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Tommy & Ellie
Chronicles of Faith, Family, and Frugal Home Design
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:
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.
I absolutely LOVE those cheeks!
Hello, I stumbled upon your blog a while back through the brag post on Ana White around the time you were finishing up your little guy’s room. I haven’t been back since, but as I am getting ready to build a farmhouse table wanted to look over your post again and I was shocked to see what you have been through since my last visit. My daughter was actually born a few weeks after your little Tucker, so with a similar timeline it is impossible for me to comprehend what it must be like to have been in the hospital all this time. I know it has been a hard road, but it looks like your little guy continues to amaze and bring you joy through all the progress he is making. You will all be in my families thoughts and prayers as you go through the final stages of this procedure and we hope he gets to enjoy that room you proudly posted pictures of the last time I was here.
Sorry, just read my comment and the last line should have read “we hope it’s not long before he gets to enjoy the room you proudly posted pictures of the last time I was here”.
I’m glad to see Tucker is back in NICU. What a long day for all of you. Your little miracle seems to also be a super hero. I can’t even begin to imagine the things God has in store for this tough guy. I’ll be praying for a restful night for all of you. God bless <3
Hi, you don’t know me, but sweet Ashely Hamilton has been so faithful in always posting dear Tucker’s progress on facebook. I have been following your incredible story. Seriously, today, reading about Tucker’s surgery tomorrow brought me to tears, twice in fact and again as I write this. As a parent already, my heart is just so overwhelmed with love, hope and excitement for your baby boy and you both. I will be praying through the night that Tucker has a great night and is ready to rock in the morning (currently dealing with pregnancy insomnia, at least I can make it useful:) God be with you all and the doctors, nurses and everyone else in Tucker’s corner. May you all have a peaceFULL night.
… and you guys are so blessed that God gave Tucker to you. He is amazing and you will never be the same as you were before 2 Cor 3.18.
Praying as always for you guys and Tucker. Asking for peace in your decision and sensing God’s grace on you as you face what you could not have imagined a year ago and walk in faith and love and His guidance. You are awesome parents. Tucker is so blessed that God gave him both of you. Praying for him each day and of course on the day of his surgery.
I stumbled upon your site when I was researching farmhouse tables and ended up reading Tucker’s story… my husband walked into the living room when I was halfway through reading and crying, thanks hahah! Anyways, I just wanted to let you guys know that I’m praying for you and little Tucker all the way from Vancouver, BC. I read a great quote a little while ago and it went, “faith doesn’t makes things easy, it makes things possible” and through Christ everything is possible!!! He’s a lucky guy to have loving, God-honouring parents such as yourselves.
I love baby Tucker. He’s so cute. I pray that he gets stronger everyday!
I have been through what you are going through now, my daughter was born 25wks 1 pd 4 oz, she was in the hospital for 3 months, she came home on her due date, she is healthy now, 6 yrs old, she does have some delays but they are social and behavioral which are normal for a micro preemie, she is very smart and active, so keep the faith, trust in the Lord, he saw us through and he will see you through.
Just read about Tucker…. Incredible testimony. Prayed for that little guy tonight and for you both to remain faithful in trusting God. I am sure the temptation to feel “crushed” by all this is strong some days and even stronger other….but remember “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” Isaiah 26:3
I haven’t been over here in a while. My prayers will be with you on this journey. My husband’s cousin just went through a similar experience over a year ago now. Things are well now, which i hope and pray for your family.
Truly God is amazing for the blessings He gives us. I had my twins three months early on 7/27 this year. The road that was taken from my first contraction to the emergency c-section was a shockingly short one. Something that I wasn’t prepared for. I don’t know how I would have been if God wasn’t my husband and mine’s focus. I’m going to pray for you and your little one.
Hello Tommy + Ellie + Tucker!
I found your blog via Ana White’s site. (I’m having table envy right now!)
Today we celebrated the 3rd birthday of our “miracle baby”. Several times during the pregnancy, we came close to losing her, but God was gracious and preserved her life. I went into labor at 29 weeks and delivered her 10 days later, tiny, but healthy.
Through it all, God kept reminding us to trust Him. We held fast to His promise in Isaiah 26:3 and kept our minds stayed on Him. In turn, He gave us real peace…so much so that the hospital staff kept commenting on how (strangely!) calm and happy we were! Though we had moments of fear and panic, His peace reassured us constantly.
I hope that you will continue to cling to Jesus and each other through this season, and that your sweet baby will continue to grow and be strengthened as God works in His timing.
Grace and peace,
I came across your post when I was looking at building a Farmhouse table and saw yours, beautiful btw. Anyway, I then saw your link on the page for, “Tucker,” and as my son is also, “Tucker,” I started to read it. I had an emergency c-section at 30 weeks with him and he was born 3 lbs 4 oz. The NICU became our home for the next two months. I never want to see a breast pump again! lol This might be strange but I JUST went through all of Tucker’s baby clothes and came across all of his preemie outfits and thought I’d offer them to you if you can use them. I live in California but can totally mail them out your way. You can even give me a generic address in case you’re worried I’m a crazy stalker or anything. Ha ha! Anyway, I don’t know if my email will come up somewhere for you to see it, and I’d rather not list it openly on the web, but I hope you can contact me if I can help with the clothes. They get expensive. Anyway, I hope all is well and I’ll send good energy out to you all – I know you need it.
We’re thinking of you and sending lots of positive energy little Tucker’s way. xoxo
We heard about your precious boy and will pray for all of you. Our son Robert is now nine and was born at 24 weeks weighing 1 lbs and 7 ozs. Your photos of Tucker look very familar to us and bring back memories of our time in the NICU. God Bless, Jocleyn & Mike
Congratuations on your beautiful baby boy! You don’t know me but I am old friends of your parents when we were all single. I was at their beautiful wedding. I just learned about Tucker and will be praying for that precious little guy and for strength for you two. May God bless each of you every step of this challenging journey.. one day at a time.
I worked with your dad at Play and am sending prayers of strength and lovefor Tucker and your family. I work at Thomas Nelson (Christian Publisher) and have placed Tucker on our company prayer list. Peace be with you!
love you tommy and ellie and tucker.
whats your address?
Hi guys- Amy passed your blog onto us so we could continue the prayer chain! Congrats on becoming parents- such a wonderful gift from God. Tucker looks beautiful and like a fighter! We are praying for his health and the road to recovery as well as Ellie’s. May God continue to watch over your new family of 3! Can’t wait to meet the little man sometime when we are in town! God bless you all!
Many many prayers! You don’t know me but I found your blog. I delivered my micropreemie in October 2011 weighing at 15oz and 11inches. He spent 101 days in the NICU. I know the NICU journey is a hard and rock one but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise! I’m now watching my 11lb 9oz 9 month old baby eat solids and roll over. If you ever need someone to talk to who has “been there and done that” I’m here! Best of luck, many hugs.
Hey Mary! Thanks for your sweet comment. I read you blog last night and was really encouraged. We have a long road ahead, but it’s nice to know there are other parents out there who have been down it before us and whose children are now healthy and thriving. Thank you! Stories of hope are a blessing to us.
You don’t know me, but we are praying here in Richmond, VA. 38 years ago our daughter was a preemie! We pray that you are blessed with unending, supernatural peace and much joy in “small steps!’
The Cameron Family is praying for sweet, sweet baby Tucker. What blessing to open my email and see his picture. It is a picture of LIFE, and a picture of LOVE. Your little family of extraordinary courage and faith moves me to tears. What a gift you share with all of us- this miracle baby so fresh from God Himself! We are praying for each of you and your extended families and friends as well. Such a tiny little miracle with such a BIG story to tell. The love of God that is in Christ Jesus comes to us now in your precious baby boy. We ask that God will make us worthy of sharing in Tucker’s story of faith, courage and love. May God’s grace and peace be yours minute by minute of the journey.
WOW!! Talk about miracles!! This brings a tear to my eye…….both eyes!! My prayers, thoughts, well wishes go out to you! God’s will be done!! Thank you for sharing. Makes any problems that I thought I had seem very small! Love to you!!
Dave E (Terry Tusing’s Brother)
I’m Maggie’s (from VCU Young Life) mom. I’m keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers. I’ll be praying for Tucker’s health, your peace and strength for the journey that lies ahead. Tucker is a beautiful work of God and a true miracle.
May God bless and comfort you-
I am thankful that he is here! I’ve continued to follow you all through the days since I first came looking for the table. My wife and I will continue to keep you all in our prayers and look forward to each day hearing more of this amazing young man and his wonderful parants. God is Good–All the Time!
Beautiful! What a little miracle he is already and so, so loved. May these days and hours bring more miracles and blessings to you. You have all been so strong– may that trust fill your heart with some true peace.
Love, Amy, John and family
Been praying since I heard from Allison a couple months back. Have passed along to various prayer warriors. Confident in a magnificent display of God’s glory through all of this.
Privileged to share in this journey.
Love to you all,
I have been praying for you since I heard through Rachel and Kyle. I will continue to pray daily.
Praying for all of you!! We also have the prayer chains of 2 churches lifting all 3 of you up!! He will be home in his newly decorated room before you know it. Bob’s neice weighed just 2 lbs 32 years ago and is fine. Medical science has come a long way!! Love and prayers-Janet and Bob Jones
Message Welcome Tucker. What a lucky day Fridy the 13th was. You look a little like Brennan did. Continue to fight & to grow. Ellie ,hopefully you will fill better each day.
Our love & prayers to the 3 of you.
Congratulation on your new baby boy!! So precious, know the Rices will be praying for you and the family in this difficult chapter of your life. We pray that he will get stronger with every breath he takes. Just remember God loved Tucker first and will hold him always in the palm of his hand. Thank you for blessing us with your story. Be strong, your faith will carry you through this journey. God has the perfect plan.
Hey Tommy and Ellie, praying for you all and for Tucker. I hope he continues to do well and that he grows stronger each day.
Ellie and Tommie
What a gorgeous baby you have! He’s a fighter already. May God continue to bless you. The neo gave you good advice- take it hour by hour. You have been given a double whammy- preamturity and VACTERL. A roller coaster indeed. Just remember to celebrate the big things and even the tiny ones- With all the uncertainty, you may feel you are missing out on the chance to actually celebrate Tucker. And also remember, even miracles can take a little time- So may October come quickly! Love to you all!
Our prayers are with you and your precious family.
I love you all. Thank you for the eloquent updates and the pictures of precious little Tucker. What a gift from our Lord. I simply cannot wait to meet him! My prayers continue to be with you for this new stage of your journey. Please give Ellie a big squeeze from me. Shannon
Ellie and Tommy-We are praying for you and your precious little boy. Trusting in God’s grace for your sweet family and praying for Tucker to grow stronger every day. We love you three,
He is so beautiful. We are praying for all three of you. Your story is a testimony for us and so many others. Praying you are able to rest in the comfort and joy that Tucker is now here!
Congratulations on your beautiful boy! Prayers are with you as you make this journey as a family.
Thank you for sharing your blessings with us!!! Welcome to the world, Sweet Tucker, Miracle Boy!
Thanks for the beautiful update and congrats to you Mom and Dad!! He is precious and we know everyone is praying that he will get stronger everyday. We are praying that his tiny lungs would grow so strong that in years he’ll be shouting around your house playing toys and games with lots of little friends (and jumping off furniture :). We are praying for you Ellie and your recovery. You have been so brave. He has you all in His hands. Welcome Baby Tucker!!!
He is beautiful. We love you all and are keeping you daily in our prayers. Steph, Allen, Tim, Josh, Pete.
Welcome to the world sweet baby Tucker. We are in constant prayer for you all; Ellie for healing, strength, peace and rest; Tommy for ongoing encouragement, fearlessness, and strength; for the entire Sibiga & Saunders family, that you would feel the real and comforting presence of your Savior and King. And Tucker! That you would grow strong! You are one special guy and you belong to the most incredible parents and family I know!
Care for you all so much and our prayers will not cease!
I am praying for all of you and thanking the Lord for His answered prayers already for this little guy! I know the next several months will be difficult and that you will both need help from others–and know that people are here to help sustain you and help as
you go through this journey. Tucker is amazing already..and has parents who God has specifically chosen for him. Hold on to the trust in the Lord you spoke of–He will not fail you.
What a sweet baby boy. You two are so strong and it is so encouraging how you are trusting the Lord with everything. We will definitely continue to pray for you all!
I have been keeping Tucker, Tommy, and Ellie in my prayers! I just wanted to let all three of you know that God loves you all so much (1 Corinthians 13). I will continue to keep you all in my prayers, and that Tucker will grow strong and healthy very quickly. Remember, God has a plan for all of your lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and will be with you every step of the way. Thank you for the updates and I love you all so much!
Tommy, Ellie and Tucker, you are in our prayers daily. We love you a lot. Lean into the strength of the Lord.
Welcome Tucker!!!!!!! You are so beautiful and handsome from head to toe. You’ve clearly inherited your parents’ strength. Rest when you are tired and fight when you need to fight. Give your parents little rewards every day with every little movement and noise you make. Charm the nurses!
Happy Belated Birthday to Tucker! What an amazing miracle the Lord has given us. Such a tiny wonder, with so much to see and do. I look for your updates every day and I will continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.
This is for Ellie- “No one knows the strength of my love for you. After all, you are the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.” I will be praying so much for you. Welcome to motherhood
Baby Tucker is beautiful!! Praying continues for his growth and development! What is God trying to teach you? Possibly the depth of love like you have never experienced, before you have your own precious baby:-) Praying for you all!!
Message Tucker, we are praying mightly for you & your parents. I know how special you are.Your cousin,Tucker wants to show you the lake & share all the full here. God is with all three of you.
I am a Vacterl Mommy to a Beautiful just graduated 5th Grade 11 Year old! Please know that we are thinking of you as your journey just begins.. Please let me know if you have any questions! We have been living the Vacterl world for 11 almost 12 years now and would be more than happy to help! Claire
We love you guys and are praying for you like crazy in this time. I can feel the shock in your voice and your trust in Christ right now. I have no doubt that he will draw you close. If there is anything you need please ask us. With you! Ryders
Sarah and I are praying for all three of you!
Oh how my heart goes out to you! I have always been thankful we didn’t know about our son’s issues before birth, giving us the gift of a normal, exciting first pregnancy. But, in the same breath I would give anything to turn back time and have a chance to prepare and give him the best possible care from the beginning.
As much as I will put all my best wishes and prayers out there for a miracle of testing error, imaging artifact, an inebriated ultrasound tech, a mouse chewing through the computer wires, or any number of ways the problems discovered will spontaneously resolve…well…I am also excited to welcome you to our VACTERL family. Just reading (stalking) your blog here I already love you guys to pieces.
Here you are so early in this journey and you already have some of the key skills parents like us need – taking things one at a time, drawing closer to each other, humor (prayer requests for an anus? LOVE!), researching, getting educated, holding the positive things close, and being hopeful.
Two things I can think of right now that might be comforting – the most dangerous part of Tucker’s life is past (the first trimester when 20% of ALL pregnancies end), and from right now until the day he is born he is in the safest place he will EVER be.
While I pray for divine intervention and healing, I come from a place of knowing that the miracles are sometimes in the journey. That is never what anyone WANTS to hear but I can tell you… you are the daughter of a MOST high King. He has plans to prosper and NOT to harm to give you HOPE and a future and I guarantee you He will give you all of this and more regardless. He will give you GRACE and PEACE and STRENGTH to see this through. When you fall, our Heavenly Father will scoop you up and hold you tight. Allow Him to hold you. Allow your family and friends to comfort and help you when need be and you will emerge from this journey, with a new appreciation for everything. Just know us VACTERL moms are here whenever you need us!
