Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Better Day



Jimmie has had a good day. His blood gasses have been good all day. He did have some de-stats or bradys after he ate. He had one dose of lasix (diuretic) and they haven't x-rayed his lungs again to see if that took care of the fluid. Rach said they probably won't unless he exhibits symptoms that cause them to.

They didn't try him on the low flow today. Rach wasn't sure when they would do that again. My impression was that his day on the low flow really wore him out and caused that bit of fluid in his lungs so they were wanting him to recover before pushing him like that again. His nurse this weekend found a way to position the high flow apparatus so that it is not putting as much pressure on his nose. Rachael was happy about that. She told me she was going to make sure his other nurses knew the details on that.

His sodium levels were better, but still low this morning when they checked so pray for that to get to where it needs to be.

He weighed in at 1 pound 11 ounces today! Yeah!!! That is the direction we need him to keep moving.

Also he had what Rachael called a "medium poopy" in the night. That's good. They are watching his bowel very closely as they do with all preemies like Jimmie. He is obviously not supposed to have to be digesting anything at this point. I think a baby's digestive systems are believed to be ready by 36 weeks! So Jimmie's is having to work waaaaay before then. So keep praying for that as well.

Rachael said she got some great pictures of Justin and Jimmie today. I get to go visit Jimmie for the first time since the night he was born tomorrow! I'm so excited!!! I'll bring back the pictures Rach took today and hopefully post them tomorrow evening!

Thank you all for your prayers, They are precious to us!

Love,
Amber

Friday, February 27, 2009

Okay Day

Jimmie has been okay the rest of the day. His skin and his blood gasses have improved on the high flow. He's been digesting full feedings and he's pooped today on his own.

They x-rayed his lungs and said they are a little hazy. They think from his time on the low flow cannula. They took his white blood cell count and it's normal. They are giving him a diuretic to clear the haze from his lungs. Pray this works quickly because the diuretic is not going to help his sodium issue. They are checking his electrolytes every morning. He has not really been gaining weight and the doctor suspects this is from the low sodium.

Rachael held him this afternoon. She said this morning he acted a little lethargic, but this afternoon he seemed better.

Maybe this morning he was worn out from trying so hard on the low flow cannula. They moved him on to that because of his nose, not neccesarrily because they thought he was totally ready. The doctor said they would probably try again, but switch him back and forth. To slowly build his strength for it and to give his nose a break.

So keep praying for his little body to stay healthy! Bowel, lungs and brain.

Strength of God, breath of life, holy health for baby Jimmie in Jesus' name!

Love,
Amber

Setback- Prayers Please

Rachael asked me to post this morning's update so people checking can pray for specifics throughout the day. Jimmie has had a little setback. His skin was kind of mottled and his blood gasses were low this morning. So they've put him back on the high flow nasal cannula- the one that's hurting his nose. )-:

His belly is a bit distended again so they did an x-ray of his abdomen. They didn't see anything alarming so that's good, but his nurse just didn't have a great feeling about how he was doing this morning.

Also they found out kind of by accident that his sodium levels are low. They are going to add something to Rachael's milk to try to help with that.

Rach said Jimmie having a bit of trouble was kind of the icing on the cake (bad cake) this morning in the NICU. Two other babies have had a VERY bad morning (1 coded and 1 is having brain issues) and the nurses were kind of down. Like-- oh no-- not Jimmie, he's been our mainstay- kind of sentiment. I think though-- that Jimmie's setback is hopefully just a small bump in what has been an amazing totally forward moving journey so far.

So pray for Jimmie that his bowel stays healthy and works well and that his nose is protected while he's on the high flow and that he can quickly move back to the low flow. Pray that his sodium issue is fixed. And just for his overall health and strength.

Also as you pray for Rachael and Justin pray for the NICU in general as well (Those two babes I mentioned). For everyones spirits. Pray for them to think positively and have hope. And pray for the medical staff for their discernment and wisdom. Being in the NICU day in and day out is really hard on the parents- of course, but even the medical staff.

We love you Jimmie. Stay strong little man!!

Since I'm sure you all enjoyed that video I'll post another one. (-:

video

This is a battle-- lets ramp up our efforts! Pray without ceasing!

Thank you so much!

Love,
Amber

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jimmie Live Action

So we have a treat for you all tonight. My dad has been taking video clips of our little man. The one below features him opening his eyes and yawning. You can also hear him making little noises. (-: I hope everyone's computer lets them watch it. That is the nurses hands and my dad's voice.

video

Rachael went home to Odessa this morning for the first time since this whole thing started (Jan. 12th). She went home to drop stuff off and pack some things for the next few months they will be staying near the hospital. Justin went with her. I'm sure it was good to be home for just a few hours, but the day they get to take Jimmie home will be so amazing.

Rachael called this morning and said after Jimmie's early morning feeding they found 5cc's left in his belly. So they only gave him half of his next feeding. She's a bit worried about this. He really needs to tolerate his feedings at this point so he can gain weight. That's his whole job right now is to eat, poop and grow. Pray for these things. With the evenings update the news on this is much better. He had a full feeding around the noon hour and digested it all. And his belly looks better. It was a bit distended yesterday. Rachael said he is having a better day for sure! She held him for 2 hours this afternoon.

He has been moved to the low flow nasal cannula and is like at 40% to 50% oxygen. So what a trooper! After they ween his flow down on this- the next step is- NOTHING, no support at all! It may take quite a bit longer for that to happen though. In fact a lot of babies born as early as Jimmie go home on oxygen. We'll see . . . (-: This cannula will hopefully be more comfortable for his little nose.

I heard two neat stories today related to NICU nurses talking about our Jimmie.

A mom to one of my little ballet students told me today they know someone with a baby in the NICU at Overland Park Regional and they found out this baby's nurse was talking on and on about this little 25 weeker boy and how awesome he was doing. They suddenly realized that nurse was talking about Jimmie! (-: So awesome!

And mom told me today one of Jimmie's nurses is pregnant and mom asked her some questions regarding that. She shared with mom it was her first pregnancy and that after working in the NICU it was really scary to get pregnant- knowing and seeing so much. She said sometimes she feels so sad and discouraged about what these babies go through. Then she said that taking care of Jimmie and seeing how amazing he is doing has really lifted her heart and given her new hope! It's amazing to me how God's love and power is manifesting through such a tiny little boy and touching so many people.

We are so grateful for your support and prayers!

Love,
Amber

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Small Troubles

Dad was trying to get pictures of Jimmie's eyes open today and while he was doing that the nurse said-- why don't you stick your hand in there so you can see how small he is in the picture. This was a surprising to dad because nobody is supposed to touch/put their hands in Jimmie's isolette except Rachael and Justin. He was glad to do this though and Jimmie grabbed his finger! Mom is jealous! (-: Probably Rod and Kathy are too. (-: What a precious picture though. You can see his eyes are open!



