Coming home

April 17, 2013 | 86 comments

Great news: The baby is on track to come home late Thursday night! We’re thrilled.

We still don’t understand what caused the tearing in his lungs when he was first born; the doctors think it was either underdeveloped lungs (which would be weird since we induced past the 38 week mark) or pneumonia or both. He spent a week with tubes in both sides of his chest to release excess air that was building up in his chest cavity.

In addition to our concerns about his health, these tubes meant that nobody could hold him. Seeing my baby crying and not being able to pick him up aged me about a thousand years in the course of those few days.

Because he’s old enough to be quite alert, we’ve tried to have someone there with him pretty much all the time. He was transferred from the hospital where he was born to a Level III NICU at a hospital 30 minutes away from us, which has meant a lot of driving around. With five other young children at home, you can imagine how exhausting that’s been.

One of the ways that I am certain that your wonderful prayers were answered was that we had previously arranged for my aunt to come visit for a week (hey, God is outside of time, so perhaps it was retroactive divine inspiration?). Back when the thought first came to mind it was a spontaneous idea to have her come hang out to meet the new baby and pal around with the other kids. It seemed like it would be a fun little vacation; we could have never imagined how critical her presence here would end up being! She goes home today, and the baby most likely will come home tomorrow. Perfect timing.

I apologize that I have not been responding to emails, tweets, and other kind messages. After all the concerns about my health, all of us were absolutely floored when I was fine and the baby had major problems. On top of a difficult labor and an even more difficult few months leading up to it, it’s been all I can do to put one foot in front of the other to get through this situation. Things have been going surprisingly well and we’ve been blessed with an unbelievable support network, but worrying about the baby’s health + recovering from the birth and all the medical procedures leading up to it + running back and forth to a hospital that’s not nearby + arranging childcare for our five other kids + making sure the other kids’ emotional needs are met + making sure Joe was able do his CPA work before the tax deadline has left me utterly drained all the time.

When I do have down time I’ve been disconnecting and completely losing myself in books. I don’t surf the web, read blogs, get on Twitter, check email, or any of the stuff I’d normally do; instead, I jump into the world of a book and immerse myself in it totally. Normally I’m not a big fiction reader, but in this case it’s just what the doctor ordered to spend a couple of hours a day in a world other than my own. It’s like a balm for my overheated brain.

Thank you so much again for your kind words, prayer, and support. More updates soon!


  1. Jenny

    Praise God Jen, you are so strong. Which is, I’m sure, the opposite of how you feel. Joseph is so beautiful, and I’m so happy you’ll have him in your arms at home tomorrow night!!

  2. Kerri

    Precious boy… God is good!

  3. Mandi @ Messy Wife, Blessed Life

    What a blessing! So happy all seems to be well. You’ve been in my prayers. A lot! I hope you’ll eventually share those fiction books that are helping you lose yourself for a while. I’m not usually into fiction but I would like to try it more.

  4. Amanda Rose

    Praise God for His goodness! Take care and enjoy baby, home, and those books! And hey, no more torturous medical treatments!

  5. Abigail Benjamin

    Oh how heartbreaking to not be able to hold him. Praise God it looks like he’ll be home in a few days. We’ll keep everyone in our prayers. You’ll sleep so much better with all the kids sleeping under the same roof!

  6. Kathy

    My heart goes out to you and yours, I am so happy to hear that your little man will be coming home soon – give yourself and all of you lots of time to find the new normal. You remain in my prayers and congratulations!

  7. Christine

    Your face is radiant in that picture! I’m so very glad the baby is found better and that your family will be reunited soon.

  8. Colleen Martin

    Thanks be to God! My 5th baby had jaundice (most of my kids did, actually) but they made us stay in the hospital for 5 days until his level got low enough. Just setting him under the lights, crying, not being able to pick him up, and having him in the same room as me the whole time was the closest i’ve ever come to a complete breakdown. And that was only jaundice. You did awesome, and soon all if this will just be a memory and you can get on with some serious baby bonding time ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Amelia

    So glad things are improving and your sweet boy will be home soon! You are both beautiful in that picture.

    You’ve certainly had your share of trials this year…prayers that the rest of it is calm and peaceful and uneventful.

  10. Sara

    Such good news! Now that the 15th is past, I hope you will be able to rest, rest, rest when the baby is home. Snuggle up with him and stay there while Yaya takes over! ๐Ÿ™‚ God bless your family.

