Friday, August 29, 2014

18 Weeks old and a traveling boy!

This week was a busy and exciting week for lil Walker to say the least!  It didn't start out that way though, he spent Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at home resting up and getting back to 100% after his rsv scare.  His congestion really broke up over the weekend and by Sunday night he was acting like himself.  Walker is really loving tummy times these days, he is getting strong with his body and can sort of army crawl and scoot across the floor.  He is also getting really strong with his head and he can hold it up all on his own for short periods of time.  We are so impressed with how well the lil big guy is doing and we are hoping that later this week he will hit 7lbs!

Monday Walker was being a good boy and helping Mommy to get packed and ready for the trip to New York.  There is so much to take with you when traveling with a baby and Mommy was getting it all together.  Monday night we had to go to bed early to rest up for our big day of traveling on Tuesday.

Mommy and Daddy and Granny were nervous about how Walker would do his first time flying on an airplane.  We had a straight through flight from Greensboro to New York, and Walker did amazing on the plane.  The little guy didn't make a peep, just ate his bottle, slept, and made friends with the flight crew!  Walker got his first "wings" from the flight attendant, and he even got to take his picture with the pilot!  We headed to our hotel in Times Square and got the little guy settled in.  We were able to visit with Grandma Stacey who came up to see the little guy, and Walker's cousin Phillip who lives in New York and his girlfriend Erica came by to see him for the first time.  He was in awe of all the lights in Times Square and he was wide eyed checking everything out!  What a big day he woke up in the country in Virginia and went to sleep in the big city of New York!

Wednesday was another exciting and busy day for Walker and our family.  Mommy, Daddy, Walker, Granny, and Papa headed over to NBC studios in Rockefeller Center to tape for the Meredith Vieira show.  We got to meet Meredith Vieira, who held little Walker and couldn't get over how adorable he is!  We got the Hollywood treatment with hair and makeup(Walker is so cute, he didn't need any help!), and we even had rehearsal before the taping in front of the live studio audience!  When it was time for the real thing, Walker was bright eyed and ready to go.  He looked so cute and was so well behaved, the audience loved him!  Meredith asked Mommy and Daddy a couple of questions and talked about how precious Walker is, she also gave him a big lipstick kiss right on his head!  It was such an awesome experience for us to get to travel to New York with little man, and be able to share his story of hope with everyone.  We can't wait to watch him on TV, the episode is supposed to air on October 8th at 3pm on NBC, so keep an eye out for little Walker's TV debut!  We are more certain than ever that God has some huge plans for this little guy!

We had an amazing time in New York, but Walker was ready to get back to the country life.  On the flight back from New York we had our same flight crew, and there were so excited to see how lil Walker had done in New York.  On the flight back he did as well as he did on the way down.  He ate and slept, and was checking everything on the plane out!  We are so happy that we have a traveling little boy, he is so easy going and takes everything right in stride!

Thursday after a good nights rest, Walker, Mommy, and Granny headed to Winston for Walker's appointment at Amos Cottage.  They follow preemies until they are about 2 years old.  This was Walker's first appointment and he will go every 6 months until then.  They check his weight, length, and head circumference and did some other things to assess the little guy.  The doctor said that Walker was doing great and everything looked good, which was good news for us!

Friday Mommy, Granny, and Walker rode up on the mountains and spent a couple of hours at the flea market.  Lil man was content to nap in his stroller while Mommy and Granny found some good deals.  We are so blessed at how far Walker has come, just 4 months ago he was in the hospital and now he is traveling to New York and getting all new experiences.  We are truly thankful to everyone that has prayed for our little man, we KNOW that is why he is doing so well!  We can't wait to see what else is in store for our little tough guy!

Meeting Meredith, I am staring because she is so pretty!
4 Months old!

My first airplane ride!

With my buddy the flight attendant!

Check out my wings, and my I <3 NY shirt, I am ready to go!

With the pilot!

Looking at Stacey!

Love seeing family, and meeting my cousin Phillip!

Walker in Times Square for the first time!

She thinks I am cute too!

During the show she gave me a lipstick kiss, too cute!

Glad to be back in the country and getting cuter by the second!