Rachael feels that Jimmie had a bit of a rough day. He was not finding a happy place with his oxygen- this morning and afternoon. He kept having high stats so they turned it down from 40% and at one point he was at 28%, but seemed to just be a bit unstable in both directions.

His nasal cannula is pushing up on his septum in his nose and it looks kind of red and irritated. His nurse was not happy about that. She turned his flow down from 2 liters a minute to 1 and a 1/2 and said if they can keep him stable there-- they might try him on the other low flow nasal cannula because it's a bit different in shape and may be better for his nose. She also tried to tape it in a way that might help, but Rach says it still looks uncomfortable.

He needed to have a bowel movement all day. Rach said you could see a bit of a buldge in his bowel. It's not hard or anything, but it does need to clear out. That could be why he was acting uncomfortable.

So tonight when they fed him he stats dropped too low and the nurse had to pretty much keep up constant stimulation to keep his heart rate up to an acceptable level. She ended up deciding he really just needed to have that bowel movement and somehow (I can't recall how) caused him to have one. That definitely seemed to help and he seemed to be doing better when Rachael left the hospital this evening. The nurse is hoping he'll have another big poopy on his own tonight. Lets pray for that because they seem to think that's most likely why he was a bit uncomfortable and unsettled today.

Justin held him this morning, but Rachael's intuition was this afternoon he just needed to really take it easy. So she didn't hold him.

So this day was not given a "bad day" label by the nurses. But Rachael just felt it was for Jimmie. We are grateful that so far this is a bad day because-- it's not really that bad, compared to what some little ones like him go through.

Just keep praying . . . Pray that his bowel moves well and stays healthy, that his nose heals and feels better, that he can move to the other cannula. Pray his heart and lungs continue to grow to be strong and healthy. And pray that his brain stays safe.

Thank you- all of our prayer warriors!

Love,
Amber

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Open Eyes

Jimmie opened his eyes today! Both of them!! Rachael said it's really fun and different to see him with them open. He doesn't leave them open for long so she didn't get a picture, but we will . . .

He's gained another ounce. He is now 1 pound 10 ounces. He still looks so very very tiny. The few who have been in to see him have said one consistent thing. He is so much smaller than he looks in the pictures. It's pretty shocking. It's hard to really have a good point of reference in the pictures. I think you get flashes of how small he may be, but it doesn't come close to the reality.

Keep praying for his Brady moments after his feedings to go away. He actually did a lot better with that today. Rachael was grateful and said to keep praying about it.

Otherwise not much new news! I'll try to get some pictures up with him of his eyes open soon! And we really liked the idea (Allison) of taking his picture next to his puppy every month!

Rachael is doing a lot better lactation wise!! Yeah!

Thank you for your powerful prayers!

Love,
Amber

Monday, February 23, 2009

More Miracles

Jimmie has grown an inch and a quarter. He is now 13 and 1/4 inches long and his head circumference grew too. (I can't remember what measurement Rach told me)

The pic line is out and he is now receiving all of his nourishment from Rachael's milk down a tube into his belly.

The newest miracle- Rachael was told today that Jimmie is pretty much out of the woods for that heart murmur (PDA). Nobody has heard anything suspicious and he has no signs or symptoms. So once again Jimmie is extremely rare in a really great way. They told Rach if his body were to be really stressed by an infection or some other way he was still at risk for it popping open, but so far so very good! The nurse today called him a rockstar. Rachael said, " I feel really blessed!" And the nurse exclaimed, "YOU SHOULD!" (-:

Mom said while she was there today one side of Jimmie's nasal cannula slipped out of his nose. His alarms went off, but his stats really didn't drop that much. What a strong little man.

Rachael said he's still having bradys after he eats. The nurses keep telling her this is so typical. But it's still bugging her. Rach expressed it's probably because she's spoiled with how atypical he is.

The fun news of the day is ONE of Jimmie's eyes is trying to open. LOL! It's open like a slit. He's going to look like a pirate.

Keep praying, we are so thankful for these miracles!

Love,
Amber

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Keep Going Little Man

Jimmie gained an ounce! 1 pound 9 ounces now. Keep going little man!

Rachael said he's having a few more bradys (Brachycardia) recently. This is when his heart rate drops below 80 beats a minute. Most of the time Jimmie brings it right back up on his own, but today he had one that Rach said seemed longer and a nurse had to come in and help him bring it back up. They are saying this is pretty normal. He is getting a full belly now with his feedings and it seems to happen after that. They told Rach his belly can push up on his diaphragm/lungs a bit and cause his heart rate to drop. Anyway-- it's a little scary when this happens and- of course, we'd rather it didn't. So lets keep praying for Jimmie's heart and lungs to become totally strong and healthy.

They are going to take the pic line out tomorrow. This is good news because it means they feel he's not going to need it! And as Rachael says, "One less wire."

Rachael is holding him everyday. She says they have to be careful though because he can really only take one stimulation at time. Like if she's holding him it needs stay really calm and quiet in his room. He often gets the hiccups when he's overstimulated. (-:

Keep praying for Jimmie- he has such a long way to go . . .

Love,
Amber

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jimmie's Voice




Above- Jimmie hanging out with his Rottweiler puppy given to him by his Great Aunt Suzy. (-:

Jimmie is now up to 10ml which they are now saying is a full feeding as long as he has the pic line in and is receiving a little bit of i.v. nourishment. And they have to keep a little bit going through the pic line if they want to keep it usable. Rachael said they were not quite ready to take it out yet. That's understandable-- they had to sedate him to get it in and they were very happy with it's placement So they will keep it in for a little while yet just in case he ends up needing it and he'll stop at 10ml for the time being. He's done a really great job tolerating his feedings!

Rachael said he's becoming pretty vocal. He lets everybody know when he's poopy. He hates it! He starts squirming around and fussing. He gets all worked up and his sat (oxygen saturation) levels decrease because he's kicking and moving and messing up the readings. LOL! The nurses continue to exclaim about his voice. Rachael says he sounds like a squeaky door. (-:

He is getting stronger. He can now turn his head from side to side and twist around his body a bit. Go Jimmie go!

They turned the pressure down in his cannula from 2 and 1/2 liters per minute to 2 liters a minute. Consequently they had to turn his oxygen up a bit, but he's doing well!

Some of us in the family have read some blogs on the internet about babies born around the same time as Jimmie. It is really drastic and startling to compare how well Jimmie is doing. It is really miraculous.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers!

Love,
Amber

P.S. I was just now told I've been spelling Justin's mom's name wrong. It's "Kathy"! With a "K" not a "C". How embarrasing. I should have known. Somebody should have told me!! (-:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Baby Boot Camp

Rachael is feeling a bit better this evening. We are praying for her lactation to even out so she's not in as much pain and exhausted from having to pump so much. This seems to be improving some. Moms- you all know the exhausting marathon that first 6 weeks is- after you have a baby. David and I call it "baby boot camp". Well Rachael and Justin are going through "special forces baby boot camp." (-:

You have all of the normal overwhelming factors plus having lost a lot of muscle on bedrest, not living at home and the emotional and physical roller coaster ride of the having a baby in the NICU. Thankfully things are going really well for Jimmie because this is a huge boost for Rachael and Justin.

