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Baby Kaden update

As anyone who follows me online anywhere knows, my spouse & I have spent the past year working toward adopting.

Our son Kaden was born 12/14 at 6:26am in Maine. He was 7lb 11ounces at birth. We are now awaiting adoption paperwork, a wait that hasn't seemed as long as I anticipated because my attention has been consumed by my son's health. 

At birth, I am told that they needed to breath for him. We arrived late the day he was born,  & as of the next morning when we received temporary custody (awaiting the next step, adoption consent), Loch or I have been at his side. For the first two days of his life, Kaden was on oxygen, morphine, verset, & supplemental nutrition via an IV. During the first 5 days of his life we went from NICU to continuing care--and on the 5th day, all of that was removed. Then my husband returned to Virginia to be with Asia & Dylan, and Kaden & I moved to pediatrics, where we now live.

Kaden has NAS Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) and is receiving methadone that is slowing being weaned. In addition, he is on clonazepam & phenonbarbital & prevacid. The doctors tell me that this is one of the worst cases of withdrawal that they've seen in years. He started on a very high dose of methadone which had to be increased twice & augmented with other meds to stabilize him, and the weaning has been very slow. Eventually, we'll get through this, but for now, we anticipate living in the hospital at least another 3-5 weeks (on top of the 17 days so far). NAS comes with all sorts of  unpleasantness 

Blotchy skin coloring (mottling)
Excessive crying or high-pitched crying
Excessive sucking
Hyperactive reflexes
Increased muscle tone
Poor feeding
Rapid breathing
Sleep problems
Slow weight gain
Stuffy nose, sneezing
Trembling (tremors)

He hasn't had any seizures, & his weight gain is not currently an issue. He lost 12ounces (dropping to 6lb 15oz), but has regained them & added more still (up to 8lb 3oz as of yesterday). The rest of those symptoms he is experiencing. For me, the tremors & crying are the hardest to deal with. He shakes so hard that I can't put him down in the crib bc he shakes himself awake. The crying is . . . well, you know how it is when someone you love hurts & you can't "fix it." It's a lousy feeling to be powerless. 

Fortunately, he is strong, and even more fortunately, we aren't anticipating any long term physical or developmental limitations as a result of this. Unfortunately, all of this means that I am living in a hospital in Maine, far from my family for the time being. My daughter has been away at college--finished her first semester with a 3.75 (!), so I'd been looking forward to having all three children together.  Dylan & Asia text, Skype, & play Words With Friends with me though so they are keeping in great touch even from this distance. Have I mentioned that I love being a mom? They are why.  

The nurses and doctors here have been amazing.  I truly couldn't ask for better care. They are experienced professional who have enormous hearts. I'm quite certain I'd be ill myself if not for them.  With very rare exception, Kaden doesn't cope well unless he's being held. I spend 18 hours a day almost every day holding him. I can't go on no sleep though, so I am grateful that many of the nurses offer to hold him for a few hours so I can get a precious 4-6 hours of sleep each day. 

So that's the update. I've posted bits & pieces on Twitter, but today is the best day he's had so far so I broke out the laptop to type up an update in response to the questions sent via msg & email from friends, family, & readers.  We'll be ok, but it's been a rough few weeks & will continue to be so for several more weeks, probably a month more, but possibly up to 2 more months at worst.

That said, every minute of this is worth it for me. I feel grateful that the Universe has allowed me to be Kaden's mother & already love him as I do my eldest two kids. We bonded quickly, & I'm honoured & thrilled to be his mom. Some of you have commented that I am doing a good thing. I'm not really. I'm doing the same thing I did when I became a mother the first 2 times: I'm filling my arms with a wonderful little human. This isn't about changing the world. It's about the fact that I love motherhood above all else. Being a mom is, without a doubt, the most satisfying, coolest thing I've ever done--and it's just as awesome the third time.  The first time, I had surgery, bed rest, & hellish labour.  The second involved years of court battles & working an extra job to pay legal bills. This time, it's a few months in the hospital. It's worth it. Motherhood is wonderful.

Much love to all of you who have sent your messages of support & your prayers in your various faiths. We appreciate every one of those.  


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 31st, 2012 05:32 pm (UTC)
Prayers have gone up from this place here. We wish you the best this new year -- you, your family and Kaden's health. Poor mite. He's very blessed to have you all looking out for him and loving on him as you are in return obviously. ♥
Dec. 31st, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
Kaden is lucky to have you, a Mom that loves him unconditionally. That is something not everyone gets.
Dec. 31st, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
Sending good thoughts to your family!
Dec. 31st, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
I'll continue to send HUGS and healing thoughts Kaden's way -- and happy family thoughts to all five of you!
Jan. 1st, 2013 01:43 am (UTC)
Living in a hospital, taking care of somebody is a very exhausting task but when you see them making progress is all very rewarding, it's completely worth it (talking by experience ;) ) =)
I hope you're son gets better very soon!! And take of yourself too, you'll need strength to be his strength.
Mary Brebner
Jan. 1st, 2013 02:42 am (UTC)
My hopes and prayers are with you and the newest addition to your family. It's an incredibly difficult thing your son is going through but he's lucky to have you all in his life. Here's to a fabulous 2013!
Jan. 1st, 2013 04:13 am (UTC)
Every child is a gift!
Every child is gift! We need more people who wish to protect them. They are our future.
Jan. 1st, 2013 02:41 pm (UTC)
Congratulations to you and your family, Melissa. Best wished for little Kaden and I hope he gets to go home with you soon.

