Big news for a group that helps tiny babies and their families! The Hummingbird Foundation is now Tiny Hummingbirds, an official non-profit organization. We've been hard at work this year, going through all the paperwork to be recognized as a non-profit. As part of that process, our lawyer advised us to change our name. So here we are, the same organization you love, now known as Tiny Hummingbirds!
Being a non-profit opens many doors, including that we are now eligible to apply for many grants. This is good news for our supporters, too: your donations to Tiny Hummingbirds are now tax-deductible!
We're at work on the 2015 Calendar. The photo shoot was over the weekend, and we are still smiling from seeing all those little cuties! The smiles are so sweet, and the stories of these mighty little kiddos will melt your heart. It is such an honor to work with families who have been through so much, and who are now eager to help other families going through a similar journey.
We're expecting the calendars by mid-November, and soon we'll be taking orders online. Check back, or follow us on Facebook. Meanwhile, if you know of a retail location that would be interested in carrying the calendars, please email us!
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Thursday, March 21, 2013
In honor of Emry's 2nd birthday, we would love to share her story with you, written by Emry's parents, Jeff and Holly. We love you Memmy Tay-Tay!!
In January 2011 we went in for our scheduled ultrasound to find out whether our little Alli 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 doctor! After several tests and ultrasounds through out the day, our doctor 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 9:30 pm 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 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 quiet 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 Dr's continued to say the the first 24 hours were critical. If she could make it past that 24 hour mark we could breathe 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 2:05 am 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, too young, too premature, too 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 too 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, too small, too 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. If you would like to read more, please visit our family blog : www.walkerfam05.blogspot.com.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Meet Miss Gracyn! She is our October calendar model! This sweet girl was in the hospital at the same time as Emry...in the same town but different hospitals. She texted and kept me up to date on tornado warnings! HA We grew up with her Momma so we said lots of prayers for this girl! Here is her story, written by her mom, Amanda.
In August of 2010 we found out we were having our 3rd child. …we were beyond ecstatic! We immediately started planning and adjusting our lives for a new baby. On October 12, 2010 we went for our 14 week prenatal check-up. My doctor had some free time that evening and asked if I wanted to do an early ultrasound. He thought I was measuring a little big and could have been a few weeks farther along than we thought. So of course we were so excited to see our precious baby on ultrasound earlier than expected! But what was to come following those next few minutes changed our lives forever. He got very quiet and I knew immediately something was wrong. He explained that he saw a large mass growing on our baby’s tummy and he thought we needed to go in for a more detailed ultrasound to confirm. We were scheduled an appointment at UAMS Medical Center in Little Rock that next week. We made the long 3 hour drive down where they confirmed to us that our daughters intestines were growing on the outside of her body. They told us that she was perfectly healthy otherwise but this was a very serious condition that would require immediate surgery following delivery and she would spend weeks to months in Arkansas Children’s Hospital. This news was devastating to our entire family. How were we going to cope? Mentally, physically, financially?? How were we going to raise our other 2 children and live in Little Rock all at the same time?? All these thoughts were running through my mind. Why us God?
