Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In Honor of Parker

This is it! Today is National Prematurity Awareness day! I am blogging in honor of my miracle, Parker.

I thought about sharing his birth story, but instead will post a link as to where you can find it. You can click HERE to read it! View the 2010 report card HERE

What I do want to share today is from my POV...my feelings, what came out of it for me. We talk alot about the effects of prematurity on the preemies, and rightfully so, but what about the moms and the dads...what's it like for them, other than "hard." Well here is my POV, my thoughts on how it affected me.

To put it quite bluntly it sucked. I mean who sits there and thinks I can't wait to have my baby come early and see him hooked up to machines and see him develop outside the womb. Yah, I didn't think many people did. Prior to having him, sure I knew what March of Dimes was all about, but it never really phased me. It was never in my thoughts and even when I got pregnant I was thrilled and couldn't wait to show and be sick of carrying the baby.

Most of Thursday (the day I had him) is a blur. I remember everything up to getting my anesthesia meds. From there it's a bunch of I remember vaguely this and vaguely that. I do know that I was intubated and I was on a lot of morphine! (I was in the NICU because I needed a blood transfusion and my body wanted to shut down...) I remember Drew showing me pictures of Parker and telling me about him. I know several people came to visit us, but I was a sleep or really out of it. I remember crying a lot...Sunday was the first day I got to see Parker with my own eyes in his little isolette. By that point I was off of the ventilator, I was in labor and delivery wing because they were the best to take care of me. Drew had come home to shower so my mother in law and a nurse pushed me down to the NICU. I am pretty sure it was the longest wheel chair ride of my life. I was excited, scared, nervous but couldn't want to touch my baby boy for the first time.

I cried, hard. I knew he was little, but I didn't know he was THAT little.

I was afraid I would break him. I put my hand in there and touched my precious miracle for the first time.
I fell in love. But it was overwhelming. He had so many wires and weird things attached to him. His monitor would go off, nurses would rush over, it was scary, I didn't understand much of anything the first week of his life...it was all just - surreal.

Parker spent 69 days in the NICU and came home a week prior to his due date. I spent every day  (but 2) with him in the NICU after I was sent home almost a week after having him. There were 2 days that our primary nurse basically made us take a day away to just enjoy each other and let Parker get some rest. It was hard...to not go in to see him, I called probably every hour those days, but it was great to go out with Drew and not stress about Parker and sit there and worry. I am thankful that I took the advice of our nurse and did that...I also journaled while he was in the NICU and reading it tonight (I am writing this on Tues. night) is bringing back a flood of emotions. 

I suffered with Post Partum Depression as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was put on and am still on an anti-depressant. Though I do not have PPD anymore (I am simply just depressed..or was...I am much better) and I no longer struggle much with PTSD. For a long time I would have flashbacks and night mares and it was hard. I turned away from my friends and family. Our marriage suffered, our intimacy suffered, it was hard. Are things perfect today, no, but God has brought us far and we are in a much better place.

Wanna see the first time I held him. It was the tuesday after I had him, I was being sent home....we went to say see ya later critter and they let me hold him. BEST DAY EVER!
Yes I was crying. What was it like leaving him that day? Hard, but I knew he was in the best hands. I have had a lot of people say to me, I don't think I could. Well, if it's all you ever know, it's not so hard. If he had come home and then gone in the hospital, yes, it would have been hard. But I knew that him being home was not best for him. He was where he needed to be, he needed to grow in heal in the correct environment, just as I needed to go home and sleep and heal. I was sick too, very sick...I made it my full time job to be with Parker. I had nothing else to do, I was done with work! I had planned to be a stay at home mom anyway. I spent every day (except those 2) with him. 9-5. For the first few weeks I my wonderful friends were able to drive me if Drew couldn't. Our friends were a huge support as we don't have family in town. They brought us meals, grocery, gifts, money, love! 
Do me a favor - just simply ignore how horrible I look. I hadn't brushed my hair in several days, I was sick, tired and sore...and emotional...

I watched my little boy grow outside the womb - a very cool yet trying experience. I watched him beat the odds, meet milestones and go from a tiny little baby with wires to a baby who hardly needed anything. I became well known around the NICU. I could take care of a lot of his daily duties, all the while, the depression inside was growing and I was beginning to struggle some. But I was also trying to record things to help me at home...below is a link that has several videos of Parker in the NICU...I was trying to put a couple up - but it wasn't working. There are several to watch - enjoy! Go HERE.

Bringing Parker home was scary too. I mean, no longer were there doctors and nurses and machines telling me anything. I had to rely on myself and Drew. It was hard. WE couldn't do out, except Dr. appointments. I was sick of being inside a lot, that I couldn't share him with the world. The first couple months were hard, thankfully in sept. we were able to get out and about more. But being stuck inside (especially in the winter) brought my depression full on.

Parker had a hard, but full filling first year! We were able to meet milestones and it was great! 

But what about now, what about me. I am still mad and working through that. I am mad I didn't have a normal pregnancy. I am mad that I didn't get to see him for 3 days after his booth. 

I have my hard days.

But most of the time, now I am good. I see what a testimony this ordeal was and I am proud to support March of Dimes. I don't wish what we went through on anyone. I hope that one day, prematurity will be rare! 

First Bath:

Parker and my daddy:

Going Home! Aug. 5, 2008

First Halloween:
First Turkey Day:
First Christmas:
First Easter:

March of Dimes: March for Babies:
First Birthday:

Second Birthday:

To my Parker:

I love you! I am proud of you! You are the best thing that ever happened to me!


Ali said...

I love you, Parker Northern! And your momma too.

Presson Technician said...

You are one strong woman, Denise..I'm so happy that things have gotten better for you! :)

Charlotte (Life's a Charm!) said...

this is such a well written piece. it pierced me right to my core reading your story. and I am so glad that you and Parker are such victors to your tough ordeal. and I have great hopes and wishes that from this day on, things will be better for you and your family.
stay strong, stay healthy, you are at your best when you are well.
thank you for sharing your story and for bringing awareness to such a good cause.

MoDLin said...

This is a wonderful post. It really shows how hard it is on everyone to have a premature baby. The baby struggles with just getting used to eating, breathing and being alive, but the parents face fears and uncertainties and understandable depression. It's hard!
On behalf of the March of Dimes, thank you for you honest post and support of of our mission, to improve the health of all babies.

Heather and Travis said...

Such a great post!!! Look how far he has come!!!