Jimmie's digestion seems to be back on track. He's pooping well-- which is really good news! He's now at 8ml a feeding. A full feeding will be 12ml. They had been adding lipids (fats) to his i.v. but they've discontinued that. And the exciting news of the day is he's back up to his birth weight of 690 grams or about 1 1/2 pounds. So now lets pray for him to start gaining weight. When he hits the 2 pound mark that will be a good milestone for his health.

Rachael and my mom both said his skin looked different/better today. Not quite as red a little more pink like a normal newborn. And Rachael says it looks to her like he's really wanting/trying to open his eyes, but it's just not happening for him yet. It will . . .

He's also still doing well on the high flow nasal cannula. I think it's set at like 30%. They've been slowly adjusting that downward and Rachael said the next big step in his respiration would be to go to a normal (flow) nasal cannula. It is just so miraculously rare that a preemie like Jimmie not be on a vent or cpap! We are just so thankful.

Grandma Cathy (Justin's mom) was finally cleared to go into the NICU yesterday. Yeeeeah!!! We are very thankful for that.

Keep on keeping on Jimmie! You are doing so good! We love you little man.

Keep praying for more miracles!

Love,
Amber

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Daddy And His Superstar



Daddy got his turn today. Justin held Jimmie for the first time this morning for 2 hours. Daddy and baby were very happy about it. They had to put Jimmie back in his isolette for a feeding. When they put him down he was all squirmy and started making little fussy sounds. Perhaps he wanted to stay with Daddy? (-: His nurse made the comment then that she’s not use to a little one like Jimmie having a voice. I thought that was so powerful. Jimmie has a voice! Most in his situation do not. This brings tears to my eyes.

Below- Justin and Jimmie sleeping! (-:





This is part of an email my mom sent me:

“I spent about 5 hours in the nicu today. Jimmie's nurse had a student shadowing her today. So I got to hear the nurse wax eloquent on how well he is doing. She said this is a very atypical 25 weeker. Normally, he would be on a vent or at least the cpap. She also mentioned how hardy his skin is. She would question his gestation except for the fact that his eyes are fused shut. She said he was a super star, for sure! Rachael asked, "Well was he acting more like a 28 weeker, then?" And the nurse said yes, you could say that! I just love hearing stuff like that!!!! They turned down the pressure today on his air flow. Still doing great.

As far as the feedings go, Rach asked for prayer for little Jimmie. He had a little residual in his tummy this afternoon, so the next increase didn't happen, but they didn't decrease it either.

As far as Rachael goes, she could use prayer concerning lactational issues. Most moms will know what I mean! She is very sore, engorged, etc...The pump is merciless. “

Love,
Mom (Andrea)


My mom had a dream last night Jimmie opened his eyes. We are all excited for that day. We can’t wait to see what he looks like with his eyes open and for him to start seeing his family’s faces. They tell us the timing on that is not predictable.

So far there is no sign that the PDA valve (Patent ductus arteriosus) in Jimmie’s heart is a problem. No sounds, no symptoms that it is stuck open. This is a good sign. I’m not sure when we’ll know for sure, but it’s certainly looking good. The doctors told Rachael and Justin it is very rare this is not a problem, but we are already seeing that Jimmie is very rare in miraculous wonderful ways!

Dr. Ridgeway said the testing on the placental tissue could take up to 10 days and I’m not sure when they sent it in. But I thinking we should hear about that soon.

As always- thank you so much for your prayers!

Love,
Amber

P.S. Just thought I'd add that Rachael is totally sure about her dates concerning Jimmie's gestational age. In fact he's actually a couple of days younger than the pregnancy wheel the doctor's use put him. In other words he was actually born more at 24 and 1/2 weeks than one day before 25 weeks. (-: The way he's acting is truly miraculous!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In Mommy's Arms (Miracles)



So Justin went back to work today for the first time since Jimmie was born. He’s 1 week old today! And today Rachael got to hold him. As they situated him on her he got the hiccups and was making a little squeaky noise and Rachael started laughing. So she took him into her arms the first time laughing. This is so beautiful to us! Considering how emotional this whole situation is we don’t want Jimmie to get the wrong idea that we are sad that he’s here. She held him for an hour and a half. Jimmie was very comfortable and peaceful the whole time. She had to put him back for a feeding.



We are involved with and witnessing a miracle here and all of you- our prayer warriors have had a part. Jimmie has the medical staff in awe. He is off CPAP and now just has a high flow nasal cannula providing him some oxygen. I couldn’t believe this when my mom told me and had to wait to hear it from Rachael. Unbelievable!!! They are continuing to bump his feedings up. They need to get him to 12ml at a time. He’s on his way! He goes up 1ml every 12 hours. Right now he’s at 5ml. Rachael got to change a nice big poopy diaper today. Woooohoooo! (-:




He is still struggling a little to gain weight so pray for that. He’s not back up to his birth weight yet. It’ll be great once he can get there and then beyond.

The placing of the new pic line went really well yesterday. The doctor was very happy with it.

Keep praying for the strength and health of his heart and brain and lungs and his entire body.



I am just overcome with joy at how well our little man is doing! Keep praying everybody!!!! I’m excited to see all the ways he’s going to continue to be exceptional!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Love,
Amber

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Meet James Douglas Gravitt

Jimmie is still doing really well on the cpap. Rachael said they leave the vent machine in the room with the babies for a while just in case and that they moved Jimmie's out of his room earlier! (-: She's taking that to mean they don't think he's gonna need it. I posted some pictures below and the second one shows the cpap machine coming from his nose. The first and last show him still on the vent.

They did another scan of his brain yesterday. It was negative for brain bleeds again so that is wonderful! Keep praying for that!

The pic line he has in right now is a special one in his umbilical artery. Those need to be removed after about 7 days so this evening they will sedate Jimmie and do a small surgical procedure to remove the umbilical one and put in a more permanent one in his shoulder or leg. This line is where he receives meds and i.v. type nourishment. He isn't able to take enough of Rachael's breast milk yet to give him everything he needs. Pray that Jimmie stays safe and that this procedure goes well. By the way-- correction on his feedings-- Rach told me that they are still feeding him her breast milk in the feeding tube every 3 hours, but they bumped it up to 2ml.

While Jimmie has had the umbilical pic line in he's only had to receive 1 blood transfusion. He's not losing blood on his own, but actually because they have to take so much from him to monitor and test how he is doing so they can best treat him and keep him as safe and healthy as possible. They had a special machine that could take his blood out through the umbilical artery, test it and then return it to Jimmie's body. With a regular pic line this won't be possible so now he'll need more transfusions.

However the upside to this is that once the umbilical line is out Rachael and Justin will be able to actually hold him!!! Rachael is hoping to hold him for the first time tomorrow- he'll be 1 week old then!

