Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sydney Grace - 24 Weeks 5 Days

Today is Sydney's 1 week birthday! Thank you Lord for this week! If you would have asked me if I thought she would be here with us today exactly one week ago, I doubt I would have said yes. I am amazed at God's grace and love everyday. She is still here with us! She does however have some hurdles to overcome.

We have visited Sydney everyday since Erin left the hospital last Thursday. It's hard. The nurses discourage us to even touch her hand because they say that she needs as little stimulation as possible. That goes against every parental instinct Erin and I have!! There is my beautiful baby girl laying in this....incubator.... and she needs me! She needs my help. She needs me to take care of her. But, I can't. I can't do anything for her. Not being in control is something that is very hard for me. When things are out of my control I tend to get very nervous and anxious. Those of you that know me well understand this. Maybe God is using this to get me to learn to give everything up to Him. I don't know. If that's the case, Sydney is sure having to pay for her old man not getting it all this time.

Our visits are very short but very meaningful. There just isn't anything we can do for her and it's frustrating. A friend of mine that was in this situation once before, mentioned to me that you have to trust a bunch of different doctors and nurses to take care of your baby. That is so true. Almost everyday we speak to someone new about Sydney's progress. In fact, I had an interesting conversation with the doctor that Erin had previously visited with in the hospital before Sydney was born. This was the doctor that told her if it was his baby, he would not attempt to save her because the chances of survival at Sydney's age were so low. Because of how "remarkably well" Sydney is doing (those are his words), I think Sydney is really touching his heart. Maybe God is using Sydney to turn this doctor to Him.

As I said, Sydney is doing great, but she has some hurdles to overcome. The doctors told us on Friday that Sydney had a problem. Without getting into the specifics and science of everything, basically Syd has a duct underneath her heart that isn't closing. With term babies, the duct closes very shortly after they are born. But, with preemies this duct often has problems closing on it's own. They started Sydney on medicine for this problem Friday and immediately stopped her feedings. If I haven't mentioned this, Sydney has begun to "eat" a little bit. When I say "eat" I mean they are pumping 1 milliliter of breast milk into her tiny stomach every 4 hours. But hey, it's progress!! She even has had a few wet diapers. She has already finished taking the medicine. Prayerfully, the meds will close the duct. If it doesn't, they will probably try one more round of medicine. If that doesn't work, unfortunately surgery is the next and final option. Although the procedure is fairly simple, at her age and size we obviously would be very concerned about surgery. They are doing another echo cardiogram tomorrow to see if the hole has closed or gotten smaller. Please pray with us that God heals this hole and Sydney will get back on track.

That is our most recent hurdle to jump. They are also doing another sonogram on Sydney's brain tomorrow to determine if she's had any bleeding in the brain. Her first one, done only 2 days after her birth, came back negative for any bleeds. The doctor did say that there is a chance that the bleed won't show up until a week has past. Please pray with us that the sono will show no bleeds in Sydney's brain.

We should get the results of the echo cardiogram and the brain sonogram either tomorrow or Tuesday. Despite these two HUGE tests looming that will definitely effect Sydney's health and treatment, I feel inexplicably calm. I've often prayed for the peace that "transcends all understanding" that Paul talks about in Philippians 4:6-7, and I've never really felt like I've gotten to that point. Not peace that literally CAN'T BE EXPLAINED! Well, I'm there now, and I can't explain it...

I also have to tell you this God moment I just had. I was pretty sure I knew that Philippians verse above just now, but I wanted to double check. So, I just went to to confirm. Take a guess what the "verse of the day" is on that sight today.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7.

Isn't that amazing?! If you are reading this on 8/30, go to and see for yourself. Unreal!!

Thank you God for your miracles! Thank you for your miracle that you made in Sydney! What an amazing and awesome God we serve!

Maybe God is using Sydney? There's no MAYBE about it...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sydney Grace Update - 3 Days Old

Wow! Well, so many things have changed since I last posted, I don't even know where to begin. I'll start with it's Wednesday afternoon, I'm in the hospital with Erin, Faith & Ben. And little Sydney Grace is downstairs on a ventilator, fighting for her life.

So, I'll start from the beginning. Last Sunday.

