Sunday, December 1, 2013

Introductions...


The last 24 hours have been filled with important introductions... a little bit of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder... and some tears.

Last night, just hours after Hope was born, Granny and Aunt Bean arrived to meet her!  It was love at first sight.
And Aunt Bean (my sister) picked up something really wild - but not at all surprising.  Hope was born at 5:50 pm.  If you look at that, it could also look like 5.50 - or 5 1/2.  If you know our story, you'll remember that I was 5 1/2 months pregnant when Darcy was lost to a cord accident.  It took 5 1/2 DAYS for my body to deliver her in this very hospital.  I coincidentally held her for 5 1/2 hours.  And, of course, Gavin was 5 1/2 when he died.  Hope's birth time is almost like a little sign from our two angels that everything is going to be alright.
Today I got out of bed.  I had serious motivation in the NICU upstairs!  Ed wheeled me up in a wheelchair and I was able to sit next to Hope - touch her - sing to her - and tell her to listen to her angel brother, Gavin.  That he would have great advice on how to behave in order to get sprung from there quickly.  Hope is doing great so far.  She is on C-Pap and her setting has been dialed down a few times already.  It's predicted that by tomorrow she'll be off the C-Pap and maybe on a nasal cannula.  I have been religiously pumping hoping to produce breast milk so I can feed her and so far I've been able to give very small amounts of colostrum.  Ed has been trying to reassure me that it took a couple days for my milk to come in for Gavin and Brian and I shouldn't worry... but I worry anyway.  Speaking of worry, no need to worry about me.  My blood pressures came back to near normal, my pain is being managed and I'm staying well hydrated, well rested and Ed has been super-supportive.  (In other news, he's also super-in love with his new daughter which is so beautiful to witness)

Being back in the NICU is hard.  Ed and I went through 30 days in a NICU with Gavin.  And we experienced a ton of medical issues and traumatic moments and stressful hospitalizations with him.  Yet suddenly, Hope's every move sends us into a panic.  Why is she twitching?  Is she seizing?  (No... babies have a startle reflex - and that's all it is)  I am shocking myself with my fears and anxieties.  It's almost like I have PTSD - everything sends me into a flashback of either Gavin's NICU experience or his death experience.  It doesn't last long - and before I know it I'm singing to her again.  

Hope likely won't be discharged with me - which really, truly, 100% sucks.  She has to jump through several hoops before a discharge... and it's all up to her and impossible to predict.  We don't know yet if she has a coordinated suck/swallow.  We don't know if she'll eat well.  There's a lot we don't know - a lot that she'll have to prove before they say we can bring her home.  I was crushed to hear that.  And it will also be an interesting logistical issue as I won't be able to drive... yet I'll need to be at this hospital which is about 40 minutes away from my house every day to be there with her and either continue pumping or try to breast feed her.

Oy.

Nothing's easy.  But we'll do whatever we have to - obviously.
The best part of today was a visit from Brian and Miss Sara!  I couldn't wait to introduce Brian to his little sister.  He thought he was just coming to visit me in the hospital - he had no idea that Hope had been born.  This is how it went (excuse my deep, very tired voice!)...

Brian was VERY excited to get a light saber - something we had told him he had to be at least six to get.  Needless to say, he already thinks Hope is the coolest sister ever.  

After I stopped videotaping, he looked at me and spontaneously said, "I'll be careful with it, Mama."
I was so, so happy to see Brian today.  And so grateful to Miss Sara for helping us yesterday and today!
Finally it was time to walk (or get wheeled if you're me!) up to the NICU to meet Hope.  Brian carefully toted his gift for his sister.
Ed walked him up to Hope and made the adorable introduction...

Ed told Brian that he was not that much bigger than Hope when he was born.  Hope is 6lbs, 1oz - and Brian was 6lbs, 15oz.  Brian is showing Ed how big he thinks he was.
Brian was pretty mesmerized - and very happy...
...and when he saw his little baby sister yawn, he got the giggles.
Hope's Godmother, Miss Sara, was thrilled to meet her!  Hope doesn't realize how lucky she is just yet - but it won't take long.
Brian was excited to show Hope her gift... from him and from Gavin.
It's a locket.  Her monogram is on the front...
...inside she will find photos of her family - Mommy and Gavin and Daddy and Brian...
...and on the back is a note that says, "With love from your brothers, Gavin and Brian 2013"  It's a good thing I was smart enough to not engrave her "birth month."  It would have been wrong!
A family of six we will always be... but to the outside world we are a family of four once more.
After Brian and Sara went home, Ed and I went back up to the NICU to be with Hope.  The nurse was about to do some of her routine care and asked if I'd like to step in for some of them.  I was thrilled.  I took her temperature and changed her diaper.  At one point, Hope gagged and spit up on her blankets.  A bummer - but not.  I finally got my chance to "hold" her briefly while her blankets were changed.
I'll take what I can get.
And I'll be patient along the way, knowing full well that I am again just a witness to my child's journey.
I can't wait to see where Hope takes me.  Takes us, as a family.

We are proof that you just never know what life will throw your way.  All you can do is hold on.




38 comments:

  1. Just so happy for you all.

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  2. So precious, each moment. Congratulations again and thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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  3. Just colostrum is perfectly normal. Some women take a few days for their milk to come in. Just keep persevering. :)

    You have a beautiful family! Congratulations!

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  4. Congratulations to you and your beautiful family. What an amazing journey.

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  5. Adorable to see Brian meet his sister! Praying Hope is discharged soon. By the way I had a baby girl two months ago and it took a few days for me to produce milk....you're body is doing exactly what it should be...no worries about that! Ok, I know easier said than done.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! Congratulations!!!

