UPDATED - What's happening with Heidi

I posted today that Heidi and I were in the hospital due to some labor-like symptoms. She is 32 weeks along with our second child. As most of you probably know, our son, Lincoln, was born at 34 weeks and spent nearly four weeks in NICU before he came home to us. Lincoln, of course, is perfect and brilliant and funny and precocious, so there is no problem with his having been premature. That said, we were hoping for a smoother final trimester this time around. 

At any rate, here's the current status on Heidi and baby Gavin: 

- For the past several weeks, Gavin has been very active, rolling and kicking inside her belly. Or so we thought. Now, it seems she's been experiencing at least some irregular mild to moderate contractions.  

- As of this afternoon, Heidi is about 25% effaced. For those of you who understand these things, instead of 2.5 cm, she's about 1.7 cm. This sort of thing is a sort of pre-labor symptom, but is not the same as being in labor. 

- A fetal fibronectin test was performed and came back negative, which means it's highly unlikely that she will go into labor within the next 7-10 days. 

- Heidi was on IV fluids, but they've stopped that for now. She's been given some meds to help calm the contractions and steroids to accelerate Gavin's heart and lung development. There has been talk of giving her magnesium sulfate, but that hasn't happened yet.  

- Heidi and I will be meeting with some doctors tomorrow from the NICU at the hospital, and I will have more details about what's coming then.  

- Heidi will likely be in the hospital until Tuesday, and we will reconsider everything then.  

A great big thanks to our amazing family for helping out with Lincoln, my pastor for coming by and praying with us, and my awesome neighbors for taking care of our furry kids at home. I'll keep everyone updated through the blog as news comes. Of course, by and large, this is a situation where no news is probably good news. We appreciate all of your prayers and kind words. Heidi is asleep, and she kicked me out of the hospital room because she didn't want to hear me snore. 

We love you all.  

UPDATE:  January 17, 2015 - 16:46

We just spoke with the doctor, and, by and large, things are staying the same. On Tuesday, they will measure the length of her cervix again with her main obstetrician and the high-risk pregnancy team to see how things are going. Most likely, she's going to be on bed rest until 36 weeks, at which point she will be considered full term, and will have no restrictions. 

Heidi is on a course of meds, as I mentioned before, to calm the contractions. Today, instead of frequent, irregular contractions she has been experiencing for the past several weeks, she's only had four or five. This is a great improvement. The course of medication will continue for every six hours for 48 hours, so this round will end on Sunday. If contractions continue, they will discuss other options. 

Heidi has received one steroid injection; she will receive the second injection later today. Fortunately, she does a better job of dealing with injections than I do, and she hasn't run, passed out, or hit the nurse yet. 

Again, thank you to everyone for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers. You mean so much to us both, and we appreciate the encouragement. 

UPDATE:  January 20, 2015 - 17:27

Heidi had another ultrasound today and everything is stable. We're being discharged! She'll complete her bed rest at home instead of the hospital and have weekly exams with the obstetrician. 

Again, everyone, we appreciate your thoughts and prayers and kind words. You've helped make this stressful situation much more bearable. A special thanks to everyone who came to visit, to our parents for helping us out with Lincoln this weekend, and to Brad and Ashley for looking after me and taking care of Dizzy while I was otherwise occupied. 

Who the (redacted) is Casey Liss?

I have an internet hero - podcaster, Twitter personality, and programmer, Casey Liss. I first discovered Casey when he joined two much more popular personalities, Marco Arment and John Siracusa, in a couple of new podcasts. I listened because I knew of Marco, but Casey quickly became my favorite of the three. John is a genius and savant, Marco is shrewd and brilliant, but I'm not a coder, so I don't always "get" them. Casey, while equally talented and brilliant, always struck me as more human. He's funny, affable, and has an "aw shucks" type of attitude that just makes him fun to listen to. Casey is the perpetual nice guy, always seems like he's in a good mood, and seems to rise above the trolls and stay positive. I follow him around when he does other podcasts, always listening to his guest spots, because he's just so much fun. 

