Saturday, August 16, 2008

1 month

We can't believe our little man is already a month old! My how time flies!! It feels like just yesterday that he was kicking around in my belly. ;)

We went to the doctor on the 22nd to have his bilirubin checked. The pediatrician in the hospital was concerned about him getting jaundice. However, he was doing great and no jaundice in sight. On the 22nd he weighed 7 lbs. and was 17 1/2 inches long.

my 1st dr. appt.

When he was just 10 days old, Stratton was already rolling onto his side!! I know...can you believe it! I was changing his diaper (while resting in pain on the couch-haa!) and he tried to escape me! :) Grams (my mom) and I were just shocked...and of course, I realized never to turn -even to grab a little wipe-again! Then, about 9 days later, Stratton rolled from his tummy to his back!! I keep telling Stratton that he is sooo strong because of all the chicken and green beans we had to eat. (go ahead...laugh with me)

Then, at 13 days, he was wanting his Grams to stand over his pack and play and turn the little bear mobile. Since it is not battery operated, this did get a little exhauting for us. But!! It was just amazing how much he wanted to be stimulated!!
By the time he was 18 days old, he was rolling from his tummy onto his side. And, at 20 days, he rolled from his tummy to his back!! He is our little olympiad, as auntie pete would say! haa!

On August 1, we had his 2 week well baby check up. He weighed 7.3 lbs. and was 17 1/2 inches long. Since he had only gained .3 lbs in about 10 days, the pediatrician suggested feeding him less more often. I think we were a little spoiled to eating 4 ounces every 4 hours. Haa! He had been spitting up quite often though. So, we adjusted his eating schedule, and sure enough, at the weigh in on August 8, he weighed 8.11 lbs. and was 18 1/2 inches long. WOW! He gained a ton in 7 days!

feeding time with daddy

He was cooing at 26 days! And, just talks up a storm. He amazes us everyday!

His umbilical cord had fallen off when he was 18 days old! About 2 weeks later it still didn't look like it had healed. And, he was extremely fussy for about an hour after every feeding and spitting up again. So, we headed to the pedi. The pedi. decided it was time to try a different formula to see if that was what was causing the fussiness. Sure enough, the new formula has been just right! And, it turns out he had an umbilical granuloma. Apparently, it only occurs in 1 out if every 500 births. It was just tissue that was on the button. The pedi. covered it in silver nitrate and after a second does of that a week was healed!

We are loving every minute of parenthood! Thank you to everyone who came to the hospital and house to meet our little miracle! You all mean so much to us and we love you dearly!

Here are a few pics from his first month!


1 week

my 1st swing RIDE

my 1st BATH



i heart my boppy!!

We are truly blessedd and God is awesome! Please say a prayer of thanks for us and continue to pray for Stratton's good health!

We Love You! XOXO

in Him,
Stephen, Laurie and Stratton

"I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders."

-Psalm 9:1

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stratton Kyle is Here!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Stratton Kyle Spence was born July 16, 2008 at 4:45 p.m. He weighed 6 lbs. 12 oz. He was 17 1/2 inches long.

We went in on the night of the 15th to be induced. After about 8 hours in labor on the morning of the 16th, Stratton had decided to flip so that he was sunny side up and would not drop into the birth canal. His head was beginning to swell, so we were rushed into the OR for a c section. 10 minutes later, after tugging and pulling (one doctor even standing on my stomach) he finally was pulled out into the world. He was so cozy in there that we thought he would never come. : )

eskimo kisses

He was rushed to NICU to monitor his blood sugars. An hour after birth, his blood sugar was 53. Perfect! As long as his blood sugar was over 50, he was safe. He stayed in NICU for about 6 hours and by 1 a.m. we were holding him in our arms. He is perfectly healthy!!

first family pic

We were in the hospital until that Sunday. The doctor decided to hold me an extra day to monitor my blood sugars. I was put on insulin while we were in the hospital to regulate my blood sugars, but as soon as we came home they were back down in the safe zone. I am no longer on insulin! YAY!

I did continue the lovanox injections about 8 hours after my epidural was removed. I will conitnue the lovanox for 3 months to make sure that I do not clot.

We are home now, and we are all doing SUPER! Due to the c section and having a nerve cut during the surgery, I was bed ridden for the first 4 days home. My sisters were both here the first few days to help us out with day and night "nurse" duty! Both of them have just been amazing!! My mom has taken the "nurse" duty shifts for the next week. Stephen's mom will be on the next shift. We have truly been blessed to have their help. I am now able to walk, and I am healing quickly.

