consult. We asked the doctors during rounds this morning when we would see the orthopedic. They said they would check on it but did say that they thought we would see someone today. Brian’s parents stayed in town to watch Troy and wait on the orthopedic doctor. Brian’s parents came by. Brian and I watched Troy in the family room (which has a little kids play area) while they visited with Justin. Memama held little Justin for the first time.

By 4 p.m., we started asking about the orthopedic doctor. Every answer was that it was being checked on. By 5:30 p.m., we were told that it probably wasn’t going to happen today.

Brian made arrangements with his parents to stay another day so he could wait on the orthopedic surgeon.

Lots of visitors today! We are loving the visitors. I can hardly keep up with the calls, text messages and emails. I’ve almost given up! Still very emotional so I’m not quite ready to talk to friends or family on the phone.

We are still staying with L&G (Brian’s aunt and uncle) and left around 7 or so.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Justin Day 3 in the NICU

We arrived at the NICU around 8:00 this morning. Justin was down to 48% oxygen! Such good news  because it told us that he is improving. Patti is our nurse again. She said that he could start receiving milk per the doctor’s orders. He would need to receive it via a bottle.

Not a huge fan of bottle feeding an infant but we had no choice! PPHN babies who are still on oxygen should not be nursed. They cannot regulate their oxygen levels on their own so bottle feedings are the way to go. The milk was not quite in yet, Patti said that she could wait another day since he was on IV fluids still. He is still receiving everything he needs through the IV.

He gradually decreased the oxygen a little at a time. I think by the end of the day, he was at 40% oxygen. Still in the isolette but he was doing better and better.

Memama and Grandy brought Troy by to visit. This visit was much shorter than the one before (maybe 10 minutes). He was distracted by all of the “bright lights” and wanted to get in the isolette. Crazy child!

Today we saw Deborah whose baby is also in the NICU. Deborah is one of my middle sister’s best friends. Her little girl was born at 26 weeks, 2 pounds 5 ounces and was either 3 or 5 days older than Justin. I got a little upset when I saw her. Hard times!

We left the hospital around 7:15 or so.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Well…..He’s Here!

So proud to announce the birth of Justin on Friday, February 25, 2011 at 6:28 in the morning. He is 8 pounds and 21 inches long. He was born at 40 weeks and one day gestation.

I’ll give a birth story later but for now, please pray for our true little miracle. From the time I found out I was pregnant, I knew that this child would be special. He is already (at less than 2 days old) living up to my suspicions.

From the time he was born, I was able to hold him for maybe 15 minutes and the nurse thought he needed a little suctioning. Ended up he needed a bit more than that. After being taken to the nursery, we found out three hours later that he would be air lifted (via a jet) to UAB.

He remains at UAB now. He’s been diagnosed with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of a Newborn (PPHN). Basically his little body wanted to stick with circulating what it needed via the umbilical cord. It is much more complicated than that but I think that is easier to comprehend. Well, once a baby is born, the nutrients and everything the baby needs no longer is funneled through that cord.

Justin needs oxygen to survive right now. Not such a bad thing considering many other scenarios there could have been. We don’t think he will need surgery because he is responding well to the oxygen and has also responded well to the weaning of oxygen.

We haven’t been able to hold him since those few minutes I held him. Brian, I am sure, is a little sad that he hasn’t been able to hold his newest son yet. Just wanted to update the blog in case anyone is looking for updates. Mama is tired and is about to go to bed. Please pray that we will be able to hold our little boy – hopefully tomorrow.  That would be nice.

A few photos:

Justin, before being taken to the ambulance and then off to the jet. The crew brought him by so we could tell him goodbye.


One of the sweetest people, Sherry. She took care of Justin in the transport vehicles and on the plane. I asked if she would text me a photo of the jet and she texted me that plus a photo of him loading into the plane, on the ride, going to transport, etc. Super sweet person I JUST met!


A few photos of little Justin. Long fingers and toes. With bilateral club feet. We’ll learn more about his treatment when he’s stabilized. He will need to be stable before anyone can “fiddle” with him!

DSC_8711 DSC_8714 DSC_8719 DSC_8729 DSC_8736


Troy meeting his brother for the first time. He waved to him and kissed the isolette.