Jan. 1st, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
You have always been one of my favorite authors - you are now one of my favorite human beings as well. THank you for saying what you did about motherhood. I feel that nothing is as hard, or as rewarding - and keep up the good work - you obviously do a great job at it. Love and health to ALL of your family!
Jan. 2nd, 2013 03:06 am (UTC)
Thinking of you and your family, wishing you all the best (most especially to the little guy).
Teresa Drelick
Jan. 2nd, 2013 04:59 am (UTC)
My thoughts are with you
You are a blessing to that little one. I'll look forward to hearing how his life moves forward. :)

Love and Hugs! Teresa
Jan. 2nd, 2013 02:09 pm (UTC)
That is both heartbreaking and fantastic, Melissa. Congrats to you and your family and I'll keep you all in my thoughts.
Jan. 2nd, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
I know how it is to be a mother & to hold that precious baby & make the world a warmer, more secucre placce. I want to adopt someday like you. I bet Kaden knows he is loved & protected by you. :) Much love. From one mama to another.

Jan. 2nd, 2013 08:29 pm (UTC)
The power higher than us knew exactly what it was doing when it put you and Kaden together. I'll continue to pray for your entire family.
Jan. 3rd, 2013 05:45 am (UTC)
Congratulations on the newest addition to your family! I'm sorry to hear that Kaden is hurting so much but at least he has such a loving family. Praying that you will all get to be together soon as a family.
Jan. 3rd, 2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
Praying for You Both
First of all, congratulations. I'm so glad you two are together now, even under these trying circumstances. You're tough, and little Kaden is lucky to have you. What a bond you're forming, and right from the start.

I can't imagine how difficult it is, though, being away from the rest of your family and watching the little guy struggle like this. I'll be praying for all of you and looking forward to the great news that Kaden is well and the two of you are home.

Postscript one: three cheers for great nurses!

Postscript two: an additional three cheers for Asia!

Best wishes,
John Dixon
Jan. 3rd, 2013 05:01 pm (UTC)
I cannot deeply express enough how I wish you and your family the very best! I have 2 kids who are now, 23 and 19. When my son was born, he had a few problems that caused him to stay in the hospital for 9 days that seemed like an eternity! He had tubes all over and in him and after the 2nd day, I wasn't allowed to touch him any longer because he recognized me and that caused him to get excited and his blood pressure would rise. (THAT was a horrible experience to not be able to touch my new born child!) On the 4th day, we received a phone call that told me to come to the hospital immediately and to prepare to bury my child. (Come to find out the nurse had over reacted and the Neurosurgeon was furious with her.) Regardless, I can not even imagine needing to have my son/child in a hospital for the length that you do and yet people have to endure this heart wrenching experience daily. I am sending you Strength and Love through Jesus' name!

God Bless and best wishes!! Please keep us posted!

Jan. 3rd, 2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
I've not been keeping up with you lately, but this showed up in my Goodreads feed, and I'm now sending prayers and good thoughts your way. I'm glad to hear that Kaden is improving, and I hope things continue to smooth out!
Jan. 3rd, 2013 10:16 pm (UTC)
Congratulations Mom! I have 3 adopted children. No one who hasn't adopted can believe the instant bonding that happens when your baby arrives. I spent a month in the hospital with my daughter, Felicity Joy, who was barely 3 pounds. It was very hard, but I treasure every second I was there loving her! She is still my joy, happy and healthy at 15 years old! I am so happy that Kaden has been blessed with you, and you have been blessed with him. I pray for you both, may you have smooth and peaceful sailing ahead!

Jan. 3rd, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
congratulations to you all and best wishes.
What a beautiful blog, and what a joy that Kaden has been received by such a wonderful person and family. I wish you both all the strength you need to recover from this challenging beginning. Respect to the medical staff and best wishes to you and your family for 2013.
Jan. 5th, 2013 01:23 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that Kaden is having to endure so much. I am a neo nurse, and caring for babies with NAS is always frustrating, because normal comfort measures don't work. Remain patient, and it does get easier. Bless you for caring enough to take this on. I'm praying that Kaden starts to improve soon.

Kristi Herbrand
Jan. 5th, 2013 01:41 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful story to start my day with - thank you so much for sharing your journal. I agree that there is nothing better than holding your baby in your arms! My prayers are with you and Kaden and the rest of your family. Enjoy him!
Jan. 6th, 2013 11:53 pm (UTC)
Best wishes to your family.
Prayers that Kaden continues to make progress and your whole family can be together soon !
Also glad to hear college is going well for your oldest !
Nat Alie
Jan. 7th, 2013 08:30 am (UTC)
I hope you can all get home soon, and start to enjoy life together properly.
I have to agree motherhood is the best most fulfilling thing in the world...xoxo
Jan. 9th, 2013 12:54 pm (UTC)
Good wishes
I'm very moved by your story, and send love and good wishes to you and your family. So good that Kaden has you to hold him and that you feel so blest to be mother to him.
Feb. 4th, 2013 09:06 pm (UTC)
Sending hugs and prayers to you and Kaden. You all are very lucky to have each other.
Feb. 5th, 2013 04:21 am (UTC)
I saw your update on facebook and I'm glad to hear things are starting to look up.

My thoughts and love are with your family— new members and all.

Have baby Kaden listen to some Adam Hurst. Hell, make Adam Hurst come to your house. :)

Hope to see you at faeriecon again,
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )