Friday, April 30, 2010

Patience

Patience is a virtue...

Just not one of mine.

I went to lunch with Whitney today and we discussed the "why's" of life. Roger and I seem to ask these kind of questions these days. Why us? Why her? Why do innocent children have to deal with this kind of stuff? One constant "why".

Whit pointed out that all trials are for our benefit. We are supposed to learn something from it. I'm pretty sure this is teaching me patience. Whit gave me a quote that hit home.

"Patience is a godly attribute that can heal souls, unlock treasures of knowledge and understanding, and transform ordinary men and women into saints and angels. Patience is truly a fruit of the Spirit.
Patience means staying with something until the end. It means delaying immediate gratification for future blessings. It means reining in anger and holding back the unkind word. It means resisting evil, even when it appears to be making others rich.
Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace and faith. It means being "willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon us, even as a child doth submit to his father."
Ultimately, patience means being "firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord" every hour of every day, even when it is hard to do so. In the words of John the Revelator, 'Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and...faith in Jesus.'
Patience is a process of perfection. Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most."
---President Uchtdorf

In rereading my latest posts, I'm realizing they each hold an undertone of sadness and frustration. So I'm doing an attitude adjustment starting today. I am grateful, so very very very grateful I get to "learn patience" through this baby of ours. I wouldn't have it any other way. I still get to cry as much as I want (yes my hormones are helping that along), but they are tears of gratitude as well.

Starting today I am moving forward and accepting this situation with as much "courage, grace and faith" as I can. We have been so blessed. Our hands are tied - there is absolutely nothing we can do to change where life has taken us. So we are counting our lucky stars we have someone to cry over and stress about everyday. We'll face our 'potholes' with some tears, yes - but with hearts full of hope and gratitude!

Pictures to come tonight...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Rough Day

  • Back on the bili lights
  • Threatening to go back on the vent - too many breath holding spells
  • Lost weight last night
  • Stopped feeding her because of the air in her tummy from the cpap = a new humongous tube down her throat to suck out all of the air trapped in her stomach
  • Upset baby because she's starving = lots of crying from Brooklyn = lots of tears on my end
  • Grayish coloring today = another echo of her heart to see if the PDA has closed yet

I. Am. So. Tired. Of. Crying.

Sigh......



(Found out Brooklyn loves her binki. Good thing we have a way to soothe her while we're not feeding her. Lood how awful her coloring is today - see what I mean about the grayish color to her?)

(Can you see her face under all of this stuff? Cute little thing likes her hands by her face.)

(Sorry to make you turn your head to see this pic)


(My daily spot. Love my girl. Excuse my red nose, I'd just been crying when the docs spoke with me.)


(Attempting to pick her nose?? Just kidding. :) )


(The nice guy doing the echo of her heart has huge hands next to this little body.)


(Precious cargo. )




Things to remember from the last couple days:

  • Brooklyn peed on her nurse's hand...sorry Jessy! Paybacks for waking her up every three hours, huh? :)
  • Yesterday she had her hands over her eyes when I came to see her. I thought she was sleeping. I bent down to peek in the bottom of her isolette and saw one eyeball staring at me. Heehee, so cute.
  • Brooklyn immediately calmed down again today after I started talking to her. What I wouldn't give to just hold the cute little runt!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daddy's Girl


How do you put into words your feelings at this sight? This sweet daughter of ours knows her dad. She has always opened her eyes when we visit. But last night Roger was on the other side of her, requiring her to completely turn her head to be able to see him. Yet all it took was one word from her dad - one word - and she turned her head to him so fast he didn't even catch it. Her eyes were wide open. And she stared at him. Truly looked at him.

And I cried. Again.



Words can't express how my heart ached as I watched my husband and new dad walk away from his baby's crib as they suctioned his daughter's nose and mouth out. He couldn't watch, it made him feel bad. Roger has been my saving grace during this. Yet, I think he struggles in his own quiet way. He got choked up when he heard that our niece, Kaitlyn played a piano solo in church Sunday flawlessly...all because she was playing for Brooklyn. He cried with me last night as I cried because we were having to leave her behind. And because her cry is absolutely heartbreaking. She usually doesn't cry because she hurts, she's ticked she's being woken up. But any parent hates, hates, hates to see their child cry. They would do anything to take the hurt away. But this little girl has to carry her burden. We silently pray everyday that her guardian angels are shouldering part of her suffering.



Brooklyn is doing so well. Sometimes it feels like she has been ours for years, yet it will only be two weeks tonight that she has been on this earth. We are so grateful for her progress, she is truly beating the odds. Yet they say she'll be in the hospital until her original due date...that feels like an eternity away. So grateful we get to keep this girl forever!



