October 30, 2012

A new normal

I've said it once I've said it a hundred times, I hate change.  And yesterday I geared myself up for a major dose:
After one month and one day, I moved out of the hospital and down the street to the Ronald MacDonald House.  I don't think anyone in my immediate circle, minus my doctors, wanted me to leave the hospital- mostly because it looks like the next few weeks are going to have me hanging by myself a little more, but ultimately I think we'd all gotten really comfy in the hospital setting. Clearly this is another example of how quickly I dig in my heels and make myself a "home" whether its a basement in Kansas or a hospital room I start to get attached! Hah. But, in this case, as much as I'd gotten comfortable I know that if I want to go the long hail in this pregnancy, then I need to do as much as I can outside the hospital. I need to get fresh air, I need to move around a bit more ( not too much!) and I need to keep being pregnant. And while this will sound bad, you tend to stay pregnant longer if you're not under observation as much....sure it's good to have people looking out for possible red flags, but also the chances of "finding" an excuse to deliver early is a lot higher when you've got 24 hr monitoring by protective nurses.

So, all that being said, yesterday I moved into the McDs House as I call it in my head....

My initial thoughts are always a bit tainted ( because of the hatred of change) but here are my first impressions:

I've probably come here at the best possible time of year, because people generally like to "give back" during the holiday season and that's just started up. Meals are not actually included in having a room, but volunteer organizations have been giving us meals almost every meal time since I arrived. Spaghetti, Frito Pie, donuts....lots of cake and brownies. Lets just hope this extra fat is going to Tabitha and not to further my stretch marks ( who are we kidding?).

The Internet connection is not nearly as fast, especially in the evenings when everyone is probably using it the most, but then, other than my very important FaceTime conversation with Ransom, using wifi less in the evenings is not a bad thing! Plus I've got books to read, two craft projects in the works  and a bunch of thank you notes to write...I do not need to be wasting more time pinteresting recipes I won't get to make for aaaagggges to come....

You wanna know what will put your own situation in perspective? Staying in a place where Every. Single. Person. is going through the Ringer. The little girl sitting at the table next to you? She had a lung transplant and has to stay here for three more months to see how it takes. The couple sitting at your table? They are here visiting their niece who's in the hospital for new lungs...for the second time.  Chemotherapy side effects are living and breathing realities at the next table....
As much as my last month has made me crave the normal: To want to wake up in my own bed, make breakfast, do a little cleaning, take Ransom to the library, go for a walk, go to the grocery store, get stuck in traffic, run late to hair appointment, have date night with Brett....I know these families probably need it even more and they'd probably trade normal for healthy any day...we're all hoping for miracles. Healthy children, healthy babies. This place is blowing my mind.

It's probably not the most optimistic joint, but it is full of people making the most of their situation and that is so very powerful. This season has been so full of challenges, and I know it's not over yet, but the lessons learned are invaluable. I can't believe the things I've complained about! The things I've taken for granted! It's embarrassing.

October 26, 2012

The least of these

This week my doctors have been busy. Not with me, thankfully Tabitha has played nice all week and so has my body, but with other fetal cases and it seems like every time I talk to them they are on their way to some new specialized fetal intervention. It's truly amazing and it blows my mind what medicine is doing today to save babies lives and quality of life even before they are born!

Yesterday my Aunt Donnave took me on an extensive wheelchair ride throughout the hospital. It was crazy how just seeing lots and lots of people walking around was almost overwhelming to my senses! I've been in the hospital for almost a month and I suppose I just hadn't even thought about how much I've missed being out in "public".  The other thing was how sensitive I felt towards all the children, both babies and older, who are in the hospital for one thing or another. How little I thought about my own blessings with Ransom's health before all this started! Now as we face each new day with the unknown of Tabitha's health future I am reminded what a gift it all is...and I marvel at the incredible struggles that others are facing right now that I know so little about!

