It was such a joyous sound when we heard her first cry! Throughout the pregnancy and especially since finding out June 13th she had a problem with her brain we have prayed fervently for her. As he did with all our other babies, nightly Mark would reach over and place a hand on my tummy and pray specifically for this new life. With Miss Airdrie there have literally been hundreds of friends and family around the world lifting her up in prayer. And the prayer would be nothing without the loving, compassionate and merciful God who hears them. We have seen so much grace extended to us--to Airdrie just in the past few weeks alone.
To get an idea of the numbers, of just how far-reaching "Sally-Pink's" story is we've considered doing a FaceBook posting asking those who have prayed for her to "Like" the post and those who have church families who have prayed to "comment" with the church's name. Keep an eye-out if we do decide to do this...
Once I was stitched up and had Airdrie nestled against me to nurse I was wheeled to a recovery area where I was able to Skype-call my dad and sister, Catlin, in the US. Mark and my mom were still with me until I was moved to the post-natal ward. Once there visiting hours were over and they had to head home--a daunting thought to still-numb and recovering me!
Grandma, my mom, holding Airdrie for the first time!
(not me in the background, just another recovering c-section mom--remember there are wards here and NO privacy!)
Daddy and his baby girl.
When I was in the ward I had finished feeding Airdrie again and had her in her bassinet beside my bed. A midwife making rounds came by and stopped and asked me who was "making those sounds." I told her it was my baby--Airdrie had been making precious little cooing sounds. Precious little cooing sounds are a sign of duress in newborns. The midwife immediately called a paediatrician who came up and examined Airdrie. Her verdict was that Airdrie needed to be in the neo-natal unit (I'll refer to as NICU from now on) for observation.
NICU gave me this picture of Airdrie Friday morning to have with me. Sweet, but sad I had to have a photo with me instead of my baby!
For what seemed the hundredth time in that hospital, I cried. I was still partially numb (complete with a catheter), completely dependent upon my little buzzer button to have assistance in any small task, by myself in a ward filled with women and their new babies! I had Mark's phone with me so I immediately posted to our network and FaceBook for our prayer warriors to again lift Miss Airdrie up. I had instructed the midwife that Airdrie was doing on-demand feedings and for the NICU to call me any time she wanted to nurse.
When Mark came on Friday morning it was a relief to me. I had an awful experience trying to shower 18 hours after having a c-section and losing 1.7 liters of blood. Again, that whole humility thing came to play when I had to pull the emergency cord...in the shower! It was nice to not have to rely on the midwives and auxiliary staff for any little need. The x-ray came back showing some fluid in Airdrie's lungs so she was to remain in NICU.
Friday afternoon there was a scheduled scan to check for hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain, as Airdrie has the cyst that can cause her ventricles to possibly block the normal flow of the fluid cushion around the brain). Mark was able to have some bonding time with Airdrie then while waiting for the scan. It ended up being rescheduled for later on. We wanted to be with her every minute but with a baby in NICU (in this hospital anyhow) you can't spend the time you'd like with them. We were allowed only about an hour each visit.
We actually were not present for the scan as they took Airdrie back as soon as they had an opening. Mark phoned the unit and got the good news that the scan showed no hydrocephalus present at that time! I later met with the head paediatrician and he had Airdrie scheduled in for an MRI (we're still waiting the date for that) and had gotten in touch with the neurologist at the Children's Hospital there in Aberdeen.
Airdrie in NICU, looking like her big sister, Caithness.
In NICU daddy had to wear a lovely plastic apron.
Daddy-daughter bonding time.
Friday evening (right before Mark had to leave!) Airdrie was moved to an incubator instead of her bassinet, put on a monitor for her pulse and oxygen rate and they discussed wanting to put an IV in because her blood sugars were low after feedings. This was because we had gotten "off" with our feeding sessions because I was trying to maintain a a schedule. They began taking Airdrie's blood sugar after I sat trying to nurse her for a half hour and she didn't eat. No surprise that it was low, she had just slept the entire time!
Very late Friday night as I was trying in vain to wake Airdrie for her 3 hourly feeding a kind NICU nurse suggested that I go back to bed and they'd call me when Airdrie wanted to eat. A solid hour and a half of REM sleep later I was summoned and was able to get Airdrie to eat! We were back on track and from that point on did on-demand feeding.
Sweet Airdrie in the incubator...breaks a momma's heart!
Pulse and oxygen intake monitor.
Loving on my baby girl.
Changing a diaper in the incubator is challenging.
Throughout this next stage of my time in the hospital I met an entirely new group of Dr's, patients, and midwives. Two stand out in my mind because I was asked point-blank about my faith. It takes me back a bit because I always expect people to veer away from that topic. I pray that the Spirit spoke through me when I shared what God had done for me.
As always, I was able to use our experience with Sally-Pink as a shining example of a loving God who sustains us no matter what. It was especially hard, and not without many tears, that I explained to a fellow patient that we still are unsure of the future...things may not work as we want them to. No matter what, no matter the cost we will still say "Blessed be Your name." As I type this I have tears still...please pray with us for Airdrie. I love my baby so, SO much, but I know I do not, I cannot love her more than our Heavenly Father does.
By Saturday afternoon I was told Airdrie was doing well enough to room with me in the ward! I was so excited and even more so after just getting that news to turn around and see Mark, Caedmon, Caithness, and Aberdeen in the NICU! They were enthralled with her and they all 3 sang a song "Tonight You Belong To Me" to her right then and there. I couldn't see I was crying so hard. God has blessed us beyond measure!
The moment my entire family is united in NICU!
First family photo!
Caedmon Middleton and Airdrie Abileen
Caithness Maela and Airdrie Abileen
Aberdeen Daye and Airdrie Abileen
Me, Aunt Jilly and Airdrie
With my momma--3 generations!
Hospital receiving blankets
That hair! She has in-utero highlights somehow!
Getting ready to go HOME! After 12 days for me and 4 days for Airdrie!
One more night in the hospital and I was able to go home as soon as Mark and Jillian came and picked us up after church Sunday. We've had our struggles since then--Airdrie is either a very lazy or a very content baby and she rarely lets us know when she's hungry. She had lost a little over 10% of her body weight.
As of Friday, though, she had gained back 5 ounces! Thank you Lord! We had to and still do to keep an eye on the clock, especially at night, and wake her every 4 hours to nurse. Mark will then give her a bottle of expressed milk to top her up. There are the challenges of having 4 children, but our friends and church family have been wonderful and do my laundry daily, bring us supper and take the "big kids" out and about. We are SO grateful for this as I'm still healing and Mark has to work.
Upon arriving home...
Finally at home--my precious little family!
Thank you for praying. We know this has helped us through many dark and uncertain hours and will continue to sustain our family as we navigate the unknowns. Looking back it is even more unfathomable that so many times we were asked if we "wanted to continue with the pregnancy." Airdrie is such a gift to us and has already shown herself to be a an ambassador for Jesus--sharing without words God's faithfulness.
We will let everyone know when we get blood test results and have future Dr's and MRI dates scheduled. As it is we are taking one day at a time and trusting in the Father for all uncertainties.
Again, thank you, thank you...words are inadequate.
Our precious Airdrie Abileen