Friday, July 29, 2011

Eyes Open

The one comment I get over and over when people come to visit the first time is how small Tessa is in real life.

She is a little peanut.

Her eyes were open during "care time" the other night, so I snapped a few pictures. This was one of my favorites.

Her care times are every three hours, and generally include temperature taking, feeding, and a diaper change. At eight o'clock pm, she is weighed and her bedding is changed.

The boys have been having a blast in the play room on the 11th floor. During the week, we try to take them there often. We are gradually settling into more of a routine....albeit a crazy one:-)

I am falling apart at the seams, unfortunately. I cannot seem to get healthy. Trying to be all things to all kids; it is not working so well.

Many people have asked when babies this small tend to go home. Normally, it falls around her due date. So, according to that, we have about 9 weeks to go. Honestly, I just will be THRILLED to be able to take her home.

Thank you, as always, for the prayers taking to His feet on our behalf. Right now, we are just praying for weeks and weeks of boring. No infections, no NEC, nothing that would lead to surgical intervention, etc.

Tessa and Dad

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Teeny Update

Tessa is staying steady at 2 lbs, 12 ounces.

Her PICC line came out.

She is off cpap again (for now).

Right now, the biggest risk to her is NEC, so we are praying for an easy, boring next few weeks.

Thank you again for loving Tessa, and being so faithful in praying for her.

For praying for all of us.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy 2 Week Birthday!

Our precious little one is two weeks old!

Although crazy and very hectic, life is good. Our God is great.

This week has ushered ups and downs for Tessa; all part of this preemie experience, I suppose.

Yesterday, her primary nurse was changing her diaper. As she lifted her legs to take the soiled diaper off, Tessa had a massive explosion all over the back of her isolette.

She's already giving people crap.

I am getting to see more of her personality this week. Even in just the last few days, she has been awake more often and loves to grab fingers and tubes.

I now understand the two steps forward, one step back mentality. Just when everything seems to click- feedings, breathing, pooping- one of them has a set back.

She went back on cpap Wednesday, and that has brought quite a few adjustments. It fills her stomach with air and messes with her ability to process food. Sometimes I can tell her stomach aches, and it is so hard not to pick her up and cuddle her when she is uncomfortable.

Tessa was discharged from the residents on Friday. There were a group of five that would round every morning to plan out her day. Apparently, she is too boring.

I am thrilled with boring.

When she is not happy, she is starting to hit and swat at her nurses. She cries loudly and makes herself known! From a girl they never thought would have lungs, I can attest to the fact that she has them and loves to use them.

I still marvel when she cries.

This week has been full of many cuddle times. Tessa loves to be held, and likewise I love holding her!

The little baby I mentioned before passed away last night. I have only met the family on a handful of occasions, and yet it hit me hard.

Josh called me in the early evening as the oxygen tanks were wheeled from the room, and I knew it was not good. Seeing the family gathered around with Bibles in hand, knowing that death was imminent, was heartbreaking. Please keep Reed's family in your prayers.

Other Prayer Requests:

The next two to three weeks are a critical in terms of infections. Her PICC line is scheduled to come out in the next few days, so that would greatly reduce her risk from that source. NEC, if it is going to happen, usually shows up in the 2-3 week range. Please just pray my sweet girl stays free from infection.

That she could come off cpap. She seriously hates that thing.

For Tessa to tolerate feedings.

Kayden and Bryce- that during this time of life, they would feel loved and appreciated even when they only see one parent at a time. We are both trying to give them a fun summer in the midst of this chaos.

As always, peace.

Psalm 33:22 "May your unfailing love rest upon us, Oh Lord, even as we hope in you."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hardest day

Today was a rough one.

Tessa had to go back on cpap, and she was pretty unhappy about it.

She fought all day to find rest.

Added to that, a milk fortifier was added to my milk. I could just tell she was not comfortable all afternoon.

At her eight o'clock weigh in time, her eyes were open and she turned her sweet face to me.

This little pathetic smile came across her face. I know it was involuntary, but I couldn't help but burst into tears.

Please pray for my sweet girl- that she would digest her milk, start pooping, and get off the cpap as soon as possible.

