Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Retelling: Worst Day

I finally got to wear normal clothes again! :) Holding our boy on December 21st. Trying out some Christmas hats. Yes, I'm smiling. I had to, it was a picture and I was holding my son. (That's the feeding tube in Levi's nose by the way, not oxygen. Thankfully he didn't need that.)

Monday, December 21st. I can't say this was the worst day ever in my life anymore. Losing our second baby now has to rival that. But it was one of the worst.

Let's start with some positive/funny things.
I do remember trying to change Levi's diaper in the morning with Andrew. And Levi continuously ppeed and pooped everywhere. I swear we used like 4 diapers before that was over. It was pretty ridiculously funny.

Then I was discharged. I no longer had to stay in the hospital. Which in theory isn't so bad, but it was. Just imagine how excited/scared you were to go home with your baby. Now subtract the baby. So now you're just sad and scared. That's bordering on it.
Not to count in that we had to pack up over 2 weeks worth of belongings that had made it to the hospital. And move into a motel. And go find a hospital grade pump for well, you know. And you're in a strange town. And then you have to go shopping for undergarments to wear while using said pump. And have a prescription for incredibly strong narcotics filled. And try to find a few other necessities that you well need. And it's 4 days before Christmas so the stores are just INSANE. And all you want to do is cry because you're in intense pain physically and emotionally, you're a disaster. Your teeny-tiny baby is all "alone" in the hospital and you're out here fighting not happy Christmas shoppers. Yeah, it sucked.

We did race back to the hospital in the evening because the March of Dimes was having a pasta dinner for all parents who had children in the NICU. Let me tell you, that helped so much! The March of Dimes was an unbelievable resource for me especially while Levi was in the NICU. Not only did they provide practical opportunities every week, like the meal and a cpr course, they also provided a chance to visit with other Mommas and Dads and have someone to share your experience with. As well as emotionally encouraging things like making a bracelet with Levi's name on it and doing some scrapbooking.
So the dinner really encouraged us while feeding our tummies. I also got to talk to other Mommas who had had a c-section and learn that I would in fact walk straight again.

So then we went and spent a little bit of time with Levi and Andrew changed his diaper all by himself. :) I was very proud.

Then we had to leave. You see, the next day Andrew was going back to work and I was staying near the hospital to be near Levi. So I would be mostly all alone. So we went shopping for some breakfast food, lunch stuff and snacks. I remember standing in the milk section of the grocery store and seeing a Momma with her little baby in the cart cooing at her. And I burst out sobbing. Just cried my eyes out into Andrew. Because that should have been me, but it wasn't. My baby wasn't with me, he was in the hospital without us there. That was the worst moment I think. I'm sure the woman thought I was nuts but I didn't care. I just hurt so much.

The good news? I got to sleep in the same bed as Andrew for the first time in almost 3 weeks. That was good. I tried to sleep.

Sidenote: I'm going to tell this now so that I don't have to think about it again: We were currently staying in a cheaper but okay motel because it was what we could afford. The hospital had a guest house but it was actually more expensive than this motel. Some dear women that Pastor Darryl found through our sister church in that town had volunteered to drive me back and forth to the hospital since I wasn't allowed to drive for about a week. Which was great, until we realized how umm shall I say "druggie" the motel was. So on Wednesday our churched chipped in and I moved to the motel/house that was on hospital grounds. It was super nice and they took great care of me. But it was an emotional unfortunate incident that if it hadn't of happened, it would have been less stressful. As it was, I spent one night in that motel alone and I cried my heart out, because I was alone. But it did get better. It's just yucky when I think about it, so I really don't want to talk about it more. But those dear ladies were wonderful and blessed. And our church, they were awesome. Not only did they help with lodging that first week, the next week a family in our church put us up in a rental house they owned that wasn't furnished, but gave us a place to sleep. I couldn't handle that the first week, I still couldn't walk well enough and such. But it was awesome the second week. Some friends in our Sunday School class also fixed our car which had broken down before all this began. So after that first week we got our car back and I could drive myself finally.
All good things. So I didn't want to end too negatively. Except to say those first few nights were incredibly hard. So let's not talk about it again. Thanks.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Levi (this year now!) has a cold and both ears are infected. I'm starting to feel sick myself. We stayed home from my parents to get some rest. Lord-willing we'll be better by Christmas. So that's my life. I hope to get some rest and get a few more cookies baked and presents wrapped. All while being so in awe of Christmas.
My heart is such mush this year. God is working a mighty work and I'm so thankful for the chance to enjoy and reflect this year.
Levi may get sicker. Who knows? We may be in the hospital again at Christmas. There are no guarantees. But God is sovereign and we have a Savior. That's worth my joy.
Now I'm off to take my sick self to bed. Ugh...

