Monday, February 27, 2012

Jayce Wyatt Geurts

Our sweet, little, fighter baby... the first 3 days.

  You were born at 1:35 on a chilly February night, exactly 24 days before you should've arrived. They told us you were too small for the average 36 weeker and that the fluids that surrounded you in my tummy were too low. I felt guilty for not giving you the safest place to grow, so I agreed that getting you out would be the best way to take care of you... even though I was sad to let them take you from me. I was hoping for a few more days of feeling you squiggle and roll in my tummy.
  Daddy and I went home to get our bags and say good-bye to your big brother. We arrived at the hospital at 4:00 Wednesday afternoon and the induction began. You didn't like it! With every contraction that I felt, we watched your little heart rate decelerate (sometimes for minutes at a time) and then struggle to climb back up. The doctors wondered if they should let you come the old-fashioned way or if they should take you out themselves. I was given an epidural for either scenario. Luckily for the two of us, you calmed down (and so did I, thanks for that!) and by 1:15 I knew you were ready. The doctors prepared for your arrival, surprised with how quickly you decided to appear (your brother did the SAME thing to me less than two years ago by the way... I'd like to ask you both why you prefered to let me sit at 3 centimters and then progress to 10 in only 1 hour, but that's for another day). I pushed only once and then there you were.
   We knew you would be small. The doctors predicted about 4 1/2 pounds, but we never anticiapted how small you'd be ~ 3lbs 14oz and 17 inches longs. The NICU team was waiting to take you away from me, but I got to hold you for a minute or two. We thought they'd look you over and bring you right back (that's what they told us the plan would be BEFORE you arrived), but we never anticiapted the hellish roller coaster ride that we would be facing for the next few days...
  At 4:30 in the morning, they rolled me into the NICU. Your Daddy walked quietly behind. We were so excited to see you again, but not at all prepared for what we were going to hear. No one can ever be prepared for this. We found you in an incubator, all snuggled up and warm. You had a feeding tube already and you were still. There was a neonatologist waiting for us along with a few nurses. I knew this was bad. Something was wrong with my baby. The baby that I planned on being absolutely perfect in every way.
  The doctors had some questions that they were determined to figure out... Why were you so small? Why didn't you grow in my tummy the way you were suppose to? Your platelet levels were low (I learned all about platelets rather quickly... they're in your blood and help it to clot). You had petechiae all over your body that looked like little red dots because your blood was escaping from your tiny blood vessels. They had a couple of scenarios to investigate to help answer those questions (1) my placenta had failed... for whatever reason or (2) you contracted a virus while in the womb that stunted your growth. The doctors told us to hope for option one because this could be solved easily ~ the baby was out and now you could grow on your own. Option 2 was terrifying. A virus could result in a large spectrum of outcomes: developmental delays, learning disabilities, gross motor delays, hearing loss, blindness, brain damage that could lead to mental retardation, seizures, and a wheelchair for the rest of your life... you may never walk or talk, see or hear... As they talked to me and I listened, I found myself looking at you thinking only one thing, "no. this isn't happening."
   Our talk lasted over an hour. I think I asked questions, but I don't remember. I think I looked at your Daddy a few times. I think I rubbed his arm. His face was white. He stood still. He never said a word. Finally, the nurse wheeled me into our "Family Suite". Your Dad followed silently. It was 5:37am. We were checked in. I laid down on the bed, immediately realizing that here I lay in this dark room with no baby. The nurse left. I looked at your Dad and the tears came. I cried for 3 hours. Sometimes your Dad held me, but sometimes he left the room. What were we going to do? Why was this happening to us? To you? What did I do wrong as your Mommy? Did I fail you?
