Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One Month Old!

Tyndall James is one month old today! 

And so we begin the monthly milestone pictures... this giraffe rug will become his comparison.  I should have thought to put him in a onesie that actually fit.  This one is still preemie size but a little big.  (There are also plenty of preemie outfits that he's too big for... I guess that's how it works.)

A whole-room shot to give perspective. :) Please excuse the mess.  We are still getting organized.

One-month stats: 
Weight:  5 pounds, 7 ounces.  
Length: 18.25 inches
Head Circumference: 12.75 inches

He's not even on the charts, so we don't have to worry about that percentile business... yet. ;) 
His due date is still 3 weeks away, but we are so thankful God knew he could arrive early and do just fine. :) 
The doctor is always impressed with how he is growing and how happy and alert he is. 
We continue to praise God for a healthy, happy boy!

At one month old, he is a very content baby.  In the past couple of days, he's starting locking onto us and looking into our eyes.  He loves voices and has wonderful expressions.  He must have some pretty amazing dreams, because he's even super-expressive when he's sleeping!  He smiles a lot, but I think it's still just gas.  He cries when he's hungry and occasionally has 'fussy' afternoons, but he really doesn't cry much at all.  Even when he does, it's adorable.  Honestly, I know I sound ridiculous saying that, but his cry is just so darn cute.  I sometimes giggle. 

He's a good eater!  These days, he is eating betwen 2-3 ounces every 3-3.5 hours.  But he's not a good burper... he gives us a run for our money on that one... Daddy has lots to teach him in that department. ;) 

He sleeps really well!  Most of the time, he sleeps all night between feedings, and we have to wake him up to eat.  He also eats fairly quickly, so we really don't mind the night feedings at all.  We are also blessed to both be able to do feedings (one bonus to not breast-feeding.)  Matt takes the nights when I work the next day, and I do the nights when he works the next day.  If we are both off the next day, then we split them in half.  Not a bad deal, and I'm super-thankful that Matt is comfortable with being so involved... and he's wonderful at being a Daddy! 

During the day, Tyndall has recently started being awake more and more.  A couple hours in the morning and a couple hours later in the day.  It's so fun to interact with him more as we're still settling into life at home. He likes being read to, being in his swing, riding in the car and snuggling!
 He is not a huge fan of tummy time, but hopefully he'll get more used to it. :) 

He LOVES snuggling and holding onto our fingers if we're close enough for him to hold onto.  We don't mind a bit.  This has been something we've loved ever since the first day we met him! Look at those precious tiny fingers!

Even a video for your viewing pleasure... :)

It's so hard to believe that he's already a month old... (I'm sure I'll be saying something like that every month for the rest of my life!)  We've now known him for 3 weeks and 1 day which means he's known us for more of his life than he has not... that brings comfort to this Momma's heart.  And, Lord willing, we have many years and years and years to add onto that!  :) 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Adoption Day 1-14-2013

The day began with another life-changing phone call... this time, from Tyndall's doctor.  He went through a medical update, praised our involvement, then said, "are you ready to take him home today?"  

If the doctor thought our 3 pounds, 15.6 ounce son was ready to go home, we would make ourselves ready!  Yes, we were ready!  More than ready! 

So, we placed a call to the social workers (hospital & Bethany) and started packing up our stuff from our room at the Ronald McDonald house.  The social workers had both heard different things about discharge day, so we went ahead and went to the hospital to spend time with Tyndall while we waited to hear for sure if this would be discharge day/Adoption Day!  As we turned into the hospital parking area, it was confirmed.  Today was Adoption Day!  Whooo-hoo! 

We did the mid-morning feeding with him... started getting lots of instructions from the nurses... and started preparing ourselves for the reality of no more NICU.  No more wonderful nurses to depend on.  No more monitors to assure us everything was fine.  On the other hand, he would be coming HOME!  We would finally be a family of three!  

After the feeding, we went back to the RMH and packed the car, checked out, got the car seat hooked up and hurried back to the hospital.  

Our social worker arrived, and we signed the papers making everything official.  His new name.  His new family.  Our new son.  

We already had an appointment that afternoon with a friend from college who is a photographer nearby. How special that she was there on Adoption Day--a day that will forever be special for our forever family!  (These pictures by Blissful Photography of Greenwood, SC.  If you're in the area, she's wonderful!)

We then had discharge instructions with the nurse while Casey was photographing the most adorable boy on the planet.  They stocked us up with bottles for the ride home... gave us many admonitions to keep him away from crowds for a long time...  Encouraged us... Praised Tyndall for being such an over-comer! :)

Then, Matt went to get the car, and we were off!  On our own...  As a family of three!

