Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Would You Be So Kind?

I'm writing this post from my front porch.
It's after 11:00pm and the night is quiet.
I love outside, and I love quiet.

There was a time when my dad faced the very real possibility of going blind.
He and my mom were coming up with the back-up plan for their new life.
My dad would go back to school and would eventually teach college.

My mom talks often about the morning my dad stumbled into the kitchen, barely able to see...how he kissed her goodbye and got in his truck to make the hour drive to work.
My mom prayed harder than she ever had that my dad would make it to work safely.

It wasn't long after that my dad was given the gift of a double cornea transplant.

It's funny.
It wasn't until I was thinking about this post that I realized what the reality of those corneas meant for someone else.
Someone lost a person they loved.
Someone mourned.
Someone had their heart broken.
And my dad received his sight.

* * * * *

There is a unique bond that I've developed with a group of moms...a group of moms who know all to well what it means to have a baby born with a congenital heart defect.
We all have a different story, and a different road to walk, but we connect on a level that has been a blessing for all of us.

When these moms hurt, I hurt.
When their children reach milestones I cheer.
When they need comfort, comfort is there in abundance.
When I've needed comfort, and a listening ear, I've had it.

Right now in our group there are three moms living their lives at the hospital, waiting with their little ones and praying for the miracle of a new heart.

One mom, who I've not met in person, but who inspires me every day, is waiting with her son for his second heart.
She's gone through this particular hell more than once, and yet she is the epitome of grace.
I want to be like her when I grow up.

Another heart mom, who also waited with her little one for a new heart, spent some time with Matthew and his mommy and made this beautiful video.

Take a minute...I promise it will touch your heart.
And if you haven't already, please consider becoming an organ donor ... for dads who are going blind, and for little ones who deserve to play with their mommy without a million cords attached to their body.





Video taken with permission from this blog.

Just One For Now


Oh my gosh, I know.
I need to post about Em's birthday party.
I know.

Here's a picture that I didn't take...because I'm a bad mom and didn't take pictures...
(Thanks Lalis!)


As soon as I get the pictures Jason took I'll post more.
I promise.

Em's cardiologist called me this morning.

"Hi Noelle.  I know I told you I didn't need to see Emily for 6 months, but I met with her surgeon and he wants us to do a sedated echocardiogram within the next two weeks.  He's concerned about the narrowing in her left pulmonary artery."

So there's that.
Em's heart defect is not always on my top five favorites list.






Thursday, July 26, 2012

Words of Wisdom

While we were changing the sheets on our bed tonight, Jason was giving me tips on how to write a best-selling novel.

After a few suggestions he grimaced and said, "Maybe I shouldn't say this next part."

"What?" I asked.

"You will probably have to put in some racy scenes.  That's how you keep a housewife's attention...at least that's what I've heard."

Good to know Husband...good to know.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Please Someone...Tell Me I'm Wrong


Hmmm...
I'm realizing I don't have anything to say.
Not much anyway.

Are any of you insurance experts?

I've been under the impression that because of Emily's pre-existing conditions, she would be uninsurable if we were to switch insurance companies...you know, if I were to quit my job or something.

Because in order to keep my sanity, among other things, I think I need to quit my job.

But unless there is something I don't know...which is entirely possible...I'm stuck...
And to be honest?
That stuck feeling is starting to feel pretty hopeless.

(Jason's job doesn't offer insurance so it would mean I have to turn around and find another job or pay for private insurance...and isn't that crazy expensive too?)

* * * * *

Anyway...

I'm getting excited about Em's birthday party this weekend.
I've been making decorations all week.

The problem with having an open invitation is that I have no idea how many people will come...
...I'll either have way too many cookies or not nearly enough.

I ordered a dress for the little miss to wear but I don't think it will get here in time.
Darn.

Speaking of the little miss...say a prayer that she'll feel well for her big day.
She can't shake the cold she has.

Actually, neither can her mom.
Darn.

