Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Warner's Service

We had Warner's service on May 17, 2010 and it was so perfect. There was an amazing, calming Spirit there the entire time. We had someone in Billings make a casket for Warner, and it was absolutely perfect...isn't it beautiful!? He made it on such short notice and I am so happy that we were able to get him to do it.

So many of our family members were able to be at Warner's service, and it was such a strength to us. Many people traveled far to be with us, we are so loved and blessed!

My Grandfather conducted the service. After a beautiful opening prayer by my sister, Amanda, Cody's family (Bert, Will, Missy, Sher, and Wendy) sang the 1st and 7th verse of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief":

A poor wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not power to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why

Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in His hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name He named,
“Of Me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto Me.”

It was beautiful. It was honestly hard to listen to because the Spirit was so strong, but I am so glad that they were able to sing it for us.

After the song my dad, Jim, spoke. He talked about all of the 'Happy Moments' that we had during the pregnancy and at Warner's birth. At one point in his talk he got out his cell phone...that sounds strange, but let me finish! I had sent him a voice message on December 7, 2009 of Warner's heart beating. He played that for everyone to hear, and it was so sweet. He went one to say that his heart was always beating so strong, which it was! He also talked about how when he and Bert went to put a few things in Warner's casket that one of them was a golf ball (per request of Cody, of course!). Dad said that he would miss not being able to play golf with him here on this earth, but that he would someday get to play with him. We can't wait for that round of golf! It was fun, and sad, to hear all of the good memories that he had.

Then Bert, Cody's dad, spoke. I am not sure how to summarize his words, so I will just share a few of his thoughts with you.

"Those of us who were privileged to be witnesses to the birth of this tiny one, were in the presence of angels, who were there to welcome him back into the arms of his very loving and gracious Heavenly Father after a very brief, yet glorious few moments on earth."

"In the overwhelming joy of his birth and unspeakable grief at his passing, we were blessed to have experienced a singularly remarkable thing...the arrival into mortality of one of God's choicest spirits..and yes...his departure from mortality as well."

He did such a wonderful job, he is so well versed. At the end he said, "Warner, would you somehow let Cody and Jim know how those celestial courses play?!" It was so funny! We are so thankful for our amazing fathers and the words that they shared.

Then my Grandpa Stan spoke and shared some amazing, uplifting words with us. He is an outstanding man and we are so blessed to have him in our lives. He shared some scriptures with us, and a couple of our favorites were:

John 9:1-3
"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a blind man which was blind from his birth, and his disciples ask him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered , Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the WORKS OF GOD SHOULD BE MADE MANIFEST IN HIM."

3 Nephi 17:21-24
"...he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them. And when he had done this he wept again; And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones. And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; did minister unto them."

My Grandfather then dedicated Warner's grave and the service was over. It was more perfect than we ever could have imagined. We are so grateful for everyone that participated and came to support us, and especially grateful for our sweet Warner.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Osteogenesis Imperfecta

After Warner passed away he had loads of testing done. X-rays and tissue samples helped to diagnose that Warner had Osteogenesis Imperfecta(OI), Type II. There are many different types in which survival is normal. In Type II, infants die shortly after birth. This is a skeletal dysplasia in which collagen does not properly form, some bones do not form correctly and are very brittle. In Warner's case, the cause of his death was because his ribs were extremely short, leaving little or no room for his lungs to develop. He passed away of respiratory complications, which was obvious when he was born. That is about all we know!
The chances of this happening in future pregnancies is very small. The chance that we passed OI to Warner is less than 1% (all couples have a 1% chance of birth defects), but there is a chance, and there is no way to test to see if we passed these genes to Warner or not. Yes, this is a little scary, but we trust in the Lord and also realize that the percentages are on our side. If we have another child with OI, we will then know that we did indeed pass the genes to our children, but let's just pray that doesn't happen. Then our chances of passing it to other children range from 10-50%. Details that we hope and pray we will never have to dive into!
Click Here for more information on the OI Foundation's Website

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Warner Nathan Arrives

May 7, 2010

(Make sure you read the "Labor begins..."post before reading this post.)

Warner’s Birthday!

