Monday, January 30, 2012

Living up to his Name!

The newest member of our family, Josiah has been living up to his name and wants to remind us all that the Lord Saves.  He has given us quite the fright a few times this last week.

Josiah recovering on our couch after his first "episode."

Last Sunday night I woke up and had a feeling that I needed to check on Josiah, and when I did, I noticed he wasn't breathing well.  He would take several deep breaths and then stop breathing all together.  We woke up Erin, a NICU nurse that was here for a few days, as well as Sheila our nurse.  They came upstairs and told us that he was forgetting to breath.  She timed him for a minute and he stopped breathing 5 times.  Some of these pauses would be for 10 seconds and he would need to be rubbed hard to reminded to breath.  We started him on oxygen and he eventually became more stable.

Monday evening Erin was holding Josiah and noticed that he quit breathing for 20 seconds.  We immediately put him on oxygen again. His pauses were more often and for much longer than they had been that morning.  She called Jan, our executive director and was encouraged to take Josiah to the hospital.  I knew this was best, but wasn't excited as this would mean taking him off of oxygen for at least the 30 min drive.  He was really bad in the car and quit breathing a lot.  Erin even had to breath into his mouth a few times to snap him back out of it.  At one point she asked how much longer and when we said 10 mins, she said good because he wouldn't make it longer than that.  I was a mess and Nick was driving faster than we ever have in Haiti!

We arrived at the Hospital and he was put on oxygen right away.  A large group of every type of visiting  doctors you can imagine were there waiting to consult with him when we arrived.  They did an ECHO on him which came back clear.  We even had a heart surgeon verify the ECHO and he agreed.  Lab work was done right away.  The original plan was to intibate him, but he responded really well to the oxygen and became stable, so they decided to stick with that. They spent several hours watching him and checking everything you can imagine.  His lab work came back clear the next morning.

I ended up spending that night in the hospital with him and Nick spent the following Night there.  Spending the night in the hospital isn't quite what I'm sure your imagining.  The Peds Ward is one giant room full of all the kids and their guardians.  All the cribs are right next to each other and it's jammed packed.  There is no room for beds for the parents, so instead, each is offered a plastic chair to sleep in for days on end while they wait for their childs health to improve.  I was blessed, my chair was new and not broken like many of the others.  Half way through the night I couldn't handle it anymore as I had been up the whole night before with him.  I had to get some sleep and that plastic chair wasn't doing it.  I decided I didn't care what anyone else thought, I crawled in Josiah's crib and got about an hour and a half of sleep before I was woke up by another Mom who let me know that I wasn't holding my child right.  We often get that kind of advice here, regardless of how we hold babies.  Regardless to say, I was pretty dang exhausted the next day.  In three days I slept for about 6 hours.  I almost fainted at one point due to exhaustion, but Nick gave me that night off and I slept for 10.5 hours, so I was able to recover.

Anyways, back to Josiah.

Josiah in the Hospital.  On oxygen, an IV in his scalp, and an NG tube in his nose!
His breathing was really labored Tuesday morning and he was retracting a lot, which means that his breaths were deep and would cave in so much you could see all his ribs. They were pretty concerned about the way he looked that morning.  His coloring was off, his feet had edema (swelling), and his stomach was bloated.  They decided to do a chest X-ray to see if it was pneumonia or something else.  This also came back clear.

Basically after all of this, they have decided that its just RSV, a virus, and theres nothing they can do except let it clear up on its own.  He was able to come home late Wednesday night and he hasn't been on oxygen since.  The car ride was a bit stressful for him and he quit breathing a few times, but has been very stable ever since.  We have been giving Josiah 24 hour care since he came home and will have to continue that for a while as we can't trust that he'll continue breathing on his own. Nick and I are splitting night shifts in half and taking turns going downstairs to work.  My Mom and step dad are coming next week to help with the older two and to take shifts with him as well!  He is drinking well and now weighs 4# 7 oz!

