Friday, January 30, 2015

WWCW (Winta Wonda Cabin Weekend)

I swear I took more pictures than this but they will have to do. Upon the departure of the amazing Smith family (pictured below) a weekend at a cabin up in NH was organized. Also known as WWCW. A weekend full of food- duh, snow activities, karaoke, and chatting the night away. We even had some action when the fire alarm went off and the house was filled with smoke while all of the babies were asleep in the main wing of the house while we were watching shows in the other wing. We were desperately sad when the Smiths left but Philly was lucky to get them.

Nick Mildy and Baby Georgie

Snowshoeing with Laura

And seeing this beautiful snow dusted horse

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Summer of 2014 part 1

Here we go. I am currently traveling for 2 days straight so I have nothing but time to finally document this last summer. Already, as I think back it feels like something in a dream. Was that really our reality for 4 months? How on earth did we get through it? I'm hoping to answer all of those questions and more through these series of posts.

I left off with Christians birth story in sending him over to Children's hospital with Beau. I had been able to hold him and love him for a few minutes after he was born and then I was alone. So very alone. The nurse took me up to the postpartum floor and left. I was still on the postdelivery "high" so I was happy, excited, optimistic. After a few hours I got a facetime phone call from Beau. They were in the NICU at Children's with Dr. Mooney, the on call general surgeon. I listened closely as Dr. Mooney explained what he had found in examining tiny Christians bowel and what the plan was. But despite my best efforts I couldn't hear him very well. After he finished Beau got on the phone and explained to me that they had found an atresia (closure) upstream in  Christians colon and a perforation up near the stomach. This meant that we would be waiting at least 6 weeks until they would attempt surgery on it. 6 weeks of waiting and then we would start at the beginning with feeds and working to go home. The average hospital stay for all Gastroschisis babies is 6 weeks and that immediately became our minimum. Essentially the clock to measuring Christians discharge date had stopped. The news was devastating to say the least. I cried. I cried hard. The kind of cry where you feel so much sadness you can't cry hard enough to let it out. Alone in my postpartum room I buried my face in my pillow and let my desperation out through my sobs and tears.Complications like the ones he had happened in 10% of Gastroschisis babies, I knew this because I had researched all of the different outcomes and possibilities. Of course we were the 10%.

It was hard to accept because  I knew the chances were slim but I had a date I wanted to be discharged by.  Prayers, fasts and an experience I had in the temple during my pregnancy had me convinced that Christian would have a miracle. I interpreted this as him defying the odds and having an off the chart stay of 2 weeks. Friends came to visit me and I tried to stay cheery. Their visits definitely helped take my mind off things but I was sad. The next morning my mom brought Tennyson and Beau to the hospital and I got ready to check out. I'm not sure why but the nurses seemed shocked I wanted out early so I could go see Christian. Weird.

We made our way across the street to Boston Children's and I was speed walking. I ached to hold him. We checked in with security and got our parent badges. When they asked for an estimate for how long we would be admitted that heart sinking feeling of "longer than we expected" came back. We took the elevator up to the 7th floor and approached the NICU reception desk. We once again had to sign in give our names and wash our hands. She opened the door for us and told us which pod he was in. As we rounded the corner and I saw him laying there I of course burst into tears. You never forget seeing your baby like that for the first time. All hooked up to machines and wires and laying there alone. When he heard my voice he opened his eyes and looked at me. I KNEW he knew his family was there. I talked to him and kissed him. I asked his nurse if I could hold him and she said yes but that we would have to wait for the respiratory therapist to come over and help with the ventilator. We eventually got him transferred and comfortable in my arms and we just stared at each other for a few minutes. It was so so special. This moments uniqueness became especially obvious to me as I looked back on it the following weeks when his eyes were swollen shut and he was in too much pain to hold. Our spirits once again connected and I felt his love and strength.

After I held him Beau had a turn and we took pictures. Our first picture as a family of 4 is of us huddled around his little incubator. Tennyson started to get antsy and push and touch everything in sight so my mom took him out into the hall. I opted to stay with Christian the rest of the day while Beau and my mom went home. How could I go home? What would I do there? But soon after they left I started to feel uncomfortable and and in the way next to his bed. To my surprise there weren't many other mothers next to their babies on the NICU floor. But I quickly learned that this is because there really isn't room for you there. They only had a few rockers so I was left with an uncomfortable swivel stool. I couldn't hold him so I held his hand talked to him and read a book. I soon began dozing off and my bum hurt from the chair but I couldn't bring myself to leave. My mother bear hormones were raging and I had already been apart from him for so long. I was pumping every 2 hours which was lovely in and of itself and so so exhausted. I finally called Beau to come pick me up around 6:30 to go home. On the way home I broke down again. I had more sadness then my brain and heart knew what to do with and I wanted to break the car window or smash something (I know I'm crazy). Usually when I get emotional I go running but 1 day postpartum made it obviously out of the question.

 I got home and went straight to bed. Aside from the pumping every 2 hours I slept like a rock. Every time I got up I would anxiously call his nurse, nervous for what she would say. Was he in pain? was he sleeping? Did he miss me? Was he scared? It was different every time. Sometime he would have had a hard time with "cares' (vitals, turning, suctioning etc) and would need a bolus of pain medication. Other times he would be sleeping peacefully. It didn't matter what the answer was I still cried. Like I mentioned those postpartum hormones are taken to a new level when they've got a crisis weighing down on them.  

The next few days were a blur. At one point Mary Staples came over with Marjorie to start the Ladies Group fairy- a daily thought or gifts from friends to show love. I just cried. How did I get such amazing friends? I then began getting something every day or so from one of my friends in Boston to lift me up. Not to mention all of the freezer meals that began pouring in. Being on the receiving end of so much service and love gave me a new perspective on mourning with those that mourn.