Sunday, December 21, 2008

Recent Pictures of Savannah

Savannah coming home after graduating from the NICU on 12/10/2008!!

Savannah hanging out on her changing table on 12/14/2008!

Savannah wearing pants for the first time on 12/16/2008!

Friday Weigh In & Brain Scan Results

This past Friday we took Savannah to her second doctor's appointment and the primary reason was for the doctor to check to see how much weight she gained over the past seven days. The first appointment that we had, I mentioned that we waited an extremely long time in the waiting room and that we were pretty disappointed overall. Yesterday was a complete 180 turn around. April and Savannah were in the waiting room for less than 5 minutes and then we saw the doctor in less than 10 minutes so we were very pleased with yesterday's experience.

Now, on to the main reason of this post. On Friday, December 12, Savannah weighed 4 Lbs 8 Oz and the doctor had hopes of her gaining between 3/4 to a full ounce per day. Well, Savannah crushed his expectations.....Savannah gained a good 10 ounces and is now over the 5 Lb mark....YOU GO GIRL!!!! Her official weight is 5 Lbs 2 oz and the doctor is very happy with that. He said that she is thriving and doing very well. We will be heading back to the doctor's office on December 30 for another weigh in to see how much more weight she has gained.

On a separate note, I can not believe that I never informed everyone about the end results of the Grade 1 Brain Bleed that Savannah had. While in the NICU, the doctor's performed two brain scans and each one showed a small bleed of some sorts. These scans were completed within the first 10 days of Savannah being born and the doctor's were not very concerned because the bleed was so small. I can not say the same for April and myself as we were very concerned just because of the unknown. A final brain scan was completed before Savannah was released and the results showed that the bleed was resolving itself, meaning that the blood was being absorbed back into the brain. This was a huge sigh of relief for April and I and I apologize for not telling everyone sooner. At this point, the doctors will no longer follow up on the bleed because they are assuming that the entire bleed will be absorbed back into the brain and that it will be a non-issue.

Overall, April and I are having a great time enjoying Savannah and we look forward to learning, seeing or hearing something new everyday. Yesterday, we took her for her first quick walk outside in the stroller and today we put her in her swing for the first time. It seems like every day there is a new first and we are tyring to take it all in as much as we can.

I hope everyone takes some time to relax and enjoy their family and friends as we approach Christmas and the birth of baby Jesus this upcoming Thursday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Savannah's First Doctor Appointment

Last Friday, April & I took Savannah to her first appointment with the pediatrician. This doctor was recommended to us by more than one person and we have heard nothing but good things about him so we are looking forward to building a relationship with him in the years to come. With that being said, we did have to wait a little over an hour before seeing the doctor which was disappointing but he assured us that the long wait was not the norm. We will see if that is the case at our next appointment.

On to the good stuff.....Savannah gained about three ounces in the two days that she was home with us so her official weight last Friday was 4 lbs and 8 ounces. The doctor listened to her heart and completed an overall physical and everything looked good to him. He answered all of the questions that we had and put us at ease a little bit about the stuffed up nose that she had. He said that this was common for infants because they are laying on their back so much and as long as she is not running a fever and can continue to eat that everything is fine. Savannah is accomplishing these two things without a problem.

The doctor also discussed with us how fragile Savannah's immune system is due to how small and premature she is. Although she was born almost 6 weeks ago, we also have to remember that she was born 9 weeks premature so in theory, her gestational age is 36 weeks and 5 days. Her original due date was January 8, 2009.

The doctor also instructed us to keep everyone away from her including friends and family. For the time being, only April and I are touching her or are around her. Our family is going to have to be patient with us in this regard and know that everything we are doing is for her health and safety. As the doctor said "Savannah is finally out of the hospital and this is for good. We do not want her going back." If she catches a cold, it can be very serious so thank you in advance to everyone for being so understanding.

Currently, Savannah is eating on average every 4 hours but the doctor said that she can eat every 2.5 to 5 hours if she is hungry. At this point, the doctor would like to see Savannah gain 3/4 to an ounce every day and we will be bringing her back every Friday so they can check her weight to make sure that she is gaining what she needs to.

April is doing an awesome job of taking care of Savannah and is enjoying all of the little faces and noises that she makes throughout the day. I knew that she was going to be a phenomenal mom but she continues to amaze me every day.

Thank you to everyone for all of the supportive emails and cards that we have received. We truly appreciate it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Welcome Home Savannah!!!!

