Valor's Birth Story — Part 3

Read Valor's Birth Story Part 1 and Part 2.

So as you can probably assume I've been quite busy snuggling my little boy, and now back at work. The house is quiet and dark, which is a rarity recently. Husband is at work, Valor is snoozing, the baby monitor next to me blaring white noise, puppy is at my feet, and I am eating re-heated leftovers. And finally, I am getting a few brief moments to type up the last section of Valor's birth story. Yes, Valor was born in part two, yet we were not home free at the point where I left off. So where were we? Oh yes...

On Saturday, September 6th at 10:00 pm I was finally discharged after a long 12 day admission. Heart breakingly, we had to leave our little Valor in the NICU for an unknown amount of time, but it looked like it would be around a week — this also depended on who we talked to. The following day, Sunday, I spent the day resting as Husband was at work. Husband spent his lunch hour as well as some time before leaving work, sitting next to little Valor's incubator, reaching in, talking to him, and holding Valor to feed him a tiny bottle. While back at home, my parents and sister's fiancé came over to help me with all the baby things I did not have ready.

Monday, Husband and I eagerly drove to the hospital and spent hours sitting in the NICU with our son. As we were leaving the NICU, my parents arrived for their turn to keep Valor company and reassure him of our love. Having our little one in the NICU provided so many emotions. Heart-wrenching sadness, yet overarching understanding that he was where he was supposed to be and receiving the healthcare he required.

Tuesday as Husband and I were backing out of the driveway, on our way back to visit Valor in the NICU, Husband stopped the car and asked if we should grab the infant car seat "just in case." I said, sure and told him to also grab his teeny tiny coming home outfit too. Positive thinking! After we arrived, scrubbed in and gowned up, Valor's nurse said that the on-call pediatrician wanted to speak with us. As we sat down with the doctor, he expressed a major concern — when he felt Valor's fontanels, they felt as though they were possibly already closed — which shouldn't happen for a few months. At the time, the NICU pediatrician set up an appointment with a neurologist at Rush Medical Center in Chicago for us. Best case, Valor would be just fine and his pediatrician would keep track of his head growth at each appointment. Worst case, Valor would need a craniectomy. That was the bad news. The good news was that he felt Valor would be best cared for at home! He was sending Valor home with us! What a bag of mixed emotions. The NICU pediatrician explained how we would be able to spend more time getting Valor to eat (which was a challenge) that a nurse who only had 30 minutes with him at each feeding. So we waited for his discharge paperwork to be printed, signed our names on the dotted line, dressed Valor in his light blue elephant outfit, snapped him snuggly into his car seat, and took one last photo in the NICU. We were headed home — as a whole family — on Valor's one week birthday!

The following week after Valor was discharged we jumped in the car and headed to the neurologist appointment with much anxiousness. As we waited for the physician to enter the exam room, I just held my little four pound baby. The neurologist came into the room, introduced himself and felt Valor's fontanels...and they felt fine! He told us he would contact Valor's pediatrician and ask her to keep an eye on his head measurements at each appointment but thought there would be no issue. Praise the Lord! The weight lifted off our shoulders that day was amazing! After leaving the appointment we headed to the parking garage and let Valor see his first view of the Chicago skyline.

Even though the weight and thought of a craniectomy was lifted off our shoulders, the first few weeks were so very exhausting and difficult. Around the clock, 24/7, every two hours we would feed Valor, which would take about an hour every time. I would pump and Husband would feed Valor a bottle. But I would take that tiredness any day over having our little one in the NICU.

As I now look back, we only had to leave Valor in the NICU after my discharge for three days. But at the time, those days felt like eternity. Coming home with an empty nest felt so incomplete, and home together never felt so complete.

So there you have it — Valor's complete birth story. We serve such a trustworthy God who gave us peace like a river throughout all the trials. I am so thankful that we had an anchor for our souls during these tribulations and it is something we can count on! After all this, I cannot believe the name we chose before we had any idea of the struggles to come. Valor — bravery in facing great danger. Wow. Valor's story continues to be written day by day. As Husband and I look forward to seeing how it unfolds, we pray that Valor's life is much easier than his beginning.