We have made it through the first year of our little miracles life. There have been many ups and downs, many struggles, but we have overcome and she is so much stronger now than we ever could have imagined.
I am still stunned at the fact that it’s been a year. She has come so far in the past year and we are so proud of her! She is a little fighter and the most easy going of my three kiddos for sure.
Even a year later, I still hold her and can’t help but compare her to the little peanut she was when she was born. It’s scary to think about the first few months of her life, but I know that she has overcome and we are all so much stronger for it. Our lives have been forever changed and while she will always have that past, she is quickly moving into the normal in her development and overall is doing very well!
We are so very proud of her!
Happy birthday beautiful, sweet, happy, giggly angel! I cannot image life without you! Thank you for blessing our lives in so many ways!
In honor of World Prematurity Day, here’s a reflection on my two preemies.
Miles and miles away from home, life flight and emergency c-section were how you made your grand entrance. You were a fighter from the very start and amazed us all! From the Ozarks, to Columbia then finally into Lees Summit, you had seen quite a bit of the state before you were a few weeks old. We finally went home 4 weeks after you were born. After a month with a heart monitor and just a few alarms you were free to be a normal little man.
Today, you would never know you were a preemie, other than your strong mind. You are an amazing 5.5 year old now with the biggest heart and more energy than I know what to do with!
Our latest crazy delivery. A Starbucks coffee stop, immediate rush to the hospital and another emergency c-section, this time before daddy could even make it to the hospital. You were transported from Lee’s Summit to the Plaza within a few hours and I didn’t get to see you again until the next day. You were such a fighter in every aspect. After 7 weeks in the NICU we finally went home but, a few weeks later you had an issue breathing, I had to perform CPR and get you back to the NICU for another 10 days because of Pneumonia. You have kept us on our toes but have been such a wonderful baby. We are so blessed to have you in our lives.
At 7 months (5 adjusted) you are doing more than expected. You are rolling, pushing up, sitting, and standing!
We are forever grateful for all the nurses and doctors that took care of our little angels. You are amazing! To our families who supported us through it all, thank you! We are forever blessed!
I still remember vividly the moment I started bleeding early in my pregnancy with Sugar Plum. I was 6 weeks along and driving from a lovely lunch with family to my parents house. I was driving through neighborhoods wasting time so the kids would nap in the car on the way there.
As I was driving I felt a gush and immediately sensed something horrible had happened. I rushed to my parents and sure enough there was a clot and a ton of blood.
After making a few phone calls I was headed toward the hospital near our house.
It was the hardest few hours sitting in the ER bed, waiting to get the ultrasound completed. I was pretty sure at that point I had lost our little one and was not looking forward to hearing the news, but I needed to know for sure. It was a tug of war in my heart and head. It was at this point, my mind continued to say “God has a plan. It’s in His hands, let it be.”
After a few hours, that seemed like days, we were wheeled back to the ultrasound room. It wasn’t long before they found a heartbeat and a large clot. The great news was our little baby was still there, the bad news was it was a threatened miscarriage and it was still possible we could lose her.
I was sent home on bed rest for the weekend with hopes that the bleeding would stop, or at least slow, and the clot would dissolve.
My amazing husband went to get dinner and I went to my prayer spot to say a rosary.
It was during the rosary that I had a moment with God I will never forget. At one point, I vividly recall seeing Jesus lift me up and walk while holding me. It was exactly like image we all know from Footprints in the Sand.
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
– by Mary Stevenson
It was as if He was telling me “I’ve got this, don’t worry. It’s in My hands. I will help you through.”
When Sugar Plum was born, I remember shaking and scared. The moment I started praying and letting God take over my emotions was the moment I became very calm. Those prayers focused me on what was happening, His will was being done. He knew what He was doing.
It’s very difficult to imagine that God would have us go through these difficult times, but it seems He is trying to teach us and help us grow. I know through all of this my faith has never been stronger.
I know God has his hands on me. He is helping me through this day. I just have to trust in Him.
This poem was written while sitting bedside with Sugar Plum. It’s a reflection on our time in the NICU. Enjoy.
