Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Buddies from Birth!

Today, Fitz finally got to meet his future buddy (and maybe girlfriend!), Mary Eloise!  My great friend Denise was due one week after me, on July 5, but delivered Mary Eloise on June 24, exactly three weeks after Fitz was born!  She was 7 lbs, 8 oz and measured 22 inches long!  Where Fitz was born short and chunky, she's a long thin girl, and look at her precious face!  I thought it was so funny how her face looks so small since I'm usually looking at Fitz's chubby cheeks, ha!

I went to high school with Mary Eloise's dad, Jason, and we were best friends.  We went to college together, too, and hung out all the time with all of his guy friends.  Mary Eloise's mom, Denise, went to school with us when we were younger, but moved to a different high school so I never really knew her until she and Jason started dating and then got married.

Jason and Denise had been trying to get pregnant for a while, just like us, and actually found out they were pregnant right around the time I found out I was pregnant.  They kept their pregnancy a secret at first, just like we did, but we each knew about the other.  Denise is a nurse, and helped me out by giving me some of my intramuscular progesterone shots that I had to take the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy.  I gave myself the shots the first 9 nights, but on the 9th night, I hit a blood vessel in my leg, which was pretty traumatizing!  The next night, I tried for over an hour to give myself my shot and I just could not jam that inch and a half long needle into my thigh one more time!  I was crying and called Denise and she met John and I halfway between our 2 houses and gave me my shot in a McDonald's bathroom.  Now that is friendship!

Although I have tons of friends who already have children, it was such a comfort to me to go through my pregnancy with Denise.  We were both first time moms-to-be, and texted each other with questions and worries constantly!  I am blessed to call Denise my friend, and I know Fitz will be blessed to have sweet Mary Eloise as his friend!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fitz's First Cookout and More Visitors!

Our Monday was full of excitement!  Every year around the 4th of July, all of the attorneys, courthouse staff and Sheriff's Department get together for a cookout.  This year was the first year it was held inside, and we were so glad, because we were able to take Fitz and show him off to all of the people I work with!  I didn't take any pictures, but Fitz had a great time being oohed and ahhed over by everyone!  He mostly slept through it, but that's ok.  I'm sure he'll get to meet everyone again when he's a little more alert.

Monday afternoon, my friend Amanda came by to see Fitz.  She works at DHR and we have several cases together and have developed a friendship because of it.  She cracks me up because she just says whatever she's thinking most of the time...come to think of it, that's what people say about me, too!  Since Amanda found out I was pregnant, she's been telling me that when Fitz made his arrival, and once we were settled in at home, she wanted to have about 30 minutes of just her and Fitz, with no other visitors.  She got her wish yesterday!  He was a little fussy when she got here because it was time to eat, but after I fed him, he cuddled right up to her and went to sleep while we talked.

Later yesterday evening, my Aunt Nedo and my cousins Tessa and Olivia came to visit from Mississippi!  They have been keeping up with us here on the blog, but were so excited to finally get to meet Fitz in person.  The top picture is my cousin Tessa holding Fitz.  It's kinda crazy to me that I was about the age she is now when she was born, and now she's holding my baby.

Aunt Nedo held Fitz first, and he was a little unhappy about it, ha!  Not really, it was just getting close to time to eat again, and that's pretty much the only time he's not happy.  She rocked him, bounced him and patted him, and he calmed right down and settled in:

I was so glad they came to visit, because the only people on my side of the family that Fitz has met are my cousins Glenn and Brianne.  Now he's finally met one of his great-aunts! 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

That's what I love about Sundays

I got to take Fitz to church for the first time today, and he loved it!  He got all dressed up in his Polo onesie and off we went.  When I was pregnant, and driving to church (John usually has to work on Sundays), I would look in the backseat and imagine how it would feel to be driving to church with my baby in his carseat back there.  Today, I got to experience it.  It was everything I imagined and more!

When we got there, just about everyone took a turn holding Fitz, and he mostly slept through it all.  Tootsie held him the whole time during the service and he slept the whole time.  After church, as is our custom, we went to Del Toro for lunch.  I fed Fitz his bottle when we got there and then he went right back to sleep while we ate lunch.

When we got home, we rested for a while until it was time to eat again.  Grandmama and Papa came over and fed Fitz, then held him until he went back to sleep.

