Before I get into our story, I'd like to apologize for the lack of photos again. Someday I will post pictures, but today is not that day.
When I last posted I had JUST met our little surprise- Caden Harward Peck. Now it's been almost 3 months since that crazy day and the excitement hasn't stopped. Caden progressed well in the NICU and didn't seem to have any big problems. We were so excited after 6 weeks when they said "You can probably take him home TOMORROW!" Because of the swine flu and all the other diseases floating around, the doctors didn't want us to fly Caden home, so our only other option was to DRIVE the 32-hour nonstop drive from DC to Utah with a preemie who was still a month shy of his due date and a 20-month-old who hates car trips. Does anyone else think this sounds nuts? Yeah, well we were so anxious to get home and didn't have any other options that didn't involve waiting in virginia for a while so we decided it would be a stressful few days, but we'd just do it. The doctors and nurses assured us everything would be fine and Caden had a monitor so if something was wrong we would know and of course we would be trained in infant CPR before we could take him home so we shouldn't be worried at all. Reassuring, right? Well, unfortunately the monitor was designed to only go off if his heart rate dropped dangerously low or if he quit breathing for more than 25 seconds. You'll understand why this is bad later on. So we were pretty excited on our third day of driving when he was still doing good. We had crammed in 36 hours the first two days and were in Nebraska- almost home! Easton had done amazingly well too and had only cried once for a few minutes! I think it was a blessing so we could get closer to home because at a feeding stop 4 hours from Jonathans parents house in Coalville we noticed Caden was lethargic and wouldnt really eat. He also looked a little pale so we called the NICU to see what the nurses thought. He had gotten chilled the night before in the hotel so they said it was probably just that and we should just go home and see how he was in the morning. So we kept driving and stopped again for a feeding a little over an hour away from Coalville. This time Caden looked really pale and slightly blue and was completely limp and wouldn't wake up at all. Then his monitor started going off that his heart rate was dropping too low. We decided to drive him to the hospital in Evanston which was about 60 miles away. We thought that by the time the ambulance got there we could make it to the hospital. I held Caden the whole way and patted his back and talked to him to stimulate him and any time I stopped bugging him his monitor would go off again for his heart rate dropping. Jonathan and I didn't say ten words to each other because we were both thinking that he wasn't going to make it. I have heard parents say they thought their children were going to die before but I didn't ever really understand. That has to be the worst feeling in the world. Well, we made it to the ER but they were full so they asked us to wait for a room to open up. The nurse asked if he always looked so pale and decided to check his vitals. As soon as she did she started yelling that she needed a room NOW and pulled open the closest curtain, literally pulled the man in the bed out and told him he would have to leave and put Caden on the bed and put oxygen on him. Of course when you see the nurses scared you know something is really wrong so I totally lost it, but seconds after getting oxygen, his eyes popped open and all his color returned and he started moving around. The doctor at Primary Childrens later told us we were really lucky because his oxygen saturation was only at 65% and usually when babies are that far gone they need a lot of recussitation to bring them back. Well, they had him lifeflighted to Primary Childrens and we jumped in the car to drive to Salt Lake. Both of our parents met us there and we sent Easton home with mine and Jonathans parents stayed with us at the hospital for a while. Caden was in PCMC for 5 days and they decided that his lungs weren't strong enough to handle the altitude, so as we went higher his oxygen saturation slowly dropped lower and lower until it reached 65% which is pretty bad. The monitor didn't go off until it got that low because he was still breathing, just not getting enough oxygen into his blood. So his heart rate was gradually dropping but didn't get dangerously low for a while. He home now but he's on oxygen but hopefully he'll be off soon. He is so adorable and I just love him and seeing him and Easton play together. He does not let me sleep much though! He wants to be held ALL the time! Seriously, he will sit in a bouncer or something for about two hours in the morning while he looks at a window, a few hours in the afternoon while he sleeps, and his first stretch of sleep at night (which is actually pretty long, about 5 hours) but the entire rest of the day and night he wants to be held! It' s mostly because he has acid reflux and really bad gas, and obviously I shouldn't care because I'm just happy he's alive, but it's getting pretty hard on me, anybody have any suggestions?
I had this post saved but I never posted it. These were my thoughts from Virginia:
Just 2 days after I was released from the hospital, we had to move into the Ronald McDonald House by the hospital because our lease was up. I had no idea what it was going to be like, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Rarely do you get to be on the receiving end of charity like that, and I was so amazed at how generous people can be. The Ronald McDonald House is for people who have children in the hospital and live too far away to come visit every day. Most people just stay for a few days, but there were four of us girls there who had babies in the NICU and were there longterm. We ended up staying for about 6 weeks, another girl had twins at 24 weeks in July and she was planning on being there till November! It was fun to have their support and know you're not the only one in that situation. People came in and fixed dinner for us all the time and the cupboards were full from donations. It's amazing what a relief it was to not have to cook after running to the NICU all day and trying to keep Easton entertained. Our ward was awesome and people constantly invited us over or brought us dinner or just called to see what they could do or offer to babysit. It also gave you a lot of perspective. I realized we didn't have it bad at all when I met a girl who tried for years to have a baby, had several miscarriages, and finally had a little girl who was born at 27 weeks and had been in the NICU for months. Then I realized she was lucky when I met the girl who was on vacation and had twins at 24 weeks and had been at the Ronald McDonald House for 4 months. Both of these girls children will have to have extensive therapy in everything and will have many problems to deal with as they grow. But I realized how fortunate they were when I met the girl who had her twins at 32 weeks and the boy didn't survive. Nothing can give you perspective in your trials like seeing how much worse it could be. I actually feel very lucky and humbled that I was able to have this experience. I was able to receive so much service, love, and charity from people that didn't even know me and I have a new attitude during struggles that no matter how hard it is, it could be worse. People at church would come up to me randomly to ask me what they could do, tell me they were thinking of me, or tell me about their children who were born early and are all grown and doing great. I can't explain how wonderful it is to know that people are praying for you. Whenever someone from Utah would say they wished they could do something for me, but they would pray, I wanted to tell them that it was the best thing they could do because that was really the only thing that could help Caden. Thanks so much to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, and sweet comments and phone calls! Each one was so appreciated and gave me hope!