The nurse has told Rachael that Jimmie has really great muscle tone for his gestational age. She said most 24 weekers can't do things like bend their elbow. Rachael says Jimmie moves a lot!! They also have told Rachael that girls tend to do better with prematurity than boys do. The nurse said Jimmie is off the charts for how well he's doing as a boy, that he's acting like a girl. I think this is probably the only instance that Justin would tolerate or be happy about someone saying his son is acting like a girl! LOL! (-:

For the first few days they had the humidity in Jimmie's isolette up really high to protect Jimmie's very fragile skin. Mom said that Justin was calling it Jimmie's jungle and that Jimmie was King of the jungle. (-: Mom says Justin gives Jimmie little pep talks like, "alright now son-- buck up, come on now!! " (-: I'm quite sure Jimmie takes after his daddy with his strong fighting spirit. And I'm sure it urges him on when daddy encourages him! You are so awesome Jimmie!

I have not heard anything new about if the PDA duct in his heart is a problem nor about results of the testing for infection on the placental tissue and the culturing of Jimmie's blood. I'll post about that information when I know more.

Enjoy meeting/seeing James Douglas Gravitt our tiny little fighter.

Below- this first picture uncle Eric took about 3 hours after he was born.


Below-Jimmie's little hand holding Justin's index finger.



Below- This is yesterday- going from the vent to cpap. Those are his nurse's hands.


Below- Jimmie the bandit. He was under the bili-light again yesterday for a while so he had to wear his mask.

Monday, February 16, 2009

CPAP- Go Jimmie Go

Jimmie is now on CPAP and doing really well. Mom says it looks so huge in his little tiny nose. His nurse is very happy with how he's doing. His blood gases haves actually looked better then when he was on the vent. He is still receiving the caffeine therapy and seems to be tolerating that just fine.

There was a few short minutes after he was removed from the vent and before they got him hooked up to the CPAP where his face was clear of tubes and wires and Rachael got to take pictures of him. I will be working on getting some pics transfered to my computer so I can post them.

Now you can hear his tiny voice when he cries. The nurse is encouraging Rachael and Justin to touch him a lot to calm him down and it really works. He'll be moving and all worked up and when they touch him and talk quietly to him he calms down.

They have now bumped his feedings to every two hours because he's handling them very well. He is losing weight-- which is expected, but just pray for him to start gaining soon. He was so tiny to start with we don't want him losing much.

They have told Rachael and Justin not to be surprised if he gets tired and has to go back on the vent to rest. We don't want him to have to work too hard so they will be watching him very closely.

Breath of life for baby Jimmie! Praise God. We are so very proud of you Jimmie. You are doing so good.

Love,
Amber

Extubation

Rachael called and said she really wanted everyone to pray because they were going to try taking Jimmie off the ventilator later this afternoon. Now this is really great because it means he is doing so well, but it also scary. They've warned her there could be drops on his heart rate and respiration (apnea episodes)where they would have to stimulate him to improve it. One of the ways is with caffeine. You can read an article about that at this link: (Um Dave's gonna have to help me link this later, but it's an article through Washington Post titled- "Caffeine Therapy Boosts Preemies' Outcomes".)

So far Jimmie has been so stable they really have not had any scary moments so Rachael and Justin are nervous. He will be having some sort of nasal cannula, but Rachael wasn't exactly sure what. Maybe the cpap, but they had been saying he was a bit small for that. So anyway-- later when I have more information. I'll post again.

Just pray for Jimmie today to be brave and strong and that his heart rate and respiration would remain stable. It's not uncommon for them to try this and then have to re-intubate and use the ventilator again. We'd love for Jimmie to go off and stay off-- of course!!!

Thank you for praying!

Love,
Amber

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jimmie The Fighter

So this little tiny boy is really strong. Rachael called me a little bit ago. She said he was having a good day. His white blood cell count was lower again, he's on room air, his blood gasses look good, he's breathing over the vent and they've bumped his feedings to every 3 hours. The nurse practitioner in the NICU told her that he would -for sure- be off the vent and on cpap if he were bigger. WOW go Jimmie go! We are so proud of you. He has a really long road ahead of him with lots of battles, but he is really doing well to start.

So keep those prayers coming. For Rachael too- she is really struggling physically. After a month of extreme hospital bedrest, labor and delivery and pumping every 3 hours. The trips back and forth to the NICU and even the walk from Jimmie's room to the NICU parents room where she can get a snack and a drink is totally too much for her. She's exhausted by just sitting up. She feels like she's doing the absolute minimum as Jimmie's mother and that is even too much. She needs wisdom and grace to take care of herself and maybe not be in the NICU as much, but that is really hard.

Father help Rachael to recover physically from every thing she's been through quickly- so she can fall into a comfortable routine with Jimmie and Justin. Be with Jimmie- Lord- build his strength, make him healthy, protect every part of his body. Thank you for your blessings already in his progress. Amen!

My kids- Cole and McKenna now pray out loud with me- Strength of God, Holy health, breath of Life for baby Jimmie in Jesus name- SO BE IT! (-:

We are so very grateful for your prayers. I have had so many people tell me how much they are praying, even up in the night interceding for Jimmie and Rachael and Justin. Family and friends- of course, but even friends from our past and acquaintances, our ballet students and their families, Rachael and Justin's church and many other churches. Also the people we don't know that have found this blog in various ways from all around the states and even all around the world. We are so humbled and blessed by you all. God is shining through your love and prayers. Thank you.

Love,
Amber

Practical Details

Jimmie had another good day yesterday. His blood gasses were looking better and he was starting to work on taking more breaths again in the afternoon. He is tolerating his feedings well and is receiving them every 6 hours. They have been able to turn him on his side and stomach some to help him better digest the milk.

The NICU has warned us there will be many ups and downs that we need to be prepared for- good days and bad days. Well so far the 3 days since Jimmie was born have all been good days! Praise God! Justin has said that the first bad day Jimmie has will be the worst day of his life. Pray for Rachael and Justin to be able to live in the moment rejoicing the good and to be able to have grace and peace for days when it’s more of a struggle. I think/hope the fact that Jimmie has done so well at the outset is pretty promising for his overall prognosis. We have been told there can be a so called “honeymoon period” where the babies do better at first and then struggle a bit . . . We’ll see . . . I have so much hope that Jimmie’s gonna blow everybody away with how well he does!

Some other things for you all to pray about. The NICU has very strict policies about visitors you have to wash for 3 minutes, fill out papers etc… They are very concerned about MRSA- (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). This is a bacteria that is called a "super bug" because the associated infections are resistant to many common antibiotics. Because Justin is a health care worker/firefighter he had to be tested. I believe he got to touch Jimmie with his bare hand for the first time yesterday because- thankfully- his test came back negative. It’s been hard because he has had to wear gloves and a gown whenever he is in the NICU. Grandpa Rod (Justin’s dad) is also a firefighter and has to be tested. Grandma Cathy (Justin’s mom) had MRSA last year and is still waiting on the results of her test and in the meantime is not allowed in the NICU. There is some conflicting information about what happens if her test is positive. She had it not too long ago and was successfully treated, but sometimes having had it can cause you to test positive. Anyway-- as you can imagine it is heart breaking for Cathy to not get to visit Jimmie so pray all of those details are worked out positively and quickly.