Friday, August 22, 2014

17 Weeks Old

Walker has had a great and eventful week since last Friday!  The doctor released us to finally be able to go out and do more and we were very ready for this opportunity!  Saturday we were able to go up to Smith Mountain Lake with little Walker, his very first trip to the lake!  Our friends Ramie and Joy invited us up for a little get together and Walker really enjoyed himself.  He got lots of love from everyone, who was so excited to see how well the little guy was doing.  We got Walker an infant life jacket and we let him get in the lake for a couple of minutes, which he really seemed to like.  We were so excited for him to be able to get into water, besides the bathtub, for the first time and we are thinking he is going to be a water baby!  Walker also got to go on a boat ride, his buddy Josh made sure so take it really slow with the little man on board.  Overall it was a great day with lots of love from everyone!

Sunday was another wonderful day, Walker got to have another amazing first, the first time at church.  We were so excited after 16 weeks to finally be able to take our little guy with us, and return to our church.  Everyone was so excited to see Walker, they have been praying for him and doing so much for us, and we were so proud to finally be able to show him off to everyone in our wonderful church family!  After church we got to go to Mamaw and Papaw's house for a delicious home cooked dinner, another thing we have been missing for the last 4 months.  It is so wonderful to finally be able to get back to our lives with our little guy who makes everything so much better!  Sunday afternoon we were able to go watch Uncle David's last soccer game, we are really going to miss him when he heads back to school in a few days!  This was an all around great weekend for Walker and for us, we are truly so blessed to be this little guy's parents!

Monday was a rainy day, and Walker got to rest up from his busy weekend.  He hung around the house and had fun napping, hanging in his swing, and getting lots of tummy time!  Monday night Walker's friend Lori, Uncle David, Granny and Papa all came over for supper and played some Rook.  Walker took everything in, and can't wait until he is big enough to join in the games with everyone!

Tuesday, Walker headed back into town with Mommy and Granny because Mommy had a couple of doctors appointments.  He was on his best behavior hanging with Granny in the car until Mommy was done, and he even got to meet Daddy for lunch afterwards.  We ran into Mommy and Daddy's friends Alicia and Jonathan, it is so great to be back home and able to see people we know!  Walker had a restful afternoon and was eating good and continuing to grow!

Wednesday Walker had an appointment in Baptist for his eyes, and he got a very good report.  The doctor said his eyes are really progressing well, and it won't be long until we don't have to see him anymore!  This is great news for us and for Walker, because these eye exams aren't any fun for him.  This is another answered prayer for us, and we are trusting that his eyes will continue to heal completely normal.  After the doctor's appointment, Granny and Uncle David and Mommy all took Walker to lunch to celebrate and then headed home!  We are so proud of Walker and the hurdles he continues to overcome on a daily basis, he is one tough little guy!

Thursday Walker had an appointment with his pediatrician for another weight check he was up to 6lbs. 11oz but he was very congested.  The pediatrician was concerned about his congestion and breathing, and she was also worried that he might have RSV so she sent us to the hospital.  They did a test for RSV and a chest xray to check the little guy out.  The RSV test came back negative, and the chest x-ray looked clear.  They put him on oxygen to help with his breathing because he is so congested.  They are also sucking him out regularly to try to keep his congestion at bay, which seems to help him and he is doing better with his eating.  They are going to continue monitoring him and see how he does before deciding when to send us home.

This morning Daddy had to head back to work, so Mommy stayed with Walker all day.  Granny, Papa, and Uncle David stopped in to see Walker on their way to JMU to drop Uncle David off for school.  Walker is really going to miss his Uncle David, but he will be finishing up his senior year at JMU.  Walker did well today, they still had him on the oxygen but only on 100 just to give him a little help with his breathing.  He was doing really well with his eating, and back up to his full feeds of a little over 2ozs.  They were still sucking him out pretty regularly to try to keep his congestion at bay.  The doctors said they will turn his oxygen off either during the night or first thing in the morning.  Once they take his oxygen we will stay for 8hrs to make sure he is going to maintain his breathing before they send us home.  We are hoping to go home tomorrow early afternoon, as long as Walker can do well and maintain his breathing and eating.

Please continue to pray that we are able to take Walker home, and he is able to fight this bronchiolitis and continue to get better.
First Sunday at church!

Happy Birthday Jodie!
First visit to Mamaw and Papaw's house!

Papaw wore me out!

At the lake with my buddy Josh!

Me and Momma hanging out on the dock!

Walker in the water with Daddy!

So cute in his floppy hat!

Walker's pal Ramie!
Visiting Daddy at work for the first time!

Walker loves Joy, it is definitely mutual.

In the hospital again.