Our family of four. Wow! So crazy to put that in writing!

On a side note, I think Troy might look like his father…


Troy waving bye to his brother. Troy was very sweet but was also very interested in trying to open and close the isolette. I think he would have been happy to be inside with the “bebe” as he called him.


Grandy, Memama, Jeff and Amy came to visit. They were on “Troy” duty and it was so wonderful to not worry about him!


Papa John and KK came and stayed a while. My Mom, I think, was on “Elyse” duty :)


Justin Day 2 in the RNICU

Had a fairly decent night of sleep. I was trying to pump and get things going so I woke up a couple of times to take care of business. Brian was exhausted so I let him sleep. I would describe my condition at the time as dazed. Not quite sure about what was going on and not sure about how long we’d be around.

We stayed in the UAB family sleep rooms. Again, they’re like a hotel room slash dorm room. Comfortable enough but I knew it was not going to work out for me long term. The shower was across the room and was locked so we had to get a key to go in there. I felt pretty good considering all that we were going through.

When we got dressed, ready and checked out of the family room, we headed to see Justin. He was still in the isolette with monitors attached to him. The monitors were keeping up with his heart rate, oxygen saturation levels as well as his respiratory rate. He was also inside a thing called a superdome which gave him extra oxygen. Then, he was inside the isolette, called a “Giraffe” which maintained the oxygen and humidity levels. This was Saturday morning. He was on about 80% oxygen. Pretty uneventful day as far as Justin goes.

He was being treated by Dr. Carlos. Dr. Carlos went over PPHN (Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in a Newborn). He explained that Justin’s body  was basically confused and was trying to pump oxygenated blood to the umbilical cord when it needed to be pumping through the lungs. It’s something that can be corrected with medical intervention. Justin needed to be on oxygen and the hope was that he would be gradually weaned until he was breathing room air. Dr. Carlos said he thought Justin would be fine but did say that sometimes babies respond immediately to oxygen treatments, others take about 3-4 days and others require bypass surgery.

Dr. Carlos also said that Justin had an echocardiogram performed the day before (Friday) but the pediatric cardiologist needed a repeat echo because he couldn’t see what he needed.

We also discussed his club feet and were told that someone from pediatric orthopedics would be coming on Monday.

We weren’t able to hold him but could reach inside the isolette and touch him every now and then. It couldn’t be opened for long because it would let in too much room air and would affect the oxygen being given to Justin. He was also being given an antibiotic for preventive measures as well as being fed fluids only via an IV. We were told that he didn’t need milk yet.

We had several visitors: KK, Papa John, Memama, Grandy, Troy, Jeff, Amy and some others I cannot remember right now!

Brian’s aunt and uncle live in town and were kind enough to offer for us to stay with them. They have plenty of room and their basement is practically another house with a kitchen, living rooms and  a couple of bedrooms. It is a GREAT place to land! With all of the commotion and excitement, I really wanted to be near Troy if at all possible. My in laws have been angels. I know I’ll never be able to show them enough gratitude for what they have done. When Justin was born, their plan was to come and stay at our house and watch Troy for the few days we were in the hospital. That means they packed for a couple of days.

So that we could be close to Troy, they brought him to Birmingham and watched him at Brian’s aunt and uncle’s house. Troy was the BEST child! So happy and seemed to be having  a ball. Of course he was being spoiled, too. He learned how to climb and descend stairs…and apparently loved it!

They brought him to the hospital (siblings are the only children allowed under 12 to the NICU). He was wearing his “big bro” shirt I made him. I was holding him and brought him close to the isolette. I told Troy that his baby brother was inside. He did say “bebe” and I asked him to blow him a kiss. Troy leaned over and kissed the top of the isolette. It was so sweet! Then, of course, he was more interested in opening and closing the sides of the isolette. I sat in a chair a while and let him touch the sides. I opened one of the doors of the isolette and asked Troy to wave to his brother. He obliged and then realized that he could open and close the sides. “open” became a new word for him!

Since Troy thought he should play with everything, it was time for him to go! Brian and I stayed a bit longer and left a little after 7 or so that night. We felt that the nurses would be taking complete care of him that night. Patti was our nurse and was fantastic!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Justin, Day 1 in the RNICU

I’m sort of going backwards and will try to document what has happened over the last few days with this little boy.

Born at 6:28 at EAMC. As I said in the last post, I was able to hold him for maybe 15 minutes and the nurse thought he needed a little suctioning. She then said that he needed a bit more oxygen and she was going to take him to the special care unit (at EAMC) to help him out. About an hour and a half later, she called and said that she was still working on him but would call back later. I decided to take a shower. Brian and I started trying to get the word out that he had been born.

We waited. Brian went downstairs to make some phone calls. Three hours after J was born, Dr. Gibbs, a pediatrician, came in the room and told me what was going on with Justin. He would need to go to UAB. The air team would be at the hospital by around noon. I lost it. At that moment, I just wanted to have my little baby back in my arms. I felt empty. Oh, and Brian wasn’t there! I knew he would feel terrible. I called him, he came back to the room and we waited for the pediatrician to come back. Brian prayed for us and thanked God for the situation we were in at the time. He thanked him for the opportunity to have another child and asked that God lead guide and direct the doctors and nurses who would be taking care of Justin. He asked for His will to be done. All I could do was cry. I was pitiful.

The UAB team came in and talked to us about how Justin would be transported. I assumed either ambulance or helicopter. I asked and Sherry (his new nurse) said they came over in the UAB jet and showed me a photo. Brian lost it – maybe he was jealous of the plane ride?!?!? A few minutes later the team came in with Justin in an incubator, on oxygen and on a stretcher. Sad from the standpoint of a parent doesn’t quite explain how it looked. I cried while I took some photos from him. Sherry W. was super nice, I asked if she could text me some photos of the plane. She did more than that: sent me a photo of the ambulance, the jet, loading Justin into the jet, Justin sleeping on the jet, loading him into the UAB ambulance. She also checked on us later. Very, very sweet lady!

We had some visitors come by (I had asked for some donuts and they brought them over). Brian’s parents got there after a bit. I asked Brian to call my mother while we tried to figure out what to do. I couldn’t talk to anyone on the phone. I was fairly calm but was trying not to lose my composure.

We had to figure out what to do. We didn’t want Justin in the NICU alone. One of us had to go and it couldn’t be me….I just had a baby. I knew I’d have to stay in the hospital for at least a day. I waited for the OB working the hospital to come by so I could figure out when I could leave. Brian told my mom what was going on, asked her to bring some clothes and plan to stay with me in the hospital.

I asked for a lactation consultant because I knew the only physical thing I could do for Justin would be to pump. It took a while, probably because they were busy, but I pumped once in the hospital.

Brian left with his dad to go get some food (I was very hungry by this time). Dr. A came in and said that he wasn’t trying to kick me out but he knew that I would rather be at UAB with my baby. He said that I seemed to be doing fine and that he would like to monitor me for a couple more hours. If everything was fine, he would release me  to get to UAB.

The time came and went, my mom got to the room. At 3:15, I left the hospital. Got home, tried to think of what to pack, played with Troy a little bit. Grateful that I was able to see Troy (we still didn’t know exactly how to juggle Troy) before we left. He was as happy as can be which made it much easier to leave. It took us a while to get everything together, for me to think about what I might need and, well, I was moving around a little slowly.

Brian and I left around 6:30 p.m. Without having any sleep for a couple of days, we were exhausted. Probably not the smartest thing to do but I swear God got us there safe and sound. We stopped at a McDonald’s (it’s been years…) for a burger. Arrived at UAB around 10. Walked the long walk from the parking deck through the buildings a couple of blocks to get to the elevators and then the 3rd floor.

We had to push a call button and tell the desk nurse that we were the parents of Justin Corbitt. The floors are a light hardwood. I distinctly remembering looking at the floor thinking I didn’t need to break down. Turned the corner and saw the first NICU room and lost it. Couldn’t talk. Got signed in and headed to his room.

There he was, my newborn, only a few hours old, in an isolette, depending on oxygen. I tried to say hello but the words wouldn’t come out. I felt helpless. I couldn’t hold him, was afraid to touch him and didn’t know if he was going to be okay. Completely helpless. I asked God to help us both, I didn’t know what else to do.