Day and night
Filled so tight
Sats and CO2
Hope that soon
You’ll be home
You’ll get stronger
This we know
One step closer
Fill us up
Make you stronger
Through the night
Blood is drawn
All day long
Good morning sunshine
Sleep tight, hun
One day soon
Our worlds are one
Most of the photos we have from our NICU stay were taken with our camera phones. With Mister Man these are the only photos we have of his first month of life. While I am grateful we have our phones to take those photos of daily moments, it’s unfortunate to lose out on the newborn photos most families dream about.
This time around, a friend told me about a wonderful photographer who takes newborn photos for parents in the NICU, Jessica Strom.
In addition to my friend’s referral, all the nurses and Sugar Plum’s roommate’s mom had been talking about Jessica’s photography. They had only great things to say about her and her work. I was so happy to get in touch with her. We got a date scheduled for her to come to take some photos of Sugar Plum the following week.
Jessica was professional, sweet and did an amazing job! She definitely lived up to all the hype.
On top of her beautiful photography skills she was overly sweet, thoughtful and just a wonderful person. She took a genuine interest in Sugar Plum and made us feel like we had known her our whole lives.
The day we scheduled her to come, was a stressful day for Sugar Plum, so we couldn’t take her out of the incubator. This meant we were very limited on the photos Jessica could get.
Somehow, she got some beautiful shots that we will treasure for years to come.
We anticipated having more photos taken a few weeks later, but we were discharged earlier than we expected. We will be having Jessica photograph Sugar Plum again soon, now that we are home.
After 7 weeks and 2 days in the NICU we have made it back home! It’s been a long haul with many ups and downs, but we all made it through and are home as a family for the first time since Sugar Plum was born.
I am filled with many NICU homecoming emotions as we begin our life as a family of 5.
We finally made it home.
Relief… to be at home with everyone instead of splitting my time.
Relief… knowing Sugar Plum has made it over the hurdles.
Relief… we made it through a tough time in our family’s life and we are stronger because of it.
We finally have our whole family together.
Excitement… we can get back to our normal routines with the addition of our littlest one.
Excitement… the kids are excited to have Sugar Plum and mommy home again.
Excitement… having our family together, finally.
There is so much hope in my heart.
Hope… there were times I thought we’d be in the NICU for months, but with a little faith and hope we made it through and back home 4 weeks before her due date.
Hope… for the future.
Hope… for all the amazing things to come for our family.
There were machines for everything that could go wrong.
Fear… we just have a simple monitor that beeps to tell us something is not quite right.
Fear… we are in charge of making sure she is breathing, sleeping, eating, pooping, etc..
Fear… it’s all up to us. Sugar Plum’s well-being was under the supervision of the doctors and nurses, now it’s all up to us, the untrained parents.
With the fear comes an overwhelming sense of faith.
Faith… there is a greater plan.
Faith… that everything is in God’s control.
Faith… that we can handle whatever comes our way because we are never given more than He knows we can handle.
Faith… that we are growing, learning and becoming better parents every step of the way.
It’s been a long journey and we have only started the next step. With hope, faith, prayers and love we will overcome. One day at a time. Soaking it all in moment by moment. We’ve got this!
Somehow through countless hours of lost sleep and being “on our game” we, moms, seem to find a little more energy. There’s something that comes with motherhood that lets you push through even the most tiring times.
I’m in that moment now. I’ve been at the hospital NICU for 48 hours straight. The days seem to last forever and I can hardly keep my eyes open but somehow I’ve found the strength and energy to continue pushing.
My sweet little angel is sleeping in a crib next to me. I know in order to grow she needs me to nurse her.
And of course mommy snuggles are beneficial in so many other ways as well.
Somewhere, somehow I’ve found the strength.
It’s been a whirlwind these last few days and a testament to how quickly things can change in the NICU.
It was just a week ago I was saying the rosary at Sugar Plum’s bedside, praying for things to start looking up. It had been a hard few weeks with many ups and downs concerning her breathing and poor little preemie lung development. On top of that, I was having some emotional issues with not being able to do anything motherly to help calm her.
Then our prayers were answered. She took the highway of breathing routes. She was started on steroids to help heal her strider then after 3 doses, she was extubated and started NIPPV.
She excelled from the get-go and after a few days was on bubble CPAP. A few days later she was on nasal cannula and it wasn’t but a few hours before she was switched to room air (she refused to leave the prongs in her nose and was still keeping her levels perfect).
It was such a quick transition and she’s been doing great on room air now, even beginning her nursing process.
I am still in awe of how amazing these little preemies can be. They are fighters in every sense.