Thanks for being so faithful in checking in on her- I really appreciate it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


My first kangaroo care time.

My mom lifting her up to be weighed.

Josh lifting her up to be weighed yesterday. The bed actually has a scale function, so it zeros out and then you set her back and it tells you if she is gaining or losing.

If I could sum up our life in on word right now, I think exhausted would cover it quite well.

Well, joyful exhaustion.

After I eat breakfast with the boys, I head up to the hospital until about 2pm, and then go back around 7-10pm. It makes for a lot of running.

Add to that pumping, which takes 30 minutes every three hours. Some days I feel pulled in every direction, but am so happy that we are in the position to BE pulled.

My dad said it best: from what this week could have been, we are thrilled.

I am sorry to those that have sent messages. I have gotten them, and am so thankful you are checking in. I promise to write back soon. Please keep them coming!

For those that have been around for a while, I referenced this post a while ago:

I have read and re-read it a hundred times.

Today I was talking to Tessa's neighbor, two doors down. He has all sorts of problems- liver not working, on the highest oxygen setting, kidneys not functioning.

Last night, they were called in at 1:30 am to say their goodbyes.

This evening, my mom talked to his dad and he is doing better.

Seeing sick babies day in and day out makes it hard for me to relax. There are so many things that could go wrong.

Tessa continues doing well, but I still am having a hard time trusting.

I wish I could say I was doing better with the fear of the future. Night time is the most difficult for me, and I usually wake up three to four times to check my phone to make sure I did not miss a phone call from the NICU.

We meet with the neonatologist tomorrow for a question and answer time, and for him to go over her progress and goals.

Please just continue to pray for God's favor to rest on Tessa.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The small stuff

One trait I have inherited from my father is that I cannot leave things alone if they are broken/lost.

I will fuss and fuss until I fix the problem.

Birthday parties, church, appointments have been missed...all because I cannot find a specific shirt.

A few months ago, my computer printer would not print, so we stayed home instead of going out to eat with friends as planned.

It gets in my crawl space and I cannot let it go.

Real rational, huh?

Somehow, from the hospital to home yesterday, I lost my wallet.

Normally I would be frantic, non-functional even, without knowing where it is.

Being on the cusp of life and death for so many weeks, I have come to realize in the grand scheme of things what matters and what doesn't.

This doesn't.

Don't get me wrong, I wish I knew where it was. Our fridge is bare and I couldn't buy lunch today at the hospital without it. Unless some good Samaritan returns it, the Secretary of State office is not something I look forward to or currently have time for.

*If you are a police officer, disregard the previous sentences about my driving without a license handy.

I am realizing that I stress far too often about the small stuff. I get so wrapped up in things that don't actually matter.

In other news: the hospital has a special play time for siblings, so we are taking Bryce and Kayden tonight. I took a peek, and there are trains tables, basketball hoops, costumes, and fuse ball tables. I think they are really going to enjoy doing something special with mom and dad.

Daddy took a turn last night alone with Tessa, and it was nice to put the boys to bed. As I tucked him in, Kayden said "You're the best mommy ever".

Guy, I missed that.

Monday, July 18, 2011


When we moved to this house, one of the things we loved most was the backyard. The previous owners did a lot of landscaping, and some of my favorite trees (Cherry Blossom and Lilac) line the fence surrounding the pool.

Bright red geraniums were tucked into the shrubbery, and lush green hostas lined the chimney along the brick path.

Once we moved in, my in-laws knew I loved the flowers and have bought and planted with us every spring.

To my surprise, I love gardening.

It is therapeutic.

Three summers ago, I noticed a nest of little bunnies near the kid's turtle sandbox.

My oohs and aahhs about their cuteness quickly turned into agitation.

They were eating my hosta plants.

It started as a nibble here and there. I tried having Kayden pee on them, poured pepper while watering, bought all sorts of treatments from the store...all to no avail.

They moved on to the flowers soon after. Each morning, I would see new bite marks and holes in the leaves.

I kind of feel like my worry has been like this.

It starts out as a pretty small hole; then soon enough, it's all you can see when you look at the leaves.

