Sunday, December 19, 2010

Grieving like a Tree

"One of the things we learn from studying the growth of trees is that during seasons when conditions are ideal, trees grow at a normal rate. However, during seasons when growing conditions are not ideal, trees slow down their growth and devote their energy to the basic elements necessary for survival...
What do you suppose pilots do when they encounter turbulence? A student pilot may think that increasing speed is a good strategy because it will get them through the turbulence faster. But that may be the wrong thing to do. Professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed. The same principle applies also to speed bumps on a road...
Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions."
- "Of Things That Matter Most, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor of the LDS First Presidency

I was so grateful to come across this article this week. My mind immediately went to the last two years of my "hermit life." At first people understood the need to withdraw. But sooner than I felt I was ready, I was prodded to "get out more," or I was whispered about for not "getting on with life" quicker. It's understandable, I guess. We live in a very fast paced world where people moving on to the next thing is not applauded but expected. Also, I didn't lose a "child," right? I mean, I "didn't even know my baby." I cannot tell you the anger these statements create inside.
Reading about the tree rings explained my journey perfectly. It's nature's way to slow down in hard times. It's not about sulking; it's about survival. In order to preserve what's left after the storm, you have to slow down and nurture the essentials.
As I have been on the road of child loss for two years now, may I share with you my heart. Don't expect permission or even understanding for your actions now. Unfortunately, losing a baby is so rare (not rare enough) and so different than much of the pain society experiences, most people will ignorantly judge you from afar and certainly be more than happy to give their two cents. People naturally relate their own trials to yours, not realizing they can't compare. Some people don't see the power or devastation of this baby loss storm.
Do what feels right. I felt, and still feel, like the only way I can get through life now is to simplify. That includes my daily schedule. I don't go out as much. I don't answer the phone as much. I don't do anything as much. And while I am overjoyed raising my new baby Trey, still I have not felt any urge to revert back to my old life.
I loved reading about parallels in nature. I want to be like a strong tree someday, rooted and solid. But I've been in a drought for a while. Now is about focusing on essentials. When my life is over, if it is dissected, I hope there will be many rings; history of a richly lived life. The rings that mark the lives and losses of Jackson and Claire will no doubt stand out. They may look like profound times of weakness. But to me they mark when we dug deep and found the most strength we ever had. When starving, your roots drive deeper into the hard ground, where many around have never gone, to find saving water.
I hope nature can encourage you as it has me. I hope you who are suffering will be affirmed on your journey. I am sorry for our pain, but aren't our babies worth it? I love my kids! I am proud to be their mother. I love my whole family and I feel my angel babies with us and a part of us every day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 6, 2010 Candlelight Ceremony

We went to Scottsdale Shea's 4th annual candlelight ceremony in remembrance of our lost babys' last Saturday night. We didn't attend last year. That time away left me really looking forward to this special part of Christmas. It was simple and beautiful. All the amazing parents and family members were sitting within a border of luminaries. Special songs were played singing specifically to our children. Yummy refreshments were set out (my daughter helped to herself to at least 5 brownie bites while we were talking with other parents!). Becky Norris, mother of Delaney and Laney's Legacy spoke to us. A few of the things she said really echoed my own thoughts.
Recapping her tragedy and delivery in the hospital she said she felt and Intensity of emotions she has never experienced before. That struck me. That's exactly it! I've NEVER, NEVER experienced pain like what crushed me as soon as we learned Jackson's heart was no longer beating.
With subsequent pregnancies, or following fatal diagnosis' there is a heightened awareness and hope for every kick and bump inside.
Leaving the hospital was one of my hardest days--it was terrible to see my baby go one way and I go another.
A mother's love never dies.
Loss is like a wound: at first raw, vulnerable, excruciating. But then it scabs over and daily life gets easier. But if anything provokes it, it's tender and the pain comes back like it's a fresh wound.
Sharing my heart and opening up about my experiences has opened me up to support and strength from others.

 I loved seeing my dear sister in loss. She also delivered twice at Scottsdale Shea in one year (she lost twin boys and a little girl). Susan Friedlan served us both in the hospital and connected us. This year, we were both there with our little "miracle baby's." It was precious to hear them in the background cooing even as I cried. She and her husband are amazing. Every parent there and each one who's given back a baby inspires me and strengthens me.
Does Trey know how special he is to us? He was a little doll at the ceremony. Did he sense his siblings there?
I was, the first year I attended, torn up seeing families seated with us but holding their own baby. Now I am sensitive and slightly shy as we hold one, keenly aware that his presence there may cause pain to others. I hope he gives them hope. But I know nevertheless it's painful to see a little replica of what has been taken.

A reading from the ceremony:
In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,
In the blueness of the sky, and in the warmth of summer,
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
When we are weary and in need of strength,
When we are lost and sick at heart,
When we have joys and we yearn to share,
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as

National Share Office

Moving On? November 1, 2010

Grief experts say don't move for at least a year after you've lost a child. While at first being surrounded by painful reminders/memories drives you away, you may come to miss them if you flee too quickly. Our whole house is a reminder of our babys'...the kitchen where I tried to get creative with healthy recipes that I could stomach; the couch I camped on a lot; Jackson's well-prepared nursery, then Claire's more timidly prepared nursery, next Trey's "nursery" that was simply a junk room because we were unwilling to prepare another nursery. The bathrooms - we all know about those and pregnancy memories! The closet, where I frequently changed outfits as I grew out of them faster than I could hang them up. And for me, the biggest daily reminder of my life carrying my children-the staircase. Weird?
It was so laborious to get up stairs when I was pregnant. Jackson's giant feet were lodged under my lungs throughout his stay with me and I could never catch enough air. Stairs would make me dizzy! Pitiful to the normal person, but so it was during my pregnancy. I climbed and climbed, counting the days left til I would have my baby safely on the outside and be able to get back to racing up and down the stairs while cleaning up after my sloppy children. When the "safely in my arms" never came, the stairs became a memorial for my memories, hopes, and now cherished times with the little ones. There was not one day that I didn't turn the corner on my staircase and look at Jackson's precious photo on the wall with my other kids. Painful for a time, but I needed him to be there with my others. All too soon there was a tinge of guilt that tiny Claire's picture wasn't added to the wall. But she was so hydropic, a large photo might disturb people.
It was a year and 4 months after Claire died that we moved. (That's why I haven't blogged in a while.) As we prepared to leave, I grew emotional realizing that I was about to leave many tangible reminders of my life with my kiddos. I feel like the 5 years in that house brought nothing but pain with it. But then, for us who have lost our children so early, pain may be most of what we've got to hold on to. That doesn't sound right. What I mean is, though the memories of planning for, making (he he) and growing babies are now framed with pain, they are all I get in this life with my kids and I am fiercely protective of them. I have a terrible memory as it is, so I need all the reminders I can get. So while we were thrilled to get away from the shattered hopes and empty baby nurseries, part of me will miss that hallowed space where my children lived with us. That was their only home.
I love my new house. Losing children has changed me greatly. I no longer care for many things I once valued. We moved to simplify our life. We are in walking distance to my husband's work now. We are in a one story now! We are close to the freeway and close to the city. How wonderful to imagine that if I ever were in need of a high risk Doctor again I would be 10 min away instead of an hour! So while I am elated to "move on" and not get painful visual reminders each day, I feel quite aware of the seriousness of leaving our sweet babys' first home behind. I'm grateful that we kept the house (rented it out) - I'm not quite ready to cut all ties with my mecca of baby memories.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Graveyard Treats