The Retelling: The First Few Days...

So now you've heard most of the details that I can remember of Levi's BIRTHday. The next few days get a little fuzzy, I'll be honest. Here's the thing, I had a c-section. I was on amazing pain killers and really didn't realize how much I needed them. I was so concerned about Levi being in the NICU and spending every moment I could with him, I really didn't take care of myself like I should have. I really think it's only by God's grace that I didn't develop any infections or hurt myself while I was pushing myself a little more than I should have. But enough about me. All that to say I didn't realize how much I was running on emotion and adrenaline and how much I needed the pain killers the nurses kept making me take. So Until Monday things are a bit fuzzy. So I'll give this my best shot. I took to writing down the essentials in a notebook. But it's very basic info.

On Saturday the 19th, Levi's first full day of life, both of our families were still here. At 5am I was wide awake and just wanting to see my baby so a nurse wheeled me down to the NICU. Andrew was exhausted so he stayed in bed. Now I understand why but at the time I didn't want to sleep, I just wanted to be near my baby. The nurse was just changing him and giving him a bit of formula/colostrum and Levi got put in clothes for the first time! Up to then he'd just been in his diaper in the "giraffe" incubator. The "giraffe" was an incubator that the lid can be raised up on a high neck. Hence the "giraffe" nickname. I got to hold my boy too! It was a precious sweet time.

I did try to go back to bed after that visit but I just couldn't sleep. I was too adrenalized and the morphine was still in effect. Around 11am Grandma and Grandpa Otto got to hold Levi for the first time before they had to leave. We also tried nursing for the first time. Interesting experience to say too little. I do remember that Andrew taught me how to change Levi's diaper. It was actually one of the few blessings of having him in the NICU was that Andrew learned more about him right away. That's helped us a lot.
Pastor Darryl and Pati also stopped by to visit. What a blessing!
In the evening our friends Jim and Teri came to see Levi as well. Andrew's family was in seeing and holding Levi at the time so I was out in the lounge visiting. (Only 4 visitors at a time, the NICU's small) While visiting my Uncle Romane and Aunt Judy surprised us by visiting. Their daughter lived near the hospital and they stopped by. Shocked me but what fun! By this point my morphine had wore off and someone wheeled me back to my room. I so wanted to stay and see Levi more but I was sooooo exhausted and in pain.

Sunday, Dec 20th is a little clearer in my head. Not much but a little. I again was awake at 5am and went to see Levi. He had his first poopy diaper which was really good! I got to change his diaper which at the time, was HUGE. Just to touch him was so wonderful. I guess that's one way to explain what exactly the NICU was like. It was not like a normal hospital delivery where baby is in your room 24/7. I got a few visits a day with my son. Changing his diaper was a blessing.
We tried some nursing again throughout the day. Levi was just way too small to get it.
Our friends Jay and Nicole stopped by as well. Jay was brave enough to hold our tiny boy.
Andrew's parents had to leave on Sunday as well, so it was just us that evening.
I do remember that they wanted me to try to nurse Levi again but it just made me cry. Because it wasn't working and I was exhausted. I just wanted to hold my boy. So I did, while he was gavauged. (fed through the feeding tube that was basically a permanent part of his face at this point. That's how Levi got almost all his nutrients the first 2 weeks of his life.)

I'll fill you in on Monday Dec 21, 2009 tomorrow. It's just too hard and emotional tonight.
I will tell you this. It was at the time THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE. Only losing our second baby rivals it. So stay tuned. It does get better after that. I promise. Like this year, Way better.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Retelling: The BIRTHday

December 18th

What a Day. It started quite an adventure, but that's a story for the days to come. Let's start in the morning.

We woke up sort of feeling, surreal I guess. It was THE day. Baby day. Our hours were counting down to changing the rest of our lives.
And I was scared to death. I wasn't so scared about being Baby boy. I was more nervous for that. No, I was scared silly about getting a spinal. Whenever I had thought about delivering and doing it "naturally" it was basically because I didn't want an epidural in my spine. Leave that part of me alone thank you very much. So the thought of a spinal was getting to me. So I just tried not thinking about it. Andrew ate breakfast, I went hungry. :) That stunk too...

