Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Aiden's 1st Birthday Party - Sat, May 29th.

Aiden's birthday party was so much fun, and I wanted to share some pictures from his party (over two weeks ago now, but better late than never, right?!)  It was a great time with family and friends and we have much to be thankful for.  We had a backyard BBQ, cake inside, and then headed back outside for Aiden to open gifts. 

The Birthday Boy and his cake table!!

I did a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" theme because he loves books, and this is a book that's been very special to me.  The favours were gummy worms in bags that said: "Thanks for 'inching' your way to my party, Love, Aiden".  I got the idea for the caterpillar cupcake cake online, along with several other ideas, and loved how it turned out.  I covered cardboard with white butcher paper and painted "Happy 1st Birthday Aiden" on it for the cake board.  I used Red and Leaf Green Icing Color (rather than regular food coloring) to get the rich color, and piped the icing on with a icing tip.  The caterpillar eyes and nose were jelly beans and I cut black pipe-cleaner for the legs and glued it down to the board.  The antenna was purple construction paper I cut out and glued to the board. 

The banner I painted.

More inside decor.

I forgot to take pictures of the bbq food after we'd set it up and when people arrived, but here's the way the tables looked set up before hand.  We had hamburgers, hotdogs, "caterpillar" fruit skewers (strawberry heads, and green grape bodies - I loved this idea!), chips, pop, applesauce for the babies, and watermelon like in the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Aiden enjoying the arrival of some little friends he sees every week in our church nursery. (I love this one... they look like they're having some fascinating coversation!!)

All the babies crawling... his cousin Josiah is top left. 

Daddy with the birthday boy, and the sand/water table he now loves.

Grandma D, Grandma T, Ken and Ann Marie

Josh and mom, Sherri

Logan, and mom, Michelle

Bronte, and mom, Kelly

Geno and Regan

Brandon, Drew and my dad throwing balls with the kids

Group shot - the babies and kids almost liked the balls more than the inflated bouncy castle.

After eating dinner outside, we headed back in to sing "Happy Birthday" and for the cake!

Aiden's smash cake... I just made a larger version of a cupcake. 

He was fairly cautious at first....

Then a little more eager....

By the end...
Yes, he was wide awake much later than normal that night!!  He loved his cake!

Cousin Miriam waiting patiently for her cake while Aiden had his first.

Back outside to open gifts...

He received lots of great books (which he loves right now), clothes and some toys from the Grandparents.  He's a very blessed little boy!

It was such a fun day, and I can't believe my boy is now 1 year and two weeks old as of today!  This time last year he had made a turn for the better in the NICU. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Aiden's NICU Story - Part 2 - June 2009

It's hard to believe that this time last year we had just found out that Aiden was going to pull through ok.  We didn't know at the time, but the mortality rate for newborns with Bacterial Meningitis is about 30% worldwide.  We praise God for healing our little boy, and we see every day we have with him as a gift from God. 

This is the rest of his story (word-for-word from my journal during this time last year):

Saturday, June 13, 2009:
Aiden is 11 days old now.  He's such a cutey and every time I hold him I can hardly believe God has given him to us.  Brandon is such a good daddy already, and he loves to snuggle with him after I feed him.  Aiden has been in the NICU for one week now.  He came in last Saturday very weak and lethargic and not feeding at all.  Brandon and I stayed overnight in one of the "Care By Parent" rooms for the first 3 nights until Tuesday, and then we started sleeping at home.  Wednesday morning (June 10) I came in and found out he was scheduled for an MRI at 9:30am.  He had to get a temporary IV for the dye contrast.  Normally Aiden receives his antibiotics through a permanent PICC line (a tiny cathetar that they put in that goes towards the heart), instead of the more temporary IV.  (He's had problems with the PICC line as well, and they've placed it through both his arms and head).  Anyway, then I walked down with him and the nurse and waited as he got the MRI.  It's a bit scary for a little newborn.  It turns out he was pretty energetic during the MRI and actually ripped out his own IV! 

