My Nathaniel, my little warrior, my miracle baby: he is the reason we delivered so early. His cord failed and we almost lost him. When he was born he was swollen with all this extra fluid (called ascites) and he wasn't breathing and had to be resuscitated. This caused a grade 4 brain bleed - the worst you can have. The nurses all spoke among themselves that they didn't think he was going to make it. We were told he would have a 95% chance of some sort of cerebral palsy and should be prepared for him to be severely handicapped. We were later told he had hydrocephalus (extra fluid around the brain) and would possibly need a shunt placed in his brain.
The first few days were the scariest. But by the end of the first week he had lost most of the extra fluid and was so so tiny. While he was born weighing 2lb 11oz he got down to 2lbs 1oz. We got the news about the brain bleed (intra-ventricular hemorrhage or IVH) and we immediately asked for prayers for this little guy. And boy did we get a response! Complete strangers were writing to us telling us that they were praying for him. It was so uplifting.
Over the next couple weeks we were amazed and awed at God's response to prayers for Nathaniel. He was taken off oxygen assistance by the end of week 2 while his brothers remained on oxygen for months (well after they came home even). He was the first to begin taking breastmilk through his feeding tube. He began gaining weight and looking around! While he wasn't the first to come out of his incubater because he was so tiny he was the first to be strong enough to be held skin to skin.
Nate was even the first to come home from the NICU! We had him home by himself for a full two weeks. He was slow to take to breastfeeding but once he got it, he got it. He quickly became my best breastfeeder and my biggest baby.
Over the months to follow, as his brothers struggled with severe reflux and breathing problems, Nate continued to thrive. Through the Early Steps program we are fortunate to have a therapist here working with the boys every day of the week. They consistently comment how amazed they are that a baby with such a severe brain bleed could be progressing so well. He was the first to smile a real smile, the first to roll over, the first to try solid food, the first to put a toy from one hand to the other... he is definitely leading the pack!
And his nature is so sweet! He smiles all the time and loves to laugh. He is by far my most easy-going child. He loves to interact with his brothers. Whenever we put them down next to each other he rolls over and smiles, grabs his brothers' hands or arm and puts it in his mouth. When you've been gone and come home and reach down to pick him up he grabs your face and give you big wet kisses on your cheek (which at this level in their development is really just him sucking on your cheek but its still so sweet). He sleeps better than both his brothers too! He is just such an easy baby.
A couple weeks ago we took him to the neurologist for a follow-up appointment and current head ultrasound. We got the results back last week and we were shocked by them... Nate's brain is completely free of the blood and all the fluid is at normal range. It truly is a miracle. He still has damage from the bleed and there may still be some issues with his development over time, but so far we have seen nothing to indicate any trouble. For him to heal so completely and so quickly from such a traumatic situation is simply unheard of. The doctors are just amazed. We just give thanks to God for truly having a plan for this child. We are so excited to see what's to come!