But, I did get to shower, and both sets of our parents were there as well as Andrew's sister. So we chatted and tried to stay busy. My nurse, my wonderful amazing nurse, Erin, kept telling me what to expect and kept us going. She was my big blessing that day. She had had a C-section as well and was a huge comfort!! My doctor was a bit behind that day so we were kind of pushing it to the designated 1 o'clock time. So we kept talking. :) I felt like I took lots of drugs and swallowed Magnesium and such to help me not be nauseous during the delivery. When you're painless but not totally feeling-less during delivery it can feel weird I guess having stuff pulled out of your tummy. So they try to do what they can to help with that. And no, I had none of the side-effects of it, Thank the Lord.
So Andrew got all dressed up in cute blue scrubs (his were much smaller than mine :) and we were waiting. The doctor actually got there a lot faster than we thought he would so I think by 1:30/1:45 or so I was walking into the delivery room. It was the most I'd walked in 2 weeks! Oh, the irony. They got the spinal in and it was much easier and really pain-free. Just a small prick from the local they give you and you don't even feel the spinal. It was weird to try to move my feet and not be able to. VERY WEIRD. Before I was really mentally prepared, they had started and they brought Andrew in. My nurse anestitist (sorry, bad spelling) was also a huge blessing. She to had had a c-section and talked to me the whole time. Before we could think, they told Andrew to stand up because here comes Baby. It was 2:06pm.

And then...

one of the best moments of my life...

I heard my Son cry.

There are no words to describe this. If you haven't experienced it, I'm sorry, I can't explain. You think you will understand, but you don't. It's utterly undescribable. It's the best most powerful emotion in your life. I was instantly in tears. My precious son was alive and screaming. He was MINE. A kind of love you didn't know was possible just overwhelmed me. I was sobbing. It was even more miraculous because we didn't know if he would breathe correctly right away or if he would be able to cry. But he did. And it was amazing.

Andrew took pictures right away. Lots of pictures. :) And all the nurses and the neonatal team that was there told me how beautiful he was. And they weren't just saying it. He was really cute.

You know the amazing thing? He looked like his ultrasounds. I don't know why that surprised me, but it did. He was our boy, the one who had been growing inside me for these very long but very short months. He was flesh of my flesh.

They got him cleaned and bundled and I got to kiss him and we took a quick picture with Andrew holding him by my head and then he was off, being wheeled to the NICU. Andrew followed him. He was so tiny, but really, he didn't look like a preemie. It's hard to describe if you've never seen a preemie baby, but they have a certain look to them. He had a little bit, but overall, he just looked extra small. Erin, my blessed nurse, came to me and said with all sincerity "Bethany, he really is gorgeous. I'm not just saying that, he really is a beautiful healthy baby." And I cried again. And immediately, I knew my heart had left my body and I would never get it back again. It was out there, with my boy.

It took longer to stitch me up than they thought, due to things I'll explain later. The nurses kept telling me now was the time to sleep, but me, being a new parent and sick of bed rest, didn't listen. I couldn't. I was adrenalized. I couldn't wait to go see my boy again. It took about an hour to stitch me back up and then they wheeled me right down the hall to recovery. My Mom was waiting there and I just blubbered about my boy. Andrew was there pretty quick too actually. He told me all about our boy. He weighed 4 pounds 10 ounces and was 17 3/4 inches long. He was a really good healthy weight for his gestation. They had him hooked to monitors and an IV in his foot because his blood sugar was a bit low.

I spent an hour in recovery and then they wheeled me out and down the hall to the NICU to see my boy. The hospital there has a really neat thing of playing "Braham's lullaby" every time a baby is born. So as we went down the hall the nurse hit the button and the whole hospital knew another life was being celebrated. We went into the NICU, and for the first time I got to hold my son. He was amazing. He was gorgeous and just everything I could have imagined. I loved him so much. I understood God's love so much more almost immediately. I only got a few short minutes with him and then I had to get wheeled out. As I left I asked Andrew "Name?" and he said it, the one I was hoping for...


It was just right. We had chosen correctly to wait and see him before naming him. We didn't have to discuss any others. He was Levi. Levi Nathaniel. We had chosen Nathaniel as a middle name in the week before because of it's meaning. Nathaniel: "Gift of God" It was just so fitting because he was our precious Christmas gift from God. And Levi? Well, it was Andrew's great-great grandfather's name, and I've always liked it okay. It means "United" or "Joined in Harmony". And we didn't know how fitting it was at the time. Again, more on that later.

So, the rest is a bit boring. Lots of medical stuff with me. Our families got to go see Levi. They didn't hold him that day, but they got to see him. They got me up a little and I got to drink some juice and such later because by dinner time, I was STARVING. I wasn't in any pain because Morphine can be a great blessing.

Around 11pm Andrew wheeled me in a wheel-chair down to see our son. Levi Nathaniel Preston. Our wonderful miracle. We got to see him get his hair washed and sponge bath. All clean and snuggly. He had beautiful dark hair. He was so tiny.
As I tried to sleep that night he was all I could think about.
He was here.
He was ours.

God's love is so real to me today. As we celebrated Levi's first birthday I thought often of his shaky start to this life. And I cried this evening. Because it's just so crazy and amazing how much I love this boy. He's changed so much. He's gone from a scrawny not even 5 pound bugaboo to a toddling crazy boy. Full of smiles and life. Always on the go.
God is so good and so gracious. We don't deserve His love or our son. But He's entrusted us with his care. We are so blessed.

I love you Levi Nathaniel. No matter where life takes you I will always remember that first cry. Because it was a miracle. Always remember that, Son. God miraculously granted you life. I pray that you will use it to serve and honor Him wherever that may take you. May God be glorified through your life always. I love you Levi, but the LORD loves you more. Never forget that.
Happy Birthday Son.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I have one ultrasound picture of our Given Over Baby. It's in my hard case wallet where I stowed it when we left the clinic the day we got it. Normally I carry ultrasounds around for a while so I can show people.


Now I can't bare to take it out of my wallet.

What if I lose it?

Neither can I bare to see it.

My solution?

Quit using that wallet. So I have. I emptied it of all the necessities and stowed it away.

I guess some things still leave me gasping for enough air to make it through each moment.

So it'll wait, for an easier time. If there is one.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Retelling: Longest Day Ever

So Monday, a year ago...(I know it's Tuesday, do you mind? I'm a little behind)
All had been fairly boring up to this point. Boring hospital stay. Monday not so much.
I woke up super early and knew something wasn't good. A trip to the restroom proved that. I got to pull the emergency nurse cord for once. Let me tell you, that gets you attention REALLY QUICK. I mean ALOT of attention. Sort of awkward actually.
Anyway, back to bed and lots of monitoring. I had a lot of hip pain that I soon realized were contractions. Let me tell you right now, that night, I had the worst nurse ever. (in my mind) Andrew and I were staring at the monitor and we could see every little tiny bump that showed when I had a contraction, and we could see baby's heartbeat slow with each one. The nurse? Didn't so much believe me that I was having contractions because they weren't major ones or showing up much. Yep, I'm a back laborer. Maybe they should invent a monitor for a pregnant woman's hips and back. 'Cause that's where I get 'em. Anyway, I digress. Next nurse came on within that hour. The moment she walked in the room she said "so I see you're having some contractions" Thank You Jesus!! Sane person has arrived. Her name was Erin. I loved her immediately.

What followed was the longest most boring day of my life. They wouldn't move me so ultrasound came to me. That took forever. They wouldn't let me eat because it looked like baby may have to come that day. You know how when someone says you can't eat you immediately get hungry? Ugh...
Spent the whole day flat on my back watching television trying to get comfortable (still having contractions) and starving. They didn't want to stop my contractions because they weren't awful and even though I was scheduled for a c-section they help prepare your uterus to have the baby. So bring 'em on! Well, that's what the doctor said anyway. Speaking of the doctor, he was MIA most of the day. He was super busy and emergencies and such so I got last billing. Meanwhile I'm disgusting, it's almost 4pm and I'm about to eat my pillow. I called my nurse, literally in tears and said "PLEASE! If you're not going to deliver this baby please let me eat!" So she called the doctor, brought me the best chicken strips I'd ever eaten (you know, considering starvation factor and all) and got the doctor to get himself to the hospital. Where they decided I was doing better and we'd hold off. So I got to shower too. :)

But the exciting thing happened, baby's birthday was decided! I would officially be 34 weeks on Saturday of that week, but since a c-section was needed (baby was still breech) they wanted to do it on Friday as more staff would be at the hospital. I was good and fine with that. Let's get this party started!! So December 18th was set as baby's BIRTHday. 1pm was the time. One day at this point wasn't the end of the world. They still wanted to wait until Friday, as those extra days would help, but better to deliver during the week. Whatever, let's go!

