Hello World!

This is the story of Kai’s birth. If you read previously, you already know of the news we learned prior to Kai entering this world. Although, there were still a lot of unknowns. What we did know:

    • Kai had a substantial amount of cerebral spinal fluid built up in his brain and he was diagnosed at that time with severe hydrocephalus
    • Kai was also breech
    • I would be having a scheduled C-section on Monday morning, December 11, 2017
    • A transport team from Children’s Hospital was scheduled to arrive at the time of his birth and take him directly to Children’s NICU
    • I would be stuck at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s for my recovery while my husband, Danny, went to be with Kai at Children’s

We learned all of this information on Thursday, December 7, 2017 and had to wait ALL WEEKEND LONG anticipating his arrival and the unknowns that came with it. Remember when I previously talked about sitting on my nursery floor alone, crying? Yea… that’s where you could find me Saturday morning, over that weekend. You know, it’s really hard to keep your mind from going to the worst places in those moments. Just a taste of what I was thinking and feeling…

  • Will he come out crying? And even breathing on his own? 
  • Will he have any body control at all? Or just be limp and lifeless? 
  • How big will his head really be with all of that extra fluid in there? 
  • How has this affected his brain development while he was in the womb? 
  • What various disorders could this possibly have caused him to have and have to live with his entire life? 
  • Will he ever be able to eat on his own, walk, talk? 
  • Will he ever even be able to know who we are? Be able to look at us? 

Stupid fear. It can really wreck someone in a time of trial such as this. We tried to keep

Pedicure beforehand
Mom and I getting pedicures before Kai arrives!

busy over the weekend, as to not think of all of those things above in lour of Kai’s arrival. My mom and bestie, Lydia, went and got pedicures with me. We went shopping for nursing clothes, things needed for the hospital and just for fun. I will forever be thankful for that shopping trip because it’s how we found our church family with Westerville Christian Church.

Quick side story: I volunteered Danny and I a few weeks earlier for an event called Night in Bethlehem at WCC (Westerville Christian Church). I thought all we needed to do was lead some crafts for the kids. Needless to say, we later found out the entire church is turned into “Bethlehem”, including live animals! We had to dress up in robes and sandals and pretend to be those living in the time of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem. It’s a very cool tradition in the church but we were taken by surprise and felt quite out of place. And best part, I signed us up for both nights, so we had to do it TWO nights in a row! LOL But it was then that we met the funniest woman, Aubre, who was serving us dinner and was just as sweet as can be! 

Back to the main story. While out shopping that weekend, we happened to run into that sweet lady above, Aubre, and said hi to her while in line at Kohls. At that time, she obviously had no idea of the trials we faced ahead and how scared we were for the future of our little boy. Whatever the reason, some may call it coincidence, some maybe fate, my mom felt compelled enough to go up to Aubre after Danny and I had walked away to look at something and briefly share that there were some complications with the baby and asked for prayers. That was it. Now, you’re all entitled to think what you want, but I know who orchestrated that confrontation and conversation and it was no coincidence. From then on, Aubre reached out to WCC’s Children’s Minister who we knew, Becky, and from there the chain of prayer warriors was created, rooting on Kai! These amazing people decorated our home, created a meal train that provided dinners for us for over three weeks AND visited us in the hospital. The outpouring of love shown to us from a church that we had only attended a few times was overwhelming and that’s why we now call WCC home. 

Live in Westerville, Ohio? Seeking a church home? Check them out: http://wcchurch.life/

When Sunday night arrived, I tried to not let my nerves get the best of me. Both of our families came over that night for dinner, to help keep our minds off of what was to come. The anticipation was killer! But one phenomenal surprise happened later that evening around 9:30 pm. As we were all just hanging out and watching TV, there was an unexpected knock on our door. We obviously weren’t expecting anyone and much to our surprise, Danny opened the door to reveal my Aunt Jeannie was there, all the way from Florida! She had hopped on a plane and come to surprise us and be with us in this challenging time. I probably forgot to tell her truly how much that meant in the midst of all the chaos but words can’t even describe how happy we were to see her and have her there with us!

Aunt Jeannie and I
My sweet Aunt Jeannie who came and surprised us with me after Kai was delivered, waiting to meet him!