I have always worried, and it is a weakness I never seem to master.

A few years ago, I had a routine test done and the results came back abnormal. Before further testing ruled out the illness, I about had myself dead in the ground.

If I could ask for one thing tonight, it would be prayers for peace.

Every time they pull back the contents of her stomach or change her diaper or take her temperature, I tense a little. She is just so very tiny and I already love her to my core.

The NICU is a strange place, where it is completely normal to watch my daughter stop breathing.

The phrase "When I am afraid, I will trust in You" pops in my head all day long to try and combat the worry.

I feel like it is on constant repeat.

I can't really say that I have this preemie baby thing all figured out yet. I am hoping at some point, it will be easier to relax.

In Tessa news, she had a bloody aspirate this morning. When they pulled back the contents of her stomach, it showed a little bit of blood. They are thinking at this point that it might be from the feeding tube irritating her stomach.

Of course, my irrational mind jumps to all sorts of horrible things.

Like I said, peace would be a good thing right now.

Here is a picture I took yesterday. Kayden had a fever 48 hours before, so I wanted him to wear a mask, just to be on the safe side. Brycer needed one to be like his big brother.

It was pretty comical.

As we press into the one week mark of her journey, I thank you for walking along side us.

For praying continually.

For loving all of us.

Head ultrasound tomorrow morning. I will let you know how it goes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Burnt Toast, Burp Cloths, and Bedtimes

Early one Sunday morning, I was watching a television evangelist. I don't normally tune in, but I guess when one misses church for seven weeks straight, a little desperation is allowed.

The pastor was talking about how he had the flu and hadn't eaten. On the third day, he finally felt better and decided to make toast with a little butter. His toaster malfunctioned, and the corners were burned. He still decided to eat it. Since he was so famished, he relayed that it was the best stinking toast he ever had.

He asked how hungry we are for God-because if you are really hungry, even burnt toast tastes good. A different kind of longing for the Bible appears.

Going through this process with Tessa, I cannot even tell you how many times I heard "your faith is so strong".

I will be honest. I don't feel strong. I'm not strong.

There were so many times that I wanted to turn and run from God because I felt so abandoned. A few days before she was born, Josh and I were playing cribbage and at one point we stopped the game and I sobbed for almost an hour fearing the unknown.

But as much as I wanted to turn away from God, I needed the toast.

Even after this HUGE miracle we just experienced, trust and hope is still hard some times. The emotional toll it takes to leave her is so difficult. My heart about ripped out of my chest today when I had to hop in the van at discharge. Every day I get to spend with her is another level of attachment and fear still creeps.

I want to keep her.

Please pray for her NICU stay. Specifically:

-feeding issues: we have yet to have two consecutive feedings. Her belly does not want to digest food.

-breathing: that she continues to breath on her own without tiring.

-brain bleeds: she has her first head ultrasound on Tuesday. Please pray for zero blood on the brain.

-infections: that she would remain infection free. Babies this size do not have the immune system we do. As her mom, this is terrifying and I could become darn near neurotic trying to prevent germs.

-adjustment: I am having a horrible time leaving her. The balance of being here for my boys and wanting to be by her bed is a routine I am not used to yet. Bryce cried himself to sleep tonight because he thought mom would be home for the first time in weeks (we were up at the hospital).

We are so grateful that we get this chance at life with Tessa. She has lungs. We have hope. We are overjoyed spending time with her.

Thank you, as always, for storming the gates on our behalf and loving our sweet girl.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Holding Tessa

The boys were just leaving, after visiting their new sister.

As I was taking the boys back to the waiting room where Grandma and Grandpa were sitting, the nurse asked me if I wanted to hold her.

I was taken by surprise, because normally they cannot be held until the IV in her belly button is removed. If that line gets bumped out of place, the feedings would go to the wrong spot and cause a lot of problems.

Of course I said yes, and excitedly took the boys back to leave with my parents while the nurse got her ready.

I sat down in the reclining chair as she was taken out of her isolette.

They placed a pillow on my lap and gently slipped her onto the pillow. It barely felt like I was holding anything at all.

She took a deep sigh of relief.