I remember being very tired that morning. Ben, as always, came to get me up right at 8:00. I got up and got ready and called Erin at the hospital. This was the big day! She had made it to Sunday! The day we had been waiting for! Sydney had defied the odds by staying in Erin for so long, and we were very excited that the doctors finally could do something for her. This was the day Erin was scheduled to receive her first steroid injection, Sunday. The day before, Saturday, the kids and I had a great visit with Erin. Probably the best visit we'd had thus far. Marty and Judy (Erin's parents) came up to visit and we just had a really great time considering the circumstances. So, when I called Erin Sunday morning, I was immediately surprised by her voice when she answered the phone. It was the first time in a while that she didn't sound good. Erin went on to tell me that she was hurting all over. Her back was hurting. Her head was hurting. She was just feeling crummy. I told her that she was probably just a little achy from being in bed for so long and it would pass. I also told her that I was on my way up to the hospital with the kids. She told me not to bring the kids because she felt so crummy. I'm so glad I didn't bring them.

When I got to the hospital that day, Erin looked pretty bad. She was pale. She was emotional. She was scared. We both feared the worst: That she had developed and infection and they would have to deliver the baby because of it. The nurse (Barbie) kept coming in to check her temp and it kept coming back fine. 97.9. 98.2. 98.6. Even so, Erin knew something was wrong. I felt so helpless. My wife was hurting, she looked miserable. She just kept shifting around in the bed, trying to get comfortable, but she couldn't. Something was wrong.

After about 2 hours of this, things went from bad to worse. Fast. I felt Erin's forehead and she was burning up. She had tons of blankets and covers and she had pulled them up all the way to her chin. She looked like a kid with the flu. I felt terrible for her. I took her temperature, and in 30 minutes or less she had gone from 98.6 to 101!! This was a very hard moment because we knew Sydney was going to have to be With tears in her eyes, and in mine, I looked at Erin and told her that no matter what happens, everything was going to be OK.

Right after that she started feeling some major leaking. As if her water broke again. The nurse came in and pulled back the covers. There was blood everywhere. The nurse called all the other nurses to the room and it was like a scene from ER. After I saw the blood, it was not long before I was in the bathroom vomiting my lunch up. I have never reacted that way to seeing blood, but it was so much and combined with the emotion, I just lost it. Literally... Before I could get out of the bathroom Erin had been taken down to labor and delivery.

I found out where Erin was and immediately headed down there. I found her very quickly and the scene from ER continued. There were at least 5 or 6 nurses and doctors working on Erin. It was so crazy! I was just totally overwhelmed. Erin was getting very scared. At one point she even asked "Am I in danger?" The nurse gave a very unconvincing "Yes." We would find out why she was so unconvincing later. Adding to the intensity and fear of the current situation, one nurse was working on finding Sydney's heartbeat. To give you a point of reference, when the nurses would come in and check on Sydney in a normal situation, they would find it usually within 5 to 10 seconds. This nurse tried to find it for 10 minutes and nothing. Erin and I thought we had lost her. We couldn't believe it. We spoke to each other about why this was happening? Why had God brought us this far only to lose her? Why did we have to go through ALL of this only for it to end so horribly. Why, why, why? We couldn't understand.

Right before they took Erin into surgery, I grabbed Erin's face with both of my hands and we just looked at each other. We had tears streaming down both of our faces, and I told her that no matter what happens, no matter what, we were going to get through this. They whisked her away and I asked if I could come with her, they told me no. I yelled "I love you!" Erin yelled back, "I love you too!" and that was it. Erin and Sydney were gone. Everyone was gone.

I sat there in this room with bloody sheets on the floor, papers and towels all over the room. The machines beeping like crazy. I sat there by myself with my thoughts. I'll never forget this moment as long as I live. I didn't know if I would see Erin again, I was pretty sure I would never get to meet my new daughter. It was the loneliest feeling of my life. That turned out to be rock bottom.

You know that feeling that you get after you cry a lot? That feeling like nothing else can hurt you? That feeling of numbness? That's how I felt for the next several hours. Numb. I'm sure the people I called for updates were amazed at my "strength" or how "calm" I was. Not the case. I was a wreck.