Praying for baby Tucker and you both plus passing this on to my mom to send to her prayer team!
praying for you 3, sweet friends! thankful for your faith already in this midst of such a time of uncertainty and waiting. lifting you up!
My husband discovered your blog today and sent me a link to your “Favorite Posts” — it was love instantly for both of us. Then I read about Baby Tucker, and my heart went out to you, as if you and I were sitting across the table from each other. We are praying for all three of you and believing for a God-sized miracle in Tucker’s health. He is more than able. While you are waiting for that next check up, I pray that God will keep your hearts and minds in perfect peace, that fear would have no place in your hearts, and that you will be confident and overwhelmed by His love for you.
continuing to pray for all 3 of you and for no problems with the amniocentesis take care!! Janet and Bob
I am IN THIS.
T, E, and T. Praying for you 3. God loves all 3 of you so much. And so do I.
Praying for you and trusting God for big things. He is holding you in His hands.
The whole team is surrounding you up here at Saranac.
We are praying for His Divine touch and for your faith to hold steady.
Bless you both and Tucker
Peace and Blessings Tommy, Elie and Tucker,
Remain encouraged and remember Romans 8:28. “And we know that all thngs work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called, according to His purpose.”
Speak Life and No Doubt for God is Able!
Ellie, Tommy and baby Tucker. All three of you are in my prayers, since Sandy updated me on Facebook I have been in prayer for your family. I am in Brazil and I have told my friends here and my church to keep you in their prayers. You have Brazil praying for you! How cool! God is in control, and will continue to be in control. I know y’all know that, y’all have taught me how to have the attitude of Christ and how to live a fun but bright life for Him! Through Young Life, y’all have both shown love to me. Thank you for all that y’all have done and I know God will continue to bring both of you up in your faith.
I was neighbors and playmates with Terry when we were kids. We have reconnected on Facebook and I include her each night in my prayers. I will of course include Tucker and his mom and dad. It is clear that Terry raised a son to have the same strength and faith that she has and I know that will be your salvation during this time. God bless all of you anday God answer our prayers for Tucker.
You guys do not kow me…I received this via the Richardson family! Please know I am lifting you both and Tucker in prayer. but I also sense the need to pray BIG. Father God, I pray for the complete healing of little Tucker in order for your greatest glory to be revealed — so that your glory will be revealed among the doctors, nurses, family and friends around the world! Father, you know that this sweet couple will give all the glory to you, the One true God of all the universe — the One true God of ALL creation including baby Tucker! Thank you, Father, because you are able to all things. And thank you that you are always with us! In the name of Jesus we ask these things, AMEN!
Our prayers are with all of you. I know your pain and am amazed by how God has already worked in your life. Your faith is inspirational. Tucker has amazing parents and I know that his life already has purpose, something some of us struggle trying to find our whole lives. I love you guys and will pray hard for your family, especially little Tucker. May God bless you and keep you and provide you the healing and strength you need in this difficult time.
Just seeing this- praying for Tucker by name. Will continue to do so!
Im sorry, first of all, that you 3 are going through this
tough time right now. I will diligently pray for
you, Ellie, and of course our precious baby Tucker…
Thank you for sharing this and being so open. Please
Keep the updates coming… Love you cuz, ….. Mindy…
I will be praying for baby Tucker and y’alls family! The Lord is soverign in all things. Stay strong friends!
Praying for you guys! Dont’ know if you remember meeting me at Brian’s wedding, but you two are lovely and memorable. I will continue to pray and prayerfully wait for updates on Tucker. May the Lord comfort you with His love & strengthen you with His power as you wait on Him. In His Embrace, Joy Bolander
I am so sorry to hear this news, but I am praying for you both! Tucker is lucky to have such caring, amazing parents that are there for him as well as a community that will continue to pray for him, love him, and keep you all in our thoughts.
Wow, I cannot imagine what you both are going through but will be praying for ALL of you! Thank you for sharing this, thank you for your trust in the LORD and thank you for being Tucker’s parents-God knew what He was doing when He chose you two.
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Tommy and Ellie
PO Box 200858
Boston, MA 02120
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