Our Trip Out East
Holy Hannah has it been a whirlwind for our family. In mid-August, we had a trip out to Virginia planned (where I’m from) to see family. My exchange program that sent me to Germany needed help in New Jersey processing the incoming Germans that are going to attend high school here. Shalene was still in the point of her pregnancy in which we wouldn’t need permission to fly. But we were cleared by the doc anyway.
The day that we were to fly out of Salt Lake, Shalene had her bi-weekly doctor’s appointment. Bad news—her blood pressure was high, and her flying privileges were revoked. We were, of course, super bummed, but due to my commitment and pre-purchased ticket (we got a voucher for Shalene’s), we drove down to SLC.
Hurdle #2 was getting to the airport a whole 24 hours too early. My flight was set for 11:59PM, to which I rounded to midnight in my head. So I showed up thinking I was leaving the “next day” (same night) at midnight, when I was actually an entire day early. So I stayed with my grandparents there in Salt Lake for a day (that always a hurdle in-and-of-itself, too—for both parties, mind you).
An Unexpected Turn
I had just gotten off the phone the next day with my mom, finalizing plans, and about to head to the airport when my mother-in-law calls me, and says that after running more tests, the baby is coming within 72 hours by an emergency C-section. That was obviously a gut-punch. Sue Ann said that Shalene’s platelet count was so low (the stuff in your blood that makes it clot), and her blood pressure was so high, that she could’ve gone into early labor on the plane or even could have experienced a stroke or seizure.
After being shaken for a bit, trying to figure out what to do, I went to work. I called my exchange program. The lady was super understanding, said that she’d handle everything, hoped that I’d volunteer with them in the future, and that I need to go be with my wife. I told family, and Shalene’s side arranged a ride for me up to the hospital.
At this point, I still think that Shalene and/or the baby might die. A bit of miscommunication in the panic of a hurried phone call. So I’m super shaken. But my brother-in-law drives up from Lehi, hands me a Mountain Dew (I had just given up soda two weeks prior), and says, “Here. You’re gonna have a long night,” then we drive up to Malad, ID, where Shalene’s sister, Sara, met us to take me the rest of the way.
Shalene and I spent many long days and nights in the hospital, listening to seemingly conflicting “expertise”. It felt like an emotional rollercoaster. Almost like Christmas. “You’ll get to meet your little one tomorrow.” “Just kidding, we’re sending you home.” “Psych, your vitals are through the roof!” It was pretty draining.
Shalene was put on magnesium, high blood pressure medication, and even got to go home for a little while. Ultimately, she wound up right back in the hospital to be on bed rest and monitored.
On a positive note, we got to know all the super-nice nurses really well, and I had all the Diet Coke a guy could want!
My second week of school, I finished PT, then went to a couple of meetings I had set up. Then Shalene calls me and says that she had met with the perinatologist (Perinatology is also known as maternal-fetal medicine), and the baby hadn’t grown in two weeks. They made a decision together to consider the baby and Shalene as two separate patients, and scheduled a C-section for that night.
I raced up, emailed my professors about missing the next day, and we got ready for Shalene’s operation. An answer to prayers was when they ran blood work again and reported that her platelets had jumped by a count of 30,000, which was bizarre, considering the steroids to try to bring them up did nothing. So right before going in for her surgery, they said they’d give her a spinal tap, where she’d be conscious, rather than general anesthesia, knocking her out.
We were both really nervous, but I got to sit in and hold her hand. When the time came, they had me look over the blind, and tell Shalene what gender our baby turned out to be. A girl! After they cut the cord, they handed our baby girl over to the next room to stabilize, before wheeling her off to the NICU.
What followed was a lot of pain on Shalene’s end, trying to figure out pumping for breast milk, juggling classes and coursework for Jonny, and long nights on the phone updating family.
On the Up-and-Up
Our little daughter turned out to very much own the name Evelyn “Eva” Summer Henderson. Evelyn is a longtime fave of Shalene’s, Eva is my favorite German name, and Summer because Shalene’s maiden name was Summers. We totally didn’t anticipate the confusion over Eva, though. Guys, it’s like Eva Mendes, not Eva Longoria.
She was born 2 lb. 12.5 oz. and 16 inches long. She’s itty-bitty, but is doing super well! She is breathing on her own, her feedings have increased, and she’s off of the lamp to help prevent jaundice.
The NICU is super family-oriented, and is great for us as stressed out parents. They want us there every morning at 10AM for the doctor’s rounds, and every three hours, we can hold her, change her diaper, and check her temperature.
One Week Old!
Today, little Evelyn turned one week old. It is seriously crazy to imagine how long this past month has been, and how well she’s doing. For a comparison of size, we got her an alligator to take pictures with on all the milestones, to capture how much she grows:
For everyone’s convenience, we’ve shared one of our Google Photos albums with you, so we don’t overload everyone’s Facebook newsfeed:
Additionally, you should not feel obligated to get us anything, but we know some of you (especially family) will. To make things easier, we’ve put together an Amazon Baby Registry:
Thank you all for your support, love, and prayers. It’s been a trip, but we’ve arrived, and we’re off onto our next adventure!