Saturday, February 28, 2009


We had Blaise baptised on February 22, 2009 at St. Quintin's Church. We found out later that St. Blaise is a patron saint of the church with a large statue of him behind the alter. We were able to have him baptised while my parents were still in town, so we decided to baptise him during the English Mass. The priest came over a few weeks before the baptism for dinner and we had a nice visit and preparation for the event. It was a beautiful celebration - highlighted by all the family and friends we had supporting us. We owe a huge thank you to Andrea's boyfriend, Andreas, for taking these and many more beautiful professional-like pictures.

We all made the sign of the cross on Blaise's head at the beginning of Mass

The first reading
Jen reading the second reading. You see the statue of St. Blaise in the background to the left holding the two candles in his hand.

Parents, Grandparents and Godmother all collected water for the baptism and said a petition for Blaise. We wished him good health, a long happy life, a relationship with God and a wonderful circle of life-long friends.

Andrea is Blaise's Godmother

He was so well behaved and slept through most of the Mass

"Babi" (Noemi) saying her petition for Blaise

In 2006 when my parents visited us, we took a trip to Rome. Unbeknownst to me, my mom bought a cross for a potential future grandchild. The priest is blessing it for Blaise.

My mom baked the baptismal cake for the party

sweet baby - he wore my baptismal gown from my baptism 31 years ago

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Some of us have to work:

Some of us have to take care of a baby:

While others...

... are forced to celebrate Fastnacht in Mainz (our Mardi Gras)!

"Helau" from Meenz :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Duodenal Stenosis

On day 3 of Blaise's little life he was taken to the Children's Hospital in Mainz because he was spitting up everything he ate and then some. It was also a suspicious yellow color. Our Saturday morning began very early when the nurses from the nursery called me down after he had spit up. When I got there they were already changing his clothes. I tried to nurse him I think but was unsuccessful. I called Jan crying around 6am and had him come to the hospital - I knew something wasn't right. Jan had come down with flu-like symptoms, yet drug himself to the hospital. He wasn't allowed into the nursery because he was sick. I was in the nursery with Blaise for hours trying to nurse him after every time he spit up. The nurses were trying everything to help me, but as the hours ticked by I started falling apart. Blaise was pretty calm throughout all of this, even though I wasn't. We tried giving him formula in case he was allergic to my milk - I was balling throughout the whole process...I saw my dream of exclusively breastfeeding Blaise begin falling apart. He didn't keep down the formula either.

The pediatrician in the hospital was scheduled to come at 5pm that Saturday, but by 11am, Blaise hadn't kept anything in him since the night before. I was a complete mess and close to walking out of the hospital with him to go to the Children's Hospital when the nurse suggested transferring him there. She got everything into motion and I ran and put shoes on and got Jan and when I came back Blaise was dressed for outside and in a car seat. We took a taxi to the hospital - it's about 3 minutes away. The doctors were waiting for us when we arrived and he was taken directly to the ultrasound. The doctor said it looked like a problem in the small intestine. Blaise was a trooper and was very well behaved during the exam. They then took him to X-ray and this showed a possible twisted bowel. The surgeon came and examined him and evaluated the ultrasound and X-ray. She said since we could not rule out the possibility that it was the twisted bowel she wanted to operate immediately. She said she would rather open him up unnecessarily than not do a necessary surgery. They began prepping him and gave us the run down about the anesthesia so we could give our consent and off he went. We took a leap of faith - we had a choice: trust the doctor, or not. We did.

I hadn't been discharged from the other hospital yet. The surgeon, Dr. Weltzien, recommended that we go back to the hospital so I could have my final exam and be discharged while Blaise was in surgery. I didn't want to leave, but she assured me that he'd be fine and it would be better to be there when he was out of surgery. I was quickly discharged from the other hospital and back within about 45 minutes. We called my parents and asked them to come to the Children's Hospital and wait with us. The doctor had told us he'd be about 2-3 hours in surgery. My Mom had sent my Dad to the cathedral after we had initially informed them of what was happening and when we called them to come, my Mom was at the cathedral (which is behind our apartment), putting in a direct request to the Man Upstairs. My Dad went and picked her up and they took a taxi up to the hospital.

