Thursday, October 27, 2016

Caleb's Story

Written by Caleb's mom - Emily

Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” At 20 weeks into my second pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa.  The odds of it moving were high but 12 weeks later, another ultrasound showed that there hadn’t been enough change for me to deliver safely. We were directed to meet with a specialist to schedule a c-section for no later than 38 weeks gestation.

We wouldn’t even make it another 2 weeks before things got very scary very quickly. At 34 weeks, having had no bleeding yet, we were cleared to travel home (about 8 hours) for my brother’s high school graduation. We had hardly been there 24 hours when I had a large gush of blood at 1am. My parents rushed us to the closest local ER and from there, I was taken by a helicopter life flight to a larger hospital that could accommodate my situation of being only 34 weeks along. I received steroid shots for the baby’s lungs and three days later, things were calm enough for us to make the 8 hour trip back home with my sister along to stay with us should another emergency arise.

The next morning at home, we woke up for breakfast and I had another gush of blood that found its way quickly to my feet. We rushed off to the hospital again, leaving my sister with our toddler at home. After monitoring all day, continued spotting, and conversations of what lie ahead for us should the baby be born anytime soon, the bleeding picked up once again and the doctors decided to go forward with an emergency c-section before things had the chance to take a life-threatening turn.

Caleb Jeremiah Olson was born to our family that night at 34.5 weeks gestation, weighing 5lbs 1oz. His lungs were developed enough to not require surfactant, but he had enough troubles otherwise including tachypnea (abnormal rapid breathing), bradycardia episodes (heart rate drops), failure to regulate temperature, and inability to nurse due to his breathing and heart problems.

Due to Caleb’s unstable breathing and heart rate, I was not allowed to hold him for 46 hours and for the first week of his life, he could only be held during care times to minimize bradycardia episodes due to too much stimulation. Caleb was a trooper though, and we were continually surprised at his progress. At 4 days he no longer needed the CPAP, at one week he graduated off of his cannula, and soon after, he was allowed to try breastfeeding. As he proved himself strong enough to nurse, gained weight, and transitioned out of tachypnea and bradycardia episodes, we got closer and closer to discharge day.

Life in the NICU was very stressful on our entire family. While I spent my days and nights at the hospital, pumping around the clock and spending as much time as was allowed holding Caleb and participating in his care times, Nathan became Mr. Mom at home to our toddler son. We both felt way in over our heads and totally at the mercy of our Lord for strength to make it through each exhausting day. Our daily conversations largely composed of NICU jargon regarding TPN numbers, cannulas, CPAP levels, oxygen support, NG tube feedings in mL, bradycardia and tachypnea episode counts, and how many grams Caleb gained or lost that day. I grew to know the meaning of each beep, alarm, and machine noise, and came to deeply love the nurses who so carefully and intentionally cared for our son.

When it was all said and done, Caleb spent 13 days in the NICU. He came home at a weight of 4lb 13.7oz. Today, he is 5 months old, weighs a whopping 18 pounds and is a delightful character, full of laughs, squeals, and giggles. He loves his brother unashamedly and we couldn’t be more in love and more thankful. Through it all, we learned just how precious life is, how fortunate we are to have doctors and nurses who can care for such little lives, and we learned just how crucial it is to lay our requests and burdens at the feet of Jesus and then truly leave them there, waiting in expectation to see just how He will work.