  11. Amanda Vines

    I’m so happy for you all at such good news. I can only imagine the emotional and physical exhaustion you are experiencing. I hope you are all able to rest and recuperate and enjoy some solid family time very soon!

  12. Marie Meints

    So glad he is coming home soon! I hope you have a peaceful and restful week.

  13. LeAnna

    So glad to hear that things are working out. You’ve been in my family’s thoughts and prayers!

  14. Martha

    What a strain on you and your family! I am so glad you’ve had a support network to help you, but you know if you need anything, just let all of us know! Your readers love you!

  15. Lisa Schmidt

    Praise God! Wonderful news, Jen. The domestic smells and bells have been challenging your senses in very unique and confusing ways lately, huh? I reckon good fiction is just what the Holy Doctor ordered.

  16. Catholic Mutt

    I’m so glad to hear he’s doing better and coming home soon! Will be continuing to pray for everyone’s recovery, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well!

  17. Anne McD

    God is so good! I’m so glad to hear that you are closer to the light at the end of the current tunnel! Your little guy is so cute, and you look so happy with him! God bless, and I’m so glad things are going well!!

  18. Catherine Boucher

    So glad you and Baby are both doing well! What a wild ride it’s been. I’ll be praying that you are able to have some “normal” family time with your sweet new baby at home. Take good care!

  19. Teri

    Family comes first! No explanations needed! Continued prayers!

  20. Ellie

    Sweetheart, don’t you worry one little bit over not being online, or able to respond to emails etc! You are doing exactly what you need to:: caring for self and baby! I am so glad to hear that he is doing better and is set to some home soon, what a relief for all of you. Love, prayer, and rest in the arms of your family, that’s all that’s needed right now. The internet will still be here when you get back ๐Ÿ™‚ . {{hugs}}

  21. Scott Alt

    So glad that everything is going well for all of you. I’m sure that if I were in your shoes, I’d be retiring from blogging for the year. Take care of yourself first.

    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

  22. Ginny

    We’ve been praying every day, and I intentionally did not email you ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t begin to imagine how difficult these past days and weeks have been for you and your family, and am so glad Joseph is coming home soon!

  23. Peg

    So happy for you and your family! And in regard to the Lord foreseeing your need for help ahead of time, I love the verse from Isaih 65:24, “Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hearken to them.” (NAB)

  24. Maggie @ From the Heart

    You are a super hero! I am barely keeping my head above water with just two boys at home… I can’t imagine how tough all this must be for you! Thinking and praying for you and your little one!

    I don’t blame you one bit for disconnecting from Internetlandia… I have taken a break from facebook and some of the message boards I follow because it has just become too much for me!

  25. Debbie Wilson

    So happy for you! Praise God!

  26. Rosita

    I am so glad to hear this. Our family will continue to keep your family in our prayers.

  27. TheresaEH

    OHMYgoodness!!! there is enough suffering that was offered up that this baby will be a priest or a saint ๐Ÿ˜‰
    very glad things are settling down.

  28. Tricia

    So sorry for all you have gone through- my 4 year old was born 3 1/2 months early and I know too well how terrible it is to watch your baby suffer and not be able to hold him. I have been praying for you throughout this time and I’m so glad to hear he is almost ready to come home!!! God bless you all.

  29. Christine

    He looks beautiful. You have been through so much! Praying for you and your family.

  30. Anne

    Praise God! I am so glad he’s doing better and is close to coming home. God bless your aunt and all who have helped you. God bless YOU, Jen. ๐Ÿ™‚ What a strong woman. And don’t worry about being online. We are totally behind. Enjoy your books. And your little Joseph looks soooo sweet.

  31. drustee

    Praise God.
    Thank you Jennifer for the update.
    Congratulations on your lovely baby!
    You have been carrying a heavy cross Jen, I have no doubt God will work a great good out of it.
    Will keep praying for you.

  32. JC

    Congratulations on the baby. Hopefully it will be smoother sailing once you get him settled at home.

    “When I do have down time Iโ€™ve been disconnecting and completely losing myself in books. I donโ€™t surf the web, read blogs, get on Twitter, check email, or any of the stuff Iโ€™d normally do; instead, I jump into the world of a book and immerse myself in it totally. Normally Iโ€™m not a big fiction reader, but in this case itโ€™s just what the doctor ordered to spend a couple of hours a day in a world other than my own. Itโ€™s like a balm for my overheated brain.”