So the day ended better than it began. But really, it was a nightmare. I spent so much of it in pain and hungry. A lot of emotions and worry. A lot of boredom. A lot of baby monitoring.
It also sealed my fate of having to wear the monitors almost constantly. I understand now better the concern about keeping constant attention on baby, but someday, I'd like to sit that doctor down and make him stay strapped to something for 100+ hours...it's intense...

But there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Less than 4 days to go to Baby! Yes, we knew that it wouldn't end there, baby would be little, but we also were ready to meet him. Friday couldn't come soon enough.


I just reheated my morning coffee by turning on the coffeemaker's little burner/heater thing. I used to be a Barista. I know better. My inner Coffee self was cringing as I did it.

But sometimes, A Momma's gotta do what a Momma's gotta do.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Retelling: Jingle Bells

My wonderful husband works for a television station here. Every year they do a telethon called "Jingle Bells". They usually raise over $100,000 every year for the local Jaycees and they in turn give out HUNDREDS of boxes of food and toys to needy families all over the area. It's an awesome thing and a lot of local talent gets some TV time. Since Andrew works for this station, I usually don't see much of him the week before Jingle Bells and that day, he works insane hours and I don't see him until Sunday morning.

Until last year. Since we were sitting in the hospital, we watched Jingle Bells on the internet. Together. It was weird and just another reminder of how our lives were so bizarre right then.

Here's a look ahead: This year, I'm sitting home without my husband again as he runs a camera for many hours. But I'm not alone. My son is dancing to the music of the telethon...

in our living room. With me. He's healthy. I'm crying. God's grace is sooo amazing to me at times like this. It's going to be a VERY MERRY Christmas this year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Retelling: Just Hangin'

I know, it's been a while. Have you been in suspense? Just bored? Hanging out? Well, that's exactly how this week went for us a year ago. We did not have the baby Saturday night, and my parents did make it down on Sunday. I don't have a clear memory of much other than hanging out. I do remember finally getting to shower. And getting to dress in scrubs not a hospital gown. That was awesome, wearing somewhat "real clothes". My parents ate some cafeteria food, entertained us, etc... And we waited. Things sort of quieted down on the baby front so we just hung out. Monday morning a few more things were decided. The plan was to get to 34 weeks pregnant. Which was 12 days away. Not long right? Well, not now, but when you're sitting in a hospital bed and you're only allowed up to shower? It's a long time. Trust me. Part of me just wanted to say "Take this Baby!" But of course that wouldn't be what was best for the baby. So we waited. My parents headed home on Monday when it became evident that nothing exciting was happening. They had jobs and lives and such after all.

That week we really just hung out. Andrew went out and got some groceries and he would eat breakfast and lunch in my room everyday. They had a pull out chair/bed for him that he says was fine comfort wise. There was also a larger mini-fridge in our room which was an AWESOME blessing!! We had some friends stop by. Jay & Nicole brought us games and food. Great snack food! Jenn & Mark brought tons of treats, movies, hair ties (salvation!), etc... Amazing distraction!! Teri & Pati, well they went into our house, cleaned out all the perishable food, did the laundry, basically made sure it wouldn't rot away. They also brought me goodies and clean laundry. I know others stopped by, Holms, Jaimie and Johanna, Delanie and Kiddos. Everyone brought food or something. Trust me, we were well taken care of! Every evening Andrew would go down to the cafeteria and get some dinner and come back and eat with me. He tried to describe the cafeteria to me, it sounded good and like he had plenty of choices. Me, food wise, I was pretty impressed. I had a menu delivered every evening to fill out for the next day. It listed choices for each meal, and they were pretty amazingly good. But if perchance I didn't like any of the options, they included a menu to keep (glossy finish and everything) that had every possible option to choose from. So if I had a craving, just write it in at the bottom and get a delivered meal. I have no idea if that cost me extra, all I know is it kept me sane and made it possible to actually enjoy eating at the hospital. And it tasted GOOD!! That was a big thing in my life at the time. That and getting to take a shower and wear scrubs. Like I said, we were bored, I was easily amused.