It's a shame the computer cord doesn't taste like mashed potatoes or baby carrots or something.






Monday, July 23, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys

One of the companies Jason works for is Princeton Tec.
They make headlamps.

(If Jason were writing this post he would give you an essay on the merits of headlamps over flashlights; lucky for you I'm not Jason.)


We have headlamps coming out of our ears...they are in every drawer, every cupboard, both cars...and I won't even get into how many headlamps Jason has in his office.

There was a 6 week period where Em needed IV antibiotics every 6 hours around the clock.  When we would get up in the middle of the night to give Em her meds, the light we used was a headlamp.

While Jason was gone last week (he's now home thankfully, and let me sleep most of Sunday) he got two big boxes in the mail from Princeton Tec.  Imagine my joy when I discovered they were full of headlamps!

Jason is doing a presentation to one of the army bases later this week, and Princeton Tec sent him everything he would need for the presentation.

One of the items in the boxes was a helmet worn in combat, decked out with all of the lighting it needs.
Jason put it on and then spent the next 15 minutes walking around the house in the dark testing the lights on the helmet.

At one point I looked up and saw him hiding behind a wall, like he was waiting to ambush someone.

I couldn't help but laugh.
Grown men will always be boys when it comes to certain things.

While Jason was playing I was washing dishes and I heard something in the garage.

"Hey honey, did you shut the garage door?"

He hadn't.

"Why don't you take your tough man gear and go check to make sure there aren't any boogie men out there."

He took his helmet and a ginormous light and headed for the door.  "And while you're at it, will you take that box to the garbage and take the garbage can to the street?"

He slumped forward and said, "Why do you have to ruin it by asking me to do something so menial?"

Later, while we were getting settled in to watch a movie (Em went to bed early last night...she's still not feeling great) I said to Jason, "What happened to the headlamp I custom made?"  Princeton Tec has this awesome website where you can go and design your own headlamp, and I had designed mine months ago.

"I'm on it," Jason said.

He immediately emailed the head honchos of PT and said something about his wife being bitter that she didn't have a headlamp yet.

Rude.

Here's what's coming to me this week:



Watch out world.  My headlamp and I are going places!

PS. There weren't any boogie men.

Friday, July 20, 2012

This Is Just To Say...

They didn't hold Emily up for me to see her when she was born.
Jason didn't cut the umbilical cord.
I didn't hear Emily's first cry.
I didn't get to hold her before they cleaned her off.
I didn't get to hold her at all...for three days.

The nurses didn't bring her into my room at night for me to feed her.
I recovered in one hospital while she fought for her life in another.
I went home without my baby girl every night for three months.
I couldn't cuddle Emily against my chest because of all of her surgeries.

* * * * *

This afternoon I was resting on the couch while Emily played on the floor.
I would open my eyes every few minutes to watch her.
Over several minutes Emily made her way to the couch.
She scooted, she half crawled, she rolled, and she stretched, and before too long she had reached the couch where she looked up at me and held her arms out.

She had been rubbing her eyes and I knew she was tired.
I picked her up and she immediately turned into me and closed her eyes.
After a few minutes I laid back down on the couch, with Emily still snuggled against me.
And we slept...for more than an hour.
In her nearly first year of life, it was the first time she had slept in my arms the way she was.

* * * * *

As my own eyes grew heavy I watched my sleeping girl and felt a piece of healing fill my heart.
My baby was sleeping in my arms...cuddled against me like I had dreamed of for so many of those nights when my arms ached with emptiness.
A nap has never been more perfect.

I'm Still Whining


I'm dying...
...don't worry, dying might actually be better than whatever it is that has taken over my poor body.
I went to the doctor yesterday and asked for a shot of the strongest medicine he had.
It didn't help.

Jason promises he will be home tomorrow night but by then it might be too late.
(Have I mentioned that I'm not a fan of Jason's job this week?)

Here, something to make you laugh:


Something that makes me laugh?
Me planning a birthday party.

Is it Friday?