For the first 5 days in the NICU he still had a lot of problems breast-feeding.  I would pump after every feeding and Brandon would feed Aiden my breastmilk by bottle.  The feedings are on a schedule of 9am, 12, 3, 6, 9, 12, 3am and 6am daily.  Well all of a sudden, starting on Thurs., June 11, Aiden made a turn for the better!  I came in in the morning and he actually had the strength to latch on for the 9am feeding and continued sucking for over 1/2 hour!  We weigh him after every feeding and this time he got over 50 ml's by breast!  He'd never been able to take more than 20 ml's before, and usually 0.  This was a huge breakthrough.  Since that morning 2 days ago, we haven't had to use a bottle at all when we are there, and he's taken up to 74 ml's at one feeding (last night).  Yesterday, Friday (June 12), we also got the wonderful news that Aiden's MRI results came back that his brain looked completely normal, and there was no damage from the bacteria in the spinal fluid around his brain.  Praise God!!!  Looking back now after 8 days since we knew for sure Aiden was sick, it is amazing to see how God has carried us through this all.  Last Fri/Sat felt so hopeless in many ways, with one piece of bad news after another, but even during that time, I can look back and see how God was working to give us hope and trust during such a scary time. 

Yesterday, Mary Kay (the nurse in the Maternal Newborn Clinic who decided that she wasn't going to let us leave the hospital until Pediatrics checked Aiden out) came down to the NICU to visit us.  I thanked her and started crying, so grateful that God chose to use her to get Aiden in and treatment started before it was too late.  If not for her, Aiden would have just been sent home, and we would have had to assume that he just wasn't a good breastfeeder or that I wasn't good at breastfeeding, or that he was just tired alot. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009:
Holly came to visit Friday -Sun (June 12-14).  Mom was still up (she was here from the day Aiden was born until the following Monday (June 2-8th), and then back up Wed-Sat (June 10-13).  She has been the biggest blessing we could ever imagine.  Dad was here Thurs- Mon. (June 4-8th), and was able to talk alot with the doctors.  We've had lots of visitors... Brandon's mom, his brothers Justin and Drew and their familiies, Pastor Bruce has come twice and prayed with us, Jessica P., Dr. Doerksen, Christine, Sheryl, Kyrsten, Mike and Ivy and more to come.  Debbie and Alyssa, Wink and Josh and lots of family visited us back when were were originally in the hospital after birth too. 

Aiden's doing better and better each day.  I'm still coming in to spend each day all day with him while Brandon has had to go back to work.  He comes straight here every evening after work.  Dr. Nwaisi was his NICU doctor last week.  This week, Dr. Adie has been his doctor.  All the doctors and nurses are wonderful here and we're so thankful for them!

Friday, June 26th, 2009:
Aiden is being released today (after 3 weeks in the hospital)!!!  We've been back up in Pediatrics (for less serious babies) since Monday, June 22, and I've been rooming in and providing 24-hour care for Aiden.  He's still been hooked up to all the meds of course.  He's still breast-feeding well.  He loves to be rocked and cuddled to sleep now.  I already can't impagine life without him.  I love him so much more than I ever could have imagined!  Praise you, God, for healing our little boy!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Aiden's NICU story - June 2009 (Part 1)

(This comes word-for-word from the journal I kept during this time last year)

Monday, June 8, 2009:
Aiden James Taylor, our beautiful baby boy, was born on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 12:16pm.  He has his daddy's eyes I think, and a full head of brown hair with blonde highlights.  He's 6lbs, 8 oz. 

What a week this has been.  We started noticing that he seemed very tired and was not waking up to feed/showing no interest in feeding even when we were still in the hospital after his birth.  (After breast-feeding for 5 mins right after birth, he was unable to breastfeed like that again). His billy ruben was a bit high (jaundice), so an appointment was made for us to come back in to the hospital on Friday morning, June 5, for follow-up blood work.  We were discharged from the hospital originally on Thursday, June 4, in the evening, so were only home with Aiden for about 14 hours before being back in the hospital. (Brandon and I were pretty much up almost all Thursday night trying to breastfeed/pump/feed him, because we were told he needed to eat every 2 hours through the night since he was losing too much weight).  My parents were with us during this whole time so they were an amazing support.  My mom cooked meals, they shopped, planted flowers and weeded. 

