Birth Announcement … and Complications

Aaron Jacob Gipe was born two days ago, on 29 July, at 9:33 am. I’m sorry it’s taken a couple days to get the news out, but he is currently in the NICU, and we have been pretty busy.

He’s a beautiful and big boy; he weighed in at 9 pounds, 10 1/2 ounces, and was 22 inches long.

There have been some complications, and we continue to work through many issues. This will be a long post, and I’ll attempt to convey most of what we know at this point. I have set up a FaceBook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/517986515021691/) where we’ll try to provide a single place for the continuing updates.

Aaron’s due date was estimated as 28 July. Dani had an appointment on Monday, and everything looked great. They set up an appointment to induce her on 5 August. Dani woke up Wednesday morning thinking her water had broken, but it turned out to be blood. We got her to Labor and Delivery right away, and a few minutes later they were performing a C-section.

There was blood both inside and outside the uterus. They are uncertain as to the exact cause, but it likely had something to do with a placental abruption. Due to decreased oxygen flow, blood in the amniotic fluid, and the stress of the delivery, Aaron’s heart rate was low, and his blood oxygen levels were low. We do not know how much oxygen he was deprived, nor do we know for how long.

Dani has had no complications recovering from the surgery, and she was released 13 hours later. She is sore and tender, but doing exceptionally well. She has been in the NICU with Aaron since she was released.

Aaron was transported to another hospital in town, Providence, that has a NICU. They immediately put him on a cooling pad, and will continue to keep his body at 92.3 degrees until a little after noon tomorrow, at which time they will begin to slowly warm him back up to normal temperature. This cooling is intended to do many things, to include keeping Aaron’s brain from swelling.

Aaron’s condition is known as Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE. Basically, it’s a lack of oxygen to the brain. They rate HIE with three levels – mild, moderate, and severe. The Doctor told us last night that he rates Aaron as moderate. Aaron is currently experiencing seizures, as well as some issues with his organs.

Priority 1 has been to try and get the seizures under control; they have adjusted his medication a few times, and we have started to see significantly less seizure activity over the last several hours.

Priority 2 has been his kidneys. He was not producing any urine, which indicated potential issues with is kidneys. They did an ultrasound of his kidneys yesterday, and were able to see a little bit of urine in his bladder, and some blood flow in his kidneys. He finally peed this morning at around 3 am, and has peed twice since. These are great signs!

They are also watching the rest of his body functions and organs, such as his heart, lungs, liver, and blood. Most of his vital signs are looking good, but we are far from out of the woods. It is very likely that his organs will fully recover.

We do not know yet what the extent of the damage to Aaron’s brain is. We should start to get some indication within the first couple of days after he starts to warm up tomorrow, and it may be a few years before we are aware of the full extent. It is entirely possible that there will be no long term effects. The things we will be watching for are impaired motor function, delayed developmental milestones, and delayed growth. If there are lifelong effects, it will likely be motor skills, i.e. cerebral palsy, but impacts to his cognitive development is possible as well.

So, for now, we wait, we watch, and we pray. This NICU has been awesome. We’ve heard that they have been rated in the top 10 in the nation, and we have no trouble believing that. They treat us as if we are part of their medical staff, and they care for Aaron as if he is part of their family. Since he is still on the cooling pad, we have not been able to hold him, but we are able to stand at his side, talk to him, and touch and kiss him all we want. We have been able to stay with him 24×7.

We have some great friends that are helping take care of the other kids, and Dani’s parents will be coming into town tomorrow night to hang out with them. We’re continually overwhelmed with the love and support from you all.

We know many of you feel helpless, and we are tempted to feel the same at time, but remember that we all have the constant and unhindered access to our Savior and Creator. Before he formed Aaron in Dani’s womb months ago, He already knew him and had plans for him (see Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:14, Jeremiah 29:11). We ask that you continue to pray for Aaron’s recovery, for wisdom and discernment for the doctors and nurses, and above all else, for God’s will to be done.

As Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Ephesus: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” -Ephesians 3:14-21

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