Yes?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Good Day at the Cardiologist


I've got to teach my little lady that two for one deals are not always her best option.
Especially when it comes to heart defects.

There is something so sobering about talking to a cardiologist...even when the news is good.
They put into words the things you would choose to forget about...to put away in the very farthest corner of your mind.

Emily was not amused.  And yes, I might have coordinated her G-tube pad to her outfit.


"Emily's combination of heart defects is rare," Dr. H told me.
"But I'm sure you already know that."
I laughed and said, "my heart mom group is both a blessing and a curse."
He agreed.

"Dr. H, the parents I know who have kids with Em's same diagnosis have all been told 'there is nothing more we can do.'" 
"Are we facing the same future?"

Dr. H took a minute to answer and gave me the answer he must have given other parents a thousand times.

"Every child is different.  We can't know what Emily's future will bring, but we know that for right now she's doing well.  Her heart sounds better than I thought it would, she looks great, and I'm really happy with what I see.  Let's focus on that.  And unless something drastic happens between now and then, I don't need to see Emily for another six months."

Not too long ago I was talking to my mom.  I was having a bad day and I was crying.  
"Mom, I hate not knowing how long we will have Emily with us.  I hate that I even have to ask that question."
My mom's response, which she's given to me before, was "Noelle, there are no guarantees for any of us.  None of us know how long we will be here, or how long our kids will be here."
"Yes, but there is something about ignorance that makes you less likely to worry," I told her.  "We have never had that ignorance."

In the eternal perspective, if Em eats or doesn't eat it is of little consequence.
If she walks, or talks, or succeeds in school, or ... or anything ... it's all the same...little consequence compared to the eternal perspective.
That's what I remind myself every single day.

She's alive.
She's healthy (except for the double ear infection she was diagnosed with yesterday).
She's doing well.
She's developing as she should be.

And most importantly, she's happy.
And she is so loved.

Jason and I have made it our mission in life to live in the present.
We try to make the most of every day we have with Emily...to fill every day with as much happiness and love that we can. (And that's why we're throwing a huge pink elephant birthday party for our girl next weekend...even if I am too sick to plan it.)

Emily deserves that...and so do we.





Wednesday, July 18, 2012

'Mommy Called The Doctor Quick Quick Quick'


When my mom called me this morning to check in, Emily was crying.
"Oh no.  Are things not good?" my mom asked.
I think my mom has heard Em cry a total of three times...it takes a lot for Emily to cry.

"We're both miserable," I told my mom.
Emily wouldn't sleep last night unless I was holding her, and it was obvious that she felt lousy.

"I am going to take her in to see her pediatrician if I can put her down long enough to jump in the shower," I told my mom.

"I'm at work," my mom said "so I'll cover for Becca and send her down to sit with Emily."

Bec came and snuggled Emily just long enough for me to wash my hair.

Becca spent last night at our sister's house taking care of Heather's four kids.
Heather and her husband were asked to lead a group of kids on a reenactment of a pioneer trek, and they will be gone all week.

My sister Tiffany, my mom, and my sisters-in-law will take turns watching the kids during the day and Becca will spend the nights at their house.

Just as I was shutting the bathroom door this morning I heard Becca say to yet another sister on the phone, "If I make you a list can you go to the store for me?"

What in the world would a person do without family?

A random picture of me and my sisters taken 100 years ago.
* * * * *

What are the chances I can get Em's pediatrician to give us both a prescription?
I had to cancel the appointment with my doctor because I forgot that Emily had an appointment with her cardiologist.
Did you forget that Em has a cardiologist?
We haven't seen him in nearly 6 months.
I hope her heart is behaving.

* * * * *




One of Emily's favorite toys is the pole we hang her food from.
I can't tell you how many times I've caught it as it was falling on top of her.

Do you see the cute elephant?
Our blogging friend Kristyn sent it to Em for her birthday.
There really are so many good people in this world!

