Our first week home.

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

So we’ve officially been home for more than a week now! And while the transition took a couple of days for us all to adjust, I think at the end of the week we’re all pretty happy to finally be home after moving around the different hospitals for so many days. 🙂

I mentioned before – I think in my letter to Jackson – that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in bringing a little one into our home. Obviously Jackson’s surgery was completely unexpected, and for the first couple of weeks we were just focused on his health and getting him through the recovery without any problems. But now that we’re home, the focus has switched over to the more routine things like feeding, sleeping, diaper changes, and bath time. While in the hospital, we didn’t really have a chance to figure these things out on our own, since the nurses kind of took charge and instructed us on what to do, and when to do it. I knew we’d have to just figure these things out on the fly when we got home, and that’s exactly what we spent last week doing. We sort of made it through the week relying on trial and error, but I feel like by the end of the week I’ve learned so much more about my son. And hopefully Jackson’s learned some new things about his Mommy and Papi, as well!

In the meantime, I’m just soaking up the time Jackson and I get to spend together. I know that before we realize it, he’ll be sitting, then walking and talking, and I’ll look back on these quiet moments and really miss them!!

xo, Amanda

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And we’re home!!

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

I apologize for the late update on the blog, but it’s been a crazy last couple of days. I just want you all to know that Jackson was dispatched on Sunday and we drove home to Midland that same night!! I can’t even begin to tell you all how great it is for us to FINALLY all to be home together, and well. 🙂

We found out on Friday that Jackson would be dispatched on Monday (yesterday), but then late in the day the doctors decided that he was well enough to leave on Sunday. We were absolutely thrilled with the news, but of course we spent the next day running around getting ready for the early departure.

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

{Our last morning at the hospital}

I was initially a bit nervous about the drive home. Midland is five hours away from San Antonio, and it’s a pretty desolate drive – only a couple of places to stop and there’s not a lot of cell reception along the way. But as it turns out, baby Jackson ended up doing really well! He slept the majority of the time, and we were able to find easy spots to stop when he needed to be fed and changed. I realized quickly that feeding and changing diapers in the middle of a gas station parking lot was a breeze compared to when he was hooked up to a bunch of monitors and IVs in the hospital. 😉

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

{All bundled up for the drive home}

Jose went back to work yesterday, and I spent the day getting into a routine with little Jackson. I also started organizing all the things we’ve acquired these past weeks. I even found time to take a nap during the afternoon, which was pure bliss. 😉 I tried napping at the hospital a couple of times, but honestly it was a bit difficult with nurses and doctors always coming and going. I’m sure Jackson appreciates the uninterrupted sleep here, as well (as you can see below, he already has two watchdogs keeping track of his every movement, noise, and breath). 😉

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

{Jackson and his big sisters}

So as far as Jackson’s health is concerned, everything is back to “normal” and we expect him to grow and develop without any problems going forward. We will start with his follow-up cardiologist appointments here in Midland next week. And then we also have a follow-up appointment with a developmental pediatrician in San Antonio in a couple of months. But for now, we’re really pleased with the way Jackson recovered from his surgery. We’re so relieved to be back in Midland, and ready to start our new life together as a family of five (five including the pups, of course). 😉

Thank you so much to everyone who has followed along with us these past weeks and sent us your prayers and love. Even if we didn’t get a chance to respond, I want you to know that Jose and I read every single message that was sent our way, whether it was here on this blog, on Instagram, Facebook, or text message. We are so, so blessed to have such caring and loving family and friends all over the world who took the time to reach out to us during this time of need. We cannot express enough how grateful we’ve been for your uplifting words and prayers.

So now that I have this blog space set up, I think I will continue posting updates on little Jackson as he grows. 🙂 It seems to be a good spot to share pictures and stories for family and friends who live far away. You can follow along if you want by signing up for email updates (in the right column). Or, you can just follow me on Instagram where I’m sure I’ll be posting lots of baby Jackson. 🙂

With love, xoxo – Jose & Amanda

Our first family Thanksgiving.

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful Thanksgiving on Thursday!! We had a pretty good one here in the hospital with baby Jackson. 🙂 We woke up early and watched a bit of the parade together. Then Jose arrived from the hotel, and he and Jackson caught up on some pre-game ESPN football shows.

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The hospital served a big Thanksgiving meal in the cafeteria, and Jose and I were able to get our fill of turkey, ham, stuffing, and – my favorite – pecan pie. 🙂

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

It was a bit strange being here in the hospital for Thanksgiving, but like I mentioned in my post Wednesday, we have so much to be thankful for this year that I wouldn’t have wanted to celebrate anywhere else than here with our baby Jackson, who has made so much progress since his surgery.

