In January 2011 we went in for our scheduled ultrasound to find out whether our little Ali was going to have a baby sister or a baby brother. We were SO excited when the tech told us we were going to be welcoming home another sweet baby girl! Immediately visions of tea parties, dress up and "playing house" (as Alli likes to call it) filled my heart. All of that quickly faded though as I noticed the look of concern on the techs face as she told us our baby's growth was about 2 weeks behind what it should be. She quickly reassured us that she was sure everything was fine and our doctor would have more answers once he looked at the ultrasound....
Fast forward about 4 weeks and we are now meeting with a geneticist from UAMS and one of the top OB doctors in the state via satellite. It was during this appointment we had our first (of many I might add) level 2 ultrasound. This ultrasound checked for every genetic abnormality it could, as well as possible placental or umbilical issues. They checked kidney function, brain function, even all 4 chambers of the heart! You name it, they checked it. Much to our relief there was no physical sign of anything wrong other than the fact she was now measuring about 3 weeks behind what her gestational age said she should be.
At this point they told me to eat, yes eat, as much as possible and try laying on my side to increase blood flow through the umbilical cord.
Fast forward again with me and it's now Thursday, March 17th. I had been trying to lay down all morning but with a busy almost 2 year old who could rest??? I noticed decreased movement and decided not to take any chances, I was calling the Dr! After several tests and ultrasounds through out the day, our Dr and neonatologist decided it was best for us to pack our bags and head to UAMS-Little Rock as they were unsure as to what was causing the slow growth and were fairly certain my cord had began to back flow all the blood and nutrients that were going to the baby. This was the first time we had really heard from any of the doctors that there was a very good chance our baby would not survive. There was a reason she was not growing, and though they couldn't figure out why, the odds were not looking good. So here it was 9:30pm and we were leaving Willow Creek and heading to Little Rock. Our hearts are devastated. We'd known now for several weeks there was something not right, but up until now I thought the worst case scenario we'd have a premature baby, maybe stay in the hospital a few days and get to bring her home safe and healthy. Now we were faced with "if your child survives birth, she will have no quality of life." So we prayed.... and prayed.... and prayed.... I can remember the 3 hour drive to Little Rock being so quite as Jeff & I both were trying to make sense of it all.
My amazing parents made the drive with us because they knew we would not want to be without Alli, as we were told they were unsure how long we would be there. All we were told was that they were going to try and keep our baby inside of me as long as possible because that was the safest place for her, but how long that would be they didn't know.
So here we are in Little Rock, my parents and Alli at a hotel, and Jeff & I at UAMS awaiting results and tests to determine what the next step would be. Again, no answers, only the best thing for our baby right now is to try and keep her safe inside of me....
This went on for 3 days, and after many sleepless nights and many games of ol' heck, we were told it was time....
The first night after Emry was born was definitely the hardest for me. All I wanted to do was be with her. All these months of awaiting the day I would get to hold this child growing inside of me and there I was, laying in bed, recovering, not able kiss her tiny cheek and rock her gently to sleep. At this point Jeff was my go-to man! He was splitting time between coming upstairs to give me updates and running back down to Emry's room to check on her. The Drs continued to say the first 24 hours were critical. If she could make it past that 24 hour mark we could breath a little easier. That by no means meant she was in the clear but hope was on the rise.
After Emry hit that 24 hour mark we all breathed a sigh of relief and knew that God had a plan for this tiny miracle.
It was that second night that hit Jeff the hardest. Me in the hospital bed and he on the oh so comfy couch/pull out bed, I could see him tossing and turning non stop throughout the night. It was 2:05am when he reached for the notebook we'd been using to keep score of the endless card games from the days leading up, which I won most of by the way, and he began to write. Tears flowing down his cheeks, I knew this was his moment. I can remember praying for him, for him to find rest and comfort and the peace he needed to make it through the night. It wasn't until that next day that he showed me the letter he wrote to sweet Emry....
Who would have thought that the words he was writing to his tiny baby girl would one day provide us with the name for our foundation .
"I distinctly remember the Dr telling us when they brought Emry into the recovery room, a few minutes after she was delivered, that they were going to give her some "sugar water". I remember thinking to myself that she was "eating" like a hummingbird. That is what we always fed hummingbirds when I was a kid. I remember thinking what a nickname that would be for little Emry, if she made it. Our little hummingbird....."
he went on to write....
"..............I feel like God is saying, "go ahead, and make your lists of things she can't do because she is just to small, to young, to premature, to whatever! Make your list of all that she just can't do. When you have all the medical information calculated and put together in a prognosis for this little angel, and you are ready to write her off as just to small to do any of these things, that's when I'll step in and say 'I know you say she CAN'T, but let me put my hand on her and then you can watch this little hummingbird fly."
That is what The Hummingbird Foundation is all about. It is our hope and our desire to reach out to those who have NO hope, when all odds are against you, when the road is just to hard, we want to show there IS a hope, MIRACLES DO HAPPEN! In this moment in time we found that the hummingbird and Emry really WERE not that different. She was doing things doctors were saying shouldn't be possible, she was just too weak, to small, to fragile, just as scientists once believed that it was impossible for a hummingbird to fly. It's amazing what can happen once God is in control! If God can take a tiny hummingbird and create it to do amazing, unbelievable things, think of the "impossible" things WE can do!
There's lots more to this story, the fantastic ups & downs of her stay in the NICU, to which we don't have time to share tonight BUT if you would like to read more, please visit our family blog : walkerfam05.blogspot.com.
Thank you all so much for hearing our story and taking part in our journey as we strive to give back. We were shown so much love and support during our time in Little Rock and we hope to in some small way use this foundation to say THANK YOU and return the love and generosity we received and continue to receive today.