Rachael and Justin were allowed to pick 4 people who can go in the NICU anytime day or night without them present to be with Jimmie. They picked the Grandparents- Rod and Cathy- Jay and Andrea. So just pray for them along with Rachael and Justin to stay healthy and strong and full of grace.

As far as other visitors. I think the policy is one at time and Rachael or Justin has to be present. Of course absolutely no one with any type of flu or cold symptom should go in the NICU. And children under 14 years old are never allowed unless they are siblings of the baby. So my kids will not get to meet their cousin until he comes home. I have not gotten to see Jimmie since the night he was born because I’m sick.

I do not believe Rachael and Justin are in the state to widely accept and escort visitors to see their son right now. They are both overwhelmed and exhausted. I’m sure you all- close family and friends- understand. We are working on getting some pictures of sweet Jimmie and as soon as I can- I will post them. Justin is thrilled with his son. Jimmie looks just like him.

There are all of the details of normal life that don’t stop. Finances, insurance issues, Justin’s 24 hour shifts at work etc… The paper work and details and money that go along with this kind of situation- a month of hospital bedrest, emergency surgical procedure on Rachael and a long stay in the NICU is beyond overwhelming. I don’t know specifics I just know it all has to be worked out.

I will try and post another update sometime this evening about Jimmie’s day and how he’s doing.

Thank you for your powerful prayers! Jimmie and his family really need them!

Love,
Amber

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"For You Are With Me..."

I will probably eventually fall into a rhythm with these updates like I did before, but right now there is so much going on that it’s hard. I may post again later with Rachael’s evening update or I may just add that to tomorrow.

Yesterday evening Rachael called with an update. She said that Jimmie’s brain scan went well--his brain looks good! He had successfully digested her breast milk so they gave him a second feeding. The ventilator had slipped so they positioned it in a better spot and his blood gasses were looking better. And his white blood cell count had gone down a bit!

Okay-- wow! That is a good update.

This morning she said that he still had a little of the 2nd feeding in his tummy, but they went ahead and gave him a little more. She said pray for his digestion and bowel because that is extremely critical for his health.

His blood gasses got bad again and again they had to x-ray his chest and re-adjust the position of the ventilator. Pray that it will stay in place because that is annoying. The ventilator is taking more breaths for him last night and this morning. His nurse said he’s tired out. Pray he gets good rest and can start fighting hard again to build up those tiny muscles.

Rachael was discharged from the hospital yesterday. That was extremely difficult. I don’t think I can adequately describe what she is going through emotionally. She is leaning heavily on Him and God is faithful. She and Justin will be staying with a family member who lives 15 minutes or so from the hospital. Pray for them. They are exhausted and they need to stay healthy. Justin has been a big support and help to Rachael- getting up in the night to help her with the pump and all of the details that go with that process of supplying Jimmie with milk. Yesterday Rachael stepped outside for the first time in over a month. My mom stayed with Jimmie in the NICU and Justin took Rachael to dinner.

It is hard to see Jimmie so tiny with all of the tubes and wires hooked to him. Rachael said she can tell when he’s agitated and he tries to cry, but with the ventilator in he makes no sounds. It’s all about a fine balance right now. She wants to touch him and talk to him, but he can easily be over stimulated and then doesn’t rest well. So they are learning to intuit what he needs and when. She said one time he was having trouble and obviously agitated so the nurse said , “here try putting your hands on him.” Rachael did and it helped a lot. She sings and reads and prays out loud while she’s with him And there is also just a lot of “peace be still” time as well. My mom says he has his hands up by his face a lot and she’s sure he would be sucking on them if he could. She says she thinks she might be seeing his tiny mouth trying to make those motions even with the ventilator tubes in the way. Rachael told me yesterday she can just see that he is trying so hard. It hurts . . . Keep fighting Jimmie you are so brave and strong! Pray that God is with Jimmie in a way that is above and beyond our comprehension. Mom recites the 23rd Psalms for him and us.

“The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Love,
Amber

Friday, February 13, 2009

Overwhelming Information- Jimmie Is Stable

Okay everybody this is long and a lot of information. Hopefully once we are all educated and up to speed on everything Jimmie will be going through the posts will be less overwhelming.

Jimmie’s Respiratory Therapist (and everyone else) is very impressed with his lungs. Really the main reason he’s on the ventilator is because his chest muscles are not quite strong enough to work his lungs. But they have been continuing to adjust his ventilator settings in a good direction! Jimmie is taking more and more breaths on his own and is mostly on room air. What a fighter! I know everything we did medical (steroids) natural (TKM) and spiritual (prayer) has contributed to this miracle. He did have a small set back today- his blood gases (amount of oxygen in his blood) came back low so they’ve given him some oxygen and x-rayed his chest to see if the ventilator had maybe slipped and wasn’t in a great position. I haven’t heard an update on that, but we are hoping that’s all it is. They told Rachael if he wasn’t so tiny he’d probably be on cpap (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) now instead of the vent. He’s just still too small for the nasal cannula that goes with that machine.

Jimmie’s lungs look great and clear on the x-rays so we know this infection he is fighting is not in his lungs. The second white blood cell count they did on him came back even higher than the first one. So it is clear that there is infection somewhere. They are culturing his blood and doing testing on the placental and amniotic tissue to see if they can find more signs of infection. From what I understand if they can get some answers from these things they may be able to treat him more specifically and effectively. He is on antibiotics. It is quite possible that this infection was the reason she went into labor on Wednesday. And despite our desperation for Jimmie to stay inside of momma it may very well be that he is better off outside then in. Rachael’s body delivering him may have saved his life. This is conjecture at this point. But it hits me that what may seem like a bad thing may not be and that we can praise and trust God even when we don’t understand.

Please pray very hard that Jimmie’s body can fight off this infection and become healthy. And pray for the amazing nurses and doctors in the NICU as they take care of little Jimmie. And they truly are amazing. My mom has been spending a lot of time in NICU with Jimmie whenever Rachael and Justin need a break. She said that yesterday Jimmie’s nurse never sat down. She worked over him with focus and concentration the whole time. And whenever she did leave it was 30 minutes for lunch and a 15 minute break later. She would tell my mom, “Now I’m going to be gone for 15 minutes, but I’ll be right back and everybody else here will be watching him and his monitors closely.” Mom said that the magnitude of things they are doing to him and for him is really hard to keep up with. I’m sure we will learn, but right now what the doctors and nurses know is so much more than us that it’s hard to write details and I’m sure what I’m communicating here is a very simple and small picture.

