Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A look at Asher's 2 year progress!

As all you parents know, doctor check ups almost always go along with a 2nd birthday! 

Last week Asher say his paediatrician for a 2 year check up and she was so amazed by the progress and gains Asher has made!

His Progress has been so exciting to watch - this time last year he was still struggling to maintain neck control and could not sit unassisted!  But now he is:

Cruising along furniture and walls
Walking with his toy walker
Crawling upstairs
Signing more than 20 signs consistently and appropriately and saying a few words like mom, dad, all done etc.
Gaining balance while standing
Pull up to standing and sitting up from lying down (both of these took a long time for him to master so the milestone seems HUGE!)
He is down to 2 medicines and hopefully one will be discontinued before Christmas!  (He started at 6+ when he was 3 months old and home!)
Drinking Homo milk 3x a day with one bottle of formula or pediasure! 

He weighs 22.44 lbs and is 68cm tall!  And while that is still below the 5th% - he's ON the CHARTS!  The doctor was so pleased, she knows how hard we fight for every ounce that he gains!  (If only the same excitement could be shared when I gain an ounce!!) :)

Yesterday he had his speech and language assessment by our home visiting SLP and she said he is in the 18-21 month range and many "emerging skills" that are in the 24+ month range!  He has caught up so well with his communication since his hearing aids have been in place!  His last assessment in May showed that he was over 9 months "delayed" in communication....the gap is closing! :) 

We are looking forward to a recreational therapist helping Asher out this winter! She will be assisting him in the pool! He has been terrified of swimming and pools so we are really hoping he will begin to like the water through this therapy! 

We are so amazed every day with the gains and strides Asher is making - every milestone is such a victory for him! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

An Anniversary To Remember....

* Please do not be alarmed at the length of this entry, yes it is long, perhaps it's more for me than you, however, it had to come out, I had to share....Blessing can come out of hurt and pain, I have proof!  What I have written comes from the deepest parts of my heart and I want to share it with you.*

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of Asher's life being saved.  Yes, his life has been saved multiple times, buy various physicians, nurses and surgeons, but this time was different, no one knew he needed to be saved until two people stepped in and took over.

Without recounting every vivid detail of that night, I remember holding Asher in my arms trying to feed him a bottle when a nurse popped her head in the door to let me know that her name was Lori and that she was our nurse coming on shift that night.  She looked at Asher from the doorway and asked me if he always breathed that quickly and had trouble drinking (milk was pouring out from the sides of his mouth) and I answered yes. She told me that she was going to call the midwife.  A little while later she returned to tell me the midwife had asked her to call the paediatrician on call and she was waiting for her to arrive to investigate further.

I was alone (Jesse was home getting Joel & Calla tucked in for the night) when the paediatrician said they wanted to do a chest x-ray to see if he had a chest infection.  Jesse returned and the paediatrician told us she felt his heart was slightly on the large side and was sending the image to the Cardiologist in London.  Then, at 1 a.m. he was transferred to London to their critical care unit.

In order to share about my experience yesterday, I need to back up!

Leading up to this moment, there were 36 hours of  "red flags" that, in retrospect, anyone should have been able to know that something was wrong.  Some of the concerns we had were heard and explained, others we observed with no explanation given.

Asher's feet and hands were blue, they said it was from the ink from his prints.  (He had had a bath!)  Asher was always sleeping and cried when he was moved.  He would not even wake up to eat, they said some newborns are just sleepy.  His blood pressures were different on each arm and they told us it was because a student nurse did the pressures and it was not redone right away.  He had a heart murmur which can be common in newborns, they said it would go away sometime in the first week.  He failed his infant hearing screen, they told us that can happen and he would be retested in a month.  We now know, that during those hours with Asher, we were holding a dying baby.  Had Lori not called the paediatrician and the "red flags" went unchecked, Asher would have died in his sleep within the next few hours as his fetal functions shut down.

Lori, the nurse caught so much in the 3 minutes she was at our door.  She listened to her instincts that said something is wrong and she did not give up until Asher had the care he required.

For the first year of Asher's life, I was not angry at the fact that all of those symptoms went unchecked.  I didn't have time to be angry, I was just thankful they saved his life!  However, slowly, over the second year of his life, anger began to creep into my heart.  I would say out loud when recounting the story, "I'm not angry, they saved his life, that's all that matters" but in my heart, the overwhelming sadness and anger would be raging.

Last month, the month before his second birthday, I retold the story to a friend who hadn't hear the details of those early days.  For the following week, I cried every day.  I was angry, sad, afraid and just outright mad.  I shuddered at the thought  "Asher could have died right under their noses!"  I was consumed all week by these feelings of anger.  I said to Jesse, "I am glad God performed miracles through those two people to save Asher, but I'm ANGRY that He had to step in and that others didn't do their job!"  I was horrified at the thought of other families experiencing similar situations at Stratford Hospital.  I was so consumed by my feelings that I emailed our Social Worker to ask her to meet with me to talk about how to work through everything in my head.  She agreed to meet with me the following Thursday.

