Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blessed

 Every major event is only a second in our lives. We spend days to years building up anticipation for certain important moments- graduation, saying "I do", the birth of a child- that literally pass with a blink of the eye. All of this energy and stress put on, in the grand scheme of things, something so..... small. After all the waiting and stressing, Fiona was discharged today, 9 days after her birth day. I blinked and we were out the door, driving home. When we were leaving, a mom was getting onto the elevator and looked at us with all of our stuff and our baby and my heart broke for her when she said, "I can't wait till its our day". That was me, just yesterday.


Our angel slept the whole 2 hour car ride back to our little home. We drove through one torrential rain storm after another the entire ride. My poor husband, already nervous to drive his baby girl, had to deal with the bad weather on top of it all. But we made it home, safe and sound. I open the door to my favorite sound- "Mommy's home!"


The boys met "Fo-na!", as they call her, for the very first time and fell in love with her just as much we did. Breiden kept pointing and just saying "pretty" over and over. Both were too scared to touch her but blew her lots of kisses.



They quickly got over that fear, and were fighting over who got to hold her. I really thought they would be too young to want to do this- they never took that much interest in any other baby before. The way they looked at Fiona, when she was in their arms, melted my heart. They are going to be such amazing big brothers- they are already looking over her with love and protection.


I'm in love with my family.


And thankful to be home.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Beauty in the Breakdown

  I made some mistakes...

  I made the mistake of getting my hopes up.

  I made the mistake of making a promise I couldn't keep.

  I made the mistake of opening my mouth too soon.

  Friday, the rounds Doctor told me, Monday, Fiona would be able to go home if all stayed the same through the weekend. From what I could see, everything stayed the same. By Sunday, Fiona's nurse started getting her ready to go home. She passed her car seat test, and I passed my training on how to administer her medication. I called my boys and told them mommy was coming home real soon, that Monday I would be there. I had no doubt in my mind that we were going home Monday.


  Charlie came up late Sunday night, and after spending some much needed time with Fiona, we headed down to the Ronald McDonald House to sleep in an actual bed. My rigorous breastfeeding/pumping schedule has pushed me to be able to produce enough milk that I am about 2 to 3 bottles ahead of her. Four hours later (which was the most sleep in a row I have gotten since she was born) it was time to head back up the six floors to the NICU.



  7am on, doctors can come by at anytime. And when the doctors come by, that minute that they are there, is your only opportunity to find out exactly how your baby is doing and to ask any questions you may have conjured up in the last 24 hours. So many days, I have waited and waited for doctors, for them to come by the 20 minutes that I run down to get something to eat. Now with Charlie here, we took shifts of who could leave and eat and who was on doctor watch. At 8, the nurse practitioner stopped in to check on Fi, and in her talking to Fiona's nurse, I overheard her say that Fiona's paperwork said that she was not leaving today.

  The tears started swelling behind my eyes. I was doing everything to keep them from pouring down my face. I was tired, emotional, and over being in this dark little room. My boys faces flashed through my head, and the tears pushed fiercefully to come out. I kept my head down, looking at my phone so the nurses couldn't see my face. I can't remember if I even spoke to them. The nurse said that the doctor would make the final call when he came by for rounds. This was at 8.

 9.... nothing. 10.... nothing. 11.... nothing.

 The doctor did not come by till close to noon. It was a different doctor then last week, and she had a completely different demeanor then the other doctor. Much more serious- not cold, but not overly friendly as the other doctor had been. When they do rounds, the doctors come by with these rolling computers, followed by two or three other nurses or doctors in training( I'm not sure which), the discharge nurse, and the nurse practitioner. They all talk to each other and don't really acknowledge that you are in the room until the end when they tell you their summery of what is going on. But you can hear everything they are saying.

  By the time they had finished, my eyes were burning from the tears and my heart was racing with anger. She was not coming home today. The medicine they had started on Saturday needed to be monitored at least till Tuesday morning and the cardiologist had ordered one more echo cardiogram for either that day or the next. These are all things that they knew about on Saturday, when they had started giving her the medication, but no one informed Fiona's nurse or myself, so here we are, prepping her to leave and having our hearts set on going home.