The morning finally came and I got out of bed bright and early (not that I got much sleep), took my shower and began to get myself ready just like any other day. It was surreal that we were getting ready to head to Mount Carmel St. Ann’s to have a baby! I must admit, this was NOT how I ever imagined it would be when the time came but can’t say I hated it. Haha! There was no surprise, no water breaking, no labor pains, etc. We just woke up to our alarms, bags already packed, plans made and casually (as casual as you can) made our way to the hospital. We had to be there ridiculously early, like 5 am, because my C-section was scheduled for 7:30 am that morning. I obviously didn’t know what to expect, I had never had a baby before… so we just walked in and said “we are

Kai before transport
Kai in his transport carrier.

here to have a baby!” The nurse kind of giggled as she got us checked in and taken back to our room. Once we were in our room, Danny and I just sat there talking and listening to music while waiting for what felt like ETERNITY. Our families arrived a little later, waiting for the time of Kai’s entrance into the world in the waiting room. It took awhile since there were so many moving parts and different doctors/hospitals involved. My doctor, the nurses, the NICU at St. Ann’s, the Nationwide Children’s transport team, the Nationwide Children’s NICU and doctors/nurses there all had to be on the same page, so we did get pushed back a little bit. Not going to lie, it was pretty intimidating and depressing knowing your baby would be born and taken into a transport vehicle to another hospital while you’re stuck somewhere else, without him. 

So the time had arrived, my doctor came into my room after I was prepped and this was probably one of my favorite moments (aside from seeing Kai for the first time) in the entire day. Dr. Allen (my gynecologist) asked me if she could pray with us. It was an amazing moment and one I’ll never forget. It was entirely unexpected. It truly released all of my fears and brought me to a good place, just knowing that we were in good hands and that HE was there with us, watching every step of the way. At that point, I said a brief “good-bye” to Danny and went back with the nurse for my spinal block. Piece of cake. The rest was a whirlwind. I’ll leave out the gory details and give you the SparkNotes version. It was practically a freakin’ party in my delivery room. I truly lost count of how many people were in there and all I really do remember is Danny talking to the doctor who was assisting my gynecologist about going to the same high school. Um.. Hello! I’m over here strapped down like an animal getting cut into!? Can we stop the small talk!? (Maybe I was just a little hormonal lol) It took only about 10 minutes into the procedure for Kai to come into the world. At 9:03 am we were blessed with his presence! He came out breathing, moving and crying just as we had hoped! Thank God! Although I was unable, I was thankful that Danny got a chance to hold him before he was taken to the NICU there at St. Ann’s to make sure he was stable enough to be transported. I still had about 40 minutes left to be “put back together”, for lack of better terms. Let’s just say, I wasn’t a fan of not being able to move, laying there thinking about what they were doing. Mayyybbeee, just maybe, I let it get to me and Danny pretty much told the anesthesiologist to knock me out. haha! It was kind of great. I woke up and was done, ready to go into my recovery room! Boom! Done! Just had a baby, half asleep for most of it. But hey… some things are out of your control. 

Kai's delivery with mommy and daddy.JPG
I have ZERO memory of taking this photo. Ha!

I anxiously waited in the recovery room for them to bring Kai down to officially meet him. He arrived in his carrier, unable to hold him I just held his little finger. I actually distinctly remember asking if I could touch him… which the nurse from Nationwide Children’s replied, “of course, he’s your baby”. Or maybe that was Danny, or my mom who said that? Hmm.. not really sure now that I think about it but hey… I was on a lot of pain meds. Cut me some slack. I said goodbye to my sweet boy as they wheeled him away to head to Children’s Hospital. Not long after, I was taken to my maternity room where I would stay for the next three days (or so I was told) as I recovered from surgery. Danny left shortly after, along with his parents (my wonderful in-laws Nancy and Rob) to head over to Children’s to be with Kai. My amazing mother stayed with me until my bestest friends arrived to offer their support! Shout out to Lydia and Kori who practically stayed with me all morning, afternoon and evening and to all my other family members and friends who came to visit throughout the day, even though Kai wasn’t even there! Remember that sweet Children’s Pastor, Becky, who I previously mentioned? She came to visit and offer her support as well! It all meant the world and really helped my sanity as I was confined to a hospital bed unable to see, hold and kiss my baby. 