  By 8:30am Thursday we were on our way to the NICU. Your Dad convinced me that we had to be with you, so he wheeled me down the long hallway, we took the elevator, and then he wheeled me down another long hallway. Why did you have to be so far from us?
   When we arrived, we saw you...
there you were... perfect. Small, but perfect. You look like your brother. Same coloring, same peach fuzz, same eyes, same mouth. You had a feeding tube in and had already received your first platelett transfusion (similar to a blood transfusion), which would be the first of many, little did we know.
They let me get you out. I kissed your sweet face. They let me "feed" you... not my idea of feeding my baby who was only a few hours old, but I was thrilled!
Your Daddy FINALLY got to hold you too. You looked just fine. Healthy even. No tube to help you breathe. Soft baby skin. 10 fingers and toes. A pointy little nose and big blue eyes. How could someone so perfect have so many things wrong with him... possibly?
 That Thursday, February 23 turned out to be one of the best and worst days of my life. You were here, but we had no idea what your future was to be. When you're pregnant, especially the second time around, you know what to expect. You can dream dreams for your child long before they're born. You were going to be just like your brother, but different too. I pictured you quiet and laid back, whereas your brother is always the life of the party. I pictured you calm and kind, easy-going, and peaceful. A real roll-with-the-punches kind of fellow. Still a total boy's boy... your brother would be sure of that! I imagined little league, pee-wee football, playing in the mud, 4-wheelers, singing, dancing, running around the neighborhood barefoot with your friends, riding a bike like a maniac and peeing outside with your Dad and brother. I pictured long afternoons at the swimming pool and nights filled with stories and hours of no sleep because of the two of you talking and making mischief in your shared room. Would you get this? Would Wil? Would your Daddy and I? Please, God... make it so.
  That day. That day was the worst. That afternoon I was holding you, skin to skin, as two women brought in an ultrasound machine. They were to do a cranial ultrasound. I would not put you down. I made them conduct the ultrasound while you were in my arms, all the while knowing EXACTLY what they were looking for - bleeding on your brain. Brain damage. You cried and cried. So loud. Tears rolled down my face. I shook. They typed and typed. I once asked them what they were seeing. The woman giggled slightly and told me she only took the test, but didn't interpret it. I was sure they were finding bleeding everywhere.
   Your Dad walked into the room shortly after the test (not knowing what had just occured). He found me shaking, slurring my words and knew I was done. We went back to our room after staying with you for nearly 5 hours. There, we wept. I cried like I had never cried before. Your Dad cried, but tried to be strong for me. I paced the room and nearly fell many times. Nurses came. People from the lab came. No one knew what to do for me. Finally, some wonderful nurse brought me benadryl... to sleep, I suppose. I took it, but only slept for about 2 hours. I just couldn't be away from you... your Dad was even worse than me. He HAD to be with you.
   We arrived back at your room to find an eye doctor who finally had good news to share ~ your eyes looked good (not perfect), but you were not blind. We spent a few hours with you. I fed you and talked to you and we felt like we could go to bed with one piece of hope. You will see the world. We still had no diagnosis... but you could see.
   The next morning (Friday) was more of the same ~ another platelett transfusion, feeding tube, and waiting. Oh dear God, the waiting... it felt like we had been in that hospital for weeks, but it had only been a day or so. Friday did bring something new ~ jaundice! I must admit, it didn't really bother me. It was normal and expected. Many babies have jaundice shortly after birth, even big healthy babies! Here you are fake-baking!

