Finding Joy in Hannah

At the hospital that the girls were born in they play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” every time a baby is born. When Naomi and Hannah were born my husband and mom heard this precious song twice, followed closely by a “Code Pink.” During an earlier visit to the hospital we learned that a “Code Pink” meant that a baby was in distress.  Panic set in and we would later learn that Hannah had stopped breathing and it took the surgeons 8 minutes of working on her to bring her back. What a way to make an entrance! I had no idea that this was happening because I was still under general anesthesia for the C-section. Since I was so sick, they had to knock me out in order to do the surgery. It seems weird to think of, but I am pretty sure that God let that happen to me because He knew I wouldn’t be able to deal with finding out one of my babies wasn’t breathing. Looking back now, I can see how He has protected us from knowing too much information about the seriousness of things until after the situation was over. He knows that I am hard wired to worry myself sick, especially when it comes to health related things, and that I would not be able to get better if I knew everything.

Since she had stopped breathing for such a long period of time, when she was 3 days old Hannah developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC).  This can be extremely devastating as it is essentially when a portion of the bowel dies as the result of a perforation. The doctor’s think that she contracted it due to being non-responsive for so long when she was born. They believe this happened because when she had stopped breathing her brain stopped sending oxygen, blood and other nutrients to her bowels to try and save the organs higher in her body and it caused weakening in  area and led to the perforation. The doctors warned us that there could be some long term issues because of it, especially as too small to do much about it and they don’t really know how serious it was. It seems that it must have been relatively mild as she appears to have made a full recovery. She struggles a little bit with pooping and passing gas, possibly due to some scar tissue in her bowels, or it simply could be that she has slow motility due to being premature. A little prune juice mixed in her bottle a couple of times a day seems to help her out.

Hannah also didn’t let her breathing issues at birth keep her down. She progressed quickly through the steps between ventilation and basically breathing on her own. We did experience a few set backs early on, one due to illness and another due to needing a surgery to correct a common aortic issue in her heart, which caused her to be re-intubated for short periods of time. As of today she is on a very low amount of oxygen which she gets through a nasal cannula (two prongs that stick up her nose and dispense the oxygen).  She has even had a few days where she has been able to breathe without the assistance of oxygen however she does much better with eating and holding her temperature when she is getting some extra.

She is currently eating nearly all her food volume from a bottle (at the hospital they call this “nippling.”) and whatever she doesn’t take is given through a feeding tube. Yesterday she pulled her feeding tube out around 9:00am and proceeded to nipple 100% of her bottles between 5 am and 8pm. This is the last step that we are waiting for her to master before she can come home. She has to consistently eat 100% of her feedings and gain weight… They are telling us it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see her come home by Thursday or Friday of this week.

We are both excited and scared at the thought of having her home. It will be amazing knowing that she is well enough to not have to stay at the hospital, but it will be different learning how to parent her without the nearly constant supervision of nurses. And it will be difficult because our family will not be complete as Naomi still has a pretty long road ahead of her before she can come home. In some ways, it seems as though Hannah might be trying to stay in the hospital until Naomi can come home. Even when they were in the womb Hannah, though she is younger, has always been protective of her sister. In most ultrasounds it was difficult to see Naomi because Hannah was always covering her up, as if to say, “You want to get to Naomi, you have to go through me first!” And even now, Hannah is deeply affected that happen to Naomi. Her heart rate and blood pressure have been known to increase or drop based on things that are happening to Naomi. One of the earliest examples of this is one time when they were still pretty small and Naomi was getting an echo. Since they were still small and couldn’t regulate their own temperatures, the isolettes helped them to stay at an optimal temperature, but in order to do her echo they had to open Naomi’s bed and she got cold. As Naomi’s temperature dropped, Hannah’s blood pressure took a sudden dive and the nurses couldn’t figure out what was causing it, but as soon as Naomi’s temperature returned to normal, so did Hannah’s blood pressure.

I came up with Hannah’s name just after we decided to start infertility treatments. We had been struggling with getting pregnant for about 3 years and during that time I kept looking to the Bible to see how the women there handled infertility. I found myself relating closely to Hannah and the deep longing she felt for a child and I  began to pray a variation of her prayer, found in 1 Samuel 1 : 11. When we found out we were pregnant with twins, I knew that one of them for sure was a girl and felt strongly that she should be named Hannah. Looking further into her name, we discovered that it is a Hebrew name meaning Favor or Grace and it is clear that God has granted her His favor and His. He has brought her through many trials and since she is still a small baby He has done this without her doing anything or being able to do anything to earn it or save herself. What an amazing picture of God’s love for His kids!!

I often wonder if we have a future worship leader on our hands; she loves to be sung to and if you sing worship songs she has been known to raise up one arm as if she is praising God. Either way, I cannot wait to see how she continues to teach others about God’s grace and favor as she keeps growing and developing.

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2 thoughts on “Finding Joy in Hannah

  1. You never cease to amaze me; your writings are so prolific! One day, you should write a book on this fabulous journey of motherhood; years to come, there will be other mother’s who will benefit from reading this and your other writings.

    Liked by 1 person

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