My husband went to our family graveyard where his mother and our children are buried on his way to visit his brother's family in New Mexico. What a special treat when he got there...
My mom and step dad had planted some seeds the last time they were there, hoping something would pop up. A huge sunflower grew right on Jackson's grave!
And look at Claire's grave - I was stunned to see a dragon fly right on her grave! It made me feel so happy. It seems like ever since Trey was born we are seeing, feeling Claire's presence. I thought it might be years before we got this blessing to comfort us. So thankful that we have these small "coincidences" to remind us of our family, that they are aware and connected to us and they are happy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trey's Baby Blessing- Oct 18, 2010

My mom made him his blessing outfit. It will be special for him to always treasure it, knowing it was handcrafted by his grandmother who loves him so much. Also, his Aunt made him the little white tie to go with it! SO nice of her, because I wanted to make him one, but we all know that if I don't even keep up on the blog I certainly won't take time to make a tie from scratch!

Most of our family was able to be there for it and we were really grateful. An LDS baby blessing is a short prayer-like ceremony where the dad, surrounded by men close to him and the baby, officially gives the baby a name and then follows it with a blessing for his/her life ahead. It's usually done closer to birth, but we didn't want to take Trey to church (tons of germs) until a few weeks ago so his was slightly delayed.
The blessing was short and sweet, as they say. It was so wonderful to sit there listening and know it was for my own child. It's been so long...
We gave Claire a name and blessing in the hospital. It was just me, her dad and her grandfather. I'm grateful we were able to do that, as poor Jackson missed out on this rite of passage. But how much sweeter to offer a blessing on a life ahead here on earth rather than one passed already into a vague, timeless place we can't see much of.
Usually I cry at blessings. It's just hard. I am so happy for family's to grow and have that special experience, but it only brings back the horrible deaths of my children and what they missed out on. This time I did not cry! You'd think I would, but no. I am so happy to have him here and be able to give this to him that any type of tears were kept far away last Sunday.

My husband was thoughtful. He wanted Trey to have white flowers on his blessing day. With our first child, the morning of his blessing we came out front to a bloom of white flowers spouting from our cactus! We didn't even know that thing bloomed! But there was a sweet bouquet for our son on his blessing day.
Also for our daughter that cactus got sentimental and bloomed! Weird. It did it on Easter too...But that's another story. So my husband wanted Trey to have white flowers like our older 2. This was the only bouquet at the store so he bought it. Look closely at the two stems.

There was a pink dragonfly and a green butterfly on the stems. My husband did not put them there. It came like that. I took this as a marvellous greeting from Trey's older passed on siblings. I took it to say that they were with us that day and they wanted us to know. What are the chances? The exact symbols we see for each of our children on special days/times. The colors even matched their genders, as my mom pointed out. I am SO thankful for this! It does wonders to sooth my heart when I get small reminders that my children live and even more, that they are a part of our family still - an active part who want us to know of their presence.
I hope this little bouquet will bolster those who have lost loved ones and don't know where or even if they are. I hope you too will be given a sweet message some day that you will know in your heart and mind is significantly tailored for you. Family's are forever, no matter what size or how they look on the surface.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

So I haven't posted in forever. I know. I get flack for it all the time. Let me tell you why. My tank is running a little low. Having not slept through the night in almost 3 months, my brain is starting sputter.
Two weeks ago I took my daughter to dance at 4:45. Right as we pulled into the drive I remembered that it starts at 4:15. Woops!
I vowed to get her there on time the next week. And I did. As I drove away her teacher called. "Kelly, her class is tomorrow." Woops!
Last week I sent my husband to pick up my son from scouts at 7:00. After he left I started getting several phone calls from his leader and a few buddies. Where was I? I wasn't usually late. Woops! Even though he's been going for several months I suddenly forgot that scouts ends at 6:45.
What else?? Made a friend I haven't seen in forever wait for 25 min at our lunch destination because I was sure it was a half hour later than it really was...even though she'd sent me a text with the time that morning! 
I cooked biscuits in the oven, then went upstairs to get my laptop. Ended up making the bed, cleaning up, etc and getting dry, burnt biscuits for lunch.
My short term memory is fried. I have had more late fees for bills than ever in my life. I may not feel that terrible, but my actions show that my body is wearing out! 
So when I actually have extra time, I don't get on the computer. I clean. My house is nasty and has been desperately calling to me for a while now! A few days ago I took 8 bags of stuff to DI, a thrift store. That felt great. I already have another one full, and more to come. I figure if I can't keep it all clean/organized, let's just get rid of everything! I tried to convince my husband that the shedding dog should go along with the rest of the giveaways, but he's not convinced this isn't just 3 years of pregnancies and sleep deprivation talking. 
The good news is that I really don't care that much about all my blonde moments these days. I hold my growing, warm baby and I am soooo thankful for him. I am so grateful he's with us. I see his siblings in him and think, how can they matter any less? How can the world think they don't count as much when they had the same little cheeks, or head shape, or feet, or brow? They are not lost to me. I'm so thankful to have their brother to raise. I can't express my gratitude. My priorities are so different than they were before I lost babies. Everything is more simple and clear now. Even if I can't remember most of it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


**We had a perfect little baby shower celebrating Trey. I will post pics and give details later. :) I'm so thankful he's loved and that so many people were rooting for us, and still are. We are blessed to have community, wouldn't know how to survive without it.

**I really REALLY want to post pics of all the ultrasounds I got that showed Trey with the cord around his neck, just so others can see and hopefully pay more attention to their own babies' photos. It's ridiculous how easy it is to spot even from the layman's eye, and on the other hand how hard it was to convince the doctors/US Techs of this.