And yes, Andrew got to stay with me the whole time. Like I said, the goal was December 19th, 34 weeks pregnant. But here's the thing. That wasn't a promise. Each day we had to take at it's own merits. We didn't know when we were going to have a baby. So Andrew's boss graciously gave him the time off. Without pay of course. But hey, beggers can't be choosers. I was just so grateful he was there. Some people have questioned me about why he didn't come back and work and make money. And all I can say is while we were trusting the Lord, every day was scary. Every day was an unknown. If I had been rushed into surgery and he was an hour and a half away? Nightmare. We knew baby would be taken to the NICU almost immediately if not immediately, so we wanted Andrew to be able to go with him since I obviously wouldn't be able to. So he stayed, and we were blessed and I wouldn't change a thing. We were bored and bounded together.

I had an ultrasound every other day almost and they measured many things, Baby's fluid levels (which were pretty low, due to my water breaking, but they stayed in a "safe zone", he just didn't have much fluid to swim in), whether he was practicing breathing (swallowing fluid), whether he had big movements, etc... I also only had a small taste of the size of the hospital. Andrew would try to describe it to me, but really, all I saw were my room, out my window, and the small portion of hallway as they wheeled my bed to ultrasound, I was on the 3rd floor, ultrasound on the first, or in the basement, I can't remember. The ultrasound techs got lots better after the first dragon lady. And the volunteers who did things like wheel me down there and back? And the volunteer snack cart that went around every evening? Amazing! I learned to love volunteers.

Other thing I learned to love? My nurses. Here's the thing about hospital nurses. They're busy people. They have lots of responsibility. Here's a clue about being a anti-partum patient (on bed rest, waiting to have a baby). You get the best nurses!! They're usually BSN RN's, have lots of training, and also have a little more time than normal. They're basically baby-sitting you, they may have 3 Mommas, but really, they have 6 patients, because of the baby count, so they have less outside bodies to take care of, so they may even have time to chat, or paint toenails. No joke, I had some great nurses. Backrubs too. Which helped a lot when you're in bed all day!
One bad thing about bed rest? Compression socks. I'm not kidding. Yes, you want to eat your legs off. Other bad thing? What I can only describe as oxygen boots. They're pads that strap to your lower legs (you wear them at night while you're "sleeping", or during the day at times) and you turn on the machine and they inflate then deflate. It's supposed to help the blood flow in your legs so that it doesn't just pool in your legs but circulates. Bad part, noisy and you're legs are hooked to tubes. So getting up in the night? Try to remember to untangle yourself. Rolling over? Try to untangle yourself. The first 3 days I thought I was going to go crazy. Then you get used to them. Sort of....

Friday Andrew decided he should run home and see the dog (again, God's family was taking care of the Dexter too!) and get some stuff and check in at work. He also brought back some Christmas decorations to liven up our room. Including his fiber optic Christmas Tree. That I hate. But it made me laugh, and it was a good distraction. My favorite nurse called it the "Spectro Tree" It became well known on the floor. He also brought other lights and garland and our stockings. It was a long boring day without him. But we made it, and then it was the weekend and Andrew's parents were coming for a visit. Some distraction finally.

Every day I marked off another day in my notebook. The days dragged, I watched TV and learned the values of "mindless television". I was too crazy hanging out in bed to do something of lasting value. I didn't have the concetration to write or read much or anything. My mind was racing and exhausted all at once.
And so, we waited.

I got lots of cards and letters!! And the "Spectro Tree"...

The lights and garland over my bed and on the wall.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Retelling: Chaos

When I was a kid I used to think that Chaos was pronounced phonetically. I couldn't figure out what it meant. Then years later someone read it and I understood. So really, Chaos did actually bring Chaos to my grammatical life.

Anyway, Chaos is the only word I could think of to describe Friday and Saturday a year ago. Because it was, absolute Chaos.
And it all started oh so early. I woke up around 12:30am Friday morning and knew there was a problem. I called our Dr. She said wait and see. I called her again at about 3am, which, I believe is actually when my water broke. We never quite realized it until the next night, because it sealed itself off well, but it did. And so back to the hospital we went. Where I spent the day again. With no hope of going home. I was there overnight at least. We had visitors, I think Andrew even went to work, because really, what could he do? We missed the Christmas Dinner Theatre at our church. Andrew went out and bought me a candy bar because I was sick of hospital food already. I had the mindset to at least ask that they pad my bed because I was in a delivery bed and they ARE NOT comfortable. Which came back to bite me on Saturday.
It was a long night. I sent Andrew home to sleep in our own bed. Because really, why should he suffer too? I slept on and off some but let me tell you, now I was getting afraid to move or anything. I was also annoyed. There's no other word for it. I had assurance that our boy was fine. Not just from the monitor that showed he was, but also from my heart, and the peace that only God can bring. So why was everyone else freaking out?