And finally, just something random.
After I took these pictures I noticed the bottle of carpet cleaner sitting in the background of the picture.
That bottle has been sitting there since last night, and when I saw it I thought, 'Don't leave that there.  What if Emily gets to it?'
But then I laughed to myself and thought, 'Even if she does, she won't put it in her mouth.'
And that made me sad.

I moved the bottle anyway...just in case today is the day for miracles.

Thanks for checking in on us.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Woe Is Us ... Woe Are We ... Whichever It Is


Can you tell me who made the law that states when Jason is out of town, Emily or I or both of us will be sick?
I'm kind of over that law.
And at the moment I'm kind of over Jason's job.
Don't lecture me...I really am grateful he has a job, I just wish his job remembered that he has a wife.

Little Miss has been throwing up all day because that's what she does when she doesn't feel well.
I can't figure out where we both went that exposed us to the lovely colds we have...

And who gets a cold in July anyway?


If she's not the cutest Little Miss...

Em is sleeping; I'm going to join her.
I'll write something less whiny tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dear Sue


I don't have a way to contact you!
Can you email me or leave your email address in the comment section?
Pretty please?

Dear The Rest of You,

Sorry, this post was just for Sue.
But I still love you!

And to prove it...


Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Would You Do?


So.

I posted Emily's birthday party announcement on this very blog for a few hours before I deleted it.
I don't know what's safe and what isn't, and although none of our personal information was on it, Em's full name was, and maybe that's not such a great idea.

I really don't know.

What do you think?
Is it safe to post it?

I sincerely want to invite anyone who wants to come...whether we've met or not.
I know there are a lot of people who consider Emily their own and I want all of those people...all of you...to celebrate with us if you would like to.

I'll take a poll (that means you have to tell me what you think) and if there are more dos than do nots I'll post it again.

In the mean time, please, if you would like an invitation leave me a comment or send me an email and I'll make sure you get one!

* * * * *

I'm not feeling well tonight.
Thankfully, I've been fairly healthy since Emily was born...but lately it seems that my body is giving up on me.
I took an hour long nap this afternoon, and woke up feeling kind of blah.
Before I got pregnant with Em I had serious issues with vertigo (serious enough to land me in the ER a couple of times) but pregnancy seemed to have cured me of the worst of the vertigo.
I still keep medicine with me, wherever I am, just in case it comes back.
Tonight I stood up and immediately felt dizzy; dizziness scares me.
A lot.
I took my medicine and am hoping the dizziness soon fades.

I told my mom tonight that I think my body is permanently messed up...at least chemically...thanks to pregnancy and the not at all stressful year it's been since.

 "Noelle, will you please call your doctor and just ask him to run some tests."
(This is far from the first time she's asked.)
My life is full of doctors...just not mine.
I think though, with this bout of dizziness I'm going to make the time, finally, to go in.
I'm afraid if I don't, my mom will make the call for me...
And how would that look?  
"Hi. I'm calling to make an appointment for my 37 year old daughter..."

(Actually, I might be 36.  I can never remember.)
((And yes, I'm serious.  I really can't remember.))

* * * * *

My niece came and found me tonight and asked, "Noelle, can you leave Elimy with Jason and come walk up the ditch with us?"

(There is a ditch that runs through my parent's neighborhood and my nieces and nephews love to play in it.)

When I got outside my nephew who is older than my niece said, "Sami is just a scaredy cat.  I told her the ditch was a dark forest and it scared her."

I informed Josh that I'm afraid of dark forests too, and that he could be our leader.
I asked Sami to hold my hand so that I wouldn't get even more scared.
Josh carried a big piece of rebar to kill the snakes if he saw any.

I didn't realize that I needed hiking boots and an axe to get through the ditch.
It was overgrown with trees and bushes in some spots, and my flip flops didn't love the rocks.
At one point my other niece Erika said to me, "You wore the wrong shoes but I have the wrong hairdo for this journey."

Ahhh...I love those kids.

* * * * *

And I love these two...





Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Beginnings

In Emily's world, every milestone is celebrated.
Em's team of therapists met with Jason and I today to discuss the goals we want to set for Em for the next six months.
One of those goals said "Emily will be crawling on her own and walking with support."
In what was less than 5 minutes after the goal was set, Emily took her very first official crawl, and we were all there to celebrate with her.

(The bare legs and voices you see and hear are not mine...just so you know.)





I visited with an old friend last night.
We hadn't seen each other in nearly 20 years, and she was here visiting with her kids from out of town.
We reconnected through my blog and have emailed back and forth a little bit.

She brought her youngest daughter to have a play date with Emily while we chatted.

My dear sweet friend has been in a living hell since the day she got married more than 15 years ago, and she recently had the incredible courage to break the terrible cycle of abuse that she was experiencing and file for divorce.

As I listened to my friend's story and as I shared a little bit of Emily's story, I was overcome with emotion more than once.
And as I thought about our conversation late into the night, I realized that I was blessed to have spent the evening with two of the strongest and bravest people I know in this world...one just starting her life, and one just starting her life again.

Beginnings are a beautiful thing.

Blessed

I remember sitting next to Emily's bed in the ICU during one of her hospitalizations.  Emily was sleeping and I was reading.
In the bed next to us was a newborn baby boy; he was scheduled to have his first open heart surgery the next day.
His nurse had been Emily's nurse when she was a newborn waiting for her first open heart surgery.
That nurse was my saving grace while we were in the ICU our first time around and I was happy to know that another very traumatized mommy had one of the best caring for her son.

I'm not nosy by nature, but I am observant.
I listen and I am aware of details, and it wasn't long before I learned some of the baby boy's story.
His dad was in prison and had been for several months.
His mom had three other little kids and spoke very little English.
She was from out of state and had come here when she realized how sick her baby was.
She didn't have any other family, and had, up to that point, spent very little time with her son.

Her baby's heart condition was serious, and his future was still uncertain.
Michelle, the nurse, tried to explain to the mom what she should expect after surgery and I could tell the mother wasn't understanding much.
I imagine the language barrier was ten times worse due to the stress she had been through that week.

Michelle asked if I had any picture of Emily that she could show this other mom.
I had my computer with me and opened it and showed this young mother what she could expect.

Because of incredibly strict laws I could never find out what happened to the baby boy, but I've thought of him often.
I've hoped that his mom has been able to take care of him...that's he's had love...that he's had all that he deserves in this life.

* * * * *

This morning we had two speech therapists come to work with Emily.
Tomorrow we will have three more therapists come to work with Emily, and to evaluate her.
As the therapists were leaving this morning, one of them said, "You are great parents and we truly appreciate you and what you do for Emily."
It's not the first time a therapist has told us that.

After I walked the therapists to the door I said to Jason, "I wonder what they've seen that prompts them to thank us for being good parents."

And for some reason my mind turned again to the baby boy in the ICU.
I won't even begin to judge or guess what his life is like.
All I can do is hope that he's been as loved as Emily is.

* * * * *

I've said it before...
I'm incredibly humbled to think that Em came to us...that she is our daughter...that Heavenly Father trusted us with her care...
But mostly I'm just grateful that she's in our family...because we love her enough to get her through anything.



Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Night Life


We've got a small problem.

This is what Emily thinks of bedtime:


Weekend visitors and lots of cousins and fun = a nearly one year old's schedule going crazy.

Sleep baby sleep.
Your mommy can't keep her eyes open to keep playing with you!

Oh my honk she's adorable!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wish Lists

It might surprise you to know ...  (or not if you have been around me the last few days...or ever...)
I'm a bit on the grouchy side.
I don't handle certain kinds of stress very well ...

You know the kinds:

-your husband planned a family reunion of the camping variety and it's raining and you don't have any warm clothes for your baby because it's July and she has outgrown everything that was warm and your in-laws are going to stay at your house and your father-in-law has the reputation of being a bit OCD when it comes to things being clean and you have to think of something to cook for Sunday dinner and you're not much of a fan of cooking and you go to Costco and spend a million dollars on things like diapers and wipes and ... (not button pajamas though, for those who suggested I look there)

I just took a breath.

