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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I wrote on Christmas Day that we were having a great day. And we did!

(Christmas socks from our sweet nurse Ashlee)

Around three in the afternoon, we were told that Juliette had made enough progress in her breathing that she was ready to go without the ventilator. She would still have to have oxygen through her nose, but she was strong enough to take breaths on her own. They stopped all her medicine drips (except an antibiotic), so she'd start to wake up. We would stay in the ICU until they were sure that she wouldn't have to get intubated again.

Around 6:30 on Christmas Night, the tube came out and we got to really see our precious little baby's face again, and what a wonderful sight it was! It was the best Christmas present we could have asked for.

She spent a little while reacquainting herself with air...sticking out her tongue a lot and moving her little head around, just taking it in and testing out making sounds. We each got to hold her, and told her over and over how much we love her and how well she did fighting that nasty old virus.

We went to sleep thankful and tired, but a good tired. She had worked hard over the past 8 days, and was finally reaping some reward.

(Tiny Toms from Aunt Martha...let's see how many photos of Juliette's feet I can post)

Monday, late morning, we were told to prepare to move upstairs to a "regular" room (a regular room includes a BATHROOM, the ability to have food, and more than three visitors at a time).

There are two things she has to do before we can blow this popsicle stand: breathe well on her own and eat on her own. By the end of today (Tuesday) she has almost accomplished item #1, which is amazing. We have item #2 yet to go.

We continue to appreciate your prayers for total healing of Juliette's body (and mind and spirit as well), and that she is able to get good rest over the next several days.

While it was definitely a different sort of Christmas than I envisioned (in every possible way), we still were able to spend time with our families...eating delicious food they prepared and brought up, and giving thanks for Juliette's progress.

Also, if you didn't know, Santa visits the ICU at LeBonheur!

So sweet!

Thank you for all of the messages, texts, good thoughts and prayers you've sent our way. They have definitely helped carry us through this whole ordeal.

We look forward to a very healthy and restful new year, Lord willing. Here's to hoping my next post will be from HOME!

Post #1
Post #2
Post #3 (Christmas card)

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Juliette is having a great day today! Praise God!

Merry Christmas to you, wherever you are!

Be back later with a more detailed update...I want to wait and see how today unfolds. Thank you so much for the prayers and good wishes to our little pumpkin girl.  Have a wonderful holiday!

*Addendum; Mr. Jerkins wants to make it known that this photo was NOT photoshopped. We had a random snowy morning in early December, and he took this wonderful photo himself (with his iPhone, no less). Please make note.

Christmas Eve Eve Update

Friday, December 23, 2011

After finishing Wednesday night's post, Jonathan & I tucked ourselves into our little hospital fold-out couches and tried to go to sleep like we had each night we'd been here, counting on Juliette to have a peaceful night with improvement by the morning.

But apparently, Juliette wasn't interested in our agenda. She struggled to keep her numbers up all night. We were awake for a lot of it, trying to help our nurse as we could but mostly worrying. By the morning, her numbers weren't looking that great, and the doctor had to turn up the settings on the ventilator way up past all of the progress we'd made the past few days.

It's like when you train train train for months for a finally get to race day, finish it, but then take the next couple of weeks off. If you tried to run that race again, your endurance wouldn't be nearly what it was several weeks before...despite all the months of training, your endurance/all your hard work would've vanished just like that! So went all that progress we'd made toward getting off the ventilator quickly.

There were some pretty scary moments for us yesterday morning...through my blinding tears, I kept thinking, "I just wrote about trusting the Lord, and now I'm having to really do it. This is so hard. Lord, please don't take my baby. Please heal her from this virus." Push came to shove and I saw the limitations in medicine...the training, the drugs, the vast knowledge of doctors & nurses, the medical equipment. They can only do so much. They have no control over life. They are not God. Faced with this, I realized we already have the answer to the where-can-we-turn-to question. But it  isn't the easy road, trying to let go of the {imagined} control you have over tough situations.

We were told this morning to settle could take a while before her little lungs are ready to do the work of breathing on their own. She had a good day today staying steady and we are going to sleep tonight more reassured. We have all the time in the world if it means she'll get well.

Over and over I think, if there was any way in this world I could switch places with Juliette, I would do it in a second!  I can see a little more clearly the picture of God's love for us--we were sick with sin, and he interceded! Praise Him!

Tonight, the Jerkins family sends our love to you as the world rejoices at Christ's coming. What a precious gift the Lord gave us--this intercession for us through his own Son!

We appreciate and crave your continued prayers. Thank you so much for all the love and prayers that have been offered on Jules' behalf already.

Obviously, this isn't exactly the Baby's First Christmas that I had pictured. But we are so glad and thankful to be here with her where she can get the best care possible during her fight against RSV.

Merry Christmas to you!

***UPDATE (12/24 10:30 am)  Juliette had a great night last night! Her numbers right now look beautiful and her ventilator settings have been turned down (meaning her little lungs are able to do more work on their own). Praise God!

Before I forget: I was randomly interviewed by the New York Times for an article about how video conferencing is shaping family dynamics. The article is here--go to the 2nd page to see our little paragraph. (The writer originally found me from this post, where we revealed baby's gender via mass family skype/facetime/google chat get-together).

Where We Are

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

At this moment, we are sitting in Juliette's room in the ICU at LeBonheur Children's Hospital.

Here's the scoop:

Last week, Juliette started having a bad cough. Hunching her shoulders into her chest and really looking bothered. To the pediatrician we went (we'd just been there for her 4-month check-up and shots on Monday). She had no fever or ear problems, so he sent us home and said to just watch her...because if it was a virus it was going to take its course no matter what we did. She was still sleeping normally and smiling and acting like herself, just coughing bad.

Thursday she still had no fever, no fussing, just coughing. Around 3 pm, I got a call from the teacher that Juliette now had a fever a little over 101. I went to pick her up and took her home...gave her some Tylenol that night and put her to bed early. She only woke up once to eat (she had a little catching up to do) and had no fever. Friday, she went to her Nana's house for the day. She was still feeling puny but didn't have a fever. By the time I got home at 4 that afternoon, she was a bottle behind her normal consumption...just eating slowly and not interested. I thought maybe it'd easier for her to nurse instead, so we just thought we'd forgo all of our weekend plans and settle in to get her feeling better.

Friday night was pretty awful. She woke up every 2.5 hours or so, with coughing and fever, Tylenol or no. By Saturday morning she was pretty much refusing to eat. Dr. Bubba (our SUPER WONDERFUL pediatrician and friend) had told me earlier that week if I needed anything that he'd be around over the weekend and to let him know. So I did. She napped some Saturday morning, but by the time he came to see her around 10:45, she'd not eaten anything for a long time and was completely drained of energy. Her eyes were open but sort of blank, her arms were pretty limp and she was wheezing pretty good. Dr. Bubba measured her pulse-oxygen rate, and it was very low. Very gently and calmly, he explained that this virus was going to have to run its course over the next few days, and he thought maybe we'd all feel better and less worried if we went ahead and went on to the hospital to get Jules some oxygen and monitoring. He said pack your toothbrush but don't drive too fast down there. He was so calm and reassuring that I really didn't have the chance to freak out. The man definitely knows what he's doing. He even stayed and chatted with us for a few minutes about his dog.

So I packed Juliette a diaper bag (full of stuff she wouldn't need at all), and nothing for us, thinking if we really had to stay that my mom would probably be able to bring something up to us and surely we weren't really going to stay overnight. Our doc called ahead to let them know we were coming, so when we walked into the ER they were expecting us. We got back to triage and they measured her pulse-ox level again and it was even lower. So low that we skipped the rest of the triage business and got straight back into a room to get Jules some oxygen. This is when things got scary. From what I can remember out of the chaos, they started giving her oxygen (and some sort of medicine maybe?) and then let me hold her for a while. It seemed like she was almost asleep when she woke up and started completely freaking out--beginning probably the worst 20 minutes of my life. She was screaming and wiggling so uncontrollably that I couldn't hold her anymore, even with Jonathan's help. Jonathan's dad (who is a doc and operates at the children's hospital where we are) was there by that time, along with J's brother Michael (they're in the same med school class).

Time really seemed frantic but somehow slow at the same time as we all endured watching Juliette struggle. It was a complete and total nightmare. The nurse came in a few times to help me but I felt totally helpless and had no idea what was going on or going to happen.

After the 20 minutes from h-e-double hockey sticks, the ER doc came in and explained that Juliette was wearing herself out trying to breathe and if they intubated her (put in a breathing tube), she could rest and have an easier time recovering. Since Jules hadn't eaten that morning, I had last pumped during her nap (about 8:30 am). It was 2:30ish by this time, and I was about to explode. I am SO thankful for this...because in that moment, instead of seeing the intubation as an opportunity to freak out, I saw it as an opportunity to go pump. In retrospect, I guess that was God's hand calming me in an unexpected way. I didn't really understand or give myself a chance to see how big of a deal it was...I was just thinking about needing to pump.