**Did I ever write about how the night after I had Trey I had a dream where Blue and I were laughing deeply from our belly's? It was so poignant to me because since Jackson died two years ago I pretty much have nightmares every night. Every night, whether he or his precious little sis have been on my mind or not. It was SOO nice to dream happily, to feel such joy on a subconscious level.
     Unfortunately, even with my love and happiness expanding each hour I spend with baby Trey, the bad dreams have returned. It's more normal to have bad dreams than good ones, or none at all. Most times I wake up with the bad feelings still churning inside, but the dream content is hazy or at least nonsense.
     A few nights ago, I awoke upset, the storyline of my dream bright before me. I was nursing Trey in the dream. He was each time filled and each day growing. Completely normal. But then, flashes of his brother would pop into my mind, another tiny baby. It was not clearly Jackson-just a little boy baby. I would look frantically around the room for him but not see him. I needed to feed him! How could I have forgotten to nurse him this feeding...and oh my gosh! the last feeding too. He must be starving somewhere. Where was he? Then a friend would appear and chastise me for forgetting to nurse my baby girl. Yes, that's right, I had a girl too. She was even younger than the boy baby. She would agree that I was doing a good job with Trey, but what of his little brother and even smaller sister? Feed them!!! Take care of them!!! Stop forgetting about them!!! She told me she was feeding the girl for me but could not do this forever so I better get my head on straight and stop forgetting my babies. But every time I tried to find them in the house I failed. Then I would forget about it and nurse Trey peacefully as usual. Right at the end of the feeding I would remember I had two other babies; a small boy and smaller girl. No! I forgot to feed them again! And on and on it cycled until I awoke in the morning quite upset.
     Isn't that crazy? It all makes sense. It's so simple. I'm just surprised at the feelings of a failed mother so deep inside, and the worry for my babies. I feel obligated to care for them, to nurture them and some part of me still frets that I am not doing it. It's so weird to me. During the day I know they are okay and I think of them constantly. Never forgetting. And I am thrilled to care for Trey. But at night it's all a mess. I see how the heart beneath is still in shambles. Unlike most deep wounds, which heal from the inside out, I think baby losses heal from the outside in.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trey's 2 Months Old Today

Here we are. I'm thrilled that I've had my boy for 2 months, and elated that it feels like a week. It's all still new and fresh, maybe because while he's doubled in size, yet he's a teeny lil' thing, or maybe because I have craved a baby for so many years that I revel in each moment with him.
I love it all. Don't mind that I am fat and mushy. Don't mind that I can't seem to get my house completely cleaned in a day anymore, that laundry's out of control, that coveted crafts are getting dusty, that I am a 24/7 milk machine that must thrive on three hour increments of sleep. I love it! I wish you all the joy I feel all roll through me each and every day!

Trey's over 8 lbs now, I'm sure. I get his weight Friday...

He is a miracle. That he has grown so well and so quickly with just me and my unrestrained diet is a marvel. He had no chance, with the cord tightly wrapped around his neck 6 times and multiple times around his body on top of that. But look at him now! Each day that passes with health and calm I am grateful for. Yeah for Trey!

Jackson's Birthday- Updated

We got flowers! All the way from a friend in Japan! I feel like Jackson is loved around the world.

Who can top my husband's post on Jackson's birthday? I loved it. I loved that he posted when he did, because I was avoiding doing it. It's one of those instances when being part of a couple really helps out! Thanks, babe!
The day wasn't nearly as sad as it was last year, no doubt because of his brother's presence. It's still really hard to remember the day we delivered him. It was so shocking and painful, so essentially wrong. This year I was able not to think on that as much as on doing things that would make Jackson happy or proud. Now that I have made some distance from that important, even sacred day, here's a breakdown of what we did to honor him:

The balloon release! This was the saddest part of the day for me---letting go of the balloon and saying,"I love you," to my son made me feel that he's not here with me, that we must try to communicate with him, to reach out to him because he's living some place else. Tears welled up as I watched the pretty balloons with our personal messages float away.
My daughter made sure Trey got a message off too - it said, "Happy Birthday, Jackson! Love, Trey" I thought that was thoughtful of her.

My mom and step dad also released balloons from a park by their house, at the same time as we did; sunset. My mom saw, as they were releasing the balloons, a little boy playing on a slide who looked about the same size Jackson would be.

As Blue said, we made Jackson a cake... My fridge broke a few days before and so we lost all our eggs and butter. Of course, since it's my way to avoid planning for these birthday memorials, I didn't make sure I had all the ingredients necessary, nor did I bake the cake ahead of time so that I would have lots of time to the cake was a bit of a mess! We used Smart Butter in the frosting and it ended up tasting like popcorn! Seriously. Good thing my kids are young enough not to notice flavor as much as color! 

Some day Jackson will get an amazing cake worthy of a Cake Boss episode, but until I can feel good enough about losing him to plan ahead, he gets the sloppy popcorn flavored cakes!

Something that was really important to me; talking with Trey's doctor about his case and giving him research on repetitive cord "accidents." I really like Trey's doctor. He's a good blend of intellectual and caring. But even his high risk practice doesn't think cord accidents are repetitive or preventable.
I thought it would greatly honor Jackson if I gave the doctor an 80 page modern report on cord deaths and how to prevent them. The appointment was set for Jack's birthday, after all.
Our family gets there and instead of  the man who saved Trey's life walking in, the NP that gave me a needless scare about Trey having anemia when I was 5 mths along did! The doctor wasn't even there that day. We were so disappointed. The NP spent my appt trying to get me to get an IUD on the spot (she loves to put them in, she said), showing me the little plastic model of inserting one... Another disappointment on his birthday.
But I managed to keep with my plan by giving the report to the doctor's wife, who was there working that day. I asked that she give it to him. That way, while I didn't get to speak to him, still he got the report on Jackson's birthday. It makes me feel so good to spread the word! I really think our history will go a long way in convincing professionals that cord problems may be genetic and can be monitored closely to save a healthy baby from a needless death.

We spent the money we would have spent on Jackson's birthday gift were he here on someone else: A friend who is having a hard time financially right now. It's neat because when Jackson died she was really attentive and thoughtful. She looked out for us. Now, he's looking out for her. A perfect circle.

I also called the hospital I delivered Jackson and Claire in and left a message for the infant loss bereavement coordinator. I told her about my idea to make pillows for families. I haven't heard back yet, but hopefully we will get that going soon.

Other service done on his birthday, making his life tangibly meaningful:

HOW could I forget to mention, when I first wrote this, that my amazing friend Heather has done service for the last three months in honor of Jackson. She has a new baby girl and has been pumping extra milk and storing it so that she can donate it to a Mother's Milk Bank and help preemie/sick babies live. Go girl! I am amazed at her selflessness and daily dedication to others. She is SUCH an example to me. Thank you Heather! And thank you for letting Jackson's life and even the pain surrounding it sink into your heart and change you. I will never forget you.

