November 23, 2015

The Widow's oil.

One of the things that has been working to help Justice's severe reflux is "thickening" his feedings. Basically, I pump and then I mix what I pump with a little bit of formula (for some extra calories) and then a powder called "thik and clear" which mixed correctly makes my milk into a milkshake. 
We were lucky to have been given a weeks worth of Thik and Clear when we left the hospital however I knew that eventually that supply would run dry so I went to my standby-Amazon- halfway through last week to mail myself some more. 
I was not excited when I saw the hefty price tag on those little packets of thickener but I closed my eyes and pushed "order"... But then I had to open my eyes fast because my order was not eligible for Amazon Prime- 
I looked at our fast deminishing supply of thickener and had to swallow an even larger pill and pay even MORE money for expedited shipping. Now, for those of you keeping track my bill was over $100 at this point...but even though that wasn't my favorite way to spent $100  it was worth it for Justice to keep his food down, right?! 

But now that the order was made o started to not-so-patiently wait for my "shipping notification". Days passed and my order still said "waiting to be shipped" next to it. I started to panic! I started to pray that our packets of thickener would turn into a Widow's Oil Type ( Read 2 Kings chapter 4 for the story!)  situation as Thursday turned to Friday and I started calling pharmacies all over town to see if anyone had what I needed in stock with no luck! 
I started to get desperate over the weekend and tried calling the hospital to see if they could help... But I only got answering services. 

And so I prayed... I asked God to somehow work a miracle. 

Today I woke up to one packet left. I made one final call to the hospital and the lady we had worked with us when we had been there answered the phone. She told me of a random pharmacy on the south side and I immediately called. They had two cans left. 
We immediately drove, kids in PJs Info the ghetto and I walked into the pharmacy willing to pay just about any price for that can! 
So you can imagine my surprise when the checkout lady said, "that'll be $8.40."

And so that is how the Lord worked an unlooked for miracle this morning. It wasn't oil, but it was just as good. 

November 20, 2015

"I didn't expect for this to happen!"

( Read Justice's Birth story before heading into this particular post)

" I didn't expect THIS to happen!"

My thoughts as we headed through rush hour traffic back to the hospital - only 2 short weeks after Justice was born- I also said other things to God that I know He won't hold against me-but basically, I had been SO SURE that when I wrote "healthy pregnancy, healthy baby" on my prayer card for 2015 it was basically a done deal. And yet Justice continued to loose weight, my feelings of doom and gloom had been confirmed at the Doctor's office with an even more significant weight drop and then again after an Upper GI study where the Radiologist had labeled Justice as "in the top 10 refluxing cases I've seen in my whole career!" ( not the top ten list you want to be on)
So to the hospital we were sent with the lovely title of "failure to thrive" I've really had some pretty good hospital experiences in my day, I'd say we've been pretty lucky with good doctors, quick and correct diagnosis, and good care-but this experience was NOT. LIKE. THAT.
We had to fight so hard for every little thing...from getting admitted, getting a correct diagnosis ( it seemed straight forward, RIIIIIIGHT!?!), getting the proper treatment- even seeing doctors that would actually READ our history properly seemed like an uphill battle ( we had a doctor condescendingly explain to me that "babies loose weight after birth and that Justice was only about an ounce off from his birth weight" I practically yelled at her to get the facts right and that he was sitting at a pound and HALF under his birth weight!!) . But we kept getting pep talks from family and friends and we kept fighting hard for Justice's cause. The problem was we weren't really sure what was wrong and I was so discouraged by my seemingly unanswered "healthy baby" prayer that I'd been staring in the face since Justice's birth I felt so incredibly lost.

Three days past in a fog of confusion and-to be perfectly honest-hurt...I was so hurt that all this had happened. WHY was God letting something like this happen to us again!?! What had I heard wrong?! Why? WHY?

And then on Tuesday night as I sat in the hospital bed holding my weak and sick baby I hit bottom. I hit complete desperation and I have never in my life felt so homesick ( best word I can think of to describe how I felt) for Jesus. Not just what I know of Jesus but the in the flesh Jesus. It seems strange since I clearly haven't MET the in the flesh Jesus, but I knew right then that I needed Him.  I understood clearly how the parents of those dead and dying children felt who came and pleaded with the Son of God to come heal their babies that are told about in the Bible. I was there. And I asked Him to "come home with me" or the woman who pushed through the crowd to tough the hem of his clothes, or the friends who lowered the lame man through the roof...I was that desperate too.  The next morning I woke up and I heard clear as a bell "This is the day" in my head.  And I wrote this blog post: "This is the Day"  I had been proud and I had been hurt but I had finally gotten to a place where I knew that only the Lord was going to get us through this. And He had shown up and affectively promised that THIS was the day things would turn around...
All of a sudden the thickening of Justice's feedings started to work, the medicine he had been perscribed to move the food through his stomach faster seemed to be affective...Justice gained Three Ounces in one day!! And if this was a neat and tidy story-That would be it! Justice's weight would have kept going up and up and we would have been all smiles-but from the beginning this was not one of those Stories.... Instead for the next three days, while Justice seemed to improve outwardly ( less throwing up etc), his weight continued to drop... By Sunday we were told in no uncertain terms that if things didn't turn around in the next 24 hours we would be facing a feeding tube on Monday morning.
And so back to our knees we went- we prayed and fasted and I questioned all that had happened, it seemed everything was so much harder that I thought it would be:

 "I didn't expect THIS to happen!"
 Once again the phrase went whining its way through my head, but this time we just prayed harder we dug deeper and we waited....And sure enough Monday morning came, and Justice had gained an ounce and a half. It was enough to send him home... Without a feeding tube! 
Over the next four days we saw Justice go from three or four food losses in a day to one...then yesterday he didn't spit up AT ALL. He spit up less then a NORMAL baby would spit up! 
Today at his follow up appointment Jusrice had gained 1 pound 2 ounces in FOUR DAYS! His pediatrician looked at him and said:

 "I didn't expect THIS to happen!"

And that's the thing- that is what I'm just now starting to get my grasp on...none of this story is to be expected, in fact a lot of it can't even be explained- this story is a story of brokenness and healing and the unexpected and it is a story of healing and forgiveness and grace.  And so it is, that Justice begins his Life...I am sure there will be many more "I didn't expect THIS!" moments for him and for us- but one thing we can expect is for Jesus to continue to show up as He so obviously has over the last three weeks of Justice's life. 

November 18, 2015

Welcoming Justice Tirian

I haven't gone back to look, but I think this might be the longest I have gone before writing my "birth story" but I think it was because I didn't feel like we were "finished"'with the story until now. But I'm getting ahead of myself! Without further ado, the Birth of Justice Tirian Wilson.

Let's just start off by saying, what a great pregnancy! Oh man! Even though pregnancy is basically one of my Least Favorite Things- even *I* had to admit this one was pretty darn smooth. Coincidentally  ( as we would so find out)  the only thing I had really to complain about was the INTENSE indigestion and heart burn that plagued me from the second trimester all the way until Justice was all the way out of me. ( seriously I had heart burn and contractions all at the same lovely time) Annnnnnyway, I started all that to say, the pregnancy was pretty great and I couldn't have asked for a smoother ride. It was so great, in fact, that the day before my due date I went for a nature walk with a friend, I did a craft cooking project with Ransom and I felt relatively calm ( other than really really really wanting to have a baby!) I even had some contractions before bed, but the soon faded and I slept the night away.  And then around 6:30am on my due date-October 27th- I woke up with REAL contractions. They weren't particularly painful, they were just more intense and 'different'. I got up with Brett and the kids and Brett and I discussed whether he should go to work or not. My contractions were still pretty far spread and I was petrified of having a "false alarm". In the end we decided he would just go into work late and see what the morning held. I then went for a walk around our neighborhood....something I had been doing a lot of the last had been rainy and a little cooler that week, but I hadn't cared! I had put on my rain jacket and hit the streets and yet it hadn't seemed to work in inducing labor...till now. This time I walked for about an hour and my contractions went from 7 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart. I decided we could safely go to the hospital without any shame of false labor labels ( I seem to care ridiculously too much about my pregnancy labor street cred in this regard-who knows why!). Lucky for us Brett's brother Josh has been staying with us for several months so we had built in childcare right in the house! So we kissed Ransom and Tabitha, wished Josh good luck and headed to the hospital....

I will now fast forward through the 2 hours of triage and get to the part where they admitted me and we were put in a very nice and large delivery room. It was now around 1pm and I was very much good and ready to have my epidural. My birth plan looked very much like this "get yo self some drugs"...and so I was happily gratified when the anesthesiologist  came a little sooner than expected-I'd been told he was down the hall with another patient but it turns out that other patient had last minute thoughts of grandeur ( or she saw the giant needle) and passed on the epidural! Hooray! I got mine sooner!! And while it didn't quiiiite seem to be taking away all the pain away, I felt SO MUCH BETTER and we continued on "laboring" for a few more hours. My doctor showed up, informed me that he was leaving at 4:30 to pick up his daughter for ballet class so I'd need to kindly hurry up the process ( ha!) and so as he talked to Brett about some pastor guy he really likes from New York he broke my water without even so much as a warning. I decided then and there that I didn't care that much about him delivering my child and was secretly fine with the fact that 4:30 ticked passed without the need to push. However, by 5pm I was MORE THAN READY to push out a baby-and in fact, I was pretty sure that epidural wasn't doing a DARN THING. Boo!! Once again the drugs were failing me and I was going to have to push out a baby with all the pain that nature intended. UNFAIR! 
Ahhh, such is life-literally. And so with that awful realization and a kindly older doctor who wasn't much on talking but turned out to be an excellent coach, I pushed out the most giant baby in the world. Ok, not really but let's just say I made noises I didn't know were possible. 

However-sidenote-remember that women down the hall who had turned down the epidural earlier in the day?! Well, she regretted it. She regretted it big time. She regretted it so loud and with so many curse words we ALL knew how much she regretted it. eek! So, yes, I made some very interesting animal noises that I am thankful were not recorded for posterity-but at least I didn't make sailors blush or anything. So win. 
And yes, Justice was not the largest baby in the world, but he was surprisingly large! I hadn't really been measuring particularly big but at 17:06, weighting a hefty 8 pounds 14 ounces, 20 and 3/4 inches long, Justice Tirian came into the world like a lion! Yelling and mad, he was blue which worried me, but he eventually turned to a more normal red color, but he continued to cry a very horse and mad cry for much much longer than Ransom or Tabitha, and I actually started to worry that we'd gotten ourselves a "spirited" child right off the bat!  But even though he cried a lot the first two hours or so, he eventually calmed down and we could set about admiring his super long fingers and toes, his full head of black hair and just how much he looked JUST LIKE his brother and his sister ( seriously, the gene pool is like a puddle over here!). 

And just as with his brother and sister we found his "birth time" verse in John 17:6 to be very fitting and encouraging: 

" I (Jesus)  have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word." 

And while Justice did seem upset right after he was born, he quickly mellowed out into a very sleepy and mellow baby. The morning after he was born his brother and sister came to see him with Spicy and my sister and Josh. Ransom was incredibly sweet and wanted to hold him right away and seemed very proud of his enlarging big brother status. Tabitha used her high pitched voice to say "awwww! he's so sweet!" and then went on to ignore him completely as she played with her "big sister" princess gift. Ahhh 2 year olds!
And so our time the hospital was up, Justice was really so mellow that it wasn't clear right away that there was anything wrong with him. Yes he kept spitting up- a lot. But the nurses assured me he'd probably just swallowed a lot of fluids during birth. And so two days later we took our sweet chubby cheeked baby home! 
It was so great to have him home and with us all as a family! 
However, on our first night home Justice started spitting up so violently that it practically shot across the room, and some of the spit up had blood in it! Basically the parenting nightmare. All my "calm and collected" this-is-my-third-child-therefore-I-am-chill vibe had left me and we took him to the pediatrician as soon as we possibly could! Sure enough Justice had lost even MORE weight and was now sitting at almost a pound lost in his first week of life. A little too much for comfort. We were sent back to the hospital for an ultra-sound to rule out Pyloric Stenosis. I wasn't allowed to feed Justice until the test was over, and I didn't have a pump yet ( I'd kind of put off buying a new one since my last pump bit the dust) of course, this would be the perfect time for my milk supply to come in like a champ! By the time we headed home from the thankfully negative for pyloric stenosis ultrasound I was leaking from EVERYWHERE-but mostly my eyes. I just kept crying and crying as I thought, "But I PRAYED for a healthy baby!!! THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED! THIS IS A NIGHTMARE!" 
Justice was put on some acid reflux medicine and we were sent home to hopefully watch Justice respond well to the meds-which he did-for a few days...but the next week was horrible, really. Luckily I had help from my parents and then Brett's mom, but Brett was working 12 hour night shifts at work, and I was spending 12 hour night shifts at home. While Justice did throw up a lot during the day, it was a million times worse at night. I would have to change the sheets, my clothes and his clothes multiple times a night. I would have to wash all 20 or so burp clothes that I owned every. single. day. Brett would come home from work in the mornings to find me crying and crying that something was terribly wrong. I had a baby scale and I finally had to just stop putting him on it. He was not gaining weight. He was loosing. My once almost 9 pound chunky baby with neck rolls was now under 8 pounds. Everyone tried to be reassuring with their "its going to be ok!" and their "it probably seems like more than it is" but deep in my heart I knew something was really wrong and I felt very very alone and helpless with my sweet baby boy. 
We had another doctors appointment scheduled for that next monday, and I knew it was going to be bad. The problem was I spent my nights researching acid reflux in babies and I knew there wasn't much that could be done for it. I know it sounds dramatic but I felt like I had lost my happy normal life and worst of all I was slowly losing my baby. Justice slept all the time, rarely waking, never crying. Everyone commented about how sweet he was, but I hated it. I felt that it showed just how weak he was and how much his body was working over time to retain calories. 
And so that is how the first two weeks of Justice's life passed....