The NICU finally had room available for us to move Jackson back. I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but the PICU (Pediatric ICU) is more for children who are very ill and require constant monitoring, or children who have just underwent surgery and require a lot of attention or are having a hard time recovering. Because Jackson has been doing so well, they wanted to move him back to the NICU (Newborn or Neonatal ICU), which is more for babies who are on the mend and don’t require nearly as much medical attention or care. He still has a nurse assigned to him in the NICU, but his care is more routine – like checking vitals, giving him a bath, etc. This is definitely a step in the right direction – it means we’re getting closer to his discharge from the hospital!

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

One of the best things about moving back to the NICU is that Jackson no longer has to sleep in one of those large cribs that are equipped with IV and oxygen monitors (like the one seen in this post). Instead, he was moved to a smaller newborn crib, similar to those that are in the baby’s recovery room after birth.

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

In regards to his anticipated discharge date, the doctor and nurses believe they expect us to be leaving early next week!! In order to be able to leave, Jackson must show signs that he’s eating well and he must be tube-free. Jackson is starting to come around to eating, but it’s been a bit of a struggle to breast feed these last few days. On top of that, I’ve been pumping as well, trying to match our supply and demand, so I haven’t been getting much sleep (which I know is expected for new mothers, but I’m still trying to catch up on the lack of sleep from moving hospitals so many times last week!!). Anyway, the good news is Jackson is eating, and I know it will only improve over time. Once he gains enough weight the doctors will say that he’s eating well enough to adjust with eating back home. As far as his tubes go, one of the surgeons came by our room early Thursday morning to remove the drainage tube from his surgery wound. This is the last tube that Jackson had attached, so all that he has left on him is wires that monitor his vitals (heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels).

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

{All three of us napping together}

Jackson (finally!) gets to wear the clothes we brought with him. This was very exciting for me!! I’ve been dreaming of dressing up my baby up for months, and we were finally able to put him in some of the clothes we’ve been carrying around since we originally packed for the hospital in Midland. 🙂

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Lastly, our main cardiologist came by our room for a visit and check-up on Wednesday. She gave us an excellent report on his health and recovery, and mainly talked to us about what type of medical attention he’ll need for the rest of his life. We will have to establish a relationship with a cardiologist in Midland, and go back for weekly updates for a couple of months. After that we’ll move to bi-weekly, then monthly, and finally, yearly. He will need to see a cardiologist every year for the rest of his life, and will always need special cardiac clearance (I think that’s how she explained it..? Not sure if that’s the exact term…) before he can have any type of medical surgery or serious treatment in the future. She also talked to us about signs to look out for which will tell us if he’s run into trouble again.

This all sounds kind of scary, but she emphasized that since the surgery was a success, and his recovery has gone so well, she expects Jackson to grow up as if he were born a “normal” and “healthy” child. He will grow up and play sports and lead a similar life to other children born today – the only difference is that he was born with an irregular heart and now it is fixed. 🙂

We’ll keep you all posted on how things go the next few days!

xo, Jose & Amanda

I’m a little tired.

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{This little face makes it all worth it in the end.}

I have a whole post drafted with doctor’s updates, but I’m going to hold off on that until tomorrow.

The good news is that Jackson has been progressing really well these past couple of days. The doctors think we’ll be able to go home sometime early next week! We are beyond excited with the news. 🙂

But … even with the end in sight, I have to admit these past couple of days have been a little rough for me. Not only am I catching up from the craziness of this past week, but I’m also learning how to be a new mom at the same time. The whole experience has left me pretty exhausted these past couple of days. My body aches, and every time I sit down I feel like I could fall into a deep sleep.

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

{My first real nap since Jackson was born last Tuesday.}

So I’ll keep it short and sweet tonight, and tomorrow, once I’m a bit more rested with a fresh cup of coffee in me, I’ll give you updates on how our precious baby has been doing these past days.

Hope you all enjoy the Thanksgiving weekend!

xo, Jose & Amanda

A day of progress – and many thanks this year.

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Yesterday was a really good day for Jackson! The cardiologist came to visit first thing in the morning and said that all his vital signs looked perfect. She said he was improving tremendously, so she gave the nurses permission to start weaning him off of his oxygen and pain medication throughout the day. He still needs to take pain medicine, but he will take it orally from a syringe, rather than via IV.