Last night my doctor told me about a mom who was driving nine hours to get the same surgery that I had. Her twins are in Stage 3 of twin to twin transfusion, which is pretty much where we were, if not a little worse...I do not know her situation, but I do know that she was driving, not flying which makes me think of what an incredible sacrifice/fight she is making for her children's lives. I hope things went well, I think about my own nightmarish flight from Georgia, that included continual contractions and throwing up uncontroably in the Houston airport, and I pray her nine hours were some how easier ( though I can't imagine how they could be!). And at the same time I thank The Lord again for how many BLESSINGS we have had! That we could afford to fly last minute, to fly many many times over the last few months, that our insurance has been good and relatively pain free and that we have had SO much support over the last few months. Wow.

I will probably be moving to the Ronald McDonald house on Monday if the weekend goes well. Knock on wood! Because it seems every time my doctors want me to leave, something happens to prevent it! But, this time I feel ready....I've had enough time to think about it and I want this pregnancy to go on many more weeks and therefore I want to not be in this hospital room another month ( at least) ! I also feel like I will probably learn a lot from being in the McDs house- another place where I will be reminded of the fragility of our circumstances and how blessed we are really.
I need that reminder since I started to feel sorry for myself  as I realized I had come back around full circle on my wonderful friends who have been staying with me while I've been here in Texas! It's hard enough to ask someone to stay with you ONE go around but in the coming week Billie will be back again for another stay. Asking for help does not get easier. And while its been incredible  the out pouring of love I have received it is hard to not let the little worry wiggle in about what will happen if this pregnancy DOES continue on as long as we want it to?! How will I possibly keep depending on others generosity? Ah! Why do I doubt, when things have been so wonderfully cared for thus far?

So, like I said, I am grateful for the reminders of what is going on outside my hospital room. The many lives being lived and often struggled through. I am blessed and I pray I do not forget those less fortunate again,

October 23, 2012

Silver lining

Well, since its Tuesday, I think it's finally safe to say something's for sure: this weekend was very unexpected and dramatic....Though I say that with some irony, since WHEN have we had an expected day during the last few months?!

So to back up, many of my Facebook friends started getting status updates on their feeds late Saturday evening, basically saying things like Tabitha's heart was decelerating, delivery could be eminent etc etc. so now I'll tell you what a status never does....

A 27 week old baby's heart does not just beat like a little drum, perfectly in rhythm all the time, they are just not mature enough for that-every so often they their heart rate will spike or go really low, but the important thing is that it doesn't stay that way. On Saturday night it did. Tabitha had four major decelerations of the heart while I was having my routine evening heart monitoring ( I have 3, 30 monitoring of her heart and movement a day). The floor was having a slow evening, they only had three patients so, I literally had 3 nurses in my room, putting me on oxygen, trying to stick me for an I.V. ( incidentally it took SIX needles In. MY. ARM. to finally get an IV going. ), it was a bit crazy. And Amy ( thank goodness The Lord had my oldest friend there with me...) and I were just part of the craziness....honestly at first I wasn't scared, Tabitha had some decelerations before, they went away... No biggie. But then my doctor showed up and pulled out his ultra sound machine and we waited patiently ( only outwardly) for him to tell us what was up.....

In the end nothing could be determined for sure, but my main doctor arrived straight from the airport ( coming back from a meeting in Chicago) and sat down by my bed to say that he felt like we couldn't afford to let such a long lasting deceleration happen again that night, that it would be considered a sign of distress and so he would do a c-section right away if she had another episode. I needed to call Brett and tell him to come, but that he probably wouldn't get here in time ( by now there were no more flights from Atlanta to Houston, and the earliest he would arrive was 9am the next day).....

Then we had to pack up my room and move down to Labor and Delivery. Two words I did not want associated with me or my baby.

 Oh, and incidentally, do you know how much stuff I had acquired in my 3 weeks in the hospital? An EMBARRASSING amount. Poor Amy and two nurses had to pack it all up...and normally I would have fixated on that,  but at this point all I could think about was that I was going to L&D 4 hours shy of 28 weeks pregnant. Not the worst thing ever, but as it sunk in I realized I was SO NOT PREPARED to give birth that night! Also, while her heart has been miraculously healed, she still has some residual effects of that initial trauma that have not completely recovered-making delivery still a bit on the extra scary side...

