Amelia’s Dedication (Sunday, August 19, 2012)


Amelia (& Hector) update

It has been so great to have Amelia home!  Not having her with us 24-7 for 25 days had made even the times that we have to get up in the middle of the night so sweet (when we’re awake enough to remember them ;-)).  Wednesday, August 15, Amelia was a month old.  Mommy & Grandma Gwen took Amelia for a check-up & she’s doing great.  She’ll still be on iron until 3 months old as well as a common baby multi-vitamin.  She’s still pretty gassy, but we’ve started giving her baby gas relief drops & her tummy’s been much better.  Her weight (compared to her height) is still a little low, but easily expected after being so sick & we expect she’ll have no problem now that she’s home & eating so well!  She did great on all her “reflex tests”.  Friday Daddy & Mommy took her to be vaccinated against tuberculosis & her first hepatitis B shot.  She didn’t like the pricks, but quickly got over it… two little shots are nothing compared to what this girl’s been through.  She’s a very happy & observant baby.

Her official stats (birth first & then 1 month):
Weight: 5 lbs 8.5 oz (2.5 kg… when she was most critical, her weight had dropped down to 2.3 kg = just about 5 lbs) – 5 lbs 10 oz
Length: 48 cm (18.9 in) – 51 cm (20.1 in)
Head Circ.:  33.5 cm (13.2 in) – 34 cm (13.4 in)

The major challenge this week has been working on getting her off the bottle.  It’s completely understandable, but Amelia got into a bad habit of being bottle fed (much easier for her & she’d get full a lot faster- also probably part of her gas problem).  She’s still breast fed some while in the hospital & at home, but when she’s very hungry gets frustrated & then mad… we know her lungs are better & so do the neighbors.  There are no lactation consultants in the DR, no real support for lactation frustration in Jarabacoa, but a friend in the States helped with some tips, encouragement & guidance via Facebook chat the other night & we’re now going on almost 2 days of almost only breast feeding.  Amelia’s proving to be strong-willed even at only a month old & gets pretty upset when she’s hungry & will not suck or stop crying.  Daddy (& Grandma when Daddy’s at work) have been great help at getting Amelia calmed down in these times to try again.  We’re trying to be ready for feeding before she gets overly hungry.  When she is overly hungry, Mommy will give her a half ounce or ounce from the bottle, burp her & then she latches onto the breast with very little problem.  Poor kid, breaking this bottle addiction is tough, sometimes she just needs something to take the edge off a little ;-).  Hopefully in the next day or two the bottle can completely be put away, except for when Mommy can’t be with Amelia.  Up until now, PTL for breast pumps & bottles, but it’s a lot of work having to do the work as if breast feeding & bottle feeding (pumping, sterilizing bottles, bagging & freezing & unfreezing milk, feeding).  We know that the fact that she’s had breast milk, even while in the NICU has helped her so much & we’re so thankful that Mommy is “a good cow”.

We’ve talked with Hector’s mom & wanted to let you know that he’s home (released a day or two before Amelia).  He’s stable & improving, but ask you to continue to pray for him & his family.  His mother accepted Christ at the hospital & as we continue to keep in contact by phone, pray that we would be encouragers in the growth of her relationship with the Lord as He brings HEALING & SALVATION to Hector & his whole family (same word in the Greek).

1 Month Photo Shoot


4 Weeks


Home sweet home! – ¡Hogar dulce hogar!


Last days in the NICU – Últimos días en Neonatal


Days 23, 24 & 25 (Monday-Wednesday) – Días 23, 24 y 25 (Lunes-Miércoles)

Monday & Tuesday were what had become “normal, good days” visiting Amelia in the NICU.  She continued to want to eat more, be more active, awake longer, the nurses saying that when we left she’d cry, all good things for a three week old who hadn’t been doing all those things when she was sick.  They continued to have her on two antibiotics to get rid of the latest bacterial blood infection & we waited as patiently as possible, traveled back & forth from Jarabacoa, getting things ready at the house for the long-awaited coming-home day.  Tuesday, August 7th was originally Amelia’s due date & now was the day that the took the blood sample to do the culture & see if bacteria was still present (a 24-hour process) after having been on the 2nd antibiotic for 72 hours.  Wednesday we headed to the hospital, hoping & declaring (while still not confident) that this was the day we’d finally be able to head back up the mountain, all three of the Escalantes together.  Wednesday morning, when we were let in for visiting hours, we prayed over our precious girl & then called the pediatrician.  Still no results.  The culture hadn’t been started until about 2pm on Tuesday… so we ate sandwiches in the waiting room & waited.  At 2:30 the pediatrician came to talk to us.  She approached with a smile on her face that we couldn’t quite read… either a smile of good news or one of those smiles that says, “I’m smiling because it will make it easier to hear what you don’t want to hear.”  PTL, NO BACTERIA!!!  They hadn’t done a general blood test for various days as to not be unnecessarily pricking Amelia, so that needed to be done to make sure that platelets, WBC & hemoglobin levels were ok, along with everything else.  At 4:30 we received the confirmation call that everything was ok… hemoglobin levels still a little low (slight anemia), but that could be treated with iron & vitamins at home!  The longest wait was for the billing department to have everything ready (here you have to pay everything in full before the patient can leave the hospital).  Elizabeth got to change Amelia into clothes during visiting hours (the first time she had on more than a diaper & blanket in her 25 days of life) & then we got to wait, but with the purpose of going home!!!  We arrived home in Jarabacoa at about 9:30pm.  It feels so good to be able to take care of our little girl, hold her with no wires or IV, be at home & know that she’s on her way to 100% healthy (just need to get those hemoglobin levels up)!

As we were waiting with the other parents in the hallway before the last time to go into visiting hours, the Holy Spirit nudged Elizabeth (Leo was to the car getting the diaper bag) to testify to the other parents of God’s faithfulness even in the midst of what has been the hardest 25 days of our lives so far.  These days have been full of so many mixed emotions, but it has been one of the greatest times of our lives, seeing God so clearly working all around us, in us & through us.  We know what has helped hold our hands & heads up in the moments of discouragement & weariness (like when Moses had help keeping his hands raised for the people of Israel to have victory) has been the Church… our Family in the Faith.  Thank you all, Brothers & Sisters for standing with us, encouraging us & praying.  There is so much more power in prayer than we can imagine!  We know we have years ahead of us as we seek to raise Amelia in the Truth in difficult days & we will all face more battles & difficult times as the second-coming of Jesus draws near… all the more reason to continue to stand together & help carry another’s burdens.  May God bless each person who said even one prayer for our little girl in this fight for the beginning of her life!  May His will be done in Amelia Grace’s life, in our lives as the Escalante family, and in the Family of the Faith, His Church, His Bride!

Lunes y martes fueron lo que se habían convertidos en “días normales y buenos” visitando a Amelia en Neo.  Ella continuaba queriendo comer mas, siendo mas activa, despierta mas tiempo y las enfermeras nos dijeron que cuando teníamos que irnos ella lloraba buenos ratos después, todas cosas buenas por una bebé de tres semanas quien antes no había estado haciendo todo eso por estar enferma.  Continuaron con dos antibióticos para eliminar la última infección sanguinea bacterial y esperamos lo mas pacientemente como fuera posible, viajando entre Jarabacoa y Santiago, alistando las cosas en la casa de noche por el muy esperado día de llevarla a casa.  Martes el 7 de agosto fue la fecha probable original de Amelia nacer y ahora fue el día que tomaron la muestra para hacer el cultivo para ver si había bacteria presente (un proceso de 24 horas) después de haber estado con el segundo antibiótico por 72 horas.  El miércoles salimos para el hospital, esperando y declarando (aun todavía no seguros) que era el día que por fin podríamos subir la montaña, los tres de la familia Escalante juntos.  El miércoles en la mañana, cuando nos dejaron entrar para la hora de visita, oramos por nuestra niña preciosa y llamamos a la pediatra.  Todavía no habían resultados.  No comenzaron el cultivo hasta las 2pm el martes… así que comimos sandwiches en la sala de espera y esperamos.  A las 2:30 la pediatra vino a hablar con nosotros.  Se acercó con una sonrisa en la cara que no pudimos descifrar… o era una sonrisa de buenas noticias o una de esas que dice, “Me estoy sonriendo porque se hará más fácil recibir lo que no quieren escuchar.”  ¡GAD, NO BACTERIA!  No habían hecho hemograma normal hace varios días para no pullarla sin necesidad, así que tuvieron que hacerlo para asegurar que sus plaquetas, glóbulos blancos y hemoglobina estaban bien.  A las 4:30 recibimos la llamada de confirmación que todo estaba bien… su hemoglobina estaba un poco bajito todavía (un poco de anemia), pero se podría tratar con hierro y vitaminas en casa.  La espera más larga fue para que caja tuviera todo listo.  Elizabeth pudo cambiar a Amelia, poniéndole algo mas que un pañal y una sábana en sus 25 días de vida y esperamos, pero con el propósito de ir a casa.  Llegamos a Jarabacoa alrededor de las 9:30pm.  Se siente tan bueno poder cuidar nuestra chiquita, cargarla sin alambres y suero, estar en casa y saber que estamos en camino a ella estar 100% sana (solo hay que subirle ese nivel de hemoglobinas).