Grrrr and E

Gramps and stratton

stratton and his Grams

Stratton's bilirubin was being monitored closely while we were in the hospital. We had a follow up with the pediatrician on Tuesday, and he is in the clear from jaundice! YAY!

auntie L and auntie Landers

BEST night nurses EVER!

aunt Stacy and Stratton

Bayleybug giving kisses to her NEW nephew

Stratton is growing fast already! He weighed 7 lbs. as of Tuesday and his head was an inch bigger. :) Since day 1, he has been holding his head up and holding onto your fingers. He can even grab for the bottle while you are feeding him. Today, when we laid him down to change his diaper he rolled onto his side! He is such a strong, little fighter!!! He is very content and sleeps a ton! He fusses when he has a dirty diaper...and he is on a 4 hour eating schedule. He is sooo sweet, and we are loving every minute of being new parents! We catch ourselves just staring at him while he is sleeping.

coming home from the hospital

He is perfectly healthy and such a MIRACLE!!! We are sooooo blessed and grateful! The entire pregnancy of doctor appointments, testing, anxiety, prayer, exhaustion and rigorous diet and medicines were a mere nothing for such a great reward-our little Stratton!!

Thank you for all of your prayers and support! Please continue to pray for his good health and say a prayer of thanks to God for answering our prayers! He brought us the Perfect Gift.

He changes more and more we promise to update this blog so you can watch with us as Stratton grows!

God Bless,
Stephen, Laurie and Stratton

"What God intended for you goes far beyond anything you can imagine."

-Abraham Linlcoln

Friday, July 11, 2008

Baby Spence Update

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support during this miraculous time for us!! We really appreciate it!

I am sorry that it has been so long since we have since out an update. I know many of you have emailed, called and even texted. I am so sorry that I haven’t been able to respond. The last 8 weeks have been more than exhausting, but they have also been filled with blessings, happiness, and miracles. Since the last week of school, we have had 2 or 3 doctor appointments a week! So, if I wasn’t spending hours at the doctor, then sleep seemed to take me over. :) Although it has been stressful and exhausting, we have gathered a whole photo album of ulatrsound pictures! I have posted some of them in this blog.

About mid-May we had a little scare. Baby Spence decided he was going to take the day off and scare us to death. He is such an active little guy that when I didn’t feel him moving much during the day-I began to get worried. After calling the doctor and doing kick counts, we ended up in the hospital that night for an NST (monitoring the heart) and Biophysical Profile (checking my amniotic fluid, his breathing, his heart, and movement). Turns out…he did just decide to take the day off. After that our OB decided that at 30 weeks we would begin NSTs twice a week and a Biophysical Profile once a week.

31 weeks

face (check out those cheeks!!)

The last week in May we began the NSTs twice a week and the Biophysical Profile once a week. Then, at 33 weeks (when our OB was out of town no less) the amniotic fluid dropped to 5.3. It was measuring 13 the week before. After it gets below 4, it is considered dangerous for the baby. So, we were admitted to the hospital. Later that evening, the Perinatologist came in to check my fluid again. It was up to about 7. He felt safe in letting us go home in hopes that the baby would hang in there until 36 weeks so that his lungs could develop.

At this point, the baby’s measurements changed. His head and stomach were measuring 2 weeks further along than I really was, and his femur bone was measuring about 2 ½ weeks behind. This could just be genetic or it could be a sign of down syndrome or spina bifida. The Perinatologist suggested trying to make it to 36 weeks and then deliver. At 33 weeks, he weighed a little over 5 lbs.

We continued the NSTs and Biophysical Profiles. It has been such a blessing to have ultrasounds weekly. We have loved getting to watch him grow and change. We have had so many appointments that my mom, Stephen’s mom, and Lasen have been able to see him on the ultrasound.

I also have continued to see the endocrinologist. My blood sugars have remained controlled-even though it has been almost unbearable some days from the hunger and cravings.

34 weeks

My fluid has stayed around 8. Then, at 35 weeks the Perinatologist measured the baby to weigh about 7.12 lbs. His head and stomach were still measuring about 2 weeks further along than I really was, and his femur was still about 2 weeks behind. He weighed 7.12 lbs. at 35 weeks. He decided to let me carry for 2 more weeks, since the placenta and fluid were looking good. Then, he estimated little baby Spence would weigh at least 8.5 lbs. by the time we deliver. YIKES! :)

We are now 37 ½ weeks! The NSTs look great, and even though my fluid fluctuates and is now at about 9, his Biophysical Profile looks good…and it appears as though he is having a blast in there! :)

37 weeks

36 weeks 4-D
face with his hand on his cheek

On Tuesday, the OB scheduled my induction for July 15th. We will go into the hospital that night to be induced, and then he should be born on July 16th. I was dilated to a 1 on Tuesday, and he could feel the baby’s head through the bags of water.

We finally finished the nursery!! Thank you Nikki and the fam for all of your devotion to this project! We are SUPER excited and can’t wait for little Stratton’s arrival! Here are a few pics of the nursery. I tried to get the whole was tough! haa!