My pregnancy continued as planned and we accepted the fact of what was to come and prepared our lives for our baby to spend her first weeks of life in a hospital 3 hours away from our home. The pregnancy was fairly routine until I reached 35 weeks and they told me I had entirely too much amniotic fluid and she could possibly be born within the week! SCARY!!! Not only will she be born with this condition (which we now knew was called “gastroschesis”), she would be born prematurely! On March 17, 2011 at 36 weeks Gracyn Sloane made her grand entrance into this world. She weighed in at 5 lbs even. It all happened so fast. They wrapped her tiny body in a plastic like bag to protect her intestines and then swaddled her the best they could in a blanket before handing her to me to hold for just a minute before they whisked her away to meet the Angel One helicopter that would fly her over 200 miles away. Of course I could not be released from the hospital until the next day so daddy jumped in his truck and raced away to Little Rock. That was the hardest part to me….being 200 miles away from my newborn daughter. As I lay in my hospital bed all I could think was how scared she was and how I was supposed to be there by her side. She needed her mommy!! Finally a few hours later, Children’s hospital called my room and let me know she landed safely in Little Rock and was all settled in the NICU. I had to give verbal permission over the phone to allow them to perform her first surgery. That was a terrifying thought! Just a few hours after her arrival, Gracyn had her first of 3 surgeries. It consisted of sewing a “silo” bag around the opening in her tummy and placing her intestines in this bag. Their plan was to allow gravity to do its job and the intestines would return inside the body without any force. When I arrived at children’s hospital 20 hours later I got to see Gracyn for the first time since she had left my arms. She was hooked up to every machine and cord you could possibly think of. I COMPLETELY LOST IT!!! I couldn’t stop crying. Daddy had already been there with her and had tried to prepare me for what I was about to see. There is no preparing for something like that. It was the most difficult thing I have ever faced…….
“So, she’s here now, what is our plan doc?” They explained to us that Gracyn would lie flat on her back and their hope was that her intestines would return to her body like planned and they would sew her up and we would just wait for them to start working correctly. And that if all went as planned she would go home in a few weeks. On March 24th (one week old) her intestines had returned inside her body and they took her back for her 2nd surgery. They sewed her up and we prayed for success. “Within the week she should start stooling and be on the road to recovery and be home in no time.” Those were such encouraging words to us. Well, weeks went by…..still no stools. We prayed every day for POOP! That’s all I could say was “God please let there be poop today!” After 6 long weeks of waiting and still no poop, they took her back for an x-ray. They shot some sort of dye through her intestines and we found out that there was some blockage and she would require another surgery. Those words were like a knife to our hearts. All I could think was this isn’t supposed to be happening to her. Why?? I remember feeling jealousy towards another family who had a baby there with the exact same condition. She arrived a week after Gracyn and was already home at this point. I was so frustrated, exhausted, stress and scared. We were so ready to be home at this point. We had been juggling our family life with our other 2 children. My fiancée still had to work during the week and they had to go to school. But thankfully my mother was able to be off work and spend the entire time with me down there. Tim and the kids would come down on the weekends and we tried to make it as normal as possible for them. But it took a toll on our entire family. 6 weeks away from my other babies was heart wrenching. I felt like I had abandoned my children. I know that sounds crazy, but I just felt so helpless. We continued to pray. There was a chance this surgery wouldn’t work and she could possibly face some very serious challenges ahead.
On May 5, 2011 at 7 weeks old Gracyn had her FINAL surgery!!! They cut her open, pulled her entire small intestines out, snipped the bad part out and sewed the ends back together. And BAM…..2 days later we had POOP!!! I have never been so happy to open up a diaper and see that! 2 weeks later on May 19 we rolled her down the halls of Children’s Hospital in a little red wagon. Hands down the happiest day of our lives!!! We loaded her up in our truck and headed back to Fayetteville. HOME!!!!
Gracyn is now 19 months old and we haven’t looked back once. She hasn’t faced any problems from this. She is the picture of perfect health and you would never know she was a preemie or had 3 surgeries…unless you look at her tummy, which is beautifully scarred ; ) She eats constantly, talks your ear off and has a smile that will light up the room. She is the boss at our house and has every right to be. God has truly blessed us with our little miracle baby. The road was a long one and was the most challenging experience of our lives….. but worth every single minute.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Emma Kinley was an unexpected gift. She was supposed to have made her grand entrance into this world on June 3, 2010. I began having complications, Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome which sent us to UAMS in Little Rock. The doctors thought that they would have to deliver Emma that night but surprisingly they were able to hold off.
We were given the series of shots to mature Emma’s lungs at a faster rate so that maybe she wouldn’t have more complications than what were already expected. The doctors told us we’d be lucky to get two or three days extra with the shot. I was at 24 weeks and we desperately wanted to hit 25 weeks. We were told a baby had better chances at 25 or more weeks. We did it. We managed to get five days. At exactly 25 weeks, February 20, 2010 Emma, our unexpected gift had arrived.