His nurse, Jenni, came in and said he was doing good. He was on 80% oxygen, down from 100%. That was good news. We stayed around a bit and the doctors came in for rounds. I counted 6 doctors. I cannot remember the main one’s name. He had been diagnosed with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of a Newborn (PPHN). Basically his little body wanted to stick with circulating what it needed via the umbilical cord. It is much more complicated than that but I think that is easier to comprehend. Well, once a baby is born, the nutrients and everything the baby needs no longer is funneled through that cord. Justin couldn’t receive the oxygenated blood in his body the way he should have. He also has club feet. We were told that he needed to be weaned from oxygen gradually. This would cause his body to heal and figure out how to oxygenate his blood correctly and breathe right. We were told that it normally took 3-4 full days of this weaning before he would improve significantly. If he didn’t improve, we would be looking at bypass surgery.

We expected to stay in the hospital. While the rooms are nice, they are not quite set up for a mother who just gave birth to sleep well :) But, there are family rooms (3) available on a lower level. One was available and we headed there. While nice and necessary, we quickly learned it wasn’t quite what we envisioned. A mix between a dorm room and a very small hotel room, it had a full size bed, a television, a dresser, side table, a lamp (that didn’t work) and a chair as well as a toilet and a sink. It was perfect for the night and we slept like champs. Having to check out by 10 a.m., we got our things packed. The shower was across the hall and we had to get another key to get in. Our bedroom door locked whenever closed so we had to carry the key around. We only locked ourselves out once!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What’s that you say? A brother?

This little guy’s brother’s due date is today……he looks excited but his life as he knows it is going to change any day now.

excited on patio

P.S. No signs whatsoever that he’ll be making his entrance this week. I’m hoping he’ll be here by March 1st. It’s in God’s hands!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spring in February

Wonderful weather is to be had around here. Had to head to the park and spend some time outside. T’s favorite place is outside anyway. I have wanted to spend as much quality time with T because when the baby comes, it will all change. Not anticipating anything but I know things will be different. He’s been a good kid lately and I only hope he’ll continue to do well.

 at the park  

T on bench

Most people say T looks like his father. What do you think? I can’t tell!

T with daddy favsquatting and long hairgoing after balloons    walking bw with mama

Friday, February 18, 2011

More clothes….for Troy

These were fun…and easy!

T car outfit

The plaid fabric below came from one of Brian’s old pajama pants. I’m going to try and start using things we already have or save instead of giving away.

big bro outfit for T

Whoa Momma!!!

38 1/2 weeks and I’m HUGE – well, my stomach is huge……and heavy. I’m still feeling really good and I want Justin to come when he’s supposed to come, no sooner, no later. I will admit that I hope he doesn’t come as long as 2 weeks past the due date (which is in 6 days by the way). Yes, these are awkward photos but Brian said I really needed to keep up with how large I am this time. No swelling, no signs of him coming early either.

38 one half week profile photo

I have to say I’m surprised no one has asked if I’m having twins….yet!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

When things don’t work out exactly how you wish…

If you can’t hold your remote, phone and push around your lawn mower, sometimes you just have to cry!

troy with remote phone and lawn mower

Friday, February 11, 2011

Interesting about Auburn and Alabama

Just a quick post. I have saved many newspapers and magazines about Auburn University’s trip to the BCS National Championship. I need some ideas on how to store it all. Anyway, you know how at the beginning of any sporting event season, SI makes some predictions? I happened to save the SI from the beginning of the football season. Do you remember who was on the front page and listed as #1? You bet – Auburn’s biggest rival. Or should I say the state’s largest rival since many say that Georgia is a larger rival – or at least the longest standing rival. In any event, I saved that magazine and have take a photo of that one with the last NCAA football magazine published for the 2010 season. Pretty cool if you ask me!


If you can’t see the one on the left well, the bottom hand corner says “The Crimson Tide has the Defense to Win It All”. Hmmmm… appears as though things didn’t work out quite that way. Wonder if it’s the SI curse? Not that I’m superstitious or anything.