My good friend Jeni made and donated blankets to a hospital:

Website about donating small blankets to hospitals:

Jackson's aunt Laura and uncle Dallas in Tucson made cookies for a neighbor who lost a baby at 23wks and for a neighbor who's husband's in Afghanistan.

My friend Lisa in PA sent this email:
We shall be donating non-perishables to the following:

Trenton is a terribly poverty stricken/crime infested city. I cannot imagine what it is like to be a child there, let alone be hungry.
Here's to Jackson! Happy 2nd little dude! I love the new tradition :)

My friend Dawn bought breakfast/coffee for the person in line behind her at the Starbucks drive thru.

Another of Jackson's aunts, Natasha, gave up a particular type of gossiping! She decided to start making the world a better place with herself first. Beautiful.

Thank you to everyone who helped make Jackson's birthday meaningful. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Baby Shower

Hello everyone! This is a friend of Kelly and her sweet family and I just wanted to post information about a baby shower that will be taking place in San Tan Valley on Saturday the 18th of September.

I know that a lot of you have gone through this journey with Kelly and Blue and may want to come show your love and support for them and their precious little baby boy. Some of you maybe even want to meet Kelly for the first time. :)

Please email me if you are interested in directions or have any other questions. Thank you so much!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Jackson! (by Blue)

My heart aches tonight. Kelly just made a cake for Jackson's birthday and it wasn't until we sang "happy birthday" that it started hurting. We did a balloon release with notes attached. We did a little service in his name. We all looked at pictures of him. Some of the pictures the kids had never seen. All this was heart warming and boosted my spirits, but singing to him broke my heart. It took me back to 2 years ago and the wound is still fresh. I force myself on occasion to read my journal entries from Jackson and Claire's death. I have made it my own personal tradition to read the entries on their birthday. I just finished reading Jackson's and it really made me think and evaluate my life. I made him a promise as I held his still-warm body that day. It's very personal, but as these deaths have taught me, some things should be shared; to help others cope, to help others understand, to help others know they're not alone, to help others know they're normal, and probably, mostly to help me. The following is an excerpt from my journal that details the hours leading up to and immediately following his birth. I am also including a picture that I know is hard for some to look at. We had an anonymous friend do a beautiful touch of job of it and have used it many times to show others our sweet son. But, as my emotions are raw I wish to show him as he was when we first saw him. There are certainly imperfections in his appearance, but they were hard to notice that day.

Sept. 18, 2008 - I was terribly excited on the drive to the hospital. I kept thinking, ‘this is it’. We reminisced as we pulled into the all too familiar Scottsdale Shea hospital parking lot. We shared memories of the first two births and I remember feeling so much more in control of this situation, my parenting in general, of being in a hospital, EVERYTHING. I was excited to tell the front desk that the contractions were painful, and about three minutes apart and lasting about a minute each. They took us to a triage room where the nurse had Kelly put on a robe and get into bed, preparatory for listening to the fetal heart tones. The nurse came in and began to move the transducer over Kelly’s stomach. After about 20 seconds of moving it around and not hearing anything I began to be very nervous. At one point it picked up a slow pulse, but the nurse quickly announced that it was “mom’s” and I knew she had gone over the femoral artery. This is when I began to panic inside. I didn’t quite allow my mind to take the thought much further than ‘this is scary.' They called in the hospitalist to do an ultrasound. I was extremely worried now and knew that this would reveal something immediately and I think I started preparing myself for the worst. I have seen enough ultrasounds to know generally what I’m looking at. I remember seeing his little hand almost in a fist, but not moving. But it wasn’t until I followed the monitor’s view to the heart that I knew the worst had indeed happened. I remember seeing the heart, and one of the chambers appeared to be very subtly quivering, but not pumping. The other three were not moving at all. The hospitalist didn’t need to say it, but he said solemnly, “there’s no heart beat.” In disbelief Kelly asked what that meant and he simply repeated the statement. I don’t know if I can adequately describe what I felt at that moment. I was surely in shock. I kept thinking in my head, ‘oh my gosh, he’s dead’ over and over. But the meaning of it had not settled in at all. I expected tears to pour, but they didn’t come. My thought’s turned to Kelly who looked and seemed like she had just seen something otherworldly and was unable to process it. Her face was blank, emotionless. Susan (Kelly's mom) asked what was going on and was also in disbelief when I told her. Unexpectedly no one wept. I held Kelly’s hand and hugged her for what was probably 10 minutes. We didn’t speak. We didn’t cry. We simply processed and allowed for the complex emotions to work their way into our minds. The doctor arrived and Kelly demanded that he give her a C-section. He said he would do whatever she wanted, but advised against it for our sake monetarily and for health reasons. Kelly reluctantly agreed to deliver the baby. I don’t know how much time we spent in that room, but at some point I began to cry. It was when Susan left the room and I allowed myself to succumb to my emotions. The feelings were earth shattering, life-altering. My body lurched and quivered. Kelly still sat looking forward. I honestly don’t remember when she cried, but I’m sure she did. Once in the room, they induced her and everything seemed to progress ironically like the previous two births. I lay in bed with Kelly and Susan read a distracting book. I dozed off several times, overcome by emotion and stress. I felt so guilty every time I woke up. The doctor broke the water and commented that he expected it to have meconium and not be clear. He said this meant the baby didn’t have stress when it passed. A few hours after the epidural Kelly was ready to deliver. During this entire time I was nearly positive that I didn’t want to see the baby in fear that he would look dead or traumatized or scary or something. I didn’t want my only view and memory of my son to be a disturbing and haunting one. Until the moment of delivery I wasn’t sure I wanted to see him. I remember thinking how amazing Kelly is for going through with this. I had always been amazed at how she handled labor and this was no exception.