By early afternoon, the doctor had instructed for the nurse to take out all of his cords and IVs, including the one that was going through his belly button to administer medication (this was the most delicate of all the IVs, and very bothersome to him, since it’s right around the top of his diaper). We left to run an errand around this time, and by the time we came back the nurse had taken out all his cords except for the IV that gives him fluids and nutrition (the IV will also be there just in case he needs any extra medication during the rest of his stay). He also has a tube coming out of his incision, which is there to drain any extra fluid from the wound (the draining has slowed considerably also, which is a good sign).

Because Jackson’s not connected to oxygen anymore, the doctors were able to take the stickers off of his face, and he looks so different now!! Baby Jackson’s had some sort of oxygen tubes or respirators stuck on his face since the day he was born, and I almost didn’t recognize him without them!! 😉 He didn’t know what to do with his cheeks at first, since he could move them around without the tape pulling at him. Just look at these funny faces he’s making (photos at top of post), right after the stickers were pulled off – it was so adorable to watch!!

Last night, we found out that the cardiologist had wanted us to move back to the NICU for his recovery, but they actually admitted 7 new babies to that unit yesterday, so they didn’t have any extra room for Jackson. Just knowing that he’s ready makes me feel so much better!! It is likely they’ll move him back there today, but we haven’t been told anything yet. I’ll let you know when it happens!

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Other than that, Jackson FINALLY was able to drink some milk yesterday afternoon, which was his first feeding since the surgery. He drank about 10 ml of milk from a bottle when he still had his oxygen in. He was a little unsure about it at first, but drank most of it down without any problems. I then started trying out breast feeding with him in every feeding after that, and while it was a slow start, he eventually figured it out and had a good feeding of about 10 minutes this morning around 11:30!!! I’m so glad Jackson has caught on so quickly with his feedings – I was really worried that everything he went through this past week would affect his appetite or willingness to eat. We’re so proud of his determination!! 🙂

So Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and obviously Jose and I have so much to be thankful for this year. We are thankful for this beautiful baby boy who was brought into our lives just a little over a week ago. We are forever thankful for the cardiologist in Midland who discovered Jackson has a heart condition last Thursday, and that he was able to transfer us to San Antonio for emergency treatment within a few hours time. We are extremely thankful to all the staff here at Methodist Hospital, in particular the surgeon who was able to fix Jackson’s heart, and the cardiologist who helped diagnose Jackson with his condition. And most importantly, we are thankful to everyone who has supported us from near and far – to those of you who sent us your kind words, prayers, and love throughout the week, you have lifted our spirits more than you’ll ever know.

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Finally, I was thinking last night about a letter I wrote to baby Jackson the day before he was born. I want to post it here because I think he may have secretly read it before leaving the womb. Despite all the hardships this baby has faced this past week, he has been the most strong and determined of us all. He has maintained a calm and peaceful demeanor throughout all the treatments, poking, and prodding he has undergone. Jackson is truly my hero, and he has inspired me just in his first week of life to always be brave in the face of adversity.

November 17, 2014

Dear Sweet Jackson,

I woke up at 4am this morning, too excited to sleep because tomorrow is the day we finally get to meet you. Your Papi and I have waited nine long months for this day, and we spent years before that thinking and dreaming of having you as our child. It seems like just yesterday we learned the good news that we were expecting (March of this year), and your birth date seemed so far away!! The months we spent planning your arrival have kept us busy, and time flew by in the blink of an eye. They say this is what motherhood is all about – that the days are long, but the years are short. I want to cherish every moment we have with you.

At this point, I’m not quite sure what to expect, but there are certain things I hope and wish for as your mother. I want to always be loving and gentle, but authoritative at the same time. I want to be a good teacher, and look forward to teaching you the simple things in life, like how to write your name and tie your shoes. I hope to teach you how to use your creative mind each day, to seek adventure, and to always stay curious about the world around you.

I hope to teach you things that I wish I had known, or at least accepted, when I was a child. I want you to know that life will be challenging each and every day that you’re here, but please understand that the problems you face will only seem impossible if that’s the way you look at them. Your Papi has taught me this lesson in life. He wakes up each morning with a positive attitude and a smile on his face. Regardless of the hardships he has faced in life, he is happy because he chooses to be happy. He does not let the little setbacks bring him down, and I strive to be like him more and more each day. I hope that you inherit that same positive outlook on life, and, more than anything, I hope that you are happy.

Your Papi and I love you so much already, Jackson, and can’t wait to meet you soon.

With love, xoxo – Mom

One week old.

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Today is Jackson’s one week birthday!