After they left, we took another nap until Daddy got home.  Now, Daddy is holding Fitz while I blog, then we'll be heading to bed shortly.  That's what I love about Sundays:  church and resting.  The only thing that would have made it more perfect is if Daddy  had been with us instead of at work, but it was pretty close to perfect.

Just a swingin'

This is what we did on Saturday!  We relaxed by ourselves all day while Daddy was at work, and we tried out the swing for the first time.  My friend Tracey gave me this swing since her cute little boy Colton is too big for it.  We tried it out yesterday and Fitz loved it!

Today I'm taking Fitz to church for the first time and I'm so excited about it!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I thought I was busy as a lawyer...

but being a mommy to sweet little Fitz Garrett is proving to keep me even busier!  We have had an appointment of some sort every day this week!  Thursday, Tootsie and I took Fitz to his first appointment at the Cleft Clinic at Children's Hospital.  We had no idea what to expect, although I had been told you have to wait a while sometimes when you go.  I packed enough bottles for 2 feedings (he eats every 3 hours), and off we went.  When we got to the "clinic" area of Children's, we were shocked at the number of people waiting in each clinic.  It's one huge waiting area separated into separate "clinics".  There were people everywhere!

I signed in and we found two seats together, which was a miracle.  We got there at 10:25 for our 10:30 appointment, and started waiting.  We waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally at about 11:30, they called me up and got my insurance card and had me sign some forms.  Then around 12:00 they called us back and weighed Fitz and took his measurements.  (He weighed 8.9 and was 20 inches long)  I fed him his bottle and changed his diaper and he went right back to sleep.  Thank God he is a good baby or it would have been miserable. 

Then we waited some more.  And some more.  At 2:00, I went up and asked how many people were ahead of us and there were only 2 more charts ahead of us.  So we waited again.  They finally called us back at about 2:45.  The ear doctor came in first and checked Fitz's ears.  He said he had some fluid behind each ear, so they are going to go ahead and put tubes in when he has his lip surgery.  No problem.  Next, the feeding specialist came in and we talked about how well our little man eats.  Then the plastic surgeon came in and explained in great detail how Fitz's surgeries will go.  We got the first surgery, on his lip, scheduled for September 28, and only have to go back to the cleft clinic once for a pre-op visit before his surgery.  Next, we saw the Nurse Practitioner that we had met while he was still in the NICU.  She showed us how to apply some tape and orthodontic rubberbands to help teach Fitz's lip muscles to go down where they should be, before the surgery.  That way, the muscles won't be so hard to move around to the right position during surgery.  The pic above shows his tape, which he doesn't seem to mind at all.

We left Children's at about 4:00 and we were all starving!  Well, not Fitz, he ate again while we were in the office talking to the doctor.  But, Tootsie and I were starving!  We went to dinner, where Fitz again slept through everything, then finally, went home.  I left our house at about 8:30 for our 10:30 appointment, and got home at about 6:30 p.m.!

Friday morning, Tootsie came to babysit while I went to the office to see some clients.  Yes, Fitz is only 3 weeks old, but when you work for yourself, if you're not there, no money is coming in!  God has been so awesome in providing for us while I've been off, but I have to do my part, as well!

Friday afternoon, we went back to the pediatrician for a weight check, and Fitz weighed 8.9 (same as at Children's the day before).  He has been gaining about an ounce a day, which is great because they want him to weigh at least 10 lbs before his lip surgery.  I don't think we'll have a problem with that! 

Today we plan to lay around and relax a little!  We have no appointments at all!  However, Fitz's girlfriend, Mary Eloise, was born last night so we may make a trip to the hospital later today to see her...depending on how many visitors her mommy and daddy have today.  I'm sure we'll have pics to post when we get to see her!  We hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Future Friends

We went for Fitz's newborn photo session yesterday with Suzanne Williams, and Fitz did a great job!  She said he was one of the most laid back babies she has had in quite a while.  I guess he stayed really sleepy due to the fact that he stayed up half the night before!  She had her house at about 80 degrees, and in the room where she took the photos, she had a space heater, and had him on a heating pad, and had a noise machine playing.  All that had our sweet boy conked out!  It will be 10-14 days until the gallery is available to view online and we can not wait!

Yesterday evening we had some special visitors, who I know will be good friends with Fitz in the future.  The first picture above is my good friend Haley and her precious boy Graham.  Graham was a little bit jealous when Haley held Fitz, but he was really sweet and gave him sugar on his forehead.  I fed Fitz while they were here and Graham was shocked at the burp that came out of him!  It cracked us up!