When we came back to the hospital on Friday, June 5, we went up to the Pediatric floor after the Billy Ruben blood work, because we thought the nurse had set up an appt to figure out why Aiden seemed so sleepy.  Because of some mix-up though they didn't have record of our Pediatric appointment.  So Pediatrics sent us back down the the Maternal Newborn Clinic to meet with a breast-feeding consultant, because they thought maybe it was just a breast-feeding problem.  After Mary Kay (the breast-feeding consultant) saw how long it took to feed him and how sleepy/lethargic he was, she told us that she wouldn't let us leave without getting us an appt back up with Pediatrics. (She had no idea then, but this simple act possibly saved Aiden's life!) 

Finally we went back up to Peds for an appointment, and a resident asked us lots of questions, and then decided to do some bloodwork/cultures and start an IV for Aiden to get fluids.  (It was so hard to watch his little heal pricked over and over again, but we were thankful they were finally checking into things). The bloodwork came back quickly and it showed that his white blood cell count was low in the blood (about 4.9 if I remember right).  10 is normal.  Dr. Butler (the Pediatric Doctor on duty) came in to tell us she was somewhat concerned about this because it showed that he probably had an infection. She went over different possibilities and I remember her briefly mentioning the word "meningitis" as a worst-case scenario, but it didn't seem likely. 

(first night in Peds)

They admitted him then, and he was rolled into the room we stayed in Friday and Saturday.  They started him on antibiotics.  Then they rolled him into another room to attempt a Spinal Tap (Lombard Puncture) to check for infection around the brain.  The spinal tap didn't work after 2 doctors tried several times.  (This was all happening so quickly and was very overwhelming; we started calling our parents/pastor and getting the word out to pray.  My parents packed bags of clothing for us and came out to the hospital).  This was very hard on Brandon and I as it was all happing at once and he's so little.  We cried alot on Friday and Saturday.  The doctors also had to insert a catheter into his newly circumsized penis to get a urine sample for analysis.  Friday night we stayed in the Pediatric room and Aiden slept in the isolet with the billy lights (since he still had some jaundice) and with his eyes all covered up.   The billy ruben went down fine quickly that night which made the doctors know he definitely had an infection. 
(in the isolet in Peds)

Saturday we met Dr. DiSilva, a Neonatal Specialist.  He attempted the Spinal Tap again and this time it worked the first time.  Soon we got the news that things were alot worse than we'd expected.  The spinal fluid was completey cloudy they said, and it showed that he had Meningitis.  Basically a healthy baby would have about 30 white blood cells in the spinal fluid to fight bacteria.  Aiden had over 1,200 white blood cells in his spinal fluid, which meant that his body was working overtime to kill the bacterial infection.  Dr. DiSilva explained it as "calling in the troops".  We were basically in shock by the news, and it was really hard.  Dr. DiSilva met with us to explain everything, and he just kept saying it's very serious.  The nurses started coming in only with masks on and they put up a warning sign on the door to our room where Aiden was.  We were told Aiden would be transferred immdiately to the NICU where he would need to stay for three weeks.  The original spinal fluid culture was taken after antibiotics were already started, so they couldn't identify which specific bacteria caused the meningtis.  That's why Aiden needs 3 full weeks in here.  He's such a trooper, and words can't describe how much we love him. 

Aiden's "home" in the NICU:
(The temperature is set at around 80 degrees F in his isolet, so he's nice and warm, and looks so peaceful).
The sign someone made for him that hangs over his isolet.  It has Psalm 139:  13-14.... "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

To Be Continued.......

Aiden's Birth Story (on his 1st Birthday)

Aiden James Taylor was born on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 12:16pm.  He weighed 6 lbs, 8 oz. at birth and was 18 1/2 in. long.  It was love at first sight! 