By Saturday morning we were figuring out that this wasn't going to go away. That I probably wouldn't be going home. Stuff started to get worse. My beloved Dr. was there and did several exams and ultrasounds and really couldn't figure out why my body was doing what it was doing. But it obviously wasn't getting better, only worse. They tried to test to see if my water had broken and didn't think it had, but really, I was just foolin' them. :)
So by the afternoon it became clear. I would probably be having this baby sooner rather than later and since I was only 32 weeks that day, it wouldn't be here. We were headed South an hour. God again moved mightily and allowed our Doctor to allow us to let Andrew drive me, not to have to take an ambulance. Only one problem in this little scenario...our car's ignition had froze the week before so we had borrowed a friend's little tiny car to go to my parents with. In all the comotion Andrew hadn't gotten it fixed yet. Umm...I am not riding over an hour in my very pregnant state in his little pickup truck. I love him, I'm thankful for his truck, but it's not happening. Again, God is amazing. Our beloved friends/pastor Darryl and Pati loaned us their incredibly comfortable Lincoln. It was their incredible deal, amazing car, and they loaned it to Andrew, for several weeks. She also brought me more chocolate, :) and they prayed over us. And we were off. I think it was around 3pm. I hadn't showered since Thursday night. Just had to throw that in, because I was sooo crabby about it. I know, bigger problems.

We got to the VERY LARGE hospital, finally found which door to go in, and I got wheeled through what I think may have been the longest route possible. They got me into a room, and Andrew finally found us. What came next were a million questions (they made Andrew leave the room because some of them were if I had been abused and that caused this. I have an amazing husband and I just wanted to cry for the women who have the courage to say yes when that's the case. God be praised, not me.)
what felt like a million pokes, and meeting the on call OB briefly as well as going to get an ultrasound. Not my idea of fun, it was an INTENSE ultrasound and that lady is definitely on my remember and do not like list. I think that may actually be when Andrew caught back up with me. They also had a neonatologist come in and meet with us so we got an idea of what to expect if we did deliver a preemie. Which was becoming a reality. They thought it might even be that night. And what should occur to both of us? "We don't even have a diaper bag!" Again, least of our worries, but you have to realize, we were a bit overwhelmed and didn't quite realize what having a preemie would mean at that point.

So it was a long evening as well. But the neonatologist really helped. To her, 32 weeks was amazing. She deals with 24 weekers. Our baby, HUGE rate of success. 34 weeks? Even better. I had had my steroids, baby's lungs should be okay if not great, so we just take it as it comes.

So we were left in limbo. They wanted to get me to 34 weeks but only the night and next day would tell if that were a possibility. I would have to deliver C-Section really no matter what because baby was still breech and they couldn't risk turning him because of the already complicated situation.
My parents decided to head down for a day or two no matter what, but if I would deliver that night, Pati promised to come so that I wouldn't be alone because Andrew would have to go with our boy to the NICU. It was chaos, absolute chaos. We had no idea what each hour would bring, let alone the coming days. But our hearts were not in total chaos. I knew deep down that our baby was okay and that God was sovereign. None of this was turning out the way I wanted or hoped, but we were where we needed to be, no more traveling, and we would just see.

All I wanted to do was take a shower.

Friday, December 03, 2010

A Break, literally

So today deserves a little break from the story telling. Don't worry, it was an exciting day, and I'll get to it either this afternoon or tomorrow. They kind of go together anyway...

But today, in real time, I think I'm beyond a klutz. Last night I stood up into an open cupboard door in the hallway. Banged my head so hard I cried. And said a "bad" word, but you already guessed that. Today I have a headache. Right now I have high respect for brain surgeons and God. Our skulls are marvelous things and I frankly think I should give mine a break.
Speaking of breaks, I learned something this morning. That "Break Resistant" label on the back of Corelle dishes? It really doesn't mean "Break Proof". Trust me. We now have 7 cereal bowls. And I need to mop my floor.