  You would have thought they told me that she was never coming home, the way that I broke down and sulked all afternoon. I was mostly upset because I miss my boys terribly. I had promised them that I would be home that day, which I never should have done because it wasn't in my control. But I never break my promises to them. If Charlie would have let me, I would have driven the 4 hours home to get them and bring them back. That was out of the question, and not being able to do that left me feeling more helpless.

  My sister Skyped me with the boys after their nap around 4 or so. Like someone flipped a switch in me, my spirits lifted. They were happy and healthy and having fun with my mom and my sister. I guess I had pictured them freaking out that I still wasn't there, but thank God that they are only two years old and can easily be distracted. As my dad said, "When you put the balloon in the other room, they forget about it". I will never promise them something that I don't have control over again, but thankfully they are still too young to really understand exactly what a promise is.

  Charlie took me to dinner downtown- my first time leaving the hospital in over a week. It felt so good to get dressed up, flower in hair and all. We went to this amazing local Tex-Mex restaurant and cleared our heads and filled our stomachs. 20 minutes later, we were done, and joked about how we've learned how to inhale food- when you have kids, its either eat fast or don't eat at all. We've forgotten how to relax and enjoy our food.

 I watched Fiona cry her first tear drops this morning, and I gently wiped them away for her as they came. They drew her blood to run possibly the last test needed for her to get clearance to leave. I've stopped using the word hope, in fear of feeling the pain of disappointment if things take longer then anticipated again.


  Now I sit here, typing with one hand and cradling my daughter in the other, waiting for more doctors and test results. My life, in this season, is a never-ending game of waiting. But God hasn't disappointed me yet with what he has had in store for me. Nothing seems to be going the way that I plan and there has been pain in between the joy, but it's going the way that He planned. I continue to pray for patience to understand His Will.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Boys

Oh, how I miss these little monkeys...

My hands are full...

  I get the same reaction from everyone when they find out I have two year old twin boys, and now, on top of a newborn. Its a mixture of a look of surprise and a look of pity, followed by a "You have your hands full". The same feeling rises up in me each time- annoyance. Mostly from hearing that phrase for the millionth time, but also because I don't feel like I am someone to be pitied. I love my life and I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my kids. They keep me motivated and, besides my amazing husband, they are the main source of joy in my life.

 Each of Fiona's NICU night nurses have tried to convince me that I need to go stay in a real bed and get some rest. Last night, the nurse told me that I am the only parent she has ever had stay through the night with their child. I see how things go here- babies cry for sometimes ten minutes or more before someone can get to them. I was never one to rush to my boys side every little cry, but bloody murder cries need attention. Fiona is the only baby who does not cry at night. In fact, she cried her first real, from the chest cry yesterday when I was gone to take a CPR class. I come back to find her light flashing, her waling and her nurse tending to another crying baby. I get it- I wasn't mad. But if I have the ability to be here and care for her as her mother, as someone who loves her more then life, why wouldn't I be? Any other mom who gets to take her baby home right after delivery has to wake up every 2-4 hours a night and tend to their own baby, so why is it such a big deal that I am doing that here with her?

I'm excited for my whole family to finally be together tomorrow and to really try out this mommy of three thing. The only thing that some what scares me is the idea of leaving the house with all three in tow, which we will inevitably have to do. I hate cooping the boys up in the house all day and errands will have to be run. I dread the looks and "You have your hands full" comments that are only going to get worse when people see me with all three. The first time Charlie and I took the twins out after they were born, they were just a week old and we went to Costco. It took us almost 2 hours to make the walk around that store to get the 5 or 6 things we needed because every other person stopped us to make their "hands full" comments and give their unwanted input on having them out in public so young.

 But home family time, I can't wait for. I am going to cherish each day of these next 5 or 6 weeks that I am on maternity leave. The boys are going to get drowned with kisses, I miss them more then I can express in words. There are no regrets or need for pity here, I love that my hands are so full- full of amazing blessings.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hospital Life

  I sit in this small, dark room- watching my daughter sleep soundly with only the sound of the breast pump to keep me company. I have spent the last 5 days like a robot. Pump, feed, change, sleep. Pump, feed, change, sleep. Fiona doesn't wake me, I wake her- every three hours on the dot- and go through our little routine. It seems too easy, too boring.