Then one of my oldest friends, Kelli, came over with her adorably chatty daughter, Parker!  Parker has been very interested in "Baby Fitz" since she came to the hospital when he was born.  She has been putting her dolls up her shirt and saying she's pregnant!  She wanted to hold Fitz and told Kelli how you are supposed to hold him, then wanted to watch while I changed his diaper.  She was very interested in everything about him, and was so sweet with him!

John went and bought a noise machine yesterday afternoon since Fitz enjoyed the one at the photographer's house so much yesterday.  We put it in his room last night and turned it on to "ocean".  Fitz enjoyed it and so did we!  We could hear it through the monitor in our room, so we all got the benefit of it.  Fitz slept all night and only woke up to eat!

This morning I took Fitz out by myself for the first time because I had to go back to my doctor for a check on my incision.  It went very well, and Tootsie met us there to take care of Fitz while I saw the doctor.  Fitz was very well-behaved and everyone loved getting to meet him!

Tomorrow we go back to Children's Hospital for our first appointment with the Cleft Clinic.  Please say a prayer all goes well there and we get his first surgery scheduled without any problems!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Perfect, More Than Perfect!

Today was a great day!  I taught Daddy how to feed Fitz this morning.  It's a little intimidating to get the rhythm of squeezing the bottle when Fitz is sucking, and not squeezing too fast and making him gulp.  Up until now, Tootsie and I have been the only ones feeding Fitz, but today, Daddy learned how, and did a great job!  Of course, I had to get a picture of the first feeding!

Next, we had our first outing with Fitz today.  We had an appointment with our pediatrician for the first time.  I really liked her a lot and she loved Fitz.  She said his name totally fit him, and we think so, too!  First, he was weighed, and has gained 5 oz since we left the hospital Friday!  He now weighs 8.6 lbs!  See?  I told you he wouldn't have a problem eating, coming from our blood!

After the doctor checked Fitz out, she pronounced him, "Perfect, perfect, more than perfect!"  We completely agree.  She wants us to come back Friday just to check his weight.  She said if he weighs his birth weight (8.14) by Friday, we can relax our feeding schedule a little and let him decide when he is hungry and feed him accordingly. 

Today, at one feeding Fitz broke his record again and took 70 cc's!  Then at the very next feeding, Daddy fed him again and he took 65 cc's.  Our little man loves to eat!

A few people have asked how Fancie has reacted to Fitz.  She comes to sniff him when we are feeding him or holding him, then pretty much goes and does her own thing.  However, when anyone other than John and I are holding Fitz, she is all up on that person!  When we have visitors, she is very interested in them holding Fitz.  At first we thought she just wanted their attention, but I think she's making sure they aren't hurting our baby!  She has been very sweet with him and just sniffs him a little, and gives his toes and fingers a lick when she can reach them.

To top off our great day, my great friend Heather (aka Aunt Heddy) brought us dinner!  It was delicious and we scarfed it right up!  Of course, while she was here, she had to sneak in some snuggle time with our sweet boy.  She has been so excited and supportive since we found out I was pregnant (and even before then) and I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful friend.  She loves our boy and we love Aunt Heddy!

Tomorrow morning we are having our newborn photo session with Fitz, and I am so excited to see how the photos turn out!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day From the Garrett Family!

Are you wondering...

how we're doing at home?  Sorry I don't have any cute pics with this post, but I wanted to let you all know that we are all LOVING being in our own home!  When I got in bed Friday night after not having slept in my own bed in two weeks, it was like sleeping on a cloud...heavenly!  I wasn't sure I would be able to get up for the feedings because I was just so comfortable.

Friday night, for the first time, Fitz woke up and let us know when it was feeding time.  That is a major improvement from the hospital where we would have to wake him up every three hours to eat.  He's actually hungry and wanting his bottle when it's time to eat!  He has also been taking the goal amount at almost every feeding, and took 64 cc's one time yesterday, which is over his goal of 60 cc's every three hours. 

The hospital sent us home with a bottle of formula mixed for Fitz (with the higher calories), enough to last 24 hours.  So, last night we mixed him another large bottle on our own.  We used powder, which I do not think they use at the hospital.  I think his little digestive system is trying to process the change, but he has still been taking his whole bottle, so he's doing well with that, too!