Sure, my first goal had basically been met, Tabitha was sooooo much better off physically, as far as prematureness goes I felt like she'd make it... But I wasn't ready and I sat in my new MEGA ( seriously the Labor and delivery room was MASSIVE ) room and cried to The Lord that He would keep Tabitha safe inside me.

And then began a super duper long night. I got put on a Magnesium Sulfate drip to help prevent labor and more importantly to help fortify Tabitha's brain if she was born early. ( which, ps, is AWFUL stuff.... ) and I got another round of steriods for her heart and lungs.....was told I couldn't eat or drink anything till further notice and then there I was to wait...
Because I was on a fluid IV I was having to pee like every three minutes, and because I was plugged into all kinds of monitors it took a good 10 minutes to unplug and replug myself back in every time. Luckily ( haha) there was no sleeping for me anyway....the thought that at any moment Tabitha's heart could plummet and we'd be off to delivery. Yes. I was not sleeping. Plus anytime she moved and thus came off the monitor, the nurses would come in, turn on all the lights and want to chat with me....Not cool, not cool. ( especially for poor Amy who was ALSO trying to sleep.)

But, through all that my baby's heart held strong. And the hours slowly passed. And strangely enough, an event from earlier in the day helped me through it.

My parents had brought Ransom up to visit me for the day, however it became apparent rather quickly that he was not feeling well. A major bummer, but also a major blessing for a selfish, cuddle deprived Mama. Ransom climbed into bed with me and read books, and then snuggled down and put his head on my belly and went to sleep.  Now you may know children that will fall also p&p ANYWHERE, or want to be in bed with you...but my kid....not one of them. I can count on my one and how many times he's fallen asleep on me since he turned one....this was not normal. But, boy did I love it!

So, it was the sleeping head of my son and the memories of getting to stroke his hair, and admire his long lashes- all very comforting things- that got me through my moments when anxiety would rise up quickly.....Later I've thought about how in the same way, The Lord was allowing me to rest my head, fully of worry and stress, and yet for a moment at peace, on Him.

We did miraculously make it through the night, and I was able to celebrate 28 weeks in style with Brett....another gift that came from such stressful circumstances...so far Brett's visits have been both rushed, but also a little stressful, since we also try to have Ransom here when Brett is in Texas. But this trip was unplanned, and Ransom was sick...so in the end Brett and I got much needed time together without R. I don't think I even knew how much I needed it, but it is another thing I am grateful that The Lord gave us from this rough scare.

The other thing was, all discussion about me leaving the hospital ( something that was definitely still in the back of my mind!) has gone off the table! Hahah! We'll see what happens, but for the time being it looks like room 1111 is back to being my home.

Today's Echo of Tabitha's heart showed that she continues to slowly heal, and as the cardiologist said, now we just need to keep me from going into labor for a other 2 weeks at least. I'm up for the challenge...the next party is for 30 weeks...but this time I'd like for the night before to be a little less exciting.

October 18, 2012

A wall.

I have two doctors. One is from Brazil and he is one of the top fetal specialists in the world, he has a very thick accent and can be both hard to understand because of this and also because he tends to never want to say anything for sure....which, given the nature of our situation, I understand....but boy can it be frustrating! But for the most part I really like him a lot. He has been so kind, so optimistic and he ultimately saved Tabitha's life to this point and for that I will always be grateful....
My other doctor is the first prenatal fellow in this particular field, which is still relatively new ( the surgery that I had was only developed in the last 7 years!) he is from Iran and he is much easier to understand but I also feel like he listens less and talks more. But I do feel like both of my doctors are really really good at what they do, and I am so thankful for all the care I have received.....

That being said, they are both bent upon releasing me from the hospital! They wanted to do it last week, but for whatever reason, I won that battle and got one more week in the comfort of hospital living. However, this week I am not so lucky and unless something drastically changes ( for the worse) I will be leaving the hospital in the next few days. In any normal situation I think I'd want to get out of the hospital but our situation is far from normal. For one thing, I'm pretty much homeless....sure we have fantastic people who've offered up their homes for my use, but its hard to fit all the criteria that the doctor has....being close to the hospital, stairs are frowned upon etc etc...and then there is the fact that my family does not actually LIVE in Houston! Every day is a logistical puzzle that, my sister in particular, has to sort out. Then there is the fact that my baby boy  is currently being taken care of by our wonderful family in Nacogdoches and while I know with all my heart that its the best situation for us right now, it is so so hard to be without my son. Somehow being in the hospital solidifies it in my mind that I can't have him with me....buuuuut take that away and I just see days upon days stretching before me, sitting around without getting to care for my kid. I'm not even sure if that makes sense. If just a change of location changing my attitude about all this makes sense to anyone but me....but that's the reality. I'm pregnant. I'm emotional. It's my prerogative to be a bit irrational.