Daddy is sad that his little boy doesn't feel well!

Friday, August 15, 2014

16 Weeks Old

After Walker passed his car seat test on Friday we were very excited to be able to take the little guy more places.  Since we can now leave him in his car seat we can keep him completely covered which makes us worry less about germs.  On Saturday we took Walker to Homestead Creamery where Mommy, Daddy, Granny, and Papa got some ice cream, maybe when Walker gets a little bigger he can enjoy the ice cream too!  Saturday afternoon we were grilled good steaks and had a cookout, Uncle David was able to join us and we even taught him how to play rook!  Since Walker was clear for the car seat, we decided to let him try out his swing.  He really seemed to enjoy the swing, and it was so sweet watching him looking around trying to figure this new experience out!

Sunday was a lazy rainy day and perfect for a nap.  We still haven't been cleared by the Pediatrician to go to church, but we are hoping as Walker gets bigger and stronger we will soon be able to go.  After lunch Walker got some "tummy time" and the little guy is really great at turning his head from side to side.  We are amazed at how well Walker is doing for someone that is only a correct gestational age of 10 days old.  They figure this out based on his due date which was July 31st so even though he is almost 16 weeks old, technically he should have only been here for 10 days.  After some exercising Walker was ready for a nap, and or course Mommy and Daddy had to take one too!  It is amazing how this lil guy makes a normal simple day something so much more special, and has taken our hearts over completely.

Monday Mommy and Granny were excited to spend another quiet day at home with Walker, we are amazed with how quickly he seems to be growing and changing each day!  Walker is doing great with his eating, taking 2oz each time, he is also sleeping at night from 4-5 hour stretches which is great for Mommy and Daddy.  Monday afternoon a lady from a newspaper in Germany called Mommy and wanted to do a story on Walker and Capturing Hopes.  We are truly amazed and humbled by all the exposure that Walker's story is getting and we have gotten countless messages from people all over the world.  We are amazed at how someone so little can touch so many people.  It is amazing the hope that his story gives people, someone told us "Walker is like a NICU Superhero giving hope to other NICU parents", and we are just proud that we were chosen to be this little miracle's parents.

Tuesday Walker had a visit from his "double Uncle Steve" who was really excited to see the little guy getting so much bigger and stronger.  He got to hold Walker and was amazed at how strong he was with moving his head around.  Walker settled right in and found a comfy spot and took a nice long nap in Uncle Steve's arms.  Tuesday afternoon Mommy had a doctors appointment so Granny and Walker hung out in the car and he ate his afternoon snack until Mommy was finished.  We are so blessed that Walker is such a content and good baby, he is use to rolling with the punches and does really well with traveling and being in the car.

Wednesday we had a follow up appointment with Walker's surgeon to check on his hernia incision.  We almost have to have a separate calendar to keep all of his various appointments straight, but we are just so blessed that the little guy is doing so well with everything he is truly a tough little fighter.  The surgeon said everything looked great and his incision looks wonderful you can hardly even see it, we are very pleased with how his surgery turned out.  Wednesday afternoon Walker got to visit Granny's house for a little while and he really likes her cradle that rocks.  He hung out with Papa on Wednesday night and did well with some more tummy time.  He almost rolled from his back to his belly, maybe in a few more weeks he will be rolling all over the place!

On Thursday Walker had a quite day and did great with his eating.  Mommy tried a real bottle, not one of the little 2oz ones from the hospital and Walker did great!  He seemed to like the faster flowing nipple and didn't get choked at all.  Thursday night Walker got to go to supper at Mimi and Bart's house and he enjoyed all the new stuff to look at for the first time.  He was wide awake almost the whole time we were there and even showed Mimi and Bart how he could turn his head over from side to side.  They enjoyed getting to spend time with the little guy and Mimi did a great job with feeding him.

Preemie babies have a ton of follow up appointments and Friday was no different, we had to go see Walker's pediatrician in Roanoke for a weight check and follow up on him.  He is up to 6lbs. 8.5 ozs which means he is gaining about one ounce per day, which the doctor said is great!  She also cleared us to take Walker out more which is amazing, we haven't been able to go to church since we brought him home over a month ago and we are so excited to get to go this Sunday!  Dr. Johnson did say to keep him away from people that are or have been sick, and to try to keep people touching him to a minimum, but we are so excited to be able to show our little miracle off!