Thank you so much for your prayers during all of this.  It has been a long week, but we are so thankful for all the people God put in place these last few days to help care for our little boy.  We couldn't be happier with the care he has been given by both the international as well as Haitian medical personnel! 

We named him Josiah because we feel that the Lord saved his life when he was first born.  He also saved his life the day we went back to the hospital.  The kid just wants to live up to his name, but hopefully won't have to any more!  Please continue praying for him as he is still incredibly fragile.  And please pray for strength for Nick and I as we are already pretty tired from getting up with him and the incredibly busy week we have had! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Waiting on Siah!

I spent 8 days from the time I was matched with Josiah until my baby came home.  Those 8 days were incredibly difficult.  When I thought about him, my stomach literally hurt.  All I could think about was having him home so that I could love on him and fatten him up.  I knew he was getting decent care in the hospital, but it wasn't the same.  He wasn't getting loved by his Mommy and Daddy.  I just kept thinking that every day he spent there, away from us, would make his bonding and attachment much more difficult.

Although I hated those 8 days, I'm so thankful I was able to experience them.  Those 8 days helped me understand a small piece of what our adoptive families feel every day.

I know the adoptive Moms reading this right now are thinking I have no idea, I had to wait 8 days while many of them have already waited 18 months and still don't have their child home.

I would assume that in some ways, my waiting period was much harder, but in many ways it was much easier!

I am so thankful that I was able to go see my baby everyday.  To give Josiah hugs and kisses.  To ask the nurses how he was drinking and to get a daily update on his weight.  Being able to see him during this time was a huge blessing.  But every time I visited, I also had to leave, which broke my heart.  It was so difficult to leave my LITTLE bundle of joy there.  It was hard to know that I was only 15 minutes away from Josiah but wasn't allowed to take him home.  I was so close, yet so far away!

I knew the quality of care Josiah was getting, and therefore was able to sleep a little better at night.  Had I never seen where he was living, as most of our adoptive parents have not, I would have been a wreck thinking of all the possible things that could have gone wrong.  I would probably have assumed he was in the worst place imaginable and drove myself crazy worrying about him.

I was also blessed to be able to build a strong relationship with the nurses who were caring for him.  It's possible that we might have bribed them with drinks at least once to try and get on their good side.  I was able to thank them every day for caring for my little man while I couldn't, and I was also able to remind them every single day how much I loved him and that they therefore should too.  I'm glad I was able to communicate with them and know their culture well enough to know how far I could and couldn't push the discharge conversation!  We were able to joke with them and shared a few laughs, which we all enjoyed!  They went from calling me the usual 'Lagossette' (the village we live in) to 'Nikki!'

I think of all our adoptive families who have no idea who is caring for their child.  Who would love to be able to shower them with gifts to show their appreciation and who would give anything to remind them that their child is loved and a part of someones family.  Our parents would give anything to know how their child ate and how they were doing every single day.  For these things I am beyond blessed.

Now when I hear of adoptive parents worrying about things that seem ridiculous to me, I will have a little more understanding and compassion for what they are going through.

To our adoptive parents out there, know that although we would love to get your child home to you ASAP, they really are in a great place!  We have some AMAZING women who care for them daily.  We are doing the best we can to honor these women and help them feel appreciated, which directly affect the care they provide to your little one!  We are trying the best we can to process their paperwork quickly.  Know that your child is being showered in love and that our nannies pray for your babies and for you EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Josiah-The Lord Saves

Apparently there is a Haitian Proverb that says something along the lines of "when your child is old enough to bend over and look between their legs, it's time for the next child!" Well Eventz has been doing this for months now and every time I say "look Nick, Eventz is asking for a sibling again!" 

Nick and I have been wanting to add to our family for a long time, but have been waiting for the right timing. We didn't want to just adopt any child but instead wanted to wait until we met a child that we instantly knew was ours. We also had a few things we were looking for, for example, we really wanted a newborn since Eventz was 9 months old when we got him. Now the time frame that we have been waiting for may be a little bit different for each of us, but for me, I have been keeping my eye out for nearly a year now! 

Last Tuesday, Nick received a call that there was a 28 day old baby at the hospital that would be coming to our care and was for adoption. We learned the very basics of the child's story, which is very limited. We both knew almost instantly that this was our child. We had no idea if the baby was a boy or a girl, what the babies health status was, or anything, but we knew that he or she was ours! We were excited when we heard the report later that day that the baby was a healthy little 2.5 lb boy! 

We talked and prayed about him for about a day and a half and then that Thursday we called our staff in the States to see if we could adopt him. They asked to think about it. We were worried what this would mean, but decided to go see him for the first time anyways! My heart melted instantly and it was definitely love at first sight. I couldn't quit kissing this tiny little body. I just wanted to take him home right then and there and shower him with love. But I couldn't because I wasn't even approved to adopt him yet. 

On Friday afternoon we discussed it again with our staff and received the official approval to add this baby to our family! Both Nick and I were extremely excited for this news! We decided to name him Josiah, which means the Lord saves. We thought this was pretty good since the Lord definitely saved this little guy! Over the course of the next eight days, we went and visited him everyday. Our trips were never very long as we would always go during Eventz and Wedly's nap time, which means we had to hurry back before they woke up. Each time I left my baby there it was incredibly difficult. I so desperately wanted to stay with him, but theres no where in the NICU for parents, so my only option would have been to sleep outside on the hard wooden benches with the other new moms. Although I'm normally up for an adventure, this wasn't really something that was realistic. Plus I have two other kids at home that I have to care for in addition to all my other responsibilities here. 

For 8 days we went and visited our baby boy. We held him each time, we kissed him, sang to him, and told him all about his big brother and how he had to get fattened up quick cause Eventz would want to wrestle with him! Even though he was 5 weeks old, he was still be low his birth weight and not gaining any. We requested that they change his formula to a higher calorie one. After a few days they did that. Then we asked that they change from feeding him every 3 hours to every 2 hours. Sometimes this happened, sometimes it didn't. After 8 days I couldn't take it any more. Josiah was perfectly healthy and the only reason he was in the hospital was because he was to tiny. He weighed 1.2 kg and they said he had to weigh 1.5 to come home, but he just wasn't gaining. There was nothing being done for him at the hospital that we couldn't do for him at home. We have cared for a lot of premies in our time here, a few of which were even smaller then him. We knew what we were doing and really wanted our baby home with us. 

Finally on Saturday I decided it was time. I went to the hospital early in morning and waited all day to talk to the doctor. Thankfully we had gotten to know each other quite well these past few days. After discussing it (which was incredibly difficult because she's cuban and although she knows a little Creole, when she speaks, she often forgets what language she's supposed to be using and switches back and forth constantly) we both agreed it was probably in Josiah's best interest for him to come home! 

So now I'm laying on my bed, baby boy on my chest, and writing all about him! We announced it to our family Saturday night after he came home. They were all able to Skype with him and see just how cute he is! Eventz wasn't sure what to think of his little brother at first, but is really starting to come around!   He calls him either baby or Siah which we think is really cute.  At first he just ignored him, but he is now giving him kisses often and constantly saying baby! He is obsessed with touching Josiah's toes and saying "toes" in the cutest little voice ever!  Who couldn't be obsessed with those toes!  I don't think he fully understands what having a brother means since we have so many kids that come and go from our house so often, but he'll get it. 

Please contine to pray for Josiah. If he was in the States, he would still be in an incubator for quite a while. Thats not an option here. His tiny 2.5 lbs body is incredibly fragile right now and any little disease will be a huge deal for him. Please pray that he gains weight quickly and that he develops well and doesn't have any medical needs. Please pray for Eventz and Wedly as they are adjusting to having a little brother in the house.  And please pray for Nick and I as we are going to be up every 2 hours with him for quite a while!

Holding Josiah for the very first time!

Daddy holding Josiah for the first time!

Josiah's "crib" aka changing table, at the hospital!

His leg is the length of my finger!

Tiny Toes!

Tiny fingers!

Being weighed at the hospital to see if he could come home!

Josiah right after he got home, drinking from a bottle for the first time!

First ever Family picture!

Josiah's first ever bath, he was NOT a fan!

Snuggle time!

Brotherly lovin!

Eventz giving his brother kisses!

Even premie clothes are huge on him!

I'm loving the camo shorts!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


With the second anniversary of the Earth Quake earlier this week, every news article, blog, etc is talking about the lack of development that is happening in Haiti. Nick and I get asked all the time, where is the Billions of dollars that was donated after the Earth Quake going. Not that we are experts on the Haitian Government AT ALL, but we have definitely seen some major development here in Northern Haiti! Several of our main roads have turned from awful dirt roads, to quality paved ones. They weren't just done half assed, but were built really well and should hopefully last a long time! The Dominican Government also fully funded building a beautiful, giant University on the outskirts of Cap Haitien. They should be opening it soon, and in my opinion, it should definitely help bring much needed jobs and business to our area as there currently is none! The UN recently put a ton of solar panel street lights up all over the city, I believe 54 in total! And then there is the development that Nick and I have a love hate relationship with! Our airport is being completely redone at the moment. The runway has always been really long, but in the middle, there is about a foot difference in heights between the two. Once it's finished, Jets, AKA American Airlines will be able to fly there rather than just small planes. This should allow us to be able to fly directly to Cap for a lot cheaper than we pay now and not have to go through Port. This is the part we love. But the part we hate is that all the rock from this project is being hauled out of a query about 2 miles from us. This means that all day long we hear dump trucks going by right outside our window. We live in the middle of no where, but for the past year, we have had a lot of traffic noise. They often start at 3 am and go until 11 at night. The drivers are paid by the load and therefore they haul butt clinking and clanging on our very bumpy roads. And for some reason, it's almost always necessary to honk as they are going by our compound at 3 in the morning! I digress, back to development! My point is that there is change occurring. There is infrastructure being built. I'm sure it's different for us here in Northern Haiti because we don't have to drive around the piles of rubble that still block half of streets two years later. We don't see half collapsed houses and wonder where the family is that used to live there. We don't drive past tent city after tent city with people suffering. We don't see the collapsed palace every day. For us, any progress seems amazing. I'm sure our perspective would be different if we lived on the other side of the country, but for us, we couldn't be happier with the way things are going (except those dang dump trucks)! Progress is slow, but it's happening!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First World Problems

You would think that after living in Haiti for the past 19 months we would be used to living a simple life. Used to sacrificing and going with out many things that were once considered critical items in our life.  And although we have gotten used to many things, there are still a few things I haven't learned to go with out.

We were blessed when we we installed our solar panels to also be able to install a solar hot water heater as well!  Over the past several months it has worked amazing and has allowed us to  have virtually endless hot water for free!  That is, it worked great until this week!!  You see, one key element to a Solar hot water heater is the solar element.  When theres no sun out for a few days (or a week in this case) theres no way to heat up the water.

Lets just say I've been a little extra stinky this week, and the few times I have decided I couldn't stand it any longer and needed to shower, I froze.  The last thing I have wanted on the coldest days of the year is to take a freezing cold shower!

The fact that this is a problem for me, shows just how spoiled I am.

None of our other missionary friends ever have hot water and have to take cold showers everyday.  Here I am complaining about a week of cold showers, when I really have it made.  Not one of our nearly 100 employees or a single person from our community even has running water, let alone hot water.  They all have to go to the local well and hand pump their water to carry home for cooking, cleaning and showering.

Boy am I a baby!

Theres a great youtube clip that makes Nick and I laugh every time we hear it.  It's called first world problems.  It's cheesy, but really makes you think.  Each day we are faced with so many problems, and then once we stop and think about it, we realize that these problems are really blessings!  Check out the video and leave a comment to let me know what you think!