Saturday, May 14, 2011

Welcome to this world, Baby Chip!

Our baby boy was born into this world unexpectedly on May 9th, 2011.  This is the story of how he came to us.

For the last several weeks, my doctor had been concerned that my baby was not growing like he should be.  I was measuring smaller and smaller at each appointment, and was not gaining much weight.  We had multiple ultrasounds to determine his size, the amount of fluid, and general health of the baby.  The conclusion kept being that he was small but healthy, so nothing to be alarmed about at that point.  I went in every few days (and last week, every 2 days) to either have a non stress test done or have him looked at via ultrasound.  I also did kick counts at night.  My doctor was GREAT -- she was concerned but not freaking out, and just really stayed on top of the situation.  She called me on her cell phone after updates, she was super attentive and involved.  I am so thankful for her -- the Lord, in His sovereignty gave us this wonderful woman who cared for me and my baby.  

I will say during that time when I was going to so many appointments and having to do the kick counts, the Lord was very gracious to keep us from worrying.  For the most part, I did not struggle with fear, but of course that did come from time to time.  Over the weekend, I could tell his kicks were not as active.  He moved, but it was more like flutters, and took a bit longer to count to ten.  Continually I prayed and trusted the Lord with our child, who He created -- he is the giver of life, and all things belong to him.

Monday morning we went to another ultrasound at the hospital.  The doctor said "so you're getting really close -- what is your delivery date?"  I told him May 31st, and he said "no, this report says delivery at 36 or 37 weeks."  Josh and I were very surprised.  At my last ultrasound, the doctor had not told me that was his recommendation, but apparently put it in the report.  Immediately our minds were whirling.  The ultrasound showed what I had suspected by the kick counts -- that he was sort of resting, and focusing blood flow to the brain.  His BPP was good, and he appeared totally healthy, but the specialist doctor sent me to see my OB and have an non stress test done.  At her office, she saw the same thing playing out on the non stress test -- a consistent heart rate, but a flat line, no big accelerations.  She said we could deliver that night or the next morning, and if it were in the morning, I should stay at the hospital overnight for monitoring.  Well, with that being my choice, I chose that night of course!

She let us go home to pack our stuff (after we were able to wake the baby up a bit and get him to act up a bit more), and make our arrangements.  I had to be checked into labor and delivery by six for an eight o clock c-section.

I tried to enjoy the time with Susie that afternoon, and not be anxious about my baby's condition.  Truly, the Lord was near, and I had peace.  I did feel relived once we were at the hospital and the monitor on the baby showed a normal heart rate.  My blood pressure started to rise shortly before the surgery, and I'll never forget the feeling of tension -- sort of a feeling that I couldn't make small talk.  I asked the Lord to give me grace and help me to relax, and again, that prayer was answered.  I felt really calm during the operation -- much better than during Susie's c-section when my body sort of went into shock.  

Shortly after our little guy was pulled out -- we heard it!  A cry!  I couldn't see anything, of course, but Josh was narrating for me.  He was teeny, but just fine.  "Go take a picture of him!" I said so I could see him, but I didn't need to worry about that.  They let Josh bring him up by my to see him nice and close.  I had been prepared for our baby being whisked off by doctors and nurses as soon as he was born, but here he was, snuggling by us.  He weighed a tiny 4 pounds 5.2 ounces!  That was smaller than the last ultrasound had even indicated, but he looked just like Susie did -- fully developed with a cute face.

Our wonderful doctor
After my c-section, Dr. Nusz came over and gave me a hug.  I was crying and hugged her so hard, and thanked her.  She showed me the placenta and umbilical cord after that, because they confirmed her suspicions that there was a problem there.  The placenta was small -- about 2/3 the size of a normal one, and the cord was not normal either.  Dr. Nusz told me that when she tugged on the cord, it detached from the placenta pretty easily.  All the nurses and doctors were gathering around to see, and kept telling me I was lucky I hadn't gone into labor.  I was overwhelmed by God's providence.  None of this was our plan, but it was His, and He was so good to us! Since then, I've learned that the placenta was analyzed and indeed, it was beginning to wear down, and that is why my baby had slowed down growing.  Like the Psalmist says in Psalm 139 "my frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth". 

My biggest hope was that I would be able to hold this baby during recovery since I had to wait so long to hold Susie after she was born.  I wanted to try to nurse him if I could, but kind of expected he'd be gone by then.  But I was wrong!  Once they wheeled me into recovery, the special care nurse brought my baby Chip into me to hold skin to skin (this hospital does kangaroo care) and try to get him to eat.  I'm not sure how long he stayed with me, but probably about an hour.  I was able to rest after that, satisfied that I had seen my baby first!  

This week has been long and trying at times, but mostly just sweet.  The Lord gave me the song "O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus" -- I like the Sovereign Grace version from the album "Come Weary Saints".  The words are so beautiful and comforting when passing through murky waters.  "Oh the deep deep love, all I need and trust, is the deep deep love of Jesus".  I've listened to this song over and over these past days.  I trust his deep love for me, and I can trust his care for us.

We named him Charles Altman.  Charles is Josh's great-grandfather's name, and Altman is his mother's maiden name.  We chose Charles because we wanted to call him Chip -- after Chip Stam, a man we love and admire, and we pray our son would grow to be like him.  As Chip Stam led many to worship Christ, we hope our baby Chip will proclaim Christ and lead others to worship and adore him.  Even through his birth and young life we hope people will see the sovereignty and goodness of God and marvel "such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it."

Charles "Chip" Altman Neisler born May 9th, 2011, 4lbs 5oz, 17 inches long.  Rejoicing over God's goodness to us in this precious gift!


Sandy said...

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gretchen. You write so well. I am so thankful God worked everything out. What a special blessing. Every healthy child is a miracle of God's hand.
Of course it brings to mind my precious grandaughter. God called her home on May 30 after a four month struggle. Pray for Julie, this is a hard time of year for her.
Thanks for the pictures too.
Love to you and your precious family.
Aunt Donna

sara's art house said...

Oh my word!!!!! Congratulations!!! He is absolutely adorable!!! Thank You, Lord for such a healthy sweet boy!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Gretchen and Josh and Susie! We love you and we thank God for his faithfulness in bringing Baby Chip to you.
Mickie & Steve

Ashley said...

Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Gretchen,
Your words have such power and insight, because they are from the heart of God. Thank you for sharing the post of your new baby boy and also your dear friend Stan. What a testimony to us all.
Love you so much, Aunt Diane

Anonymous said...

Great to read this, Gretchen! Thanks for giving us this window into your heart and mind. Hugs to the four of you from the Bonuras!

Rachel said...

Welcome Baby Chip!

Congratulations to you all. We are so glad to hear of his safe arrival, and of your doctor's watchful care when she suspected something was not quite right. So glad you were in a time and place where you could get that kind of care and he was born healthy! I will be praying for your recovery, Gretchen, as well as adjusting to life with two little ones now.

O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus was a favorite of my brother Dan that we lost to cancer, and I chose it as a special song for Clara Anne when I was expecting her. So glad the Lord ministered to you through that text and music!

We are praying for you, baby Chip, Susie and Josh too. Love to you all.

In Him,

Elizabeth said...

What a great story Gretchen. It brought tears to my eyes. God surely has blessed you and Josh with this precious little one. I could identify with your anxiety before the c-section. I memorized a special verse before Emma's c/s and quoted it over and over and it brought such peace to me during such a stressful time. Enjoy this little boy as I know you will. Susie and Chip are very blessed to have you and Josh as parents.

Emma said...

He's so perfect! I love him! :) God's timing is perfect. :)