My little fighter

What a long day today has been. We started the day with some great news. The neurosurgeon stopped by and informed us that Chance is doing really well since his surgery yesterday. She said he looks good since the surgery was done to close his back. She was impressed to hear that overnight he chose to let the NICU know that he no longer wanted the ventilator in place that was being used to help him breathe after surgery. It’s common when babies, especially newborns, are in surgery that they forget to do normal things like breathing and eating. Because he rejected his ventilator they monitored him closely and it was pretty obvious that he was strong enough to breathe on his own unassisted. The neurosurgeon was very optimistic that he was going to recover well and said he may possibly be home in less than a week if he continues to make such good progress with his recovery.

Today I got to visit Chance in the NICU. Yesterday I was on total bedrest and wasn’t allowed to get up all day so I was more than anxious to see my baby boy. This morning was my first time up and about after the surgery but as tough as it was to move around at first it was totally worth getting to visit Chance. He was resting comfortably and just like his big brother, he seems to love his pacifier. Jason and I visited for a while, spending most of our time admiring him. You all might enjoy the photos from today in the slide show below.

Chance continues to make great progress. He’s breathing on his own. Eating on his own. He’s even smiling on his own. In the brief times I’ve seen him I’ve caught him smiling four times. And not only is he peeing but as of today he’s pooping on his own. Yes, I never thought I’d get teary eyed over baby pee and poop but hearing that he was able to do both on his own definitely left me emotional knowing that one of the hurdles that those with spina bifida have is the inability to use their bladder/bowels without assistance. Yes, my baby boy is going pee and poop on his own. Jason and I couldn’t be happier to hear that news. Tomorrow Chance will undergo an ultrasound to check the ventricles in his head and determine whether or not hydrocephalus is developing. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that he won’t require a shunt, but only time will tell for sure.

I know you all have begged and pleaded throughout the pregnancy to know the names we had chosen. We’ve always held off sharing the names because we really didn’t care to hear how much others might dislike our name choices. There’s a lot of thought that went into choosing Chance Matthew’s name. After going through the miscarriage in October 2009 and all the worries that we might never be able to conceive again we were relieved when we heard everything was okay. I have to admit that month long struggle to get past that miscarriage and all the uncertainties made us very fearful to try to have another child. Despite all the medical concerns and heartache we experienced we elected to take a “chance” and try again as soon as the doctor said we could. Yes, rather than giving up on the third child we came to dream of, we took a chance. And when we learned he had spina bifida we also took a huge “chance” as we had to make the tough decision of whether or not to continue with the pregnancy.

Chance’s middle name, Matthew, we considered initially because of it’s biblical context. Jason’s mother always did this with all of her children. Matthew was not only my favorite from the list that went with Chance but reading the definition makes the name that much more meaningful. Yes, Matthew means “Gift from God”. I instantly thought it was the perfect name at that moment. Hope & Jaylen’s middle name just happened to have the same definition when I recall us selecting their names. Beyond his middle name having so much meaning it is just a bit more special because his middle name happens to be the same as my doctor’s first name. That wasn’t the plan, but once we discovered all the meaning it held we also recognized the significance my doctor had in ensuring our little one made it hear safely. He was there amidst the chaotic moments surrounding the miscarriage. He was the one who performed the medical procedure over a year ago that verified I was okay to conceive again after the very trying medical challenges that accompanied the miscarriage. And he was there every step of the way through this pregnancy as I feared miscarrying again and once we discovered Chance had spina bifida. Yes, every step of the way my doctor helped give me the reassurance I needed to finally have Chance here with us.

I know quite a few of you who know Jason’s family have made remarks about Matthew being Jason’s brother Erik’s middle name. Normally I’m against naming my children after any friend or family. However, after the explanation above I had my mind made up and felt it was the best name if we were to have a boy. I definitely did think a bit more about Erik once we realized how much we admired the name Matthew. I have to admit that of all Jason’s brother’s Erik has had a very special connection to our family. Not that his other brother’s were ever any less important to us, but for many years I have thought of Erik as one of our own children as we helped him so much when he moved to Florida. We’ve went through many ups and downs over the years with him and as we did Erik has definitely grown to hold a special place within our family. He has a special connection with our kids that has brought us all so much happiness. So though the intent of Chance’s middle name was not to be a tribute to Erik, knowing that Chance’s middle name is the same as Erik’s will certainly help remind us of his Uncle Erik who definitely a special part of our family.

I think many of you must be shaking your heads as you have seen me online since the c-section. In fact, I was in recovery only a matter of minutes before I was handed my phone so that I could tweet and update others in facebook. I haven’t quite been connected 24/7 to my iPhone or laptop, but it has been a great way to pass time as I’ve definitely been hit hard physically from the surgery. The recovery is definitely a lot tougher than a normal birth but I’m coping with the discomfort and learning to adjust to the new limitations I have as I try to recuperate. This time around has definitely been much more different but in the last day I’ve been able to get up and move around and it certainly has helped remind me that all the discomfort will gradually fade and before I know it I’ll be back to my old self.

Jason has been going home at night to be with the kids so I find myself spending the nights getting rest, getting on a pumping schedule, and at times up wide awake. Seeing how I can get up finally, I can think of no better way to spend a bit of my time tonight to take a trip to the NICU for the first time on my own to see my baby boy.

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February 24, 2011 - 12:28 am

Nicole Summers - Congratulations Amanda and Family. He is just beautiful! So very happy to read that he is doing so well. Wish you all the best.

February 24, 2011 - 5:59 am

Lou - Oh, Amanda, he’s beautiful! I hope you enjoyed those first few moments, just the two of you. What a wonderful time. Congratulations to you, Jason, Hope and Jaylen, and welcome, Chance! xx

February 24, 2011 - 9:27 am

Colette - I’m crying reading this. I am so happy for you Amanda and Jason. I love you guys and God has really blessed the two of you. I am proud of your decisions and support you all the way (from Va). Please give Hope and Jaylen a hug for me and kiss Chance on the cheek.

February 24, 2011 - 12:40 pm

Lisa - I had to comment that I am thrilled you’ve been online. Sharing this experience through your words and your pictures has been, in a word, awesome. No head-shaking here!

February 24, 2011 - 1:03 pm

Erica Reynoso-Montalvo - I’d be worried if you weren’t tweeting and posting. I am deeply happy for you, Chance Matthew and your family. My prayers continue for you all, and there is so much to thank God for. (((HUGS)))

February 24, 2011 - 3:17 pm

Lora - I think you look absolutely awesome in those pics(I looked at them before I read :)

I couldn’t believe you were already up and around. I do remember not being able to see Leighanna for a day after she was born(she was in the NICU and they wouldn’t let me up either. It was tough.

I am so happy for you guys… his name is beautiful and fits perfectly. I will keep praying for everyones strenth and also for the ultrasound to go well :)

February 24, 2011 - 10:56 pm

Karan Winfield - Great news and update. Keep the photos coming. Chance is so lucky to have such wonderful parents!

February 25, 2011 - 2:16 pm

Scott Taylor - Wow Amanda:
You really know how to make my day! I am so thrilled about this wonderful progression of events. I cannot find words to express my joy for you, Jason and Chance’s silblings Hope and Jaylen. My God continue to bless you and keep your family well.

February 27, 2011 - 11:42 am

Jo Rutherford - Dear amanda and Family…I have just seen your wonderful news about Chance and I wanted to send all my love and Congratulations to you

Jo xx

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