How tiny breaths teach us big things


I caught a glimpse of myself in my son today. He enthusiastically approached a new skill, but when he didn’t get it just right on the first try, he got upset and then stopped trying. Wow…how’s that for a sobering reminder of your own, ahem, imperfections?

That same perfectionist personality trait is what has kept me from posting the past week or so. I just want to encapsulate it all with the right words, conveying our true emotions and letting you in on what life is really like for our little family of three in the NICU. But the right words escape me, and like I watched Struthers do today, I just give up and move on (to mastering something new). But I realize that’s not fair to the hundreds of you out there praying for us and following our story. Nor is it honoring of the only perfect person to have ever walked this earth.

So, the hightlights:

–Struthers spent about 6 days off of CPAP, then was placed back on it for the third time. The decision was a surprise to me, but clearly the right one for our little one. He remained on the breathing assistance for another week, then on December 26, was weaned off again. This was a setback in more ways than one, but we are getting back on track slowly but surely. Another NICU mom reminded me that on and off CPAP was better than on and off ventilator, which her sweet tiny child has experienced twice now.

–The third time on CPAP came with its own set of challenges, namely fluid retention. So after a few very puffy days and crazy weight gains that none of us wanted to believe, he was placed on a diuretic. Only three doses later, our little man looks like himself again and continues to put on ‘real’ weight. We are fortunate that so far, the diuretics have not caused an electrolyte imbalance. Even off of CPAP, they have kept him on a mild diuretic (the High Flow Oxygen he’s on is humidified and can still cause water retention, and he accumulated fluid in his lungs during his second attempt off CPAP), so prayers are that all remains balanced as they check his levels every 2-3 days.

–Struthers has more than doubled his birthweight, and is now 3lbs, 12 ounces! I still am blown away by the fact that I delivered a relatively healthy one-pounder. THAT is perfection. His eye exams continue to be encouraging, and the vasculature is slowly maturing, reducing the risk of retinopathy and other common complications from prematurity.

–Christmas was full of emotion that I’ve given up on perfectly describing! I’ve always loved Christmas Eve candlelight services, but we missed it this year. And I distinctly remember crying at the last two years’ services, begging our God to send me a child. I’m overwhelmed at the reminder that He did this year.

–Sometimes my human perfectionist attitude prevents me from seeing that simple answer to prayer. I kept thinking about the fact that this was Struthers’ first Christmas, and we were missing out on all of traditions and wishes I’d created in my mind for that. I was especially frustrated at the fact that he wouldn’t even have a first Christmas outfit (nothing that fit!), and pictures with CPAP were not appealing. So what makes me break down like no other on Christmas Eve than to walk into my son’s NICU pod and realize he’s wrapped in swaddling cloths? It’s amazing how God speaks to us sometimes…

–Christmas Day we spent the morning with Struthers, giving him a bath and moving him from his isolette to a big boy bed! Then we traveled down to Colorado Springs and stopped in to see Eli’s parents and brother’s family on the way home. The reality that Aunt Cami will now have her own little ‘cousin’ at family gatherings is an encouraging new concept. I love being Aunt Cam, but family gatherings have historically been somewhat lonely in the midst of chaos–I wanted so badly to add a cousin to the mix (and have them be close in age). So this year was different–bittersweet.

–My family flew into town on Christmas, and after picking them up from the airport, I spent only the 2nd night since October in my own bed on December 25. It’s wonderful to have my family here, and fun to show them the growth little Struthers has made since they saw him during his first few days of life. It’s also difficult to feel torn between being where I should be–at the NICU in Denver with Struthers or hanging out with my family while they’re in town and I have the most overqualified babysitters we’ll ever find in the NICU nurses? Once again, I’m forced to give up on my idea of perfection, and just enjoy the time and opportunity. I am so grateful my family is understanding and flexible (and able to handle the emotional wreck I can be lately), and it’s nice to know they are enjoying all Colorado has to offer!

There you go–an imperfect recap of our imperfect week that was planned just for us by a Perfect Creator.

