Monday, June 10, 2013

Tiffany {Chloe's Story}

I first of all want to thank Tammy for posting my story on her blog. I’ve been meaning to post this on my own blog for the past couple of months, but time has just gotten away from me. Imagine that?!  
When Nate (my husband) and I talked about getting pregnant with our second baby, we were hoping to have our children close in age because we were (and still are) hoping that they become fast friends! Our two babies are just about 18 months apart. Our oldest, Eliana, turned 2 in March and Chloe (the sweet little baby this story is about) is now 9 months old.  
My pregnancy with Chloe went by fast and without a single hitch. I had more energy than I did with my first pregnancy, my belly didn’t get as big, I didn’t gain as much weight, and I was still able to stay super active and busy right up until the day before Chloe was born. I mean, I went to a college soccer game, Red Robin, and Starbucks two nights before Chloe made her way into this world. 
{our last picture as a family of 3}
Chloe ended up coming 10 days early…well, technically 3 days early since I was supposed to be getting induced a week before my due date. My actual due date was September 12th, and Chloe was born on Sunday, September 2, 2013. Nate is a soccer coach and he had games before and after my due date and there was no way was I going to have this baby while he was away on a trip, so we planned my induction.
We were actually at church when I started to feel contractions. They were no different from the other contractions that I had been feeling except I was having some back labor as well. Nate suggested that we stop by the hospital so I could get checked since we were already in town. I didn’t want to because I didn’t feel like staying the night in the hospital and then being sent home the next day, but we decided to go since we were in town. (We live about 40 minutes from the hospital.) We got to the hospital around noon and the nurse checked me as soon as we got there and I was dilated to 5 cm. She looked at me and said, “Honey, you’ve having this baby today.” I was completely shocked and caught off guard! I definitely didn’t think my contractions were actually putting me into labor, but they were! So long story short, my labor with Chloe was a walk in the park.  I feel almost bad saying that, but it’s true! I was already dilated to 7 cm and I was still feeling no real pain. It wasn’t until right after the Doctor came and broke my water and I started to feel some “real” contractions. They were quite uncomfortable, but I received the epidural about 10 minutes later and I was feeling good…REALLY good… Chloe was born less than an hour later. It took 3 pushes to get her out, and total pushing time was 5 minutes. And I got to watch it…it was absolutely amazing. Nothing can compare to watching your precious baby enter the world. It was so surreal and beautiful.                                        
{My first picture with Chloe}
Right off the bat, things with Chloe were a little scary. When it came time to nurse her for the first time, she did great and latched on right away, but then I noticed she stopped sucking. I looked down at her and noticed she was turning blue. Thankfully there was still a nurse in the room with us and she came right over, picked her up and started to suction out her mouth. Within a few seconds she was breathing again. This happened one more time about 20 minutes later, so the doctor decided to put her under the monitor to check and make sure there was nothing seriously wrong. It was from that moment that things with Chloe gradually went down hill. The pediatrician on call came back into our room about an hour later and told us that Chloe had picked up a virus in the birthing canal and that she needed to be on medication with an IV. This Doctor had told us that Chloe would be on meds for no more than 3 days and then we could go home. He then told us that she had to stay in the nursery, not in our room, but we could go in and see her/hold her anytime we wanted. They didn’t know why she had turned blue and started choking those two times, so they wanted to monitor that as well. Because of her being on the IV for the virus, and because they were unsure why she had started choking, they started giving her sugar water through her IV as well because they didn’t think she could handle my milk at that time. Those things were really hard for me to deal with. First, I couldn’t have my baby in the room with us, no one but Nate or I were able to hold her, and I couldn’t even nurse her. I wasn’t sure what God was teaching us, but I just kept praying that we would be able to go home soon! Well the next day, things definitely didn’t go as planned. There was a new pediatrician on call and right off the bat we were not set at ease when he walked in room, especially me. He came in and tried to explain to us (in not very clear English) that Chloe’s heart rate would drop to a low rate at times and that it could be a potential problem with her heart or it might not be. He wasn’t convincing either way. So now I’m thinking, “Ok, my baby picked up a virus, she’s on meds, I can’t nurse her, and now she might have a problem with her heart?? Lord, what’s going on?” Because Chloe was hooked up to the monitors to check her breathing (because of her turning blue) they also monitored her heart rate and that’s when they noticed that it would get really low at times and that caused some concern…but only with the doctor. My normal pediatrician with the girls came and checked on Chloe (even when it wasn’t her shift) and she assured me that we would be out in a couple of days because Chloe seemed well to her. Some babies are just born with a lower resting heartbeat, and once she’s done with the meds, she should be good to go. That was an encouragement. But those encouraging feelings didn’t last too long. The next morning (this is now Tuesday) The Doctor (I’ll just him Doctor T for our story) came back into the room and now informed us that Chloe was jaundiced and we’ll have to stay in the hospital to make sure her results from the blood test come back with a low enough number. And I was thinking, “Well that’s okay, because we’re already in the hospital and we have to stay here till at least tomorrow, so I’m glad they found it out now.” But that wasn’t all Doctor T had to tell us. He then informed us that when he was monitoring Chloe he was pretty sure he heard a murmur, so he told us that he would be running and EKG and an Echocardiogram to check on her heart. What a blow that was to me physically, mentally and spiritually. I didn’t know how much else I could handle. I didn’t want that Doctor coming into our room anymore, because it seemed like every time he came in he had more bad news to tell us. The one thing I was sort of holding on to was that she should be done with her meds by Wednesday, so hopefully we would be going home sometime that next day. Well Wednesday came and I was actually sitting in the nursery trying to nurse Chloe…that was one good thing that happened- I was actually able to start trying to nurse her because they had been giving her my breast milk by syringe since Tuesday and she had done really well with that….when Doctor T walked in and informed me that I wouldn’t be