Al estar esperando con los otros padres en el pasillo antes de entrar por la última vez a la hora de visita, el Espíritu Santo le tocó a Elizabeth (Leo estaba para el carro buscando el bulto de Amelia) a testificarles a los otros padres de la fidelidad de Dios aun en medio de lo que han habido los 25 días más dificiles de nuestras vidas hasta ahora.  Estos días han estado repletos de emociones mixtas, pero ha sido uno de los mejores tiempos en nuestras vidas, viendo a Dios obrar tan claramente en nuestro alrededor, en nosotros y por medio de nosotros.  Sabemos que lo que nos ha ayudado a mantener nuestras manos y cabezas en alto en los momentos de desanimo y cansancio (como cuando Moisés recibió ayuda en mantener sus manos levantadas para que el pueblo de Israel tuviera victoria) ha sido la Iglesia… nuestra Familia en la Fe.  Gracias a todos, Hermanos y Hermanas, por permanecer con nosotros, animándonos y orando.  ¡Hay mucho más poder en la oración de lo que podemos imaginar!  Sabemos que tenemos muchos años por delante de desafío al buscar como criar a Amelia en la Verdad en días dificiles y todos enfrentaremos más batallas y momentos dificiles al acercar la segunda venida de Jesús… mucho más razón para permanecer juntos y ayudar a cargar el problema del prójimo.  ¡Que Dios bendiga a cada persona que ha orado aun una sola vez por nuestra hijita en esta lucha por comenzar la vida!  ¡Que se haga Su voluntad en la vida de Amelia Grace, en nuestras vidas como la Familia Escalante, y en la Familia de la Fe, Su Iglesia, Su Novia!


Days 21 & 22 (Saturday & Sunday) – Días 21 y 22 (Sábado y Domingo)

The bacteria that Amelia has is a different bacteria, but of the same bacteria family, another hospital bacteria.  Our pediatrician consulted with a neonatologist & specialist in infections as Amelia has no sypmtoms but still has a bacterial blood infection.  Sadly, she needs to stay where she is & the doctor added another antibiotic effective on this particular bacteria.  PTL that the antibiotic she was already on is effective with this bacteria (where as the first antibiotic would not have been).  Even in small details like this we see God’s goodness, because yes, she has another bacteria & that really stinks, but it hasn’t been able to prosper against her body like the first one could.  It should just be a matter of time of the antibiotics killing off the bacteria.  Please pray that in this process God would continue to strengthen her immune system so that when this bacteria is gone that there would be no other complications able to arise & we can bring our sweet girl home.  We have lots of cute pictures to post, hopefully will be able to do that tonight.  Now off to the hospital for quality time with Amelia!  Thank you for your prayers & encouraging words over these last three weeks!  Our lives have been blessed by you!

La bacteria que Amelia tiene es otra, pero de la misma familia, otra bacteria del hospital.  Nuestra pediatra consultó con una neonatóloga e infectólogo como Amelia no tiene síntomas pero sigue con una infección bacterial en la sangre.  Lamentablemente, necesita quedarse donde está y la doctora agregó otro antibiótico efectivo con esta bacteria específica.  GAD que el antibiótico que ya estaba recibiendo es efectivo con esta bacteria (mientras el primer antibiótico no lo hubiese sido).  Aun en los pequeños detalles como esto vemos la bondad de Dios, porque sí, tiene otra bacteria y eso apesta, pero no ha podido prosperar en contra de su cuerpo como pudo la primera.  Debe ser un asunto de tiempo solamente en que los antibióticos matan la bacteria.  Por favor oren que en este proceso Dios sigue fortaleciendo sus defensas para que cuando se elimine esta bacteria que ninguna otra complicación se puede levantar y podemos traer a nuestra dulce niña a casa.  Tenemos muchas fotos lindas para publicar y espero poder hacerlo esta noche.  ¡Ahora nos vamos para el hospital para tiempo de calidad con Amelia!  ¡Gracias por todas sus oraciones y palabras de ánimo en estas tres semanas!  ¡Nuestras vidas han sido bendecidas por Uds.!

Days 19 & 20 (Thursday & Friday) – Días 19 y 20 (Jueves y Viernes)

It has been a couple of long days, so I’ll be brief.  Amelia is clinically doing fabulous!  We all thought we’d be home with our precious girl as of yesterday (Thursday), but her blood test returned positive for bacteria.  We hoped that it was just a contamination of the test with some bacteria on the skin, but nonetheless had to leave Amelia last night.  We had already packed up everything & decided to return to Jarabacoa to sleep & get things ready to, in faith, bring Amelia home on Friday.  This morning our plans were again frustrated as the bacteria (which again, takes a couple of days to identify with the cultures) resulted a “negative type” of bacteria… the same way it all began when the bacteria was identified before.  Amelia’s pediatrician explained that it is good that clinically she is doing so well… eating, pooping, sleeping, crying, being more active, no fever or low temps, not pale or jaundice, nothing alarming in her blood work (other than the bacteria).  However, the fact that clinically she is doing so well in combination with the fact that the bacteria continues in her blood means that the antibiotics have been working & keeping the bacteria from growing, but it still has not been eliminated from her blood.  We are so thankful for all God has done up ’till now!  He is faithful & sovereign!  Please join us in continuing to pray that the bacteria be completed eliminated from her body & that we can be at home together!