The morning actually passed pretty quickly. I wasn’t able to eat anything after midnight or drink anything after 9 am, so I got to really quick at 8:45 have 2 popsicles! They were pretty tasty, and they held me over for the next 12 hours! Bert and Erika came and visited in the morning. Erika stayed with me so that Cody could go and shower and get ready for the day. Erika was such a great help. She shopped for an outfit for Baby W to wear in some pictures, brought us food, and got me some essential things that I of course, forgot. We just chatted all morning while they pumped me full of more fluids and medications, checking my contractions every once in a while, which would start to escalate then go back to every 4 minutes when new drugs were given.

Around 10 Dr. R. and Dr. W. came in to talk with us. It was a very sad talk, but necessary. Cody and I had to make a decision on whether or not we would like the NICU team in the Operating Room ready to try and help our son live. The Dr.’s informed us that Baby W would probably only live for minutes, maybe an hour. We could give our baby to the NICU Dr.’s to have him poked and proded and put through pain, which would not help our baby’s chance of survival much at all; or, we could be given our sweet Baby W and spend as much time with him as possible, holding him and showing him our love. We didn’t want to see him go through pain for nothing, we knew his odds were slim, so we decided to just spend as much time with him as we could. If by some miracle he was crying when he was born, NICU Dr.’s could be there extremely quickly to help him. We didn’t feel upset about our decision, just comfort. We now know that the decision that we made was the perfect one.

My parents got into Omaha at noon, it was so good to see them! We felt so glad that at least Cody’s dad and my parents would be there to meet Baby W. They decided to go get some lunch, drop stuff off at our house, and a few other things before Baby W made his appearance. Cody and I just relaxed and waited for 4 pm to come. Honestly, there were still barely any tears, just comfort and understanding that whatever came our way in the next few hours we could handle.

At about 2:45 I got extremely tired and decided to rest for just a half hour or so before they started to prep me for surgery. At 3:00 on the dot I was abruptly woken up because I was PEEING my pants! I was so embarrassed I told Cody to turn the other way because I was peeing my pants…I couldn’t believe that I could not control my bladder! So much went through my head, maybe it was because of all the fluids being pumped into me…ahhh! I was seriously shocked that I couldn’t stop…then about 30 seconds later I realized that my water had broke. Seriously, my water broke?! That wasn’t supposed to happen, I was having a c-section in an hour, why would my water break?! Well, I guess someone was watching out for us. It was no big deal that Baby W decided to come right then and there because all parents were in town or on their way. Good thing that my Dr.’s were listening to their instincts, I can’t imagine how much worse this whole experience would have been if I had to have an emergency c-section, none of our family was there and we were left to do this very hard thing all on our own. I can’t thank them enough for having the intuition, the intelligence, the prompting to schedule my c-section and get family here asap, before Baby W tried to come on his own. I am also SOOO glad that I was in a hospital bed when literally 4 buckets of water (I thought 3, my nurse thought 4!) started pouring out of me. I would DIE if that happened in Wal-Mart!! Speaking of my nurse, she was amazing, out of this world, couldn’t have done this without her. Her name was Jodi, she seriously rocked. She was my day nurse the 7th, 8th, and 9th. She did everything for us from hunting down a photographer for the birth (it seriously took her all day), to arranging things with funeral homes, to waiting on me hand and foot. I can’t believe how awesome she was. Even our parents couldn’t believe how great she was. We will never forget Jodi, that is for sure.

From the time my water broke to surgery time it was a little crazy. They switched us rooms so that we would be in a room 3x the size of a normal room after the delivery. We wanted to make sure all family could fit with us and that I could be recovered in the same room so that we could spend as much time with Baby W as possible. Cody called my parents and his, and found out that his mom had landed 15 minutes early! Everything worked in our favor, I can’t believe how perfect everything was going. Cody, my mom and dad changed into scrubs (everyone got into scrubs so that they could stand outside the OR. We wanted to make sure that they saw Baby W alive and they couldn’t, except Cody, come in the OR, so that was the best option). Aaron, Erika and Will came into the room next and got into their scrubs. Erika was prepped and ready with her camera, and I am so glad that she was! She got some amazing pictures which we will cherish forever. The photographer that Jodi found for us got there at 3:30, she worked with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. This organization is amazing! I know that our photographer got some amazing pictures, and I can’t wait to see them. She asked Cody to fill out a permission slip quickly before we went into surgery. On the permission slip it asked for the baby’s name. We had been calling him Barrett for months, but the past few weeks I hadn’t loved it. I have been pushing for Warner (Cody’s middle name, his mom’s maiden name) ever since we have wanted a baby. We did know that his middle name would be Nathan, after my brother. He didn’t even ask me, he just named him Warner Nathan Winterholler. After he filled out the sheet and gave it back to her, he came up to me and said, “I named our son.” I got a big smile and laughed, “Really?! What is his name?!” I didn’t even care at all! I was just excited that he had a name that we could call him right when he was born. Anyway, the photographer was able to come in the OR and spent 1.5 hours with us after Warner was born. I am so anxious to see her work, I know it will be beautiful.