Our families said we should be writing things down that she does each day that we want to remember. So for our sakes only (since neither of us keep journals), I'll add simple things at the end of each post. Feel free to skip these, they are only for our benefit years down the road...
  • She loves to get her hair washed. Holds totally still and doesn't make a peep.
  • She has the longest toes, fingers and feet - she curled her toes around Roger's finger last night.
  • She opens her eyes each and every time we visit her. Sometimes its only a drunken one eye sort of look, but she definitely recognizes when we're there.
  • She has the tiniest cry - just like a kitty cat. Makes me tear up every time she cries. Usually the cry involves a humongous, full body pouty lip before she lets loose. Such a stinkin cutie.
  • When she does cry, its usually during diaper changes. But if Roger or I cover her body with our hands and talk to her, she stops crying.
  • She gained 20 grams last night. When the nurse said this out loud, she instantly started crying. Typical girl already - cries when she sees the numbers on the scale! :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Just Another Day...

Today has been a day for some steps in the right direction and a few small steps backwards. As you can see, she's back under the bili lights - cute girl looks like she's in her own tanning bed! Goggles and all. Our little "bug" is back. But on the plus side, she is off her IV nutrition and at "goal" feeds, plus she's gaining weight! She's almost back up to her birth weight - we'll make her a fatty eventually!

One downer from today, her raw nose is getting worse...enough that the Wound Team will have to see her in the morning. Darn that Cpap!


(Look at our girl stretch, she's got some serious length to her! Any bets she'll take after her daddy?)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A First

Showed up last night and they were giving the little runt a bath. So cute. And...they let us help!
(Getting ready to take off the cpap to wash her face and hair)


(Preemies this size don't like to be softly touched, they prefer to be "contained" we were taught. It makes them feel like they are back in the womb, hence the reason my hands are scrunching her up into a ball.)



(A little blow by oxygen while the cpap is off)




(Not a happy girl during the bath, but boy did she love getting her hair washed. Don't we all love a head massage? She looks absolutely annoyed here, look at that frown! :) )

(And a "first" - they let me hold her while they weighed her and changed her bed! She is such a featherweight! Roger was taking the pics, sorry to leave him out.)

A quick video for those that like real life stuff.

video

And another "first"...Roger plays in a softball league once a week - this stud of a husband of mine hit a homerun at the first game of the year! Congrats Rog!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Trust

Roger and I make two phone calls everyday up to the hospital. One when we wake up in the morning, and one as we climb into bed every night. We check in with our sweet nurses to see how our daughter has done in the last few hours. These two phone calls keep us going through our days and let us sleep a little more peacefully each night.

This morning I found myself on my knees in our bathroom cleaning our toilet. Figured I might as well make myself useful while I have six weeks off from work. I had called to get the morning update from our cute nurse. Nothing big to report, just the usual breath holding spells while Brooklyn's body is trying to figure out how to do things it shouldn't have to do this early in life. But I felt bad because the Cpap is rubbing her little nose raw - they had to put some foam there to avoid any further skin breakdown.

As I scrubbed the toilet, I started to cry. These little episodes tend to hit me when I least expect it. So there I am, in my underwear, gloved and scrubbing away, and I found myself on my knees in prayer right there on the bathroom floor. I was sobbing to my Father in Heaven. For what? I wasn't sure what I needed most - a hug or to know that our sweet baby wasn't in pain. Is this how he felt when he watched his son suffer on the cross for the sins of the world? Did the image of me on my bathroom floor cross through my Savior's mind as he suffered for my sins?

I think what hit me the most as I picked myself up off the floor and got into the shower was the concept of trust. Do our cute nurses up at Primary's realize the amount of trust parents have in them as they care for the most important thing in their lives? Do the doctors realize their decisions can make or break my day? Our "primary" nurses are the absolute best. We love them. Roger and I would make them sleep at the hospital if we could. I look at them everyday caring for our daughter and wonder if they have any idea the thoughts running through my head. I silently plead with them to be gentle with Brooklyn. To comfort her when I can't. To minimize her suffering. To keep her little body working. Because this sweet little face is all we've got, she is our world....

(They were cleaning her Cpap and let me snap a quick picture yesterday without anything on her face. Her little nose tends to stay "piggy" when she's on the Cpap.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pretty in Pink

"She has a clean head."

These were the words we were told yesterday. Relief. Brooklyn's head scan was yesterday afternoon. This test tells us if she had any brain bleeds as a result of being born so premature. Yet another blessing from the Lord, how grateful we are!
(She gets this sleep position from her mom, but boy does she look like her dad!)