After what felt like an eternity someone came out to tell me that Sydney had made it! She was small, and in danger, but she was alive! I couldn't believe it! I was so thankful! What about Erin though? She was still in surgery and they actually asked me if I was sure if we wanted to go through with "tying her tubes". I emphatically said, "YES". It was the right decision to make. Dr. Howard came in and told me that Erin was fine. She had made it through the surgery perfectly. Finally some good news!! Both my girls had made it! Dr. Howard went on to say that Erin had what is called a placenta abruption. It turns out that the placenta abruption had nothing to do with losing her amniotic fluid! In fact, had she not been in the hospital because of the water breaking, Sydney would not have made it. Not only that, but Erin would have been in serious trouble as well. Can you imagine if she was home alone when this happened? Thank God she was in the hospital. What turned out to be our "curse" was actually a HUGE blessing. We questioned and questioned God about her water breaking. Why God? Why? Well, only to save both Erin and Sydney's lives. Unbelievable. Thank you Lord! Another miracle! Dr. Howard also told me that had we not gotten her tubes tied, he would have strongly suggested for us to NOT have another baby. Erin has significant scar tissue built up from her previous C-Sections. This would cause serious problems if she was to get pregnant again.

I was able to go see Erin for the first time after her surgery. She was so out of it. She asked me when they were going to do the surgery. I told her they had already done it. She asked me when they were going to put the tube down her throat to help her breathe. I told her they had already done that to. Then all she could talk about was Sydney. She asked me if she was OK and how much see weighed three times each. I was thankfully able to tell her that Sydney made it and she weighed 1 lb 8 0z. Yep, 24 oz. Think of that for a second. Think of your 20 oz bottle of coke, and then think of how Sydney must look. It is an absolute miracle that she survived. Thank you God!

After I saw Erin for just a few minutes they asked me to go wait in her room for her to get out of recovery. I kept asking and kept asking about Sydney. They kept saying, she was stable but I couldn't see her. Stable? What's stable for a 24 week old baby? Luckily, Erin's family was here to kind of take my mind off of things. And, my dad was on his way. That made me feel a lot better.

Finally, they told me I could see Sydney Grace for the first time. I tried my best to prepare myself for the way she looked. I walked in, and they made me wash my hands for 3 minutes from elbow to fingertip before I could go in. I'm not going to lie. I was very nervous to see her. As I walked into the NICU, I was greeted by Sydney's nurse and I got my first look at our new baby. She was beautiful! She was obviously very, very small but beautiful. She looked just like a perfectly proportioned baby girl. Just smaller. How small? Her foot is the same size as Erin's thumbprint. I could probably put my wedding ring around her thigh. Her head is about as big as a tennis ball. But, she has huge feet and long monkey toes! Just like her daddy! I was looking at God's latest miracle. It was pretty shocking, but not as bad as I thought. I took several pictures, but it was hard to see her because she was enclosed in this case. Basically an incubator. They are trying to simulate the womb as best as they can.

Her doctor came to see us and said that she was "OK". She looked "OK" and that she was doing "OK". He was very cautious to give us any false hope. Hey, at that point, I was happy with "OK". Just hours before I thought we had lost her.

I spent the rest of the night with Erin, but she was so out of it from the medication. Before she got too loopy we agreed that it would be best for me to go home so I could take Faith to her first day of school in the morning. I came home and tried to comprehend what had just happened. All I could think, was my wife was fine and my new baby was "OK". I was very, very thankful for that. Thank you God!! I was so emotionally and mentally drained I went to bed very early that night and slept restlessly. Any noise I woke up to because I thought it was a phone call about Erin or Sydney. But, no phone call came.

The next morning, I woke up and took Faith to her first day of Kindergarten. Yep, we are dealing with that too. I felt really bad for Faith because I felt like this hurt her big day. Obviously, there was nothing we could do. She did great anyway. I was able to get some good pics and video of her before I took her to school. She acted so goofy! I think it was some sort of nervous reaction. Nervous energy maybe? It was pretty funny and very cute.

I was anxious to get back up to the hospital to see Erin and Sydney. When I got there Erin was much more alert and doing much better. She still hadn't seen Sydney though, and she was very anxious to do that. While waiting on going down to see Syd, we spoke to her doctor. He had good news! Sydney had been taking off the "heavy duty" ventilator and put on a less powerful one. This was great news considering it hadn't even been 24 hours!! He did however tell us that Sydney's blood pressure was low and he was going to do a sonogram on her brain. We asked why he wanted to do this, and he said it was a common procedure with all babies born this early. There is a possibility that Sydney could have a bleed in her brain. The results could vary from no bleed at all, to a bleed that is so bad that basically she would not survive. This was hard to take, but we were very hopeful that everything would come out OK. He said we should get the results Monday night or Tuesday morning. We anxiously waited for the news. By the way, we are learning that in the NICU, no news is good news.

