Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I got to hold my son for the first time today! He is still too fragile to be held skin-to-skin, but they lifted him in his little nest and placed him, in his nest, on a pillow on my lap. I held him and sang to him and told him how gorgeous he is for about an hour. He did really well and the nurse said that, as long as he continues to do as well as he is, she sees no reason why I can't hold him for about an hour every day! Wahoo!
We got the results of the echo-cardiogram yesterday and it is GOOD news! The duct in his heart is still there, but it is tiny and therefore they have decided that he does NOT need surgery - thank you Lord!

We have come down quite a bit on Daniel's ventilator settings, which is also great news, AND he is tolerating my breast milk well - he is now on 2ml every 3 hours.

We keep being reminded that this will be a long journey and there are likely to be ups and downs, but we are enjoying an UP right now!

Keep praying mighty army!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hi there! Daniel here!

Thank you for all the prayers you are saying for me. I know that Jesus is working to help me grow big and strong. His presence is with me in this incubator so i’m not scared when Mummy and Daddy have to go home.

Although I have not seen myself in a mirror yet, Mummy tells me that I am the most gorgeous little man that she has ever seen. The nurses seem pretty keen on me too – I think I am going to be quite a hunk when I’m big.

Here are some photo’s of me that Mummy and Daddy took last week.

I am doing pretty well considering I am so tiny. The main things I need to get sorted are:
1) The duct in my heart needs to close completely (I am going to have a scan on Sunday to check. If it has not closed, i'll have surgery next week)
2) I need to start breathing on my own. Hopefully the nurses can start to wean me off the ventilator in the next few weeks.
3) I need to gain weight and start feeding from a bottle/breast.
4) I need to be able to maintain my temperature on my own without needing the incubator.
5) They need to check that my eyes are ok (because i've needed extra oxygen, there is a chance that my eyes might have been affected).
Once all these things are sorted, I can go home!
I can’t wait to meet you all! Please keep praying!

Heaps of love... Daniel x

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our Tribute Poem to our Firstborn Son, Joshua Milagro

We wrote this and read it at Joshua's funeral service today:

Joshua Milagro, our precious firstborn son,
Your life was taken from us before it had begun.
Just 25 short weeks before you came to birth
And 67 minutes you lived upon this Earth.

Five long years we waited for your mummy to conceive
When we learned that she was pregnant we hardly could believe.
In the first twelve weeks of wonder our joy just overflowed,
Until one tragic Wednesday your sack it did explode!

The doctors told us plainly that you were going to die.
They promised just a few days before we’d say goodbye.
But to everyone’s amazement and to our utter pride and joy,
Your little heart kept beating, our courageous fighter boy.

The name ‘Joshua’ means saviour and that’s the role you played
The fact you kept on living meant that in the womb you stayed.
You gave your brother Daniel a fighting chance to live,
The most amazing present that a big brother could give.

When the contractions started the doctors made us choose:
Should we hold you as you died, or let them see what they could do?
Not wanting you to suffer, we left it in their hands
But you came out looking stronger than anyone had planned.

For an hour in the NICU they tried to help you breathe
But your lungs were just too fragile for that target to achieve.
Once all hope was over, we held you as you died
We’ve never known pain like it, oh how we have cried!

As we cuddled you in your blue hat, your face all squished and bruised,
Your countenance displayed a look that was somewhat bemused.
It seemed that you were telling us, in your own unique way,
If this was what this world was like, you would not choose to stay.

Dear Joshua, our precious boy, we’ve learned a lot from you.
You did not hold on to this Earth, preferring heaven’s view.
We pray that we, still living here, would seek to do the same,
Fixing our eyes on things unseen until our crown we claim.

Your grannie, Jane, has gone before two months ahead of you.
Before she died she said she would have loved to cuddle you.
It is a joy for us to know despite the fact you’re gone,
That you are in your grannie’s arms – we’ll see you before long.

This heart-wrenching ordeal has opened eyes to see
A new appreciation of the love God has for me.
That he’d allow his Son to die to save me from my sin
Choosing to thus endure such pain, I scarce can take it in.

Almighty God we consecrate to you our firstborn son.
We do not understand your ways, but pray “Your will be done”.
In recent months, our Shepherd King, you’ve led us through deep pain.
We trust you, Lord, for you are good. Your praises we proclaim!

Monday, February 8, 2010

OK. So the contractions didn't stop. She was returned from the ante-partum area to the Labour and Delivery Suite and at 11.30pm on Sunday night, I was called to come back to the hospital.

Once they wheeled Nicci through to the delivery room, they realised that she was almost entirely dilated and Baby 'A' was already poking through the cervix. By by 12.26am, after only a handful of pushes, Joshua Milagro Gilchrist was born weighing less than 2lb. He was absolutely tiny and squished, but true to form he fought more than everyone expected and rather than just swaddling him while he died, they felt he was strong enough to be intubated and rushed to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Meanwhile, after a short breathing space for Nicci, labour for Baby 'B' started and not long after, after even fewer pushes, Daniel Edward David Gilchrist was born, also weighing less than 2lb, but looking much bigger and less squished than his brother. He also immediately started crying and urinating everywhere, which are apparently both very good signs.