Today's progress.....off the ventilator again! Back to the piggy nose of Cpap. We still think our little runt is cute, piggy nose or not. :)

(Right before they took out the breathing tube. She had just filled a diaper - seriously, how does that much poop come out such a little bum? You can see how little she is compared to the nurse's hand.)


(Tired, yet happy parents.)

(Excuse the white mouth, she likes to blow bubbles.)

Between yesterday and today we are mentally tired, yet thrilled with the progress she has made. She continues to amaze us with how well she is doing.
As we drove home in the pouring rain tonight, Roger and I were talking about how life somehow goes on despite the fact that our world is sleeping in an isolette in the hopsital. I picked up the dry cleaning today. I dropped it off last Tuesday. Also did some laundry last night - may have put darks in with the whites because I'm distracted, but the clothes are clean! Roger has been finishing our backyard in between trips up to Primarys. Shouldn't everyone put their lives on hold with us while we watch these miracles take place? But this isn't how life works. So we are slowly coming back to life, little by little.
Seven days ago, our world came crashing down. But we were forever changed for the better that night. Is it possible we love her more than we did that first night? Yes. It is.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Baby Steps

Doesn't she look comfy? I want to sleep like that! This is how we left her last night... :)



And this is what I found when I went to see her today - no bili lights! Yay! Now we can see her face without the funny foam goggles. Still not sure where she gets that dark hair???



Progress report:

She's tolerating her feedings (through the orange tube in her mouth that leads to her stomach) and finally pooped today! Yay for poop! She also had an echo of her heart that was normal, only a mild PDA that will close on its own.

She's still needing the ventilator, her body just isn't ready to breathe on her own. She also tends to hold her breath when she's upset - which she did today. Bad. She actually won over the vent (which is supposed to breathe for her) and they had to bag her. Little stinkpot. But we still love her! Keep up the fiesty attitude missy!

Right after she stopped breathing, they got her calmed down and she opened her eyes to look at me. I got it on video. Cute little booger. She looks annoyed, like she's thinking "What, aren't I allowed to hold my breath when I'm mad?"

(The video to the left is to try to show you how little she is. And its for Meg who hasn't seen her in person yet. And the Rasmussen/Gardner cousins who haven't seen her either. Feel free to skip these if you're bored. The second video is her opening her eyes after her rebellious moment today.)

video video

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Grief

They say grief comes in stages. It involves many emotions that you may cycle through more than once. Since that horrible night I think I've been numb, in shock, in denial, whatever you want to call it. I couldn't cry after they flew her to Primary's. I put a smile on my face and went through each day in my own hospital room in a haze. I ached to see her, to see with my own eyes she was alive.



Roger. My sweet husband. My constant in this trial. He cried for me, kept me updated when he went to see her six hours after birth. He held me and hugged me, knowing eventually I'd break. The below picture is about 12 hours after delivery. My smile is pasted on, and we're both exhausted.




They let me go home yesterday. Finally. I brought home my flowers and took a picture of my own little floral shop. (Many thanks again for those, they brought a ray of sunshine into our dark days.)



So back to the subject of grief. The part where I knew I'd break came last night. Roger gave our daughter a blessing with the help of his dad last night. And I all out lost it. Couldn't stop crying. My shattered heart was all over the floor. The blessing was beautiful and promised good things. Now its up to us to have faith in those promises. But I sobbed and sobbed anyway. I cried the entire ride home. I cried when we finally climbed into bed and Roger held me close. I cried for my baby who was suffering as they put the ventilator back down her throat. I cried this morning at 5:00am as I got up to pump. I sat on the floor of our living room with swollen eyes and wondered how I even had that many tears in me. I cried again when I climbed back into bed and Roger held my hand in the dark.


Grief...how do you prepare for such a thing?


I also realized I am so very angry. Bitter, upset and angry. I feel so cheated. We don't get to enjoy the "firsts". Roger has never been exposed to a preemie, and he's missing out on precious moments because she'll be in a hospital for months. I feel this little girls grandparents are cheated. My parents have done this three times before (Meg and I were 30 weekers, Callie was a 27 weeker). Haven't we had our share? Sweet Susan and Gary, my cute in laws...they took it all in stride seeing her for the first time in her little incubator last night. Thank you Gary for assisting Roger with the blessing.


I feel this precious little soul is being cheated. Is she suffering? Is she in pain? I know without a doubt Heavenly Father is comforting her and sending guardian angels to watch over her. But my heart aches like it never has before to see her being poked and prodded.

I feel guilty. What did I do that caused her to come early? Will we ever know? Is it my fault? Should I have done something different? Is my pain tolerance high enough that it took dilating to an 8 to get me to the hopsital? Could they have stopped my labor if I had gone in sooner? These thoughts eat away at me. But I know what's done is done and I have to move on with hope and faith that she will pull through despite my faults.