I swear the smell of her breath must be what heaven smells like. I wanted to glue it to the inside of my nose, and never forget that sweet breath on my face.

I kept leaning down to feel her breath, telling her "Mommy is so proud of you and loves you so much."

Thinking back over the last 12 weeks, I did not know if I would ever get to hold her alive and talk to her like this. Over and over I told her about all the people praying for her and who love her already.

I could not stop crying tears of joy.

After about 40 minutes, I had to give her back so she would not lose body temperature.

The entire wheelchair ride back to my room, that song kept flashing into my head:

Do you dare to believe that the pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming?

My "Deliriously Happy".

Please keep praying for Tessa. She has such a long way to go. Her feedings have given her a lot of trouble, and any small infection would be hard for her to fight. Please pray for an uneventful NICU stay, with as few complications as possible.

We leave Hotel Spectrum tomorrow, after 5 weeks being here. I know it is going to be tough.

Thank you, as always, for praying us through. We are so grateful you have been part of the story.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Birth

It all started Monday night at my 10-11 pm monitoring session.

Tessa's heart rate was dipping a few times. My nurse said she wanted to err on the side of caution, so she called the resident to take a peek.

Neither her nor the doctor liked what they saw.

The resident on call came in and said, "It looks decent enough to keep you here, but since we know she is delicate, I want to send you down just in case."

My sixth trip to labor and delivery ensued. Naively, I thought we would be down there for a short stint and back by morning.

Throughout the night, I was having quite a few contractions which would lead to more heart rate decels.

Around 2 am, I woke up and looked over and her heartbeat was in the 90-100's. Normally, her baseline was at least 130 or so.

As I listened to the thump- thump of her heart beating, she started kicking wildly.

Off in the next room, I could hear a newborn crying for almost an hour. I pulled the blanket over my head to tune it out.

Laying on my bed, praying, with tears running down my face, I plead, "Lord, please just let me hear her cry when she eventually comes out."

In the morning, they said that the Dr. Jelsema would come and review her strip with me. He is the maternal fetal specialist for Dr. Dood's office. Explaining that the heart rate drops were symptomatic of my placenta deteriorating. Along with the increased bleeding and pain I had experienced over the weekend, all of it was pointing to a placenta on the verge of not functioning.

We basically had two options:

1. Try to see how much more time we could squeeze out.

Risks: her heart might stop between monitoring without us realizing it OR if we waited until she was distressed to the point of emergency, then she would have two strikes against her. Along with the question of lung function, we would be dealing with a struggling baby on top of it.

2. Deliver her while she was still looking strong, knowing that the placenta was giving hints it was time.

I have prayed long and hard (over the course of this pregnancy) that when it was time for her to come, God would show us. My preference and prayer was that it would not be an emergency. I wanted Dr. Dood to be the one to deliver her.

Josh and I both saw this as a sign. My mom was staying with me during the night, and I appreciated her wisdom and guidance so much as we talked out a decision.

Now that it was the day to find out whether she had lungs, I was scared. For the past 12 weeks, I have lived in the not knowing. It got comfortable, in a strange way.

My mom said, " Jame, you will not know two weeks from now any more than you know today." She led me in prayer and it was the sweetest, most honest, heartfelt prayer a mother/grandmother can pray.

God moment #1- While Dr. Jelsema was talking with us, a nurse popped in and told us our pastor was at the door. Once the doctor left, I called Scott and told him that Tessa was on her way. It did not occur to me that Merle was the one at the door in the first place! So, in walked both pastors, who shared a few verses with me and prayed over me for the day ahead. Both Pastors happened to already be downtown, just when I needed them.

Dr. Dood arrived soon after, and the next hour was spent asking questions, taking magnesium sulfate, wasting time, all of us with the elephant hanging in the air....does she have lungs?

The other God moment- the resident I have seen most often also happens to date my cousin. She gave me so much support. I cried the entire way into the OR, bawled the whole time the spinal was being administered (tears were actually dripping down her arms), and pretty much every minute after that. I was so overwhelmed that the last 12 weeks was all coming down to the next twenty minutes.

She held my hand and kept telling me I was in the right place, that they would do everything they could for Tessa.

