A New Normal. Part 7

I don’t really know how to break the rest of this story up. Many days were mostly the same.

Thursday, May 23

We woke up Thursday and made our way to the hospital. With the music playing. It became our routine. Play worship music and attempt to get through it without crying. More specifically listen to Kari Jobe sing Oh The Blood… Or more like me sobbing while Mike attempts to sing along. I’m sure we were a sight to the passing cars. Driving a minivan (yes we were using my mom’s van, nothing like being tossed right into motherhood with the appropriate mom-car), with loud music playing, the driver singing through blurry eyes, the passenger crying so hard her whole body shook. We couldn’t have looked more safe to be driving.

When we got to the hospital, the doctor came in to tell us that part of Emma’s left lung is collapsed. She has a heart murmur. The valve to her lung isn’t working right, so it’s possible blood could travel into her lungs. All things that seem extremely serious to us, but to the doctors they seemed like no big deal. They said, “we’ll keep our eye on them…”

They have E propped up on her right side to help alleviate the pressure on her left lung. (side note-this obviously developed a preference for little miss, which caused another problem to accelerate. a problem we knew nothing about until further down the line) Most of the morning is spent sitting at her bedside, in a complete daze. Trying to make sense of what was going on. Every few hours, I’d go to the pump room and attempt to pump. It wasn’t very successful. My colostrum was getting more liquid like, which is a good thing, but still not beneficial for E since I couldn’t get it to drop from the pump part into the bottle so that she could actually drink any of it. I’m not really even sure how to do this pumping thing. It’s really so foreign. I’m in pretty serious pain every time I turn the pump on. I blame it on the fact that pumping is just painful, like nursing would be if I were actually able to nurse. I have no clue that it’s not really supposed to hurt so bad, so I just take a deep breath and keep doing it.

The doctors decide to take one of her cords out of her umbilical cord stump. They say her blood levels are good enough that they don’t need to have that constant monitoring anymore. But this also means that when they need to draw blood, they’ll have to poke her foot to get it. In my mind, this just means one step closer to holding her. We aren’t able to until both lines are taken out of her belly button. Even the tiniest movement could cause the line to fall out & she could bleed. A lot.

We walk across the street to get lunch. It feels nice & odd to get out of the hospital. We’ve only been there a short amount of time, but it feels like forever.

When we get back, I pump again & then we sit with Emma. She’s playing with the feeding tube that’s down her throat. I make a comment that she’s going to end up pulling out. Mike says…nah she won’t do that. After a few hours with her, I go to the waiting room to put my feet up. It’s hard to remember that I had only given birth less than 48 hours ago. My mind had all but forgotten it, but my body was wreaking havoc on me. I was doing too much walking, too much sitting, too much standing. Basically too much of everything. So I needed to just rest & close my eyes for a few minutes.

Mike texts me and says…She pulled the tube out! Ha..told ya she would. She also pooped & the nurses were going to let Mike change it, but the cords in her belly had him pretty scared to.  Mike’s parents come up & take us to dinner. I’m surprised people want to take me anywhere. I looked like a hot mess. I only packed sweatpants & I wasn’t taking any time to actually make myself look presentable.

We stay at my cousin, Nicole’s again. And can I just stop and say how thankful we are that her and her husband allowed us to just invade their home for a month… We really did plan on calling the Ronald McDonald house & getting a room, but we just never did. I think we felt comfort knowing that at the end of a long day, we could go spend time with family. Mike was able to unwind with some sports & man talk with Scott. And I was able to cry and let Nicole encourage me. Our stay was much longer than they probably ever imagined it would be when they agreed to letting us stay with them that first night, but never once did they make us feel bad or awkward for being there. They were amazing. I love you Scott & Nicole. You’ll never really know how much your selfless love means to me. And to Mike. I can’t wait to tell Emma just how much you two loved her from the very first day by providing her mama & daddy a warm place to rest each night.

Friday, May 24

Same drive to the hospital. Same amount of tears.

She has lost some weight, but the x-rays are showing improvement in her lungs. The doctors are sure she will eventually grow out of the heart murmur.

But most importantly, my heart skips a beat when we walked in and saw her in a little robe and booties. Tye-dye booties. She looked like a real baby. Not that she didn’t before, but having her in “clothes” that semi hid all of the wires does something to a mama’s heart. It’s hard to see your brand new baby all but naked with wires & cords hooked up to her. So when the nurses put a robe on her, I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear.