One time my father-in-law said to me, "I can always count on you to have a clean bathroom."

No pressure.

In spite of the stress, Jason's parents will always be welcome at our home.
They love that little Emily and they don't get to see enough of her.

I ran to the store early this evening and bought the only warm outfit I could find and after bundling Emily up we drove up the canyon to meet Jason and his family.
Up until then Em had had a throw-up free day (she had one last week too) and I was feeling fairly relaxed when it came to packing my 'just in case' bag.
Relaxation gets me every time.
With just a few minutes left of her evening feed, Emily threw up all over everything...more than she's done in days.
At least I had an extra pair of pajamas, but they weren't very warm.

Turns out throw up stresses me out too ... especially when we're in the mountains ... so shortly after I cleaned her up, Em and I came home.

We'll try the mountain adventure again tomorrow.

I logged on to Amazon tonight to search for something.
Those nice people at Amazon immediately said 'Welcome Noelle, here are some suggestions for you.'

You're familiar with this: (well you are if you've ever read my blog and seen a picture of Elimy)




I'm a little bit fond of miss Ella Bella Elephant (that's really her name) and somehow Amazon knows this because this is what they suggested I buy:



Hello?  Tell me how I'm supposed to resist that?
Forget Emily, I want this.

It's on my wish list.

AND...

As I was searching for these images?
Guess what popped up:



I ask you...how am I not supposed to take that as a sign?
The name Emily is ALREADY on the blanket.

"You just spent practically a million dollars at Costco on diapers..." is what I keep telling myself.
That and "How many birthday presents can parents reasonably give their one year old daughter?"

(I'm quite sure I've reached the maximum.)

My goodness but they're cute!
I've bookmarked them...
One of these days...

I've got to post this before midnight so that I don't get yet another lecture from my mom about staying up too late.
If you're in your 20s and you think your mom will stop lecturing you when you are in your 30s...
Well, you're wrong.

Lecture is perhaps the wrong word.
How about a gentle suggestion.
There.
That sounds better.

Have a great weekend World.



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Days


Thank you...all of you...for your sweet comments yesterday!

* * * * *
Last night I asked Jason if I could look at his calendar.
I wanted to know what my future looked like.
I shouldn't have asked.


The 5th through the 7th is a family reunion.
Jason was in charge.
We're going camping.
Does that surprise anyone?

(Two weeks ago Jason got seven new sleeping bags and three or four new air mattresses in the mail...of course we're going camping.)

I shouldn't say 'we're going camping.'
Rather, they are going camping and Em and I will visit them during the day.

Call me a wimp, but I would prefer that the little miss sleep cozily in her own bed.
Jason promises he doesn't hate me for that decision.
And I promised him that when Em was a little bit older, a little less pukey (oh how I hope that day will come), and when I actually have a warm jacket that fits her, we will go camping with him.

Jason's parents are spending a couple of days with us after the reunion.
I've been cleaning and laundering like a crazy person.
My mom, because she loves me, talked me into bringing her my clothes that need to be ironed.

If you look at the calendar again you will clearly see that my life is going to be a lot of fun after next week.
(The dots indicate the days Jason will be traveling or working late...)
Feel free to come and visit, I get lonely!

I better hit publish.
I have four hours in which to finish two week's worth of work; the little lady is home with Daddy today so my odds of actually accomplishing this feat have gone up just a bit.

Happy 4th people!
May your fireworks NOT start another wildfire.



Sunday, July 1, 2012

We're Working On Healing

More than once in the last few months I have threatened to quit blogging.
At times the threats have been serious.
The reasons vary.

"No one reads," I'll say to Jason.
"That was the best post I've ever written and I only got two comments," I'll say.
"I don't have anything to say..."
"I've lost my ability to say anything clever..."