She was also put on blood pressure medication on Monday. I don't know how much she was taking, but I know the number was a 10 and in order for her to start eating breast milk the number had to be a 5.

Erin was able to get up and walk around Monday following her painful surgery. This enabled her to go see Sydney. Finally! I told her to prepare herself because she was small. I also told her that I really thought she looked better than I thought she would. When Erin saw her for the first time, she was pretty speechless. She just couldn't believe how small she was. We spent a good while down there with Sydney and one of the many wonderful nurses in the NICU. She told us that Sydney was doing great, and was giving them very little work to do. Great news! Still anxious about the brain sono though. Monday night came and went, no news on the brain sono.

I called Erin first thing Tuesday morning and she said she had just gotten off the phone with Sydney's doctor. Great news again! The brain sono came back with no bleeds! Praise God! Additionally, throughout the night they had been working to get her off the blood pressure medication. She was at a 10 on Monday and a ZERO Tuesday! This meant that she could start receiving breast milk!

I could give you a detailed account of Tuesday and Wednesday, but I'm going to wrap it up here. Thankfully, we have received nothing but good news so far. Erin did have to get two units of blood today because her blood count was low. Kind of weird for her to get a transfusion, but it was necessary. Sydney continues to do great! We are so thankful for God's grace for giving her to us and taking such great care of her. It's tough having your little baby in a bubble, not being able to hold her or care for her, but she's here! She's alive! She's doing great!

Prayerfully, Syd will be taken off the ventilator sometime soon and gain some weight. We were told that the first 72 hours were very critical. Well, we are now at hour 80 and Sydney is still doing great. The only explanation for her being here and healthy is our God. Thank you Lord for taking care of our little baby. I thank you all so much for your kind emails, phone calls, texts & prayers. Please continue to pray for our little Sydney as God continues to leave us speechless everyday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 13 - 23 Weeks and 3 Days

Doom and gloom and bad news? Not going to make it? Don't continue with the pregnancy? I don't think so brotha!!!

We finally got some encouraging news today, Thursday. This morning, Erin had a sonogram. As we expected, she still has very, very little to no amniotic fluid. However, the doctor said the baby is doing great! She is showing signs of breathing which is a HUGE praise! Thank you father for taking care of Sidney as only you can!!

The doc said that she is growing normally and that she had a full bladder. If she had a full bladder, that means she has SOME fluid in there to exercise her lungs. Praise God for this news! We really were excited and encouraged by this. Sidney GRACE has continued to beat science and medicine because of the Lord's strength! What great news!!!

Erin was able to get a laptop yesterday, Wednesday. As you can imagine, she's getting pretty bored. I mean, she has been laying in a bed for 11 straight days!!! All the patients on her floor are in the same situation as she is. On bed rest, praying for a good outcome, bored out of their minds. So they can only get the laptop for a few hours each as they share it across the floor. Well, when Erin got it, she did some research on "preemies". A lot of different information out there, but the consensus was, at 23 weeks the baby has about a 15% chance of surviving. However, at 24 weeks that percentage increases to 50%! Every week she stays in Erin, the percentages get higher and higher that she'll make it. The stats are encouraging, but I know that none of it matters. It could be 1% or 99%, it makes no difference. The Lord has plans for this little girl and we have to give it up to Him.

As Erin was getting really bored, some guys from church took a DVD player up to her. I decided to stop off and get her some chick flicks. Erin and I are usually on the same page with movies. I'm not a big fan of the bang, bang, ridiculous shoot em' up Van Damn genre, and she, THANKFULLY, keeps all the "Australia" type movies way away from me. She knows if I had to sit through a movie like that, I would vomit all over myself. Seriously, I would rather be kicked in the face repeatedly for 2 hours than have to sit through "Chocolat".. What a beating!!

Anywho, I got her a few titles that I thought she would enjoy. I have no clue what any of these movies are about. One of the movies I chose was "Revolutionary Road". If you have seen this movie, you are already saying to yourself "Oh No!" If you haven't, and don't want a spoiler, skip the rest of this paragraph. I called Erin this morning to check on how she liked my movie choices. She went on to tell me how Revolutionary Road was one of the most depressing movies she had ever seen!!! Oops! In the future, I'll be much more careful about the movies I choose for her. Girls reading this, if you'd like to post some good girl movie suggestions, please feel free... You can't do worse than I did my first go round...