The doctor called Jan's cell phone when the surgery was over and told him everything had gone well and it was the lessor of the two evils - the small intestine (Duodenal Stenosis - There was a membrane blocking passage. They were unable to just cut out the membrane because it is connected to the bile ducts. They therefore cut the membrane and sewed it to the sides of the small intestine. They put in a splint to keep the sides apart and ran a tube down below the splint to allow milk to enter his intestine, but without having to pass through the operation site. The doctor even spoke to my mom in english to explain everything to her.

We were told to go down to N-ICU to wait. He would be transferred from the operating room to NICU and once they had him stabilized and transferred, we'd be called. We waited about an hour and then spoke to the doctor and got to see him. We were warned ahead of time that there were a lot of tubes. He had the tube down under the splint, a tube into his stomach to allow the bile to come up instead of going down. He was also still on a breathing machine which was only a precaution. They left him on it until he woke up. They also had him on monitors. We stayed a while but finally left around 10pm I think. I said it was the worst and best day of my life.

I was a complete mess and was happy to get home and take a shower. I had worn the same pajama pants and t-shirt for the last 2 days and hadn't showered in 2 days either - not to mention the multiple bodily fluids on me - from myself and Blaise. My milk had also come in that evening, luckily I had a small hand pump at home from Andrea. The next day I went out to the pharmacy and rented an electric pump to get me through the time when Blaise was in the hospital. During the day, I was able to pump there and they kept my milk for when he was able to begin having it and I'd pump at home at night and in the morning. I was really worried that this would mess up nursing, but we've now been home for 3 weeks and he's nursing like a champ!

Everyday he got better and better. His surgery was on January 10th and he came home on January 29th. He's now broken even - he's been home as long as he was in the hospital. Soon it will only be a distant memory. We are indebted to the health care staff at the Children's Hospital in Mainz. How do you thank people for saving your child's life?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

January 7, 2009 - Blaise's Birth Story

A bit overdue, but I thought I would post some "normal" information and no better place to start than the night of Blaise's birth.

My pregnancy was as easy as pregnancy could be - I didn't even have morning sickness. I was noticeably more tired in the last few weeks, which was probably the insomnia and I had a pinched nerve in my hip, but that was really the "worst" of it all.

Early morning on January 6th - around 2:30 - I woke up with light cramping. It wasn't too bad, but enough that I didn't go back to sleep. I was having light cramping all day and they were regular. As the day went by, the cramping became more intense. I was timing them using this website: They were all between 4 and 5 minutes apart. I had lost my mucous plug a day or two before that, so I was trying to be very aware of what was happening. Once Jan got home I told him I thought I had been contracting all day. The pain was still only about as bad a strong cramps so I wasn't sure how close I was to going to the hospital. Around 5:00pm I called my midwife and she came over to check me out. She said I was 2-3cm dilated and the amniotic sac was taut and ready to burst. She drove us to the hospital and we checked in about 6:00pm.

They hooked me up to the monitor and I continued to labor. I spent about an hour in a warm bathtub which was relaxing. I seem to have forgotten a lot of the inbetween stuff. My midwife was really nice and gave me good directions. I seemed to have forgotten what I had learned at the class we took. My water hadn't broken yet which we were all surprised about. I was extremely tired as the night wore on because I had gotten up at 2:30 that morning. Once I reached 7cm it must have been around 11:00pm. I had the epidural at this point, which gave me about 1 1/2 hours of needed rest. Jan and I even slept some. After the epidural wore off I was close to pressing. I pressed for longer than I thought I would have to - it must have been at least an hour. I kept asking the midwife how much longer and wasn't really getting the "one more push" answer I was hoping for. There was extreme pressure - especially since my water STILL hadn't broken, but this was at least acting as a cushion for the baby's head. I think I shocked Jan and even surprised myself at how loud I was throughout the pressing :) The midwife had to finally break my water to get things moving and then the head was crowning and they said the baby couldn't decide which way to turn - it kept changing directions. The midwife turned his head for him and I had to try and not push - which was nearly impossible. I kept asking, "can i push?" "can i push?" - but I think I was pushing the whole time anyway. Soon after that he was here - Jan looked down and said "It's Blaise!" It was 2:37am.