Jimmie is under a light right now to break down his bilirubin (jaundice). This will help his liver function as it should. He is so small and premature that his eyes are still fused shut, but they are protecting them from the light with a little black mask. Mom says he looks like a little bandit or raccoon. (-: (I wrote this earlier and just found out he is already off the light. His bilirubin levels are better!)

Rachael is pumping her breast milk and this morning they heard bowel sounds so Jimmie got his first little bit of breast milk (colostrum) in a feeding tube that goes down his throat.

They are going to do some sort of scan on his brain today. One of the dangers of being this premature is brain bleeds and stroke. I hate talking about this, but it all has to be faced and prayed for. I believe after three days the risk goes down and then it continues to go down in increments- 2 to 4 weeks and then 4 to 6 weeks. Pray that his brain stays safe and healthy!

One other thing they are doing some tests to determine about a PDA (Patent ductus arteriosus)valve in the heart that doesn’t close on it’s own in preemies. It’s extremely common almost expected. They would try to give him an ibuprofen like drug to shrink the blood vessels so that it closes, but this does carry risks as all of his blood vessels would shrink a bit and could cause a few setbacks. But the only other alternative and their last resort is surgery. They said it’s very rare that this PDA valve is not an issue. Lets pray that Jimmie is very rare and this valve closes on it’s own.

The dangers to Jimmie are overwhelming and the seriousness of this situation cannot be overstated. Jimmie’s nurse asked Rachael yesterday when her due date was and Rachael told her end of May. Then the nurse said, “May will be a wonderful time to bring a baby home!” This was such a encouraging thing for Rachael to hear. This is very scary and she and Justin need hope for a miraculous outcome.

We are so grateful for your prayers! All things considered Jimmie is doing well and is a fighter. Praise God!!! We will all keep believing in miracles for this little boy.

Love,
Amber

P.S. Jimmie is 12 inches long.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jimmie's Birthday

Rachael had been having a worrisome increase in cramping and contractions the past few days. In retrospect it was obviously the beginning of the end. After having painful contractions in the night they started back up around 12:00 noon yesterday every five minutes and never stopped. Despite what they said about not giving her drugs because of her blood pressure-- they ended up dumping as much Magnesium Sulfate into her as they do anybody. Her blood pressure remained stable. They started her back on the indomethacin, antibiotics, they put a catheter in so she wouldn’t have to get up. They did everything they could possibly do to stop her labor. When it became clear nothing was working they moved her to labor and delivery and when she started bleeding they cut the stitch out. After the stitch came out she was immediately dilated to 10 cent.

Mom (Andrea) and Justin were standing next to her and dad (Jay) Cathy (Justin’s mom) and I stood back in a corner. There were probably 8 to 10 medical staff present in the room half or more were for Jimmie. He came out in 3 pushes at 7:58 pm. His bag of water didn’t break until he was almost all the way out. So he was almost born in his bag of water. The doctor that delivered him was wonderful. He told Rachael I know part of you does not want to push and that you are scared, but this is inevitable and the best thing now is for him to be born. Rachael did not have any pain medication, had very painful back labor the whole time, but handled it all very well. Something we found frustrating was her contractions rarely showed on the monitors. She was in full on hard core labor and we were keeping track of the contractions with a piece of paper and a pencil for the doctors. We were praying until near the very end for it to stop, but when they had to cut the stitch. We knew we had to change our mindset and our prayers.

Jimmie made noises when he came out that sounded like a little baby kitten. His APGAR scores were 7 and 8. Term babies are usually like 8 and 9. APGAR stands for - Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration. It seemed like it took a long time to get him intubated. Justin said it looked like they may have tried twice before they were successful. I’m sure that it is very difficult with such a tiny airway. Jimmie would make a tiny little cry every once in a while which was both heartbreaking and reassuring. There were a lot of tears and prayers from all of us (family) in the room.

He weighed 1 pound 8 ounces. He is so incredibly tiny -- to see him is shocking and extremely overwhelming. He’s perfectly formed and beautiful. He is about the same size as his Angel sister Gracie Anne and his face definitely resembles hers. They brought him over to Rachael and she held him in her hands briefly, told him that she loved him and kissed him on the forehead before they took him to the NICU.

Last night they x-rayed his chest-- I don’t know their thoughts on those results. They performed a small surgical procedure and put a pic line in his umbilical chord/belly button. I believe this is their line in for meds. He was on 28% oxygen and on a ventilator that is breathing for him. They did some blood work and said his white blood cell count was high so they are putting him on antibiotics. This is distressing to us, but they said it’s not uncommon with preemies.

This morning- all I know is that he is now on room air and that they’ve adjusted the ventilator settings and he is taking some breaths on his own. Rachael can stick her hand into his isolette and hold his hand for 15 minutes at a time and then they have to shut him back in so he can maintain his body temperature.

The NICU has of course hit Rachael and Justin with the dangers of such a premature birth (we understand they have to do this)-- worse case scenarios that I do not feel like typing or talking about. We know of many good stories and outcomes and are believing in miracles for this little boy. Please just pray for him to stay strong and healthy in his entire body. This is going to be a very long road and we have been warned it’ll have many up’s and downs. They have told us to expect him to be there at least until his due date. (May 28th)

Now as to how Rachael is doing? I believe this will answer how Justin and the rest of us are doing as well. It is really hard for me to communicate but I’ll try and hopefully it’ll be close to the truth/reality. She is absolutely devastated and grateful. Yesterday was one of the worst and best days of her life. We were all hoping and believing for so much more time for baby Jimmie and it all happened so fast I think there is some shock. She is scared and hopeful. Most of all just completely overwhelmed beyond words. Many many tears . . . We don’t understand why this has happened to them. After what happened with their firstborn the pain is really intense about again not having the birth experience for your child that you hoped, prayed and dreamed for. We trust God though. We trust him to be with us in our pain and our joy. We are so grateful that she had the month that she did. We realize this could have happened 4 even 2 weeks ago and he wouldn’t have had the fighting chance that he has. And for that we praise God for helping her get this far.

I will now be using this blog for Jimmie and I will post daily updates for prayers for him. And as I said before my hope and prayer is that this will detail his beautiful journey to health. We thank you all so much for being our warriors.

Rachael begs that everyone please pray without ceasing for their precious little Jimmie. Pray for Rachael and Justin too-- they will need grace and strength to fight this new fight.