I also had to come home early today to take Faith to her first "meet the teacher night". I can't believe my little girl will start school Monday! There were at least 5 classes for the morning and five classes for the afternoon. We were praying that Faith would be in the same class as her good friend Natalie. Not only would she be more comfortable, but Natalie's parents are great friends of ours and live right here by us. They have offered to help take Faith to and from school. Naturally, we hoped that at the very least she would be in the same morning session as her friend Natalie. But, as I registered Faith just yesterday, we weren't assured of anything. Well, another prayer answered! Not only were they in the same session, they were in the same class!! What an awesome God we serve huh?!! I didn't tell any of the people at the school about what's going on in our lives. It was totally God doing His wonderful work.

At work today, a woman I work with volunteered to get us some groceries. She said a lot of people pitched in and they would like to help us out. When she returned with the groceries, and I saw all the food, I was absolutely overwhelmed. I felt like crying. So many people are serving us during this time. So many people have done so many things, not the least of which is saying a prayer or sending a nice email. I would not trade my family and friends for anyone's in the world. I only hope that someday I can return the favor to all of you..

What a great day the Lord has made! Finally, a post that we can get behind huh?!

Praying for one more day..


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 11 - 23 Weeks and 1 Day

Praise God for another day! Yesterday, Monday, was a very interesting day. Erin and I woke up very early at around 6:00 so we could be at the doctors office in Las Colinas by 8:00. This is the doc that was so robotic when he asked if we wanted to "continue this pregnancy". I guarantee you he was surprised to see us that morning. He didn't think the baby would make it to Monday is my guess. We were expecting him to tell us that basically everything looked the same and therefore Erin should be admitted to the hospital. Well, he said one of those things. He said everything looked the same. We were hoping with Erin drinking tons of water and laying around doing absolutely nothing, that her amniotic fluid would have increased. Not at all. It's clear that there is nothing that Erin or anyone can do to help our little girl out. It's all in God's hands, as it always has been.

So the doc says, nothing has changed and looks at us like what are you doing here. He completely forgot that he had said he would have Erin admitted to a hosptial if she made it to Monday. Erin told him that she would like to be admitted, so he tried to find a doctor that would take her this early. Guess what? He found a doctor. Want to know his name? Doctor Howard. No kidding. You can't tell me that God doesn't have a sense of humor.

We headed over to Harris Methodist in downtown Ft. Worth to meet doc Howard. He was very nice and we liked him a lot. He was very honest with us. Sometimes, honesty is tough to hear. He told Erin that there was no benefit at being in the hospital until she was 23.5 to 24 weeks along. He said they can't do anything for the baby until that point and asked Erin if she wanted to stay or go home. As much as I wanted Erin home, I knew she was wanting to be admitted. She was visably more comfortable in the hospital than at home. I'm thankful that God openened up a room for her. I got her settled, said a very hard goodbye and went to work.

I came home that day and my mom and kids were waiting for me. Very weird to come home to my mom instead of Erin. My mom had done a great job with the kids and the house. It was GREAT to come home and not have anything to do. It was so nice. My mom has been a true God blessing. Without her being here... well, I just don't know how we would have gotten by.

This morning, Tuesday, a good friend of ours from chuch Jennifer, came by to pick up the kids to take them to see Erin at the hospital. How great is that? There is just no way I could go to work, come home get the kids, go back to the hospital and then come back home. There's just not enough time in the day. Luckily, we have friends like Jennifer that are so selfless to help us out. We also were given dinner from our wonderful friends Brett & Tracy. Unreal. What do people without a church family do it times of crisis? I'm so thankful for everyone in our lives. It's so humbling to have so many people willing to help us out.

After the kids visited Erin, I called her to see how things were. She had a great visit with the kids, but a not so great visit with the doctor in charge of the nursery. Late Monday night this doctor visited Erin to discuss her "options". He asked her what she wanted to do if the baby was born today. As in, do we want them to try and save the baby's life or let her die. He said if the baby were born now, she would have a very low chance of survival. He also said that if the baby were born now, she could have serious mental and/or physical problems. Erin was extremely upset. Obviously. Hearing the news, so was I. Of course we told him to do anything possible to save the baby. How could we live with ourselves otherwise? Father, no matter what happens, please don't make this baby suffer in any way. Please bless her with good health both mentally and physically.