Oh, and while I'm at it, I'll use this time when I'm feeling particularly happy about being in the hospital ( we always want what we can't have, right? Blah) I will tell you about how awesome this hospital is....I almost wrote hotel just then, because the room is pretty much that nice. Not only do I have a wall of windows ( crutial for my sanity), a fancy bathroom ( it's got water jets that come out of the wall from both directions plus fancy tiles every where and freshly delivered towels and toiletries pretty much twice a day). The staff is super nice and incredibly helpful. All the wonderful ladies who have come to stay with me over the last few weeks have barely had to ask for anything on my behalf OR theirs! There are also a slew of volunteers who are constantly doing nice things. Art projects, afternoon tea brought to our rooms. I am literally embarrassed about how great I've got it. Clearly another reason that I'm happy to stay.....

Buuuut, if I'm optimistic, and I want to stay pregnant ( and therefore basically on bed rest) for another month at least than I better pace myself. Even in a nice hospital like this, I'm sure I'd be going crazy if  I spent it all here. So, if all goes according to plan than I'll be moving into the Ronald McDonald house at the beginning of next week. This is yet another blessing,  I'm trying to be grateful for its provision. But honestly I'm starting to just feel....tired. Especially tired of being away from Brett and Ransom. Tired of the constant twists and turns and unexpected changes that seem to be an every day occurance. I just want to go home. I want normal problems like complaining about lack of sleep because I have a healthy newborn and a two year old....you know, problems like that. That would be so fantastic....

October 14, 2012

Week 27

Well, we made it through another week! Only one more week and I swear I'll be throwing a party! I remember distinctly before the surgery, how much the doctors pointed towards 28 weeks...it was like the goal post of babies who have this surgery. The risk is so high after having the laser procedure for preterm labor that to even get to 28 weeks is a big deal. And. We. Are. Almost. There.

Last week went by pretty fast, thanks to my dear friend Esther who took off a whole week, unpaid from her job to come play nurse for me! I am so blessed by such love! Quality time is definitely high on my "love languages" and boy is my tank full with all the time and energy our wonderful friends and family are giving...to me, to Brett, to Ransom. Because we are all separated right now, it's clear to see how much our loved ones are taking care of EACH of us!

Last night Brett and I had a super exciting conversation where he went through the mail for the week piece by piece ( he'd been in the field all week), and by piece by piece I mean that he opened and read parts of the "Hikers of America" letter I had received asking for me to join their very special club. ( They clearly do not know me AT ALL.) He also let me know of any new editions to the William Sonoma catalogue ( they are selling a Starbucks espresso machine now...which isn't as cool as it initially sounded)....so yes, it was RIVITING.
However, I then got to tell him about the awesome mail I had received.
You blow my mind with your kindness. Your packages, your cards and notes of encouragement and love. The thoughtful gifts that are just so perfect. I know I have over used the word humbled but people, it's true. I always thought I was a pretty good gift giver, and that I was pretty thoughtful....but I have been put in my place. I have learned lesson upon lesson about generosity and love these last few weeks.

So we continue on! Every day I post my "count up" picture of this pregnancy journey on Instagram so if you'd like to follow me it  my name is abigailsday.  

