Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's Hot Outside...

 It really is hot, and the AC in our car is broken--which really stinks.  Just a quick update on Karis:

        Her PDA opened up again, a few days ago and they've given her some medicine to help it close.  Hopefully it will shut completely as she grows older.   Her volume of milk intake hasn't increased for the last 4 days, but the NICU staff are aiming at 60cc of milk per feeding.  Right now, she is at 6.5cc.

      Her brain bleed hasn't resolved but the docs are fairly confident that it will. (It's not a serious brain bleed).  Her body weight had increased to about 623g a few days ago.  But unlike a NICU in America, the doctors were pretty much gone for the weekend, with the nurses left to take care of the babies (I'm quite sure many of these nurses are MORE than capable--but usually the doctors are the ones who can explain everything that's going on).  Pray that her milk intake will increase along with her body weight.

    The doctor told me a few days ago that if she's doing well enough, they hope to take her off the current ventilator and change her to a nasal CPAP before day 28.  Today is day 16.

  As our faithful readers know,  Danielle's parents are here and its been a good visit thus far.  They've only gotten to see Karis once, and Dr. C (the neonatologist - previously known as "doom and gloom", not so doom and gloom now) has said they can only visit a total of 2 times.  Please pray that we have favor and they can visit Karis MOORE :).   Thanks for all of your prayers and support.


               Clifford & Danielle

Karis' first storybook

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mimi &Poppy

So my parents made it- Yay! Also, through prayer I am sure, the nurse just happened to ask at the end of visiting hours- Oh are your parents resting at home today? No, I said, they are out in the waiting room.  She was so suprised and then went to ask the doctor if they could meet Karis.  The answer was YES :).  So they got to meet her yesterday.  Now the doctor said this will not change the amount of times they can see her, but we can pray for that too!  Overall she is doing well and still stable.  Clifford and Dr. Chiba had a very long conversation about his plan on getting her to the next step in breathing which is a CPAP.  I will write more on this later.  A praise is that they changed her ventilator.  The first one she was on, just automatically did all the work for her as far as taking breathes and how many times.  But when we came in Monday she was on a new one.  This machine actually allows her to take the breaths and only assist as need (if I understood every thing the doctor explained)- so praise God!!!!  Please pray that the infection Karis is still fighting would be healed.  He WBC is still high.  Thank you for all your prayers.  Here are some pics and a video :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sweet Baby feet!

I finally opened my lovely eyes for Mommy to see :) I could not be more in love with her. Dear God please help her little body to grow strong!
So we are finally home from the hospital. It was really nice to sleep in my bed.  Clifford had to work yesterday until around 10 pm. I want to say thanks to my sweet girlfriends who sat with me all day even as I slept,  I know with out them around I wouldn't have had just a few break downs but rather I am sure a complete mental breakdown if I was alone.  Girls as you read this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I know it was probably hard and there are no words that you can really say, but thanks for sitting here all day with me. Your friendship is truly a blessing more than you know. Also, pray for my sweet husband. At this point I can tell he is completely exhausted.  He will have a few days of break, but has a presentation he is giving this weekend he needs to work on.  Please pray for his strength and that he wouldn't get sick.

As you can imagine, the last few days have been hard.  It was much easier for me while at the hospital.  I think mostly because I knew I was at least near Karis.  My heart of course is heavy that I only get to see her for two hours a day.  Sometimes, if I am being honest, I hate all the rules in Japan.  In America I could see her almost anytime.  I am on some different pProm and NICU web sites and the moms are always writing about sitting with their babies for hours.  Nope not here. They get to do Kangaroo care, skin to skin time, even when babies are on vents (it is proven to help calm the baby) Nope not here until around 35 weeks. Family can come in and see the baby, nope not here.  Looks like my Mom will see her twice as a special favor since they are flying from America.  For some families they have homes they can stay at that are close, nope not here.  I live about 1 hour away. Also, on Tuesday I don't even get to see her at all the NICU is closed to parents who are not in the hospital.  All of this just makes me mad.  If I think about it to much, it will swallow me whole.  So, I try not to, but sometimes that is hard. In the past three years I have had to adapt to many "differences" about living in this culture. Truthfully it hasn't been to hard.  I try hard most of the time to conform to the Japanese way.  In the classes I took before coming here, something I learned was when living in a new culture it is important to" become like and remain like" that culture.  And while that will probably never really happen, I can at least try to do this by following cultural norms and "rules". But I am just finding that really hard to accept in this instance.  Please pray for my heart that it doesn't become angry towards all the differences here. Obviously where I am at in this moment today is not the best mentally.  I guess the only thing I can do is the same thing I have been doing for months.  Prayer!  Sometimes it truly isn't easy, I really just don't have any words, but I know the Holy Spirit is going before the throne on my behalf.