The one piece of good news the doctor gave Erin was that if the baby makes it to Sunday, she has a much better chance of surviving. If she makes it to Sunday, she can get steroids and care to help develop her lungs and other important things. Please pray for the baby to make it to Sunday. This would be a huge milestone! I believe it will happen! I truly do! God is working a miracle here I just know it. I can feel it. I have this peace that I can't explain. Through all this doom and gloom and bad news, I still feel at peace. I know that God is answering our prayers by giving Erin and I strength and peace.

So, that's where we stand now. Anxiously counting the days until Sunday. Praying for the baby to stay in there for many days to come. Praying for Erin to stay strong through this. For my kids to stay strong through this. For me to stay strong through this. Please pray with me...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 9

The baby is still fighting and hanging in there! Thank you Lord! Praise God! Erin can feel her kicking and moving which always makes us feel better. Another day down.. Hopefully 50 more days to go. That would put Erin at 30 weeks.

Today started off terrible. Faith and Ben have been sniffiling and such for the last few days and I woke up this morning feeling terrible. So, I decided to take some Benadryl...BIG mistake. I was out cold for several hours after I "got up"!

While I was asleep, Faith stepped up to the plate and helped mommy out. This was all without my knowledge. My 5 year old girl warmed up a breakfast treat for Erin. She made toast with peanut butter and jelly for Erin, Ben & herself. She filled up our cats water and food. What an amazing little girl! My 4 year old son also helped quite a bit. He took his mom's tempature and brought her a granola bar.

I know what you're thinking. Brandon's sleeping in bed during all this? What a terrible dad!! I didn't know OK! I woke up and felt terrible. I couldn't believe I had let this much get away from me. Lesson learned..NO BENADRYL UNLESS I'M OK TO SLEEP FOR THE NEXT 12 TO 16 HOURS!!!

Tomorrow is a big day. Erin has an appt. at 8:00 in the morning. They told us last week that "if" she made it this far, she would be admitted to the hospital for the duration of her pregnancy. Tomorrow is a HUGE milestone. Thank you Father for getting her this far!

I'm going back to work after I take Erin to her appointment and get her admitted to the hospital. It will be very hard to leave her. She may not be home for 2 months. And that's what we are praying for!!

It sure will be hard to concentrate at work, knowing I could get a call at anytime, but it's much better than the alternative. It will also be nice to get some normalcy back in my life.

My mom flew in this afternoon. I'm so grateful that she is here. She's already made a huge difference. I don't know what I would do if she weren't able to be here.

Thank you Lord for getting us here. I pray tomorrow goes very well, and the baby and Erin continue to do well. Thank you for our friends and family. What a great blessing..

One day at a time... Thank you Lord for one more day.

First Post - Day 8

I decided to "blog".  I know, I know, I hate it too.  I mean does anyone really read these things?  Well, it's not for you, it's for Erin, Faith, Ben, myself, and of course our baby girl... (name TBD)  I know that this story will be one for the books, and I don't want to forget any of it.  Is that the right word?  Story?  It sure doesn't feel like a story right now.  It feels real, because it is real.  Very real.

You know when people say, "I feel like I'm in a bad dream."?  I've said that a time or two.  This is honestly the first time in my life that I really feel that way.  But hey, I'm 32 years old, we all have bumps in the road right?  I have led a very, very, blessed and charmed life.  God has certainly smiled on me for the VAST majority of my 32 years.

But, this isn't about me.  This is about what's going on in our lives.  So, let's get started. 

Last Saturday night, Erin woke me up at about 2:30 in the morning.  Why does it always have to be late at night or early in the morning?  Have any of you ever been to the ER at 2:00 P.M on a Tuesday?  I sure haven't.  It's always in the A.M. and it always seems to be on the weekend.  Weird..  At any rate, she woke me up with some concerning news.  She said that she felt "leaking".  As a guy, I have no idea what that means.  However, I could tell that it was serious based on Erin's reaction.  She called her OB's on call number, and the doctor that happened to call back was her own.  He said to go to the ER immediately.  My first thought went to the kids.  What do we do?  How do we get two kids to the ER at 2:00 in the morning?  Erin went upstairs to wake them up while I got dressed and ready to go.  They were both CHAMPS!  No whining.  No complaining.  No crying.  Just some very understandable questions.

