Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday was Torture, Saturday was Bliss

After Ellie left Martha Jefferson the emptiness was overwhelming. My brand new baby was now far away from me. I was going to have to face recovery without her or my husband. There were a million questions and concerns that Chris and I were trying to deal with. Our loving pediatrician wheeled me back to my room with Chris and my parents following. We spent another hour with him discussing the situation and the variety of tests that Ellie was going to face at UVA NICU. They told Chris to give them a few hours to get Ellie transported and settled at UVA. He went over there before one am. His amazing brother Shawn and wife Rebecca met Chris in the NICU waiting room.

My Mom stayed with me at the hospital and my Dad headed home to transfer Bradley duties with Cali. I feel into somewhat of a sleep, and woke around three when the nurse came to check my vitals. It all came back to me. Where I was. What had just happened that day. That my baby girl was sick and we didn't know what was wrong. I woke up my Mom and had a good cry. After you wake up and remember the nightmare you are in, you are just hoping it isn't true.


Chris has lovingly spared me many of the details from early Friday morning and Friday during the day. But, he did call me often to let me know what was happening with our sweet girl. She was in her new spot in the NICU. She was surrounded by many sick babies. Chris said that he has forever been scarred by what he encountered there. Ellie was doing well in her new home. She didn't have any more spells as of five am that morning.

Chris was a husband, Daddy, and a milk delivery man on Friday. He spent his entire day racing back and forth between me and Ellie. Listening to me cry and worry. Watching Ellie encounter test after test. It must have been horrible. By the end of the day on Friday he had burst blood vessels in his eyes, and he looked like he was about to fall over. He did get the chance to hold our sweet Ellie for the first time. He also called me to tell me that he had given her a bottle of my pumped milk. I was strong on the phone when he told me, but sobbed when I hung up. How coudl this be happening? I haven't even held this precious baby that I carried for nine months. I was so thankful he was there for her, but devastated that it wasn't me. He told me later that when he gave her that first bottle he was so sad. He felt like it should have been me to nurse her.



With each test the worry continued. I would get a text, "She's headed in for her MRI." Then I would sit there in bed and cry and wonder and pray and hope. Please let everything be clear. Let our baby be OK. Why is this happening to us? With each test came good news. Although the doctor would have to give an official thumbs up, things were looking good according to the techs and the nurses. Ellie encountered so many tests... a spinal tap, blood cultures, MRI, EEG, EKG, etc. etc. It was painstaking, and I didn't even have to watch them do it.

By Friday night I was a total and complete basket case. It felt like the longest 24 hours without her. I sat in bed, had family and friends visit, and cried and cried. I felt like I was literally being tortured on the labor and delivery floor. I sat there all day and listened to the nurses wheel up the babies in their baskets. I heard families through the walls laughing and celebrating. I heard little newborn cries through the hallway. It was too much. By the afternoon I wasn't getting any colostrum. My only connection to my baby girl was to pump milk for her, and I couldn't even do that. The pediatrician said not to worry. I would see her tomorrow. It is hard to make milk with the amount of stress and for a baby that you haven't even bonded with. It's OK he said.

My sister stayed with me all day on Friday and spent the night. She was a rock star. How do you say thank you after someone helps you pump, cleans your bottles, takes you to the shower and the bathroom, and lets you cry and cry?? Thank you isn't enough. It won't ever be. I hope some day I can be there for her in the same way...(I love you Lindsay!!) By Friday evening the nurse ordered Ambien for me to sleep. I was a puddle of tears and every time I closed my eyes I kept seeing little Ellie lying on the table getting resuscitated. With help I was finally able to sleep.
Saturday morning couldn't come fast enough. Chris and Kim came to get me and take me to UVA. I was showered and dressed and waiting on the doctor. After a quick check I was free to go. They wheel chaired me out of the hospital and to the car. I was crying walking into the NICU. As I got closer and closer the tears wouldn't stop. I was going to get to see her. Hold her. I was beyond overjoyed.


The tears were joy, sadness, and peace. Getting the chance to hold her after two long days was indescribable. Adelle was the amazing nurse who was watching her that day. She was so kind and gentle with me. Little Ellie finally got that horrible IV taken out of her scalp and put in her arm. She was hooked up to monitors and IVs and computers. It was scary, but she really looked great. The doctors at UVA had cut back her IV fluids because they knew I was coming. She was ready to eat and nursed like I had only been gone for an hour. Wow, the power of motherhood and the bond between her children is amazing. I don't think Chris got a chance to hold her all day except to put her back in her basket.

Medically she was doing well. She hadn't had any more apnea spells. Every test was coming back 100% perfect. They were mainly waiting on the blood cultures to make sure that she didn't have any infections. None of the cultures were growing anything yet. There was a little glitch with her EKG and the cardiologist wanted to look at it further. But, so far so good for sweet Ellie.




After my journey to the NICU and getting to feed Ellie I was pratically falling asleep in the chair. I was still on a lot of pain medicine. If everything had gone smoothly I would have been in the hospital for another two days. Chris said I needed rest, and I let him take me home. I just didn't want to let her go now that I finally was able to see her. We went home to sweet Bradley and Adam and Kim. We celebrated Chris' birthday and had dinner. We ate cupcakes and for a moment it felt like things were as they should be. But, there was hole missing in our house. Bradley was asking me where Ellie was, and when would she come home. It is so hard to tell your son that Ellie is with special doctors right now without crying. I kept telling myself to be strong. Be strong for Ellie. Be strong for Bradley. We are stronger than we know.


laura said...

oh sweetheart...

i still cannot believe that we have both had to go through something like this only weeks seems so far off from the beginning of march when i commented on being 2 weeks behind you and getting so excited for our little heart aches for you in such a different way than most because i know exactly what you have gone through...i know those tears, those cries, those what on earth is going on and why is this happening to us feelings...all while recovering from major surgery.

and i thought 2nd babies were supposed to be easier?! ;)

the power of family, the power of friends, the power of faith, the power of learn a lot about things like this during times like we have had. like you said, we are stronger than we know.

thinking happy, healthy thoughts from our reunited family of 4 to yours!


Christy said...

This all sounds so physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. How were you even able to function? I am so glad you got to feed your sweet baby girl.

Krystyn said...

What a scary few days with your sweet Ellie. I'm so glad she was in such caring hands...even though they weren't yours.

And, amazing that she nursed so well right away.

Amy said...

She is beautiful and looks SO healthy! Today is Easter Sunday. . .a day for MIRACLES!! I just know that she is perfect and you will all be home together soon! I'm PRAYING for you and the family!

Jennifer said...

Clare, I am so sorry! Praise the Lord that things are going better today. She is so beautiful! I'm praying for you.

Jodee Leader said...

Hoping and praying each day gets better. Ellie is absolutely adorable! Hang in there!

Brandy said...

She's absolutely beautiful. Congrats!


Lindsay said...

Love you too!! Glad I got to see you guys this weekend! I am wearing my new cross and earnings :-) Give Bradley and Ellie a smooch for me :-)

amanda said...

i am just overwhelmed from reading clare! and i know i have already said this - but i truly can't imagine what this must have been like?

just so very happy that you are all home, right where you belong! xoxo

Heather @ Cancer Mommy said...

Can't even imagine. So sorry that you had to go through this. I can certainly understand the crying and the questioning of God. Unfortunately, I do both of those often.