    If you’re looking for some suggestions, how about the Father Brown stories by Chesterton. Take care!

  33. Denise

    Praise God! I’m so glad to hear that your baby will be home soon. You’ll all still be in our prayers.

  34. Julie

    When you mentioned watching your baby cry and not being able to do anything about it my stomach (womb??) literally ached. So glad that you can now hold your little one and will soon bring him home!

  35. Leanne

    Yay! so glad little Joseph’s coming home! Seems like his lung issues was one of those things the doctors can’t explain, eh? Keeping you both in my prayers.

  36. Amanda

    Well praise God that your little one is coming home soon! So many prayers for you and your family during all the chaos. May He share His strength with you even more than He already has =)

  37. Jenna@CaIllHerHappy

    You are on my mind and in my prayers all day long!

    I am so happy to hear this news ๐Ÿ™‚ And, please don’t ever feel guilty about not responding to communication. We all know how difficult this must be. If my only other help to you can be to say “please don’t respond!”, then that is it!

  38. victoria

    Glad to hear everything’s looking good for you and Joseph. No need to apologize for ANYONE about doing what you need to do to get through this situation!

    (Not sure if you’ve ever come across Ring Theory for who has the right to complain/kvetch during a health crisis, but check out Tl;dr: no one has the right to dump on you about anything you’re doing right now!)

  39. Grace

    Hang in there, Jen! We hope this period passes quickly and you have peace and calm again. Much affection will be coming to that baby soon, it is sure.

  40. Will

    Oh, for heaven’s sake, don’t be silly. You owe us nothing. Take care of yourself, your baby, and your family. We’ll keep. God bless all of you.

  41. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    Oh, Jen, I’m so thrilled to hear he is coming home! I was hoping the lull in news was just that you were taking time to disconnect and be with your beautiful family and wee little one. I can’t imagine the heartache of watching that little guy suffering and not be able to sweep him up in your arms and smother him with mama love to nurse him to health. Still praying for you all. Thank you for taking the time to write a little update. Unplug away. We will still be here when the dust settles!

  42. Jamie

    Great news! I can’t imagine how terrifying all that just have been. ๐Ÿ™ continued prayers!!

    I really love how you describe reading fiction as a balm for an over heated brain. Perfect!!


  43. Tanya

    So happy he gets to go home soon! I will pray that it will be a good transition.

  44. Kathryn

    This experience will never leave you, it will shape your life forever. Jen, I pray you’ve felt the peace coming from so many prayers. We are elated you’re coming home soon, as a family of 8. There is no greater joy.

  45. Kathleen Basi

    For what it’s worth, when my fourth was born a year and a half ago, I learned a term I’d never heard before: Wimpy White Boy. My little guy was born at 37 weeks, still well past “term,” and had a ridiculous amount of trouble breathing–was in NICU for ten days. They told me Caucasian male babies are most likely to have trouble with respiratory issues at birth. I’m so glad you’re coming home! There’s nothing like it!

  46. Kara

    I’m so glad he’ll be home soon. I can’t even imagine the stress. <3

  47. Irenic

    Wonderful! ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. Kelly M.

    Yay for homecomings! Prayers as you make your way back home and everyone adjusts to the new normal. I can imagine the deafening squeals of delight. What a joy to all be together under one roof. Makes me feel like singing.

  49. jen

    Praise God that Joseph will be home tomorrow!

    I totally get immersing yourself in a book. It was amazing how many books I read while Daniel (my preemie who just turned 4) was in the NICU. It was a really good way of making things go away in between care times for him.

  50. Natalie Trust

    You are so gracious to be giving anyone any updates after what you’ve been through!! So thankful your precious one will be home with you soon. Peace upon you as you rest and recover and snuggle your baby boy.

  51. Paul H

    I am very happy to hear that you are doing well and that the baby is improving and coming home soon. Congratulations on the new baby! And I love your name choice; we have sons named Thomas and Joseph.

  52. Wendy from Zoom

    I’ve been praying for you, Jen. Two of my six had substantial NICU stays, including the sixth when I had 5 little ones at home. It was horrific at the time, but it passes, and it’s something I hardly ever remember now. What remains is learning to trust God at a time when there was nothing else possible. That and the joy of my little boy – now 5!

  53. Lauri

    Such good news for your family! I pray things will be back to normal (whatever that is) very soon. God Bless!

  54. Kelly

    You have been in my prayers here in Minnesota.
    Thanks be to our loving God!