The room was cold and sterile. I remember the doctor coming in and looking me straight in the eye and asking me, “You do want us to revive her, do all that is possible?” This was not my first delivery but it was the first time I had been asked that question. I looked at him for a second, only because of fear of the question and answered, “yes”. I realized then I had no control over the fate of this human being. It was a helpless feeling. We knew she was going to be very small, we were looking at a little over a pound. She was 10 ¾ inches long and 13 oz. Yes, we had to ask again..not sure we heard that right. Two days after Emma was born the doctors discovered that she had a congential heart defect. She was born with Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV). There are so many obstacles for premature babies to have to overcome. Amazingly, Emma never had a brain bleed which occurs often with premies. Emma spent 56 days on a ventilator. Because she was on the ventilator for more than 28 days she was diagnosed with chronic lung disease. What does that mean? She could have asthma later in life, she may get sick a little easier than other children. Okay, we can live with that at this point. The goal was to get Emma to ten pounds before having to do her heart surgery.
The first week of June 2010 Emma was transferred to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She needed to be there for her heart surgery and Emma’s saturations (breathing) was not holding at a number they were comfortable with. The day came, September 2, 2010 Emma was eight pounds and taken into surgery. She came out of surgery only to be taken back because she was bleeding and the doctors couldn’t get it to stop. A few more minutes the surgeon comes out and says she’s okay, the bleeding resolved itself, they would not have to go back in. Of all the days with Emma, I believe this day was the hardest. I will never forget the way she looked right after the surgery. All the tubes coming out her and thinking if I could only take her place. Emma recovered beautifully from her heart surgery and had no other complications. Her next hurdle was feeding issues and growing. She had some reflux issues and was tube fed for a while but as with everything Emma conquered that as well. On October 16, 2010 Emma was going home. Her first venture out into the world around people, fresh air since the day she was born. I worried over so many things throughout Emma’s journey and one of those was that she and I didn’t get to bond like my other children. I didn’t get to hold or really touch her until about three or four months after she was born. I afraid this would have some effect on her. Emma is 2 ½ now and she is just as close to me as my other children are. She’s still little but to look at her today you’d never know the road that she traveled to get where she is today. She shows no signs of developmental delays, she’s a chatter box, she runs, draws on everything, sassy and yes, is going through the “terrible two’s”. To this day she is fearless and shows great determination in everything. The best advice I can give? Some days you’ll have to take day by day and some minute by minute. Listen to your intutition and feel with your heart.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Meet Miss Taylor! She is our August model for our Hummingbird Calendar. It makes me feel SO incredibly old and sad that she and her siblings are as old as they are now! I had the honor of being their babysitter for many years and I remember the first time I met Taylor and how incredible it was to see a true miracle for myself!! The first time she ever rode in my car was just for a few miles and she rode in a little Tupperware type tub and had all this stuff in there with her. I remember being scared half to death because I was driving around a little miracle! Ha We are so proud of this girl! Here's her story written by her Momma, Dorinda. -Jamie ;)
February 13, 1999
On February 11, I went in for a regular OB appointment at 28 weeks gestation. I was told I had gained 14 lbs in one week. The nurses and doctor were very concerned, but did mention that would not be abnormal if I were carrying twins. All my husband and I heard was the word "twins" and got very excited! They asked me to come back the next day for an ultra-sound and another checkup.
The radiology technician was only seconds into the ultrasound on February 12, when she said she needed to speak with the doctor. When our OB came in, he looked at the screen, and instead of hearing "twins" like we were hoping, we heard scary words like, "serious condition", "transporting you to hospital, baby is critical".
To make a long story short, the next day we drove the winding roads from northwest Arkansas to Little Rock to a maternal/fetal specialist to hear the most devastating words yet. "Your baby will NOT survive birth."
