Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Beginning

On day 125 we were discharged from Arkansas Children's NICU! But let me go back to the two days prior to discharge....

Monday I 'roomed in' with Samuel by myself - which was amazingly exhausting. I was being trained on how to take care of Samuel's feeds and medications on my own. The nurse would come in every two and a half hours to take his temperature and weigh his diaper. At night, I would have about an hour to sleep between feedings. Ever remember me mentioning that Samuel is a VERY active baby? Well.....lets just say that there were few opportunities to sleep. When I did get him settled, the baby in the room next to us would be getting up to feed and would be crying hysterically. I didn't sleep a wink that first night.
On Tuesday, Michael and my parents came in to get ready for our departure the next day. Michael stayed with me to help.....we didn't get much rest that night either.
Wednesday morning was full of goodbyes, last minute advice, packing, and other business. It was surprising how difficult it was to say goodbye. Over the last four months, I have become friends with a great number of nurses and other hospital staff. My primary nurses were crucial in Samuel's care and my sanity. I can't tell you the number of times I broke down with only his primary nurse to console me. We have been very blessed. I didn't realize how very few babies have primary nurses like Samuel did.
The day Samuel left, he weighted 5 lbs 8 oz. Carolyn was on duty and she was very helpful with our preparations for discharge (which were quite numerous.) We said our final goodbyes to Carolyn and the Stegers (whom I have been living with the last three months), left the hospital around 3 pm, and began our five and half hour trip home (including two feeding stops.) He traveled well. I had my eyes on his monitor the entire trip. He slept like a rock.

The first couple of days at home were rough. Michael and I didn't sleep much (as expected with a newborn right?) The only thing was that when we FINALLY did get him to sleep, his monitor would alarm. As the days passed, his monitor began to alarm more and more frequently. Samuel began to not want his bottles as much - and when he did eat, he cried for an hour after. After several phone calls and nurse visits, one of the nurse practitioners at ACH called to let me know that she increased Samuel's Prevacid dosage. I also had to go up on Samuel's oxygen to a fourth of a liter. Since that time, we have been much better. When we left ACH, Samuel had not desated (dropped his oxygen level) in weeks. It's disappointing that we had to step back with the oxygen, but at least we are home!

So after four incredibly difficult months.....after all of the tears.....after all of the prayers.....after all of your gifts (whether physical gift or the gift of your support)......after all of the blogs.....here we are at the beginning. Thank you so much for following our story. I can't say thank you enough for everything. For those of you who want to continue to follow Samuel's growth, please check back in. I'll be posting....reminding you of the difference that you made.

I've been waiting for the moment where I feel like a normal mother. I've finally had the thought "WHEN WILL THIS KID SLEEP!" I've finally decided that there can't possibly be another baby in the world more beautiful than my Samuel. :) Maybe this is as normal as it gets.

One final note.....
God has a way of reminding us how precious life is. As Samuel begins his journey, another journey has ended for a good friend of Michael's family. Nan Goosen was murdered outside her home in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe yesterday. We know that she is in a better place and pray for all those who knew her to find comfort in that.


  1. I am so sorry to hear about Michael's friend. Continuing to pray for Samuel's health. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. (Even if it is to come and watch Samuel so you can take nap or shower.)

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Nan Goosen was my husband's Aunt (Peter Gunn, son of Ann & Bert Gunn). Our daughter Ashley was very close to both Peter & Nan. It has been a terrible loss for the family. Thank you for posting your condolences. I was wondering if you had any photo's you could share with us for a collage we are working on for the family? If so please send to berngunn@gmail.com.

    Kind regards
    Bernadette Gunn

  3. YEAH WTG ...I am so happy u r home with him. You will b greatly missed @ school but plz keep in touch. Again if there is nething I can do let me know ..once a HRM ALWAYS A HOME ROOM MOM. Kohana was blessed 2 have u as her teacher & I was blessed 2 work w/u. Plz give Michael our condolences on his loss. We love you all, Sheryl & Kohana. FB me sometime & let me know what u thought of his gift.

  4. so good to hear that things are going well... i figured no news was good news (no new posts) as you were getting ready and then bringing your sweet boy home! prayers for rest, wisdom, and joy for every moment, even the less than enjoyable ones... they are all gifts.

  5. So sorry it was rough at first getting Samuel home but glad that you've gotten settled. So sorry to hear about Michael's friend. My prayers to all of you and especially for Samuel's continued growth.

  6. I appreciate you letting us in on this journey you've been on. I am so glad he is home now, we will keep up the prayers for your cute little family :)

  7. You 2 are doing great....still excited on the next journey with each of you...stil pray for all to be perfect....we love ya

  8. Continued prayers as you start this new journey! I'm so glad you are having some "normal" mom moments though! :)

  9. First, I'm truly sorry to hear about Michael's friend, how very sad! I will be praying for the family. Second, I'm blessed beyond words for you at Samuel's homecoming! I will continue to keep him, you and the rest of the family in my prayers. I will of course continue following your blog, because as you stated, "it's The Beginning." God Bless!