But - I also can see some humor in this whole thing. I giggled as we walked into her room last night and saw her looking like this:



She looks like an elf with some serious stylish glasses. Notice the chin strap? Yah, that lovely thing is holding up her double chin so the Cpap won't come right back out her mouth. So funny. She looks so comfy here, all nestled in her bed and chillin under the bili lights. Such a cute little squirt huh? Oh how we love her!



Again, thank you to everyone who has supported us in every possible way. It's humbling to be on the receiving end of a situation like this. We are overwhelmed and so deeply grateful for your love and prayers.

P.S... We named her Brooklyn. :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Little Hand to Hold, A Little Miracle to Cherish

Our First Family Picture

(My doctor gave me a LOA from the hospital so we could go up and see her yesterday)


(She looks so hammered. Delivery was rough for her. You can see bruising all over her little body.)

(Can you believe her double chin?! What preemie has actual fat there? Guess she inherited that from her mommy - anyone notice my swollen face from the last post? They had pumped me full of fluids to keep her heartrate stable prior to the c-section.)

Below is a video that shows just how little she is. Cute as a button, even if she does have the "marshan" look. :)

video

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Where To Begin??

Baby Girl Gardner
2lbs. 6 oz.
14.5 inches
Born Wednesday April 14th at 1:48am





























































Where do we start? I think a huge thank you should come first. Thank you to all of our family, friends, neighbors and many others for your gifts, visits, cards, flowers, phone calls, text messages and support! We are humbled. We are grateful. We are so very lucky to know each and every one of you. We are amazed by how thoughtful people can be. We have never felt so loved. A simple thank you doesn't do it justice, but its all we can say for now. So from the bottom of our broken hearts, we say THANK YOU!


The actual story should probably come next...


I worked Tuesday afternoon and had some mild pains at work. Initially I thought nothing of them. They didn't really hurt and didn't last long enough to make me think twice. I got home around nine and plopped on the couch. The pains were still there, so I started timing. For a whole hour. I finally told Roger that we may have a problem on our hands. My contractions were four minutes apart by this point. A quick phone call to both of our moms, followed by one to the hospital put us in the labor and delivery unit around 11:30pm. After the usual round of tests, the "down there" exam was done last. It was at this point that my darling nurse changed from calm - to panicked.


I was dilated to an 8! And I was only 28 weeks! Everything fell apart from there...though I must say the chaos was very smooth and quiet. We were immediately surrounded by a team of doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, a pediatric team and more. Being a nurse, I knew what that scared look behind each of their eyes said. This was not good. This wasn't even termed worse. We were in crisis mode, this was a true emergency.


They wisked me away to a delivery room to prep me for transfer via life flight to IMC so the baby could be handed over to their NICU. But my OB wanted one last ultrasound before they rolled me out to the helicopter pad. With that decision came more trouble...the baby was breech. So they turned me right back around and literally ran me straight to the OR. If my water broke in route to the hopsital, it could kill us both. I was stripped down to nothing in preparation for an emergency c-section. Life Flight from Primary Childrens Hospital was called and on their way. We sat gowned, gloved, and sterile until we heard the helicopter hovering over the hopsital. Then they cut me open, took our precious baby girl out and handed her over to the pediatric resucitation team. At my request they showed Roger and I her face during the transfer from one doctor to the other.


Words don't express what it felt like to hear her cry. I lost it. Roger lost it. We were a total wreck. They intubated her right there in the OR and handed her over to the life flight team to stabilize her. Twenty minutes later they rolled our precious daughter into my delivery room to get one last look at her before they flew the seven minutes to PCMC. We took pictures and got to touch her tiny foot. They loaded her into the helicopter and she was gone.

So where is she now and how is she doing? She is in the NICU at Primary Childrens. She's a tiny little thing with no name yet. For now she's Baby Girl Gardner. We are hopeful yet cautious. We are devastated that our little one decided to join our family so early, but we are still proud parents! She may have the preemie look, but she's a cute little peewee to us.

We will post more pics and updates tomorow.

Again, thank you to our families that got out of bed and drove up to an hour to be there during the delivery. Going home from the hopsital at 4:00am isn't easy, so our thanks go to you first. To our own parents, thank you for your generosity and examples. What would we do without family?

To my Heavenly Father, thank you for entrusting us with one of your precious spirits. We love her more than we ever thought possible. We are humbled beyond words that she was sent to us, no matter how difficult her road may be.

To our baby girl, we love you and pray for you constantly. Keep up your fighting spirit. We are thrilled to have you in our family!