Taylor had a massive amount of fluid in her abdomen which had crowded her heart, lungs and internal organs during development. During the specialized ultrasound, they found a sizable tumor in the fluid.
The maternal/fetal specialist came in the room and told us that with all the complications she had in the womb that it would be up to us to decide if we wanted to do special testing through the umbilical cord to see what was causing the fluid. The testing would take up to four weeks for the results and by that time, our precious baby would die from the crowding of the fluid. Our other option would be to induce labor. He said that there was no way she would or could survive outside of the womb. Her heart and lungs were not strong enough and there was just too much fluid and her body was continually producing more.
We prayed and felt we should go ahead and let them induce.
On February 13, when I woke up, instead of having to be induced, I was already in labor. That was my miracle number one. From there we saw miracle after miracle. The doctors did not expect Taylor to survive birth, because no other baby had with her circumstances. When she did, they weren't quite sure what to do with her. They began to call other children's hospitals around the country. No one knew what to do with the tumor or the fluid in the abdomen. They decided to drain the fluid to relieve her heart and lungs.
Taylor weighed 3lbs and 2 oz at birth. After they drained all of the fluid, she only weighed around 2 lbs. She seemed so tiny but at 29 weeks, she was one of the biggest babies in the NICU. There were many miracles, but one of the most significant was the tumor disappeared when the fluid was drained.
Her lungs, which were abnormally small at birth because of the fluid pressure during gestational formation, grew overnight. We only know this because a neonatal specialist came out excitedly one day to tell us she was ordering new x-rays. She asked us to keep praying because God was doing something amazing in Taylor's life and body and the doctor's had nothing to do with it.
We went from a doctor's report saying Taylor would not live, to them expecting her to stay in the hospital for 3 to 6 months, to us walking out with her in 4 weeks.
I have to add, there hundreds of people praying constantly for Taylor! The day she was born, people met at our church and interceded for her healing. God was faithful because HE has a plan for her life. We had to decide that even if He did not heal her, we would serve Him and praise Him anyway. He is sovereign and is faithful.
Today, Taylor is 13. She plays softball and basketball and has a B average in school. She is a sweetheart of a girl who loves Jesus and others.
Taylor is creative and hopes to one day invent ways to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations or be a teacher!
We give God ALL of the praise and glory for His marvelous healing power in her life.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
He is our sweet model for the month of July in our Hummingbird Calendars!
Brennen Michael was born March 26, 2011; he was due June 27, 2011. On March 22, at midnight, I had sharp pains in my side so I got up out of bed and walked around a little bit to see if the pain would go away, it didn’t. So, I decided to go to the restroom and then try to go back to sleep. When I went to the restroom my water broke. I was in such shock I started crying, pretty much in total denial of what was really going on. “My water could not have broken. I am only 26 weeks pregnant!” I thought.
Colin, my husband, woke up because I was crying so hard. I told him a lot of water just came out and I don’t know if it is urine or not, so we went to the ER. After we got there, the nurses took measures to stop my labor. The doctor said that my water had broken due to PROM (Premature Rupture of Membranes). The doctor informed us that their hospital was not capable of caring for babies born before 28 weeks so Angel One (Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s Helicopter) was coming to airlift me to UAMS in Little Rock.
Completely overwhelmed by this whole situation, I cried out: “This is a nightmare!” I have never known anyone to have a premature baby. Until this point, my pregnancy was going perfect. I was doing all of the right things. I had no illnesses and no problems whatsoever! Why is this happening?
I arrive in Little Rock and get situated. The doctor tells me that my labor has stopped, but I will still continue to leak amniotic fluid until the baby is born. However, the good news is that I will continue to make more fluid. If everything had gone as planned, I would have stayed there and delivered at 34 weeks. The Neonatologists wanted to keep the baby in as long as possible. So, I get situated in a room and everything is going fine. I was told by one of the nurses that if you make it past 48 hours, then you should make it to 34 weeks.