Mike & I just eat at the Tim Hortons for lunch in the hospital that day. My body can’t handle much walking. The exhaustion is catching up to me. The fact that I just had a baby is catching up to me. Plus, I’m really trying to get on a good pumping schedule to help my milk come in & we don’t want to be gone too long.

My grandma, aunt, & Nicole come to visit. They are completely in love, that’s clear. There’s still no holding Emma so all we can do is stare at her. Which is not hard at all.

TMI-I’m feeling rock hard this day. It feels like my milk is definitely coming in & I’m getting more at each pumping session. I so wish I could say this was the start of a successful nursing/pumping journey, but it wasn’t. This part of our story is frustrating and sad and I plan on writing about trying to be a nursing mama while you have a baby in the NICU. That story gets it’s own post someday…

Mike’s parents come up again & we get pizza. We stop at Marshall’s to kill some time & meemaw spoils little Emma. We obviously didn’t finish her nursery before she came, so my mother in law gets some things to finish it up. A rug, an amazingly gigantic bag, and a wooden e. All of which fit perfectly in her nursery.

When we get back to the hospital, we discover that our little bit is becoming a naughty girl. She’s moving her arms all around & trying to pull at the wires, so the nurses had to swaddle her arms. And then she poops. I , however slightly nervous, decide to dive right in and change it. The nurse guides me through so I don’t move any wires, but I’m successful.

And just like that another day of Emma’s life is done. Another day spent in the NICU is done. Another day of pain, heartache, and frustration is done. 

Mike could tell I was failing at being strong. He could tell that my smiles in response to people asking me how I was doing were fake. He could just tell.

And all he did was love me. Encourage me. Simply be a man who was trying his hardest to be faithful to God. To His plan. And to be a man that was strong, when his wife wasn’t. Be positive when his wife wasn’t. Be confident when all his wife wanted to be was mad.

My mindset of a quick stay at the hospital, was quickly fading. With each morning I let myself think that that day would be the one we get to take E home. And with each night, as I silently cried myself to sleep, I knew we were far from going home.








to be continued…


Alli said...

You are beautiful. Emma is beautiful. Your story is beautiful. Heart wrenching, and yet beautiful. God is truly doing great works through you.

Shannon Rose said...

I hope you know how strong you were!! Emma is beautiful ! I hope you can look forward now and let all those hard days become a distant memory :)

Claire Flores said...

how amazing that your cousin opened her home like that! such a blessing. I was thinking as I read this post, that typically new mothers have time to rest and sit and enjoy their new baby and recover from birth. But when you have a child in the NICU it's like it just gets forgotten what you just went through. After my girls were born, I remember feeling like a queen sitting there, relaxing and being waited on and just recovering with snuggles. After Hunter was born, I had to walk three floors to get to the NICU from my room and I felt ignored by the nurses. I did that walk faithfully several times a day and ended up with serious post partum bleeding and passing massive clots even weeks after he was born due to the fact that I hadn't been able to truly heal. His first out of hospital appointment I drove him to, I had to run to the bathroom at his pediatrician's office (leaving him quickly with some nurses) and pass a HUGE clot the size of a baseball. I cried in that bathroom for what I'd been robbed of--a proper recovery.. those beautiful newborn early day snuggles.... Whew, I'm sorry but your posts are making me process too! I hope it doesn't feel like I'm hijacking with my comments, but I just feel like reading everything you're writing--it's reminding me of Hunter's story. Wishing we could sit down with coffee and talk about all of this together.. or not talk too. Just enjoy the precious lives we have that are gifts.

Liz Edwards said...

Thank you Shannon!! We were lucky to be in the same room with you so often!! And to have you care for Emma :)

Liz Edwards said...

Thank you friend. God is always, always good :)

Liz Edwards said...

Yes. The recovery is so hard, and then not really being able to get proper rest in makes it so much worse. I remember on the rides back to Olean, I would just cry in pain. I couldn't get comfortable and I just wanted to cut my body in half so I wouldn't feel the physical pain. And you aren't hijacking AT ALL! I'm praying that even just a tiny bit of my story helps you!! Love you friend. We need to seriously attend a conference together!!