Monday, June 30, 2008

for those hoping to see what Rowan looks like awake

Our first week home

We have been home for almost a full week now and are trying to settle in to some kind of routine. It still feels weird and new, like we have a little house guests that we just realized isn't going to leave. I am still in a significant amount of pain, so I don't feel like I have been able to establish any type of normalcy yet. I still can't go from sitting to standing with Rowan and walking is hard enough on my own with a cane so carrying him makes me nervous still. It presents some challenges when it comes to caring for him and puts a lot of the responsibility on Josh. Which is so hard for me, not because he is not capable and doing a fantastic job, but my self inflicted guilt makes me feel so bad he is having to work so hard to care for us both. I know it is only a season, and soon I will be up and around, it is just hard to watch some one you dearly love have to carry such a hard load and you can't help lighten it.

Emotionally I have been doing okay. I have a melt down about once a day, usually in the evening. I know it is normal to feel this way, and I think, given the situation, I am doing well, but I still have moments of panic, terror and fear. I am just trying hard to not let those take over, because I know this is time with Rowan I will never have again and I don't want it tainted with feelings that are so ugly.

I wanted to post a few pics of the day-to-day stuff. You can also get a good look at Rowan's cool haircut. When he was in the NICU they had to put in a few IVs and in babies it is easier to put them in their heads (for many reasons). Anyway, because of the choice of locations of the IVs, he looks like he has male patterned baldness and a mohawk. Hopefully it will grow back in, and until then we are just keeping him in a lot of hats. And no, my hair is not that greasy, I actually made it into a shower and have it pulled back wet. But boy do I look tired!

Friday, June 27, 2008

boy parts-our son is gifted

So having a little boy was always a daunting idea and certainly dealing with the difference in our anatomy was always a little scary to me when thinking about dealing with diapers...well lets just say I have been baptized by fire (or more accurately-urine).

So while trying to juggle this new job of diapers, while standing in pain, and trying to avoid his healing circumcision and yet to fall off umbilical cord and clean up a poopy diaper I let my guard down. It was like a scene in a movie and if it had been recorded, it would be utube worthy. I was going about my business cleaning up his, and all of a sudden was accosted by a fire hose to the face. So strong was this stream i had to put up my hands in defense to protect my face. It soaked my shirt, him, the changing pad, the wall and anything else in the area. Josh, who was close by, almost fell to the floor in tears laughing so hard. Rowan 1-Mommy 0. But oh, revenge is sweet.

Later that evening Josh went to do the duty of yet another diaper change. And I guess Rowan had not quite finished, and as Josh peeled back the diaper Rowan projectile pooped across the changing pad, covering Josh and everything in its path. It was awesome.

One the doctors yesterday, Rowan was down to his diaper and needed to be weighed. As Josh laid him on the scale he some how peed up the front of his diaper, covering his chest . I mean, the diaper was on, tight, and he still managed to amaze us with his skills.

As a side note, our little guy weighed 5lbs 14 oz. He is such a little thing. None of his clothes fit and we have had the hardest time finding anything preemie...I am hoping that before we know it his pants stop falling off and the onesies stop drowning him. We will post some more pictures soon. I would do it now, but I am stuck on the couch with the little one next to me (letting Josh get some sleep) and I can't stand up and walk with the baby yet. Hopefully soon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

since june 10th

since last time Josh wrote so much has happened, I would apologize for the absence if I didn't think we had a really good excuse. I am going to do this in journal form to try to chronicle the time and fill in the gaps between what you know and don't.

June 9th
Had an amniocentesis to see if the babies lungs were developed enough to induce in hopes that it would help the back pain. The back pain is treated with an assortment of meds and I try to stay away for the most dangerous ones to the baby. Josh and I spend our last night as a couple without children splitting a pint of Ben and Jerry's and trying to relax together.

June 10th
We are awoken to a doctor bounding into the room and turning on the lights to let us know that our little one's lungs look good and should be fine for delivery. They check me again and I am 4cm so my body is moving along in the process with or without the doctors. I am given an epidural and am out of back pain for the first time in four was glorious. I also didn't feel any contractions either, so that was a plus. Josh and I had a peaceful, restful day. The first and last in months. Around 3 the nurse checked me again and I was 6 cm and progressing so Josh and I decided to try to get some last minute rest. We woke around 5 to a nurse telling me I was 9 1/2 cm and it was go time. As they prepared the room, Josh and I tried to prepare for what was way that could have really been done.

Labor/birth was great. Truly the a positive experience (please remember I had an epidural). Around 5:15 the nurses got me ready and helped me do some practice pushes to make sure I could feel enough and know what to do. By 5:30 we were pushing for real and Rowan Joshua Hayden made his entrance at 5:49. 6 lb 5 oz, 18.9 inches long, and a full head of hair.

He was having trouble breathing so they immediately took him to the nursery to work on him. I sent Josh with him to get information and found myself alone in a room that should have been filled with joy and little cries. It was hard to let go of expectations and the dreams of the first moments of being a family.

June 11-14
I am still in Fauquier hospital and Rowan is in the NICU at UVA. Josh splits his time between us and it is just a devastating time. The back spasms return. The doctors were hoping it was just pregnancy induced, but it looked to be something more complicated. I has two MRI's in the span of three hours and then a bone biopsy to test for an infection that might be growing in my back causing the pain. During this time Josh and I also weigh our options and discuss transferring to UVA. If I am going to be in the hospital for an unknown amount of time, at least we could all be in the same building. Rowan's health during this time is fuzzy for me, since I was on so many pain meds. But he had to be intubated, treated for pneumonia, and had a bilirubin issue.
On the 14th I was transferred down to UVA, admitted on the "infectious disease floor" and was finally able to meet and hold my son for the first time.