On day number 4, I woke up and went to the restroom and noticed that I was bleeding a little bit. I called the nurse to let them know I was bleeding and she called the doctor to come and check me. When the doctor checked me, she discovered that I was 6 cm dilated and I was having Umbilical cord prolapse. Umbilical cord prolapse is where the umbilical cord enters the vaginal canal before the fetus. This is very rare, but is a risk factor for people who have PROM, and can pose a serious danger for the baby.
The doctor tells me that I am going to have an emergency c-section right now. At UAMS, the doctors and nurses have special radio devices called Voceras that they use to communicate with each other. Several nurses were called by Vocera into the room and they wheeled me off to surgery. The doctor had to ride on the hospital bed with me and hold Brennen’s umbilical cord and foot in so that the cord would not be flatted in the vaginal canal, potentially causing brain damage or death.
At 26 weeks, 6 days, via emergency c-section, our tiny miracle child was born. Brennen Michael Furrow was born March 26, 2011, 7:41am, 2lbs. 2oz. 14 inches long. Brennen was a fighter from the beginning. He cried when the doctor delivered him. He was only on the ventilator for 45min- 1hour after he was born. Brennen had what the doctors called a “boring NICU stay”. I attribute a lot of his health and strength to the grace of God, prayer, and breast milk.
|Brennen at a few hours old|
The first time I got to hold him he was three days old. I remember being nervous because he was so small and there were so many wires. One of the hardest things for me was asking to touch or hold my baby. He was allowed to have Kangaroo Care for an hour every day and I definitely took advantage of that. Kangaroo Care is where the baby has skin to skin snuggle time with mommy or daddy. Studies have shown that premature babies tend to develop better when they have Kangaroo Care, if they are allowed to be held.
|Kangaroo Care with Mommy|
UAMS was a fantastic hospital with excellent doctors and nurses. Colin and I were always very included on all of the discussions on Brennen’s care and health. I always got to change his diaper and help with his baths. There were always good and bad days with the bradycardia events (bradys) and desaturations in oxygen (desats). We only had one “major” hiccup in regards to desaturation in oxygen. Brennen was having excessive desats and had to be on a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) for a few days. I was told that it was a like a nasal cannula but it had longer nasal prongs with pressurized air to help him breathe and get the oxygen he needed.
At 7 weeks old (33 weeks gestation) Brennen was able to move into an open air crib and they took away the nasal cannula. He was doing wonderful, so we were moved to the Stork’s Nest which is the step down unit at UAMS for babies who are learning to eat and getting ready to go home. We had another set back after being there for only 2 days. Brennen started having excessive desats and he had to go back on the nasal cannula. He was moved back to the more critical care area of the NICU for 2 more weeks so he could have more attention from the nurses.
|Kangaroo Care with Daddy|
In those 2 weeks Brennen regained strength and we were able to move back to the Stork’s Nest and begin breastfeeding. I was bound and determined to nurse him so I worked very hard with the nurses and lactation consultants to help him learn to nurse. While in the Stork’s Nest, Brennen prospered, grew, and got stronger every day! I was able to hold him whenever I wanted, change his clothes, and do all of his care like a mother should be able to do.
|Bath time with Brennen|
After 84 days in the NICU, on June 18, 2011 we were able to bring home our 6lb. 11oz, healthy baby boy! Brennen is such a wonderful, beautiful, and smart child. Colin and I are so blessed to be his parents and he brings joy and a smile to everyone he meets. I want to take a special moment to also thank God for my sweet friend, Holly Walker. We were next door neighbors in the critical care wing and in the step down wing of the NICU. Holly and I met through a mutual friend just a couple of weeks before both Brennen and Emry were born (5 days apart) at UAMS. I am positive God allowed us to meet before our kids were born so we would have each other in one of the most difficult times in our lives. I still thank God all of the time for our friendship.
Thank you for allowing our family to be part of such a wonderful organization. We hope and pray that the Hummingbird Foundation is able reach out and are a blessing to many families for years to come. All in the name of Jesus!
Brennen's Mommy, Rachel