I remember seeing the head and his dark hair, although the darkness of his hair didn’t at that time register. It was evident by the doctor’s struggle to get out the body that he was a big baby. As soon as the baby was delivered the doctor announced, “I know what happened.” He then described a rubberband being wound from one end and at those words I saw the twisted umbilical chord. It resembled a phone cord and I knew then what he was about to say. He didn’t really need to say it. I could tell that it could not sustain life, that it was kinked, and there was no way for nutrients and oxygen to get through. I also noticed that his body was peeling and at first I thought this had something to do with his demise, but the doctor simply stated that the peeling indicated that the baby had passed one or two days prior. I must point out that the most poignant thing for me during the delivery was the peaceful silence and stillness that accompanied the moment. There was an almost celestial room-like ambiance. Later I paused to reflect on the word ‘stillborn’ and whether it was the stillness of the occasion centuries ago that caused that term to go into existence. Surely it fits. Every fear and concern I had for seeing my son was swept away and I anxiously awaited holding him and seeing him. I think several minutes went by. Then he was presented to us. HE WAS BEAUTIFUL. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! He looked like at any moment he would start crying. I almost expected his chest to rise and fall. He was warm and healthy looking. He actually looked strong. His hands were big. His hair was black and curly, so rare for this family. I remember several things distinctly – his red lips, his mother’s nose, his grumpy eyes, his ever so slightly sunken anterior fontanel, his peeling skin that was healthy and pink underneath, his purple nail beds. I remember his mouth would fall open when I moved him in certain positions and I would close it. Angels and God himself would have to describe the sound his tiny mouth made when I did that, for it is certainly too precious for mortal words. I kissed him repeatedly. I kissed his head, his cheeks, his lips and I remember how incredibly soft his lips felt. They felt alive. I wept. I wept a happy, but longing cry. I think at this moment I began to miss him. I didn’t want to let him go. Just as with Caidgen and Amie, I had certain distinct feelings about him. I felt, albeit cliché, that he was indeed strong. I felt he was valiant and brave. I even at one point felt he came to save me. I began to evaluate my life. I thought of his new life in heaven and realized that I had to see him again, and not just see him, but embrace him, love him, learn about him, and converse forever with him. So I took his hand in mind and with tears streaming down my face I promised him that I would live a better life, and that I would overcome my weaknesses, and would be a good person for him. It was the most solemn of promises. I have not made one like unto it in this life, though I wish I could say I have. It is in this sense that I felt he was there to save me. I have since wondered if this is entirely accurate. I don’t know if he had to die or was purposed to die only to help me, but I chose to honor his death with life. I must make this tragedy into something great and wonderful. I chose his death to be a saving grace for my soul. When at last I had decided that I couldn’t endure holding him any longer and not wanting to prolong the inevitable, I whispered in his ear, “I love you, Daddy will always love you.”

Tonight, I recommit myself to that promise. As a father, the thought that his death didn't have a purpose is immeasurably hard to bear. I believe it did have a purpose. I believe it was more than just nature running its course. If anything, it has served to make me a better person, but my wish is that it will help to make anyone who knows of him to be a better person. If his life and death have touched you in anyway, I hope you too will feel the desire to live better.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Porter Jackson, 7lbs, 6oz

Trey Samuel, 7lbs, 6oz
Trey after a nice long feeding

I noticed something amiss on Trey's man parts today when I changed his diaper. Off to the Doctor we went, where when placed upon the scale, the weight 7lbs 6oz came up. The numbers popped at me. I went into the room to wait for the doc and held Trey close as I cried and cried. This was a moment I had hoped for anxiously. Turns out there is nothing wrong with his man parts, but I am so grateful to have had the scare that took me in to the doc today of all days. This is likely the only day Trey will weigh the same as his brother did at birth. I really wanted to know when he weighed the same so I could hold Jackson one more I could look on a frame that was similar to his. They aren't built exactly the same, though they have the same hands and feet and mouth and possibly eyes. But their weights as I held them in my arms, exactly the same.
It took me back, as I rocked Trey in the office, to delivery day. This time his little body did not grow colder as I held him. This time his chest fluttered to it's own unique rhythms. I'm so thankful for this time, and I'm yearning for two years ago again. One more day with Jackson...Actually, I want a lifetime with him, but I would take one day as a close second. Man, I miss him. I shake my head and hope to God that He'll give me Jack as a baby again, that one day, I guess when "day" may not even mean what it does now, that I'll get to raise my baby. I have to trust that He will make it all right.
I'm so grateful for my little Trey. And I am thankful for today, catching the 7lbs, 6oz in time.
any ideas what we should do Tuesday, Jackson's 2-yr birthday memorial? I CAN'T believe we've made it two years. Go us!
We will do some sort of service in addition to anything else. If anyone wants to remember him, please feel free to do some service in his honor. :) What a way to make him live through you.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Trey!

I finally got to finish Claire's pillow. It makes me very happy to have this. I got most of it done before the baby was born, but then ran out of the last 2 inches of lace. That's my way with crafts! Ironically, I was at Joanne's buying the lace when I got the call from my doctor saying to go to the hospital because Trey's test results were still really worrying him.
So, 7 weeks later, just in time for my actual due date, I get the pillow done! I love having one that can go with Jackson's. They sit in his crib right now (Trey's not in there yet). I recommend something like this for anyone who's missing their baby.
Yes, today is my due date. I tell Trey that he's no longer a negative number! He's 1 day today! He's 7lbs too! So exciting how big he's gotten in 7 weeks. Almost doubled his weight.
I think last night he was so excited for his "birthday" that he couldn't sleep... he was up and crying every hour or so. Who hijacked my child?!
Finally, at 5:30a.m., he went to sleep. I was awakened at 7:15 by my oldest son. He whispered to me that he'd gotten dressed, done his hair, brushed his teeth and made his lunch. All that was still needed was scriptures. I exclaimed that my alarm must not have gone off. No, he heard it, he said! He crept into my bathroom and got out all the stuff he and his sister would need to get ready so as not to wake up me and Trey. How sweet is that?! He heard Trey crying all night and didn't want to wake me. I think it was worth it to go through last night just for this morning's gift. I felt so supported. It was amazing that a little 3rd grader did that. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Life at One Month

 Feels good to finally post! It's been too long, but I am so tired most of the time that getting pics online and writing full sentences overwhelms me. But I really want to share how life is now that Trey is one month (WOW - 1 MONTH). This is the time I would have had him (38 weeks)...that's eerie.
SO - hardest part - seeing Jackson's face in his sometimes when he's sleeping. I have called him Jackson several times and it creeps me out. I wanted so bad to have a boy who looked like his brother Jackson. Just kidding. Even one or two similar features takes me instantly to the hospital almost 2 years ago, holding Jackson, trying to catch up to what was already done...It's too much.
Just early this am while I nursed Trey I suddenly saw Jackson. I had to turn away and not look at Trey. He's warm, he's growing; I'm caring for him, meeting his needs and helping him be successful at life. And in an instant I see all this that I am not doing for my Jack and the cover of the hole inside pops off.
Nevertheless, I have to trust the process of time and eternity and wait it out.
I'm just SO grateful for this baby! I love him so much. I didn't think I would ever feel this happy again!
I love his place in our family.
My son adores him. A few days ago after school I laid Trey down in the living room and went to pay bills (that are late!). A few minutes later Caidgen brings me his little jedi partner - dressed in the Bear's costume that he got on Claire's birthday!

Little Jedi
I feel a little ashamed that I didn't notice my son taking him upstairs! Dressing him! But this is so funny!