We did his first bath at home last night, and he did not enjoy it one bit.  If I had not been so harried about getting it done, I would have taken a picture of his scrunched up, red, angry face!  He was so mad!  We figured out a different way to do it tonight, and John thinks he will enjoy it much more.

We are staying home and enjoying John's first Father's Day today!  I am so proud of him because he is already an amazing father to Fitz.  It makes me love him even more than I already did when I see how sweet he is with our son.  Thank you God for providing me with such a wonderful husband and father for my son!  We are truly blessed by Fitz and can not wait to see what the future brings for him.  We know God has HUGE plans for Fitz.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Home SWEET Home

Want to know why we all look so happy?  Because we got to go home today!!  The doctor said that since Fitz is doing so well with eating, it was fine for us to go home today.  We have to follow up with our pediatrician on Monday to make sure he is still gaining weight, but it's fine for us to go home.  I'm drafting this blog post from my kitchen table and could not be happier about it!

First, Tootsie and I had to dress Fitz up in his going-home outfit.  Look how sweet it is!  Daddy thinks it's a sissy outfit, but we think he looks precious!

The outfit came with a hat, so we had to get a picture with it as well, but Tootsie and I agreed that he looked a bit Amish in this picture, ha!  We did not make him wear the hat home.
We got little man all bundled up in his car seat.

And Daddy carried him out to the car!  All the nurses were waving at him and telling him goodbye.

After we settled him into the car, we headed home.  We hit some Friday afternoon rush hour traffic, but it still didn't take us long to get home.  Tootsie went to her house to pick up Fancie and brought her home, as well.  She was not sure what was going on when she saw Fitz, and was very interested in him.

I didn't want to feed Fitz on the couch because I was not sure what Fancie would do, so we opted for the table for his first feeding at home.  Fancie just had to investigate what we were doing up there!  She gave his leg a few licks, then jumped down and settled on the couch.

Until her "Grandma Peg" (aka Tootsie) started holding Fitz.  She was interested in that as well!

We are so thankful to be at home, praising God for His timing and for bringing us home with a healthy, beautiful baby boy!  Thank you all for your prayers, please keep them going, as we will be facing surgeries and many doctors appointments in the future.  For now, we're going to enjoy sleeping in our own bed, instead of in the drawer.  We hope you all have a great night, too!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Look Ma, No Tubes!

Take a look at Fitz's sweet face with no tape and no tubes!!  During rounds today, the Doctor said that since he is doing so well with his feedings, it was time for the feeding tube to come out!  I was so excited!!

This is a picture of his first feeding without that nasty tube in his mouth.  The doctor said that since he is doing so well, the tube may be getting in the way of him eating even more.  They also took him off of the kidney/acid medicine, so now he is medicine free as well!

The doctor went on to say that there was no need for any further labwork on Fitz, so hopefully they stuck his little veins for the last time today as well!

Then the doctor gave me the best news of all, he said it should be "very few days" before we can go home!  He said as long as Fitz keeps eating well and keeps gaining weight, we will go home very soon.  Oh I was so relieved!  We give praise to God and God alone for all of the progress Fitz has made so quickly. 

We could not resist taking tons of pictures of this sweet little face, tube and tape free!  We discovered that not only does Fitz have his Daddy's cute dimple on the right cheek, but he has it on the left as well.  We tried and tried to get him to show it for a picture, but Fitz is also a bit stubborn like his Mama and would not do it!  I'll keep trying to catch it so I can show it to all of you, it is precious.

Again, thank you God for all of his progress, and for this situation, which has caused us to depend on You so much more than we ever have before.  We continue to praise God and give Him the glory.  We also continue to pray for God's timing on going home, although we also pray that His timing is soon.

We also continue to be amazed and humbled and thankful for all of you who are keeping up with us and praying for all of us.  Thank you so much!  God is answering those prayers every single day!

I hear ya!

Yesterday afternoon the Audiologist came by to do a hearing test on Fitz.  Tootsie and I were very interested to see how he was going to do a hearing test on an infant.  The man was very nice, and patient, as he came during a feeding and very politely agreed to wait until we were finished before doing the test.  First, he attached sensors to Fitz's forehead, chest and the back of his neck, and put connectors on them.  Fitz kept rolling his eyes over to see what the man was doing.
The left ear was tested first.