After I was prepped for a c-section, Josh entered the room to watch her birth. From behind my curtain, I heard the teeniest little cry when she came out. As they were working on her, I kept looking over and wondering what was going on. I could see them nodding their heads and heard the monitors beeping, but couldn't tell if it was good or bad.

Finally, the neonatologist walked her over and tilted her so I could get a glimpse. She informed me she needed a little extra oxygen, but did not need to be intubated.

Tessa was wheeled out, with Josh following.

"Does she show signs of lung hypoplasia?" I heard Dr. Dood ask Dr. Beaumont (head neonatologist),

"No", he said.

A flood of emotions all came at once- praise, thanksgiving, awe, amazement, excitement.

The rest of the operation, Dr. Dood would periodically pop over the curtain to encourage me about Tessa. I was taken care of well, to say the least.

My parents came back just as I was wheeled in recovery and informed me she was on room air. The tears of joy in their eyes mirrored exactly how I felt. Her 'breathing room air' was beyond my wildest dreams.

My brother and sister in law were watching Kayden, who has prayed diligently for Tessa since day one.

As he was told the good news, he said "Praise Ye the Lord!"

He has been enamored by her and cannot visit often enough.

It has been a whirlwind of sitting with her, coming up for my own pain meds, eating, showing her off to family. I honestly can barely catch my breath, but am so overjoyed that she is alive!

Josh and I cannot express how grateful we are for the love and support. People we know well, many we have never met... all boldly approaching the throne for a little girl none of us even knew.

Humbled doesn't begin to cover it.

She is still on room air, which is a huge answer to prayer. They started feeding her this afternoon, and I got to change a few diapers and take her temperature. Most of her day was spent under billiruben lights, as she is really red currently.

At her 8 pm and 11pm feedings, she was having difficulty digesting food. I am told this is not uncommon, as a 28 week baby is not yet designed to receive breastmilk.

She is down 4 ounces, most of it water weight.

Thank you for praying for this miracle. We love her so much and see God working in all of this in so many ways.

Please continue to pray for solid lungs, easy transition to breastmilk, no major NICU issues, and no bleeding on the brain. I have heard this leg of the journey is two steps forward, one step back.

Please also pray for me as I attempt to adjust to all this. I am DYING to get home to be with my boys, but know it is going to be hard to leave here without her. Being that I am just around the corner, I pop down four times a day currently. Logistically, that won't be possible once I leave.

Thank you again, prayer warriors. How great is our God? AUGH! So exciting. I am also putting up a special picture on facebook of the first time I held her. There is more to the story, and I will try to share it tomorrow if anyone is interested:-)

Thank you again for all your prayers, words on facebook, presents and cards sent up to the hospital, etc. We feel so blessed and loved!

The boys and Billi lights

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Tessa!

Our God is Great!

Our God is good!

Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow!

Can you tell I am gushing?

I have so much to share about how this day went down, but I am tired. Scratch that, exhausted.

For now, I want to thank you for the many, many prayers offered on our behalf. I sincerely appreciate it so much. I want to thank Dr. Dood, who came in on his day off to deliver her and be there every step of the way for us.

Born at 1:51 pm.

Weighed a whopping 2 lbs, 10 ounces and 14.5 inches long.

She is currently on a CPAP at the lowest setting, which is pretty close to room air.

Please praise God with us for this incredible gift! There are so many pieces to this story that I want to share where God worked on our behalf.

Tessa is currently in the "honeymoon stage", so they are expecting a few set backs tomorrow or the next day. Please pray that she continues to get stronger and stay healthy, continues to breathe, and does not have any bleeding on the brain.

I am headed off to hold my little girl's hand, and could not be happier!

The News

At 10:47 am, Josh put this message on facebook:

Please keep our family in your prayers today. Jamie is having a C-section today and Tessa Landrey Bird will be joining our family. Thank you.