For the end to this story check out my next post

November 12, 2015

A new day

If you'll excuse me while I brag on the good things the Lord has done for us in the last 24 hours? It is important that I put this out there because as things started to get better I would stop to send a God-brag text to various people and it seemed that every time I started to text Justice would have a huge barfing fit. Coincidence? I doubt it! But we will not be silenced! This is too good not to share!! Yesterday truly was a turning point for Justice and the only explanation for that turn is the miraculous healing power of Jesus. For instance when I look at yesterday's feeding log there were just as many feeding "losses" as we had before. It seemed that the new plan of "thickening" Justice's feeding wasn't working. The doctors were getting antsy with their desire to step things up a notch. One notch being putting Justice in the NICU...where we would no longer be able to stay with him. ( break my heart into a million pieces). But I asked the doctors to give us "one more day" and even though things did not look any better on paper then they had before, I knew the prayers of the saints can achieve much! So this morning when Justice was weighed ( BEFORE eating, no less!) I was not surprised to see that he didn't gain half an ounce ( the minimum hoped for goal for Justice) or one ounce... No, he gained THREE! A pretty huge leap. 
Today we say way more dirty diapers ( never thought I'd be so happy about that!) and I would even go so far as to say that his appetite might be increasing ever so slightly! Another answer to prayer! Our doctors stopped talking about G-tubes and instead talked about "time lines for sending you home." In a blink of an eye. Yesterday was indeed a turning point.
LIn other interesting news, Justice has had a struggle with his IV lines since we got here. Basically they have been replaced every 12 hours or so- meaning that we were running out of viable spots. So today he was supporting a head IV...which then rolled out of place and started to fill his little head up with fluids. Poor dude looks a bit like Rocky with a swollen half of a head... The good news from this? Well it pushed him loosing his IV up a little and it was decided to see how he fairs without it! I can't wait to see him continue to exceed expectations tonight as he holds his own without the extra fluid help! This would mean we are one more step closer to getting to go home! 
We have been living in Miracle-land today thanks to your wonderful prayers and our Faithful  Lord who Hears and Acts. We praise Him continually for all He has done and will continue to do for Justice. 

November 11, 2015

This is the day...

This morning I woke up after a night of little to no sleep.- Justice had been vomiting every meal and also lost his IV which meant a 2am scream fest as he got a new line put in. 

This  dawn was dark by all accounts. Justice continues to spit up all feedings- feedings that are smaller than they should be already- we've been told over and over that his reflux is "horrible" and "severe" and "the worst we've ever seen". And a g-tube and fundoplication surgery are discussed as foregone conclusions of our future here. 

But doctors do not know everything. They are not factoring in the fact that we have a Lord who is the Great Healer and that HE can do anything. I know that we have very little time left before we will be pressured both by Justice's continued deterioration and our doctors- but I believe that today is a special day. Today is the turning point. I woke with back to back phone calls offering laying on of hands and prayer and we had a visit from another pastor-Unlooked for- but welcomed: offering more prayers and laying on of hands. I know this is not an accident. Today, despite our circumstances, we will boldly ask the Lord for complete healing for Justice 's "horribly severe" reflux. We ask for a renewed hunger and interest in eating for Justice. We ask that he will require no g-tube, no surgery and will quickly be eating and keeping all food down on his own. I ask for weight gain. And I ask for all these things now, when such possibilities seem next to impossible for then there will be no doubt that Jesus Christ is our Healer and Provider. 

It is an honor, a terrible one, to be put yet again at the great mercy of our Lord in regards to our children. It is by far the most painful thing we have ever had to do. And the words on my mouth today are "Lord, if you are willing..."