In Him. Love,
Amber

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

JIMMIE HAS ARRIVED

Amber just called me, and Jimmie has been born. He is in the NICU and his daddy is with him right now. The NICU team intubated him in the room, and right now he is on 30% oxygen, which is pretty darn good. The NICU staff said they would update in an hour or so.
When they went to take the stitch out of Rachael's cervix, she was fully dilated. She pushed a couple of times, and Jimmie was here! Please pray for the NICU staff, that God gives them wisdom to make the right decisions on how to care for Jimmie. And, pray for Jimmie, that his little lungs grow strong, and that he fights hard!
This little guy needs everyone's prayers right now.
No word on how much he weighed, they estimated about a pound and a half.
Please remember, that there IS hope for little Jimmie. There are many, many babies that make it with no long term effects. Let's pray that Jimmie is one of those "miracle babies".
As I hear anything else, I will let you know.
Jennette

IN LABOR

I just received a phone call from Amber. The doctors have been desperately trying everything they can to stop Rachael's labor. The magnesium sulfate was working for awhile, but Rachael's contractions picked back up again. She has now started bleeding so they are removing the stitch from her cervix. She is going to have Jimmie soon.
Please pray for the NICU staff and little Jimmie as he comes into this world. Pray that he be strong, and that God gives him power to fight. I know that our Father is watching over Rachael, Justin, and Jimmie. He is with them now, and we pray that they feel God's peace as this labor progresses.
Please call everyone or email everyone you know and ask them to pray for Jimmie. He will need all the prayers he can get once he is no longer in Rachael's womb.
Thank you everyone so very much for your support and prayers.
Love,
Jennette

URGENT! PLEASE PRAY FOR RACHAEL AND JIMMIE!

We just received a phone call that Rachael is going into labor. Her contractions are five minutes apart and the doctors are trying to stop the labor right now. Rachael's blood pressure is very low, so there is uncertainty that they can use a drug that would help to stop the labor. The stitch is still in her cervix right now, however, if labor cannot be stopped, then they will have to remove the stitch and she will have Jimmie. She is just a day shy of 25 weeks.

Amber is on her way to the hospital right now, and someone will be updating the blog as more information is found out.

Please PRAY PRAY PRAY, and tell everyone you know to pray as well. Pray that her labor stops!!!

Tiffany

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Some Reassuring News

Rachael hardly slept at all last night because she was having some contractions that were more apparent and worrisome to her. No more spotting though. She talked to the doctor about the contractions and he said they could put her back on the indomethacin- which is a drug that can help calm the uterus. She was on this drug the first week. As with any drug there are potential side-effects to her and the baby. He said the other drugs they generally use for pre-term labor-- like Magnesium Sulfate and Terbutaline- Rachael cannot have because her blood pressure is too low. This is a side effect of the extreme bed rest. She's holding off on the drug. Pray that she doesn't have to use that again.

The good news- however is these contractions have not had any visible effect to her cervix. They decided to do a trans-vaginal ultrasound today along with the Level 2 ultrasound on the baby. The doctor just wanted to check on things in light of the past few days of cramping, contractions and a bit of spotting. He said that the stitch looks the same-- which is good news and perhaps the most miraculous news is that her bag of water is not sitting right on top of the stitch. I take that to mean the funneling in her cervix has actually improved a bit! Praise God!

All good news about Jimmie as well. He is growing right on target. He is head down, but Rach said his feet go over his head and it looks like he's sucking on his toes! (-: They estimated that he weighs 1 pound 11 ounces. Her amniotic fluid level looks good as does the placenta and the blood flow through the chord.

She did take that wheel chair ride and the only side effect was she got really light headed and dizzy. Another sign of low blood pressure. The doctors have said she can sit up more often, but Rachael refuses to do that. She even eats lying flat. She's the mom with the intuition so no one is questioning her. When she has peace about sitting up-- she will.

The last few days have been stressful and emotional for Rachael so all of the good news this morning really lifted her spirits. It tells her that these worrisome symptoms she's had are not making her condition worse right now.

Thank you for your prayers-- they are working. Don't stop! (-:

Love,
Amber

Monday, February 9, 2009

Keep Baking Jimmie

Rachael had a small amount of spotting this morning and it really upset her. However it doesn't seem to have continued so she's feeling a bit better. Just keep praying because if Jimmie were to come out now it would be very dangerous. We are so happy that he is viable, but I think-- I've seen statistics for 24 weeks at 50/50. We do not want to hear those odds quoted at us. 28 weeks is a much better scenario. Most babies if born healthy at that gestation have very few long term effects and do pretty well.

Rachael has a level 2 ultrasound tomorrow to check on Jimmie's growth. She has to take a wheel chair ride. She does not sit up for any length of time-- so she didn't sound real happy about this. The nurse said that's just the way it is though. So I told her she might as well enjoy it then! (-:

Thank you for your prayers!! Jimmie needs to keep baking.

Love,
Amber

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jimmie The Genius

So today Dr. Finnley commented- just like the nurse-- about how great Jimmie looks on the monitors. He said, "He just does not look like a 24 weeker!" Rach asked, "What does he look like?" The doctor laughed and said, "Well-- at least a 25 weeker!" He went on to explain that usually 24 weekers look more like a straight line on the monitor and Jimmie has a lot of great accelerations (ups and downs). This is very encouraging to hear, it means Jimmie could be strong for his gestational age and given the situation that is a very good thing.

This reminds me a bit of my son Cole. I had some difficulties in my pregnancy with him and he was monitored from pretty early on quite frequently. The doctors always commented how great he looked. My water broke early at 35 weeks. He was born screaming. The NICU was in the room, but took one look at him and said he's fine! The two days we were at the hospital everybody kept commenting about how he did not act like a 35 weeker and that he could teach the 40 weekers a thing or two. (-:

So I think Jimmie is ahead of the game! He's in a special class for genius babies who are ahead of their age group in development! LOL! And hopefully Rachael can carry him until at least 35 weeks! That would be so miraculous!

Rachael slept a bit better last night and hasn't been as crampy today.

Thank you for those powerful prayers. Keep them coming . . . We have a long way to go.

Love,
Amber

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rest For The Weary

Well-- Rachael was really crampy this afternoon. And she did not sleep well again last night. By the time mom left the hospital this evening the cramping was under control. They did TKM, she drank a bunch of Hydralate and they warmed up a lavender pillow for her back. We are thinking she may have gotten a little dehydrated.

She's weary of that hospital room and on a gorgeous day like today it's even harder to remain so cooped up. I wish her window in her room could open to allow in some fresh air, but I don't think it can.

The lady next door to her had her twins a couple of days ago. She had a cerclage and had been there since before Christmas. The babies were born at 31 weeks. Rachael doesn't know any details other than that they are in the NICU. Rachael could hear their little heart beats everyday through the wall whenever their momma was on the monitors. She said she knew something was happening because there was a lot of commotion in the hall outside her door that day-- so she asked a nurse.

Keep praying for Rachael to be able to live at peace in the moment and take it a day at a time. If she looks ahead at how long she may be there it's overwhelming. She is so grateful to have come this far and wants to go much further, but that does not change how challenging it is to be in this situation.

Father we pray for grace for Rachael. And that her body would "peace be still". And that she would sleep well tonight and every night!

This scripture is for me too-- Rachael! (-:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden light." Matt. 11:28-30

Love,
Amber

Friday, February 6, 2009

Go Jimmie Go

Rachael is doing fine today.