Which Fitz found to be very boring, so then the right ear was tested.
Which apparently, made Fitz mad!

I think he was just tired of sitting up like that, so we laid him back on the bed and he was fine.  We are assuming the sensors sent some type of vibration and that's how the hearing was tested.  Fitz did not seem to mind whatever was happening but was very wide-eyed, so he knew something was going on.  His left ear passed the test, but his right ear had some fluid behind the ear drum.  This does not indicate hearing loss at all, just fluid.  There is an audiologist on the cleft team here at Children's, so they will follow up on that right ear when we go for our next appointment there.  The audiologist said most cleft children have to have tubes in their ears fairly early, so that will take care of that fluid.

We got to try the new formula at the 6:30 feeding and guess what our little genius did??  He took the whole 60 cc's by bottle and did not have to have any by his tube!  I was so excited that I had to post it on Facebook, so some of you may have already seen it!  At the next feeding, he took 40 by bottle, then at the next, he took 60 again!  This morning he took 47 cc's by bottle, so he is still doing great!

The OT mentioned yesterday that sometimes the higher calorie formula can upset the baby's stomach, but Fitz has not seemed to have any problems from it at all.  Please pray that he continues to improve on his numbers and tolerate the new formula.  We're thinking home before Father's Day would be a great first Father's Day gift to our sweet daddy, but of course, we want God's timing and plan over our own.

Thank you for praying, and we hope all of you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Afternoon Mini-Update

When the doctor and NP came by on rounds today, they decided to increase Fitz's calorie intake and reduce the amount of formula he takes at each feeding.  This means our daily goal of bottle feeding is decreased a bit from what it was, which may make it easier for Fitz to get all of his formula through his bottle!  The formula he takes now is 20 calories per ounce and his new formula will be 24 calories per ounce.  Instead of our goal being 75 cc's every three hours, it will now be 60 cc's every three hours, or 75 cc's every four hours.  His daily goal was 600 cc's and it is now 460 cc's.  Yesterday, Fitz took 331 cc's for the day, so he's not that far from his goal.  I think this will give us a little more freedom in how Fitz wants to eat as well, so maybe if we wait longer than 3 hours between feedings, he may want a bit more formula at each feeding.

See?  I was getting frustrated this morning and God has answered my prayers yet again.  The doctor changed up the routine a bit which I think will put us even closer to going home.  Thank you Lord for answering prayers!

Please continue to pray for God's timing, and for Fitz to do well with feeding.  We appreciate all of the prayers!

Children's Hospital Accomodations

Whole Room

I've been meaning to take some pictures of our room here at Children's, and this morning I actually remembered to do it!  This is a view of our whole room from just past the bathroom at the entrance.  It's really a good size compared to some of the other rooms I've seen when I walk down the halls.

This is a picture of Fitz's crib, obviously.  It looks kind of mechanical but he seems to enjoy it.  They made his nametag when he was in the NICU.  Everyone who comes in says, "Is it Fitz?" Almost as if that could not possibly be his name, ha!

This is a closer view of our lovely rocking chair (that squeaks at every little movement!) and our bed.  Yes, that's our bed.  The green cushion is the "mattress" but John's dad brought us an air mattress which helps a lot.  You'll notice it's only slightly less wide than a twin bed.  So, where does the other person sleep?

Right here in the "drawer," as John calls it!  The first two nights I slept in the drawer, but with my c-section incision, it was really difficult to climb out of it for feedings.  So, after that, John slept in the drawer.  With our friend Denise's mattress pad in the drawer, it's not too bad.  The worst part of the drawer is that it is so low to the ground, and the ledge on the edge, which makes it feel like you're sleeping in an actual drawer!

This is how we keep up with Fitz's feedings.  After each feeding, we write down how much he took by bottle, then by tube.  We also keep up with how many times he poops because they ask us at the end of every shift.  We have to keep the diapers separate from the rest of the trash because they weigh them at the end of each shift!  Neat freak that I am, it makes me feel like we're being dirty when we stack them on the floor!

During the night, Fitz broke his record again!  He took 54 cc's at the midnight feeding, and 55 cc's at the 3 a.m. feeding!  We were so proud!  This morning the OT came during feeding and Fitz got really mad and would not eat well at all.  He was dirtying his diaper when we got started which always distracts him, but he seems to not want to perform for OT when they come.  He only took 25 cc's while they were here, and that frustrates me and I start to think we'll never get to go home.  I try to remind myself, and pray constantly for the Holy Spirit to control my thoughts and remember that God is in control, but it is hard sometimes. 

