Pardon the small lack of posts. I’ve been busy being a mama. Between a doctors appointment, running a home & a busy weekend at church, I haven’t had time to write. Like I said before, the rest of the story is mostly the same. Days ran into each other & it was just a battle of endurance to make it through, but for the sake of creating a journal for E to use in her testimony of God’s faithfulness, I’m writing it out.
Saturday, May 25
Mike & I were able to sleep in a little bit. I’m continuing to pump & seem to be producing more. I can definitely tell a difference. When we get to the hospital, Emma is under the lights because her jaundice level was low. As scary as it looked to us, E seemed to be enjoying it. Ha…like she was on her own personal beach.
The doctors decided to take her off of the feeding tube because she was rejecting all of it plus some. They told us that when babies are breathing fast, over 8o, they don’t usually give any type of feeding. However, she is pooping a lot which is a good sign her digestive system is working.
We were there in time to hear the doctors do their rounds & I didn’t understand a word they said. It all seemed foreign to me. Mike tried explaining some things to me, but it didn’t really help. Strange how my type-a personality, who always listens and understands couldn’t figure any of this out? But my hubby who prefers to not listen and not over think things, was the one explaining it all to me! God works in mysterious ways.
My parents come up to visit. My sisters aren’t allowed to come back and see her because of age restrictions. So we face time with them.
Emma comes off the lights & opens both of her eyes. Besides the left eye peek she gave me the day I got to the NICU, she had kept her eyes closed. Trying many times, but never really opening them all the way. They were very swollen still, from birth so it was obvious it wasn’t easy. BUT she opens them all the way! And naturally, only has eyes for her daddy. It was the sweetest! She had lots of smiles for him. Probably due to gas, but we’ll call it whatever we want. It’s clear she is so aware of all the lines running in and out of her when she is awake. I so want all of them off of her. She looks to frail and helpless. Not really moving around much because she’s hooked up to so many things.
My mom brought up some headbands, one specifically from my dear friend Ruthie. Putting it on Emma was so special, however silly that sounds. It just about broke my heart even more seeing her in that sweet headband. So, so very thankful for Ruthie’s talent and love for my girl. She had been a very present part over the past few days. Endless texts of encouragement and prayers and reminding me this was all temporary. It’s strange to some that 2 people who have never met beyond the internet could become such close friends. Crying. Praying. Laughing. All things that define a friendship. A friendship that, however far apart, is genuine and so valued.
Once Emma fell asleep, we went for a walk to get lunch. And then later that evening went to my aunt & uncles house for dinner. Which was a perfect break from the hospital. We celebrated my cousins birthday & it was so nice to laugh. To relax with family.
When we got back to the hospital, I went to pump & Mike went to see Emma. He sent me a picture of her with her eyes open. I’m going to be honest here..pumping is frustrating. I’m sure frustrating for any mama. But when your time with your baby is limited because she is in a NICU & some of your precious time has to spent in a room, by yourself, with a cold, plastic machine hooked up to you. Hoping for even a little bit of milk to come out. It’s hard. So hard. I felt like I was missing out on so much. I knew the importance of me pumping but that didn’t always help me feel better.
Needless to say, Mike & I had a difficult time leaving that night. She stayed awake for over an hour, so we stayed at her side. We just couldn’t leave that sweet face. Thus creating a trend. Mama couldn’t leave her when she was awake. Or upset.
Sunday, May 26
Uncle Chris was flying in from Boston for the day to see Emma. We met my in-laws for breakfast while they waited for his flight to arrive. All I remember about that breakfast was how awful the coffee was. Probably because I had been getting myself a Tim Hortons every single morning for the past 4 days & it was ruining my ability to drink any other kind.
E is under the lights again when we get there. But she’s on her tummy. It was so cute. She seemed so comfortable.
AND her big nasal cannula was out!!! Her respiratory rate was way down & she was breathing much steadier, so they took it out!!! The nurse tells us she attempted to give her a bottle & Emma mostly spent that time playing with it instead of drinking it.