Rachel Langenhorst Ahhhh congratulations!! That is wonderful! Many prayers being sent your way for a safe delivery and healthy babe! :)
Amy DenOuden Jongetjes I am praying for you guys today. I am an NICU nurse at a 72 bed unit, so I take care of little ones like Tessa. Take care, and know that people are caring for you with thoughts and prayers!
Brittany Zuidema Congrats!!!!! praying for you and your family today!!
Tami Marvin Definitely praying that all goes well!! Love you guys!
Lisa VanHofwegen Emmory and I just prayed for baby Tessa and I will continue to pray for peace and a safe delivery.
Lisa Lechuga Thinking and praying for you all , Mr. Bird!
Susanne DeJong Praying for a safe and healthy delivery of baby Tessa!
Darren Soodsma Be praying...and congrats! :)
Heather Fackler Praying for you all today!
Becky Piper Emmons praying, praying, praying for all of you!
Tanya Owen PRAYING!
Kristie Fromer Hoekwater lifting your family up!!!!
Amy O'Neill Zwiep Praying!!!
Tricia Reynen Veenendaal Praying
Joe Bomgaars Praying!!
Wendy Klunder We are praying for your family.
Sara Winterfeld U guys have been on my mind lately...and u r in my prayers right now!
Laura Koning Praying all goes well. We're eager to see precious Tessa.
Josh Banks Congrats bbbird!
Lynn Van Grouw Andriese We are so thankful to God! Our prayers are with you, Jamie, Tessa and the boys!

Tessa's Birth Announcement

At 2:13, Josh put on Facebook that Tessa was born.

Kerri Diemer, Ian McCoy, Janise Marvin and 61 others like this..

Nick Rykse Congrats
Rhonda Van Dyk Still praying.... Congratulations!
Cheralyn Paynton Nichols Happy Birthday Tessa! You are Gods miracle. :)
Amy O'Neill Zwiep Yea Tessa and Jamie -- Congratulations!!!
Michelle Dieleman Precious baby girl! Praying for you all.
Marci Woelber Bergstrom Congrats!!:) ....
Josh Bird ‎2 lbs., 10 oz., 14 1/2 inches long.
Amy O'Neill Zwiep Still praying for you all!
Cara Van Dam Congratulations Josh and Jamie. We already love your little baby girl beyond words. praying all is well.
Kari Fear CONGRATULATIONS!! And we will keep praying!
Kallie Hogan Congrats you guys! Praying all is well!
Jon Allen Awesome. Will be praying for you guys
Heidi Huisken Cunningham Praying for you and your precious little girl!!! (Love her name, too!)
Jan Freerks Prayers and best wishes to you and your family!
Christa Hibma Baatz Wonderful! Congratulations on your miraculous blessing. praying still...
Kathy Barr Praise god for his sustaining power in giving you this wonderful little miracle girl!
Tim Price Oh my goodness. Praying for all the best for you, Jamie and the Tessa.
Heidi VanderWal Praising God for little Tessa. Praying for you all!
TraceynChristina Branch Praising and praying for you guys! Congrats! Love!
Stacie Calsbeek Tigges Congratulations! And still in our thoughts and prayers.
Jennifer Gontjes Congratulations to the Bird family- praying for each of you, especially little Tessa!
Jennie Morgan Emmert What a cute name! Praying for the whole family. Congratulations.
Katie DeBoer Congratulations Josh and Jamie. We will keep on praying for you and little Tessa!
Lisa VanHofwegen Praising God with you today! We will continue to pray for Tessa.
Jean Elgersma Kimm Congratulations! Still praying!!!!!
Tracie Schepers In our thoughts and prayers!
Cathi Lauger Schuurmann Praying!!
Staci Schmidt Zuspann Baby Tessa is in our prayers.
Matt Auman Congratulations! Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.
Joy VanOverloop McDonald Will be praying for you and your precious gift, Tessa!
Carol Van Den Bosch Congratulations! Love you Baby Tessa! Our prayers continue...
Dillene Emmerson Van Beek Congratulations....we are praising God with you...praying that baby Tessa will thrive!!!
Heather Fackler Congratulations!! We'll keep that sweet baby girl in our prayers!
Natalie Jelsema Congratulations to you all! I can't wait to meet sweet babyTessa!
Tanya Owen Congratulations on the birth of Miss Tessa Landry (too cute!). Prayers for her and your entire family will continue.
Ross Douma Congratulations...prayers for your family going forward!
Kerri Nitz Awesome news! We are so excited that she has finally arrived and doing well! Prayers continue! God is good!
Dion Stevens Wierenga Tears of Joy, and humbled by answered prayers!
Rachel Treur Yay! Love u guys! We'll keep praying.
April R Kooi Congratulations!!! We will continue to pray for you and your family in the days ahead!
Faith Hey congratrulations!!!! still praying for you and your family.
Holly Morren Cravino Congrats on your 2 lb 10oz miracle. We will keep praying for the whole family. Blessings to you all!
Ann Steenwyk Praise God - he is so good!!! Continuing to pray for precious little Tessa.
Rick DeRuiter Welcome to a great day to be born Tessa, We will keep praying for you!!!
Jason Boersma Congrats! We will continue praying
Sylvia Eekhoff Congratulations, Josh and Jamie. Prayers continue for sweet baby Tessa!
Jennifer VanTol Congratulations on your miracle! Surrounding baby Tessa and all of you in prayer to continue to get stronger!
Anne Stencil Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.
Cheralyn Paynton Nichols Been thinking about you and praying for youall all day!
Nicole Mensch Hunderman Congrats!! Your family is in our prayers!!
Laura Koning Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Congratulations to the Bird family.
Jean Mattson Prayers before birth will continue that she will grow and thrive and be a blessing to your whole family!!! LOve from all of your friends at RCS!
Kelsey Klingenberg Congratulations! Praise God! Praying for you guys!
Brittany Zuidema CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that is so exciting!!!!!! Praying for you family!!
Sara Boelens DeVries Praise God! We are so excited for y'all!
Kate Klynstra Prayers, congratulations and much love from our family!
Sandi Wagner Congratulations! All of your precious family is in our prayers.
Marva Brummel Lubben Praising God with you!!!
Kristie Fromer Hoekwater PTL
Laura Heitritter Praise God and I'll keep praying.
Dillene Emmerson Van Beek Congratulations....she is a beautiful little miracle.
Kerri Diemer Congratulations! We'll be praying for your family and especially that precious little girl!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A few pictures