Finally, Savannah is home.

After 35 days in the NICU, the doctors released our precious little girl to us last night around 6:30 and we made the long drive home. To say that last night was a surreal experience is an understatement. April & I were filled with a mix of emotions ranging from shock (that they were actually letting us leave with her) to excitement to nervousness as well as the emotions that we are still dealing with from the events of last week.

Once we got her home and settled, the night went as well as can be expected. Fortunately, the time spent in the NICU allowed Savannah to get on somewhat of a routine. She is eating about every 3.5 to 4 hours and then sleeping for most of the other time. April and I tried to sleep when she did but any noise that she made was thoroughly investigated only to find her still asleep but just moving around.

We are keeping track of everything you can think of (temperature, feedings, diaper changes, etc...) on a make shift chart. I am almost positive that at some point in the near future I will need a chart to track all of the different charts that we have going:)

Savannah weighted 4 lb 5 ounces when she was released to us yesterday which is a total weight gain of 26 ounces or 1Lb 10 ounces. Tomorrow we have her first pediatric appointment which should be interesting.

Below is a somewhat recent picture of Savannah and we will have more to come in a day or two.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Recap of Yesterday's Events

Yesterday, April and I along with an amazing turnout of friends and family celebrated Patrick's life with a traditional Catholic Funeral Mass. The church was decorated beautifully with flowers that were sent from friends as well as two displays of Patrick's short life.

April and I selected the following readings which were read by my brothers, Matthew and Christopher as well as the gospel reading:

First Reading: Psalm 139 1-10, 13-18
Second Reading: Ephesians 3: 14-19
Gospel: Mark 10: 13-16

Following the Gospel, Father Jude gave a very heartfelt and inspiring Homily that I am sure touched every single person in attendance.

My sister, Rebecca, then read the general intercessions which included a prayer for baby Savannah. The gifts were brought up by Rebecca (my sister), Laurie and Jeannette (our sister-in-laws).

After communion, I had the opportunity to explain Patrick's life and the impact that it had on both April and I. As I walked to the podium, I asked Patrick to give me strength and then I struggled through the following:

Isaiah 41: 10 states the following, “so do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

A father should not be speaking at his son’s funeral, yet here I am. Patrick’s life is one I must explain and April and I have things to say and I am going to try and say them today. I do have help though in the event that I cannot continue.

April and I have shed many tears this week and there will be many more in the coming weeks and months. A teardrop is a symbol of love and it is OK to cry so feel free to let it out.

April and I want to thank all of you for being here today. You honor Patrick by your presence. We wish that we could personally thank each and every one of you for all of the love and support you have provided to us over the past week.

Patrick’s short time with us impacted so many people and I want to thank you for celebrating his life today. The items that we have displayed are not a true representation of who Patrick really was. We wish that all of you could have met him to fully understand the impact of his short life. The nurses liked to call him their big boy in a little boy’s body. Apparently, Patrick did not know that he was born at less than 2 pounds.

I could talk about how unjust this is or how unfair Patrick’s death is to our entire family but instead I would like to focus on what Patrick meant to us and what he taught us.

We view today as a day to celebrate. We are celebrating the life of a child that the Lord gave to us to enjoy for 25 short days. Patrick allowed us to love like we have never loved before and we enjoyed every single minute of it.

Patrick taught us so much during the time that he was with us as well as the 31 weeks that he was growing inside of April. At 21 weeks, the doctors said he was not viable so he continued to fight and survive. At 22 weeks the doctors discovered that Patrick had restricted blood flow and that he was not growing very much but he persevered and continued to survive. Around this time, the doctors wanted to write Patrick off and focus on Savannah but April and I would not accept that and neither would Patrick. For 9 weeks, Patrick battled through the restricted blood flow and continued to gain weight. The final three weeks of the pregnancy, Patrick gained 5 ounces which was significant progress for him and allowed him to be born weighing 1 lb 7 ounces instead of 1 lb 2 ounces. It was during these nine weeks that Patrick taught us the meaning of perseverance as well as the will to succeed.

When Patrick was born, we heard his cry and April and I cried tears of joy. For 25 days, Patrick did not have any major issues but then the day came that the Lord decided to make him an angel and on Sunday, November 30, 2008 April and I held our precious baby boy for the last time.

I can tell you that there is nothing sadder than the death of a child. When we lose a parent, we lose a piece of our past. When we lose a child, we lose a piece of our future.