In just one week, this little guy has visited 3 different cities (Midland, Odessa, and San Antonio), taken his first airplane ride, and undergone heart surgery. He truly is our little campeon (champion). 🙂

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

All day yesterday, Jackson’s vital signs looked really good. The only one the doctors were a bit concerned about was his blood pressure, which was a little high. For a baby who just underwent heart surgery, they like to keep the blood pressure at about 75 mmhg. His was a bit high – initially between upper-70’s to 90 – so they gave him some milrinone to relax him a bit to bring his blood pressure down. The reason they want to keep it down is because they don’t want to put too much pressure where the vessel is stitched in these first couple of days of recovery. The medicine has seemed to work through the night, and Jackson’s blood pressure has stayed at about 75 to upper-70’s, which is still a little high, but lower than it was yesterday. We’re going to continue with the same medicine today.

As far as his oxygen levels go, they initially had him at a level 5 in pressure and 50% fio2. The pressure is measured in liters, and keeps his little lungs inflated. The fio2 is the percentage of oxygen he’s taking in. Room level is 21% oxygen, to give you an idea of what we breathe in normally. The levels he started at yesterday were a little higher than the levels he was at in the NICU, but since the doctors are never sure about how a baby will do breathing on their own after a major surgery, so they preferred to keep the levels a little bit high. As of this morning he is at level 3 in pressure, and 25% fio2, which is a big improvement! He is breathing well at these new levels. The target for him to be able to eat is a pressure of 2 or lower.

Other than that, the only other thing the nurses are looking out for this morning is his magnesium levels. He is just a little low in magnesium, so they gave him some supplements to bring these levels up. This isn’t really something we need to worry about, because once he starts eating his mineral levels will certainly improve (including his magnesium).

Jackson will have his echo exam later this morning, which, as I explained on Sunday, is an ultrasound of his heart. The echo exam helps the doctors test the function of his heart. We’ll let you know what they find!

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

 

I was finally able to sleep in the same room as Jackson last night for the first time since he was born, which was very exciting for me! Even though I don’t even think he noticed I was here. 😉 He had such a big day yesterday that he snoozed all through the night. This sleepy baby didn’t even stir awake when they came in and took some x-rays around 3am. The x-rays were taken to see if there was any fluid build-up around Jackson’s lungs or heart, and to make sure that everything is still in its right place. The results came back this morning and showed that everything looks perfect!

Something else that came up yesterday that had to be taken care of (unrelated to Jackson’s condition) was that I am due to have my staples taken out from my C-section surgery last week. I originally had an appointment with my OB doctor in Midland to do that, but of course, since we’re here in San Antonio, it’s not possible for me to go back home to do that this week. The social worker here suggested I try visiting a local medical clinic to have them taken out (apparently it’s a very easy procedure). However, we went to the clinic yesterday afternoon, and they refused us because of liability reasons – they don’t want to take out staples from an operation that was done elsewhere. Our only other option was for me to have them taken out in the ER. Obviously, this was NOT an emergency, but I couldn’t wait another couple of weeks to have them taken out in Midland. So we decided it would be best for me to check myself into the ER in the middle of the night to have it done, since the wait can be really long during the day. I’m getting up every 3 hours to pump, so I walked over there at 3am this morning to check in. The process itself was super easy and they took care of it pretty quick, but it took them another 45 minutes or so to discharge me, which was a little annoying since I just wanted to come back to my room with Jackson and fall asleep.

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

I’m glad it’s finally taken care of, though – and really, I just wanted a hospital bracelet to match the one that Jackson is wearing. 😉

Thank you again to everyone who left us messages yesterday! Knowing that there are people around the world who are thinking and praying for our little one has really kept our spirits high. Please continue to pray that his recovery goes well this week, and we’ll keep everyone posted on any and all updates in the coming days.

xo, Jose & Amanda

Out of surgery – everything went well!!

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

Just a follow-up to let you all know that Jackson came out of surgery around 9:45am, and everything went just as planned. 🙂 There were no complications at all during surgery. We saw him in the hallway as they wheeled him into the pediatric ICU, and his face looked peaceful and full of color. Jackson will stay in the PICU for two nights, where a nurse will attend him 24 hours a day. It is a private room where either Jose or I will be able to stay the night with him.

As soon as they set Jackson up in his room, Jose and I went in to be with him. Though he was a little drowsy, he was already awake and opening his eyes a bit. The nurse said his vitals are all perfect, considering he just underwent surgery. They expect for him to be able to breastfeed as soon as tomorrow, so long as he continues to do well throughout the day and night.

Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield

We thank God he is doing well – we could not have done it without all the love and support we’ve received this past week! Jackson is a strong and determined baby boy – we are amazed at the amount of courage he has shown in his first six days of life.

We will keep you all posted each day of his recovery this week. 🙂

xo, Jose & Amanda