As we drove to the ER I just didn't know what to say.  I knew things weren't good, and I couldn't think of any way to comfort Erin.  I'm usual pretty good at doing that.  I can usually always make her laugh, or somehow lighten the mood.  Not on this night.

We got to the ER and they got Erin in pretty quick to the OB area.   As they wheeled Erin in, the kids and I followed along like little ducklings following their mom.  She is the absolute 100% BACKBONE of this family.  What do we do?  At least that's what I was thinking...

They got her into a gown and tested the fluid and it initially came back as positive for amniotic fluid.  As Erin was in the bathroom I asked the nurse what that meant.  She looked at me with a sad face, and said "At 22 weeks, it's not good."  The kids and I stayed with Erin until they told us it could be another 6 hours before Erin was able to see the right doctor.  Erin and I both agreed that it would be best for me to take the kids home and the 3 of us get some sleep.  Before we left, I gave Erin a big hug, told her everything was going to be OK and we gently cried a little bit together.

A few hours later, my cell phone rang and Erin had great news!  She told me that they had done a more accurate test and it revealed that the fluid was NOT amniotic fluid.  They were sending her home!  I couldn't have been more relieved!  I went upstairs woke Ben up and told him to get his shoes on.  I went and did the same to Faith.  I went back into Ben's room to check on him and he was gone!  I yelled, "Ben!"  I heard him yell from downstairs with his cute little voice, (his r's still sound like w's)  "I'm down hewre"  He was ready to go pick up his momma!  Very cute. 

We drove to the hospital and we were all in very good moods.  We picked up Erin and drove home.  False alarm.  No big deal.  We overreacted.  Let's get some sleep and get back to unpacking this place.  Right?  Wrong.  The next night, Sunday, the same thing happened again.  Erin didn't know what to do.  She had just been sent home for the same thing.  But, her maternal instincts told her something was wrong and decided to call her OB first thing Monday morning.

Honestly, I really didn't think much about it on my way in to work Monday morning.  I figured it would be no big deal, and her doctor would say so.  I dragged into work Monday morning, tired from the night before.  Thinking about my problems, not Erin's or the baby's.   Well, Erin called me at about 10:00 and told me that the doctor said her amniotic fluid looked low and she should go to the hospital immediately.  My heart sank.  I couldn't believe it.  But, my mind was still telling me that this was all just precautionary because she is pregnant.  The doctors can't and shouldn't take any chances, and they'd rather be safe than sorry.  I took the rest of the day off work, and came home to be with the kids.  While I was home with the kids, Erin called and said that she had a really nice doctor come in, a specialist, and he had done a sonogram.  The sonogram revealed that she was low in amniotic fluid, but she was on the low end of normal.  Praise God!  Low, but still "normal".  I knew it was just an overreacation!  I took the kids up to the hospital and we stayed up there for quite a while.  We left at about 8:00.  It was really hard to leave Erin by herself.  It would turn out to be a sign of things to come.

The next day, Tuesday, our great friends, Jackie and Joe Friend volunteered to watch the kids.  As, there wasn't much I could do for Erin, I decided to go to work.  I would check in periodically and it turned out that day, no news was good news.  They did some more test on the fluid and it kept coming back negative for amniotic fluid.  The doctors couldn't figure out what was going on.  It was getting a little frustrating.  Why was she leaking?  What was she leaking?  Was the baby going to be OK?  All these things were constantly running through my mind.  The doctor said to Erin, "You're an enigma!" 

That night, I was exhausted.  Working, taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, doing laundry was absolutely a beating!  I told Erin I would NEVER take her for granted again.  I had no idea how much she did every day.  I was getting very testy with the kids.  Very impatient.  Very grumpy. 

I spoke to Erin that night on the phone and we talked about how easy it was for me to be the fun, playful dad.  I mean, I come home at 7:30, play with the kids for about an hour, and I couldn't understand why Erin would snap at them or get frustrated.  NOW, I understand.  Don't get me wrong, they are GREAT kids.  I love them with all my heart, it's just exhausting.  That night, on the phone with Erin we talked about the big sonogram she had with this "super specialist" the next day.  I don't know why, but I felt like I should be there.  I had been missing a lot of work, and I didn't want to be out another day, but something (more like someone) was telling me I should be there with her.  I would find out later why...