Then, yesterday morning - like many other mornings, my son appeared with Trey in his arms. "Here mommy, he was crying." By crying he means Trey was squirming in his sleep, making the precious little preemie goat noises that we love.

My daughter is enjoying the baby in a different way. She's not confident holding him, so she never surprises me like my son does. She is just enjoying pretending she's a momma now too -- she uses all Trey's stuff; from bottles, bibs to his swing! She often hugs his little body while I hold him and says she wants to squeeze him to death, or squeeze all the cuteness right out of him, etc...

And what have I been doing? This:

I eat, feed him, sleep, feed him, hold him, feed him, and once in a while either do laundry or make dinner - though never both!
I still have a broken boob, which constantly clogs up for no good reason, so I nurse a lot to try to help that. Trey sleeps best on our chests, so sometimes, when I just have to get some shut eye, this is how we do it. I can't sleep if he's awake. And of course I can't let him cry! Thank my mother for teaching me that one...

And every day I still ponder about the bizarre cord circumstances on my babies - anyone out there still think this is all a coincidence? I am dying to find out how long Trey's cord was - way longer than the average I heard. I want answers! Why are my kid's cords messed up??? And how did I get my first two okay?
All I can say for now is, monitor your baby. Know their average movements and if they ever change, ever, insist on a look at their cords. Trey's cord was around his neck at LEAST since he was 22 weeks. I have the pics. Not one doc thought it was a problem - not even on the day he was born. But that's another blog post!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kids First Day of School

It's so refreshing to feel happiness.
It's the best feeling to hold a tiny baby to my chest that stays warm, who's little heart flutters rapidly, consistently.
It's like a dream to go to sleep and wake up, and a tiny baby is still there, still alive.
I love taking care of Trey. I feel confident with it, and fully at peace while doing it, because there is nothing else I would rather be doing.
But I realized today that my joy is reserved because I don't feel like he's MINE. I know God intervened to save him, that he was days away from being another cord accident. That scares me deeply for some reason.

I also have been so emotionally tired for so long, pushing through such losses, that I can't take happiness for granted anymore. I love it today, but there's no guarantee it will last. I fear losing this precious babe. I'm so aware now of all these wonderful parents who's hearts have been ripped out as they bury their young children. You'd think I would get used to it, but each new story shocks me, imagining their pain overwhelms me, and I wonder how they make it through.
I hold my baby and pray that he's meant to live a long hearty life, because I don't want to live without him.
Today I saw two cute kiddos that were born very close to Jackson's birth. They are so big now, toddling around. I let myself imagine life with a little one that tall toddling around my house, and my heart has been aching ever since. Ironically, I also saw my niece who's the same age Claire would be. I was fine with it until I felt her weight and told myself, little Claire would be this big now. Imagine carrying her, this big, everywhere now...imagine seeing your little girl grow. Then a quiet mournful feeling swept over me, and it's been there ever since. Why do I do that to myself?
It's less painful and safer to live in the moment.
Nevertheless, today when I took and  picked up my kids from school, I found myself chatting with parents, something I haven't done since Jackson died. I  used to be so outgoing. Though I doubt I ever will be that way again, today was different for me. So, Trey must be sneaking in and healing up some part of me, even as I worry too much that I may not get to keep him long enough.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Do You Hear Angels...

My friend Kari used a football to show her baby's size. In our family's usually fashion, we were late photographing Trey! This was a few days ago.

My grandma sent me the quilt she made for Jackson. She was not comfortable giving it to me until now. I am so thankful for it.
On that note, I have called Trey Jackson twice---it unnerves me. I know they are not even close to being the same boy. But Trey's eyes look like Jackson's when he's sleeping. I gaze at them and it takes me back to holding Jackson's much bigger body in the hospital almost two years ago. I miss him so much.

shhh...I'm sleeping!

It's hard for me to put him down after feeding him...unless of course it's 3am and I'm nodding off!

Last night at dinner he was wide awake and making funny faces. We had such fun with him!

Like father like son. :)
Ahhhh... I hear angels singing. No more fever for the last two days!!! And before the fever broke, I survived by watching the Youtube video about the intruder breaking into the projects... SOOO FUNNY!!! It seriously got me through!
But without fever, I am so happy. Ironically, the cause was a new antibiotic - simple amoxicillan. And while it's not supposed to be strong enough, it is for me. It worked last time, when I pumped Claire's milk and got mastitis. It was what I asked for the first day I got a fever this time. Too bad I didn't insist on it. It seems to be the theme of my life - learning to insist you know your body/baby more than the professionals, getting a loud enough voice....

So it turns out, from talking with a lactation specialist, that preemies keep forgetting how to latch on correctly and you have to reteach them with almost every feeding.  This never occurred to me because Trey ate so well so fast in the hospital. He latched on right away. I didn't realize he wasn't doing it right. Nursing hurt every time, but it's normal in the first two weeks so i didn't think about it. As it got worse, I should have clued in! 

I guess I was not prepared for all the special nuances of a preemie. He's so sweet and good natured. He seems perfect to me. Just not in the eatin' area! And having to take a bottle with special vitamins has certainly added to his latch issues. But with my husband's help, we're working it out. I have taken another bit of Kari's experience and made it my own by stopping the bottles. It makes the clogs worse since he latches so differently to a bottle than me. Kari believed in her own ability to nurse even a tiny baby without the added calories of formula, and I have had to once again shuck the doc's advice and do the same.
My husband's good eye and latching technique are helping me out immensely, along with a good supply of fresh garlic (my poor family), probiotics, yogurt, and feedings every two hours.
I am LOVING this one-long-day, exhausting life! I love this precious miracle. Days and nights blur together, and my shower is missing me dearly, but I am SOOO happy to be able to enjoy my baby now. I'm so happy to be able to enjoy my children and help them with all their little house-destroying projects. Never have I been so behind on housework/laundry, but first things first. And Trey's first. The little energy I have leftover goes to my family.
THANK YOU to everyone who has brought dinner!!!!! You saved us! What would my poor family have eaten while I was in bed all those days? I feel so looked after. I am so thankful.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thank You!

Thank you for all the input about mastitis...
it helps me a lot to hear that it took a long time to heal for others as well. I have been getting worried. I woke up this am feeling icky with a fever over 100'. That was discouraging. I was so hoping to be done with it all. But as long as it's normal I can wait it out...
What did I hear when I woke up? My older kids making a water slide in the bathroom! Goodness, they need to get out! I felt completely inadequate to take care of anyone in the house.
Even our dog's getting out of control. Last night I didn't clear dog somehow got to the HOMEMADE cheesecake a church friend made for Caidgen. It was on the table. Only one slice gone. She ate half before someone must've scared her off. She is a food whore, no doubt (beagle blood) but she NEVER eats off the table. Well, used to never. Go to bed for several days and all hell breaks loose.

Boy, do I love my son! He's so precious. How else can he unleash stabbing rushing pain upon me while I just tenderly hold him and resist throwing him across the room? I see it is possible to fight instincts. Sometimes I pace the room, sometimes I grind my teeth, squeeze something...motherhood is so glamorous.
I'm interested in trying the garlic... though I wonder if that will make Trey fussy...
BTW, yesterday, I took my daughter to her yearly well visit (fever and all - I was so pretty) and I asked for a weight check for Trey. He was 4lbs 15oz! That's up 7 in a little over 3 days. Made me feel so happy that he's big, in spite of me feeling like he's not getting much. He's growing some fat cheeks. I wish I could find my camera and post pics.
Ironically, my mission is to help my daughter lose weight (she's just 7 so it's super sad and hard to address) and my son to gain it!


Just tried to nurse again - by that I mean, threw myself into hell and Chinese like torture. My baby is the only one who can help me, but he's the one who hurts me too.
There it is; the reason i haven't posted. Would LOVE to say i've been blissfully enjoying my miracle baby, but no. Since Sunday I've been sick in bed with a fever and excruciating pain. Seriously??!! Going on 4 days of fever--- round the clock tylonol helps but of course doesn't cure. The crap antibiotic I got Mon ate thru my stomach and now I have another ulcer. An ulcer but no relief yet...
I thought I wouldn't post until I wasn't feverish because it makes me so negative. I had no idea it would be this long and nothing would change.
Every time I look at Trey I smile. He is precious and I know by pure laws of nature and science he shouldn't be here. That in itself overwhelms me. I'm so grateful. I'm so sad that I apparently make a super long cord that doesn't mix well with active Haught babies, one that the modern OB community knows nothing about so there is no solution except miracles or adoption. Don't misunderstand, I have always thought adoption was an amazing and sacred thing. But to be able to create a baby but not keep it alive inside is so depressing. I turned my heart wholly toward my family before Jackson was born and it's been a rough road of shattered hopes.
Now I am soooooo blessed to have my baby! But I can't care for him (or my other kids) the way I want to. It's a mess over here! From the house to the kid's breath to my crap broken boobs. I just want to nurse my preemie so he'll have the best chance of growing and staying healthy. Thank goodness for all the pumped milk from the hospital. It's quickly vanishing though!
Three weeks ago we were cheering when Trey drank 3 mls. Now he's wanting about 60mls! Go Trey!!!!
Sad thing, he may have to go without me... and I am sooooo sad about it. So discouraged right now.
Didn't know it was possible to feel like this on the foot of such, ironically, "overflowing" joy.
He's crying again - apparently nursing both sides - the affected one twice, and offering a small bottle after wasn't enough food for him...!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Dichotomy of Feelings (by Blue)

Quick update: Trey is thriving! Friday we had our first appointment at the pediatrician. Trey now weighs 4lbs 8oz. He's gained a full 12oz since his birth. He still looks ridiculously small in his car seat and in comparison to other infants, but he just seems so strong to me. He eats about 40-50ml every three hours and enjoys keeping Kelly and I up at night with his funny noises. His focus had gone from suck, swallow, breathe (the term used by medical staff to describe the important ability for a newborn to coordinate eating and breathing) to eat, sleep, poop : ) Kelly and I are exhausted, but elated. We feel incredibly grateful to all of you who have prayed or posted messages or called or gave gifts or cards . . . I wish I could go through and thank you all, one by one and tell you of your personal impact in our lives. Please know that we cherish every expression you all offer. I can't speak for Kelly, but you have literally sustained me over the past two years. There have been times when just getting out of bed and facing the reality of our life seemed too difficult a task. But your support made the burden light. Thank you!

It has been an interesting thing to experience the joyful emotions of the past two weeks, especially in contrast to the sorrowful emotions of the previous two years. I find myself smiling without realizing I'm doing it. Last night at about 2:30am, in a sleep-deprived stupor I held Trey and talked to him. He stared right at me for several seconds and my heart melted. I unconsciously search the house for him if I haven't seen him in a few minutes. I actually LOVE changing his diapers, something I participated in with the other children, but certainly didn't relish. Its as if every mundane parental task is an exclamation point on the statement that he's alive!

I have always had a naturally happy disposition. I don't tend to stay mad or sad for very long. The past two years though, have been monumentally hard. I have a head full of gray hairs. I have found pessimism enticing. My jokes are more morbid. The term "death" seems a part of everyday conversation and has lost its ominous affect in speaking about it with others. I'm sure Kelly and I have seemed like a dark cloud to many of our friends. I imagine it has been hard to be around us. You certainly wouldn't feel any levity in our company. I remember distinctively how low I felt at certain times in the recent past. I want to share an excerpt from my journal that I wrote about Jackson's death in order that I might show the contrast of feelings that I have now:

I was reeling over what I was about to do. I think I knew that putting my son in his grave would be the hardest thing I’d ever do. We sang ‘God be with you til we meet again’. I made it only a few words in and couldn’t sing the rest through my tears and quivering voice . . . I arose from my chair and stood over the grave. The heaviness of the hour was full upon me and I wanted to stay where I was forever and avoid the pain and anguish that was coming. I walked over to his casket, leaned over and kissed it. I climbed down into the grave. Taylor and Houston handed the casket down to me and T.C. We lowered him to his final earthly home and as I set him down the weight of the world fell upon me and I sank to the lowest spot my soul had ever descended, far lower than all other times combined. I was bent over with my hands on his precious casket and at that moment I never wanted to let go. I couldn’t fathom climbing out of that grave. I would have been happy for everyone to leave me there, to throw the dirt on top of me, but I could not leave my son there, alone. That was the very moment for me. The darkest hour. The most difficult of my existence. No one should have to bury their child. No one should have to stand helplessly in their son’s grave and offer a farewell to everything that remained of his precious, but brief existence. I think it was only a sense of propriety that made me climb out of that grave, but be assured had there been no other soul around I would have spent the night with him, there, in that hole.    Sept. 2008

