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Joseph “Tucker” Sibiga was born premature via emergency c-section at 25 weeks and 5 days on July 13, 2012 weighing 1 lb, 10 ounces and 13.5 inches long.Tucker shares a name and a birthday with two of the most special men in his daddy’s life, Grandaddy Joe and Uncle Ted…

Although his mom and dad would have loved for him to stay in the oven a little longer, tiny Tucker is here and God-sustaining, he is healthy.

Welcome to the world, sweet baby boy. Here is the start to what we believe will be a long and miracle-filled journey:

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On Monday evening, July 9th doctors admitted Ellie into the hospital for pelvic pressure and mild contractions. The plan was to stabilize her contractions and give Ellie two doses of a steroid that if Tucker were to deliver early, would promote advanced lung maturation and stability.

Tuesday, July 10th. Contractions stopped, both lung steroids taken, and doctors were encouraged that Ellie would transition from hospital bed rest to home bedrest at the end of the week.

Wednesday, contractions returned but without dilation, so doctors focused on calming contractions.

Thursday, July 12th, things took a different turn. Probably the most terrifying and panic-filled day of our lives. Tucker’s heart began to show signs of consistent “decels” or decelerations of the fetal heartbeat. This caught us by total surprise, as Tucker’s heart rate had always been consistently strong and steady.

Doctors warned us that if Tucker’s heart continued to show signs of repeated decels, they would be forced to go into an emergency c-section and deliver him early. They took Ellie down to labor and delivery, and began a rapid dose of magnesium sulfate – a drug used to relax contractions, but also to protect Tucker’s brain from neurological issues should doctor’s have to go into emergency surgery and deliver him prematurely. It seemed to calm Ellie’s contractions and Tucker’s decels, and we made it through a relatively quiet night in labor and delivery. Decels were sporadic and random and didn’t last more than 5 minutes without auto correcting back between 120-160 bpm.

Friday morning, after a long period of no decels and very few contractions, Tucker’s heart began to drop again as doctors, nurses, and Tommy continued to flip Ellie into various positions in hopes of returning Tucker’s heart rate back to his normal range. This worked great for the occasional decel and we had several hours of no contractions and no decels. Doctors were beginning to discuss taking Ellie off all the drugs and returning her back upstairs to the antepartum room to be monitored twice a day…

…and then his heart began to decelerate for one long, low decel. After about 10 minutes of panic and trying everything to get his heart rate to return, Ellie’s OB said Tucker wouldn’t make it if we didn’t operate immediately. They had to get him out. She was rushed off to the OR.

No time for an epidural. Straight anesthesia. Ellie was put all the way under within a matter of minutes, and Tucker was delivered and whisked off to Nicu.

Upon delivery, Tucker’s color looked great and his heart rate and body temperature steadied. He’s a squirmer and doctor’s are pleased with all the movement. Its fun to see the same movements that Ellie was experiencing inside the womb happen right in front of your eyes.

Since Tucker had already been flagged for VACTERL Association, the neonatologist went through the other midline defects that we were preparing ourselves for. Tucker has an anus, and the neonatologist actually found meconium (fetal bowel movement) when the doctor went to take his temperature. Tucker’s heart looks great with the exception of a typical preemie variation (PDA) which often heals on it’s own, with medicine, or as a last resort, with surgery. Spine and vertebrae look great from what doctors can tell, but the focus right now is on breathing and respiration. The neonatologist believes Tucker does have EA (esophageal atresia) with a short pouch but without a fistula. Strictly means a gap (in this case probably a longer one) between Tucker’s tummy and esophagus that will be corrected surgically once he has more meat on his bones. He is missing his radius bone in his right arm. His right hand has four beautiful long fingers.

Overall, the neonatologist seemed pleased with Tucker’s heart and response to life outside the womb. He also mentioned that Tucker should continue to grow at a rate comparable to the rate he would inside of Ellie’s womb. He said Tucker will likely be in the NICU until he reaches gestation (or Ellie’s due date…October 21). Ellie will remain at the hospital (Henrico Doctor’s, Richmond, VA) til Monday, July 16th recovering from her c-section.

The next few months will likely be bumpy – the neonatalogist told us to prepare for both highs and lows along the way and to take things hour by hour.

Ellie asked the question, “what is it that the Lord wants to teach us in the midst of all this?”

Tommy’s response was “I think He wants us to learn the same thing that He wants all of us to know….to Trust. All of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament points to the idea of trusting in the Lord. To trust Him as the creator, trust Him as the provider, and to trust Him as our savior.”

We’re on our knees daily….trusting in Jesus’ plan for our lives and Tucker’s life. Thank you for joining us in TRUSTING the Lord. Please continue to pray for Tucker’s growth and development especially over the next three months.






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