  55. Bonnie

    Walkin’ on the water, Jen, just walkin’ on the water. When something in my life “blows up” and gets chaotic and frenzied and my emotions are like a roller coaster, I always think of St. Peter walking on the water . The disciples were in a boat on a lake in a storm without Jesus, and they saw Him walking toward them on the water, and Peter asks Jesus to let him come to Him. And Peter walks on the water…aka, does the impossible, because of his faith in Jesus. I love that story when things are going crazy…because I know during times like that, I’m just walkin’ on the water.
    God bless you. Thanks for updating us. If I were you I’d be reading science fiction short story anthologies (Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, stuff like that) so if one story gets boring, you just turn to the next story. Good to relax by.

  56. Susan McAlinden

    Oh, I am SO GLAD, Jen! Having 4 myself and LOVING babies and kids, I felt awful for you! I prayed fervently for you and for baby to be reunited and be healthy. This was GREAT news! I can’t believe how much you had to run around and even be separated from each other! God is so good to quickly bring you back together and all of you back together as a family. Thanks for the wonderful post!

  57. Laura M

    I am so happy to hear that, it seems like forever since the clots in your lungs were discovered and tomorrow the story will finally have a happy ending.

  58. Jessica

    I am so relieved to hear this news. I simply cannot fathom how stressful and difficult this all has been you. I felt like my heart twisted up just READING about your not being able to hold the baby! I am so, so happy that he is coming home!

    Thank you, Jesus!

    Thank you, Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, Saint Thomas, and all angels and saints for your prayers!

  59. Patty

    No need to apologize or explain, Jennifer! Don’t worry about us! Take care of yourself and your family first. Many prayers for the health of your baby and you. Take care and God bless.

  60. Michelle

    I am so glad to hear things are looking up! You have been in my morning prayers!!

  61. ashley.elise

    Thank you, Lord! What wonderful news ๐Ÿ™‚ And we will keep praying!

  62. polly

    So very happy for this update!

  63. Kathy

    Jen, we are praying for you and your intentions from Spain with my four little girls, (8, 6, 3, years old, and the litlle one 20 months old).
    God loves you so much…
    Kathy, Fiona, Mara, little Kathy and Ana

  64. Elisa | blissfulE

    Praise God for books! And for holding a beautiful, breathing baby!!!

  65. Nicole

    This is a very tough time for you, but you are doing it! I am praying for you, that you get some rest, that things go smoothly from here on (for a while!) and that baby continues to do well and your family adjusts to the new sweet little member. I have had difficult pregnancies, difficult deliveries, followed by more difficulties and then MORE difficulties – it is… difficult to say the least. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would beg God for just a reprieve, and it did finally come. Hang in there! Offer these things up (you already are, I’m sure) for all the intentions of His Sacred Heart. You look beautiful, baby looks beautiful, and life really is beautiful even when it is hard! Blessings to you and your family!

  66. Lisa V.

    Wonderful news! I’m glad you are doing well under the crazy circumstances. I had a few moments leading up to you having Joseph where I thought to myself, “I don’t know how she’s doing it.”, in particular with your health concerns. I pray that Joseph continues to heal. (I have a 2 yr old Joseph myself, love that name) My prayers continue to be with you and your family. And keep on enjoying those fiction books.

  67. Megan at SortaCrunchy

    Jen – one of our twins had to spend some time in the NICU and I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced anything so challenging. It is no small thing, and you have NOTHING for which to apologize.

    You just draw a big, wide circle of grace around yourself, Mama, and settle in for a proper babymoon. So thankful everyone is home.


  68. Abigail Benjamin

    Homecoming tonight! So sweet! Prayers for an easy transition home!

  69. Cottage By The Sea

    Congratulations on your new baby coming home. I’m so relieved that things seem to be calming down now, and your family can just enjoy each other. Many Blessings, Tia

  70. Joy @ Caspara

    Oh, I can only begin to imagine how hard this week has been for you! When my second was born, there were some poor circumstances (a bad L&D nurse, a husband making long-distant overseas calls from elsewhere, a faulty call button, etc) that meant she had to lie in the heated bassinette for three unnecessary hours, crying while I was tethered to my iv in the bed. And just that short amount of time was enough to make me almost crazy. My heart and prayers go out to you! Take care of yourself if you can!

  71. Abigail Benjamin

    Hope you are home tonight!!!

  72. Andrea Parunak

    Praise the Lord! I am so thankful to hear that things are going better and that *maybe* you are finally all home together ready for a much deserved babymoon.