While I am having a hard time in that area right now, I know the doctors and nurses are competent here and doing their best.  Dr. Chiba has been very positive about how Karis is doing, and tries his best to explain everything in English.  Even when we bring a translator he still will speak in English. After telling us about her lungs looking white Clifford and I didn't really understand everything, so the next day they spent a LONG time explaining it to us again.  So how is Karis doing many of you may be wondering. Here is what is going on with her.

 -Dr. C said he considers her stable.  She has passed the 1 week mark which is great.  Next goal is 1 month.
- Brain bleed- they found a second tiny brain bleed so she has one on both sides :(  He said if they don't resolve they will turn into cysts.  Since they are both level 1 he is not very concerned and has assured us it is so common.Our prayers are that her brain would heal itself and this worry would be gone!
-PDA- tiny valve between heart and lungs.  It can open and close for awhile but for the past two days it has remained closed!!!
-Lungs- according to the second x-ray there has been some improvement.  But still she needs prayer for this as there is still white or wetness in her lungs. Pray Pray Pray for this please.
-Infection- Praise the lord her white blood cell went down to almost normal levels.  Her CRP (inflammation) level is still high but that is also common.
Breathing- she is doing well with her oxygen level and CO2 output. Praise God!

* Special prayer for my parents- My Mom and Greg are flying here in a few days to spend three weeks with us.  Please pray for them as they prepare to come.  It has been crazy for them both, but pray specifically for health that neither of them will become sick...I wouldn't take the chance of being around them if they become sick from all the plane germs :( Also, for my Mom's back it is acting up and I know how that can be on such a long flight.

So that is everything medically speaking. Non- medically speaking, when we saw here in the morning she was very active. Moving all around and stretching her sweet little limbs.  Oh how I love her so much.  I can't wait for the day I can hold her.  When we see her in the afternoon she is usually so sleepy, that we just watch her and sing to her.  But yesterday, guess what she finally opened both eyes for me BIG and WIDE(see top picture) Oh heaven, I am in love with this child <3. So here are some pictures we took of her yesterday.  I think you can truly see how tiny she really is from these pictures. 
Family picture, we love you baby girl!

Sweet little foot so tiny and precious!

Tiny little hand, how I love you!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Because He Lives...

What can be said? When we woke up this morning, neither of us was happy. Today was the day we had to go take our son to the only cremation center in the city to get cremated. The hospital gave us his body for the last time, and a team of doctors were there to wave us off. We drove about an hour away to the center. My understanding is that in America, all or these details are taken care of you. NOT so here. So with my wife holding my son in the front seat,we just drove. Thankfully, when we arrived at the cremation center, we were greeted by our close friends and church family on this side of the ocean.

Our pastor held a brief service and we took Judah to the cremation room. It was very hard, and I am thankful for the handful of friends who were there for support. It's been a rough day. But--there is a HOPE that one day, we will see our son again. God is faithful who has promised that the suffering of is present time is not worthy of being compared to the glory which shall be revealed. And so we have hope--Exceeding Hope this is the reason we gave him his Japanese middle name.