One thing I love about Casey is that, while he has over 10,000 followers on Twitter, he does a great job of engaging with his audience. When I reply to other "famous" Twitter personalities, I don't count on getting a response (although Gruber has responded to a couple of my emails). But with Casey, as often as not, he tweets back to me. The podcasting world is a little weird, because I feel like I know Casey, but I know that I'm a total stranger to him. But when he answers my tweets, or laughs at a stupid joke, it means a lot to me. And it makes me a bigger fan. 

So why am I posting this weird, vaguely creepy tribute to another man on the internet? Well, a few months ago, Casey posted on his blog that, after many years and a couple of white BMWs worth of money, he and his wife, Erin, were finally pregnant. He's talked about it a couple times on his podcasts, and hearing his excitement was terrific. Today, Casey posted again - Erin had their baby, dubbed "Sprout" through the pregnancy. Congratulations to Casey and Erin, and welcome, Declan James, to the world. Your dad is a pretty cool guy, and he's going to be an amazing father. 

To find Casey online, you can visit him at:

Monday

I woke up this morning to my three year old in bed with me singing "Winnie the Pooh" and poking me, saying "Dada, wake up!" When I rolled over, he smiled and said "I love you, Dada." It's going to be a good day.

I have an interview today at 3, so I'm feeling hopeful. I got dressed and took my boy to Grandma's house, stopping for a cup of coffee on my way. He hugged me and said "Bye bye, Dada." It's going to be a good day.

I drive downtown to pick up a check and meet with an advisor at school. On my way I hit a pothole and spill coffee on my shirt. It's not going to be a good day.

Now my schedule has changed. I have to go to the mechanic to have a tire fixed and it's going to take 2 hours. I walk over to the dry cleaner and they can wash my shirt and iron it in an hour. I walk over to a nearby store for a couple things we need and I pick up a hoodie that's not too expensive. I go to the register to check out and it's 50% off. It's going to be a good day.

I walk to a coffee shop while I wait for my shirt to be finished - risky, I know. I sip some coffee and read the news on my phone before I realize I didn't charge my phone last night. My battery is almost dead, and I left my charger at the school on Friday. It's not going to be a good day.

I check my watch and see that I dropped my shirt off almost an hour ago, so I walk back to the dry cleaner. My shirt is drying, but the stain didn't come out. There's no reason for me to wait, so I ask to take the wet shirt and go. At least she didn't charge me for the wash. It's not going to be a good day.

I walk back to the mechanic and they haven't started on my car yet because they had some questions and my cell battery was dead. Of course, they want to sell me more work - to hear them tell it, the vehicle is likely to explode the next time I hit a pothole. It's not going to be a good day.

My car is finished around 12, so I swing by my mom's house to see if she has laundry superpowers the dry cleaner doesn't. When I walk in, my boy runs up to me and says "Dada, you're here!" He hugs my legs and drags me to the living room so I can play dinosaurs with him. It's going to be a good day.

The stain comes out by merit of mom's dark laundry magic, but it's too late for me to do anything before the interview. Instead, I put my boy down for a nap. He plays with my earlobe while drinking some milk as I sing some songs to him. His eyes close and he starts snoring softly. I hold him until I need to leave and I kiss him on his forehead and whisper "I love you, Bubba." He smiles. It's going to be a good day.

The interview goes well, and I have a second interview tomorrow. I went back to campus and met with an advisor. I have some prerequisites to take care of and can start the program Spring 2015. Dinner with my parents, followed by giving my boy a bath. I get him dressed in his pajamas and as I get ready to leave, he gives me a big hug and a kiss and says, "I love you, Dada."

It was a good day.

Little Man got a Big Boy Bed

Last night Lincoln looked at us and said "Night night" and went to the back of the house towards the bedrooms. Heidi went to find him, and he had crawled into our bed and pulled back the sheets to go to sleep. We decided it was time for him to have a big boy bed.

Today, he picked out his new comforter, and we set everything up in his room. Here's Lincoln in his new big boy bed.

Transient
Transient

Redeeming Halloween

Every year at this time, I marvel at the irony in the annual “Christians v. Secularists” battle about naming and usage of holidays. The big two, of course, are Halloween and Christmas. Leave it to Evangelical Christianity to reject Halloween – an historically Christian holiday – and embrace Christmas, a pagan holiday co-opted by early Christian leaders. I just want to make a few comments in this regard.

First, Halloween. The name “Halloween” is derived from the phrase “All Hallows Eve”, which precedes November 1, All Hallows Day (or All Saints Day). This name dates back to the 16th century; All Hallows Eve can be found in records dating in 1556. Historically, on this day, the Church would have a feast to remember initially the martyrs, but the celebration was expanded to include the celebration of all the saints who had died. This celebration dates back to 609 B.C. and Pope Boniface IV.

The practice of Trick-or-Treating dates back to the Middle Ages, known as “guising,” where the poor would travel from home to home, asking for food in exchange for prayers for the dead. The threat of “trick-or-treat” calls back to Celtic tradition, where people would leave out treats to placate evil spirits. If a home didn’t provide a treat, it ran the risk of suffering the wrath of those spirits. Trick-or-treating first appeared in the U.S. in 1911, but rose to prominence in the 1950s.

I never heard this about Halloween until I was an adult. Even in my mid-twenties, I heard stories about the occult and witchcraft and the evils of Halloween. The church I was then attending held an annual “Harvest Party” (a pagan celebration indeed!) as an “alternative” to Halloween.

It’s a shame that this holiday – which I believe we should observe (in the traditional sense) – has been hijacked by us. There’s nothing evil about Halloween, and there’s nothing wrong with dressing up and celebrating the day. I’m a new father, and this year my six-month-old will be going Trick-or-Treating. I’m looking forward to the treats he receives. As he gets older, I intend to spend time with him teaching about the significance of the day, but encouraging him to enjoy the fun.

The Faith Experience

When I see people who face real life tragedy full of faith, sure in Christ, I think, "Wow. What must they have been through in their lives to be that way." I think I understand. I don't want to have to have faith. It hurts to learn.

When God allows us to go through trials, it's not so that God can see how much we can handle. The same Bible that says that God allows us to be tried says that God will not test us with more than we are able to handle - and whatever He has allowed to come your way, He already has the resolution worked out.

Do you understand? God knows what you're made of - He knows how much you can handle.

So the purpose of the trial isn't for you to show God what you can handle - it's for God to show YOU what you can handle.

That's not an original thought, but it was new to me.

So while Heidi and I are home, and Lincoln is in the hospital, God is showing us our strength to teach us what to do when we're weak.

I like to do things myself. I like to deal with problems. I don't like avoiding people. I don't like beating around the bush. I don't like when there's an elephant in the room. I don't have patience for that sort of thing. When there's a problem, I like to handle it. If something's broken, I want to fix it.

I can't fix Lincoln. He has to beat the infection himself.

I can't repair Lincoln's lungs - he has to learn to breath on his own.

I can't tweak his internal thermometer - he has to gain weight to be able to keep himself warm.

I can't fix his low calcium or his high bilirubin levels - I have to let his body mature and grow through it.

I'm powerless. I stand by my son's bed, hoping for good news, but I can't do it. He's starting an antibiotic treatment for the next seven days. I can't talk it up. I can't turn the tide through force of personality of power of my will. I can't. I stand by, weak.

Faith, I suppose, is when submission meets powerlessness. I can't do anything, but I know someone who can. I've seen God work in the lives of others - my brother nearly died as a newborn/infant. But he's great now. In the past 3 days, I've heard countless stories from families who have endured similar situations and found God to be faithful, bringing their kids through and seeing them grow up. I've been encouraged by their testimony and moved by their love for Heidi and Lincoln and me. So faith, at this moment, is me saying, "God, I can't. I just can't. I'm too weak. I'm too tired. I simply don't have a way. But I know You can. I know You're able, because I hear testimony of what You've done in the past. Please, God, heal my son. Give him strength. Make him strong. Give Heidi and I peace during this difficult time. Help us to grow in You during this trial. Help us learn to trust You more."

Please, keep us in your prayers. Pray for Lincoln, because we want him to be healthy. Pray for Heidi, because she needs to continue to heal. Pray for all of us, because we need peace.

As I Look At Those Eyes...

lincoln, daniel, brad, titus, blog, heidi, titus, boruff, baby, newborn, kids, children, parenting, fatherhood, premie, premature, premee, wishard, memorial, hospital, nicu, intensive care, ICU ...I see trust, because he's never been betrayed.

...I see hope, because he doesn't know how to quit.

...I see faith, because he doesn't know how to doubt.

...I see peace, because he doesn't know strife.

...I see perfection, because he doesn't know sin.

News About Lincoln - Day 3

Wow. Life is busy. Sorry, everyone, that I haven't been updating, but I hardly have time to sit! Heidi got to see Lincoln for the first time about 8 hours after he was born. We visited him Thursday morning at about 3:00 am, and he was awake, so we talked to him and prayed with him, and I sang him to sleep. Thursday morning around 11:00, Heidi and I held Lincoln for the first time. As I sat there and looked into his face, I saw my whole world complete in that little guy. Never in my life has my heart felt so full of joy and love - I'm completely overwhelmed by the emotions and the feelings. Heidi and I are so blessed. Since I know what you all want, here's a picture of Lincoln; I'll update you all on the status after the latest pic of my beautiful son.

lincoln, daniel, brad, titus, blog, wishard, hospital, premature, baby, premie, boy, son, childbirth, CPAP, feeding, tube, pulse, oximeter

Last we talked, I told you about the criteria required for Lincoln to be able to go home: He had to be able to breathe on his own, eat, and maintain his body temperature (at around 98 degrees fahrenheit, they tell me). So here's what's up:

This Is the Air I Breathe

Lincoln is off the CPAP machine! Here's before:

lincoln, daniel, brad, titus, blog, wishard, hospital, premature, baby, premie, boy, son, childbirth, CPAP, feeding, tube, pulse, oximeter

And here's after:

lincoln, daniel, brad, titus, blog, wishard, hospital, premature, baby, premie, boy, son, childbirth, CPAP, feeding, tube, pulse, oximeter

It's an amazing difference, isn't it? When I went to visit Lincoln on Thursday morning, he had been taken off the CPAP. He was breathing on his own! What you see in his nose now is a nasal canula - just little tubes that blow air up into his nose. But there's no back pressure there, and he's breathing on his own with great O2 stats! When I saw it, I cried. So did my friend Jessica who was there visiting with us.

There have been a couple hiccups on the path to perfect respiration: Lincoln had a few episodes early Friday morning where his breathing was shallow and his O2 stats dropped down a bit. The nurse said that he recovered well on his own, which is great news, but we want to see him breathing well without any episodes or concerns. We're continuing to pray with him for his continued progress and development.

Get In My Belly!

Great news - Lincoln is eating! On Friday morning, they took the tube out of Lincoln's mouth that was draining leftover "stuffs" in his belly and inserted a feeding tube up through his nose. He is eating about 12 CCs of mommy's milk every three hours or so, and he's had a couple of dirty diapers now - we're super excited! Tonight, while he was feeding, Heidi and I were able to hold him and talk to him. It's such an amazing time. Lincoln is on the fast-track for the food (which, I have to say, is genetic on the Titus side).

Is it hot in here, or is it me?

