Our Little Family

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Thank you all first and foremost for reading our blog and praying for our little boy. Im truly understanding how awesomely blessed we have been that he has done so well more and more everyday. Asher is now 45 days old....WOW! He is 32 weeks adjusted (what he would have been in utero). He also weighs in at a whopping 3lbs 5oz. He is growing more and more everyday and changing so fast. About 3 days ago we were finally moved to a room with a window. Asher is being introduced to cyclical lighting now which means hes getting light during the day and dark at night instead of them keeping it dark ALL the time. We loved our new room, until yesterday. The new room is placed on the back hall in the back corner, which we thought was nice because of privacy but I realized very quickly that i dont really want privacy anymore. Asher had been getting his food through a small tube in his nose called a NG (nasogastric) that goes into his stomach. He was getting his food continuously, a little at a time throughout the day because he struggles with refluxing his food. The doctors thought since he is getting bigger that we should try to feed him his food every 3 hours for 2hours at a time and then allow him to rest for an hour. This supposedly gets them prepared for eating from a bottle because they cant really take 4 hours to suck down 5 ounces. Well, needless to say, the refluxing reared its ugly head big time!
See, when preemies (or anyone for that matter) reflux, the burning stomach acid creeps up their esophagus and sits there. Our bodies natural reaction, just like theirs is to protect their airway. But......we actually start breathing again when it goes down. Asher, on the other hand, he forgets to start breathing again. He had a pretty dramatic episode yesterday while his feeds were running where he must have refluxed and quit breathing in bed and then his alarms start dinging because his heart rate slows and his oxygen levels begin to drop. Well the scary part about our privacy was that no one heard his alarms going off. No one came. I was there alone trying to rub my baby as hard as i could to make him breath and it felt like forever before someone came to help. Finally i yelled down the hall and his nurse came running. By this time, his oxygen levels were at 24% when they need to be above 83%. YAH....SCARY! She got him to come back with just a little oxygen and a whap on the butt.
I brokedown after that. I cried so hard i could barely stand it but the doctor and nurse manager came in to apologize to me and reassure me that this wouldnt happen again. Good ending is that we now have a room in the middle of a busy hall with 2 windows!!!! Haha! We are VIP now. Oh, and he let them know he wasnt ready for 2 hours feeds yet so hes back to continuos and he has not had a scary spell since.
God's hand is really on Asher right now everyone. I hope to use his story as a huge testimony to others. If someone doesnt believe that prayers can actually work, they have not met my little boy!
Please continue to pray for Asher as he gets older. Please pray that God would protect his little body from any sickness or infections which would be the biggest step backwards right now. Please pray that he will eventually be able to eat without refluxing all the time. That he would continue to tolerate being weaned down on his nasal cannula, and that it would finally come off as I truly believe its just a nuisance to him right now. Please pray for his continued healing and that in another month or so that he could come home!
His nursery is all ready for him! Pictures to come soon!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New things

I wanted to try and save this post until I had pictures to post with it but I promise to add some as soon as I remember to take my camera! Tonight, Asher weighed in at 2lbs 10oz which was such a thrill for Nick and I. Im so happy to see him growing so well. He has been having quite a bit of awake time these past few days and I LOVE that he knows my voice and follows it with his eyes. Asher has been doing great this past week. He has continued to pee a lot and I get so excited to see his diaper filled with urine everytime I change him. (You really have to have a baby in the NICU to appreciate pee and poop so much). He is still getting fed continuously because he struggles with reflux. Everytime he has a reflux episode it causes his heart rate to drop (a Brady) and his oxygen saturations go down as well. So, we are staying with the continuous feeds but his primary nurse thinks since he is getting older he is realizing that his tummy is never truly full. Yes he always has food in it but today he seemed so upset and we wondered if it was because he was really hungry? It made my heart break today when he kept crying. Finally we swaddled him and he fell asleep. He also recieved his first tub bath this week where we placed him in a small water basin of warm water and he absolutely loved it! No more bed baths for him! He loves soaking in the water and he actually loves having his hair washed and head massaged.
As of today, Asher has been removed from his CPAP. He no longer has that mask helping him breath but now has only a tiny nasal cannula which Im sure he loves so much better. We are really asking for prayer that Asher tolerates this well and flourishes on it because he does have to work harder now to breath better on his own. Please pray that he would get stronger and stronger everyday and that he could continue to stay on the nasal cannula. Because he was able to come off CPAP they were also able to take the 2 tubes out of his mouth and place only a tiny one down his nose into his tummy. It has been so nice to watch him be able to take a pacifier now and also not gag on 2 tubes tickling the back of his throat. He really just seems like a happier baby now. I love it.
Im really having such a good time being around him more and more everyday and I look forward to holding him more than anything every morning when I wake up. I hope I express enough to God how thankful I am that he chose me to be Asher's mom. Asher is 32 days old today and we are so thankful for each day. Nick has such a gift of peace which I am thankful for because I tend to worry about every little thing. I worry myself all night because he maybe only pooped once in a day not 3 times like the day before. Sheesh....Im so thankful Jesus is in control and Im not. Id lose it for sure. Thank you all for keeping up with our blog and please keep praying with us for Asher's healing everyday. Please pray that God would continue to breath life into him, that Asher would continue growing, that he would continue to poop and pee and that God would give him quality periods of rest so that he can conserve his energy. Thank you a million times for the prayers.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