The Wednesday before I was to meet with her, Asher was in Stratford hospital, in that same ward.  As I walked the halls to get to his room, I struggled to maintain my composure.  A familiar nurse came to his room to check on us, I told her I was upset and wanted to talk to the manager or whomever could listen.  I was physically shaking and inside I was fighting it, I did NOT want to go through the story let alone with someone who may not care.  The nurse was so caring and took me to see the Floor Manager (who is new since 2011 - the ward was without one for 10 years!).

I sat and shared my story for over an hour, with tears, laughter and pain, this manager cared.  She cried with me, took notes and expressed her concern that something like that could happen to us.  She took down recommendations and we talked about things that could have been done differently.  She was sincere and loving...she thanked me over and over for telling her and for helping other families by doing so.  I mentioned the nurse, Lori, and she was thrilled, because in her "books" Lori was one of  the best!

That meeting was full of healing for me.  It took the anger away and replaced it with thanksgiving and joy.  I can now truly say, I am thankful that they saved Asher and that God intervened.  I am no longer in pain over what "wasn't" done.  Only thankful for what "was" done!

Getting back to yesterday's anniversary!  Asher had an appointment scheduled for the day before he turned 2 this week with his paediatrician.  His paediatrician happens to be the one who saved his life (that is another miracle story for another post!).  They called and had to reschedule it for the day after his birthday and I agreed.

Yesterday morning I woke up and realized it was the anniversary of her saving him!  I called the floor manager at the hospital and said I was coming to town and would like to meet Lori again to say thank you and for her to see Asher.  She said, "oh no, she was on yesterday and is on nights later this week, let me check her schedule".  She came back and said "Lisa, you won't believe it, she is here today!  Come in later this afternoon".

I picked up two beautiful bouquets of fall flowers and went to Stratford.  When the doctor came to the waiting room to get us, I told her it was the anniversary of her saving Asher and that we wanted to thank her and I gave her the flowers.  She cried and we hugged.  The connection we have is beautiful because of that night that she saved him.

After the appointment, I nervously went to the hospital.  I knew I had to do this, but I wanted it to be how God wanted it to be, a chapter closing.  I had to thank Lori so that I could move on from that night.  I wanted to be clear and to share honestly from my heart.

The floor manager went and found her and brought her to us.  She said "this is Lisa and Asher" and I said "I don't know if you remember us but..." Lori said "Yes, yes, I do....I remember very well!"  As I explained why I was there I gave her the flowers, with more tears, more hugs, and I felt such a release of emotions that had been stored up for 2 years!  I said, "Lori, thank you for trusting your gut and intervening!".  She told me that Asher taught her to do that!  She said before then she would not want to speak up especially if no one else saw the problem....but since Asher she now listens and speaks up!  She thanked us for coming and asked lots about how Asher is now and the details that followed that night....she was grateful to be part of his story.  I left saying to the manager, "now I'm done....I've done what I needed to do".  She thanked me and said the world needs more people like me who will give back and let go of the hurt.

It's not through my own strength that all of this has been able to happen.  Yesterday was God ordained in so many ways, just like Oct. 11 was 2 years ago!  Honestly, for 2 years it's as though my heart has been used for a game of hot potato with toddlers....being squeezed, thrown, dropped, pressed, scratched and bruised.  But through that whole "game" God protected it.  None of those things caused long term damage, in fact, he made my heart better than it was before.  I had no idea so much blessing and joy could come from so much hurt and pain.  But God truly restores.  Actually, restores isn't sufficient....he restores and makes things even better!  It may not feel like it during the thick of those emotions, but He truly does and for that I am so thankful.  

Yesterday was an anniversary to remember, a privilege to be used by God while He healed my heart.  Thank you God!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You Are Two!

As I woke up this morning, the memories of Asher's birth came flooding back.  When I opened my eyes and saw the clock, it was around that time when I was waiting to go into the O.R. to have an emergency C-Section to get Asher out.  I was in the most physical pain I had ever experienced and the waiting seemed endless.  Thinking back on those emotions, the feelings, the fear, I do also clearly remember a peace that kept me calm and focused.  A peace that I had never experienced before. 

Two years later, I can sit here and share, that God's peace has taken our whole family through a journey of pain and joy, fear and excitement, leaving us a stronger, healthier, closer and more grateful, loving family.   God knew what we needed, and he gave us Asher as that gift.

This year, it is a joy to reflect back on the past year and see how far God has brought Asher!
We are blessed by the progress and milestones are spectacular in light of his history! 

I really do not have much more to say this morning, with a heart of gratitude I will celebrate my little man's life!    In 13 minutes he will officially be 2!  My heart does not have room for much more joy, how thankful I am for this gift of life!

Happy Birthday Asher!  YOU ARE TWO!!