We made a couple stops before we got on the road... Babies R Us for a monitor and snuggle nest, Chick-fil-A for dinner, and then we were on the way!  Our drive home was so peaceful and joyful!  And when we got home, Aunt Laura and Aunt Steph came to welcome him home! 

And we had our first night together in our home... and we both woke up for every feeding.  It was just so wonderfully exciting!  Sooooooo many prayers had been answered!           

Monday, January 21, 2013


Special Care Nursery aka NICU

He was born at 34 weeks gestation weighing 3 pounds, 3 ounces.  He spent his first 16 days in NICU.  

We've almost been home for a week.  Already, the NICU seems like ages ago, but I never want to forget that special time.  It was truly a gift to have that week to love on our son and cheer him on as he overcame several challenges from being a preemie. 

When we met him, he was 3 pounds, 5 ounces.  Soooooo tiny.  But also so perfect.  God had protected him from so much!  He had already changed from IV feedings to tube and bottle feedings.  He was getting every 3rd feeding through his tube but the other two through bottles.  He was in the incubator most of the time and only allowed out for 20-30 minutes per day. He was hooked up to a few monitors but nothing major.  The times we got to hold him were very special but went by way too fast.  

At the beginning, there was no realistic time expectation for how long he would be in NICU.  We thought it would be a certain weight that he got to, but it was more based on milestones.  He needed to be able to have only bottle feedings, to maintain his body temperature in the open air and to pass the 'car seat test'.  The car seat test meant that he had to be in his car seat for 3 hours without having any of his vitals cause concern.  We heard that it could be anything from 1 to 4 weeks before he came home.  We prepared ourselves to be with him as much as possible but also to have to cheer him on from Charleston to save our time off work.  

Starting late in the second day, we were able to do his bottle feedings in 'open air'.  So, it was extra time we got to spend holding him and learning how to help him eat.  From the little research I had done on preemies, I knew that bottle feeding could be a major concern.  I was so relieved that he didn't seem to have any problems with the 'suck, swallow, breathe' aspect of feeding.  It also really helped to have the nurses right there to coach us through it. His only problem was getting tuckered out part way through his bottle.  

His first bottle in the open air wasn't the best experience.  It was only a little over 24 hours after meeting him.  We had been with him a lot-- touching him, talking to him, letting him know he had a family.  When the nurse said I could feed him, I was so happy!  I felt sure he would eat like a champ with his new mommy.  BUT, he didn't. He wasn't able to finish his bottle, and I got really discouraged.  They gave him the rest through the feeding tube, and I felt like I had failed.  The nurse was so kind to give us a realistic perspective... she just helped us realize that he may have been overstimulated by all of our 'loving on' him in such a short amount of time.  She helped us realize that his most important job at this stage was to eat.  She suggested we start leaving him alone for the hour before he eats.  We took her advice to leave the hospital for a couple of hours, and my sister met us and Mom for an early dinner.  By the time we got back, it was time for the next feeding, and he DID eat like a champ!  But the first feeding had been a good reminder and a good jolt of perspective.  We learned that rest is really, really good for this little guy.  

The next day, he started to do exclusively bottle feedings.  We started learning more tricks to help him stay awake during his feeding time.  We also continued to let him rest an hour before each feeding, and he ate really well. 

After being with him for 3 days, we came back to Charleston to work for a couple of days.  It was hard to leave him, but we knew he was in good hands.  We also knew we wanted to save our time off for when he got home.  While we were home, he transitioned to 'ad-lib' feedings where they let him eat as much as he wanted every 3 hours.  He did a fairly good job at eating a consistent amount, which the doctor was very pleased with.  
By the time we got back to him, he had begun to transition to open-air, which meant he had gained enough weight to start to maintain his body temperature.  This was huge!  

Open air!
Our last couple days in NICU were just a matter of everyone getting comfortable and settled into a routine.  Once he had transitioned to bottle feedings and open air, we started preparing ourselves to bring home this little one...  He passed his car seat test on Sunday, so we knew it wouldn't be too long before we could bring him home... but it was still a surprise to get the call from the doctor late Monday morning that said he could be discharged that day!  It was going to be a little scary to not have the nurses there and not have monitors to reassure us of his breathing.  But God gave us peace.  

Tyndall exceeded expectations and came home weighing 3 pounds, 15.6 ounces at 16 days old.

Discharge instructions!