When on bedrest for a wear PJs quite a lot.

Gotta be comfy, right?

I wanted to take professional maternity pictures, but I guess a stand-up-out-of-the-wheelchair-and-snap-a-picture will have to suffice.

28 weeks and counting....

Friday, July 8, 2011

An anniversary of sorts

We are one month into summer.

One month into boating, beaches, pools, and gardening. One month into cottages, long night time walks with firefly backdrops, park play dates, watermelon and Popsicles.

My absolute favorite time of the year.

I am sure for those of you on the outside, summer is flying by. It always does for me. Each visitor comes sporting the sun-kissed skin that I long for.

Today, I have been here one month.

It also marks the first day my three year old swam without floaties...and I didn't get to be a part of it.

Have I mentioned I really miss being at home with my kids?

Advance warning- this post is about to get random.

Although I don't want to admit it, I had a preconception about Spectrum. Due to the sheer size, I thought perhaps the care was lacking and impersonal.

It has been anything but.

You all know I adore my OB, by the nurses have been fantastic as well. They welcome the boys with a cheery greeting every day as they pass the station. After the NICU meeting, one of my favorite nurses sat on the edge of our bed and encouraged us, knowing how hard that meeting would be. You would think I have moved in if you happened upon my room. They encouraged me to make it my own. Tape was laid, so my floor sports 2 three point lines and a free throw mark. Matchbox cars and trucks line the entrance.

If I could sum up this pregnancy, I think it could best be described by two words:

Assume Nothing.

Every time I think I have things figure out with this baby girl, they change.

I am forever grateful for my parents and Josh- who switch meals with me if I don't like the hospital choice, clean my room, take the kids without complaining, comfort me when I cry myself to sleep, and play cards to pass the time.

Thanks for sticking with us. We appreciate the prayers, cards, visits, and goodies.