Walker has had another great week, and we are so proud of how he is growing and getting bigger each day.  We are truly blessed for each moment we get to spend with our little miracle, an thank you to each of you for your thoughts and prayers for Walker we truly appreciate it!

Hanging in my swing!

Swinging makes me sleepy Mommy!

Look at those cheeks!

Walker and Uncle David

Tummy time, working on rolling over and turning his head!

"I can hold my passie like a big boy!"

Tummy time is exhausting!

Double Uncle Steve

Getting some loving from Uncle Steve!

After bath time, he smells so good!

Friday, August 8, 2014

15 Weeks Old

Walker had a good quiet weekend at home, and seemed to be doing great after his hernia surgery.  He got a visit from close family friends Joy and Ramie Mize who were amazed to see how far lil Walker had come since they last saw him in the hospital.  Joy and Ramie have checked on us throughout this journey and been so wonderful to offer advice and be an ear to listen.  They know what life in the NICU is life, there son was also born early and spent time in the NICU and we can't say how much they mean to us!  On Sunday night, Walker got to go on his first outing to see Uncle David playing soccer at the soccer complex.  Luckily for the lil guy it was a late game and there were only a handful of people there to watch.  He enjoyed the outside time, and getting to cheer Uncle David on.  It was a great game, and great weather outside the perfect temperature for a little guy.

However, Mommy had a serious case of the Sunday night blues...she had to work on Monday to get her classroom ready for the new school year.  It was incredibly hard on Monday for Mommy to leave Walker, even though she knew that Granny and Papa would take great care of him.  Mommy left early Monday morning and was able to get a lot done at work, and she got a few picture messages of her little guy.  Walker did great with Granny and Papa and was ready to play when Mommy got home, enjoying his tummy time!

Tuesday, Mommy took a day off to take Walker to the pediatrician for a checkup and a check of his incision.  The pediatrician said everything looked great, and the little guy was up to 5lbs. 14ozs, he is almost 5 times his original size.  Walker's incision looked great, and his glue had finally come off so she said we were able to give him a good ole tub bath!

On Wednesday, Mommy and Granny and Walker had a long but good day.  Walker had appointments in Winston, his first appointment, for his eyes went well the doctor said everything continued to look good.  Then Walker had an appointment to check his hearing, when he was in the NICU he passed for his right ear but had a rescreen for his left ear.  Today he was able to pass both ears, which is great news, and an answered prayer!  In between appointments, we were able to stop by and visit all the nurses in the NICU which was great!  They loved getting to see the chubby little guy and his adorable cheeks and Walker felt right at home with all the familiar voices and faces, one of his favorite nurses Cathy even came in on her day off to visit with Walker.  We have truly missed our NICU family, they are truly amazing people!  Wednesday night was also an exciting night for us, Walker hit a big milestone.  He had tried and gotten really close on Tuesday night, but tonight he was able to turn over for the first time, and we caught it on video!  We are so proud of our little guy, and how far he has come!  Check out the video, just click here!

Thursday Mommy went to Back to School night so she could meet her new students and parents.  Walker spent the day with Granny at her house, his first day away from home since he has come home.  Walker had a good day getting to check out his new surroundings, and Daddy even got to drop by on his lunch break to see the little guy.  He sure was missed by his Mommy though, and she couldn't get there and get her hands on him after a great day of meeting her new students and working with her sub Mrs. Gibbs (what a blessing she has been to Mommy, and knowing her students are in such great hands is another blessing!),

Friday morning Walker had another car seat test at the doctor in Roanoke, and we are really hoping that the third time is the charm!  Walker got weighed, he is up to 6lbs. 1.4ozs, which means he is over 5 times his birth weight a truly amazing gain!  After getting weighed and getting his vitals Walker had to be in his car seat for two hours hooked up to a special monitor and then the pulmonologist told us that he passed!  We are so proud of Walker and how he is growing each day, he truly is an amazing little boy.  We can't wait to drive him around in his carseat and get rid of the old car seat bed.  We can now safely use his stroller and also put him in his swing, a whole new world just got opened up for the lil guy today!  Please continue, as we know everyone has been, to pray that Walker keeps growing and gaining in leaps and bounds!  We truly appreciate every minute with our little guy and we consider everyone that has been following his journey and praying for him a part of our family,Walker is one loved lil fellow!

Joy holding lil Walker!

Ramie and his buddy RR!

Mommy sad to leave on Monday and go to work.

