Well, this newsletter is going to be different. And I'm sure the December one will as well. Usually I have a paper that I keep on or by the fridge where I document the things the girls say or do. Since I was at home with my girls for a total of 7 days in November... I wasn't able to capture much of what they said or did. I will just have to go off memory & what others' have told me. Here goes...
FAMILY: Wow. what a month! We knew that adding a baby to our family was going to be life-changing, but no one knew just how much. Linkin Dallin Hamilton was born at 6:40pm on November 7th, 2012 at the Valley View Medical Center in Cedar City, after 18 hours of labor. He came a week early (Heidi's water broke) and weighed 9 lbs. 6 oz. We're sure glad he didn't wait another week or more!! Jason's mom, DeeAnn, Heidi's mom, Patricia, and Jason attended the birth. In the first hours of his life, they found that Link had low blood sugar & they put him in Cedar's small NICU. Low blood sugar is common in larger babies, so we were assured that this shouldn't be a problem & we might just have to stay a couple extra days.After more low blood sugar readings, they decided to send us to the NICU in St. George, where we stayed for 18 days. Dr. Carroll was Link's doctor & after all those days of unsuccessfully trying to wean off the glucose, he collaborated with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and it was determined that we would need to transfer there. Grandpa Potts & Cindy came down & got the girls so Jason & Heidi could take the life flight to Philadelphia. After we got to CHOP, the results from a specific genetic test came back to show that Link had a recessive mutated gene - and that gene came from Jason. This is good news, since it means that Link should have focal disease instead of diffuse disease & they should only have to remove part of his pancreas instead of the entire thing (resulting in diabetes). We will know more information once Link has his PET scan (scheduled for Dec. 4) and then his surgery with Dr. Atzick is scheduled for December 7th. It has been a whirlwind past few weeks. In between all our time in the NICU, we spent as much time as we could with the girls. The Hamiltons were SO good to have them sleep over at their house & feed us every night. The 22nd was Thanksgiving & it was as normal as possible considering we were missing our baby boy. Jason made chocolate pies. Heidi put together a veggie tray that looked like a turkey. We made some stuffing & gravy. And Keeley did all the rest! Turkey, rolls, cookies, frog eye salad... it was a bounteous feast for sure. We also enjoyed the company of Kenny, Keeley's dad. The rest of the day was spent watching football & movies, taking naps, and playing in their backyard. We also did our annual Gerald the Grateful Turkey activity. The next couple days we went to a couple different parks (we also ran into Kevin Costa & his wife), played, went to the Jubilee of Trees, talked, went to church, went to the St. George Visitor Center, got ice cream at Sub Zero, watched Brave, and just enjoyed each other. We went to Cedar City for one day and night while we packed up and got ready for mom and dad to leave for Philadelphia. That night we had a family sleepover in mom & dad's room - complete with the fire going, popcorn, reading books, and making up stories. It was so nice to spend that time as a family before we were separated. This has been quite an adventure for us as a family - especially during these holidays. We want to especially thank friends that have helped with the girls and the house, and family that has taken over with the girls and the dogs and have given so much support & love. THANK YOU. We are also so grateful to be at the Ronald McDonald house in Philadelphia - the first one ever built. They have been so good to us.
JASON: Jason has been so supportive throughout this difficult time. He saw Heidi through 18 hours of labor. He watched the girls while Heidi was in the NICU in St. George. He has been there for Linkin throughout his medical difficulties. We are also SO incredibly thankful for Jason's job. They have been so very understanding & he has been able to work as needed from his laptop & be where he needs to be to support his family. We feel so very blessed.
HEIDI: Heidi has admittedly struggled through this, but she continues to learn & grow. Recovering from having a baby & dealing with Link's medical issues has been difficult. Definitely not what she pictured. Not to mention she has only slept in her bed once since giving birth. HOWEVER, she has been the recipient of so many wonderful acts of service. It truly warms her heart. She is so thankful, as well, just not to be pregnant anymore! Having more energy, sleeping on her tummy, the soreness in her hips & carpal tunnel almost vanishing, being able to bend down, and breathe - these are all such blessings!! Her midwife was talking about not being able to induce her until 41 weeks since she wasn't dilating, so Heidi is so very thankful that her water broke & was able to be induced & that her baby is here.
McKINLEY: McKinley was SO very excited to be a big sister again - and to a BROTHER this time! She has been such a big girl through this whole time while mom & dad have had to deal with Link's health issues. She always puts on a brave smile. Both her grandmas came to stay with the girls while mom & dad were with Link, so she had fun with them. McKinley made a really cute picture of a raccoon out at night for Link & we put it up in his room. She also made name cards for every person at Thanksgiving. They were so cute. A boy, Blayden, has apparently been bullying McKinley on the school bus. Grandma Devenish found out about it & daddy called the principle, who talked to both McKinley & Blayden. He got moved to a different seat on the bus & we are all glad that things seem to be going better. McKinley & Ireland stayed with Aunt Cindy in Salt Lake for a week before going to Grandma Potts' home. McKinley had lots of fun playing with Michael's rats!
IRELAND: This situation has probably been hardest on Ireland. She's old enough to start to understand what's going on, but young enough that being apart from mom & dad has been really hard for her. She keeps asking when we will get to come home. When she talks to us at night, she has a hard time hanging up & she keeps calling us back. One time she called mom back & said "Mom - what land are you in?" and "Are you coming back for Christmas? If you are not coming back for Christmas than just call me and I will tell you that you HAVE to come here for Christmas." She cries a lot when we talk to her. We sure miss our Ireland. Ireland & McKinley stayed with the Edwards for the first week of our separation. Apparently, multiple times she used a permanent marker on walls & furniture :(
KEZIA: Kezia also has had a hard time with mom & dad being gone. When she called daddy, she would cry and ask him to come pick her up and take her to the hospital to be with us. Kezia stayed with Aunt Trisha while we were gone & got to play with her cousins Parker & Spencer. Aunt Trisha was so sweet & painted her nails so cute and did her hair & took her to the park & did some crafts with her. Aunt Trisha said one night she woke up at 5am & said there was a girl in her room. Aunt Trisha asked where & Kezia pointed, but there wasn't anything there. Eventually she went back to sleep, but she is sure a strange sleeper! When she had the sleepover with mom & dad she said "NO!" and "MOM" and "I want my popsicle cut in half!"
LINK: We are so excited that our baby BOY is finally here! Everyone tells us that at least he won't remember all this medical drama when he's older & mom tells everyone "you're right... he won't. But I will remind him when he's older how much trouble he was from the start!!" ;-) We all love our baby boy so very much. He has the cutest sleepy smiles. He really is starting to be alert & watch us when we talk to him. He only cries when he's in a lot of pain. He doesn't even hardly whimper now when they stick him to test his blood sugar. He's so used to it. He's gotten more coordinated with his movements now & has tried to pull out his feeding tube. One time he succeeded & they had to put it back in. We are all PRAYING that his surgery goes well & the recovery will be short. We want to get this baby boy HOME so his sisters can love on him!