He wasn't crying, but he was making some little noises. The doctor looked him and they cleaned out his lungs and he was on my chest within minutes. I think I asked about 20 times if he was okay. They kept telling me he was, but I kept asking.

We stayed in the delivery room like this for about an hour while they worked on me and then afterwards they weighed and measured Blaise and gave him his vitamin K. We opted against the antibiotics for the eyes since I had been examined the day before by my doctor. I was trying to save his little body from antibiotics - HAH! That all went down the drain a few days later.

Then we moved for about 2 hours to a recovery room, where Blaise nursed for the first time and we snuggled with him. I think we all slept on and off too. Once they were convinced we were all okay, they diapered and dressed Blaise and moved us to our hospital room. We called my parents around 6am and my Dad got ready and came up to meet his grandson. My mom had been sick, so she wasn't able to visit us in the hospital. We talked to Jan's mom and sister and gave them all the gory details. My Dad stayed for awhile and then he went home with Jan so he could get some sleep. I was supposed to try and sleep as well but that wasn't so easy. I dropped off Blaise in the nursery and cried when I left. I did manage a bit of sleep and then they came back in the evening. I think I took a long awaited shower that night.

I wanted a name that was pretty, uncommon, yet still a name. Older names seemed the right direction for this, I just had to sift through a lot of weird old names to find the good ones. I always thought finding a girl name would be easier, but we had a boy name around week 12 and our girl name came much later. Maybe it was easier for me to focus on a boy name since I was convinced we were having a boy. I wish I could say that was mother's instinct, but it was more scientific than that (Kelly - let me know if Darren wants to know the details :) ). I really liked Blaise and when I told Jan he was immediately on board - our Baby Boy had a name. We decided on Karl as a middle name since Jan's father's name was Karl-Heinz and my paternal grandfather was Karl Scofield. It seemed like an obvious choice.

I can't believe that he is already 5 1/2 weeks old! On the other hand, it seems as if he's always been here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

One Month Old - February 7, 2009

Dear Blaise,

You are one month old today. Thank you for enriching our lives, we can’t imagine life without you now after having you for just a few short weeks. You have already taught us so much. We have learned the amazing love of having a child. We have learned to be thankful for good health. We have learned to be strong for you when you need us most. We have learned (or have been reminded of) what wonderful friends and family we have who supported us throughout your hospital stay. It has been a wild ride, your first month, one that has made us different people and taught us not to take things for granted. You scared us a lot in the first few days of your short life, but you are such a strong little guy and got healthy so quickly. We will always remember Dr. Weltzien as your guardian angel – we entrusted you into her hands and she gave you back whole again. The best day was when we were able to leave the hospital with you. We packed you up in your buggy and walked home with you. We walked through the park and down the hill and then brought you upstairs to your new home. You were three weeks old and hadn’t known any other home but the hospital. You had wonderful doctors and nurses, but they weren’t here anymore to watch over you, you were left only with Mommy and Daddy. We hope that we can take care of you as well as they did. We surely love you lots. You have checked out your new home and you really like the windows and your red light on the heating lamp. Grandpa wonders what you think about the birds that fly by the windows, but we’re not sure you can see them yet. You are doing a great job of exercising your neck muscles when looking at the window. We are looking forward to what the next month will bring - surely lots of smiles and cuddles. You are a great cuddler! Thank you for being our Baby Blaise, we love you!


Dr. Weltzien