As for little baby Karis--we drove back to make it just in time for NICU visiting hours. We learned that since yesterday, Karis has been turned over to lie on her stomach to help with milk digestion. We also learned that they took a chest x-ray last night and found it to be white on the x-ray. And today when they x-rayed her again, the amount of white in her chest had increased. I do not know what exactly this means, but it's not a good thing. They also adjusted the amount of breaths she'll take per minute from 40-50. We do not know what this all means, but it's a matter for prayer. Pray that her lungs would be rid of the CO2 buildup and that she can breathe well. Danielle and I are doing okay considering this day. God continues to be our strength. Thanks for your prayers, everyone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Judah and Karis

On Saturday July 14 it was decided that our babies should enter the world.  I was having contractions since about 4 am and the medicine was not working to stop them.  Judah Masaki ( meaning Praise / Exceeding Hope) was born at 7:14.  One minute later at 7:15 Karis Masami (meaning Grace / True Beauty) was born.  They tried to resuscitate both babies, but because of his lack of water due to pProm which lead to numerous problems, Judah only lived for one hour.  If you have been reading you know Karis sack also ruptured but then by a miracle resealed. As she came out I heard a little squeak of a cry, which meant that her lungs were somewhat developed.  They were able to resuscitate her and quickly took her to the NICU. Praise God!!!
  Today we reached the very critical 72 hour make that many preemies do not make it to. So that is really good news! There of course are a few issues with having a baby at 24 weeks.  Truthfully it would take awhile to explain and really I don't have the energy for that. There are three main things to PRAY FOR:
1. They have found a brain bleed.  There are four levels of this and hers is the lowest. While that is great news, please pray that this would resolve and heal itself.
2. In checking her heart they found something called PDA, it has to do with a valve that doesn't actually close until around week 35 I believe. Anyways, it can allow blood into the lungs, which is not good.  So they have given her medicine and we have been told it is looking better each day.
3. She does have an infection, the doctor said all preemie babies have this and she is on antibiotics. But her blood work is not great.  After three days of treatment her white blood cell count went up, but her CRP (inflammation level) went down.  Please pray that here infection would disappear!!
This is a little book the nurses started for Karis.  I love that they write in it and in English!!! Of course it is made "cute" by little drawings and stickers :)
  Our hearts are broken over the loss of our son.  While we are certain he is with his heavenly father, it has still left a hole in our hearts. I know I say this EVERY TIME but Thank you so much for all the kind words and prayers.  I know I have read many of them over and over.  We are still hanging on to hope....hope that Karis will make it and hope that someday we will see our little boy healed.

Clifford and Danielle

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hospital Bed Rest- Day 5

So I have been here in the Red Cross Hospital for 5 days so far. First, let me thank so many of you, as always for your support through prayer.  I am learning over and over again, how important prayer is and that sometimes it is the only thing we can do.  So many of you know by my request for prayers on Facebook, that very early Sunday I woke up with contractions.  At first, I thought I had just slept wrong.  There was once a few weeks ago, I had some contractions, but it was more just be very uncomfortable to move. Then after about 40 min of laying on my side and drinking water, it went away.  When I woke up on Sunday, I had been sleeping on my back, so I just thought my body was hurting.  Then, I realized the pain was coming in waves and was getting intense, needless to say it was VERY scary and more painful this time.  My chest hurt it was hard to breath, my shoulders and upper back were excruciating, my back and stomach were in pain.  I think the only think that didn't hurt were my legs.  Maybe this is normal? Well, I had already been given the second round steroid shots, to help the babies lungs develop, but of course I still felt this is way to early for them to come.  But luckily after being put on a contraction drip everything has calmed down.  We spent Sunday sleeping and just resting and being monitored.  Not that I am really doing anything else :) 

But Monday was a new day.  I woke up feeling much better.  Dr. Suzuki came to check me. (I always feel much better when it is him.) He said everything looked good again, but I just need to take the contraction medication more often.  This is fine I guess.  I just makes my heart often race especially if I have not eaten.  But if that is the only side effect I can deal with it!  Being here I get daily 4 heartbeat checks, and one with contraction and heartbeat check, which I LOVE! Some are longer than others, but I have become an expert at helping the nurses find the right spots.  Something  I haven't shared yet is that we are in a PRIVATE room!  YAY YAY YAY!!!!