We are almost at the finish line. Stephen has been amazing the last 10 months! I am so blessed to have him. He continues to cook for me everyday, and he even manages to deal with these ridiculous hormones! Haa! He is a blessing!

Thank you to all of you who have come over and helped us get ready for this big adventure. We really appreciate all the help. Thank you to all of you who have written, called, and texted. It means a lot to us!

Please pray for us this next week! We need your prayers for his femur bone and the delivery!! Please pray that everything goes smoothly with the induction and delivery and for his little femur bone. And, we ask that you continue to pray for us to keep our strength and faith in these last few days of the pregnancy…and please say a prayer of thanks for us! For He has answered SO many of our prayers already!!

And, unless he comes on his own in the next few days…he will be here next week!!

God Bless,
Stephen, Laurie and Stratton

** On my way to school everyday I pass an automotive shop that posts scriptures/words of faith. The morning after we found out we were pregnant this was the scripture that was posted.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

He does listen, and He truly is an amazing God and ha
s blessed us over and over again!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Baby Spence Update

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for all of your prayers! We wanted to send you an update on Baby Spence. We went to Texas Children's Hospital on Wednesday and had another fetal echo cardiogram on the baby's heart. As you know, in February, the doctor saw a drop in the lower 2 chambers of his heart. However, on Wednesday, she didn't see anything!!!! The heart is well developed, and there is no hole. We were so grateful to hear this news! She was so confident in his heart that we do not have to go back to Texas Children's!! What a blessing! Please say a prayer of thanks for us! God has given us another miracle!

We only have 11 weeks left! and...everything is still going well. I just reached my pre-pregnancy weight last week. My blood sugars are as close as you can get to perfect, and we are increasing insulin this week. We are also increasing the lovanox next week. And, the ob doesn't feel there is any reason why we shouldn't have a normal delivery! We should deliver mid-July.

At our last appointment with the perinatal doctor, all measurements were exactly where they were suppose to be. His cerebrum, arms, legs, spine, and fluid in the placenta were all normal.

We are attaching the latest ultrasound pictures. They were taken at 24 weeks. Now, he weighs about 2 lbs.

We are so grateful for all of your prayers and support!! Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Pray that everything continues to grow well and for God to continue to keep us strong in our faith and strength. We promise to keep you updated. We miss all of you dearly!

God Bless,
Stephen, Laurie and Stratton

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
-1 Chronicles 16:34

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's a BOY!

Dear Family and Friends,

We went yesterday to the high risk pregnancy specialist for the structural defects ultrasound. He said the measurements for the cerebrum and fluid (too much fluid is caused by diabetes) are all in range with where they should be. He also said the spinal cord and facial structures look good! We did inquire about carrying full term. He told us that usually with diabetic patients they usually do not let them carry longer than 38 weeks. This would put us to deliver around mid July which means we only have 18 weeks left! WAHOO!!

He seems concerned about the blood clots that I had in 2004. So, we are watching this closely and will probably increase the lovanox (blood thinner) in the 3rd trimester. We also discussed increasing my insulin soon, since my blood sugars have been a bit higher this last week. And, my blood sugar actually dropped the day of TAKS to 59!! I am certain that test was too much for us both. After sugar and some food, it went back up. Scary!!!

We will see this doctor every 4 weeks until the baby is born.

This was the first ultrasound where the baby was actually resting for a few, very few minutes. After a while, the baby was squirming all over again! BUT...after searching around to double check, it turns out that we are having a BOY!!!!

Apparently, it was hiding at our last ultrasound. We are SUPER excited and can't wait to meet him! ;) I think we have had a boy name picked out for about 4 years now! haa! However, we were working hard on a girl's name already.

With all of this, yesterday morning I woke up with a bacterial infection in my left eye. After seeing the eye doctor, I started the antibiotic and hoped for the best. Then, this morning not only could I not get the left eye open, but my right eye is now infected (and I have a sore throat and major sinus pressure). I went back to the eye doctor today for more medicine. Hopefully, the mucus, swelling, and redness will be healed in the next week.

We wanted to include as much detail as we could in this email because we need your prayers for many things.

Please pray for...
the insulin and lovanox to continue to work
our strength to get to all of these doctor's appointments
my immune system to hang in there (sometimes I am not sure how much it can handle)
the continuation of Stephen's good health reports
the ultrasound at 26 weeks for the baby's heart
the contnued good reports on the baby's structural growth
our faith in Him to stay strong

We are so blessed to have all of you in our lives. The news we received yesterday was a blessing! We really appreciate all of your prayers. They are being heard. Please continue to keep us on your prayer list. And, if you know any prayer warriors that I may have left off this list, then please forward this on. We wil continue to keep you updated on everything! Thank you so much for all of your prayers and undying support.