I think I have another ultrasound Monday to check things out and will update with any news. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On Josh's Facebook Wall

I think Jamie Bird is my hero in life. Anyone who can have the patience, perseverance, and faith that she has displayed in the past six months is something very special, and I am glad that she is my wife. Also, thanks for the continued prayers and support for our family - we greatly appreciate it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No plans

I didn't set out to be in investment banking.

You know how one thing happens, and it leads to another, and you wake up one day wondering how you got there without ever making the decision in the first place?

Right out of high school, I was looking for a job that would pay more than minimum wage. A friend worked for an investment banker, and his partner was looking for a second assistant.

Seeing people take horse and carriage tours during my lunch break, concert goers heading to the Van Andel, BMX riders practicing tricks at Rosa Parks Circle- there is a certain heartbeat in the city and I loved working downtown. The job fit well with my college schedule, and I became fast friends with my co-worker.

Two years went by in a blink.

Searching for work when I arrived in Redlands, the temp agency naturally wanted to plug me into the same line of work.

This investment banking office was different, though.

Pressure built for me to take the Series 7 exam and become certified in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Gone were the days of rolling into work at 10 am. My work day started at 7 am sharp. If there was work, I had to stay until it was finished. Most days I did not enter the congested Highway 15 traffic until well after 5pm. I usually arrived home around 6.

Days off were spent going to the dentist, the D.M.V., doctor's visits. I felt like I could never catch up and rarely had time to do anything fun.

My second summer, with Josh heading to the beach or pool each day, I started feeling gray. My parents would come to visit and most of my time was spent at work. The never ending hum of office machines coupled with the beige walls and gray carpet gave me a perpetual feeling of discontent. Loathing the up and down ticks representing stocks day in and day out, my creativity was waning.

I loved the people I worked with, but hated the job.

Josh came to visit one afternoon (all tan and rested, mind you). As we ate lunch together in an adjoining office overlooking a busy street below, I could barely bring myself back to work.

"Why don't you quit?" he asked.

Being a classic A-type personality, the thought of quitting without a new job on deck terrified me.

But it is exactly what I did. Went back to work that day and gave my two weeks notice.

Not knowing where I was going with my life was terrifying. Used to plans and charts and organization, days without structure were liberating yet fear-filled.

How we were going to pay our bills became my greatest worry. Without my second income, money became really tight.

A dream had always been to study acting seriously. The following years were spent hunkering down with other actors at a little theater near Universal Studios. From time to time, I see them on TV and recall funny stories from our days rehearsing at the coffee shop near school.

Somehow, someway....God provided just what we needed. Even though we had $5 in our bank account a lot of the days, we never went without.

Thing is, throwing caution to the wind is not in my nature.

The not knowing is stressful for this A-type.

I can honestly say that my time in Hollywood represents one of the last times I was completely without a plan; with zero direction on the horizon.

Until Now.

Being in the situation we are in with Tessa, I can't create a plan.

I can't prepare myself for what is on the horizon.

No one knows.

There isn't a single test that can tell whether her lungs will work or not. Spending the entire summer, day in and out, wondering about that one thing....

It's terrifying.

My boys love to run through the glass revolving doors near the front of the hospital. As I was sitting there in my wheel chair enjoying their laughter, another mom was leaving with her baby and balloons and mementos.

It dawned on me.

I will not leave here with a baby.

The throat lump comes when I image myself having to leave here and go home to plan a funeral for this sweet little girl instead of the NICU calling me back. If I don't catch and stop myself, I can roll right along to all the horrible things surrounding her not making it.

Daily, I am working hard not to get ahead of myself. Struggling not to anticipate the suffering.

Tessa had a surprise ultrasound yesterday morning.

The placenta is still functioning like it should and her brain development is right on track. She seems to still be hugging the 35% mark for growth.

The fluid was a bit of a bummer, though. She only had a 1 by 1.6 pocket of fluid, most likely due to all the bleeding. It was very disappointing.

So, that is where we are at right now. Trying to figure out what life looks like when tomorrow is hazy. No plans, no direction...just hope that God will heal her.

Friday, July 1, 2011

No show

After waiting all day, I think it is pretty safe to conclude Dr. Balaskas is a no show.

So, we will see what the weekend brings.

Thank you for your prayers.