You may not know this, but we have socialized health care here in Japan.  From our last experience in the hospital, I knew that many of the long term ladies on the floor shared rooms.  Four women to a room.  If you want a room to yourself you have to pay an additional fee. At this hospital it is some thing like $86 a day.  That is on top of the normal monthly fee or what in America you might consider your out of pocket expense.  So anyways, $86 a day on top of a pretty high monthly bill really adds up, even if just for a week.  So, we knew that we couldn't do it.  Anyways before coming to the hospital I kept praying that some how I wouldn't have to share a room. Mostly due to having to share a bathroom and my biggest fight right now is not getting any kind of infection.  I didn't know how that would happen, but I just kept praying about it.  Well, when we got to here we were so surprised to learn that I was in my own room and that the price would be no different that what we were expecting because it was doctor ordered!  In America I think you would know this before coming but the financial office did not mention this to us when we sat down with them the day before. Also, because it is a single room Clifford is able to come and go as he pleases and is able to spend the night!!! Such a blessing.  It has really really made a difference for me mentally!!!  So praise be to God for working things out in His perfect way.

Things to pray for:
-Please continue to lift up our doctors and now nurses as the care for me and for our babies.  I pray that somehow they will know more of the Lord from us being here.
-Pray for weight gain for both babies. The bigger weight the better chance they have.
- Pray that their lungs would continue to develop and that the steroids will help them breath when they are born.
- For continued health and no infection in my body.
-We are meeting with the neonatologist on Wednesday.  Please pray that our meeting would go well and that we could all have an understanding of things, medically and culturally. ( I am sure it will take some getting used to me being American and my different way of looking at things and asking questions for this new doctor.  This is always a difficult thing when you are dealing with cultural differences!)

Staying strong by God's Grace,

Ephesians 3
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Week 23- On to the Hospital

Hello All,
  Today is the day I officialy go into the hospital.  This is not because they think I am going into labor yet, but rather for continous monitoring daily. I will also recieve a steroid shot to help mature the babies' lungs.  There are some side effects I have read.  That it can make your blood sugar go crazy, and that it could cause you to go into labor.  Please pray today that I will be able to keep my babies safe and sound as I have these important shots. 
  Going into the hospital at this point has been our first BIG goal to reach.  I am so thankful we made it here and that if anything happens the NICU and doctors will be right there.  The down side to this is that the hospital is 45min- 1 hour away from our home. Also, I will be in a shared room with 3 other women ( whom mostly likely I can't speak to :( ) and no internet (sigh).  I will have my I phone so I will use that a lot but it isn't quite the same.  Please continue to pray pray pray for us.  My next big goal is to make it to 28-30 weeks.  If you can hit this point, the average life expectancy goes from something like 30% to 80%.  That is a big jump.  Also, pray that I can stay positive. Up until this point Clifford has been with me daily, but due to distance and work schedule I don't think that will happen while I am in the hospital.  Thank you friends for all your prayers and encouragment, in person and over the internet.  It truly does help! 

As far as the babies go they looked good on the ultrasound yesterday.
Baby Girl A :)- had increased fluid!!!  Up to 5 cm- Praise the Lord.  Also, great weight almost 1 1/2 lbs.  And everything measured looked good.
Baby B-mystery child :)- Looked better to me. As we have seen many, many ultrasounds every time we would see our sweet baby he (my guess) would look very scrunched and it was hard to tell what things were other than his heart and head.  But yesterday the baby was a little more stretched out and we could even see fluid by it's feet.  Right now the growth shows about a 3 week difference, so this is why it is so important I don't go into labor.  My sweet baby needs more time to get big and grow.  Also, please pray with me that he might turn head down.  Then maybe the little bit of fluid will be by his mouth and he could practice breathing.  

John 16:33
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world."

Blessing to you all,
Danielle & Clifford