our little blessing

Our son Teak Joseph Head was born on October 28th, 2010. He has been a blessing in our lives even before he was born. We truly feel honored that the Lord chose both of us to be the parents of this special boy. Teak was born with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele and a minor hearing loss in both ears. Both un-related to each other. These are the curve balls of life. You never know when they are coming, you just keep your head up, step up and hit back with prayer, strength and love.
Welcome to our lives. Teak will one day change the world for the better just the way he has changed us.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

October 28 & 29, 2010 - Delivery & Surgery Day

A scheduled c-section is so weird to be honest with you. You feel odd walking into a hospital getting all done up for surgery to have a baby. Just seems so un-natural to me. I told Chad that I still don't feel like I birthed my child, you know, that I actually gave birth to Teak. No, I don't have issues with it but feel that it is odd that my doctor cut me open and pulled my child out of me. Just stop and think about it. It is weird. Enough about that...

So we get ready for the c-section and I go into the operating room. The anesthesiologist gives me a spinal for the surgery. I lay down and start to not feel my legs, etc. Then I start to not feel my middle then I get tingly in my hands and my throat...at this point, I start to realize this is not okay and mention to the doctor that I am about to pass out. She explains to me that it meant that my spinal was really good and was moving up my body. She did something to stop it and it felt a lot better after that. This was the worst part of having a c-section for me.

Delivery went well besides the spinal scare. They pull and tug and here comes Teak. Redheaded and 8 lbs 8 oz, 20.5 inches long. The St. David's NICU doctors and nurses take him and start to wipe him down. They check out his back but still seem rough with him. Ugh.

I finally get to see my little boy and give him a kiss. I can't believe he is actually here. This is really happening. The day we had been waiting for months.

Anyone who has ever had a baby that needs special care as soon as they are born knows what it it like to have their baby taken from them as soon as they were born. The issue here was that he was going to be transported from St. Davids to Dell Children's within 24 hours to undergo major back surgery. We were prepared for this. You honestly have to mentally be prepared that your child will not be with you. You have to morn the fact that this was NOT your birth plan and you will not have the same old stories like your friends/family. But then you realize that is okay. Why would you want your story to be like theirs anyway? Ours is different and different is good. Honestly, you just let your self get mad, sad but you stay strong in the midst of it.

Chad runs off with the baby. All of our family is waiting to hear about Teak and if he is as healthy as he could be, etc. Of course family drama is going on in the lobby but that seems to be normal in our lives these days. Baby brings out the worst and best in people. :)

Chad grabs his mother to see Teak in the NICU, then takes my mother, then my father and then his father. Except me, Teak's mother, the one who nurtured him in her body for 9 months and just underwent major surgery for him. So I am in recovery and finally get wheeled back to my room. All family members are there and we gather in my room. Talking, etc. I tell them about my experience with the spinal. Fun times. They told Chad that Dell was already sending a transport for Teak today. Wow, so fast. I thought they might keep him at St. David's another day but no biggy. The faster they get his repair surgery done the better in my mind. They did promise to bring him by the room before he was rushed off. Fancy guy, already going on his first car ride before he is even a few hours old.

They finally bring him by around 1:30pm. Yes, I started worrying because they originally stated noon. He is in the see through incubator. This plump baby in the incubator. For some reason, they placed his IV in his head! What the heck, can't imagine that feels good. I get to reach my hand in and rub his arm but that is about it. I of course tear up, it is so sad to see him in there all by himself. Ugh, I knew this day would come and they would have to transport him to another away from me and I knew it would be hard. I was prepared for it but you can prepare for things but it doesn't mean that it isn't going to be hard or hurt. Just like a marathon that you train for, you prepare not just physically but mentally but while you are running those long distances it is still hard on your mind and body.