Those feelings are easy to remember. They have bubbled to the surface over and over the past 24 months. But they have competition now! The war of feelings is being won by the blissfulness of Trey's birth. The opposite of those graveyard feelings for Jackson occurred about 30 minutes after Trey was born. Once he was delivered they hurriedly rushed Trey and I to the NICU for his initial assessment and to be hooked up to monitors. I had no idea what complications they might find and I didn't care if they did, because he was alive! A team of medical staff poked, prodded, listened, and felt him to discover if there was anything wrong. There wasn't. He never needed even a puff of oxygen. It seemed incredible to me, but the staff slowly began to trickle away, one by one over the next 20 min. Suddenly I was alone. The last one in the room assured me that "mom" would be wheeled back in the next hour or two, but for now I could just hit the call light if I needed anything. I was alone with a miracle in my hands. Those two hours were the perfect dichotomy to what I felt with Jackson. I was as happy as I've ever been. I believe it was the happiest moment of my life. Caidgen and Ami's birth felt that way at the time, but I hadn't lost then as I had now. I KNOW what it is to cherish a human life. I was immersed in a feeling of awe, reverence, joy, and happiness. As I held him those two hours alone I felt such peace. When Kelly finally did arrive she said I had the biggest smile she'd ever seen. And for good reason. I was finally taken out of the graves of my two children and into the light of a single, heavenly life!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We're Home

We're home. :) My daughter's birthday was today so it was immediatly to work on that. was easier on me to be in the hsopital!
Too tired to write tonight, but we are here and he is so wonderfully normal it amazes me. :) I feel so blessed. I feel so proud of him.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Car Seat Test

Better with his blanket. Not crying for the past 25 min...
Here's a funny pic from a few days ago... just a little less stressful to view.

He does NOT fit!
He has to sit in it for an hour and a half to make sure his little airway doesn't close. His oxygen stats have to stay above 86. We are staring nervously at the monitor non-stop...Not that you'd want to bring him home if he can't even sit propped without his airway shutting...but still you just don't want your child to fail any test! And this am I let my hopes get up that he's well and coming home and now I am FREAKING. SO ANXIOUS. It's going to be a long day...
At 3 I take an infant CPR class. That should be the last thing before we leave.
Well, actually, the doc came in and said they need more labs because his second platelet count was a little low - and since he was exposed to parvo a while back they need to make sure it's not attacking his blood cells. I hope it comes back ok. Even if it doesn't they will let him go hoe, but he'll need more tests to see if it begins to raise on its own. If not he'll need a transfusion. 
But hey, he's alive! And that's way easier still than the other way. I am not complaining. Just nervous!!! 

Going Home

13 days old, or 35wks, 1day

Guess who's going home today? We are! If Trey passes his car seat test, that is. As long as he can sit in a car seat for an hour and a half and not lose his open airway, we are outta here!
They have been absolutely wonderful. I feel like he's totally safe here. So I will miss that. But my kids REALLY need me to come home and live a normal life. My daughter especially.
My son is less upset over my two weeks here. He told me last night that, "having a baby rocks!" I asked why. He said, "Because not only do you get a new brother or sister, but you get to go to a bunch of people's houses!"
And while I am in a laughing mood - the other night my milk makers were really engorged. I told my husband, "Look at this. Some people pay like $6,000 for this."
He quickly replied, "Yeah, and we paid $40,000!" (Our insurance isn't that great unless we go to one of my husband's hospitals.) He's funny even sleep deprived.
My mom even cracked some funny jokes here (which is not nice since my abs have been spliced open), but they are a little too not nice to share! Silly mom.
PS - Trey's 4lbs 5oz now, and he has a little double chin. When did that pop up? I've been here the whole time and it grew before my eyes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 10, Sunday July 25, 2010

Another quick turn around. Trey perked right up -- took all his feedings by mouth, beginning last night and going throughout Sunday. :) When I say took, I mean, guzzled the whole bottle in 5 minutes or less. The nurse just told me she's never seen a baby do such a quick turn around. She just loves him! She kept asking me all night long did I want her to feed him so I could rest. But I don't think she was so much wanting to help me out as she was wanting to hold and feed him. Finally, at the 6am feeding, I layed down long enough for her to set up to feed him. I wanted to do it, but then I imagined maybe it fills her up to take care of these precious NICU babies... so I got up after he'd begun to suck the bottle and sat next to her, just watching. That was hard! I wanted to cuddle him! I just waited til she was done and gone, then took him and had a nice long chat with him. He was wide awake and interested in everything.
He's now 4lbs 3oz!
The doc okayed him to nurse twice a day now. They worry he won't get as much food nursing...but they don't know the relationship between him and my milk maker. He gets more milk in less time. He couldn't finish the bottle after he nursed yesterday because he still had milk in his tummy from nursing (gross, but they check this stuff with the NG tube). 
So, he's doing great and I am grateful. If he doesn't piddle out again, but keeps this up today, his tube will come out. Then it's just a matter of them documenting that he's maintaining this positive growth, as well as him staying warm without help. He hasn't been in the closed incubator for 2 days. He will drop temp a bit, so we give him a warmed blanket. That rallies him and he then maintains a higher temp for hours. This staying warm business is a challenge for his long skinny frame.
I find myself constantly torn: am I happy or sad? Emotionally, happiness and more so, peace, fills the aching parts inside. It's been wonderful. But just as I am about to burst looking at his cute face, suddenly I see Claire. Then I flash to her losing fight and feel so sad that it's not her warm body I am holding and helping grow. 
Blue and I are so grateful to realize that Claire looked like Trey! She was so swollen it was impossible to really see her. But now that we have another baby about her size and with her facial structure, wow! Who knew - she didn't have Trey's nose, but otherwise she looked just like him. Even down to the ears they are the same. So, little Claire was her daddy with mommy's nose and ears. I never considered a girl looking like Blue. But how cute! My heart is broken thinking Caidgen would have a sister look like him, that we'd have three look-alike kids and two very unique kids - a red head and a dark haired boy. 
Jackson was all his own little man. I contrast his big size to Trey's little size. I can't describe the yearning to hold him again. I miss him so badly, as if I had him all my life and now he's gone... I asked Trey about him. I feel strongly that Jackson sent him down to us with specific instructions to love on us and do things for us that he can't do not being here physically. I feel jealous of Trey being so recently with our family. I feel sad that we don't all get to be together here, now, laughing at each other, learning from each other. 
I guess as my heart grows for Trey the hole that's there for my others also grows. It's just how the heart is. We are left with nothing to do but be patient with our wants, and steady with our needs, which are to try to find and execute the purpose that will make this trial all worth it in the end. 

JK --- I went to shower after writing this post (trust me- MUCH needed, with all those hormonal night sweats). I got back at 9:15. His new nurse was SHOCKED at him! He was done with his bottle in 7 minutes - she couldn't believe it. She said she's never seen such a little guy eat so fiercely! Are these nurses for real, or are they taught to be super positive? Anyway, I didn't want to tell her that 7 minutes is actually a little slow for him lately! Anyway, she said, "he's got quite a voice. Wakes up and is ready to go! I couldn't get the bottle warmed fast enough for him."
Then I saw that the NG tube is out! Yikes! I was gone for 25 minutes and she did her assessment, his feeding, the doc came by and said take it out, and she took it out! I missed all the action... wow.