It’s 6:30 Thursday morning, January 25th. Late last night we got the call. We are parents! I haven’t slept a wink. I can barely talk my heart down below 100bpm. I’m getting on a plane in less than 24 hours to come meet you.
The butterfly wings in my belly must have stirred up all my stomach acid because it keeps threatening to come up.
I can’t believe it. Just two days ago I was crying, second guessing our profile, wondering who would choose us based on all the things I had shared.
But yesterday afternoon, Courtney sent an email telling us you were born. So early. So tiny. But so, so strong already. Fighting and winning. And although I was nervous, although I was sure your tummy mommy wouldn’t choose us, we said yes.
A few hours later, my phone rang. It was Courtney. I couldn’t process what she was saying to me. We are matched…I’m a mom now!
We are shocked. We are thrilled. We didn’t plan for this! But God’s plans are best. He knows what He is doing.
Your daddy won’t be able to come see you until Monday, because he has other kids at church who need him. But don’t you worry, he will be thinking of only you the whole time.
They asked us what we wanted to name you, so that they could start calling you by name. We hadn’t decided yet. So we spent and hour trying to find a suitable name from a list I had already compiled.
We wanted your name to mean something, but in the end we decided on a name that mommy has loved for years. Oliver. Your name is Oliver. And even though it doesn’t mean anything other than Olive tree, it IS the name of a pretty awesome superhero called The Green Arrow, so that’s something.
Courtney said you are 1.5 lbs. I can’t even fathom that. She also said you are amazing the doctors and nurses already with how well you are doing. You are defying the odds little Oliver.
The above is what I wrote the morning after we found out about baby Oliver. It seems like forever ago! I have been running on adrenaline since then.
I got to Phoenix around 1pm Friday, then rented a car and went straight to the hospital. I met the adoption case worker at the hospital and she took me up to meet our little baby.
Oliver was born early, at 24 weeks gestation. He weighed 700grams at birth, which calculates to roughly 1lb and 8oz, but he lost a few grams in his first few days of life. So when I first saw Oliver he weighed only 1lb 6oz. The nurses were doing his cares at that time, so he was not under the blue photo therapy light at the time. I stood over his isolette excited, but mostly relieved. I hadn’t even seen a picture of him yet. So my imagination had pulled from my limited knowledge of premature babies and had formed an idea in my head of what he’d look like. But the relief came from seeing that in actuality, he was perfect. Just a teeny, tiny human being. Ten fingers, ten toes. A nose, a mouth and two little eyes that both opened briefly for the very first time while I stood there.
He was bigger than my imagination had construed, but not by much. The tubes and lines and monitors attached to his body would be overwhelming for someone who didn’t know what most of them were for. Thankfully I have a medical background and recognized most of the things.
Oliver is on an oscillator, which is a specific type of ventilator meant to give small continuous puffs of air instead of the traditional inflate/deflate of a vent. This is ideal to keep from injuring his already underdeveloped lungs. He is doing fabulous and they are working on weaning him off of the oscillator.
He also has a PICC line for fluids, meds and nutrition, in addition to a feeding tube. He has been taking very small amounts of donor breast milk via the tube. On Friday when I met him, he was only getting 1ml. They have been increasing as tolerated, and yesterday he was up to 5mls.
He had an umbilical line in that was continuously monitoring his blood pressure, but after five days of a perfect BP, they didn’t feel need for that anymore. So now, they check his BP with the tiniest cuff I have ever seen.
David got here yesterday and was able to meet our son. In a matter of minutes, Oliver grasped David’s finger and didn’t let go. It was so sweet to see how tightly he was holding on.
Oliver will probably have to be here until about his due date (early May). He is one week old today! We are taking things one day at a time and thanking God for everything.
Let me just share something absolutely amazing about God’s plan. Some people might say it’s only coincidence, but I know better.
Phoenix, Arizona is the place that our son was born. Not only does the mythical phoenix have a special, personal meaning to me, but it also is where my Granny Val (dad’s mom) lives. Out of all the places in the United States, this is where God chose. And because Oliver was born so early and will need to be here for several months, I will get to spend more time with my grandma than I ever have in my life.
David will be traveling back and forth between here and home for the duration of Oliver’s stay in the NICU. We have a room at the Ronald McDonald House for the time being, and if need be, I can stay with Granny. She lives a little further from the hospital than I’d like, so we are very grateful for the RMH.
Many of you have asked how you can help. Obviously, prayers are huge! Prayers especially for Oliver’s lungs as they continue to develop. We won’t get to hold him until he can be weaned off the oscillator. Pray also for David and I. Honestly, the hardest part of this is probably going to be the amount of time we will spend apart.
As far as physical ways you can help: many have asked about sending care packages. We welcome care packages, but please be aware that eventually we will be traveling back home via airplane (and with an infant!), so we don’t need a whole lot of extra things to carry. Some ideas for care packages:
1. Gift cards for toiletries and food (Walgreens, Target, McDonald’s, Sonic all nearby)
2. Parking money/vending machine money (there is a free parking lot across the street, but the deck charges. Leaving the hospital at night in the dark by myself, I’d rather be parked in the deck instead of a lot across the street)
3. A good book. Or Amazon gift card for my Kindle. (Lots of free time on my hands!)
4. Comfy socks.
5. Pens/notebooks/coloring books/colored pencils/ Bible journaling supplies.
6. Emergen-c or Airborne. ( I can’t afford to get sick!)
7. Gum. (I’m a nervous chewer and I have already started biting the inside of my cheeks again.)
8. A private jet so David can come whenever he wants! (I kid!)
Honestly, we would just enjoy getting mail of any kind! Thanks in advance for your prayers. We already feel the outpour of love!
You can send mail to
Amber Siler c/o Val Brown
3672 W. Windrose Dr.
Phoenix, AZ 85029