You will be safe in His arms

Is it weird that sometimes I almost dread updating my blog because Asher can have 15 things happen in one day and then by day 3 I start thinking, "Man this is gonna be a long post". Ha! Anyways, Asher has been doing amazingly well. We actually had ANOTHER scare with his kidneys where he stopped peeing for a day and then his blood work on his kidney function goes way out of whack. The doctors flat out told Nick and I that they were starting to get worried and this of course consumed my mind for that entire day and night. To make that day even worse, Nick and I were about to start changing his diaper that evening when he stopped breathing. (This is of course normal for him and almost every preemie). We gave him a little budge but nothing happened. His heart rate and oxygen saturations kept dropping lower and lower. This was by far the scariest moment of my life as people started running into his room I ran out crying and praying for Jesus to perform a miracle and save my baby. All of sudden I see everyone walk out and Nick signals for me to come into the room. Turns out he had a mucous plug blocking his airway and just needed it to be suctioned so he could breath again. Holy COW! You better believe that EVERY nurse in that NICU knows to suction him out every 3 hours now. I pretty much wear it as a sign on my back. Anyways, the next day he had an ultrasound on his kidneys and sure enough, God is miraculous and there were NO structural abnormalities, and he decided he would start peeing again as well. Little stinker. He is now 2lbs 5oz.
Yesterday I was able to hold him for about 2 hours and once I put him back to bed he decided to poop all over me and his blanket but when he finished that he was wide awake. I have never seen him so alert. He was looking right at me, almost like saying "Mommy please keep holding me..." It was amazing but kind of broke my heart a little bit.

Thank you so much for your prayers for our family as we are climbing this mountain. Please keep praying that Asher continues to breath on his own while they are lowering his support hoping to get him off CPAP. Please pray that his kidneys would continue to make the urine they need to and that he would keep peeing. Please pray that he would tolerate getting more and more food and that he keeps pooping well (I know its weird, but this is extremely important with preemies). All in all, would you just pray that God would lay his healing hands on Asher and continue to breath life into him.
Every night I go to bed I imagine that God is holding Asher so gently in his hands and its honestly the picture that allows me to fall asleep. He couldnt be safer anywhere else. Our God is so great!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Funny moms

A mom in the NICU made me crack up today. She simply stated... "I dont know why people say the NICU is like a rollercoaster. Rollercoasters are fun. The NICU is like being a bipolar on a bad acid trip". So, so true!

Friday, July 2, 2010

2 weeks

I cannot believe it has taken me this long to update my blog, but I swear everytime Im not at the hospital, im sleeping or pumping. Asher is 16 days old today and now 28 weeks as well. on June 16th at 2:51am he decided that enough was enough and he was coming out! I had been dilated to 1cm at about 2am and the doctor left me be. Then, all of a sudden I felt a tiny bit of pressure, put my hand down there and Asher Van delivered straight into my hand. It took the NICU team 2 minutes to get to him. It doesnt really seem like a long time, but it was the longest 2 minutes of my life. I have never been so scared...in fact, talking about the delivery is still quite a dark place for me to go, so I try not to talk about details too much just yet. Nick got a lovely picture of me laboring on my own and ouch! I dont care that he only weighed 1 pound 13 ounces...those contractions are intense!
Asher was intubated to help him breath for only about the first 12 hours of life and doctors said he was trying to breath around the tube so they took it out and put him on a machine called CPAP. This machine allows the babies to breath on their own but constantly pushes pressure into their lungs so that their lungs dont lose volume and continue to stay inflated. He is already up to full feeds and recieves a fortifier added to my milk to help him gain weight. If you notice in pictures of him, he has a tube going into his mouth. This goes into his stomach and feeds him. He is peeing and pooping wonderfully even after a little scare where he decided to not make any urine for 24 hours. Being a kidney nurse, I knew this wasnt good. But, he is peeing great again (thank you for prayers). He was placed under "Bili lights" for the first 5 days of life because he was a little bit jaundiced and that is why he was wearing those weird looking sunglasses to protect his eyes.
Asher is now up to 1.14 in weight and he always opens his eyes when I talk to him or start to pray over his little incubator. Holding him is the greatest part of my day. He is an amazing little fighter and I truly believe God has something great planned for him. Thank you so very much for the continued prayers, please keep them coming. They say the NICU is like a rollercoaster with good days and bad ones and they were not lying. The good days can be so good that when a bad day comes it is a hard fall. Please continue to pray that Asher continues to breath on his own, that God would keep infection far away from his little body and that he would rest and grow! We've got a long road ahead of us and I hope you all will stick with us in prayer as we make this long journey before bringing him home. We love you.
~Nick and Kendall