Friday brought something else new too. Apparently you were sick of your feeding tube, so you pulled it out. We were able to feed you from a bottle from then on. Thank you for that, Jayce! Mommy loves to feed you. They let you out from under your party lights for only 20 minutes at a time, but I can watch you eat and give you some love.

Oh Friday... Friday was good, which we needed after our long Thursday. We got the results from your cranial ultrasound... "nothing signifigant", which to Daddy and Me meant no brain damage. Dear God, you heard our prayers. You heard everyone's prayers ~ friends, family and even complete strangers at our church. We found a note from our priest laying on our bed Friday morning telling us the entire congregation was praying for us. How they knew our situation, we have no idea, but it worked. I will go to church more. I will go to church more.
   We woke up Saturday morning feeling refreshed and hopeful, even though we had no diagnosis (they had told us it could be days or even weeks before the lab results would be in). Daddy was optimistic, insisting it was a placental problem, which is why you passed the eye and brain exams. I, on the other hand, was not as positive. I always felt like they knew it was a virus, which is why they were so quick to order those dreaded exams. They wanted to know how severe your case was, even before a diagnosis was given.
   I was right. On Saturday morning, we were told that you did indeed have a virus. Cytomegalovirus to be exact (CMV). A congenital virus effecting only 1-2% of babies at birth. A virus that I contracted at some point during my pregnancy (I think it was around Thanksgiving) that is basically like the common cold ~ low grade fever, bit of a sore throat, swollen glands, etc. A virus that is VERY serious and can have horrible long-term effects on a fetus. I didn't know. I'm sorry. I didn't know. I hardly remember being sick.
  This was the diagnosis we did not want to receive. This was the virus that was at the bottom of the list compared to the others they had warned us about. This was worst-case scenario. However, the doctors reminded us that we had overcome so much. Jayce does not have any considereable brain damage and his eyes look good! He will be treated for the virus starting Monday for 6 weeks, but it's just an oral medicine, so it won't force his stay in the hospital any longer than necessary. We were told he can go home when his platelett levels are normal, he eats from the bottle for 48 hours (done!), is able to maintain his temp outside of his warming bed and doesn't have any "spells" like a drop in his heartrate. He's well on his way towards all of those things!
   We have no idea what the future holds. We have no idea when our Baby Jayce will be coming home. As of now, the only major risk he faces is hearing loss. 50% of children born with CMV have some or total hearing loss by the age of 4. He will have another brain scan and eye exam in the coming weeks... just to be sure too. He may have some developmental delays, he may have some learning difficulties... we just don't know. As of now, he's overcome so much. And he's ours.


  1. Can I hug you? I want to hug you. I want to hug you and cry and tell you you are strong and Jayce is so so lucky to have you.
    We will continue to pray for your little fighter and for you.

  2. Aaron and Lana GeurtsFebruary 27, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Adam and Stephani, We will continue to pray for all of you, and just pretend we are giving you all a big hug. If baby Jayce is half as strong as his parents, he will be just fine. We think of you all everyday.

  3. Oh, Stefani, you are all in my prayers. Such a beautifully-written blog post. I'm not sure who you have watching Wil, but I would be happy to help you guys out in any way. I could even come pick him up and bring him back to our house to play for a day so you can spend time in the NICU, if you'd like. Please DO NOT hesitate to call or text me if you'd like to take me up on my offer. I am beyond serious.

    1. This is Becky LaPlante, by the way. I thought it would show my whole name when I commented with my Google account!

  4. Thinking of you all...many hugs and prayers! Looking forward to seeing you all at the next neighborhood gathering! You are all so brave and strong! Ps - you make beautiful babies! Jayce is beyond beautiful!! So tiny and perfect! Warmly, Ben, Meg, Clara, and baby Sohns

  5. Vanessa and David BeardsleyFebruary 27, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    We are thinking of you, Stefani and Adam. Much love...

  6. stefanie brandenburgFebruary 27, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    oh stefani....Jayce and wil have the most amazing parents you too are so strong. This is the most amazing blog. We will say prayers and be thinking of you , adam, wil and so so so strong little peanut Jayce.

  7. Stefani and Adam,
    We are continuously praying for Jayce AND the rest of the family! I know this is a difficult time, but God will bring you all through it stronger! I've passed this down the 'prayer chain' (ie: my mom), so you know you've got hundereds of people praying for baby Jayce now! ;)

    We love you and PLEASE let me know anything we can do - we can take Gravel for a while if you need him out of the house, we can watch Wil, finish planning Wil's party, make dinner, do grocery (or other) shopping if you need...anything!! We are here for you, my dear! Sending love, hugs, kisses and prayers your way!!!!

    Stephy, Bobby & Maddie

  8. Stef & Adam,
    Thinking of you during this difficult time. I hope Baby Jayce is strong and can come home soon. Love and prayers your way....Please text/call if you need help with Will!!

    Ryan, Anika, & Reese

  9. Beautifully written Stefani! That must have been very hard for you to write. And what a difficult time you have gone through. My heart aches for you and Adam. I will continue to send many prayers for your sweet little fighter, Jayce, and hope he gets to go home very soon. Many hugs from me and Emmy too.