Although April and I did not willingly give up Patrick, his life and death gave us new meaning to the sacrifice God made when he gave up his only Son so that we could have eternal life.

We know that Patrick has been granted eternal life and is now with God and one day when the time is right we will meet our son again at the gates of heaven.

April and I would like to ask all of you a favor. When you leave here today and return to your homes, turn off your TV’s, turn off your computers and your cell phones and spend some time with your children. Take a bike ride with them or throw the ball with them tomorrow. Squeeze them a little tighter when you hug them, tuck them in a little more when you put them to bed and most importantly love them and tell them how much they mean to you. April and I would give anything to have one more day to touch and hold Patrick but that is not possible so make sure that you make your days count.

This evening, April and I are going to see Savannah and we are going to tell her how much she is loved by us and how special her big brother was. We are going to tell her that Patrick is her personal Angel and that he will always be looking over his twin sister.

In closing, I would like to end in a poem titled “He Only Took My Hand”

“Last night while I was trying to sleep,
My son's voice I did hear,
I opened my eyes and looked around,
But he did not appear.
He said: "Dad you've got to listen,
You've got to understand
God didn't take me from you, dad
He only took my hand.
When I called out in
pain that night,
The instant that I died,
He reached down and took my hand,
And pulled me to His side.
He pulled me up and saved me
From the misery and pain.
My body was hurt so badly inside,
I could never be the same.
My search is really over now,
I've found happiness within,
All the answers to my empty dreams
And all that might have been.
I love you all and miss you so,
And I'll always be nearby.
My body's gone forever,
But my spirit will never die!
And so, you must all go on now,
Live one day at a time.
Just understand-
God did not take me from you,
He only took my hand."

April, thank you for giving me two beautiful children!

And thank you Patrick! Thank you for being the joy of mine and your mother’s life.

Thank you for all that attended yesterday and thank you to all that took a moment out of your day to pray for us at 11:00 AM.

With Love,
Patrick & April

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Patrick's Obituary

Patrick's obituary ran in two local papers this morning and it is shown below.

EMRICH, Patrick Christian, infant son of April and Patrick, went home to be with the Lord, leaving us too soon on November 30, 2008. He is loved and survived by his parents; his twin sister, Savannah; Buddy and Nana, Mike and Chris Kruck; Grandparents, Jan and Grace Emrich; as well as his Aunts and Uncles; Michael Kruck II, Brian Kruck (Amy) , Matt Emrich (Jeannette), Chris Emrich (Laurie) and Rebecca Emrich; his cousins, Michael Kruck III, Morgan Kruck, and Aidan Emrich; as well as a wide circle of friends and family. Patrick, you left us too soon, but you will always be remembered in our hearts. We Love You! There will be a funeral mass on Friday, December 5, 2008 at 11 am, at St. Mary Catholic Church, 15520 North Blvd., Tampa, Florida. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the March of Dimes to help premature babies.

You can also view the online tribute at and will find his name under the online tribute section.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support during this tough time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Funeral Mass for Little Patrick

Today, April and I finalized the arrangements for Patrick's service. We have had many requests in regards to the details so for those of you interested, please see below.

There will be a funeral mass on Friday, December 5, 2008 at 11:00 AM, at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 15520 North Blvd, Tampa, FL 33613.. A casual gathering will take place after the service at the Emrich's house and all are welcome.

Thank you for your continued support during these trying times.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Remembering Patrick--Our Little Doodlebug

Last night, April and I held Patrick for the last time as he has passed away and is now in heaven keeping God company.

Patrick's passing was very unexpected and April and I are deeply saddened and words can not explain the hurt and pain that we feel. The past 25 days with Patrick have been so amazing. He brought tremendous joy and love into our lives and we could not imagine him not being born. We will never forget the time that we had with him.

While we are in mourning we are also thankful for the short time that he was on earth. There are many couples that do not have the ability to get pregnant or to have children. There are also many families that lose their children at birth or shortly after. April and I were blessed enough to have two beautiful babies and enjoy both of them for a little over three weeks which is much more than many families receive.

Patrick will forever be a part of our lives and will always be remembered for the cute and adorable son that he was. I am sure that he is watching over his sister as she continues to grow stronger and bigger every day.

Please continue to pray for Savannah's health as well as for Patrick's eternal peace.

Below is one of the last pictures that we took of Patrick. One of his nurses suggested that we bring in a stocking to put him in and take a picture. The end result is below. He is so BEAUTIFUL.