During the last couple weeks of my pregnancy, I had begun having high blood pressure along with swelling in my feet.  My doctor took me off work on May 8th, and I began the eager waiting process.  I had to check my blood pressure 3 times a day, and overall it was only a little high, until I'd go to my OB and then I'd have white-coat syndrome, get nervous, and my blood pressure would go up. 

On Monday, June 1st, I went in for my last weekly OB appt, and my blood pressure was very high (I'm not sure exactly but it was definitely over 140/90), so my doctor said that they were going to induce me before it got any higher.  My appointment was at 2pm at her office, and she asked me to meet her at the hospital at 4pm.  At the hospital, Brandon met me, and they inserted a foley catheter which is supposed to cause you to dialate to 2 cm, and then the catheter just falls out.  It was fairly easy and then they kept us for another 45 mins or so to monitor, and then told us to go home and get a good night's sleep and come back the next day to have the baby!

So we left and went from there to Subway for dinner. Well...... I started having contractions in Subway.... only an 1 and 1/2 hours after the foley catheter was put in!... (my OB had said the catheter may cause me to feel some mild contractions, but it probably wouldn't be much, so we were surprised at how fast they came on!)  After Subway, we decided to get ice cream, and by this time they were actually starting to hurt pretty badly.  Brandon was supposed to be playing hockey with the guys at church, and so we started back to the church so he could open up the church for them at 6:45pm.  By this time in the evening, they were coming every 4-5 mins and were uncomfortable, so Brandon and I decided he shouldn't play hockey and we went home to try to get a good night of sleep.  We had our hospital bags all packed and were all ready, so we were pretty excited!  I made some calls and emails to family telling them Aiden would be born the next day, and then it was around 9PM on June 1st.  We decided to go to bed since we probably wouldn't be getting much sleep for the next several weeks. 

Well, that didn't happen.  By 11pm contractions were coming every 3 mins, so we called the nurse at the hospital and she said we could come in if we thought we should.  But we wanted to labor at home as long as possible.  The contractions started getting more painful, and I was using a rice heating pack to ease the pain, but I couldn't sleep. 

By about 2AM, contractions were coming every 1 and 1/2 to 2 mins and were very painful!!!!!  I couldn't do anything by now, but pace the house, bend down over the table or counter when the contractions came, and take a warm bath, then shower to try to ease the pain.  But since my doctor had said that the catheter is supposed to just fall out once you've dialated to 2 cm (which it normally does!), and since it hadn't come out, I just figured I was a wimp when it came to pain.  I thought I still wasn't even 2 cm after all the labor I'd been doing all night.  It was a rough night. 

Finally after laboring all night at home, we called the hospital and they said to come in at 8AM (Tues, June 2nd).  At this point I was kind of out of my mind, and the car ride to the hospital probably looked pretty funny to drivers next to us on the roads!  We got checked in easily and went straight up to triage, where the nurses were waiting for us.  We got right into the delivery room, and they hooked me all up with the fetal monitor. 

Then Dr. B (my OB) came in at 8:30AM to check me...... she looked at me with a big smile and said that I was already almost 5 cm and in the middle of active labor!!!! She said the foley catheter must have just gotten stuck!!! This felt so good to hear, because I'd still thought I was less than 2 cm...... it felt good to know that I'd been making really good progress all night, and that I'd actually gone through a huge part of the labor on my own (with Brandon of course) at home!!!! She broke my water, and they started pitocin, and for the first half hour things were still kind of the same as what I'd been going through all night.... So I told them I'd wait a bit longer for the epidural, because they said I was handly the pain well.