Wednesday morning, my lovely sister in law Amanda showed up at our home at around 9:00.  She watched the kids while I went to be with Erin.  The doctor finally came in about 2 hours after I got there.  He was like a robot.  Your typical doctor/scientist, where percentages and data are all that matter.  He got the sono going, and about 5 seconds into it said, "You have no amniotic fluid left."  The way he said it, it was almost like he was saying "I had eggs for breakfast this morning."  Absolutely no emotion whatsoever.  He went on to tell us that the baby was in trouble.  He asked us if we wanted to continue the pregnancy.  What?  Are you serious?  Of course we want to continue "this pregnancy".  In other words, "No doc, we don't want to murder our child."  Unreal.  He also told us that even if Erin were to carry the baby for several more weeks, she could be born with lungs that don't work.  With no amniotic fluid, the baby can't exercise her lungs and she won't survive on her own.  The doctor said that the baby has about a 50/50 chance.  After his "diagnosis", Erin and I shared a long cry.  Basically, the worst news we could have gotten.  Can you imagine Erin getting that news on her own?  Thank you Father for leading me to be there with her rather than going to work.

I'm not going to lie, the next hour was filled with a lot of "why's?"  Why me?  Why us?  Why now?  Why OUR baby?  We had prayed so fervently for God's will.  If He wanted us to have another baby, please make it happen.  If not, that's fine too.  We truly sought God's will when we were praying about whether or not to have another baby.  So, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING???  It was hard.  It was hard to understand WHY. 

The only good to come out of that news, was that the doctors had developed a game plan.  Keep Erin on bed rest, and admit her to the hospital "IF" (their words) she makes it to Monday morning.  So, on Thursday I finally was able to bring my wonderful wife home.  On strict bedrest, she immediately went to our couch in the living room.  The rest of Thursday was actually pretty nice.  It was nice to have Erin home.  We kind of settled into a nice routine with the occasional ups and downs.  I guess that's to be expected.  We went to bed that night with a slight feeling of dread that we would wind up going to the ER in the early hours of the morning again.  Our pessimism was full throttle.  The Lord had other plans.

Woke up Friday morning and everything was great.  Erin was still doing good.  She was getting very tired of laying around, but knowing it is necessary she was able to fight though it.  I was in rare form this day.  In the best mood I've been in since this started.  I was making Erin laugh, playing with the kids.  It really felt like everything was back to normal.  It was good to have a day to get back to "normal".  We just keep telling ourselves, take it day by day & if we can make it to Monday morning things would be looking great!

Saturday, I decided to take Faith and Ben to the store to get Faith her school supplies.  My little girl starts Kindergarten a week from Monday!  Is it a blessing that she'll be in school?  I guess we'll find out in a week.  Taking Faith to get her first school supplies is obviously something a mother wants to do with her daughter.  Erin got pretty emotional as we were leaving.  Faith didn't make it any easier saying, "I want mommy to come."  Understandable.  I told Erin that it was no big deal, as I would have wanted to take Ben to get his stuff anyway.  So, we decided to "trade".  I'd take Faith this year, and she'll take Ben next year.  It was a very bitter sweet moment.

We got to the store, and why Faith wanted mommy to come was more understandable that ever!  Do you remember the scene in Mr. Mom where Michael Keaton is asking the deli lady for deli meat?  She lists out about 10 different choices, and the ladies behind him are groaning and yelling at him.  That was me Saturday trying to get school supplies!  It started off pretty easy:  12 number 2 pencils.  Bam!  Got it!  But when I got to (and I'm not kidding this is on the list) "1 Mead Marble Composition with story paper, red baseline 100 ct." I lost it!  I literally just started laughing.  It's either laugh or cry right?  Thankfully, an angel from the Lord disguised as an old lady working at Wal-Mart, helped me find all but one item. 

So here we are.  A week later!  Praise God!  After hearing that the doctor was "shocked" that Erin hasn't gone into labor yet on Thursday and to be here on Saturday is nothing but a miracle.  We are going through this for a reason.  God had this planned out long ago.  He has given me a peace that is beyond human understanding, and I look forward to taking this journey with all of you.