By the way, I really appreciate the sweet comments about our soon-to-be-here baby Justin. I’ve definitely felt the prayers and know everything will be fine. I don’t plan on being a hermit but with it being very cold, I probably won’t take him out a lot for a little bit. We love visitors, though!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Justin, club feet and an emotional rollercoaster

First of all, this pregnancy has been going great overall. I’ve seen Troy go from a 9 month old (when I found out about the pregnancy) to a toddler, now at 16 months old. He’s gone from crawling, to walking and now running everywhere. Everywhere. My inability to work out at the gym as much this time has been made up by keeping up with him.

So onto my story, I suppose. Long post but I’ve got to get it out. My ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis) is in remission again. Pregnancy has been good to my body. This pregnancy has been a bit different than the last. It came as a little shock and not only because I have a child already but the rollercoaster began with the ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby.

We had just picked out a boy’s name (just in case) but have had a girls name picked out for a few years. I was secretly hoping for a boy – I felt like Troy needed a brother! We were in the ultrasound room with the tech, joking around and anxiously waiting for the news. She took her time, as she normally does, then smiled and asked if we wanted to know what we would have a few months later. Yes! We told her and she said we’re having a boy. Then….she said, “I’m sorry to tell you this but he has club feet”. She then said she didn’t see anything else going on with him but the club feet would be something that we would need to speak to the doctor about and find out if we needed more tests or follow up ultrasounds. I asked about cleft palate or any other markings and she said she didn’t see any. She then showed us the ultrasound monitor and gave us some photos. We couldn’t really see the feet on the monitor.

I could hardly wait to get out of that room and look on my computer to figure out what the heck club feet would mean. Stupid move.

On this particular day, my regular ob was out of town and I had assumed that it didn’t really matter who I saw so the appointment was with Dr. H. While Brian and I were in the waiting area, I pulled up my computer, googled “club feet” and the first site was from wikipedia. Bad, bad move. The first baby in the photo was a good 9+ months old with bilateral club feet (meaning both feet – as we found out Justin has) and had never been treated. Then, of all people, Vickie, my regular ob’s nurse, came by. She saw us, stopped and said, “Oh, you guys find out what you’re having today!”. I lost it, totally, completely and utterly lost it, right there in the waiting room. I let it out and began apologizing for not keeping myself together. She grabbed my arm and took me around the corner to a bathroom. She sort of saved me that day. Vickie told me it was going to be okay, that we needed to talk to the doctor first and STOP looking on the internet (oops). Of all things, looking on the internet at that time was dumb.

So we finally spoke to the doctor who told us she didn’t know much about the condition but suggested we go to UAB to a specialist and get a further evaluation. She also suggested I have a blood panel (screen). I didn’t want to have this before with Troy but we were dealing with unfamiliar territory now so I succumbed.

We decided to go to The Olive Garden to “celebrate” as we had when we found out about the pregnancy with Troy and the pregnancy with Justin. I was still an emotional mess. I kept it together for maybe 50% of the time but I felt sorry for the waitress who had to see two grown people crying across the table from one another! Not to mention she was being “trained” so every move she made was being critiqued! Thank goodness we didn’t tell our families what time the ultrasound took place. We needed a few hours to gather our thoughts. We spread the news about having a boy and we tried so hard to be joyful about the news. We decided not to tell a soul about the club feet until we went to UAB. That was a long, long 3 weeks. And, that was the beginning of the roller coaster.

My concerns at the time stemmed from how were we going to handle this? Kids can be mean, adults can be mean. I already began playing out in my mind the questions: “What is wrong with him? Why does he have casts on his legs? What is wrong with his feet? Why are his feet so small?” I also anticipated Troy running circles around Justin. I wondered if I would be able to care for Troy AND Justin – Troy is going to need to be reassured that he’s still our special child. And Justin, well, he’s going to need some major TLC. I found that it is MUCH easier to find refuge in the Lord for problems dealing with ME (as in my arthritis). But, dealing with an unborn child, my own child, is another beast, and not easy. Yes, the news could be worse, you’re right. But, at the time, while I was grateful for the news we had, it also freaked me out! What were we going to do?