October 09, 2012

The little things

So, here I am. Week 2 in the hospital. Things are seemingly all status quo, but I should probably not type something like that- you never know what will happen. In some ways having a second week in a row start out in the same manner as the week prior is new to me! In the past month I've pretty much had some major change every single week, and for a girl like me, who loves a good plan like I love a good Reese's Peanutbutter cup (mmmmm doesn't that sound good!?) it's been one of the roughest aspects of this journey.
 But I'm settling into my life in a hospital room. And most of the time it isn't too bad. Thankful the fall season on TV has started and its genuinely knitting weather somewhere in the continental United States ( I say that because its suppose to be a balmy 88 today in Houston)... And since I can keep my room temp at a comfy 68 degrees a decaf pumpkin spiced latte from the Starbucks around the corner also helps to keep me happy. I've started a super interesting and highy entertaining book called "7: an experimental mutiny against access" , I'm also keeping up with Ransom's first day of school through texts messages with my sister and I'm a constant troll on Facebook.  Instagram is addictive and I've "reorganized" all my recipe boards on Pinterest....

My sweet friend Esther is visiting me this week and she's currently reading the third book of the Hunger Games in the corner, exclaiming every so often. I am a supporter of an "active" reader since I come from a family who can't read a book without reading half the book out loud to anyone in earshot. I suppose it's just a good thing I've already read the books ;-) I'm just trying not to give anything away!

 And thus another day spent keeping Tabitha baking.

October 04, 2012

25 weeks and 4 days

This morning I woke up out of a dream where I was talking to my doctor. He was saying not to listen to the other doctor (he has a resident that he works with who is always with him) , that Tabitha had totally been healed by God of her heart problem....I was then awakened by a nurses aid wanting my blood pressure....

Friends, I know that The Lord healed Tabitha of a very serious heart problem. I know it because when they told us she had it, the cardiologist-who did not mince words told us that hearts that looked like hers don't usually repair themselves. But it did. And we all have let out a huge sigh of relief. Yes, Tabitha is still in a lot of risk, neurological issues, her embiloical cord is apparently not getting the proper flow right now, my cervix is still short.....but honestly all these things seems trivial to me right now. The Lord can cure hearts. He can continue to take care of these things....

My job is to lay here in this hospital bed and get her to 28 weeks....maybe 30....even 32.....34 It's so very hard to think that long, to think that far....but two week increments seem a little more doable. What does not seem doable is not having my other baby with me for weeks on end. I miss Ransom so much. It breaks my heart and I've been thinking a lot the last few days about other mothers who are separated from their children for one reason or another. I've never had to experience it before and boy, do I have a new appreciation for that hardship. Two year old little boys need their Mommys. But I think more so, Mommys need their two year olds. For the last few days I've gotten to see Ransim once a day on little hospital visits. But, after this weekend, we are planning on sending him to Nacogdoches where it will be easier for family and friends to give him a normal, every day routine. I am happy and grateful for this but at the same time when I think about it my heart breaks a little.

So, my mind has been going a lot to Hannah in the Bible ( which you can read about in the first few chapters of 1st Samuel).....I feel like I've been learning about her for the very first time the last month or two. First, because when I was scared out of my mind, driving to the hospital way back in August with two very very sick babies inside of me, worrying that I wouldn't be cleared to travel to Houston for any Hope of survival for either of them.....I sat in the car at a stoplight, crying and I heard myself telling God ( and probably more myself) that these babies were His. That, sure, He was possibly letting me keep them for a while, but clearly these where His babies.....Of course, it was probably less than a week later, while mourning the loss of Piscilla that I was reminded of that conversation with The Lord. He gently reminded me that while He had let me be their Mommy, these girls were still His.....

And now I'm being reminded again. This time with my son. Do you realize that when Hannah said that once her son, Samuel was weaned she would take him to the temple....that that probably meant he was maybe THREE years old?! Yeah, I may have known that fact from Sunday school or something....but I didn't have my own two year old to compare it! Let's just say my mind can bearly fathom the lesson there.....the lesson about our children. Children I want to hold on to so tight that they start to wiggle and pull away...Children that from the time you even know of their existence you obsess about their well being.  These are the children that do not belong to us. The sooner I acknowledge it the way Hannah did, the better for all of us....the sooner I know in my heart of hearts that the Father of my children, of Ransom, Tabitha and Priscilla ( incidentally He is my Father too!) is the one in control...not me....well, that while it probably won't make it easier to let my little boy go for weeks on end, at least I'll better see that there is never a time when he is just mine. I know that he and I may be physically back together soon, but even then he is on loan to me from above. And I pray I can always see him that way....