All of a sudden, about a half hour after starting the pitocin (about 10am), the contractions started coming almost back to back and REALLY strong (from the pitocin).... and I suddenly needed that epidural very badly!! By this time I was already about 8 cm only 2 hours after coming into the hospital.  Unfortunately the anesthesiologist was working on several patients at the same time and it was now delayed.  I was kind of going crazy and screaming for Brandon to hunt down the anesthesiologist :).  Finally, I got the epidural around 11AM.  The nurse did a check to see how it was working though, and she tested different spots, saying I should feel pressure but not cold.  I could still feel cold!  I don't think it fully kicked in honestly.  Very soon after, I started feeling A LOT of pressure, and they checked and I was 10cm and ready to push!! 

I started pushing and the nurse asked if Brandon (who had been attempting to hold my hand/comfort me through all this) wanted to see the head!!  At first he was apprehensive, but once he looked, he was absolutely amazed, and couldn't stop watching the whole process.  He kept talking about all the hair on Aiden's head, and giving me a play-by-play, but I was not in a state of mind to really think about anything but pushing.  There got to be a point in the last 2 pushes where I thought the pain was almost completely too unbearable, and I felt that all I could do was give up, but then one more push and all of a sudden Aiden was born!!!!!  It was 12:16pm. 

He arrived so quickly that my mom didn't even make it on time for his birth ... we'd been telling her there was no way he'd be born until Tues late afternoon or evening! 

When Aiden came out, they immdiately put him on my chest, and I just cried tears of joy and Brandon and I just stared in awe at him.  There is no other moment on earth like this!!  Finally we got to meet him after 9 months of loving him on the inside.  They took him again and did all his weight and stats, etc. and diapered him, put a hat on him, and then brought him back to us. A nurse helped me try to breast-feed him and he latched on and breastfed for about 5 mins. Then they left us alone for about 1/2 hour, and it was the most special time, just the three of us, that I will always remember... our new family of three!  We just cuddled him and looked at all his little features and drank him in.  He just kept looking up at me with his beautiful blue eyes, and I knew he knew that I was his mommy. 

My mom arrived just about 45 mins after his birth and it was so wonderful to have her there.  They took us to the room we'd stay in for the next two days, and Brandon started making calls to announce his arrival.  Aiden got a little bath, and we dressed him in the outfit we'd brought for him. 

I couldn't believe how small and precious he was!

Brandon's mom and his brothers came to meet Aiden on Wednesday, and my dad arrived from IN. on Thursday.  We had friends from church visit too, and my sister came to meet him the following week. We were so thankful for all the love and support of all our family and friends at this time, even though we had no idea at that time how sick he would become, and how much we would need their support. I will try to tell his NICU story in the next post.

Today is Aiden's 1st Birthday, and we're so thankful for his birth and for his incredible first year! He is our gift from God!

My Pregnancy with Aiden-- August 30, 2008-June 2, 2009

Brandon and I found out that we were pregnant on Saturday, September 27, 2008.   I can still remember that day now.... it was only about 5:30 or 6AM, and I'd just taken a pregnancy test.  I came back into our bedroom where Brandon was, and I was crying tears of joy, asking Brandon if he actually saw the second line on the test too.... I thought maybe I was imagining things.  We were so excited from day 1, and thankful to God for this new gift of life!  It's hard to imagine life without our sweet boy now, but at this time all we knew was that we were having a baby and he or she was exactly the child that God had planned for us all along!

We enjoyed keeping our secret to ourselves for a couple weeks (amazingly!), and then told both our parents together when my parents came up for a visit in October. 

Our first ultrasound of Aiden (though we didn't know it was a boy!) in November 2008 at about 12 weeks:

It was love at first sight after seeing our baby on ultrasound, and we couldn't believe how blessed we were.  I loved my whole pregnancy, and only had mild morning sickness for the first trimester, and a bit of swelling in my feet during the last month. 

14 weeks (very end of November, 2008):

December, 2008:

We found out it was a boy in January at our 20-week ultrasound, and quickly decided on his name:  Aiden James.

Febrary, 2009, at my Indy shower:

April, 2009 (Windsor- Campbell Baptist Shower):


End of April, 2009 (on our vacation to Gatlinburg, TN at 34 weeks):

May, 2009 (last couple weeks before Aiden's arrival):