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  7. So super happy for you and your family! Gavin and Darcy are your families guardian angels. :) Congratulations and best wishes being sent your way. ~Alexis Chalmers in Danvers, Massachusetts

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  8. I love reading all these updates. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. That locket is beautiful! What a wonderful idea for something she will treasure for the rest of her life!! Hope is a beautiful baby, a true blessing and she has an amazing family. God's timing is so perfect and I'm so excited to see all He's done in your family recently. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I continue to pray for your family.
    Emily

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  10. just now learning of your story~ I'm overwhelmed and SO very, very happy for you...sending love and light

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  11. This is giving me flashbacks to when my son was born and in the NICU nine months ago. I know I don't have to tell you how fabulous the NICU nurses are. He had respiratory distress from prematurity (5 weeks early) and was a "wimpy white boy" taking 2 weeks go be allowed to come home. We were told girls usually do better ;)

    My milk didn't really start to come in until 4 days after my C sections. It is totally normal. I found it helped to visualize nursing Willy to pump more. It was a little tricky transitioning him to breastfeeding - but after a couple weeks at home we were exclusively breastfeeding and still going strong. So it can be done!

    I am sending all my prayers and love your way and look forward to reading about Hope's home coming!

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  12. Congratulations on the birth of Baby Hope! Sending good thoughts her direction. I love the locket and know that she will always treasure it, with both her parents and brothers pictures inside. What a great family of six!

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  13. Such a beautiful, heart touching story yours is! Thank you for your courage to share it with all of us.

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  14. Just beautiful. So, so happy for your family. Mazel Tov.

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  15. Congratulations to you all!! This is such a beautiful journey God has you all on. So very happy that Hope is here in the flesh for you....kind of like baby Jesus came in the flesh during this Advent season as well.

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  16. Just so happy for you. :) Brian is so grown-up and so darling. What a super big brother he will be. He and Hope are the same spacing as my two and it helped with the transition, having big sibling in school some days and having some friends things of their own that stay the same while home is in flux. Congratulations!!!!

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  17. Congratulations, Leong family!! Sending prayers for you all. Blessings to you, and thank you for sharing all of these moments with your readers!

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  18. Congratulations! My daughter had the same problem and it was 12 hours before I even got to touch her. She was a trooper and went home 2 days later. All my kids were nicu babies. I only had to pump for my last kiddo and he is low tone so similar to Gavin. I pumped exclusively for 3 months since he was tube fed. I just relaxed alone and thought only about him and it helped a ton.

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  19. Congratulations! I am beyond excited for you all! I trust you will experience a deep peace over the next few days as you wait for Hope to come home and for life to resume some sort of normalcy.

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  20. What a wonderful post. Brian is so adorable and Hope is just beautiful

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  21. The love on Ed's face & in his eyes while you were telling Brian about Hope being born, just made my heart smile.

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  22. Congratulations to all of you on the birth of beautiful baby Hope! And don't forget one more
    5 1/2 - Brian's age, so that's another sign things

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  23. I just started following your story and what a wonderful one it is. It is absolutely mesmerizing. I wish your family all the best.

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  24. Five is the number of God's grace. 5.5 is a double-portion. Bless you!

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  25. I can't read this without happy tears. Congratulations. She is beautiful!

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  26. Congratulations to you all. I'm delighted to hear of Hope's arrival. I pray she can be at home with you soon!

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  27. Tears of joy are flowing! I too love the look of pure joy on Ed's face. Congratulations!
    Jana

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  28. This is such a blessing. So happy for you all. Brian is going to be an amazing big brother!

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  29. Yesterday in church (not knowing Hope had been born) I thought of you as the minister said "Hope is the gift of imagining a future full of good, no matter what!" So glad to see your tiny miracle is here.
    Julie A

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  30. I am SURE Gavin told her if she spit up that Mommy could hold her! :)
    Brian looks sooo BIG now that Hope is here!

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  31. So happy for all of you. Welcome to the world Hope you were so wanted by your family and people you haven't met. Thank you God for giving us Hope in every sense of the word.

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  32. The locket is beautiful!!
    Will the NICU let you do skin-to-skin "kangaroo care" with Hope? A friend of mine had a very premature baby recently (ONE pound!!) and they let her do frequently it even with such a tiny one - it does a lot for Mama's worries/stress level, calming baby, production of milk, even helps babies to grow faster as they stay calmer and conserve their energy, and it encourages them to breastfeed when they are near-term like Hope is!

    Hope is beautiful - congratulations to your family!!!

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  33. I haven't read all of the comments but wanted to tell you that there are several studies documenting the presence of PTSD in NICU mommas. It's entirely likely. I was so relieved to learn my experience might have a name and be a "real thing", so I wanted to pass it on to you. It gets better. Congratulations on your sweet girl!

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  34. Congratulations! I am so happy for your family. You sure do make some cute kiddos! I have a 6 year old boy and a 21 month old boy and my 6 year old absolutely loves being a big brother, he takes it very seriously. I have a feeling Brian is going to be a fantastic big brother as well! I wish you all the best!

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  35. Congratulations! I, too, had a magical coincidence with birth time/date with the birth of my daughter. My son had been stillborn on 6/13, and 6:13 was the time of her birth. I took it as a message confirming that I had his approval to love this new baby. I'm sure that is what Gavin had in mind as well.

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  36. Hope, sweet girl, Miss Sara is your Godmother? You've got it made in the shade. Jenny page

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  37. Your family is beautiful and amazing! God bless you all and your sweet new baby Hope.

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