Chad and his mother follow the transport to Dell while I stay at St. Davids. I have great nurses at St. Davids that really take care of me. They wonder where my baby is and I explain that he has Spina Bifida, etc. They are sympathetic and understand that I am ready to go and see no reason for me to be there any longer than I need to. My doctor had originally stated 2 to 4 days but I kept telling her that 2 days was as long as I needed to be in the hospital because I was needed somewhere else.

So Teak had surgery before he was even 24 hours old. I wanted to know everything. I didn't want to be left out of anything. This was my son who I have spent 9 months with and didn't want anyone else except my husband to know everything going on with the surgery and the NICU, etc. This presented some problems because my mother in law was in the midst of things to be supportive. It was hard for me though because she had such a hard time when Teak was diagnosed with SB months before. She was very helpful and ended up taking over the night shift at the NICU so that Teak was hardly ever alone.

We had met the neurosurgeon a couple times before so that we became comfortable with him and the surgery. We had also spoken to a few other SB families about him and they were always so complimentary. He seemed to be a legend. Dr. Timothy George. He was very personable yet very intelligent which you don't always find as a mix in a good doctor. We knew he was the right man to repair our son's back. I asked Chad to call me when he was talking to Dr. George before the surgery so that I could hear what was said, etc. Instead, Dr. George got on the phone and explained things to him. I asked a couple questions as well. He is very mater of fact but nice about it. We like him...

Sitting in my hospital room by myself that morning was surprisingly peaceful. Again, so many emotions are running rampant through your mind, body and soul during these times. It is so indescribable. I can only imagine that parents who have gone through something similar can relate. Prayer is the only thing that can help you through it, honestly. Pray for your husband to continue being strong and patient and loving through it all. Pray for the doctor who is cutting open your baby boy and handling precious parts of his insides that most people don't even think about or realize they have and use everyday. Parts that are necessary to walk and pee. Things that we do everyday and take for granted.

So from there, Chad waiting in the waiting room downstairs at Dell until the surgery was over. He said that Dr. George told him that it went really well. The spinal cord was still intact and there wasn't a lot of tethering of the cord as well. He also stated that there wasn't a lot of nerve damage. This all sounded so wonderful. He got to go see Teak who was now going to be placed in his own NICU room. Now it was just recovery and waiting to see what happens and how he develops.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

October 28, 2010

Today's the day, the inevitable. Our scheduled c-section. I was walking into St. David's pregnant, baby inside me and will walk out in 2 days without baby.

We had prepared ourselves for this day for a few months now and were so excited that the day was finally here. We knew it wouldn't be easy but we had each other and we couldn't wait to add one more to our family. We knew there would be tears; tears of joy, tears of sadness, tears of worry, tears of relief. Tears that would come when we didn't expect them. We couldn't wait to meet the love of our lives and smile and kiss him.

All these tears and smiles were for one precious person, Teak Joseph Head born October 28th, 2010, at 9:46am. Weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces, 20.5 inches. Beautiful red-headed boy, nice and plump and strong.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ear oh ear...

Oh ear, oh ear! A lot of people don't know the facts about Teak's ears so here goes.

Teak failed his infant hearing screened when he was in the NICU. They did it 3 times! The third time before we left the hospital, his left ear passed but his right ear still didn't. They kept stating that it could be just because he had fluid in his ears from birth (c-section baby) so not to worry but that we would need to have an audiologist do a hearing test on him at Dell.

So in December we went into Dell Children's Hospital and met with Liz, the audiologist there, and she tried to test his ears. They told me to keep him hungry and tired. Let me tell you, that was a fun morning. I kept him as hungry as I could and he fell asleep in the car. Thank goodness, Dell is only 10 minutes away. Liz is actually happy that he is asleep so that she can start testing. She keeps him in his carrier, starts to attach electrode things to his head and begins the testing.