God knows when I need encouragement though, this morning Jesus Calling directed me to this verse:  "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope."  Psalm 130:5  Thank you Lord!

Last night our good friends Kristy and Skylar came to see us!  Skylar was so excited to meet Fitz, and got really tickled when he burped while eating.  He thought that was really funny.  Skylar can't wait to teach Fitz how to play baseball!  He needs a little more time for that, but I'm sure they will be big buddies!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

38 Weeks? Nope, 11 Days New!

It is hard to believe that I really should only be 38 weeks along in my pregnancy today, but instead Fitz is almost 2 weeks old!  Ca-razy!  I just love this outfit he has on in these pictures.  The front has a sweet little lamb on it and it says underneath it, "His little lamb".  The back has the verse, "The Lord is my shepherd."  And it's very snuggly!

Fitz has a precious little smile, and I don't care what any book or expert says, he knows he is smiling.  It's not gas.  He smiles when Mommy and Tootsie laugh really big, or when you find a ticklish spot on him.  Our baby is a genius!  Do I  sound like a new mom or what?!? I could just eat him up.  And, can you see that little dimple on his right cheek?  It only peeks out when he smiles, but it is just as deep as Daddy's dimples and we think he might have one on the left which we could see if we could get rid of that ugly feeding tube!

Speaking of the feeding tube, our little man is breaking his own records all over the place with feeding!  Before yesterday, the most he ever took by bottle was 42 cc's.  Last night, he took 43.5 cc's by bottle, then overnight he took 50 cc's!!  I thought John and I were going to burst with pride!  He sometimes still takes less than others, but now instead of it being a really small amout like 10-15 cc's, most of the time he takes at least 30 by bottle.  I think he's finally getting hungry between feedings.

When the doctor and NP came to the room on rounds yesterday, they were impressed with his increase in total cc's by bottle each day.  He improved his number from Sunday to Monday by over 40 cc's!  Genius, I'm telling you.  The doctor took him off the Prevacid he was taking because he says he does not need it, and decreased the medicine he's taking for the acid/kidney issue.  He said by the time we get to go home, he does not even think Fitz will need that medicine.

Snuggled up and ready for bed!
We continue to pray for the time to go home to come quickly, but also that it's in God's time, and not ours.  It is hard sometimes to accept that God's timing is so much better than ours, but we know it's true.  Fitz is making progress each and every day and we hope to maybe be home by the weekend, if he continues to do so.  We have faith that he will!  And we know that God will answer our prayers and that His will will be done.  Thank you again for all of the prayers, we appreciate it more than you know!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Story

I don't have a lot to report for Sunday, except that Fitz continues to improve on his eating!  His total number of cc's by bottle has increased everyday since we got into our room on Friday.  We will see the doctor again this morning, and I should have more to report tomorrow.

Since we don't have much to report, I thought I would share how we got to this point, as a little background for those of you who do not know us IRL (in real life).  The first step in our journey to have a child was for me to have surgery to place a cerclage in my cervix.  My OB/GYN has been my doctor since I was 16 and performed a surgery on my when I was about 20.  He told me then that I may have a problem when I wanted to get pregnant due to the size of my cervix, which was almost non-existent.  When I told him we were ready to try to get pregnant, he decided to put a cerclage (basically a band) in my cervix.  Most women do not know they have an "incompetent cervix" until they miscarry at about 20 weeks, and then they will have one placed vaginally during their next pregnancy at about 10-13 weeks.  My doctor did not believe I could even support a pregnancy until that point because of my cervix, so he did a laproscopic abdominal cerclage prior to conception.

Our next step was to make sure I was ovulating.  I have never had regular periods, and have symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), so my doctor let us try on our own from August 2009, after my surgery, until about January 2010.  He said normally he makes people wait longer before trying something else, but he knows my body and he did not want us to waste time if my body was not cooperating.  I called my doctor in January 2010 after using ovulation test strips and never having one say I was ovulating, and went in to see him.  He started me on Clomid, which is a follicle stimulating oral medicine, and is generally the first step in fertility treatments.  I took Clomid in February, March and April, and only had one egg follicle each month.  Many people on Clomid have several eggs each month, but I still only had one.