  73. Dorian Speed

    I’m so, so, SO, so happy for you! Wonderful news and I hope he’s snuggling in nicely at home. Way to go!

  74. Jen

    Eeek! I’m glad he’s doing ok now. He’s so beautiful!
    My doctor wants to induce me around 38 weeks because of my clotting disorder and my previous loss post dates, but I’ve read that babies are much more likely to have breathing problems before 39 weeks so I’ve been trying to convince him to put it off since I’ll be having constant NSTs and BPPs. This has convinced me even more!

    I hope everything is settling in well at home!

  75. Beth

    How wonderful. God’s timing is amazing. 2 book recs:

    1. Olive Kitteridge. This was a Pulitzer prize winner a couple of years ago. Great read. I have it on good authority that Frances McDormand optioned the book and is working on a mini-series.

    2. First Service: The amazing story of how God directed Andrea Jaeger and led her to create a children’s charity. It’s truly an incredible story.

    Get some rest and enjoy that babymoon-though I’m not sure there really is one with 5 other little ones at home.

  76. Laura

    I’m so glad to hear little Joseph is home. God bless your sweet first days together.

  77. Jeff

    “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
    the fruit of the womb a reward!” (Psalm 127:3)

    Jennifer, I sympathize with your battles, as my first child was premature and with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) The second child had damaged kidneys from Hydronephrosis with Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) & since early 2008, has one of his mother’s kidneys (or he would not still be with us today!)
    Thank God for His Love, Grace, Mercy, and giving us wisdom to both pray and seek excellent medical assistance. I believe in miracles, but even St. Paul said, “Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, WHO WAS ILL, at Miletus.” (2 Timothy 4:20) Stewards of our bodies and our progeny’s health? You-betcha!

    ~ Jeff

    Here is an interesting Christian Fiction title, though on the “spiritual warfare” side of things: (I thought of it as I saw your 23 July 2012 JH video with Marcus Grodi @EWTN)

    “This Present Darkness” by Frank E. Peretti

  78. Sophia

    Congrats and I am so happy for you and baby. I

  79. Nichole Causey

    I’m so releaved you and the baby are doing okay. My prayers are with you and your family.

  80. Karen

    I did that with my #8. hellish pregnancy, 37 weeker with unexpected problems (same as your baby-pneumothorax), NICU stay, other kids at home.
    I must have spent 20 hours a day sitting next to his warmer although our stay was short, only a week.

    Please, please, PLEASE get your rest. After being barely functional for most of the pregnancy then hitting the NICU right after birth, I went home and had to get things back together and didn’t have a baby week let alone a baby moon. It took months, probably close to a year for me to recover because I never really took the time to rest and heal. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

  81. Larry

    Yay! God is sooo good!

  82. Jenny Rummans

    I am glad to hear that little Joseph is doing well enough to come home soon! I have been praying for you in a special way, because I too have a gaggle of Thrombophilias, had a massive PE when our premie was 2 weeks old, had a NICU baby that I could not hold for 5 days, and during the ICU stay (for the PE) I could not even see little Gianna for a week, because I was at a different hospital. I feel your pain, but most importantly I understand how to pray for you. After Gianna, we welcomed Joseph and Dominic with the help of amazing doctors, Lovenox and Heparin injections, and massive amounts of grace. Navigating the road you are on, while still maintaining a strong, catholic, respect-life stance… Is well… Lets just say… It’s as rare as the clotting disorders we have. Just know you are not alone, and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns, or just to have someone to talk to who has been through what you are experiencing. Our little 3 pound Gianna ( her placenta failed b/c of blood clots and is truly a miracle) is now a healthy, spunky, normal 7 year old. Every time I look at her I am overwhelmed by the mercy and loving protection of God. We are praying for you from Peoria, Il. May God bless and protect your family!

  83. Patty V

    Congrats to the whole family for that sweet baby boy!

    Seriously, I would just check out the Bento cookbook from the library, read the food suggestions here, make a list of lunches, and serve it on plates. Save the fancy presentation for birthdays and holidays. One fun thing we did for lunch was an indoor picnic, usually held in the dead of winter. Spread an old quilt on the floor and serve lunch there. They loved it.

    Now go snuggle that baby and keep things simple for yourself.

  84. Patty V

    Whoa, I don’t know how I did that but I managed to leave my comment under the wrong blog post! Now that takes talent.

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