A few of the nurses from the NICU spoiling lil man!

They just kept coming out to love on Walker, he didn't mind it one bit!

Mommy on Back to school night, dropping Walker off at Granny's house!

Sleeping in Mommy's lap, no better feeling in the world!

One eye peeking at Mommy, love those cheeks!

Friday, August 1, 2014

July 31st, Walker's Due Date

This has been quite a week, we guess Walker wanted to make sure we were on our toes.  On Friday night, after a great week, about 1am he started to scream and cry.  He was completely inconsolable and we have never heard him cry like this before, after a couple of minutes of crying he went limp and pale.  We immediately rushed him to the emergency room in Rocky Mount, and they sent us by ambulance on to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) in Roanoke.  We arrived around 4am on Saturday morning and we stayed until Monday afternoon. While we were there the doctors drew blood and did labs and cultures to try to figure out what was going on with the little guy.

All of Walker's blood work and cultures came back normal, and they finally came to the conclusion that it could have possibly been his large inguinal hernia causing him pain.  We met with the chief of pediatric surgery there and they scheduled Walker for surgery on Wednesday and then discharged us until Wednesday morning.

At home Monday night Walker did well and Mommy and Daddy got a little rest, but were nervous about the little guy's behavior.  Tuesday, Mommy needed to get some work done, so her and Granny headed to school for a few hours.  Walker enjoyed getting to see Mommy's room and did a good job behaving while he was there.  Tuesday night was quiet, and the little guy got some much needed rest to get ready for Wednesday.

We had to stop feeding him at 5:45 on Wednesday to get him ready for surgery and they finally took the starving little boy back at 2:00.  Handing him to the nurse was the hardest thing that Mommy has ever had to do, and waiting on the surgeon to come out and tell us how he was was also completely nerve wrecking!  Walker had a lot of people in the waiting room with Mommy and Daddy which was great.  Granny and Papa, Pastor Peyton, Mimi,  Nannie and Poppie Terry, and the biggest surprise for Mommy, one of our favorite NICU nurses from Forsyth, Lisa came to check on the little guy.  What a loved little boy, we also received countless calls and messages and that was very comforting to us while we were waiting.   After about an hour the surgeon came out and said everything had gone well and Walker had handled it like a champ!  We stayed overnight for observation, which made Mommy and Daddy feel better.

Over night Walker did well, he was eating pretty good and acting like he was in a little bit of pain.  We were able to give him some Tylenol to help ease his pain and he did well all night. The surgeon came by Thursday morning to check on the little guy, and said his incision looked great, and we were able to go home.  Around 11:00am they discharged us and we headed home with the little guy.  When we got home we started checking Walker's temperature and it was heading up.  Starting at 98.9 then up to 99.5 then up to 100.0, so we called the doctor and he told us to go ahead and give Walker Tylenol and not to get too worried unless his temperature was above 100 on the medicine.  Not worrying is easier said than done for Mommy and we proceeded to check his temperature religiously for the rest of the night.  We couldn't put Walker in a cool tub because of his incision so we had to use cool rags to help keep him cool.

We were able to keep his temperature controlled over night with the Tylenol, and Walker got some pretty good rest and ate good as well.  On Friday morning Daddy had to go back to work, so Mommy and Granny promised to keep a close eye on the little guy!  Mommy spoke with the surgeon's nurse who suggested that maybe Walker was coming down with a cold, which is why he has the low grade fever.  We tried to keep Walker as isolated as possible when we were in the PICU, but with all those other children we think he could have possibly picked up some germs there.  After being in the NICU which was so protected for 80 days, his little system just isn't use to it.  This morning around 12:00, 6 hours since the last time he took Tylenol, his temperature was still down, so we are hoping his fever broke!  Please pray that Walker will be able to continue to recover well from his surgery, and soon be back to his old self!

We have also been getting messages and posts from tons of people sharing articles that feature Capturing Hopes and Walker.  It is truly AMAZING to us how far Walker's story has reached, literally all over the Globe, and we know that God has some BIG plans for this "little big guy"!
Sweet boy!

Josh and Andrew getting some love.  

Uncle David giving kisses!

Papa getting some burps!

Before his surgery, he was a champ!

Sweet angel in his way too big hospital gown!

So precious!

One our favorite nurses Lisa came to see Walker before his surgery,
what an amazing person who truly loves her job!

Can never get enough of that sweet face!

Mommy so glad to have her boy back home!