{Quad Squad} Living on a Prayer

At last I'm back on the blog to update everyone on the quad's progress in the NICU—and to share a Father's Day shout out to my wonderful husband! It's been a whirlwind two weeks and last Sunday was an awful day we'll never forget. We came close to losing Harrison and the doctors weren't sure why he wasn't responding to their efforts to improve his breathing and calm him down. He had to be reintubated twice (put back on the ventilator, which involves a sizeable tube down his throat into his lungs), had two blood transfusions, was on blood pressure medication, morphine, sedation meds, received hand pumped oxygen at one point and more. At last they added nitric oxide, which was fed through the ventilator, and he began responding. Whether it was the latter or simply the overall combination of their efforts, we're still not sure. But by the end of Sunday he had made a tiny improvement and we felt hope.

As the days progressed last week, so did Harrison. He fought back against each and every challenge, continuing to amaze us, the nurses and the doctors with his strength and determination. Even when he was heavily sedated, he could still flutter his eyelids open momentarily and look at you or squeeze my finger when I held his hand. In turn, it squeezed my heart so violently and I never wished more that I could take a sickness away from someone and bear it myself. I hated seeing Harrison struggling so much, his tiny little body was dealing with an immense amount.


As with any beneficial treatment, there are still risks and being on the ventilator did cause some damage to his lungs. He formed blebs, which are air bubbles or pockets, inside the lungs. It's impossible for the doctors to get to these unless the blebs burst, at which point they can then drain them. His was also still dealing with a pneuomthorax (air pocket) outside his lungs on the right side. This is the second pneumo he's had, the previous one was on his left side. To treat this, they insert a tiny tube in the side of chest that slowly drains the air. By late last week, his x-ray's showed the blebs might be decreasing in size and that the pneumo was also reducing. We were thrilled when they took the chest tube out and even more excited when they took him off the ventilator on Thursday and moved him on to a high flow nasal canula!!! This is similar to the little oxygen tubes that stick up your nose a bit. It provides a high flow of oxygen into his lungs but allows him to do the breathing work on his own. He breathes a little hard now and then but he's done very well. And they are not providing him any additional oxygen, his body is processing and inhaling enough on its own. He just needs the air flow to keep things moving. Hopefully in a couple weeks, his lungs will be even stronger and able to accommodate his breathing without any assistance.


With all this improvement, Harrison was able to start feeds again yesterday. If the babies aren't getting milk or formula, they rely on what's called a TPN, an IV that delivers nutrients to the baby so that they aren't going without. He was also receiving lipids, or fat, as well. But now he's on mommy's milk, which he receives through his feeding tube, and I think he's thrilled to be eating. The doctors have even mentioned trying him out on the bottle soon—he loves his pacifier and chomps on it all day long!

In addition to his breathing and keeping an eye on the progression of his lungs, Harrison is working on morphine withdrawals right now, which we hope will pass in a few more days. After two weeks on the medication and varying amounts of doses, his body now has to readjust to living without it. Again, this is part of the "normal" process and that whole "risk versus benefit" balance that NICU babies often face. He gets tremors in his legs and arms from the withdrawals, so they've been giving him either a teeny dose of the sedative he was on or, like last night, a minuscule dose of the morphine to help him along and keep him comfortable as his body re-calibrates. I hate seeing him shake, I know it's exhausting for him. Fortunately, after the single morphine dose they gave him last night he was able to sleep soundly and get some rest. He's been doing really well and I finally got to hold him the other day after waiting 15 days!!! It was the sweetest moment getting to cradle my little boy in my arms at last.



To go from no kids to four kids and then to deal with the thought of losing one within two weeks of having them is something I'll never forget. I'd never felt the kind of sorrow I did last Sunday. My husband and I sat and spoke to the doctor, cried together, stayed by Harrison's bedside hour after hour, met with more doctors and took solace once again in each other as we prayed for our baby boy. Then something amazing happened. I decided to post a status update on Facebook for the family since we were too emotional to make phone calls or answer text messages. Within minutes, that single status update had ignited a powerful prayer chain that spread like wildfire. My family was sharing the status updates that I was posting regularly now to keep everyone informed. In turn, their friends were sharing the news and so were friends of their friends and friends of their friends. Entire offices, churches and more were asked to pray for Harrison's health. My mom updated my blog for me as well, and I began receiving comments and emails that many of you wonderful readers were praying for my son as were friends of yours and friends of those friends. The chain just kept spreading, it was amazing the lengths it was reaching so quickly. Just hours from my first update hundreds of thousands of people were praying for little Harrison. And that's probably about the time we saw a glimmer of hope. Both my husband and I get teary-eyed when we think about all the guardian angels that must have been standing over our baby boy, and all the countless prayer warriors that fervently sought our God's grace and healing power over him. For any of you reading this, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for joining together in prayer and lifting Harrison up. We know he's going to be an incredibly strong and amazing boy!

*dabbing my eyes with Kleenex*

Whew, lots of emotion already! Meanwhile, the girls are simply doing amazing. They continue to make strides every day, increasing their feed amounts, gaining weight, working on their pacifiers and watching everything going on with adorably wide eyes. Kailey has taken the lead on her feed amounts and is up to 28cc I believe, and has also topped three pounds weighing in at 3lb 1oz. Right behind her is Trystan at 2lb 14oz and Logan is about 2lb 10oz. For being a person that wished for three boys and a girl and instead was blessed with three girls and a boy, I sure do love those little gals. They are fireballs!