Side note: She asks why we are there, I explain that he basically failed his infant hearing screen except the left ear. We know he hears because he startles at sounds, etc. I also tell her that I must mention that my grandfather (mother's side) had to get hearing aids when he was around 20 years old and supposedly his mother had to get them around the same age. Also, grandpa had a sister who was born deaf. She nods her head. Then she ends up asking why he was in the NICU and I explain that he has Spina Bifida, etc.

Alright, so she is testing him and has her computer screen up with all these little graphs moving. I just kind of sit back and watch. He starts to stir and then eventually wakes up before she can finish. I am breastfeeding so brought a bottle of breastmilk to try to feed him and try to get him back to sleep. They have to be asleep in order to finish the because the stirring and even eating is too loud and makes the test inconsistent. He falls back to sleep in my arms so she decides to try the other ear and begins testing, he wakes up again before she can finish.

The results are inconclusive at this time and he is going to have to go back in for testing and they will have to sedate him the next time. Ugh, not so happy about that but it seems to be something they do all the time when necessary and I trust the people at Dell.
She does mention that our son hears but that there was a potential delay at lower levels on the left side and right side. She stated it could still be fluid in the ears so we had to go see a pediatric ENT doctor to have his ears checked.

We were talking while she was doing some of the tests and kept saying that she really loved how I was with Teak. She thought that I must have other children the way that I handled him and spoke to him. She said that I didn't act like a new mom but like an experienced mother. That meant a lot to me. I didn't know how else I would act but it felt good to hear that especially after the past month had been for me. She really felt impressed at my reaction to his SB diagnosis. He was doing so well and we were so thankful to the Lord. Ah-ha, she said. That is why you are this way. You have faith. No wonder.
How else can you be, I think.

So we go to the ENT doctor and she stated that Teak does not have fluid in his ears.

So back at Dell again for another hearing test in the beginning of March. This morning all I am doing is having little discussions with God. Yes, I have faith and believe that Teak is the most special little being in the world but he already has Spina Bifida, please Lord, don't give him hearing loss. He is special but people on this earth are mean and I don't want him to have to deal with anything else...
The most nerving about this test was that they had to sedate him. It was so sad, he had to drink this orange stuff then fussed a little and fell asleep. It was just sad and unnerving but I trusted the nurse who watched over him and trusted Liz. I couldn't stay in the room with him so I had to go to the waiting room. They give you a pager so you can walk around. I decided to walk around for a bit b/c she said it could take up to an hour and a half.

The diagnosis: Well, God had another plan. Teak was diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss. His left ear is better than his right ear. The audiologist explained it to us that he hears but he doesn't hear certain sounds very well unless they are louder. She recommended he get hearing aids before he was 6 months. She stated that we don't have to listen to her recommendation but that it could effect his speech. Then later on when he is not speaking correctly we will think we need to correct his speech but that wasn't the initial problem, it was because he was not hearing the words correctly. So in order for him to learn to speak words correctly the hearing aids would help. We may say THROW to him but he only hears ROW...

My initial thought was that it was crazy to think he needed hearing aids. What in the world was she talking about. He could hear so what was the use. He reacted to the sounds when they were louder so I could just speak louder or keep him by my side. He was already right next to me most of the day while I was holding him. While speaking with her I couldn't hold back the tears. I just hated that we were adding another disability to this beautiful perfect boy. Lord, he already had Spina Bifida, why did we need to tack this on? I truly believe it was not a result of his SB, that it was genetically from me. I must carry a passive gene from my grandfather. Those thoughts are scary as well because this could also happen to another child if we chose to have one. They could even be deaf like my great aunt.

I was angry with God for a couple days, yelling at him and just purely angry. Honestly, I have to say that I was felt a little more upset about this diagnosis than the SB. Maybe because I knew it was my fault where the SB we had no idea where it came from. I did get over it after a couple days. I apologized to God and felt comfort in the diagnosis.
I know that He specifically made Teak to be a special boy. More special than any of our friends' and families' babies. (Sorry guys!) But we were chosen and Teak was chosen and he is only going to be a better person because of it all.