Having a toddler was a nice distraction and I began immersing myself in sewing, exercising and researching the condition. I also was in the midst of planning a half marathon in January and a large 5k run/walk in April. I had to do something! I was grateful that we didn’t have any new news. It sounds cynical in a way but I just didn’t know how I was going to handle everything. Yes, I know God has a divine plan in store for us an I held onto that, as tight as I could.

I was at an indifferent time on the roller coaster ride, not sure when the highs and lows would come but knew I was on the track and they were coming, whether I wanted them or not.

At UAB, in the hour-long ultrasound, we found that he did have club feet (duh!) but the doctor also thought that the pulmonary arteries did not cross like they should. All of a sudden, our concerns about club feet went out the door. Dr. Davis said that club feet isn’t a big deal, it’s fairly common so treatment is readily available (I gathered that from my research but it was very reassuring hearing it from a specialist). Onto the heart! He sent us to a pediatric cardiologist who worked us in that day. Dr. Johnson didn’t see anything going on with the heart BUT at 21 weeks, a moving around baby whose heart is the same size as a grown chicken’s heart is apparently difficult to see perfectly. We were sent back upstairs (to Dr. Davis) and were given a recommendation to come back in 6 weeks. He also said that my blood panel came back normal so he didn’t see a need in an amniocentesis. Yes, good news but it was still a bit unnerving. I was okay with the news to come back, Brian was indifferent. Prayer for Justin’s heart became at the top of our prayer list. I couldn’t quite sing through the songs at church without my eyes welling up with tears.

Six weeks seemed like a year but we stayed busy and decided to tell our families (minus the heart details because we didn’t know for sure details). Everyone took it well and was very encouraging. I seemed to be doing fine and felt that we’d go to the next appointment only to find out that we were “released” to never come back. I put myself on the high part of the roller coaster at this time.

I was wrong. At the next appointment, we saw Dr. Biggio who said baby Justin had a right sided aortic arch and his kidney measurements were “on the high side of normal”. Enough to freak me out – seriously. I was very upset, very disappointed and very scared. Yes, I knew that what we had found out could be treated but it was like throwing a softball into my chest without me ready to prepare. Needless to say, we needed to go back….again. It would be at 32 weeks (after Thanksgiving and Christmas). Dr. Biggio said that we needed to consider induction for the birth of Justin and having him at UAB. NOT what I wanted to hear but he did say that the next appointment would tell us this for sure. I was definitely on the low part of the coaster.

We then shared our news with some close friends and our church small group. Prayers were needed….not only for baby Justin but for our family. Having a natural birth with Troy led me to personally feel that God choosing the birth of a child is the best way to go (for me). I had been preparing for a natural birth with Justin and my heart longed for the same. Praying was very, very difficult. I was mad, sad and very disappointed. I still prayed and I cannot remember where I found refuge but it was something about God knowing my heart, no matter what, and all he wants is for me to talk to him, mad or not. So, that’s what I did. It was definitely the most difficult thing I’ve done so far. Our close friends and family prayed for Justin, for healing and for a miracle. I loved hearing people tell me what they were praying for. My step dad was actually so sincere and sweet and would tell me how he prayed for Justin.

We needed the distractions of Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was on the very low part of the roller coaster by this time. One day, before the next appointment, I had what I guess is an epiphany – I felt God tell me while praying to not worry. That sweet simple verse in Philippians 4:6 not to “be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests before God.” I felt fine about everything. I knew our child was a miracle anyway and would be just fine. Then, that night, I told Brian that I was okay, that things were going to be fine and I knew that this has happened to our family for a good reason – WE can handle it with God’s guidance. He planted this baby and He wants us to raise this sweet child. Brian told me that his parents shared the news about Justin with their close friends. Bo, one of the men in the group, stood up and said let’s pray for them right now. They were all, I think, in my in-laws living room. The whole group stood up, held hands and prayed for our unborn son (insert tear here). Words cannot describe what that means to me…..and I knew that their prayers overtook me, causing me to feel a complete peace about Justin.