After the April cycle of Clomid did not work well for us, my doctor sent us to a fertility clinic.  I was really nervous about it because I did not want it to be like we were trying to help God give us a baby.  I wanted it to be according to His plan, and not because of medication.  I prayed about it for a long time and prayed that we would still only get pregnant in God's time, no matter what type of medication or procedures we tried.  Although we went to the fertility clinic in May 2010, we did not start any medication until June with my next cycle.  The fertility doctors start you out full force, which was a little surprising to me!  I took an oral medication similar to Clomid for a few days, then had to give myself injections of follicle stimulating medication for the next several days.  It was a really small needle and the shot went into my was a little scary at first, but it did not hurt at all.  I went to the clinic often to check blood levels and whether I had any egg follicles.  That month I had three follicles!  We did IUI (intrauterine insemination) that month as well.  And then we got the call....I was pregnant! 

We were so excited, and told everyone we knew!  Our parents were excited and we started planning for our baby!  At the fertility clinic, they see pregnant patients every week, and do an ultrasound each week.  We went to every appointment, saw our baby's heart beating and continued to be so excited!  On the day of our 9 week appointment, John was unable to come, so I went by myself.  That day I had a different room than I had been in before and a new Nurse Practitioner.  When she started the Ultrasound, she said, "I'll be right back, I'm not seeing what I need to see."  The song, "It is well with my soul" started playing in my head, even though I wasn't sure why at the time.  The head NP came in and looked and our baby no longer had a heart beat.  I was totally devastated, and was there by myself.  I thought, "Well, do something!  Get it going again!"  When I asked what would be next, they told me they would schedule a D&C.  They took me into an office and I called John, who was at work.  I told him to just meet me at home.  They took tons of blood to run tests, and I went home.  It was awful, but in my heart, I knew that was not our only chance to have a baby.  I had a D&C on August 20, 2010.

That was around the first time I read my Jesus Calling book and scripture about being thankful in all circumstances.  I thought, how can I be thankful for losing my baby?  My baby died, and I'm supposed to thank God for that?!?  I did it anyway, just trying to be obedient, even though I did not understand.  I knew it was all a part of God's plan for us, because we had prayed for His plan to be accomplished.

The fertility clinic doctor told me I should start my cycle again within 4 weeks and if not, I should call them.  I did not start, which was not surprising to me, so I went in and they gave me a shot to make me start.  They said I should start within 14 days and if not, to call them back.  Well, of course I did not start again.  I was not upset or worried, I just kept praying for God's timing.  They had me come back in, so I did and they did an ultrasound and prescribed some more medication to make me start.  I left the doctor and went to the dentist for a teeth cleaning.  After my cleaning, I was checking my phone for e-mails and messages, and my phone rang.  It was the head NP at the fertility clinic.  She said, "Ali, we have figured out why you haven't started."  I said, "Ok, why?"  She said, "YOU'RE PREGNANT!"  I was totally stunned and thankful for this miracle!  After all those fertility shots and medication and doctor's appointments, we were pregnant with only God's help!  Our prayers were answered, we were having a baby in God's timing, according to His plan.

You pretty much know our story after that, we now have Fitz and are so thankful for our miracle baby who was sent to us straight from God!  We are also thankful that God has a plan for us, and even when we don't know what it is, or why things are happening, we know He is in control and He knows exactly what is happening and why.  Thank you, Father!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Busy Day

We had a really busy, but great, Saturday!  We had visitors all day long, and Fitz doesn't mind who's holding him, he just settles in to whichever arms are holding him at that time.  He hardly ever gets upset, usually only when you wake him up by changing his diaper, or when they check his vitals.  He especially hates getting his temperature taken.  Something about them sticking that probe under his arm annoys him to no end!

We started the morning out visiting with my cousin Glenn and his wife Brianne.  They were on their way to Gatlinburg and made a surprise stop to see Fitz!  Next, John's parents (Grandmama and Papa) came to visit, along with Fitz's Great Grandmother, and 2 of John's aunts.  Tootsie came up next, and then my friends from law school, Tommy and Holly both came to visit.  Fitz had a feeding while most of those people were here visiting, and didn't mind have an audience one little bit.  He ate his bottle right on up with everyone watching.