And on and on I list the reasons why I swear I'm going to stop.

But every time I consider it seriously something will happen.

I'll get an email from someone thanking me for being honest and open.
I'll get a comment from an anonymous reader who tells me they love Emily.
I'll run into someone who says to me, "I read your blog and I really love it."

This weekend, all of those things happened and I got a package in the mail.
The package was filled with the most adorable owl sugar cookies.
The sender had seen the pictures of Emily's bathroom, and sent cookies to match.

Apparently I was nominated on another blog as someone who deserved to get a treat in the mail.
The sweet lady who sent the cookies signed up on the same blog as someone who would be willing to make the treat.
She was given my information and the result was cookies in the mail.

THANK YOU to the mysterious person who nominated me and THANK YOU for the cookies!!!

I won't lie.  When I opened the box and read the note I teared up.
It had been a long day and the thoughtfulness of a stranger made all the difference.

I don't tell you that to suggest that I need more cookies, or more comments or more of anything...
I promise.

I am just grateful, and I want you to know that.

Some of the emotion of the first few weeks and months of Emily's life is just starting to catch up to me and I have had some pretty hard days.
Let me give you an example of just one thing that I've been hit with.
It's personal...and it seems trivial...but trauma has a funny way of messing with an otherwise stable person.

When we learned the extent of Em's heart defect we were told that I couldn't deliver at our local hospital and that my doctor wouldn't be doing the delivery.
At one of my appointments he told me, "You need to be aware that the hospital where you will be delivering is 100% for nursing.  If there is even a possibility that you don't plan on nursing, just know that they will really pressure you."

What he told me ended up being the world's biggest understatement.
I hadn't even seen my baby and the nurses started in on the pressure.
"Here's a pump..."
"If you need a lactation specialist just say the word..."
"Are you going to nurse?"
"Your baby needs you to nurse."

Every nurse that came into the room said something about it.

I was still recovering from a horrendous 36 hours of labor that ended up with a c-section; I had not been mentally prepared for that.
One of the doctors who was working on Emily right after she was born took a picture of her on his phone and brought it into the operating room where they were still stitching me up.
That picture was the only glimpse I had of my baby until the life flight team wheeled her past my bed on the way to the other hospital.
Jason was with Emily, and I was alone in my hospital room...for a couple of hours.
I didn't know if my baby was going to live.
I was scared and tired and hurting.

And every nurse that walked into that room said something about nursing.

I gave it my best effort.
I listened to the lactation specialists.
I used the pump.
I did what I could.
But my body didn't work.
I didn't have any milk.

And after three days of trying I gave up, both mentally and physically.
The nurses in that hospital made me feel like I was the worst mother on the planet because I wasn't nursing my baby.

It didn't matter to them that my milk never came in, it didn't matter to them that my baby was fighting for her life, that she couldn't eat anything anyway, and that it took every ounce of strength I had to walk to the other hospital to visit her.
They didn't ask about my baby.
When they would come in the room at night and find me awake crying they wouldn't ask me what was wrong, they would simply give me pain medication and leave.

It's been almost a year, and I still feel like I let Emily down.
You know the ironic thing?  Even if I had been able to nurse, or at the least been able to pump, Em probably wouldn't have been able to use the milk because of her infection.
And if I had been even a little bit emotionally stable, I wouldn't have allowed the nurses to treat me the way they did.

I told my mom all of this the other day and she said, "But why is it still bothering you now?"
It's a good question she asked me.

I think I have just told you all of that to tell you again, that when I say I'm grateful for what you do for me, I really truly am grateful.

The thoughtful things so many of you do are like a soothing balm on the less than perfect days.

I won't quit my blog.
I need all of you too much.

And to show you that I have no restraint...and no self-discipline...here's what I got for Emily's birthday, and opened the day it came in the mail, even though her birthday isn't until August 5th:




My husband is sleeping peacefully next to me.
He will finally be home for longer than 20 minutes.
This is me sighing a contented sigh.