leaving till Thursday at the earliest because he upped the amount of time she needed to be on the meds, and he said we couldn’t leave until her heard the results from the EKG and Echocardiogram. Oh how I wanted to go home! It almost hurt thinking about having to stay in the hospital for another night, maybe two. Another thing that happened on Wednesday is that one of the nurses came in and told us that Chloe hadn’t passed her hearing test and that they would be trying again on Thursday. It was just one thing after another. I never questioned God’s goodness, but oh how I prayed that a miracle would happen, that Chloe would be found totally healthy and that we could leave the hospital and go home. Every time a doctor or nurse came into the room to talk to us, I felt almost emotionless because I was just waiting for the bad news to come, but as soon as they would leave I would break down crying. I felt so weak, so inadequate and I was so scared. I tried so hard not to cry because I didn’t want to let myself give in to that feeling of weakness in my mind, but there were times that I just absolutely couldn’t hold it in. A dear friend of mine, Jennifer Hotchkin texted me these verses and I clung to them. Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…”
{Chloe with her leads on, and marks from the mask from being under the lights for jaundice}
Chloe’s EKG and Echocardiogram came back normal, her jaundice went down enough for us to go home, she was done with her meds, but her heart rate was still a little low, which only caused concern from Dr. T who made us come home with an apnea monitor. This monitor had to be attached to Chloe with 2 leads and it was programmed to beep an alarm anytime her heart rate went above a certain number or dropped below a certain number. The alarm seriously sounded like a fire alarm, it was that loud and scared me half to death anytime it went off. It caused more panic for me when the alarm went off then when she wasn’t even hooked up to it and I couldn’t monitor her heart rate. After Chloe being hooked up to it for 1 day we decided to take her off the monitor. Neither one of us really thought that there was anything wrong with her heart, I think the Doctor couldn’t explain everything that went wrong with Chloe so he had to prescribe something. God gave us this baby and He could easily take her away from us whether or not she was hooked up to a monitor.
{Getting ready to go home!}
Chloe’s first week at home was great! And at her 2 week check up she was almost a pound over her birth weight! She was eating and gaining weight like a champ! But the day after she turned 2 weeks old things started to take a quick turn for the worst. She started crying. Chloe never really cried. She was the “good, quiet” baby in the nursery at the hospital. And it wasn’t just normal crying like she was hungry or had a dirty diaper. It was a non-stop crying. She started to not sleep either. I figured her nights and days were mixed up, but after a week of continual crying and not sleeping, I knew something was really wrong. Thankfully she had her 1 month appointment coming up and I explained everything to the doctor and she gave me the horrible news that Chloe had colic and most likely some form of acid reflux. My heart dropped, especially when she told me that colic usually peaks at 6 weeks and usually ends at 12 weeks. Chloe was only 4 weeks old! You mean to tell me that I have 8 more weeks of this?! I’m going to be honest. Those next 8 weeks were some of the hardest/darkest days I have EVER gone through. There were two weeks in particular...weeks 5 and 6…where Chloe was up most of the night screaming and there was nothing I could do. I tried to ignore it and sleep through it, which never worked, I tried to hold her and rock her- that didn’t work either. Nothing worked. She just cried and cried and cried. I can remember one specific night where I was standing next to our bed rocking a swaddled, screaming baby and I was bawling and pouring my heart out to God. I remember asking him why he even allowed me to be pregnant with her, why I had to go through such a hard first week with her in the hospital, while God would punish me with such an awful baby and the list goes on and on. The feelings I had towards Chloe were so selfish and almost un- Christian that it caused me to doubt my salvation, because how could a Christian really act like how I was acting. I was completely sleep-deprived, exhausted to a point where I was almost delusional at times and I felt like a completely failure as a mom and as a wife. I have never experienced a darker time in my life. I felt so alone and I truly believed that I was a failure at the one thing I believed God called me to be.
I am SO thankful for the love and grace of God. He never abandoned me. I was never alone. He was and always is right there beside me. He was with me during my almost textbook delivery, to my emotional week in the hospital, to the night where I questioned everything about who I was. God never stopped loving me and he knew that I can handle whatever trial He sends my way because He is with me and will help to guide me through it.
I am also beyond thankful for the love of my husband. He was a constant encouragement and rock during those hard times. I really don’t know what I would’ve done without him.
{Family Photo September 2013}
I am also very thankful for the gift of music. I was on my way to one of Eliana’s appointments in town (Taylor Ollila babysat Chloe. It was huge for me to get a break from her every once and a while) and I was listening to the local Christian radio station on our way into town and a song came on that absolutely hit me right where I was. I have never had a song speak to me the way that song did. I felt like God was with me and was giving me that song when I needed it most. I broke down and cried almost the whole way into town.
I’m going to end my story with the lyrics of the song.
Stronger: by Mandisa
Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain't right
And you wonder if things will ever get better
And you're asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather

Oh, don't hang your head
It's gonna end
God's right there
Even if it's hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you Stronger

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it's gonna end
God's right there
Even when you just can't feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

'Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I'm sure that He's gonna help you get through this

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
In time it's gonna get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger

Chloe was officially out of her colic stage right after she turned 3 months. It was like she was a completely different baby! Such a blessing.  Her jaundice completely went away and she has not any any problems with her heart even in the slightest. I am just so thankful to God for this sweet little baby he has given me to love and train. Life with Chloe has been far from perfect, I've definitely still had my ups and downs, but I'm thankful for a loving father who has blessed me with a loving, patient husband and two sweet little girls. I am blessed.

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