When Levi was 2 days old they noticed him breathing rapidly so they ran some tests to see what was going on. A lot of the tests were coming back negative, but they only show positive half of the time anyway. So they went ahead and started him on antibiodics on Oct 9 about mid afternoon. He was moved to the stage 2 NICU because they do not give IVs in the regular nursery. They found out sometime during the week that he had developed fluid retention pneumonia and decided he needed to get a full 7 days of medicine. He was on a feeding tube for the first few days because they did not want to cause him to breathe faster due to eating, some of the time he would be fed through the tube and other times we fed with a bottle. On Thursday he pulled the tube out himself, and they left it out. From then on he was doing fine, just finishing up antibiodics and continued to watch his breathing. He received the last dose on Sunday and was discharged on Monday the 17th.
The week of visiting in the NICU was draining, although we thoroughly enjoyed going to see Levi, hold him, and feed him. But by Saturday we were itching to hear some news that he would soon be discharged. They still weren't telling us much (which we found out later was probably because the hospital had previously dealt with adoption situations that were not good, so they were being cautious in a sense).
Chad and I bought ourselves a birthday present -- a pretty inexpensive laptop computer so we could connect with the world....and Skype with Ella! So this was Monday evening when she finally got to see Levi on the computer. (They would not let us skype in the NICU)
On Sunday we decided to find a church to go to, so with my dad's help we googled one that looked like a good place to try. We arrived at Clear Lake Baptist Church for the morning service and entered through the very back door and did not know where to go. A family was just coming out of one of the rooms so I asked Jenn to show us to the auditorium. She immediately opened her arms to us and welcomed us into their church family as well as many others we spoke with. She asked if they could do anything to help us while we were there, and just let us know that we had that church family's help and support for whatever we needed. And although we could not think of anything we needed, I think what we needed the most was the open arms and the feeling of "home" when we joined that church family for worship. Just placing our eyes on Him for that hour and learning from the message that morning was an awesome break in our week. And when the music leader began to sing "Because He Lives," I could not keep the tears from coming.
Everything that has taken place through this all - from the moment we heard there might be complications with Audrey, until standing there singing "Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow..." while our precious son was in the hospital getting ready to come home. It was all overwhelming and beautiful.
And I still think about some of the promises I looked to while I dealt with losing Audrey, and what comes to mind is "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." The pain of losing Audrey will never be completely gone, but gets lesser each day that passes...and already here on earth I have experienced so much joy because of her. And yet it still does not compare to the glory that will be revealed when we are all reunited with Christ ... and with Audrey.
So back to the story ... when we returned to the hospital on Sunday after lunch the nurse told us he was looking great and from what she can tell he will probably be discharged on Monday. And sure enough, when the Dr. wrote the orders on Monday he discharged Levi. The agency had worked hard to get paperwork to the Texas government early to try to get travel paperwork processed quicker. Normally, after discharge it is a 7-10 day wait until you have permission to leave the state. (It is a safety against kidnapping)
They were hopeful that it would process quickly, possibly in 5 days or maybe fewer. So we decided to leave Clear Lake Shores on Wednesday morning and stay in Texarkana until we got the word we could leave the state. We had a great evening with Meg and her family on Tuesday, and said good-byes through tears. Meg and her family will forever have a special place in our hearts.
|Levi's hometown at birth|
|The town where he was born|
We finished taking some picures in the Houston area and started driving through Texas. A long long drive across that state! :) We got a call that Tennessee needed one more paper signed before they could approve. We were in the middle of nothing....except for a few hotels. So we stopped and asked if there was a Staples nearby where we could print, sign, and email a form back. They said there was nothing near by, but gave us a key for their business room where we took care of everything!
Back on our way we waited to hear, but expected it would not be until the next day since it was getting close to the close of business hours. But at 4:30 Sue called and asked if we had booked a hotel in Texarkana yet, and since we hadn't she told us we could keep going!!! We called to tell Ella we would be home the next day, and word from Gramma was that she was bouncing off the walls all evening.
We arrived in Murfreesboro on Thursday around 11:00 a.m., just in time to pick Ella up from school and go home! We did not tell anyone we were home, we just wanted to enjoy each other before we got busy with other things again. Ella was tickled to pieces to feed Levi, hold him, and show us all the gifts she had gotten him. She and Gramma had even made a cake!
|Welcome home posters|
|Presents from Ella|
|She jumped right in and started taking care of her brother|
|Getting to know each other|
|Proud of her sweatshirt|
We are so grateful for our awesome support system! And especially for Gramma dropping everything to run to Tennessee and take care of our precious Ella while we were away. We didn't worry once, we knew she was in great hands.
Thanks so much for the prayers and support from those who were thinking of us and for all the offers to help. The dinners that were brought, the gifts for Levi, and so much more - we appreciate it all!!!