TRYSTAN
LOGAN
KAILEY
They've also gained a reputation for being pooping machines. Such tiny little things and so much crap! It's a good sign, though, so mom and dad will take it! One recent, ahem, event resulted in Trystan projectile pooping on me twice while trying to change her diaper which then resulted in a bath. It was my first one to give! She was adorable (once I got the nasty stuff cleaned up!) and just watched me with those big ol' eyes the whole time. Seeing her naked she looked like a little peanut, so cute! She only got fussy toward the end when she was getting a little cold then we wrapped her up in warm blankets and she loved it. By the time the nurse got her situated back in bed, she was completely content and back to watching the world through those beautiful eyes. 




And last but not least, I want to take a quick moment to tell my husband (and, well, all of you!) just how incredible and amazing he is. During my 57 days spent in the hospital he never faltered. He came up to see me every single day, bringing food, entertainment, comforts from home and more. He has kept such a strong spirit, supporting me through the pregnancy and is the reason I was able to keep my sanity and my eye on the goal.


Now that our babies are here, he's transitioned into the role of a father so wonderfully. He loves his little quad squad. Seeing those girls grab onto his finger so tightly or watching him comfort his son during his moment of need have been such heart throbbing moments for me. I feel privileged to have him as my husband and as the father to my children. He hasn't complained once about continuing to take care of me as I recover and he still drives up to the hospital every day to see his kids. I can't wait until they start coming home and we can enjoy our new "instant family" together!


Happy (first) Father's Day to my husband, I love you!

19 comments:

  1. What a lovely post! Made me cry! SO many people love and care for you all and it has been an amazing thing to watch the circle of love and prayers widen beyond our dreams! God is so good and people have been so faithful. No telling what plans God has ordained for these children.

    Mike is an amazing man - and of course we KNEW he would be an incredible father! As you are an incredible mother!

    GREAT Father's Day post!!!

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  2. Wow, this post made me tear up and I don't even personally know you. Praying for you and your little family!

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  3. Happy Father's Day to Mike! He has a lot of responsibility and he seems quite capable and willing to "step up". What a great example of being a Father. He's obviously a quick learner!. . .SO pleased all the babies are doing well. Still praying for your squad.

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  4. Wiping the tears, what a beautiful post. Thosse babies are simply adorable.So Happy Harrison is doing well,continued prayers that his recovery continues.
    Loved the dirty diaper story, welcome to parenthood that was just the first of many out of the diaper experiences you will have;)Plus a few soakings while changing Harrison:)
    You are a amazing young lady and your husband is just as amazing.
    Thanks for taking the time to let us know how you and the babies are doing.
    Hope Mike has a Wonderful First Father's Day.

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  5. I commented once before but just wanted to say that I have been praying for months for the babies (and you!) and now that they are here, especially for your Harrison. Such a strong boy! And holy cow, are they all adorable. Will continue to pray for protection, good health and growth for your little ones!

    Heidi

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  6. AnonymousJune 17, 2012

    I am so happy for all the good news. I've been hooked on your blog since before the babies were here. For Harrison to be improving just simply takes my breath away! I haven't stopped praying. I will keep all the babies in my prayers until they are finally home. As a mother of 3 I know how important a good daddy is and it sounds like you have one!

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  7. AnonymousJune 17, 2012

    We are so thankful to hear Harrison is doing so much better!! I can't imagine how terrifying that must have been for you and Mike last week. We really do serve a faithful God! We are continuing to pray for the babies and you guys. They really are little miracles!
    -Blaire Reagan

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  8. AnonymousJune 18, 2012

    Just read your blog for the first time. Found it through another blog. Glad to hear everyone is doing well. God bless those beautiful babies and may they continue to grow. Prayers for your beautiful family.
    Paola Meyer

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  9. So glad to hear Harrison is doing so much better. And them girls are just adorable. I absoultely love those big eyes they all have. So precious and hope your husband had a wonderful 1st Father's Day. Sherri

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  10. Happy Father's Day to Mike. What a special day it must have been for him. I'm one of those people who has been praying for you two and the babies since your announcement. I prayed without ceasing (and with some tears) for Harrison last Sunday and got others praying for him also. What an awesome God we have! After awhile I just felt like everything was going to be all right.

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  11. valintexasJune 18, 2012

    That brought tears to my eyes too, Amber!!! Thank God for a good man these days!! You have many blessings to be thankful for and I am so excited that Harrison is doing well!!! Lots of prayers and hugs to you all!!!!

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  12. Thinking of you and your family Amber! I'm so glad your little boy is improving and your girls are thriving. God bless!!!

    Katie

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  13. Amber, I know you don't know me, I am a friend of your cousin Leah's. Your mom is so good to keep us all updated on how you and your new family are doing and I have enjoyed your blog- very happy to hear that the little man is improving! Sending prayers of strength and endurance to you all as I know this is an exciting but stressful time until you get those babies home. Much love to all and congrats to the new family!!

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  14. I have been following your Mom's facbook posts, Amber, and was so worried when she posted that Harrison wasn't doing well--I am so glad she asked for prayers as I do believe those prayers helped him rally! It's so good to see him doing well and his sisters flourishing. I will continue to keep you all in my prayers.

    Happy belated Father's Day to your husband!

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  15. so happy things are improving every day...I think about your family often...will continue to keep you all in my prayers...

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  16. Hi Amber and Mike
    Great Blog, and I have to say GREAT job again...With YOU as Harrison's MOM he wouldn't dare not get healthy.
    LDC

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  17. Okay now I'm emotional. Great Post Amber.

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  18. wonderful post! what blessings those babies are! they are true gifts from God and He has chosen you as their momma for very good reason! keep going and lean on the prayers and energy of those around you because sometimes that is all you have. try to have atleast one date night before you bring the babies home. they are in good hands! i will continue to check on your family of SIX and keep praying for your endurance and strength!

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  19. You are in my prayers every day, and you are doing such a great job. Keep it up!

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