Allison's Wonderland

Allison's Wonderland

Monday, September 28, 2015

Samuel's Story

I haven't written a blog post in over a year. But things have changed since then. I have changed since then. Most of my posts haven't been personal writings, but a collection of recipes, homemaking tips, etc. But since the blog is here, it's the perfect place for me to always remember this place to which God has brought me, and to be able to tell Samuel's story.

Michael and I knew we wanted one more child. God had already blessed us with 3 amazing children, yet we still didn't feel as if our family was "complete." I remember sitting at our dining room table while eating dinner with the family one night. I looked around as our family of five was eating and I told Michael, "that empty chair at our table is going to be filled one day." I didn't know it would be soon.

To back up just a little, our family had just made a major move from state to state in the summer of 2014. So we were in the process of building relationships at church, Michael starting a new job, kids adjusting, making our house into a home and all that jazz.

 It was at the end of January when we found out we would be expecting our 4th child. Michael was at work when I took the pregnancy test. We always email throughout the day, but I was shied away from emailing him too much on this particular day, on the chance that I spilled the beans.( I always wanted to be able to tell him in some elaborate or creative way.) But he called me out on being quiet and I ended up sending him a picture of the positive pregnancy test through email!

So here we are gearing up for this 4th child. The other 3 kids are excited. We took our oldest with us to our first prenatal check-up. She loved it!

But something about this pregnancy just felt different. I don't know if you want to call it mother's intuition or what, but probably around the 6 week mark I told Michael my concerns...that something could be wrong with our baby.

*Side note- I had just changed insurance companies at the first of the year. I could only find one OB clinic in my network and area. As the story progresses, you will see this is not coincidence.

We are carrying on with our normal lives. And part of that for me included Tuesday morning Bible study at church and Moms2Moms every other Wednesday. I cannot begin to express how these 2 groups and the truth that was spoken within them helped to shape and prepare me for the events ahead. I had found myself amongst several "Titus 2" mentors, and I was soaking it up. Also, I am extremely grateful for the truth I heard through music (and Word too of course) each Sunday. I would go home and add a new song to my spotify playlist almost every week. :)

On Tuesdays, we were going through the book of James. Trials. That's what stands out in my mind when I think about the book of James. "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds." I do remember while going through this study wrestling with the fact that my faith had never really been tested and wondering if it would remain steadfast if it ever was. But I know God had me studying this particular book at this particular moment for a purpose.

Meanwhile, back at my doctor's office, because I have epilepsy and take certain medications for that...and have yet to establish care with a neurologist, my doctor is referring me to a high risk doctor just to do a more thorough sonogram.

 The appointment was May 5th.

The technician is doing the routine sonogram. She tells us good things about the heart and brain then she leaves the room. Michael prays with me thanking God for a good check up. Then the doctor comes in for the extensive sonogram. She doesn't say a whole lot. At least I don't remember anything she said until she said, "I see a cleft lip." There it was. That news God had been preparing me for. Our baby is going to have a cleft lip. The doctor went on to tell us about surgeries that would be needed and other hospitals we would go to and doctors we would meet.

In the grand scheme of things, we were looking at a healthy baby. This was only cosmetic and could be fixed with surgery.
So we head home, somewhat concerned about all the unknowns, and not as giddy as we would've been has we just been finding out gender, yet still feeling grateful and blessed.

Oh, and it's a boy!!

Back in the doctors office again, remember when I said it wasn't a coincidence I was with this doctor...I'm talking to my OB for the first time about the findings of the cleft lip at the high risk appointment. Then she tells me about her own experience with her daughter who was born with a cleft lip. God is so good to do that for me!

As for a name, we didn't have to "discuss" as much as I imagined. Our 3rd child wasn't named until 3 weeks before he was born. Michael wanted a family name and Samuel is one of his favorite books of the Bible. The name means "gift of God." When I suggested Samuel Michael as a name we both loved it.

Three - four months pass quickly when they are filled with lots of doctors appointments. I also spent a lot of time on google researching how to care for a baby with a cleft lip. A later sonogram would reveal a probable palate which meant more googling. I wanted to be prepared. C-section had been scheduled for September 28th. We are excited and ready.

Then at my check up the first week in September, I get news that our babies growth is in the 14th percentile. I'm not sure what this means but the doctor says if it drops to the 10th at my next checkup, we will be delivering early. She doesn't tell me why, but I knew it didn't sound good. I did some more "research" when I got home to see why you would deliver a baby early if the growth dropped to 10th percentile. It involved things related to neurological development to possible stillbirth. The next 2 weeks were a time of worry for me. I called on my prayer warriors. We were praying that Samuel would grow over the next 2 weeks.

The September 10 appointment was here. I just wanted to find out if he had grown and go home. 

He had grown. But not enough. He was now in the 9th percentile for his gestational age. The doctor wants to deliver the next week. I cried in her office. But I also told her that I had prayed with my husband that morning, and whatever the outcome, we have to ask ourselves 'why not us?' We serve a sovereign God who is in control of our days and has been controlling Samuel's days from day 1 in my womb. He has a perfect plan for him. We have believed that and trusted that from the very beginning.

So over the weekend I had to get ready for baby. (And also have a joint birthday for my boys.) The baby would be here on Tuesday. It was quite a frantic weekend. At least I was feeling that way inside.

Baby day is here. I am calm. The hospital is very efficient. We appreciated that. We loved that friends came and visited and prayed with us before surgery 7:30 in the morning! My parents had also just arrived from out of town and it was comforting to see them.

Off to surgery. I was probably in surgery for 30 minutes and then Samuel was here. Out of my 4 c-sections, it was by far the most relaxing.

 Someone brings Samuel to my side so I can see him. All I remember thinking is "he's absolutely perfect."

The rest of the day was filled with visitors and nausea. (I apologize to those who watched me puke in a bowl.) And it was also filled with one answered prayer after another. 

The fears and worry from the past 2 weeks were gone and my baby was in my arms and healthy. God is good and faithful. And I feel so unworthy of these blessings!

Now to bring you to today. Just 2 weeks later. Samuel is still doing well. He is now wearing a NAM in his mouth- which is short for nasoalveolar molding. This is similar to a retainer and is actually held in place with fixodent just like dentures. He wears this all day. I take it out every 12 hours to clean it. It has a nose piece that aids in forming his nostril. I also put skin tape on his lip. This should help reduce the size of the cleft before we do surgery 3 months from now. I change the tape 3-4 times a day.

I was a little worried thinking that I was going to be overwhelmed with the newborn and the extra care he needs plus taking care of my 3 older kids, but I feel like Moses when his hands grew tired in the battle and Aaron and Hur would lift them up so they could win the battle. What has overwhelmed me is the people who have loved on us, prayed with us and for us, brought us meals, sent cards, etc. The family of God holds each other up and that's exactly what they've been doing while we adjust and learn about what the next step in the journey will be.

To God alone be the glory...great things He has done!!


Shannon said...

What a blessing your family is to those around you. I love to read your story and to see how God wins! He gets the glory. God doesn't make mistakes and he made Samuel in His image! You and Michael are a great testament to His goodness and mercy. Praying as Samuel continues to grow and approaches his first surgery! Thankful you are choosing to blog his story. It's beautiful and you are a gifted writer!

Gail P said...

Allison, you are such a special mother and woman!!! I really enjoyed reading your blog! It was SO touching! I know Samuel will be touched by it someday! Love you!!!

Allison Pettiette said...

Thanks friend! I always appreciate your encouragement!!

Allison Pettiette said...

Thank you Gail!