We miss all of you dearly!
God Bless,
Laurie, Stephen and Stratton Kyle (we have attached the latest ultrasound picture)

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
-Philippians 4:13

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Baby Spence Update

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you all sooo much for all your prayers and support! We are now 18 weeks! WAHOO!! We went to Texas Children's today for the fetal echocardiogram. This is where they do an echo on the baby's heart.

The baby was flipping all over and not very cooperative, as usual (the doctor even commented on how active the baby was haa!). It was sooo exciting beacuse they used a 2-D ultrasound. We got to see the feet, face, the baby sucking his/her thumb, and even the ribs. It was SUPER cute!! :)

After about 2 hours of trying to look at the heart from different angles, the doctor told us that the 4 chambers are well developed and look good. The arches look normal, and the heartbeat is good. However, there appears to be a drop between the lower 2 chambers, which means there is a hole. The baby is still really young, and it was hard for her to get good pictures due to the chin resting on the chest of the baby and all the flipping. But, she did say she looked from several different angles. The hole could close up before the baby is born or even after.

We will go back at 26 weeks to have another echo to try to take a better look at the baby's heart. We know from past echos with Stephen's heart that sometimes what the screen shows isn't always there. And, we all know God is miraculous!! However, we need all the prayers we can get for the baby's heart! Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers!! It is all in His hands. We promise to keep you updated as soon as we know more information.

Oh, and...the baby appears to be a "GIRL"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The doctor also checked this from several different angles, and there was nothing there. :) We all know "it" could be hiding...but no sign of "it" anywhere... ;)

We will have an ultrasound for structural defects (from the diabetes) on March 10. Please pray that this goes well.

We miss all of you, and are grateful for all of your support!

in Him,

Laurie and Stephen...and Itty Bitty

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Stephen and Laurie's Health Update

To our Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. We really appreacite it!!

I realize that I have not sent out an update on Stephen in a while, but at his appointments in June and November there was no echo. He has lost 43 lbs. now!!!! We are sooo proud of him. His blood pressure was down 138/62. The doctor was very pleased with his progress and ability to maintain the weight loss. When we went in December, Stephen had an echo done and a stress test. The stress test was done to measure his oxygen intake. The last stress test he had done was in 2001. In December, he had improved more than 50%!!!! Isn't that AMAZING!!!??? His echo showed no sign of the left ventricle going into failure (previously, it was only pumping 35% which is borderline heart failure). None of this would have been possible without our faith and your prayers!! Prayer is a MOST powerful thing!! We are so grateful for all of your prayers!! Please continue to pray for his progress and his heart. His next appointment will be in May/June. I will keep you updated.

Update on me: I'm PREGNANT!!! :0-

We are sooo excited about this little one (or itty bitty as munchkin calls it)!!! Due to all the medications that Stephen has taken his whole life, we were not even sure we would even be able to have our own children. So, the prenancy is a miracle in itself! We are sooo blessed!! We were going to the ob every 2 weeks, and now, we go every 3 weeks. We have already had 3 ultrasounds. The latest was a few weeks ago. The baby was doing flips (literally) and wiggling all over the places. It was out of control...and sooo exciting!!! :) I also see the endocronologist every 3 weeks. With the exhaustion of the 1st trimester, doctor's appointments, and all the medications, if I am not trying to make it through a long day at school, then I am home sleeping!

However, due to my diabetes and Stephen's Congenital Heart Disease, this pregnancy is very high risk. Miscarriage, stillborn, and birth defects are a huge risk. I am on insulin before every meal and a different insulin at bedtime. I am also on blood thinners because of the blood clots I had back in 2004. So, I think I inject myself about 6 times a day. :( It has been an adjustment, and at times, it seems almost too overwhelming! However, Stephen has been WONDERFUL! He cooks and cleans. :0- With the insulin, everything has to be cooked and measured...and at times, just thinking about it is overwhelming.

We are due July 30!!! Again, due to the diabetes, we probably will not carry full term. We go back to the doctor Feb. 6. I will keep you updated.

I know many of you have called and written. Hopefully, this will explain why I have been MIA for the last 3 1/2 months. We miss all of you and think of you often. With the 2nd trimester starting, I hope my energy finds me again so that I can catch up with some of you. Please forgive me for not being in touch.

We need your prayers!!! Please pray for my stregnth and health. The anxiety of the huge risks are overwhelming and hard to dismiss. Please pray for the health of our baby. We have decided not to do any diagnostic testing. We have prayed and prayed about it, and we are going to leave our faith in the Lord and His plan for us. Please pray for our continued faith and patience. Please feel free to forward this email to any email addresses that we may have forgotten. Thank you so much for your support and prayers!

We miss all of you!

God Bless,
Stephen and Laurie

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." -Philippians 4:13