Friday, February 21, 2014

My thoughts...

Thoughts can be frightening sometimes.  When you think you have gotten past something or overcome it... it can easily creep back up on you.
Izzy was ransacking our room- what she does best these days- and she came across her "going home" outfit I had tucked away in a cabinet.  She was trying to fit the little hat on her head- which didn't work out very well for her- I sat and watched her and was amazed at how far she has come.

Lately, I have been thinking back to Izzy's birth and her stay in the NICU.  It might be that Sister is almost three and for her, that means we are about to experience some BIG changes.  Sometimes, I don't let my mind wonder that direction.  Sometimes, those memories are still hard to process.  Sometimes, I just have to go there... and so I let go and allow those emotions to come flooding back.

After the birth, I remember the doctor coming into the room and asking everyone to leave so he could talk to Ryan and I.  I knew then, they were sending my baby an hour away because they had done all they could for her there.  My heart sank...

This picture always reminds me that kids know more of what is going on than we think.  I can see it in his eyes...he knows his sister is struggling.

Ryan, Mimi and Papa rushed to Pensacola so they could be there when Izzy arrived.  I didn't want our baby to be alone.  I don't think anyone got any sleep that night- even with help of a sleeping pill.  I sent Ryan texts through out the night and he sent back pictures.
I was released the next morning and Nana and I were on the road.  I didn't think Nana was driving fast enough and in my mind... I was saying over and over- drive faster.  She was driving fast the speed limit but I needed to get to my baby and a plane wouldn't have gotten me there fast enough.  We arrived only to wait- shift change.  Finally, it was time for me to see my baby!  I remember walking through the hallway and I saw my Pastor.  I remember wondering how he had gotten there so fast but I don't think I actually spoke to him.  I think he got a half smile.  My mind wasn't in the right place.
He has visted each of my babies when they were in the hospital and when we were scared.  I am forever grateful to him for being there each and every time.  He can be a silent but powerful presence.  He might not speak a lot but you always know he is praying. 
We were buzzed into the NICU- I had to announce my arrival to see my baby- and I remember scrubbing my hands and arms for what felt like a lifetime.  My hands have never been so clean as they were that week in the NICU.  I showed my ID and got a Mommy pass and then we walked into the NICU.  It was overwhelming and I hadn't even reached Izzy's station.  I probably had the same thoughts as the other parents when I laid eyes on Izzy... she looked out of place.
You see, Izzy was a giant compared to her tiny neighbors.  She weighed over 8lbs and her neighbor was a little over 2lbs.  Plus, Izzy was very swollen after her birth especially her neck and cheeks so she looked even larger. 
I think I cried more that week than ever before- and believe me, I cried a lot during my pregnancy.  My emotions were high from just have a baby, then having a baby with special needs, then having a baby with special needs in the NICU.  To top that, I had a bad reaction to the epidural- that didn't even work- and had to make a visit to the Urgent Care.  Poor receptionist asked when I was due... Yep, I cried and thought about punching her in the face.  Oh and I probably should mention that we were in the process of buying a new house at that very moment of course, things seemed to be falling apart and we weren't there to pick up the pieces and get things back on track.  I cried if I felt like the other NICU parents were staring in my direction a little too long.  I cried because I was wondering what they were thinking of my new baby.  I was a hot mess!
Izzy got her own name bling
 Each day, we would go in hoping that it would be our last day residing in the NICU but Izzy had other things on her agenda.  I think she liked all the special attention she was receiving from the nurses.  During her stay, she got on an awesome schedule that we tried to keep going and she became well adjusted to loud noise.  Sister can sleep through anything.  I on the other hand, stared at her stats and listened for beeping while watching her sleep. 
Ryan and I had to learn lots before we were allowed to leave with Izzy.  First, we had to attend a baby CPR class.  Thankfully, I have had a refresher course because I was pretty much a zombie that night and couldn't remember a thing when I walked out the door.  Then, Izzy was issued a heart monitor and we had to take a class on the ins and outs of how the machine worked.  Then, came our overnight trial stay.  Who knew, with my third child, I would be so scared to be left for 12 hours overnight- even with a nurse right outside the door.  But we all survived our night.  So we had passed all of our tests and classes and now it was Izzy's turn to pass her last importatnt test.  She had to be able to sit in her car seat for an hour without her oxygen levels dropping.  Each time she was tested, we would call in and get word that she didn't pass and we began to feel defeated.  This was the only thing keeping her in the hospital.  We were so ready to get home to our boys and bond with our baby girl.  They decided to try again but this time using a bed car seat and she passed.  Nana and I celebrated and quickly packed our bags and went to get our girl.  We were heading home!

Izzy in the car seat bed. 
Our experience in the NICU will always be a part of us.  We had some good moments and some very rough moments but I continue to learn that my Izzy is a champ.  She is stronger than I could have ever imagined.  I also learned that I am a lot stronger than I thought.  That saying- God doesn't give you more than you can handle... well, sometimes when you are in the midst of the situation it feels like it is more than you can handle.  With His help and the prayers/support of family and friends... we made it through!

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