  10. Stefani,Adam,Wil,Jayce,and families,
    I know you are so worried right now and most of all you just want Jayce to be healthy. I have known you and your family for a very long time and I know this is very hard but I know no matter what little Jayce will be surrounded with love. He is your precious little gift and your love for him is unconditional. You are wonderful parents and he will grow up knowing that. Love and prayers can do amazing things and everyone who loves you is doing that right now. "Always Believe in Angels, Dreams, and Miracles!" We luv u! The Troxel's

  11. Stef & Adam,
    I am praying and thinking of you and your family and little Jayce everyday. Wishing and hoping and praying for the best outcome. Let us know if you need anything!
    Abby Ley

  12. Someday, Jayce will get to read the amazing story of his first few days written by his beautiful mom! And, you and Adam and Wil can tell him what a fighter he is!

    "Hope is a happiness held in the heart when happiness seems to be gone. Hope is a quiet joy deep within, encouraging us to go on."

    Better days ahead for all of you...I just know it! Have faith!

    Love you guys,
    Nicole & Aaron & Baby Osten

  13. Stefani & Adam

    Sending our thoughts and prayers your way. I wish I could write how I feel, but i cant put it in words. Just know we are close by and we will do anything we can to help; anything, anytime.

    Love you guys

  14. Sending love and faith. Thinking of you often!

  15. Walter and Camilla JostFebruary 27, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Jaycee is as beautiful as his brother, Wil. Prayers for your family, from Patrick's parents.

  16. I just shared your blog with
    Ryan and we are both praying for you.

    Let us know what we can do. Even if it
    is just letting Gravel out to go outside.

    Let us know what we can do.
    Lana & Ryan

  17. Stefani & Adam,
    We are thinking and praying for you and your family. Baby Jayce and Wil are very lucky to have such wonderful and strong parents like you both. Your blog was beautifully written Stef. I'm sure it was very difficult to write. You and Adam are truly amazing!! May God watch over all of you in your time of need. We love you!!!
    Trudy & Doug

  18. Stef and Adam,
    I just found this out and wanted to let you know that I am crossing my fingers and hoping for the best for all. I have o neg blood and will be happy to donate platelets if you need some, if I can. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know.
    By the way...have you thought about being a writer? You were able to put so much feeling in so few words.
    Deanna Schell Biefer

  19. Jayce sure is lucky to have special parents in you and Adam. I'm sending thoughts and prayers your way that the four of you and Gravel to will soon be home as a family. You have such a way with words and expressing your thoughts with a little sense of humor. I can see you being an author of childrens books someday in your spare time.{lol}

  20. Thinking of you and praying for you and your family Ms Stephanie. We are here for you if you need anything. Love to you all. The Person Family-Cliff, Lisa, Josie & Vince.

  21. Jayce is lucky to have such great parents! Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. I hope your little fighter is able to come home very soon! The Salisbury family - Brandon, Sammi, and Kendall.

  22. Oh Stefani, I had tears in my eyes when I finished your blog, as did Linda. Until we read a comment online, we had no idea what you, Adam & little Jayce were going through. As parents, we try so hard to protect our children from harm, and when we can't, the sense of helplessness can be overwhelming. Just remember the Lord's will be done. He doesn't make mistakes, and we all have a purpose. Jayce is surrounded by love, and you & Adam have to believe that he senses it. Jayce is able to fight because of that love; because of his mother & father's persistence. Our prayers are with all four of you, and we pray your little boy is able to come home to you & little Wil soon. We extend our love to all of you. - Linda & Ken Ogi

  23. I doubt you remember me from high school but just wanted to let you know that I'm a "CMV Hero" according to the Red Cross which means that I was never exposed to the virus so the blood I donate is given specifically to infants and cancer patients who need CMV negative blood. I haven't donated blood in awhile but because of your blog I am going to start donating again. I wish nothing but strength and courage for your family as you continue to move forward. - Amy (Prouty) Muth