Han sido unos días largos así que seré breve.  ¡Clínicamente Amelia está fabulosa!  Todos pensamos que estaríamos en casa con nuestra niña preciosa ya ayer (jueves), pero su cultivo de sangre resultó positivo de bacteria.  Esperamos que fuera una sencilla contaminación en la toma de muestra, pero de todos modos tuvimos que dejar a Amelia anoche.  Ya habíamos empacado todo y decidimos regresar a Jarabacoa a dormir y alistar todo para, en fe, traer a Amelia a casa el viernes.  Esta mañana nuestros planes fueron frustrados porque la bacteria (que toma par de días para identificar haciendo los cultivos) resulta ser una bacteria “tipo negativo”… así fue como comenzó todo cuando se identificó antes.  La pediatra de Amelia explicó que es bueno que clínicamente está tan bien… comiendo, haciendo pupú, durmiendo, llorando, siendo más activa, ninguna fiebre ni temperatura baja, no se ha vuelto a poner pálida ni amarilla, nada alarmante en su hemograma.  Pero el hecho de que clínicamente va tan bien en combinación con el hecho que la bacteria sigue creciendo en su sangre significa que los antibióticos han estado funcionando y la bacteria no ha podido seguir creciendo, pero no ha sido eliminado de su sangre.  ¡Estamos tan agradecidos de Dios por todo lo que ha hecho hasta ahora!  Él es fiel y soberano.  ¡Favor de seguir unido con nosotros en oración que la bacteria sea eliminada completamente de su cuerpo y que podamos estar en casa juntos!

Day 18 (Wednesday) – Día 18 (Miércoles)

PTL!  Amelia’s hemoglobin levels are where they should be, and there are no red flags on her blood work.  Tomorrow we’re praying & trusting that the blood cultures will come back negative for bacteria!  Amelia was peacefully sleeping while we were with her this morning.  The nurse had fed her shortly before we were let in and a belly-full of mama’s milk = sweet dreams 😉  Elizabeth asked her to wait to feed her in the afternoon to be able to breastfeed her.  Today went better than yesterday, but part-way through Amelia again got frustrated & then just mad.  Topped off her tummy with milk from the bottle, but it was an improvement.

While we were facing good news today, Hector’s parents were faced with hard news.  They did a brain scan today and most of his neurons died during the stroke he suffered.  The doctors think he won’t be able to see again & being that he is deaf & mute, that leaves him to communicate by the sense of touch.  We were able to pray with & hug his mom & uncle today & are still praying for a creative miracle.  Our God lives & can raise the dead from the grave… it is not too hard for Him to give Hector new neurons!  Hector’s been moved from the ICU to a regular room & we will go visit him tomorrow morning before seeing Amelia.  Only God knows what He wants to do, but we continue to ask for prayer for Hector, his family, for salvation & miraculous healing.

¡GAD!  Las hemogobinas de Amelia han subido a donde deben estar y no hay nada preocupante de su hemograma.  Estamos orando y confiando que mañana su cultivo de sangre resulta negativo de bacteria.  Amelia estaba durmiendo pacíficamente al estar con ella esta mañana.  La enfermera la había alimentado poco antes de que nos dejaron entrar y una pansa llena de leche de mamá = dulces sueños 🙂  Elizabeth le pidió que esperara para dejarle lactarla en la tarde.  Hoy les fue mejor que ayer, pero a la mitad Amelia se frustró y después se enojó.  Terminamos de llenar su barriga con leche del biburón, pero fue una mejoría.

Al encontrarnos con buenas noticias hoy, los padres de Héctor se encararon con noticias dificiles.  Hicieron una resonancia de su cerebro hoy y la mayoría de sus neuronas se murieron en el derrame que sufrió.  Los médicos piensan que no volverá a ver y siendo sordo-mudo, le deja con el sentido de toque para poder comunicarse.  Pudimos orar con y abrazar a su mamá y tío hoy y seguimos orando por un milagro creativo.  Nuestro Dios vive y puede levantar a los muertos de la tumba… no es demasiado difícil para él darle neuronas nuevas a Héctor.  Trasladaron a Héctor de la UCI a una habitación normal y iremos a visitarle en la mañana antes de ver a Amelia.  Solo Dios sabe lo que quiere hacer, pero seguimos pidiendo que oren por Héctor, su familia, por salvación y sanidad milagrosa.