Now that Jimmie is considered viable they are monitoring his movement and his heart rate for 30 minutes twice a day. The nurse said he looks really good for a 24 weeker. Nice accelerations that coincide with movement. That's so great to hear. They are going to do an ultrasound to measure his growth and estimate his weight on Tues. Feb. 10th. As long as he keeps looking good and Rachael stays stable he'll get to keep developing and growing inside of momma! Go Jimmie! What a fighter he is-- just like his mommy and his daddy! (-:

A specific prayer request - Rachael and Justin are both having trouble sleeping at night. The nights just tend to be really unsettled for them. This is especially hard for Justin because every 3rd night he's at the fire station and gets calls in the middle of the night and frequently does not sleep much at all. Rachael feels a big part of it is just being away from home. Lord bring them rest!

As always- thank you for your care and your prayers!

Love,
Amber

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Time To Rejoice






We are so excited and grateful today! We had a 24 weeks party at the hospital for Justin, Rachael and Jimmie. By the way -- Jimmie is named after Justin’s late Grandfather and we (including Rachael and Justin) just found out he spelled his name with an “ie” not “y”. Oops.

Anyway-- we ordered pizza and Cathy brought a really cute ice cream cake that said “happy 24 weeks” and had a little teddy bear and a moon on it. Nate took a picture of it and then accidentally deleted it after we had already ate it.

Cole, McKenna and I made a poster for Rachael’s wall.

Words cannot express the relief and gratitude we feel to have made it up this precipice. All of you-- our “prayer warriors” have played a huge part in this miracle for us. Praise God!

“For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?-
The God who girded me with strength,
And made my way safe.
He made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And set me secure on the heights.” Ps. 18:31-33

Now that we are here we are desperate for more. 28 weeks would be really huge for Jimmie’s prognosis. The odds that he would make a full recovery if born at 28 weeks or after are very good. So lets pray for much much more. Full term would be the best and would be so awesome.

I know you are all rejoicing with us for this victory and in faith for more to come!

Love,
Amber

P.S. We got the news today that McKenna’s MRI showed no signs of that disease. Praise God! Today is a good day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Time To Cry

"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-

A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance..."

Eccl. 3

My mom spends every third night at the hospital with Rachael-- during Justin’s 24 hour shift with the fire department. She wrote the following today for me to post . .

Love,
Amber

“In the wee hours of the morning before the sun came up, Rachael and I awakened to the new day of 23 weeks and 6 days. Rachael has not been dwelling on this moment at all but this day marks the day in her first pregnancy when Gracie Anne was born into this world but was not of this world. Getting through this day is bitter sweet. We cried together. It was a good release. She is doing amazingly well. She has been in the hospital for over 3 weeks now.

I simply can't tell you how much we appreciate all the prayers, words of encouragement, cards, help on the home front, etc...

Rachael has access to a computer and has really enjoyed it when people post on the blog.
As her mother, I implore you to remain vigilantly prayerful for this situation. While reaching the 24 week mark is huge, we really really want this little one to be born full term! Please do not forget about Rachael. She has asked me to remind everyone who is praying to not become complacent. She has a long to way to go yet.

Love,
Andrea -Rachael’s Mom, Gracie and Jimmie’s Ma

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Beating the Odds

Well, today was a pretty uneventful day for Rachael. The night wasn't all that great, she had some trouble sleeping. Let's pray she sleeps better tonight.

The doctors administered the second steroid shot, which Rachael said didn't make her sore at all this time. Those will be the only 2 shots she will be receiving to help speed up lung development. The doctors really have never seen any proven benefits by giving more than 2, or by administering them later on in the pregnancy. Surfactant production usually reaches it's peak by about 30 weeks or so.

On a very positive note, Rachael was talking with the nurse practitioner about how long she's been in the hospital, and things of that nature, and the nurse told her that Dr. Ridgeway really feels like Rachael is beating the odds. That really encouraged her, because Dr. Ridgeway isn't exactly Dr. Feelgood! He's very to the point and doesn't sugarcoat anything. So, to hear that he said something like that is awesome!

They were also discussing if Rachael would be in the hospital until she delivers Jimmie. At 28 weeks, they would talk about transferring Rachael back to her original doctor, but that's kinda up in the air. She does feel more comfortable staying at the hospital she is at now, where she knows the NICU staff and the nurses and doctors. That is definitely an important thing, knowing that your child will be in good hands no matter what the situation.

All in all, a pretty good day. Every day that nothing changes is a good day. We continue to pray for a strong stitch, and a healthy, growing baby!

I think that I am updating again tomorrow and then Amber will be taking back over on Thursday.
Love,
Jet

Monday, February 2, 2009

The First Shot

So today was the first steroid shot for little Jimmie! Rachael said it made her leg ache a bit, but other than that, no complications. They will give her the other shot tomorrow. These shots are to help Jimmie's lungs develop surfactant, which helps the breathing process, and usually doesn't begin developing on it's own so early. The steroids also encourage the laying down of fat on the baby, which is very important for regulating body temperature and heart rate. The steroids will make a huge difference, so praise God that we have gotten to this point!!! I think we can all breathe just a bit easier since Rachael has started receiving these shots.
She had an uneventful night as well, no crampiness, which is a blessing. Keep praying for many more good nights to come!
Also, the doctors have told her they will start doing non stress tests starting Thursday. This involves hooking up the monitors and monitoring Jimmy's heart rate in correlation to his movements. They want to make sure he is doing well. Every time they have had Rachael hooked up so far, he has looked wonderful.
The doctors say they will be doing this for an hour every day, but that could possibly change.
So, all in all, a very good day. I will update you all again tomorrow.
Love,
Jennette

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Safe Laughing

I got to visit Rachael today. At one point Justin, Rod and Cathy (Justin's parents) and my mom and dad (Jay and Andrea) and I were all hanging out. We laughed a lot and were kind of loud. Rachael has perfected laughing without "bearing down" as she puts it. LOL! Anyway-- it was fun. Laughter is good medicine if you can do it safely. (-:

She had a really crampy episode again in the night. If it happens again tonight she will call the nurse to put her on the monitor to see if there are any measurable contractions. Peace Be Still!

Tomorrow she receives her first steroid shot. These shots are painful and can affect your immune system a bit. So we are still wanting to greatly limit visitors for a while. We would not want Rachael exposed to any virus thats floating around right now. Coughing or puking could be a pretty bad scenario for Rachael.

McKenna is healthy so her procedure and MRI are on for tomorrow. I made her a blog and wrote a post about tomorrow. I also posted everything else I've ever written on her condition and put the date it was written in the title. So those of you who have been following and praying for her condition-- check it out!

http://mckennasupdateblog.blogspot.com

Jennette will be updating you about Rachael tomorrow and maybe even about McKenna on her new blog.

Thank you so much for your prayers. I cannot express what a comfort it is to know so many of you are praying for Rachael and Jimmie and even McKenna!

Love,
Amber