You know, I can’t speak for my husband but he has told me that the day Kai was born and the immediate next day were probably two of the most difficult in his life. While I laid in a hospital bed miles away, he had to watch our little boy go through several tests, hooked up to a ton of machines/wires/tubes, sign papers of medical jargon he was unsure of and make some pretty major life decisions for Kai on the spot. I don’t know if I’ve every truly told him how amazingly strong he is but if not… her you go babe. This ones for you! That first night, Danny stayed in the NICU with Kai and I know he didn’t get much sleep, if any. The next day, December 12, 2017, Kai underwent brain surgery to receive a VP shunt. This was based off the recommendation and diagnosis from his nuero-surgeon who saw him in the hospital shortly after an MRI was taken right

facetime-with-mommy1.png
FaceTime Session together!

after arriving to Children’s. Meanwhile, I’m sitting at St. Ann’s having girl talk with my friends and stuffing my face of chocolate cake. Ooh yes, I took full advantage of that hospital menu, let me tell you! If I could have a personal chef at my house every day, I would. I despise cooking. Plus, my girl Ashley (who ran the kitchen there) hooked me up! But not to speak lightly of what was really happening, Danny did FaceTime me several times to discuss what was happening with our little man so we could make the best decisions for him together and so I could see him!

So, what was the actual diagnosis? How did this all happen? Is your brain running just as wild as ours was at this point? Truly, we had no true answers  and to this day are still looking for them. All we still knew was that he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. There are MANY different variations and levels of severity of hydrocephalus (I’m not going to get into all of that now but plan to for those interested in another post) but at that point that is all we knew. And we knew the fluid had to be drained. So, in goes the shunt. Since this is the story of Kai’s BIRTH, let’s wrap this up. Trust me, there is PLENTY more to be said about what has happened following these events. But that’s all for another time. Unfortunately, I still wasn’t there for his surgery and thank God Danny had some support there with him. Like I had mentioned earlier, I was told I’d be in the hospital for at least three days. But thankfully, my doctor knew I was anxiously awaiting to go officially meet and hold my little one. She wanted me to be safe but to be with him. After I had proven that I could get up and walk a little, use the bathroom on my own (I know.. TMI but this is real life people!) and was eating just fine, I was released that evening! Yes, the day after I had him. Don’t get my wrong, I was still on pain meds and

Going to Childrens to meet Kai
Headed to meet Kai!

First meeting after surgeryhurting but I was DETERMINED to get to Children’s Hospital. My wonderful parents wheeled me out and drove me over, where I got to finally see my son for more than a minute for the first time after he had been born. It was incredible and my emotions definitely got the best of me! Because it was flu season, only Danny, myself and our parents were allowed to enter the NICU. So, we had several family members and friends anxiously waiting to meet our little guy. But hey… I had to wait, so they could deal with it! lol (Love you all!)

Life is a journey filled with unexpected miracles. You’re ours. 

And just like that, he was here and our true journey began. 

More about Kai’s story to come… in the meantime…

It’s okay to be “unfine”. 

-Amber 

 

5 thoughts on “Hello World!

  1. Mary Ann Ryle Sheets August 15, 2018 — 10:02 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Major props to both you and Danny for being so supportive for each other . Kai is one lucky kiddo.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anxiously awaiting your next Post. 😍 love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LaVonne Hammett August 17, 2018 — 7:14 pm

    Amber, thank you so much for sharing your story. My heart goes out to you and Danny, having to go through that scary time but my heart is happy that you have Tai. You both must be very special to be blessed with this baby and he is blessed to have you both as his parents. As you continue to go through challenges, remember that God doesn’t make any mistakes. There is a purpose and a message here and I know you both will come to understand it and be a force for God. All my love, LV

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a moving story and tribute to faith. I am going to get to know you bbetter, as you are relation as well as Christian brother and sister. Hopefully I will get to have sweet Kai in Sunday School at the proper time.
    Your Dad and Grandparents were so close with us. Time has brought distance and that is sad. As I grow older, I realize how much my family means to me

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing. Praying for each of you as you walk this journey!

    Liked by 1 person

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