Mike’s parents & Chris get there. Of course with the cutest little outfits from Auntie Susan. There isn’t much interaction with Emma because she is under the lights which means she has a mask over her eyes.
I’m pumping every 2.5 hours but it’s so inconsistent with how much milk I’m producing. In my journal, I wrote “all is good, gotta keep it up now that she is eating” Yea, keep it up. Looking back, I didn’t keep it up. If I kept it up, I would have been pumping every hour. Drinking special tea. Doing anything to generate a bigger number.
We head to lunch & when we get back the nurse tells us she had another bottle and took it down in 2 minutes! But she’s still under the lights so it’s more of just staring at her. After a few hours, the doctors give her some freedom from the lights & I change her diaper.
Then. Oh then. I get told I can give her a bottle!! I can’t hold her but I can prop her up and feed her!! She guzzles it down & daddy is the paparazzi! It was amazing. I'm positive that nothing could wipe the grin off my face. She is happy and full, so she falls right asleep when she’s done. Mike & I leave for the night. Only this time we are heading home. As in over an hour away from our girl. I need to go home and get some different clothes. We need to sleep in our own bed for a night. We need to spend time with our friends. We both feel severe anxiety as we walk out of the hospital. Similar to that first day there, but after the huge strides E took it makes it a little, a very tiny bit easier. Getting to feed her before we leave puts me on a little cloud of happiness, which probably helped my body physically walk out of the hospital that night & get in a car to drive home.
But instead of heading home, we stop at our best friends house. Brendon & Theresa. It’s some much needed time of just being around people that love us. Sean & Rene are there too. They have a bag for us. A bag full of cards. From our church family. From the kids. From strangers. I cried. It wasn’t what we were expecting. That Sean stood in front of the church and prayed for us. Asked for people to pray for us. Asked people to bless us in any way they can. By writing us encouraging notes. By writing us checks. By having their kids make cards for us. Simply asking people to come around us and help us make it through this new journey. I can’t put into words what I felt that night. My heart was so abundantly full. My head was swimming with feelings of thankfulness. Mike and I are so blessed by these 4 people. A family like none other.
And when we finally made it to our home that night & sat on our bed reading card after card. Looking at check after check. We couldn’t do anything more than thank the Lord for providing for us yet again. There was over $1700 dollars in those cards.
Do you understand that friends? Names we didn’t even recognize had given to us. People we didn’t know had given to us. People we did know had given to us. The gave to us so freely. Cards with just a few bucks in them. People who went to church that day with no intention of giving that money. The last dollars they might have had in their wallets. And they chose to bless us… I can’t even. God was so faithful. Working out every single detail. Showing us that He was in control. That He would take care of everything. This money helped me spend the next month in Buffalo without struggling to pay our bills. It allowed us to spend gas money for me to get to and from the hospital every day. It allowed me to eat every day. It allowed Mike to take every Friday off to spend a 3 day weekend with me at the hospital. That money was more than just money. It was part of a lifeline that made us remember to remain dependent on God.
And the words on those cards. Some of the most special things we have ever read. The cards from my kiddos. Those were the ones I wept reading. Yes, the adults were encouraging and beautiful. But those kids. Those kids I spend every Saturday & Sunday with. Those kids who I have prayed over thousands of times. Those kids who run to their classrooms, just ready to spend time in God’s word. Those were the ones that meant so much to me. Their innocence and lack of understanding about what was happening to Miss Liz’s little Emma Joy, was something so, so beautiful & heart-wrenching. Promising to pray for my girl. The girl they watched grow in my belly. The girl they had been begging (& arguing over) to be the one to pray for during prayer request time in their class. I’m crying now writing this. Knowing that the Lord placed this calling on my life to lead the young to Him. And knowing that, not only did I teach them something each week, they would one day teach me something.
To trust. Trust that He is good. Trust that He is in control. Trust that if I simply have a child-like faith, I would get through this…
to be continued…