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Asher's Journey

I think I liked the idea of a blog while I was on home bedrest but somehow found myself a little reluctant to want to do much of anything once in the hospital. But Nick and I have recieved so many phone calls and emails that we both think it would be so much easier if I just continued to update via blog as often as possible.
As some of you know, I have now been on strict hospital bedrest for 12 days and boy is it one of the hardest things I never thought Id have to go through. I was admitted last Tuesday after Nick and I made our way (yet again) to OB triage because I had an increase in bleeding. My bleeding started around 18 weeks but never concerned the doctors too much until we started adding other things to the plate. I was also diagnosed with a very large placenta that actually wraps itself around my entire uterus when it should only attach to a small portion, low amniotic fluid which should be over an 8 (mine has been around a 4 or 5), a chronic abruption (which is a small tear in the placenta somewhere), preterm contractions and a baby who does NOT like to be squeezed by them. Honestly, I have one of those 1% pregnancies that every doctor is baffled by.

Tuesday, after the doctor said he would admit me, the nurses tried 5 times to start an IV on me, only to fail each time and actually have to call an anesthesiologist to start one for them (ouch!) Since then, they have only been able to maintain an IV for 24 hours and then have to restart one, until I told the doctors "enough already!" I have been going for fluid scans twice a week and have also been doing something called hydrotherapy once a day. Its basically where I sit in a huge bathtub for about 30 minutes and the doctors believe it forces water into my body and gives Asher more fluid.
Because of my low fluid, the nurses do NST's (non-stress tests) on the baby twice a day. It checks the babies heart rate for 30 minutes and makes sure he accelerates his heart rate with movement. A normal heart rate for 25 weeks, which I am this week is about 120-150. Asher has almost consistently been running in the 160's and they believe he may be just a little stressed from not having enough fluid. Also, because of this, anytime I have a contraction, it squeezes him and his cord and causes his heart rate to drop a little. The doctors say he recovers pretty quickly so they are not super concerned right now. They have given me 2 injections of steroids for Asher's lungs which doctors have seen help mature them just a little quicker, but babies needing to be born early have a much better chance when these are given at least 48 hours before delivery. We are so thankful these were able to be given and have had time to take effect. We know in our hearts they are working because they did a Biophysical Profile on Asher this week which checks for fetal well-being. The score is out of 8 and Asher scored an 8! (thats my boy)!! The last part of the scoring is for breathing. The ultrasound guy told me not to worry if he didnt pass this portion as sometimes these babies are too young to begin breathing but sure enough, within 30 seconds his sweet little lungs started fluttering and I have never been so proud in my life. My Lord has made a perfectly strong son inside of me whom I refoice over daily!
Monday night I started having pre-term contractions that are super painful and about 3 minutes apart. I called Nick at 1am Tuesday morning crying for him to please drive down here because I thought for sure I was in labor as the nurses where placing face masks of oxygen on me, trying to start IV's, poking me with syringes full of Terb (stops contractions), giving me morphine to calm my uterus down and paging doctors. The doctor was able to get there quickly and checked my cervix which, much to our excitement is still closed. That means that these contractions Ive been having for the past 6 days havent dialated me at all. Thats great news!
Asher, as of Tuesday June 1st, was measuring at about 1 pound 4 ounces which is about the 40th percentile for his age, but doctors say this is completely normal. His next growth scan is on June 22nd, we are really praying he measures over 2 pounds, I would be sooo happy!
I will stop here for now as this post is extremely long, but please post any questions I may have not addressed and I promise to keep this updated every few days. Here is a list of some of the things you can pray for as Nick and I are on this long road ahead of us...
1. That Asher will stay put and continue to grow for at least 3-5 more weeks!
2. That I will really start accepting my hospital bedrest sentence and not feel so down everyday.
3. That the doctors will continue to be knowledgable with me and make the best decisions.
4. That God would heal my body and allow it to carry my son full-term!
Thank you all for being such an intricate part of Nick and I's life. We really are so thankful! I cant tell you how grateful I am for my husband these past few weeks as he has truly stepped up in taking care of me, our bills, our home, and...well, everything! He is my gift from God. We daydream constantly about our sweet little boy and think about holding him in our arms and kissing his sweet face....but NOT YET! Cook Asher Cook is my motto!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A marathon

Welcome to our little, growing family's blog! I've never even attempted anything like this before but I really wanted the opportunity to keep friends and family updated on our crazy life! As most of you probably know, Nick and I were married on 3/27/2010 and have been loving every moment of married life. We are best friends so that makes it easier, even during tough times. We are also expecting out first baby, a BOY on September 25th 2010. His name is Asher Van.

The reason I titled this post, "a marathon" is because thats what the next 20 weeks of our life are looking like right now...
On Monday 4/3/2010 I was placed on indefinite bedrest by my OBGYN. I have another post in the making so that I can share with all of you what has been going on in the past week.
Thank you for following our blog and loving us!! We really are thankful and lucky for the people God has surrounded us with!