Hello everyone...it has been some time since I have written but this last month and a half have been a bit hectic and if you've kept up with our social media accounts you might have noticed that the craziness has just hit an all time high.
For those of you who have not heard, on Sunday, December 14th at 8:20 AM our family of three became a family of 4. We excitedly welcomed our son Justus Keith Kirby to our family; weighing in at 6 pounds and measuring 20 inches long.
As some of you might have known, Justus was supposed to cook a little longer and arrive on January 6th but like his older sister...he decided he wanted to make his entrance into the world a little bit sooner.
I mentioned in an Instagram picture that the night I went into labor we were supposed to be attending our very first work Christmas party and as you might have guessed that didn't quite happen. Justus had other plans. That day was a little strange...well to be honest that entire week was a little odd. I knew something was different on Monday when I started having really bad contractions and again on Tuesday, Wednesday, and so forth. On Saturday I told Guy, "I think he's going to be coming soon." And on Sunday around 2 PM I went into full blown labor (without really knowing it). That night as I put on my make-up and did my hair I cringed through each and every rigorous contraction. I was GOING to make sure we made it to that party!
I was all dressed and ready to go, and I sat down on my bed to bear through the contraction I was having when my mother-in-law walked in and demanded that I go to the hospital. With denial in my heart, I agreed and we snapped this pic before departing for the hospital.
I wanted to make sure we could always remember that on this night I was willing AND ready to dress up and go to this party (in labor and all).
When we arrived at the hospital we were quickly reassured that I was definitely in labor at 4 cm dilated and that we would be having this baby within the night or morning. My denial soon turned to excitement as we awaited the birth of our son! Being almost 4 weeks early we were advised that the some of the NICU staff would be present during the birth just in case there happened to be complications. We were aware of this since Rozalyn was also born at 36 weeks. We had no idea how fortunate we had been when Rozalyn was born with no complications at such an early gestation.
Labor lasted a little over 18 hours and when it came time to push, Justus was quick to make his appearance in just 10 minutes. My heart melted when he was lifted on to my chest but I knew almost immediately that something wasn't right. His shallow cry lasted but a few short seconds and as they rubbed him vigorously, my fear soon turned into one my worst nightmares. With barely enough time to gaze at my sons beautiful face he was stripped away from me. As I patiently waited for him to be returned to my chest, I was quickly disheartened when I realized that things were far too worse than I had anticipated. With tubes and wires connected to his tiny, helpless body they whisked him down to the NICU. At this point, Guy and I had little to no idea what was in store for our precious Justus but we would soon find out that our roles as parents was about to take on a whole new job description.
This is the only time I've seen Justus without anything connected to him.
As we awaited some sort of news, we prayed and celebrated the life that was given to us. When Guy returned from the NICU where he talked to a series of doctors and nurses, he was informed that our baby boy had Respiratory Distress Syndrome and his lungs were not developed enough to support his breathing. He was immediately placed on a large amount of oxygen, as well as, bubble CPAP to help keep his lungs open, a nasty IV that made him swell like a balloon, and a feeding tube.
We have been in the NICU 5 days now and each day feels like a lifetime. I can honestly say that I have never been stretched so much as a mother. The feeling of helplessness that I feel takes over me at times and I can't help but weep. There is so much that I wish to do to fulfill my "motherly duties" but I am simply unable to. I never thought that I would be so happy to change a diaper in my life but if there is anything that I can do to nurture and love my son I will do it in a heartbeat. There is nothing more disheartening than watching somebody else do the job that God created you to do but I am so thankful for each and every nurse that has loved on our little Justus and I could not feel more blessed by the care they have given him. Even the smallest amount of cuddling melts my aching heart and when I leave the NICU at night my heart longs to make the seconds move faster so I can see him again.
Today we have seen the most consistent improvement with him and it shouldn't be long now that he is off of oxygen and CPAP. He is still a little bit jaundice so they have him on phototherapy for the next 24 hours to help his levels go down but other than that our next hurdle will be breastfeeding and bottle feeding! Here are a couple pictures of him from today.
Justus wearing his first outfit...looking a little bit like a glow worm. Guy caught such a sweet moment with our precious little man!
We cannot thank each and every one of you enough for all the love and support you have shown our family the last couple of days. We are so incredibly blessed by all the prayers and well wishes we have received and have endlessly thanked our Father for the many people in and around our life.
Please continue to pray for our little Justus Keith. He needs to be home for Christmas!
As for our Rozalyn Grace...she has been getting lots of love these past few days from her Mimi and her Grammy!
Because she hasn't been able to meet her "baby bra" yet, she remains somewhat confused as to why mommy no longer has a baby in her tummy and no baby at home. She loves looking at pictures of him and will laugh and giggle and say "oh my gosh...soooo cute!" She is excited for Justus to come home and so are we, as we are anxious for her to meet her precious baby brother.
Again, we cannot say thank you enough for all of you who have prayed, encouraged, or sent us meals. We are completely overwhelmed at the way in which so many have reached out. It is truly reassuring to know that we are not alone. I look up to so many of you who have experienced NICU life and the strength that you must muster up to get through each day.
Blessings to everyone this Christmas season! XOXOXO