Hugs from Eli, Cami and StruthersIMG_1417

1 Comment

  1. Cami Bremer

    Comments imported from CaringBridge (20 comments):

    Cami if I remember correctly your mom was the swim coach at lee co and my son Matt competed against you at Westover. My point is you are from strong stock !! Always cheery , well liked and competitive ! Hang in there ! Lean on those that can help . Day by day by day is the motto . Be strong . Rejoice in the rainbows !
    —Sherri Massey, January 11, 2015

    So glad to find and read your post….I am not on Facebook any longer but have been trying to keep up with your little guy’s progress. Just wanted to send my love and continued prayers–Renae
    —Renae Goodnight, January 7, 2015

    Sweet Cami, never, ever, ever, ever come anywhere close to apologizing of feeling guilty over preferring to stay with that beautiful miracle of yours. That’s where your heart is because God put it there. You cannot go wrong when you follow His lead. I don’t doubt for a split second that your entire family will support you.
    —Deborah Reinke, January 4, 2015

    Such a sweet post, Cami! So glad to hear about Struthers’ progress…almost 4 pounds…that’s great! Continuing to pray for the three of you!
    —Roya Seymore, December 31, 2014

    That was a perfect imperfection. 🙂 So excited that he’s 3 pounds 12 ounces. That’s almost 4 pounds! Bigger and stronger every day! Love your family.
    —Lisa Lindley, December 31, 2014

    Keep singing, Cami, keep singing! The bonds you are forming are deep and life-long.
    —Judith Jergensen, December 30, 2014

    Loved your imperfect recap! So glad you were able to be with your family & God bless those amazing NICU nurses! We all know there is only perfection in our Lord Jesus…I have to believe that next Christmas Eve, you three will be at candlelight services together! Love from the Georges…
    —Heather George, December 30, 2014

    Thank you for the wonderful update!
    —Theresa Myers, December 30, 2014

    Cami, beautifully stated, I am so impressed that he is almost 4 lbs, that’s great, hopefully you all will be able to go home soon and all will be well. God Bless you and yours, you all are in everyone’s prayers.
    —Karon McCormick, December 30, 2014

    Thanks Cami! We are so thankful for another ‘cousin’ to love on! And nephew! Eventually we will get to love on him! For now, we are just so thankful at how well he is doing.
    —Tamsey Bremer, December 30, 2014

    Love reading your posts. You are an exceptional mother. Struthers is very lucky . praying for you all.
    —Deborah Busch, December 30, 2014

    I can relate in so many ways! As a mom, you will have many more “imperfect” moments (like, every day or at least every other day). The more we embrace life as it is and not as it “should be,” the happier we are. I’m glad you had a great holiday and I look forward to hearing about all of baby Struthers developments in 2015!
    —Evania Ku, December 30, 2014

    Oh, Cami! I think we all understand your not writing more frequently! You have your mother’s gifts of expression and some of your own. We will keep praying for these specifics for all three of you! And we will pray for the things you can’t even bring yourself to write about! I appreciate your willingness to talk about being an “emotional wreck”…. isn’t it wonderful to realize that our God is able even in those times to deliver, comfort and sustain?! Love you!
    —Don and Brenda Adams, December 30, 2014

    I’m so excited for you and your new family. I know how much an awesome babysitter can mean to you. You are so special to us and we continue to keep you in our prayers.
    —Sherry Askey, December 30, 2014

    Beautifully said from the heart. You are a remarkable mom and so insightful to what life is really about. Things taken for granted, you sweetly explore and share. Love to you all for experiencing the joy of being a parent to a perfect little gift from God. From a happy & blessed 2014 to a wonderful new 2015 as a family. Hugs
    Marj Wise, December 30, 2014

    Be strong, be weak, be brave, be scared. You deserve it all!!! Don’t worry about correct wording ,your journey is a lesson to all of us about faith and growing in faith . He’s a champ and so are you! Hugs!!!!!!
    —Janice Johnson, December 30, 2014

    I think it was a perfect way to capture your week. Real. Nothing gets better than that.
    —Lauren Nemecek, December 30, 2014

    Perfect or imperfect by your standards. Either way it’s good to read the updates and to know that you are ok and Struthers is slowly making progress. Y’all remain in our thoughts and prayers.
    —David Summerall, December 30, 2014

    Cami, you are doing a fabulous job of getting by day by day with all that life is bringing you. Do not ever doubt yourself. Lots of prayers continue to flow your way. I love your attitude and thank you for sharing all the little things. Many hugs to you and Eli as 2014 turns into a new year.
    —Catherine Rice, December 30, 2014

    Beautiful, Cami! It warms my heart to know Struthers is progressing Thanks for the update.(God is Good.)
    —Ann Alvis, December 30, 2014

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