Our tree is up. It's a fake pre-lit one that we received for free several years ago. We used it once. One of the branches didn't light up so we just wrapped other lights around it. This year? Alot of the branches don't light up. So we strung more lights around it. I'm in the process of stringing popcorn. Because we're going simplistic this year. It's Levi's first MEMORABLE Christmas (not his first, like everyone seems to think, he was born the 18th and was one week old on Christmas) but I digress. So we want to put more simple ornaments up and not overload the tree. Because he needs to start contributing to it. Right now, He just wants to touch it and eat it.
We're putting it up in stages, just the tree, then the popcorn, then the ornaments, because he does better not touching one thing at a time.

So, Christmas party tonight and tomorrow night. This year, my heart is just so thankful for the meaning of Christmas. And to not be sitting in a hospital. Yep, sneak peak, I had to go back. :)

And just to help us remember, or to let you know, there's a happy ending to "The Retelling" Here's some visual reminders:

My boy, eating a graham and watching Elmo...

There's Elmo!!

And looking mighty cute might I add in his jammies and bare feet...

Getting so big! He was pushing his tractor around and around the kitchen.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Retelling: Here We Go Again

It's Thursday. This day started WAY to early a year ago. I woke up at about 4 am I think it was, and immediately knew we were going to the hospital. I called in and told the ER we were coming and thankfully, we only live about 10 blocks away. So off we went. You know you're pregnant when they just wheel you right up to OB and won't even look at you in the ER. The nurses in OB say pregnant women scare the ER staff so they get them there as fast as possible. That made me laugh. :)

When I got to OB they quickly hooked me up to monitors and asked a million questions. Including, do you feel like you're having contractions. Umm No? I don't know, what are they supposed to feel like? So even though it didn't feel like it, I was in fact having a few contractions. So I got a shot that hurt like the dickens to try to stop them. Which it did, but it also made me really wobbly and nauseous. I also got the second shot of steroids to help our baby boy's lungs develop. That one hurts too. ALOT. For a long time. Just so you know. Baby meanwhile was fine. Not showing any signs of distress and just hanging out.

Andy called my dear friend Pati even though it was super early and it shocked me how early she came to see me. We really didn't know what would happen, it was just a wait and see experience. Me, I was feeling disgusting because I hadn't showered in like 36 hours at this point. The day was spent in partial boredom, in sadness over eating the food. :( And trying to explain to everyone that we really didn't know what was going to happen now.
Oh, and trying to ignore the woman in hard labor next door. Apparently since I wasn't really in labor that should be progressing they stuck me in an extra not quite as nice room. Which was connected by the bathroom to the water birthing room. So gallons and gallons of water running and a laboring woman. Great.

By the evening I was such a bore to the nurses that the doctor let me go home. :) Not really but everything again was behaving. So the doctor gave me her cell number and told me to call her no matter the time if ANYTHING changed. I was never so thankful to go home and take a shower. I was disgusting. Really. Out of fear for ruining our bedding and total exhaustion, we slept on the couches. We were exhausted and I felt it deeply. I also felt like this couldn't be over. Impending Doom? I'm not sure. But we tried to sleep. And we did.

For a few hours.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Retelling: The Calm before the Storm

I'm titling this series of remembering Levi's arrival "retelling" Just because, that's why. And just to clarify, I won't write everyday, believe me, the story gets to dragging at a few long boring points.

One year ago today (Wednesday), we were at home. We had been released from the hospital on Tuesday with the strict agreement that we would go home and immediately go see my OB and get checked out and a game plan. Which we did, with the ultrasound film that they had taken up there and all the charts, etc... And there was nothing, just like they said. No indicators as to why what was happening was happening. Nor why it had stopped. So she said take it easy, but otherwise I'll see you on Monday for my regular appointment.

So we went home, unpacked, and tried not to freak out. I went to work on Wednesday, today, and everything seemed normal. I was exhausted but that wasn't that unusual. We even went and did AWANA at our church like always, although I was told I looked awful .
We went to bed. Everything seemed back to normal. I can't even say I had a sinking feeling, because I wanted everything to be okay. I didn't want to be like a nurse I had in the hospital that delivered at 32 and 34 weeks. Not happening to me okay? So we went to bed and slept. Some.

It was the calm before the storm.

~In a side note, will you prayer warriors please, Please, PLEASE pray for my friend? She's 30 wks 2 days pregnant with her second son and it looks like she's going to be delivering early for sure, if not sometime this week or next. In our town that means going an hour away where there's a NICU. She's trusting the Lord but anxious of course. So will you please pray for her and her husband and son and baby? For Peace and for protection. And God's glory! Thank You friends!