Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hold Onto Your Butts

If you grew up in the 80's/90's like me, you remember the magic of Jurassic Park.  The music, the special effects--it was simply one in a million.  In fact, one of my favorite scenes involved Samuel L. Jackson "rebooting" the park's security system and offering up his classic line of "Hold onto your butts."  I always giggled at the scene and since then, I've remembered this line when going into one of life's challenges.

Well, it is yet another "hold onto your butts" moment for me and our family.  We learned last night that ALL of our kiddos are going to be discharged from the NICU this week.  So, Isabelle comes home today.  Millie comes home tomorrow; Luke on Friday; and Ava on Saturday.  So, come the end of the weekend, we will have EVERYONE in this sweet little rental.

The doctors have asked us to stay in Phoenix for a week before going home.  All of this to say, WE'RE COMING HOME in the next 10 days or so.  HOORAY!!  Or maybe uh oh?  I'm not sure!

We still don't have anyone interested in helping us on the private jet front, so I think we'll have to start considering other options in the near future.  What those are, I'm not sure, but I've got about 10 days to figure it out.

Michael's mom is already here helping with Clara, so we have her help this weekend.  My super parents are currently driving to Virginia to put the finishing touches on our house before my mom turns around and flies out here at the beginning of next week.  I'm not sure who will be more exhausted--me or her.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.  It's going to be a bumpy few days and I pray God will give me patience and a sense of humor.

Hold on to your butts!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Asking for Help

Hello Everyone and Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday.  I'll admit I feel stuck in a fog--it's funny to even try to compare last year's holiday season to this year's.  Last year for New Year's we went to a friend's house to play Cards Against Humanity.  We stayed up 'til midnight, enjoyed lots of laughs, and woke up in our own home, hopeful for a new year.

This New Year's was spent in the St Joseph's NICU learning how to dress our babies while talking with doctors about PICC lines, TPN feedings, bowel strictures, and much more.  I'm so grateful for our insta-family, but I'll tell you, I spend a lot of my time feeling majorly overwhelmed.  I wish I knew how to process this better, but the best I've come up with thus far is to just put one foot on front of the other (and cry in the shower).  Well, that, and texting with my girlfriends.  There's nothing that helps me more right now.  God bless my friends.  

This week our lease expired and we had to move out of our apartment in Scottsdale and into a new house.  Good thing our moms and sisters were visiting this week!  We did find a place closer to the hospital, so that's been a welcome change.  Our new place also has more space, so now we have room for visitors and more baby paraphernalia.  

This week I've been reflecting on how I ask for help.  For those of you who know me personally, you know that up until now, I rarely asked for help and when I did, I typically tried everything I could by myself before attempting to ask for even an ounce of help.  Until now, I thought I could do it all.  I could clean the house, work a full time job, sign a new client, make dinner, run a volunteer non-profit, have a glass of wine with my bestie, chat with my mom, walk the dog, and be home in time for the Bachelor (or Dancing with the Stars...whatever is in season).  I realize now how prideful that was and how I let that pride get in the way of asking for help.   But, in asking for help, I would have to be vulnerable.  As we've discussed before now, I struggle with being vulnerable.  That's a muscle I really need to be build.

Now, with five babies miles from home, I MUST ask for help.  That whole "asking for help muscle" is getting built whether it wants to or not.  I need the nurses to help me dress and care for my kiddos; I need the doctors to explain their conditions to me; I need my mom and mother in law to help me with feedings and cleaning the house; I need friends to help me find baby swings/pack n plays; I need help from pretty much any and everyone I come in contact with--and THAT is unsettling for an overachiever like me.  It makes me feel weak and sometimes, it even makes me feel like a failure.  Each day, I try to tell myself that asking for help creates bonds and relationships--and those bonds are going to hold me up during the next 18 years of raising these precious angels.

My biggest "ask" is still yet to come.  I need to get my babies home to Virginia and despite several tries, I haven't found a way to do so. Yes, I could fly everyone commercial from Phoenix to Virginia, but given that this is RSV season, I don't believe the babies could handle that exposure to germs this early in life.  I need an alternative.

I've asked several companies, friends, and even non-profits.  My dad has so graciously done the same.  No one has been able to help us (yet).  But, this journey has shown us the beautiful generosity of so many people, I'm quite hopeful that someone will come through and God will give us the perfect avenue of traveling home. 

With that said, here's the update on the kiddos: 

Ava:  Ava had a week of ups and downs.  Her ups included meeting her aunt Merrill and cousin Emma Kate.  Merrill (my sister) and her daughter Emma Kate joined us here in Phoenix this week.  I absolutely loved seeing them and spending some girl time together.  In visiting the NICU, Merrill and Ava bonded.  Ava, who's dealing with some reflux/spit up issues, was so comfortable with Merrill she didn't spit up once!  I was jealous, given that Ava has now vomited on me twice in the last 10 days.  Ava loves her some Mere Mere!   Unfortunately, Ava's spitting returned after her time with Merrill and doctors started to worry about infection.  After a day off from eating and several tests, doctors agreed that there was no infection but that we needed to adjust Ava's nutrient/vitamin intake and hope that relieves some of the irritation in her bowels.  Ava is taking only my breast milk now while the four others are on formula.  We hope that once Ava's tummy calms down a bit, we can share breast milk with everyone.  

Clara:  Clara came home this week!  Man was that terrifying!  We found out on Christmas Day that Clara was going to be discharged this week.  After her hearing test and a few other tests, she was discharged on Thursday.  Granted, Thursday was also the day we moved out of the Scottsdale apartment and into the new house.  I would not recommend moving and bringing home a baby on the same day, especially for those lucky women recovering from a c-section.  I consider myself to be a trooper but wow was that a tough day!  Thank goodness both my mom, Michael's mom and Michael's sister were visiting.  We needed as much back up as we could get. 

Here goes nothing!

On our way to the car!

Two of Michael's favorite ladies snuggle him.

Clara's first feeding at home

Clara and Ellie snuggle Mom during Saturday afternoon football.

Clara is adjusting to home life very well, eating on a four hour schedule and snuggling any and everyone! 

Millie:  Millie is doing well.  She is taking almost all of her feedings from the bottle and her breathing is more consistent than last week.  She got to snuggle Michael's sister Bridget this week, and I know she enjoyed that!

Luke:  Luke is also doing well.  He's taking most of his feedings from the bottle, but some days he just doesn't feel like it and the nurses have to feed him through a feeding tube.  Once he can eat more consistently from a bottle, he will be ready to go home.  

Isabelle:  Isabelle is probably next to come home.  She's very healthy and eating well.  Doctors say she'll probably be ready to come home in the middle to end of the upcoming week.  I can't say that I feel ready (at all!), but I'm proud of the progress our girl has made!

That's all for now!  God bless each one of you in this new year.