June 15-19
The doctors continue to try to figure out what crazy disease has ravaged my back and Rowan graduates from an isolation bed to a regular hospital crib. He is taken off oxygen and is breathing completely on his own. I am subjected to an another hour long MRI laying flat on my back on what feels and looks like an ironing board. The results from the MRI and biopsy are both looks like a infection called osteomyelitis, but neither show results that are exact. They decide to treat me with a six week antibiotic administered through a PICC line in my arm. After we are released, twice a day Josh has to put on rubber gloves and go through an extensive treatment of giving me this medication through a line in my arm that is connected to some deep artery. In his other life he was a nurse, we just know it. Rowan plugs along, we try breastfeeding when we can and he has a feeding tube to supplement his eating.

June 20
I am released from the hospital and Josh and I book a hotel right near the hospital and get our first good night sleep in weeks. We shuttle between there and the hospital, trying to make as many feedings as we can and spend time just being with Rowan.

June 23
They tell us Rowan is going home! He had shown signs of progress and growth and had gained weight three days in a row. Breastfeeding is going better, and he and I are both getting the hang of each other and this new role we have in each other's lives. We are able to stay the night in a room in the NICU so Rowan is able to sleep in the room with us (it is kind of the hospitals version of a suite) and parents can stay the night before their discharge day to bond with their baby and be a family. It was nice to relax and be able to hold him out of the lime light and watchful eye of a million nurses.

June 24
We come home! Rowan did great in the car, didn't get fussy until we got to Opal. He seems to like his car seat (even though it swallows him). Coming home is both wonderful and terrifying. Wonderful to be in our own space, in the quiet and be able to relax. Terrifying that we are now on our own with this little life. I think I wouldn't be so scared if I felt better, but the pain is still chronic even though much more manageable and it makes it impossible for me to be left with Rowan alone. I can't pick him up or carrying him, if I am sitting with him I can't stand makes care difficult. Josh is doing and amazing job. He is some how taking care of us both, and doing it with such humility. He is truly the best person I know.

It is good to be home. Please check out this web album to see some picks of our little guy. I am sure there will be many more to come.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

update from the hospital

As I write at 3:15 EST, Shey is 6-6 1/2 cm dilated, and little Rowan is reacting really well so far to the potocin which is inducing Shey into labor. Dr. Meyers has already broken Shey's water, hoping to help encourage her body to speed up the labor process. He is estimating that Shey will deliver around 5 p.m. and thinks the little guy is going to be around 6 to 6 and 1/2 pounds. I'd be willing to take some bets on those estimations if anyone is up for it. I'm going to say 6 p.m. and 6.8 pounds. if i win and you lose, then you have to provide some baby sitting services for Shey and I. If i lose to you, then you still have to provide baby sitting services...but i'll work hard on getting your name on the top 20 list of names we want Rowan to learn first. how does that sound?

anyway, thanks for all the thoughts, prayers, and support we've had so far. we wouldn't have made it this far without you all, and we look forward to sharing the joy of our little son with you soon. much love...and the next time i write, i'm going to be a dad. crazy.

Monday, June 9, 2008

in the meantime

so things have been a little crazy for the hayden's lately as i mentioned in the previous post. i preached at church yesterday (a modified version of my master's sermon) and shared a little about the perspectives of students in terms of faith issues and families for a parenting seminar happening at church. while i was gone, the doctor did a pelvic exam and it turns out that Shey was 3 cm dilated already, and that she was having contractions every once and a while. the doc also thought that our little man was no longer breached but was now head down and in the right position.

well, this was a surprise to everyone (including the doctors) so today, they performed an amniocentesis to find out whether Rowan's lungs are mature enough to be delivered. we are waiting on the results of the test, and if his lungs look mature enough, they are probably going to induce Shey into labor tomorrow. Shey's cervix is looking "favorable", the placenta is in the right place, Rowan is turned and in position, and so the conditions are looking better and better for an early delivery.

unfortunately they haven't been able to get Shey's back spasms to stop yet. while the frequency of the spasms have decreased, the intensity has not. because they have not been able to manage Shey's pain adequately yet, we are hoping that Rowan's lungs are mature enough for delivery, and that the "semi-optimism" of our doctor will be confirmed, and Shey will be able to begin labor, with an epidural (!!!!...finally some pain relief) and we will begin the new and exciting adventures of parenthood. hopefully Shey's spasms will cease after delivery, otherwise...well, that would not be fun.

thanks for all the prayers and support. sorry if i haven't been able to get back to you if you have called or emailed...but know that we appreciate all the love...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

from the hospital

hello friends and family,

many of you might have heard that Shey has been in the hospital this week. we came to the hospital on wednesday, june 4 because Shey was having uncontrollable back pains that we just couldn't get to subside and decrease in intensity. to be honest, they were the most painful things to watch shey experience.

it's saturday night, and shey is resting in the hospital bed, still have having some of the spasms that shake her awake into terrible and dehabilitating pain. we are pretty warn out, and will have some more significant decisions to make soon if the doctors continue to be unable to diagnose the problem. this is not to say that our OB's haven't been excellent, because they have, but still, the back spasms have yet to be controlled. they've put my sweet wife on some pretty strong medicines that could be problamatic in the long run, but our doctor's are trying to balance the needs of Rowan and Shey together.

Rowan has been doing his best...his heart beat has been strong and consistent despite the medicines that they have Shey on, and he has been a little active today. one of the few beautiful things to have happened in this ordeal has been to fall asleep to his heatrbeat a couple of nights.

thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers...and sorry if you've called or emailed, or texted me and i haven't been able to get back to you yet. please know that we appreciate all of the love....more that i can even say.

much love,