Then, the first week in January, we headed back to UAB. My mother met us there since she is a cardiac nurse and knows more about the heart than us. Meeting with Dr. Owen proved to be fairly good. He also said that the club feet matter was not a big deal and it happens quite often. Spending a long time, on the heart, he pointed out that he thought the left and right ventricles were not of the right size. A right sided aortic arch was not found by him. At this point, we weren’t sure if Justin should be born at UAB and whether or not I would need to be induced. He looked at the heart for a long time and said he felt more comfortable if we would see a pediatric cardiologist again before making a determination on where the baby should be born. As he was about finished, I asked him about the kidneys – he checked them and they were FINE. First Praise!

The pediatric cardiology team couldn’t get us in that day so we had to go back the next day. Should have been unnerving, right? Wasn’t a problem for me at all. I just KNEW it would be fine. We went by The Fresh Market to buy some goodies for the drive home. Had I been sad, I wouldn’t have wanted to stop….but I did. So we shared the news with the people who asked and I know they prayed. We headed back to UAB the next day, met with Dr. Pearce who said he also didn’t find the right sided aortic arch but also found that while the ventricles weren’t of the same size, he felt that it was totally normal. He said that if we were him, he would feel completely comfortable with having the baby close to our home and performing an echocardiogram after birth. Second Praise!

We left elated. Brian was visibly excited, I was exhausted. I think I was emotionally exhausted but also had been lying on my back for an hour, got light headed and needed something sweet – and FAST. We went back to The Fresh Market, got some snacks, cookies and an apple pie to celebrate. I felt better soon after that.

So now I’m on the high part of the roller coaster.

What now? Well, we know that club feet is found in 1 in 1,000 babies. Not quite as uncommon as I thought. And, we have a relative, an uncle, who had it. His was also idiopathic and bilateral. He walked fine after his treatment (over 50 years ago). Treatment has come very far since then. I have no trouble praying for Justin’s “sweet feet” as I call them. They are precious. I plan on documenting what happens with his feet from the time he’s born until I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I have full faith in my Father above that my child will be fine, he will walk just fine and his doctor will be exactly what he, and his parents, need.

I know this is going to be a bumpy ride. He will be born with feet that are crooked (for lack of a better term). We will travel to Birmingham once a week for a few months so that the doctor can manipulate his feet and legs into the proper positioning. He will wear casts during those first few months. The casts will reach from his toes to the top of his thighs which means Justin won’t be able to wear certain clothes. Gowns will work better with the casts (not a bad thing for me since I have made several gowns for him). Once the doctor(s) decide his manipulation has gone well, he will have his Achilles tendon cut (called a tenotomy or release of the tendon) and his legs/feet will be casted for 3 weeks. Once he comes out of those casts, Lord willing, he will begin wearing braces. I thought Forest Gump-ish but no, the braces will be on his feet only and will have a bar attached to the two shoes on his feet. Think of a wake board but not quite as cool. Everything will depend on the severity of his condition. I’ve learned that there are 6 levels of severity, with 6 being the most severe. We are praying for as close to 1 as possible. Of course, I know that at any time, God can cure the condition. This is if he chooses to do so. I think now that we needed to deal with the potential issues of the heart just so we could put into perspective that club feet is minor – SO minor!

Strangely enough, I’m grateful for this emotional roller coaster. Troy has really helped with being such a sweet, active and funny little kid. God knew what he was doing by putting Troy into our lives. He is still perfect for our situation. I know he will be a great little brother. I’ve learned NOT to feel sorry for children with certain conditions. I feel that it is the LAST thing that a parent wants. I want my child to be normal, fine and without any issues. But we don’t get to choose our destiny…we are given what we’re given. God wants us to use what He has given us, use our talents and it is all for his glory in the end.

You know the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Well, we’ve been given some lemons (something sour) but we will do our best to make it sweet. As much as possible anyway – I like to eat lemons so I’ll eat some of them, too.

Please pray for our sweet little Justin. For a healthy boy, swift and safe birth, and for his future treatment. His parents could use a few prayers, too – whatever you see fit.

If you read all of this, thanks. I needed to get it all out.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Shoes and my child

Troy loves shoes. And socks. Socks and shoes – loves to say it, loves to carry them around, loves to carry around my shoes, rearrange my closet, etc. I always take my shoes off as soon as I walk inside and they go right inside the door. I suppose Troy thinks his shoes should go there too.