After the intubation was done (I was finished by this time), Jonathan and I got to see her and were told that she'd be intubated in ICU until she could breathe on her own more easily. Once we got to the ICU, the doctor there explained that Juliette has RSV which is a virus that has to run its course...all they can really do is be there to support her as she fights the virus. And that there isn't really a predictable or set time frame in which this can happen. It can be days or one knows.

So here we is Wednesday night and we are still here. Jules has improved each day we've been here... but she hasn't been ready yet to go without the tube. Once she gets off the ventilator, we will probably be here another couple of days for observation.

They are telling us there is a possibility that the tube could come out tomorrow. Obviously, we can be patient. Whatever she has to do to get better is what we're going to do.

I've been utterly punched in the gut to how powerless humans can be. All the bravado and hoopla surrounding man's innovation is trivial compared to God's overwhelming power and sovereignty. When you have a revered and trained doctor tell you, "we can't make this virus leave your child; we can only support her as she fights it herself," you realize how futile our own plans and efforts can really be.

Jonathan and I walked down to the chapel tonight. There was a basket with colorful sheets of paper, printed at the top, "Share a wish, a hope, or a prayer."

Written in child's handwriting, the top one read, "Lord, healing Aiden's brain is a piece of cake for you."

God is in control.

ps thank you for all the prayers, texts, calls, emails, and offers for help. We are extremely thankful for the support and love.

Writing from the Blogger App & Instagram Wall

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We are still rolling sans computer. It's the pits, honestly. I'm trying NOT to obsess over the photos chronicling the first 3 months of Juliette's life stored within that are potentially lost forever, since we hadn't gotten around to backing up yet. I know, I know, they make these automated back-up devices now. You better believe one of those contraptions is on our Christmas List.

Despite my husband's teasing, I'm glad to be such an insane phone pic hoarder, even on this slow 3GS (who knew sev years ago that this phone would one day be considered "clunky"?). At least these grainy pics exist somewhere (ie, the palm of my hand only, atm...scary).

(many thanks to our computer magician, Robert, who is currently running hard drive intervention/witchcraft in an attempt to forage photos and other electronic treasures. Say a prayer for us.)

I have no idea what photos will look like coming from this blogger app but here goes nothing (can't size them or even place them, maybe). These pics were taken as a quick visual update, so accept my apologies for the obvious desk-messiness and poor lighting.

I saw a post from Little Green Notebook via babble about stuff you can do with your instagram photos. We Jerkins love us some instagram. This is a loose interpretation of one of the inspiration photos, which I'll link to later.

The start of something good:

Round two (after our computer went to the doctor):

I'm so excited! Our first round was sort of baby-heavy (acc to DH), so we tried to include more inanimate artsy stuff in this next round. I love the possibilities here! We're using these 3M removable wall stick things so I'm not worried about messing up the paint, and the photos can be changed around easily.

We Have a Piano

Monday, December 05, 2011

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of my Uncle Gregg, we now have a 1952 Wurlitzer piano.


I'm so excited! It fits nicely in our 1954 house.

You may or may not know this, but I took piano lessons for 14 years growing up, culminating in a solo senior recital with a set list of probably 12 songs. I'm not the most naturally talented musician (I can't hear a song and just sit down and play it)...but I do enjoy playing and look forward to hearing little Jerkins children play it one day too!

In other news, Sister and I completed the 5K Goal this past Saturday!

It turned out to be really really fun. I couldn't run the whole time, but we ran mostly 8-10 minute stretches with 2-3 mins walking in between. We have tenatively decided to try to do one 5K every month! and perhaps by next year, I'll be in good enough shape to train for the St Jude Half Marathon again.

Also, I wanted to publicly thank Leslie P for her post about having-things-on-your-plate (how else to term it?). Go over and give it a read, if you haven't.

Les, what most impressed me was that you know what size your plate is. I really have no idea. I think I'm somewhere in between a dinner plate and a platter, even before this working-mom stuff... but with the countless things in my life that NEVER get done, part of me suspects I just have a very full and cute little salad plate. Who knows?

Please Note

Thursday, December 01, 2011

I screwed up our home computer. Had it plugged into the wall next to a perfectly good power strip. Why am I such a dummy? There were some power outages at our house last week and our computer was a victim. So here I type, on the blogger iPhone app, just to let you know I'm still here, just without my mode de communication.

And of course being computerless has made me more prone to thinking of more blog post ideas. Though, write them through this iPhone app, I will not.

Meanwhile, I am in search of a failsafe navy nail polish color. Any recommendations?
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