Dr. W. came into my room, and it began. They rolled me down the hall with Cody right by me, and our entire family following. I am sure that was a sight to see. We stopped at the door of the OR and Bert and Laurel came out (they weren’t in the room with everyone else, they changed in a room near the OR.) Anyway, parents hugged and kissed us and into the OR we went.

Cody was by me the entire time, which made the uncontrollable shaking much more bearable. (They give you drugs that seriously make you shake like you are in Antarctica without a coat for HOURS.) Okay, he made every part of this more bearable. What an amazing husband I have…I could never ask for anyone better to go through this with. He is strong when he needs to be, sad when he needs to be, always in perspective, strengthens me in every way; amazing.

The surgery began and Cody just held me and talked to me; tried to distract me a little; but let’s be honest, he was feeling exactly what I was. We knew Warner wasn’t going to make it long, and just wanted to meet him. Just wanted to hold him, to see what he looked like. We didn’t have any tears, there really was overwhelming comfort in the room. After only about 10 minutes, we got to meet Warner. They came quick and showed him to us, what a beautiful moment that was. They then rushed him to the table and checked his heart rate…it was 80 bpm, in the womb it was much higher. We knew we only had a few minutes with our sweet son. They brought him back to Cody and he held him while they began to stitch me. It was so amazing to see Cody as a daddy! He was so great with him, even as I could see Cody was so sad for his son. Warner was having extremely labored breathing, we could see him trying so hard to take a breath and not being able to. It really ripped your heart out to know that as earthly parents we could do nothing to help him. We would see the area between his ribs and his abdominal cavity contract for a few seconds, then helplessly let back out. He would only try to breath once every couple of minutes. They loosened my arms and I was able to hold Warner, it was such a special moment! I did feel the tiniest bit sad, but I was 99% happy to be meeting my son! I talked with him about maybe staying here on earth a little longer, about the good work that he was going to do up in Heaven, about meeting his cousin David and them playing. I really had sweet conversation with him as I tried to study his every curve and feature. After about 10 minutes, I wanted Cody to show him to our family so that they could see him alive. They all came to the door of the OR and Cody held him while they looked at his precious face. It was hard for Cody, I could tell, but we wanted the Grandparents to meet little Warner so bad. Cody came back in, and they checked Warner’s heart rate once more. He still had one! It was lowered to a 40 but he was still with us. They switched me to a rolling bed, (Yes, they were already done stitching me up…15 minutes and done! My doctors were awesome! Before the surgery started the Dr. said, “Chelsea’s goal is to be on this operating table as little time as possible, let’s go.” They definitely accomplished that and let me spend as much time with Warner as was possible.) gave me Warner, and I was off to a large recovery room that all of our family could join us in. I loved holding my son as we were pushed down the hall, I felt like a proud mother to be holding such a perfect being. I felt so good to hold him and cuddle him.

Once in the room Cody and I continued to hold and love Warner, pictures were taken like crazy (which I am absolutely elated about!), and all of our family had the opportunity to hold him. No one was really crying uncontrollably; Warner brought such a calm, comforting spirit with him saying, “All is well”. We got to examine his sweet head that was covered with dark, CURLY hair! It was amazing how beautiful his hair was, everyone went crazy when we took off the beanie he was wearing. After 25 more minutes of loving our son, Dr. R. needed to check his heart rate. He no longer had one, but had lived for 40 precious minutes here on earth. What a perfect being that we were able to hold in our arms. I can’t wait to meet our little man again in just 80 short years! I know he is doing work that needs to be done and loving every minute of it. I know he is sad when we cry because he is happy where he is now. I am so comforted every moment of every day know that he is in safe arms, knowing that we will see his sweet face again, knowing that he, Cody, and I will always be together in eternity. All is well.

Words cannot express the love that we have felt in the past months and especially the past couple of weeks of our lives. We have so many dear friends and family members who have shown us more love than we could have ever expected. We wish that we could thank each of you, but if you only knew how many of you there were! We love you all and thank you a million times over for your prayers in the past as well as for your continued prayers of comfort for us and our family.

(We will have many more photos to post of our beautiful baby boy in about 6 weeks, when we get them back from the photographer, so check in to see how handsome he is!)

Labor begins...

May 5, 2010

Cody and I went to our Dr.’s appointment with Dr. R. and we got to see Baby W right away. The past few appointments he has been looking straight at us and moving all over the place! It has been fun to see him moving so much, especially when I could only feel him every once in a while.

When Dr. R. came in they measured my amniotic fluid, and it was at a 33…I guess normal is 20-25. This concerned him so they hooked me up to the contraction monitor and I was having contractions. I had been having a few more aches and pains but nothing that I would have equated to contractions. Two nights before my appointment I was up for about 3 hours every 15 minutes with back pain, which I decided were contractions later on; but that was the only experience I had with actually feeling contractions. Due to my fluid levels being that of someone about to go into labor and my consistent contractions, Dr. R. decided to check my cervix and I was not dialated. I already had an appointment with Dr. W. (my ob) for the next day, so Dr. R. decided that she could check my cervix as well and then I would see him 3 days later, just to keep a close eye on me.

Also at this appointment nurses from the ‘comfort care’ program talked to us a little about our wishes for a birth plan. This was pretty surreal, talking about if we would like at home care for baby, if we would want to be the only ones to spend time with him if he lived for a short time, etc.

May 6, 2010

I worked until 11 on Thursday the 6th, and Cody was scheduled to play golf with a couple of friends at noon. I had a feeling that maybe Cody should come to my appointment at 12 with Dr. W., but it wasn’t too overwhelming and I knew that he would only be 30 minutes away if I needed him.

Dr. W. was ready to listen to Baby W’s heartbeat and when she felt my tummy she was totally shocked at how hard it was. I have been feeling like it has been tighter, but Erika, Cody’s sister, has been commenting that my belly has been tight since the very beginning so I haven’t thought much of it. She listed to Baby W’s heartbeat…strong as always, 168. Then she checked my cervix…uh oh…dialated to a 1. I wasn’t dialated the day before so she hooked me up to the contraction monitor once again. My contractions were happening every 45 sec-1 minute! I still could not feel anything, woo-hoo for pain free! Dr. W. called Dr. R. and after talking for a while about my fluid levels, my dialation and my contractions, they decided that Baby W was going to try and be born in the upcoming days. Since we knew that Baby W probably wouldn’t be able to make it through a vaginal delivery and survive, we scheduled a c-section for 26 hours later. I know this sounds crazy, but a huge weight was lifted when she told me we were going to deliver Baby W. It has been MONTHS of not knowing how our Baby would be born; alive? Healthy? Somewhat healthy? Breathing? There have been so many questions in the past months and it felt good to know that in one day, all of our questions would be answered. I was relieved and overwhelmed to know that we would meet our baby, if only for a minute, the very next day. That gave our parents just 26 hours to get to Nebraska.

Dr. W. let me go home and gather my things, as well as gather my husband from the golf course! We called our parents and got them on their way. My parents decided to drive the 13 hours. Cody’s dad would fly out immediately and be there by midnight on the 6th. Cody’s mom and Will decided to leave on a 11 am flight, which put them into Omaha at 3:30, just a mere 30 minutes before the c-section was scheduled.

I was admitted and they started giving me fluids like none other! Holy cow I never knew that I could pee as much as I did that day! The fluids along with a couple other drugs helped to slow down my contractions, the last thing we wanted was for me to go into labor, especially before our parents were able to get to Omaha. They also gave me steroid shots to help Baby W’s lungs, HOLY MOLY! Those were PAINFUL! Seriously, the worst shot I have ever had, and that is including the spinal block they gave me the next day. I hope I never need steroid shots ever again. We just sat at the hospital preparing ourselves for the next day. There weren’t many tears, we honestly weren’t scared, just ready to see our family and meet our little boy. So much comfort was felt, I wish I could explain it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Warner Nathan Winterholler

Warner Nathan Winterholler
Born: May 7, 2010
4:28 pm
3 pounds 2 ounces
13 inches
Passed: May 7, 2010
5:08 pm