The Natural Bud

Blossoming into a Healthier Lifestyle

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An Operation Of Priorities

First Day

Benjamin’s Birth Day

On Saturday, August 9 Benjamin Paul Rosenberger was born.

 Two days later he was scheduled for an emergency surgery.  Here is what the surgeons explained to us the day before:

Diagram Dr. Chiweshe drew - TEF

Diagram Dr. Chiweshe drew – TEF

“It’s an operation of priorities,” Dr. Angela Kadenhe-Chiweshe said.  The surgery involves two steps:

1) Disconnect the fistula. This is top priority: the longer the esophagus is connected to the windpipe, the more chance the baby has of getting stomach acid into the lungs, which can lead to many possible problems like pneumonia.

2) Reconnect the bottom of the esophagus to the top. Benjamin was already being fed nutrition through his vein and would still be fed TPN through a PICC line after surgery until he healed enough to drink milk.

Ideally both procedures are done during one surgery, but not all babies handle the procedure well. Depending on Benjamin’s response, they may have to do two separate surgeries.  Since Benjamin was born at full-term they expected he would do well, but wanted us to be aware of all the possibilities. Dr. Kadenhe-Chiweshe also explained a few “side-effects” that almost all TEF babies have (e.g. acid reflux; Tracheomalacia – i.e. barking cough, high-pitched breathing).

Early Monday afternoon he went for his 4 hour + surgery.  When we arrived at the NICU before his surgery, they were putting the breathing tube in. We had to wait in the family lounge.  Another couple was in there also; the mother was crying over the phone. I prayed their baby was ok. Jason read a psalm and prayed with me while we waited.

As we watched them wheel him to the surgery room, I thought, this must be how Jason felt watching them take us for the c-section.  Our tiny vulnerable baby – the one we were given to protect – and there’s not a thing we could do to help.  It’s times like those that I’m thankful for a loving Heavenly Father and for the many who are praying for us; and certainly the skilled, compassionate doctors who do what we can’t.

Day 3: Surgery

Day 3: Surgery

I cried as we left our baby.  It was hard to see him like that… and hard not to think about what if… but we couldn’t focus on that.  As Jason wheeled me back to our room, I decided, if he didn’t make it – I would thank God for the time I already had with him and the precious memories we made in that first day.  (Easier to say that now, I know.)  Besides that, I wasn’t going to think about that possibility anymore.

After supper, the surgeons came into our room to tell us Benjamin was out of surgery!  They were able to complete the entire process in one surgery, as they had hoped.  Thank the LORD.



It’s Around the Corner


 “Well, this is the calm before the storm.”

Calm Before the Storm Photocredit:

Calm Before the Storm

As of Friday, August 1, I’m 37 weeks pregnant.  Technically full-term.  Our next appointment with the OBGYN is this Friday.  If I don’t deliver by then, we will further discuss the possibilities surrounding induction.  God has provided several ways for us to begin feeling more prepared for Benjamin’s arrival.

Honestly, I don’t know if you can ever feel completely prepared … but here are several of the little undeserved blessings God has poured out on us….

Tours & Consultations 

We had four appointments between Thursday, July 31 and Friday, August 1.  All three doctors we met commented that reaching 37 weeks is quite an accomplishment, in light of the polyhydramniosis.  (Polyhydramniosis: Since our baby isn’t practicing swallowing, there is more amniotic fluid around him than usual.  Mine measured 37; normal is below 25.)


Photo credit: Food Matters

Photo credit: Food Matters

In the past two weeks, we’ve finished consultations with several specialists.  Two weeks ago, we met with a neonatologist (a sweet Italian lady) and toured the NICU.  The NICU is far more attractive than I had imagined, and it helps to have a picture of where our baby will be the first several weeks of his life.  We weren’t able to get a tour of the labor and delivery rooms, but a friend who used to work at the hospital sent me a video tour of them.  They are beautiful also.

Last Thursday, we had a fetal echocardiogram and met with a cardiologist (no serious concerns as of now; they will look again after he is born).  She asked if I was still sleeping well at night.  Later in the day, we met with the pediatric surgeon, Dr. Middlesworth, to discuss common scenarios and what he would likely do.  Dr. Middlesworth stood out as more a grandfather-type than a doctor.  He sat down with us and explained everything very softly and slowly, using simple terms.

Waiting Room for Prenatal Visits

Waiting Room for Prenatal Visits

We haven’t met a single doctor who has seemed in a rush to get to the next appointment.  Each of them sits down, asks us what we already know about the baby, and proceeds from there.  When they finish talking, they sit quietly and wait for us to ask all of our questions.  The ultrasound techs and doctors who look at our sonograms laugh as they watch Benjamin move around – like they see him as an adorable baby, not just part of their job.  Each of the specialists – the neonatologist, the cardiologist, and the surgeon – has drawn a diagram for us so that they can explain scenarios more clearly.  We couldn’t have asked for better care.


Family Picture after Church

Family Picture after Church

A Place to Retreat 

The hospital in Manhattan is an hour from where we live in Staten Island.  A church in New Jersey graciously agreed to let us use their mission home for the month, which is only 15-20 minutes from the hospital.  This alone significantly reduces the stress involved with planning to get to the hospital.  It’s a beautiful, fully-furnished house, so we’ve only brought a few living necessities for the month.  My sister, a certified professional midwife, is also staying with us for a few weeks.  With the extra help and reduced distractions, we’ve been able to focus more on resting, growing in our marriage, and preparing for Benjamin.  I’m not supposed to pick up Jonathan (our toddler), so I’m even more thankful for the extra help.  My sister has helped tremendously with meals, etc., and I’ve been free to play with Jonathan every day, read, and journal.  Jonathan is having a blast here, playing all day and going outside with daddy in the evenings.