October 02, 2012

More important

Last night was a particularly rough night. I'm back in the hospital, and this time it is more than likely for good.
All the worry of having Tabitha too early ( my doctors and I have our eyes fixed upon 28 weeks... But, oh, wouldn't further than that be great?!) which is still 3 weeks away... And all my worry about Ransom who is now being taken care of by wonderful friends- but not his Mommy or Daddy something that is beyond hard for me to get my mind around in a positive way...all the worry seemed to come to a head for me in a powerful way.

Lots o tears.

Add in the low blow of being put in a triage room with no shower because all the "normal" rooms are full just added insult to injury.

Pity tears.

But, it's a new morning and tomorrow is the all important cardiology echo where we will find out if our prayers have been answered in regards to Tabitha's heart. We will find out just HOW difficult the coming road may or may not be... And there is something I need to say before we even find out. I need to say it now, because its important that the outcome has no weight upon this truth... An outcome that I sincerely hope is a good one. But, either way this is something that I feel like God told me a few weeks ago and it's the truth in it is for this season:

In reading in Luke 5, there is the pretty well known story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man who was so desperate to be healed his friends made a hole in the ceiling of the crowded room where Jesus was teaching, and lowered him down so that Jesus would see him. And see him, he did. Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "Your sins are forgiven."
Yup. Sins. Something that can often seem to us pretty intangible, for others- depending on our sin- easy to hide on a day to day basis. Most definitely something we can get by with having around, not like the inability to walk, right?!?

So, of course, everyone there who witnessed Jesus' words started grumbling... For one thing, who does He think he is?! healing sins! That's a big claim! And one not so easily proven. So, Jesus, knowing the their hearts said something else, " Which is easier? To say,' your sins are forgiven', or to say, 'arise and walk'? But so that you know that the Son of Man has the authority to forgive sins...Arise and Walk."

Ok, so I was struck over the head by this because it was so very very clear what was more important to Jesus. It was not whether or not this man spent the rest of his days on earth on a cot, afterall, those days are relatively short. No, Jesus cared so much more about the man's heart. The heart is eternal, the heart is what affects every other thing that we do and experience and above all our relationship with our Father. To be able to have a relationship with the Father is to experience the greatest Peace, the greatest Love and the greatest acceptance one could ever know. These are the things that Forgiveness brings.

Now, to bring this back to me reading this story, I felt so strongly The Lord reminding me that through this whole experience with Priscilla and Tabitha we have prayed for healing after healing. And often times we have gotten very caught up in the "present need" of wouldn't it be great to walk on our own again? To not have to rely on someone else for literally everything ? ( come to find out my life has a lot in common with the paralytic, right now!) wouldn't it be wonderful if Tabitha was born healthy? All these things remain our most adamant prayers but I know that what ever HAS happened and whatever WILL happen will be more important, it will draw us closer to our Lord Jesus. It will somehow help to refine and strength the bond of love and peace and acceptance that we so desperately need. And as for my daughters. They are already His. If He decides to heal Tabitha as He did the paralytic it will be a glorious day. But even if healing doesn't come tomorrow... It WILL come and the more important thing is already being done in our hearts.

October 01, 2012

I've never really liked roller coasters..

The last few days have been a bit of an up and down..
Up: Brett came into town.
Down: having to go into the hospital because of sever cramping.
Up: No clear cut contractions were ever seen on the monitor.
Down: Brett heads back to Georgia a day late. ( the down part is him leaving not the day late part...hehe)
Waaaay down: I have another ultra sound and they decide to keep me in the hospital. My cervix is dangerously short. And the odds of me going home are slim. Also, I suppose are Tabitha's chances of staying inside of me for as long as we would like.

 The last few days my mind has been all consumed with Ransom's increasing Terrible Two Behavior. I worry about how all of this is affecting him and just what I should or shouldn't be doing about it. But, here I am in the hospital and I suppose I'm getting my answer. I do not get to do anything about it. In fact, both of my children are out of my hands in so so many ways.

And for a control freak like me, this is the biggest test of all.

As for the roller coaster, I pray it slows down for a while. I'm having a hard time catching my breath between hills...