Saturday, December 24, 2011

Emmett's First Christmas

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Emmett's Birth Story

3 Weeks Old

At 12:45 in the morning on August 19, while we were sleeping, Reini's water broke.  We rushed to the hospital in anticipation of the birth of Emmett.  After an uneventful labor, he was born at 3:19 pm.  He weighed in at 8 lbs 4 oz and 19 3/4 inches long.

When he was born, he wasn't breathing and his skin tone was blue/grey.  They immediately started working on him.  We were terrified!   

 They called in a recovery team and almost instantly the room filled with people.

They continued the process of resuscitation.  He pinked up quickly and they reported that his heart rate came up as they added oxygen.  However, he was having a hard time breathing on his own, so they rushed him to the Newborn ICU.

Jared went with Emmett to the NICU where the team immediately went to work on him.  Before long, they had him stabilized.  They had to hook him up to a CPAP machine to help him breathe.  The CPAP is the thing that looks like a snorkel coming out of his nose.  After about an hour, they were able to take him off the CPAP and he began breathing on his own.

 About two hours after he was born, Reini was finally able to meet him for the first time.  (They had rushed him out of the delivery room before she was even able to see him.)  After all of the turmoil, it was an emotional time for her to finally meet him.

The proud Daddy got to hold Emmett after Reini. 

We immediately fell in love with him.

He was very uncomfortable that evening.  The doctors decided to keep him in the NICU for observation.  They expected to release him in the morning.  The next morning, they came to tell us that he had started having seizures in the middle of the night.  They wanted to rush him to Primary Children's Medical Center for an emergency CT scan to check for bleeding on the brain.

Jared went with the AirMed team for the walk from the University of Utah Hospital to Primary's.  On the way back, Jared told the nurses that Reini was having a hard time because she had only seen Emmett for a few minutes and was really worried about him.  They offered to swing by her recovery room on the way back to the NICU.  They took Emmett out of the incubator so Reini could hold him.  This was a very special moment.  We were touched that the AirMed nurses would go out of their way for us.

The CT Scan came out clear, but Emmett continued having seizures all day long.  The doctors had to give him three doses of Phenobarbital throughout the day to get the seizures under control.  Unfortunately, the medication pretty much knocked him out for the rest of the week.  He would wake up a little bit throughout the day, but he was always very groggy.

He always looked so sweet while he was sleeping. 

This was his little setup in the NICU.  While he slept, the doctors ran every test under the sun to determine what was causing the seizures.  After having an MRI, he was diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).  In short, at some point during the few days before he was born or during his birth, he had a shortage of oxygen for about 9 minutes.  We don't know when it happened, but it caused some minor brain damage.  Less than 10% of his brain was damaged and most of the damage occurred in "quiet" parts of the brain.  He has some damage in the area that controls right side motor function.  The neurologists tell us that it is very difficult to know what the long term effects will be.  A brain this young has some ability to compensate for damage, so we may not know for several months or years if he will have long term difficulties.

After the diagnosis, he still needed to become stable in order to go home.  During his stay in the NICU, the nurses were sure to involve us with everything.  It was nice to have a lot of opportunities to take care of him while we were waiting to take him home. 

We were always encouraged to spend time holding him.  These were some of our most cherished moments in the NICU. 

During most of his time in the NICU, he had to eat from a feeding tube.

 When he was starting to stabilize, the doctors told us that if we could get him eating and get the feeding tube out, we could take him home.  The next day we started him on the bottle.  He loved it!  He took 7 of his 8 feedings by bottle that day. 

The next day, the doctors told us that if he kept eating at that rate, we could take him home the following day.  They told us to prepare to go home. 

He kept eating like a champ and they sent us home the next day. 

After 11 days in the NICU, we finally got to bring him home. 

He still had minor oxygen problems when we brought him home, so we had to keep him on oxygen until he grew out of it after a few weeks.

We are so happy to have him home!

He is now almost 4 months old and is doing great!  He had an EEG when he was one month old and we were told that he was seizure free.  We were able to slowly take him off the phenobarbital.  The doctors told us that the brain damage that he had when he was born probably caused his brain to swell which caused the seizures.  Once the swelling went down, the seizures went away. 

He is now growing and developing well.  He loves to talk and laugh.  He is doing great at reaching for his toys with both hands and he is learning to roll over.  So far, the doctors say that he is on par with where he should be at this age.  Hopefully he will continue to amaze us! 

We are thankful to all of our friends and families who have offered countless prayers in his behalf.  We feel these prayers and know that they are helping him.  We are also thankful for the excellent medical team that took quick care of him when he was born.  We know the outcome could have been much worse if we weren't at a top notch hospital.

We feel blessed to have him in our lives! We are continually amazed at how deeply we fall in love with him on a daily basis!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Maternity Photo Shoot (34 Weeks Along)

Our friend Mike Blommer is a pretty serious hobbyist photographer and volunteered to take maternity pictures of Reini a few weeks ago when she was 34 weeks along. We are really happy with how the shots turned out.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Baby-moon" April 2011