Fitz did pretty well eating consistently yesterday.  He took between 28-35 cc's of formula by bottle at each feeding during the day yesterday.  When the NP came to visit, she said all of his levels were looking really good, and there was no need to continue his daily lab work!  She said he may be eating better since the same person is doing his feeding everytime instead of whichever nurse happened to be on duty in the NICU.  She said it probably also helps that it's his mama doing the feeding...which warmed my heart right up!

After lunch, Tootsie's friend Wanda came to visit, then Pappy came to see us.  Last night, Fitz's future girlfriend, Mary Eloise, came to visit.  We are good friends with her parents, Jason and Denise, and we can not wait for Mary Eloise to get here!  Denise is due July 5, and we have already planned for Fitz and ME to be best buddies!  While Denise was holding Fitz, ME kicked him...she's flirting already, ha!

Mommy and Daddy both slept better last night.  I think we were more used to being here with him, and getting up during the night for feedings.  Denise brought me a mattress pad that helped so much with this hard "mattress".  And Papa brought one this morning for John to try tonight.  Fitz didn't eat so well during the night, but he did well this morning!

We are continuing to be so thankful for each step in this process, and all that God is teaching us.  We continue to pray for Fitz to improve in God's time, and according to His plan, and not ours.  We fully acknowledge that God's plan is the one we want to happen, and not our own.  We are so thankful that He is in control!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I'm 1 Week New!

I was so busy yesterday on Fitz's 1 week birthday that I didn't get to post last night!  We had another pretty good day yesterday!  First thing yesterday morning, I got to change my first dirty diaper.  It may sound like that's not very exciting, but to me, anything I get to do, instead of a nurse doing it, is a milestone to me.  I was actually excited about it!  I also got to dress Fitz all by myself after I changed his diaper.  I wish I had thought to get a picture of his outfit, it is so cute.  It had a sweet lamb on it, and underneath it says, "His little lamb."  On the back of the gown, it has the verse, "The Lord is my shepherd."  Too cute!

When the doctors came on rounds, they were pleased that Fitz had gained some weight back that he had lost before.  They also said his numbers were better concerning his acid/kidney problem, so it was all good news.  I asked them about moving into our own room, and they said the only problem with that is, I have to stay with Fitz 24 hours a, not a problem here!

The only thing that did not improve yesterday was Fitz's eating.  He was totally uninterested all day long.  He only ate between 10-15 cc's at two feedings, then 30 cc's for two feedings, then back to 10-15.  Everyone told me not to get stressed about it, that everyday could be different.  I'll be honest, I was getting stressed about it, but I prayed all day for God's timing and His will to be done, and for God to teach Fitz how to eat.

At about 5:00 yesterday, we got to move into our own room!!  That means we both get to spend the night with Fitz!  Now, let me tell you, the accomodations are lacking quite a bit, but we are so excited to be able to stay with him and take care of him like we would at home.  There is a built-in couch with about a 3 inch thick "mattress", and a trundle bed underneath.  It is NOT comfortable, but we'll work something out.  As long as I'm with my baby, I'll deal with a little discomfort.  Now, I get to change every diaper, and feed him, and bathe him:

Last night was my first time to bathe him by myself and I was a little nervous that I would do something wrong.  Our friends Kelli and Elizabeth were here to watch and assist, and thank goodness, because Elizabeth is a budding photographer and got some cute pics of me giving him a bath!  Thank you Elizabeth!

We washed all that pretty hair first! 

As you can see, Fitz was not happy about getting a bath, and was not shy about letting Mommy know about it!

He even threw up some gang symbols...we've got to get out of downtown Birmingham!

I was also a little nervous about feeding Fitz by myself during the night because usually Tootsie is here to assist, or we trade off feeding because sometimes mixing things up gets him to eat more.  It turns out, I worried for nothing.  The first feeding he only took 20 cc's, but by the next feeding, he took 38 cc's!!  Way to go little buddy!  I was so proud of him!

All around a pretty good day!  Moved into our own room, our friends Bill and Pam came to visit, then Kelli and Elizabeth, Daddy came after work and stayed at the hospital with us all night, and I learned to bathe, diaper and feed Fitz even better than before.  God is still answering our prayers and we are so thankful! 

Now, I am praying for God's timing about when we can go home.  My choice would be to go home today, but I want what's in God's plan...not my own.  His way is so much better than mine, and His way is what we want.  Thank you for all the prayers, they are being answered!