Lincoln's external body temperature needs to hold steady at around 98 Fahrenheit (the hospital measures in centigrade, but those numbers are all European to me). Currently, he's been under a warmer that keeps him in about there. I went home this morning and washed some of his blankets, and when I got back, they wrapped him up in them to see if he could stay warm while swaddled. They took his temperature a couple of times tonight, and he was at 97 or a little lower, so they unwrapped him and put him back under the light.

According to the nurse, keeping the body warm burns a lot of calories, so it's important that while Lincoln is still trying to grow and gain weight, they don't want him to be hampered by warming himself. I totally get it, and I'm super cool with doing whatever we need to do to help Lincoln gain weight and grow. The nurse warned me that we may, at some point, come in and see Lincoln in an incubator. This isn't a sign that he is doing poorly; rather, it's just designed to keep him warm so his body can store fat and calories - this is how he'll grow.

So that's how he's doing. Like his daddy, Lincoln has no problem getting food down. He does, however, need to develop his lungs a little more and he needs to gain some weight in order to keep himself warm. So that's our prayer request - that Lincoln will continue to grow and develop and gain weight so he can come home to us. I talked to the pediatrician who has been with him the past couple of days - Dr. Juan Acosta of Riley Hospital - and he was super-impressed with how quickly he is advancing. Initially, Dr. Acosta told us Lincoln would stay in the NICU until he was term - May 8. Then, we were told that he was better than expected, so maybe about three weeks. After seeing him advance the past two days, Dr. Acosta told me this afternoon that Lincoln will probably only be in the NICU for about a week or so. We're so excited!

Also, say a blanket prayer for all the babies in the NICU. Lincoln is doing so very well, and Heidi and I are so blessed because of it. Friday, while Heidi and I were sitting with and holding Lincoln, we started feeling sorry for ourselves because we'll be going home Saturday without a baby in our arms (or, more appropriately, legally and securely buckled into a safety seat and driven home with incredible caution). While we sat there in the NICU forgetting about how great Jesus is, the place turned into a frenzy of action - a mother was delivering her baby at only 25 weeks old. Immediately Heidi and I looked at each other and thanked God for all of his blessings, and said a quick prayer for the new mommy and baby in that situation. We have so much to be thankful for.

Heidi and I go home tomorrow, and I'll update again soon with more pictures and any new details. You can get more regular updates on twitter.com/bltitus; you can see ALL the pictures of Lincoln at facebook.com/bltitus or at flickr.com/bltitus. Thank you to everyone for all your love and prayers.

About Lincoln: Updates on Heidi and my son

Today, at 5:16 pm, my son, Lincoln Daniel was born. He weighed 5 lbs 8 oz, and we haven't had a chance to measure him yet. He was born 5 1/2 weeks premature, and was breach, so he was born via cesarean rather than traditional childbirth. Heidi is doing great. She was a champ, and I'm super proud of her. She's worn out - naturally - but she's in great spirits and is recovering from the procedure very well. Kudos to the team at Wishard Hospital for a terrific, professional, and friendly experience on the single most frightening day of my life.

Because Lincoln was born early, his lungs are a bit underdeveloped. He is on a CPAP machine to help him breathe. The good news is that he's NOT on oxygen - he's breathing room air. So the CPAP machine is simply keeping the airway open - he is respirating well. That said, the pediatrician will be stepping down the pressure on the CPAP tonight, and by morning, Lincoln may be breathing completely on his own. I appreciate any and all prayers to this end.

Also, because he was early, Lincoln can't eat yet - he's on an IV for nutrition. Hopefully, once he's off the CPAP, he will be able to eat.

Heidi will be in the hospital for about three days - we hope to be home Saturday night in time to root (very calmly) for Butler in the Final Four. Lincoln, however, will be in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) until he can breathe on his own, eat, and maintain body temperature. While we want Lincoln to get all the care he needs, we are eager to take him home and to make him part of our lives. We appreciate all your prayers during this time.