  The NICU is an interesting place. As womb like as possible, it's dark and quite. The only sounds you hear are beeps and cries and the occasional alarm of a little ones monitor, warning somethings not right. Nurses juggle 2 to 4 babies, moving from one to the next like clock work, running the same routine checks on each one.

  I have been here for 5 full days now with Fiona, and it sadness me how many of these tiny, precious blessings I have not seen parents come and visit. In some cases, baby has been here for weeks, months or even almost a year and the parents can't afford to be here bedside 24-7 any longer. I am so grateful we are out of here in just a few more days.

 Fiona is doing great. She is probably the healthiest child in the NICU. No need for oxygen or billy rubin lights, she is maintaining her own body temperature and eating over 2 ounces every 3 hours. I take care of her, the nurses just check on me to make sure I don't need any help. Little Princess sleeps like- well- a princess. That may have something to do with that I am still on pain medicine from the c-section so she gets a nice little dose of percicet each time she feeds from me. The pumping is starting to really wear on my body. I am dying for her to fully switch to breastfeeding, but it is taking some time for her to have the patience for how much slower the milk flows from me then from the bottle. Good thing, though, is that her heart is not over working when she does breastfeed. And I am producing enough to be able to stop the formula supplements all together soon. It is such a rewarding feeling being able to provide her with what she needs. I always regretted giving up breastfeeding after just one month with the boys and as long as I can keep the milk coming, I will keep attempting to get her to the breast. 

My little one loves to hold hands. She won her daddy's heart just moments after she was born, when she wrapped her little hand around his finger. And I find her grabbing peoples fingers whenever she can. She held my hands as she laid still for her echo cardiogram the other day, one finger in each hand. I love feeling those 5 little fingers curl around me, her soft, wrinkly skin against my own. (She inherited the same sensitive skin her brothers have and developed these sores on her hands from the tape the used to hold in her iv- I promise, she doesn't have leprosy)
   


 We have had a few visitors since her Birth Day. My dad spent all Wednesday with me and stayed with me through the night. Charlie came up with our friend Amber Thursday, and they brought the boys up with them. It was so good to see them! Only four days away from them, and I felt like they had gotten so much bigger. (Probably because I have been spending all my time with a newborn). They didn't get to meet their sister yet, because we didn't bring them to the NICU. This calm, still enviroment would go into shock with those two crazy toddlers up here. And yesterday, my mom came back up with my sister late in the afternoon. Aunt Shelby doted over her niece all afternoon. Today, I am awaiting the arrival of our friends, Marco and Jaesen, and their baby girl Vivienne. ( Who will be one of Fiona's best friends, of course) Viv won't be able to come up to the NICU, so they won't be able to meet just yet. But Jae and Marco will share their love with Fi.



 Its been hard without Daddy here. Not that I have much time to sleep anyway, but I always sleep more soundly with Charlie next to me. Fiona and I miss him terribly and I cannot wait for our whole family to be back together under our roof. Time passes so slowly in the NICU. I'm thankful to have my computer with me, because there is nothing else to do. Fiona and I take lots of pictures- she is so expressive! Her little lips are always pouting and she makes this face where she raises her eyebrows and tries to open her eyes that I adore. Every time I try to snap a picture of it, though, the flash makes her stop.




Other then that, I don't do much. I really only leave our closet of a room to eat and to run down to the Ronald McDonald House once a day to shower. What a great organization to provide parents a free place to rest, shower and eat while their little ones are in the hospital. I'm forever grateful. We stayed here when our son, Gavin, had an out patient surgery a year ago. I prayed then we would never have to come back to this hospital, but everything works out.  



 Fiona's official discharge day is Monday- one week, in hind sight, is really not that bad to stay at the hospital. And we'll have to do it again when she has her heart surgery within the year. With just two more nights here with her, I am enjoying the mommy/daughter time. Thank you, Fiona, for evening the boy-girl ratio in our family a little bit. My family feels complete.
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