Other things to remember from the first few days in NICU:
  • Wonderful Nurses: Sara, Kathy, Amy (x2), Karen, Sherri, Mary, Dametriel (for a few hours), Cindy (our discharge nurse), Robbie (while we were back home)... Seriously, the nurses made that time so special.  They answered our questions, listened to our adoption story and taught us how to best care for our son. 
  • Scrubbing-in.  I would like a scrub-in station at my house.  
  • Chad, Christina, and Miracle.  Friends we made in the NICU.  Chad was born at 30 weeks and explained to us what it meant to be a 'wimpy white boy' in NICU. 
  • First stay at Hampton Inn with Mom and trip to Babies R Us.
  • Second stay at Ronald McDonald house
  • Visitors at the hospital: Mom/BeBe, Valerie, Papa, Gigi, Uncle Steven, Aunt Steph, Eddie, Frances, and Phyllis Jenkins
  • Photography session with Casey at Blissful Photography on Discharge/Adoption Day (a friend from college)
  • Kangaroo Care
  • Nurse Marlena... the only nurse we met who cared for him his first week.  She said she prayed over him and prayed for his future family... very special! 
  • The waiting room... where we spent a lot of time checking email, uploading pictures to a private Facebook album for family to see, and writing blogs that had to wait to be published until papers were signed.  (Also where we signed the papers and made everything official that we already knew in our hearts to be true.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Meeting Our Son 1-7-2013

It was a long weekend between finding out about him (post 1 and post 2) and getting to meet him.  All I wanted to do was get to him and meet him and tell him he has a mommy and a daddy.  I wanted to cheer him on in his growing and talk to him and tell him how much he is loved.  I wanted to smell him and feel him and hear his cry.  I'm so glad I didn't have to wait much longer than I did.   

We woke up early on Monday, January 7th and finished packing and drove to meet Tyndall.  We weren't sure if the hospital would let us stay and visit him, but we packed our bags just in case.  We also had no idea how he was doing or if he would be close to coming home, so we packed everything ready for him to come home as well.  

It was a wonderful drive, full of lots of loving texts from family & friends.  It was beyond exciting with waves of nervousness followed by perfect peace.  Matt and I just kept saying "is this real?" 

We got to the hospital about 45 minutes early.  I had taken the virtual tour of the hospital, so we went to the NICU to see if we could peek in at him.  We couldn't see him, but I love this picture of Matt trying to catch a peek.  

We went back down to the main lobby to wait for the Bethany social worker, and thankfully, she was early too! We spent some time catching up with her and asking her lots of questions.  I was amazed at how completely sane and normal it felt (at times!).  She showed us more pictures, and we even got to see pictures of some of his birth family, which was very special.  

We had an appointment with the hospital social worker at 11:30.  She was also very kind and understood our excitement.  She walked us straight in to meet our son.  We entered the secure NICU, scrubbed up, then walked into his room that he shared with 5 other preemies.  

He was sooooo much tinier than he looked in pictures.  But soooo much more adorable and perfect!  We got to touch him and talk to him and introduce ourselves through the incubator at first.  It was magical. Surreal.  Amazing.  Our son was right in front of us! We could touch him. Thankfully, the social worker and nurses took pictures!

We got a crash course in preemie care from the wonderful NICU nurses.  They are so amazing at what they do!

After getting to know him a bit through the incubator and hearing from the hospital social worker that we would be able to stay and spend time with him, I thought it had been the perfect day!  

But God had so much more for us... we could hold him!  His current weigh was 3 lbs, 5.1 oz which was big enough to spend about 20 minutes per day in our arms.  
Tears of joy!!

It was amazing.  He is amazing!  We love you, Tyndall, and are soooo glad God chose us to be your family! 

...and the Baby's Been Born!

When I wrote earlier about the phone call, what I couldn't share was the most exciting part of that phone call.  

On the first phone call, our social worker said something like, "I've got some potentially exciting news for you... you've been chosen!"  After my exclamations of excitement and joy, I then heard,
"AND the baby's already been born."

THAT'S when she lost me.  And that's when she wisely advised that I get with Matt and we call her back together to hear more details.  

Can you imagine?!

That's all I knew.  We've been chosen, and the baby's here.  I didn't know if it was boy, girl, healthy, sick, white, mixed, black, or anything.  It didn't matter.  It just mattered that we had been chosen, and the baby needed to meet his/her Mommy & Daddy!

On the way to meet Matt, we were on the phone.  I was like, "ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh" thinking that not only were we matched but we were already parents! There was much trembling and shaking.  And being in shock.

On the way to meet Matt, I also said, "what if it's a girl?"  

In the interest of full disclosure, we really wanted a boy.  But we knew that we couldn't 'choose' if it was in my belly, so we opted not to choose with adoption.  (I should have written a post about red, yellow, black, white, girl or boy.)  He wisely said, "we will love that little girl like no one else."  I knew we would too.    