With the baby due in August, we decided to take one last big trip with just the two of us. We have been told that this is called a Baby-Moon. We cashed in some SkyMiles and booked a trip to Hawaii. We spent four nights on the Big Island and six nights in Kauai. We had a great time getting away together and spending time in such a beautiful location. Since Reini was only four months pregnant, we were able to be quite active and really enjoyed our time there.
We rented a kayak on the Big Island and paddled over to the Captain Cook monument. We saw some dolphins in the bay that were swimming within 15 feet of our kayak. It was awesome!
We saw some turtles while we snorkeled.
We went to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and stayed in this little cabin.
The cabin was 4000 feet above sea level and got quite cool at night. We had a fire each night to keep warm. It was fun and a unique activity in Hawaii.
We hiked to a lava cave in the park that was hundreds of feet long.
It was crazy to see all the new lava rock. This flow crossed a road several years back. Unfortunately, there wasn't any active lava while we were there.
We took a short hike to Akaka Falls.
After spending four days on the Big Island, it was shocking to see how green and lush Kauai is. It is a beautiful and relaxing island.
This was the view from the beach of our hotel.
Kauai has a large area that is privately owned or isn't accessible by car. We decided to take a helicopter tour to see the whole island. We flew over the entire island and even flew into the volcano crater. It was an amazing experience that we will never forget. This is something that should never be missed!
We flew over this waterfall that was on the movie Jurassic Park.
The most amazing part was flying over the Nepali Coast. This is on the North end of the island and has miles of green rocky cliffs. It was beautiful to see it from the sky.The next day, we hiked along the Nepali Coast. It was beautiful hike that took us to a remote beach. It was fun to see it from the ground after flying over it the day before.
Snorkeling at a beach near the Nepali Coast.
Beautiful view of the island with Reini showing of her little four month pregnant belly.
We did a tour where we tubed down some 100 year old irrigation ditches. It took us through some beautiful parts of the island.
There were several tunnels that tubed through. Some of them were over a half mile long.
We had a great time on our "Baby-Moon". We will miss having the flexibility to take off on vacations without worrying about little ones. But, we are so excited to welcome our little guy into our lives. We look forward to taking him on some great adventures in the future.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's a ...

... BOY!!!

We had the 19 week ultrasound this week and found out that we are having a boy. We are so excited! It is also a relief that the ultrasound revealed the baby is healthy and growing correctly.


Profile of our little stud


He's already a thumb sucker...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Our Next BIG Adventure...

Over two years in the making
Our Next BIG Adventure
Coming August, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

2010 Year in Review

We haven't been exactly diligent at keeping up on the blog this year. To make up for it, this post is going to summarize the entire previous year. Enjoy!


We took a quick weekend camping trip with friends to Moab in April. Moab is always great!


Jared was sent to Holland for a work trip, so we decided to make a vacation out of it. While Jared was at work, Reini spent the day shopping in Eindhoven. On the weekends and in the evenings, we did as much touring as possible. In Holland we went to Amsterdam, went to the Keukenhof Gardens (where we saw more tulips than you can imagine), saw windmills, and even sat in a giant wooden shoe.

In Belgium, we ate some amazing waffles, visited Brussels (where Jared ate some mussels), visited Bruges, saw the "Mannequin Pis" (yes, that is the real name), rode bicycles, and saw some more windmills.


Our niece, Marilee, graduated from High School in June. For a senior trip, her parents decided to take her and her brother sailing with us in the Virgin Islands. Since we absolutely LOVE sailing, we were more than happy to skipper a sailboat for them. Our flight to the Virgin Islands was routed through Puerto Rico, so we decided to spend a couple days there on our way down.
Puerto Rico was awesome! We did several hikes in the rain forest, saw a cool old fort, and went on a night time kayaking trip into a lagoon that is full of bioluminescence plankton. After dark, these microscopic plankton will glow when they are disturbed in the water. It was amazing! Just splashing in the water would make the plankton glow like magic!

Sailing in the British and US Virgin Islands is always an awesome trip. However, it turns out that it is rather HOT in June. In the future, we are going to stick with sailing in the winter. Everyone had a great time regardless of the weather. It's really easy to have fun when you are floating through beautiful tropical islands on your own sailboat.

We brought a climbing harness and hoisted our nephew, Kyle, up the mast. He took some sweet pictures from up there.


We have a tradition that rather than buying presents for each other for our anniversary, we go on a trip. This year, we went to Mesa Verde and Telluride. Both places provided a great escape from the August heat. Everything was beautiful and we enjoyed the time together for our Fifth Anniversary.

One of the big things to do in the Telluride area is to take a drive on some of the old mining roads. Most people call these "Jeep Roads" and claim that you can't drive them in anything that doesn't have a Jeep badge on it. We figured they were wrong and decided to take Reini's Honda Pilot on Imogene Pass, which is a road that goes from Telluride to Ouray. It is certainly a steep, rough road, but the Pilot did quite well. The only shortcoming of the Pilot is that it really needs low-range. The transmission got a little warm on the way up and the brakes got a little warm on the way down. But, other than that, it did great! We got some REALLY funny looks and comments from a bunch of people in Jeeps that were surprised the Pilot could make the trek. At 13,000 feet the view and the drive were breathtaking!

We can't stay away from Moab. We went camping with friends again in October. It was awesome.

Jared served his mission in Missouri and Kansas. We finally made it back there in October. We put 1200 miles on the rental car in just 4 days while driving around all of Jared's old areas. We got to spend some time with a member that he was close to as well as a family that he taught. He really enjoyed catching up with them and Reini was happy to finally meet them. We also visited the many church sites in Missouri (Independence, Far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, and Liberty). And, we can't forget to mention the awesome barbecue that Kansas City is famous for!

Yes, it is that flat.
We are happy that we were able to spend a quiet Christmas at home visiting with friends and family.


Thanks for catching up with us. Hopefully we will be more on top of things this coming year!