Travis: He's doing okay. He's got work (high school physics and chemistry), a masters class, bills to pay, a lawn to mow, a wife to tend to, James to visit, and L and Ben to love on. It's a lot for any man to handle but I think he's doing a good job. I think he was greatly recharged by a Friday night with his dad and a Saturday fishing with his brother. People keep telling me that my husband is worth his weight in gold. I already knew that, but it's wonderful to hear others speak so well of him. He's an outstanding man and I wouldn't want to go through my life with anyone else. Especially this part.
Ben: He's doing okay. He has no idea I had a baby, he just knows that I'm gone a lot more. He misses me and it was really hard on him when I couldn't pick him up for a week. Finally, late last week I put him to bed for the first time in awhile. He was so tired, but after he finished his bottle all he did was look at me, with his hands behind his head while he giggled and smiled. He was so happy to be in my arms again, listening to me pray and tell him how much I love him. Now that most of our mornings and nights are back to normal he seems to be a happier boy. Oh! I should also say that he grew a ton in the last two weeks and he has a bunch of teeth that are ready to pop through. And he is so. cute!
L: She's doing a lot better than she was. It's hard on both the kids to have Trav and I come and go to the hospital so much, but it's even harder on her. L doesn't understand why she can't go to the hospital (she's not allowed in the NICU), but she desperately wants to come with us. She'll talk about when I was "sick" - right after James was born - and she'll ask if I'm all better now. She'll ask about James, though I don't know if she really gets that she has another brother. More than anything she is helpful. She would help me to the bathroom when I was too weak to walk after L&D. She would even help me get dressed like she saw her Grandma do the couple days after James' birth. And she loves to help me pump. "Can I help you? Look, it's coming out! It's filling up! Is that for baby James? I love your milk." Maybe I just weirded you out, but I think it's incredibly cute.
Me: I'm tired. Pumping is going well. My body is healing very well. I sway back and forth between worry and blind hope. If it's silent long enough I find myself apologizing to James, either in person or in my head, damned by the thought, "What did I do to my son?" I keep thinking about the passage, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you," and I wonder how who James was will compare to who James will be. I remind myself that God clearly wanted us to have James and that we have no idea why his heart stopped beating. I wonder if this is all part of God's will - the stillborn birth, the 61 minutes, all the damage, all the healing, all the praying, and all the unanswered questions. I constantly pray to God to heal my son. I wonder what the nurses say about me. I eat a lot, not because I'm hungry, but because it's something to do that's normal. I wonder if I'll be fat forever. I wonder if we'll have more kids. I wonder how L and Ben will be around their brother when he finally comes home. I wonder if James will even like it at home. I wonder if I'll be tired forever. I'm tired.
James: Nothing new to report. In many ways he's doing very well. The attempt to feed him with a bottle did not go well. Will you please pray that when they try tomorrow it will? His suck is pretty good, but his gag reflex isn't great and so milk goes into his lungs instead of his tummy. His doctor said that he's made so many improvements in the last 7 days that it's okay for him to rest and take some things slow, but I'd like him to come home in 2 weeks on a bottle, not with a feeding tube surgically placed into his stomach.
In 3 days he'll be done with his antibiotics, which means the iv into his groin comes out, which means I will finally get to do some Kangaroo Care. Skin to skin contact between mother and baby is so important and I hope it helps him heal.
His muscle tone is still not good. Please pray for normal muscle tone.
Lastly, we met with the developmental pediatrician today. He was also concerned about the feedings and muscle tone. He wasn't able to tell us anything with certainty, besides that there was brain damage and James is at risk for disabilities. How deep is the damage? We don't know yet. Will James have cerebral palsy? Maybe. Will it be mild or severe? We don't know yet. Will his body function normally and let him run, walk, dance, and play normally? We don't know yet. Will he be severely mentally retarded or just have ADD or nothing at all or something in between? Yes, it will be one of those things, but which we just don't know yet. The good news is we still have reason to hope. The bad news is we could still get the absolute worst. Please pray that God will heal James' brain.
Please pray for all of us.
Thank you and God bless.