When we got together in the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot, we called our social worker back.  We learned lots of wonderful details... 

The ones that stuck out:
  • It's a BOY!!!!
  • He was born 12/29/2012.  2012!!! (Remember these postsGod knew.) 
  • The birth mother named him, and the middle name she chose was James.  Though we were going back and forth between first names, the one thing we knew was that if it was a boy, his middle name would be James.  
  • 12/29 is also the birthday of my dad's brother & sister who are twins.  That's part of the reason we settled on Tyndall. 
  • He was due sometime in February, so he was quite early.  He weighed 3 lbs, 3 oz at birth and currently weighed 3 lbs, 1 oz.  Overall, he was healthy.  Just tiny.  
Can you see now why I didn't go back to work that day?  I went into full-on preparation mode.  We bought preemie clothes, preemie diapers, researched preemie stuff.  Tried to find out as much as possible about him, even though there wasn't too much information at the time.  

The best part?  The birth mother's social worker emailed us 2 pictures of him.  They were small pictures, but it didn't matter.  We memorized every detail in a short amount of time.  Here are the first glimpses we had of our son... on the day we found out about him... when he was 5 days old.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Baby Shower at Matt's Work

Beautiful (and yummy!) cake by Esther.
As soon as we found out we had been matched with a boy, Matt's coworkers got busy and planned a surprise shower for him.  I was so proud to keep such a wonderful secret for a few days and was thrilled to be invited. (There are no pictures of me there, but I promise I was...) :)

Today at lunch, I snuck into the Petsmart store where he works and managed to sneak into the break room unseen.  My accomplishment was small compared to the girls who brought in presents, cakes, pizzas and party decorations--all while sneaking past Matt at the desk.  I learned that Matt can be pretty clueless. :)

On the clinic's lunch break, his manager said she needed to go over some performance stats with him in the break room.  When he walked in, about 20 of his coworkers greeted him with a "SURPRISE! and CONGRATULATIONS!"  He was SHOCKED!!

 LOTS of goodies!!

Matt with some of the coworkers that were part of the shower.

They did such a good job putting together this surprise, and they SPOILED us with so many things!  Lots of adorable outfits, diapers, wipes, medicines, blankets, towels, washcloths, toys... some of everything!  They seriously got us way too much stuff. But we are grateful.

So thankful.  It is such a blessing to have so many wonderful people in our lives.  I also think it's a huge testament to what an awesome man Matt is that his coworkers did something so special for him.  

His Nursery

I love Tyndall's nursery.  I love all the things that people have given us. I love the consignment store finds... I love the travel souvenirs that have made their way to the nursery.  I love that it's been 'in progress' for almost 2 years and will soon be the home of a little boy! 

Now, I will take you on a tour.  This is what it looked like a week ago: 

Please picture this right-side-up.
Giant giraffe "Geoffrey" has been Matt's since he was in middle school.  He served as our Christmas Tree our first married Christmas.  He finally has a better purpose in our home.
Crib (and matress AND conversion set!) given to us by friends from the church where Tricia grew up.
Giraffe rug--purchased almost a year ago at Babies R Us.

Lamp--repurposed from a wedding gift.
Giraffe canvas, bought with Groupon a year ago. Made from a picture we took on a field trip in Thailand.

Dresser--found by a friend at a consignment store.
Basket--bought at local consignment sale.
Changing pad--given to us by long-time friends.
Picture board--Amazon find a few months ago.
Pictures on board--taken by us in Thailand.

Glider--given to us by Mom's old family she used to nanny for
(Was recovered by a friend from the church where I work. Mom bought the fabric and got the cushions cut to fit.  Love it!)
Bouncy seat--bought at consignment sale

Please picture it right-side-up. :)
Bookshelf was a find on Amazon.  Books have been collected for a loooooooong time.
Some are from when we were kids.
Can you see the rocking lion?  Also a consignment store find, as well as the mini-swing.

Matt recently found this treasure in a box of my baby things.

This guy was purchased in Russia. 

Got these in Tanzania... they are made from banana leaves. 

These Christmas books were the Christmas present for Baby Flagler, just this past year.
The elephant nightlight was a recent gift.  It looks really similar to another elephant that Matt's cousin Shannon gave him from Africa years ago.  

 Now, I will take you on a tour.  This is what it looked like a week ago:  

This is what it looked like when we came home the other day.  Stephani & Grandma had fun shopping now that they know it's a boy!
We love the stuffed elephant, all the blankets, outfits, Boppy, bumper & all the other goodies. :)

It's sooooooooo exciting that he'll be here soon!  We can't wait to bring you home, Tyndall James.

Okay, does anyone know how to turn these pictures?  It's driving me nuts.