Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hard Times Lead to Joy!

Imagine if you will, you are pregnant with your first child and you are so excited. You have it all planned know how you are going to organize everything, where everything goes, how their room will be decorated (once you are out of this tiny little one bedroom you are in!) and how you plan to bring them home...oh the utter joy and excitement.


You're thrown a curve ball. You begin to get ill, very ill and you are in pain, a lot of pain. Before you know it, you are about to make the hardest/easiest decision you have EVER made. Your life will never be the same. Your child is born 11 weeks early, he is a tiny little guy, only 2 lbs. And you, you are in ICU, tube down your throat, horribly ill and completely unaware of what the next 2.5 months of your life will be like.

This was my reality this past summer. It was the quite honestly the hardest time in my life this far. I figured, if I could get through my parent's divorce, the death of a mentor, the death of my best friend...surely I could get through anything. But for the first time in my life I honestly did not think I could make it through this. How on earth would I ever get through the fact my son, my first born, was born 11 weeks early and so so tiny. Add in the fact that I had him Thursday and didn't get to see him until Sunday because of how ill I was.

This is what I saw on the first day I saw him:

He was the smallest thing I have ever seen, so fragile, so tiny, so perfect. How on earth was I this fortunate? But how on earth would I survive the next xxx amount of days he would be living in the NICU?

My life had turned upside down. I was not only ill and recovering from an emergency c-section as well as help syndrome. I was now thrown into this universe that is so completely different then anything you could imagine. I don't even know how to totally describe life in a's surreal and scary all at the same time. Every little hurdle jump leads to another hurdle, a bigger hurdle and just when you think things are looking up, just like the snap of a finger, it can change. I became a hermit...daily spending at least 6 hours beside my son's bed, learning the tricks and trades of dealing with a tiny little baby. I became a wealth of knowledge on medical terms I never would have known. I learned how to change out heart monitors and helping to put Parker's CPAP back on and how to sponge bathe this little thing. All the while, attempting to hold it together and hiding in our little corner, curtains drawn, snuggled in a chair.

The estimate they gave on the length of our stay was basically that this little guy would be in the NICU at least until his due date...I couldn't even imagine that. My summer became all about Parker. Wake up, eat breakfast, pack my bag, head to hospital, park, walk to elevator, down the hall, sign in, wash hands, turn corner, eye Parker's spot (B4, then C4, then A13) grab nurse, update, find chair, pull curtain, curl up in chair and just stare. 6ish hours later...home, dinner, tv, sleep...repeat. That was basically my summer. Occasionally I would attempt to do something like shop or get coffee (well in my case, tea or chai) but every time I did that, I felt guilty that I was enjoying myself while my son laid in the hospital.

May became June became July....that's when we had our first "date" of bringing Parker home. However, things changed, eating became a challenge, poor baby had terrible acid reflux. Eating was a challenge, feeding was harder because it just hurts to watch your child struggle. But soon....we found things that helped...Zantac...and a wedge. Within a week of being on the wedge, the 3rd best day of my life came.

AUGUST 5, 2008
-the 3rd best day of my life....(next to Aug. 6, 2005 - my wedding day and May, 29th 2008 - the birth of Parker)

I woke up a hot mess. I was thrilled, excited, scared, nervous, sad, happy. I took the fastest shower of my life (I have since learned, you can shower faster). This was it, the day we were waiting for for 69 days. Drew and I got in my car (my poor poor went to car heaven about a week later!) grabbed a bite to eat at Burger King and swiftly got to Riverside. We pulled out the stroller and headed up for the last walk up to the NICU. I was a ball of nerves. I was thrilled that Parker was finally coming home, but I was terrified.. I no longer had heart rate machines to count on, I no longer had a doctor around the corner or a nurse in the hall to run to. I had to trust my own instincts and take care of this boy without a hospital room around. We got up to his room, everyone was thrilled for us, but sad, because our little critter had become a NICU favorite, NICU pet if you will. We hugged anyone we could, signed paper works and packed up his room. Sadly, we couldn't use a stroller to take him out, so Drew took all the stuff we had accumulated out to the car and packed it up. I stayed with Parker and prepared him for his ride home. We sat him in his car can't even imagine how tiny he looked. We said our final goodbyes and out we went, accompanied by a nurse who pushed him out for us. (Security!) We savored every moment....his first elevator ride, his first time outside, people said bye as we walked out. I cried tears of joy...this was baby was coming home. No more long walks to the NICU, no more machines, no more privacy issues. He was fully in my care, he was coming home, I was finally a full time mom. We drove home so carefully, talking, laughing, my in the back with Parker shooting pictures and video. Parker, the excited little 5lbs guy he was slept the entire time. We got home and parked in the parking lot. This was it, the 2nd best walk of my life. I got Parker out of the car and took his seat and we walked, up the stairs, around the corner and in the door. He was home, finally home....and my life, my life was complete!

I seriously don't think I have had a more exciting day since and I never would have imagined that I would enjoy such a simple thing. Last summer was, truly, the hardest time of my life, but bringing Parker home, made it all worth it. The past 5 months haven't always been easy, but I am so thankful for every moment I have spent with Parker. I said earlier in this post that I made the easiest/hardest decision of my life on May 29th. I say that because, yes, it was easy to say, "let's save this baby and me by getting it out" but it was so hard because I knew that I was having an emergency c-section, I was going to be completely under because I couldn't have an epidural for the safety of Parker. I knew I would be in the hospital longer than a normal c-section patient and I knew that Parker would be tiny and in the NICU for a while. It was so easy because I didn't want to die and I didn't want to lose this child, but is was so hard, because my life would change. I remember laying in the bed crying realizing what was about to happen. It was then that I decided I would cherish every moment I had with Parker. God taught me so much last summer and I learned the strength that I have. I am so thankful!

And now it's your turn....head over to MamaKat's and choose your own prompt to share. Make sure once you post it on your site, your go back to hers and put in your Mr. Linky.

The Prompts:

1.) Tell us about a memorable blind date.

2.) Other than the birth of a child or your wedding, write about a joyous moment.

3.) Write about one of the most difficult decisions you have made in your life.

4.) Share the best picture you took last month and explain why it's your favorite

Oh and btw I chose 2, but kind of covered 3!


Ali said...

Love seeing those early pictures!

Heatherlyn said...

I found you from mr. linky at Mama Kat's writer's workshop. Wow. What a curve ball. I'm so glad he could come home. I love the picture in his car seat!

namaste said...

Amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Carrie said...

Wow- Thanks for sharing all of this- it's really neat to see your perspective & how God is growing you through all of this.