The next few weeks were quiet. We settled into home and prepared for baby boy’s arrival.
Addy showed major trauma from her time in the hospital.
While she played quietly for long periods of time, she would scream hysterically when it was time to take her medicine. She would kick and bite and scream for hours in the middle of the night.
We were emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted.
But God showed up.
In mid-October I started experiencing high blood pressure. I started stopping by the OB’s office every other day, just to get my blood pressure taken. On Tuesday, October 20, I went in for an last minute appointment. When I arrived, I felt horrible. My blood pressure was elevated so they sent me to Women & Babies for triage.
While I delivered Ana and Addy at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Reading, and although they were great experiences, we explored alternatives for baby boy. My deepest desire was to have him at home, but because of complications I had with Ana, we decided we should deliver in a hospital. We went with Women and Babies in Lancaster.
Looking back, it’s amazing how decisions we made in the months leading up to October were so clearly orchestrated by God.
When the midwife waltzed into triage with her mermaid hair and her calming, joyful presence, I knew I was in the right place. She sat down beside me, talked through my status and said, “Let’s have this baby. I’m working until 10pm. Think we can do it?”
They moved me to labor and delivery and began an induction. COVID cases in Lancaster County were falling and Women & Babies had just relaxed their policies, allowing laboring moms to have two delivery coaches. I was so thankful; my mom had been a labor and delivery nurse and I couldn’t imagine having a baby without her as she had been by my side for the births of Ana and Addy.
My labor was progressing really well. I felt really good.
When the midwife checked him just before 7pm, she said, “That little brat.”
What??? I responded with laughter.
“He’s holding my hand,” she finished.
After attempting to move Jake into position for a couple of hours at 9:45pm, the midwife and attending doctor decided a c-section was the only option for both Jakobs and my safety.
Jakob Hudson Martin arrived at 10:46pm. He was 22” long and weighed 8lb, 1 oz. He was perfect.
The next morning I was determined to get up and moving. I had spent enough time in hospitals in 2020. I wanted to make sure I was ready to go home when Jakob was.
Little did I know, this urge to move around was God’s prompting to prepare my body emotionally and physically.
Jakob nursed very well that first day and we did the normal things, tracking his pee and stool, to make sure everything was good with his digestive tract.
The next afternoon I commented to the nurse, he hasn’t pooped yet. But, my girls were slow to poop, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.
He stopped eating. But, he was content, so no one was worried.
I commented again to a nurse. “He hasn’t pooped yet. Do you think that’s OK?”
When Jakob began to throw up after his first bath, I knew something was wrong.
The next morning while chatting with our next nurse, i found out that his log indicated a poop, but since I had been changing all the diapers or sitting right there, I knew that wasn’t the case.
Our choice to deliver at Women and Babies meant that we were in a large hospital, with a NICU equipped to deal with complications. The nurses were quick to address our concerns and elevate them with the pediatricians on staff.
The pediatrician ordered an X-ray and when he returned, the doctor explained Jakob had distention in his bowels. Because Women & Babies doesn’t have a surgical team, the pediatrician said we needed to head to CHOP. Jakob took a quick ambulance ride to Penn Medicine Lancaster General in downtown Lancaster city to get a quick test done in order to have more information for the CHOP team upon arrival..
CHOP. Really? Again?
And once again, God showed up. His leading showed up in our choice of labor and delivery hospital. His leading showed up when I had an emergency c-section and Jakob and I were allowed extra time for observation. His leading showed up when the nurse who accompanied us to the ambulance said, “May I pray for you?”
Her prayer resulted in my heart sliding down my cheeks one more time… She prayed a beautiful prayer of blessing, peace and healing over me and Jakob. Her prayer made it abundantly clear that she knew and loved Jesus.
Further, God’s provision showed up when I climbed in the front of the ambulance and the ambulance driver was from Africa and spoke Swahili. We spent the next 90 minutes talking about our love for Africa.
God’s provision also showed up through the video feed that allowed me to watch the EMTs interacting with Jakob as we headed east to CHOP.
The next few days were a rollercoaster as we settled into CHOP and began the waiting process for diagnosis. After a biopsy, on Monday, October 27 we learned that Jakob had Hirschsprungs Disease. Essentially, the ganglion cells that were supposed to develop through his digestive tract at 20 weeks, stopped growing too soon. Surgery with Dr. Nace was set for Thursday, October 29.
We were in a daze. How could we be back here again?
But we saw God’s care and sovereignty throughout our stay at CHOP. Because Jakob was a full-term baby in the NICU at CHOP he was very popular. The nurses loved to hold and cuddle him. When I slipped out for several hours one day to spend some time with my two girls and Brad, I was fully confident he would be cared for and cuddled while I was gone. In fact, when I returned from my time with Ana and Addy, I found a nurse sitting, just rocking him. What a precious gift!
I was also extremely thankful for the time I had to just sit and cuddle Jakob. I was able to give him my undivided attention for the first two weeks of his precious life.
We also made dear friends in the pod where Jakob stayed. The little boy across the pod had a similar diagnosis as Jakob; in fact, their ostomy surgeries were back-to-back. To have a friend walking the same journey has been a precious gift.
Jakob recovered quickly from his ostomy, we were trained in changing his bag and he was discharged from CHOP two weeks from the day he was born.
We returned home and settled in. An amazing photographer friend came and captured beautiful memories for us.
Two months later we turned the calendar to 2021.
Ana is thriving in kindergarten.
Addy continues to be seizure free and her new mix of anti-seizure meds has helped her behavior. We are stepping down her doses and pray she remains seizure free. The decrease in meds means she’s less frantic and is showing good growth in her development. We are slowly seeing our sweet little girl return to us.
Jakob is growing quickly.
His surgery to reverse his ostomy is on February 22.
We pray this is the beginning of the end of our journey with CHOP. We also pray for a fresh start for our family and invite you to join with us, that we might continue to see God’s care, leading and sovereignty in the details of our life. To God be the Glory! This journey was orchestrated by Him.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.Psalm 145:5-7
An Unexpected Journey – Part 1 – And so it Begins – Read Here
An Unexpected Journey – Part 2 – Some Answers – Read Here
An Unexpected Journey – Part 3 – Hope – Read Here
An Unexpected Journey – Part 4 – What Are We Doing? – Read Here
An Unexpected Journey – Part 6 – Read Here