They were both taken to the NICU, and we were both left in shock, waiting to hear news of how they were doing. About an hour later, we were called to say that our precious little man, Joshua Milagro, was not responding to intervention: his lungs were not strong enough to cope with breathing. And so they brought him through to us, a little bundle: smaller than a bag of sugar, weighing next to nothing tucked up in a blanket and a little knitted blue hat. We both got to hold him for the last 10 or so minutes of his life, before his little heart stopped beating, and we committed him into our loving heavenly Father's arms, and took comfort from the fact that he will now be playing with Jesus and his wonderful grandma Janal. Obviously we were both very emotional, but we had largely prepared ourselves for this outcome.

Daniel is looking as good as can be expected for a 25 week old sub-2lb baby. He is still fighting the good fight in the NICU. They just a minute ago called through, and we feared the worst, but the news was quite positive. They are planning on transfusing some new blood, and he is on 70% oxygen. They say what happens is that after the first couple of days (by which time they realise they are no longer in the womb), they start to deteriorate and then later rally. But for the time being, things are hopeful, but still precariously poised. So the next few hours/days are crucial. Do pray that he doesn't deteriorate too bad and that he does rally well!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

OK. So much has happened in the last 24 hours since our last blog post....

During Thursday night Nicci had a slight bleed and some cramping. She phoned our doctor who assured us it was nothing to worry about, but to call back if it continued or got worse. It did both, so he told us to go to the Sequoia hospital to monitor contractions and the babies' heartbeats. She was given an injection designed to stop the contractions. She also had a quick cervical dilation exam (she was, by about 1cm) and was then discharged a couple of hours later (3 am).

We went back to our OB for another ultrasound/sonogram on the Friday morning. Still two heartbeats! He confirmed about the 1cm dilation and sent us home with instructions to continue on bed rest and with a prescription for drugs to put off further cramping/contractions.

In the afternoon, our doctor called us to say he'd discussed our case with two 'high risk' doctors who both independently recommended that Nicci be admitted to a hospital to be under constant supervision. Apparently this is standard procedure (once the 'viability threshold' of 24 weeks is reached) and if there has been an early rupture of amniotic sacks. So, Nicci is now at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, hooked up to an IV drip, various monitors and on various medications and steroids.

In the night she started getting more contractions, some quite strong... After our initial concern that going into the hospital full time might be a bit over-kill, we are convinced she is in the right place. They have tried various things to try and stop the contractions, but she's still feeling them. As I was writing, the anaesthesiologist came by to explain how the anaesthetics would be administered if she was required to undergo a Cesarean Section today. All of us (Nicci, I and all the team here) obviously hope that isn't the case. We were told yesterday that they would normally look to do a C-Section at 34 weeks. We're coming up for 25 weeks. Each week, each day those little ones are still in the womb, the better. Do please pray that the contractions stop!

Nicci's bed is in a small, three-walled room with a pull-across curtain and no windows - a little bit like a prison cell! However, rather than let this get her down she is using the experience to remind her of the Apostle Paul, who was able to rejoice when in prison. She is grateful to God that she has already had the opportunity to tell most of the staff that she's a Christian and was encouraged this morning, when I arrived, to hear how all the doctors on nurses had been telling me how much they all really like her, even though she's been here for less than 24 hours!

Again, do pray that the contractions stop. Praise God that, in the last hour there have been some promising signs. But pray on! Because we want these contractions to disappear and not return for at least another 10 weeks! And do also pray that Nicci will continue to know the Lord's peace, and display that peace, which passes understanding, to the staff here as a testimony to our God!

Nicci has said that she would love to be contacted by text message. Her number is +1.650.346.8417. But, please: text messages only - she's not really up for talking on the phone.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

As I got up and dressed today for our obstetrician appointment, we thought we'd take an update photo so that you can see the progress in the size of my ever expanding bump!

As I look at it now, it doesn't seem that huge, but believe me, it FEELS enormous!!!
We had not been to the Obstetricians for 2 weeks and so we were keen to see what was going on in there! To our relief, there was really no change. I still show no sign of going into labour any time soon. Baby B is still growing normally, he's active and DEFINITELY a boy (he gave us a very clear view this morning!). Our little fighter (baby A) is significantly smaller with no real sign of any movement (apart from the ever present, strong heart beat!). The consultants continue to be amazed at this little one's persistent hold on life, but it is very likely he will not survive outside the womb (unless the Lord does something miraculous!). We continue to trust and rest in God's all sovereign, totally wise and overwhelmingly loving plan for our lives!