I’m a “mom.” I have two daughters. I am so blessed. Today (August 1st, 2010) was another overall good day for the girls (that’s the last three out of 5 where continual improvement has been seen!) We are feeling encouraged and strengthened, despite the continued extreme frailty of our beautiful baby girls. We’ve learned all too quickly that the NICU is a place where time doesn’t pass “day to day,” but “second to second.” Monitors, beeps, alarms, and vital signs change in less than a blink of an eye and EVERY moment of stability is cherished in a way that I could never fully articulate. We have a VERY long journey ahead of us and we know we will have good, magnificent, traumatic, and seemingly impossible moments. This week was a way too strong dose of that reality.
The word I’ve said the most this week is “surreal,” and it truly has been in every way. It may never not be a bit surreal from the evening of July 26th, 2010, forward. It’s especially “dream-like” to have the gift of witnessing true Angels on earth in both our babies and those who are supporting them (and the NICU Doctors and Nurses at Inova Fairfax are nothing less than such) while in what feels like intense slow motion in a fate worse than hell.
Quin will continue to write about the days, facts, news, and emotions we’ve experienced so far in detail until we’re caught up to present day in the sole hope that it will help future parents by reading the shock, struggle, and heartfelt words that WILL someday soon result in one of the hospital’s greatest success stories for what they call “23-Weekers.”
We have learned and are in absolute gratitude and amazement for our fortune that the state of Virginia and Inova Fairfax are one of the few places in the country that will resuscitate at 23 weeks, and that if successful in doing so at birth, that they maintain a 60% success rate for babies who eventually leave the hospital. These are odds that we CAN, and WILL, overcome with all of your love, positive energy, and prayers. Our little miracle are proving fast that they are true warriors and are not going to give up!
As you honor us by reading our story and maintaining what we hope is a continual channeling of prayer and positive energy toward Avery and Sienna, please know that we are dazed, scared, and confused, but in sincere gratitude for the blessings, and we are renewing our faith in God, the Universe, and the wisdom of Mother Earth, in a profound and humbling way.
My near term message is that we want our wonderful friends and family (and at a time like this, EVERYONE feels like family) to know how much we appreciate you. We are so truly grateful and strengthened by the outpouring of love, support, offers of encouragement and help, messages, calls, texts, emails, etc. We could not possibly express how much your constant contacts have given us courage this week. As I’m sure you can all imagine, while I’m still operating one moment at a time in a state of shock, I have so much to share about what has happened already and will cherish the gift that this blog will provide for both of us as “therapy”as time goes on. For now, due to exhaustion of mind and body, I will simply share that the nuggets of positive “impossible IS possible” success stories that we’ve been fortunate enough to receive have meant the world to us. Although we haven’t had time to read much this week, the few blog postings that were shared from around the world, written by parents of NICU babies who are now thriving, have sustained us and given us the will to “warrior on” during our darkest hours.
We are joyfully heading into day 6 of what has been the unparalleled hardest days of either of our lives (and those of you that truly know,”Dad,” know that he, in particular, has had more than a few gut wrenching days in his life). Tomorrow is the girls “one-week” birthday which is a huge milestone for us all (at 24 weeks?? how is this possible? they were supposed to be born in late October or early November as “Halloween babies” and we’ve been calling them “our little pumpkins” for months).
We are consciously choosing to be positive NO MATTER WHAT and that we WILL, no doubt, hang our beautiful healthy girl’s “before and after” pictures on the long hallways of the NICU too like the “previous NICU miracles” that have come before us (the little leaguer, the bar mitzvah smile, the giggly twin girls, the homecoming queen crown, etc). Their healthy smiles guide us to our girls each time we visit.
We are reading the girls lots of books, telling them stories, singing them songs, holding their tiny hands, and sharing with them how much they are already loved around the world. They are ABSOLUTELY responding to all of our attention, our touch, our prayers and positive energy (their vital signs actually often improve when we are there with them), so please continue to think of Avery and Sienna every moment you can. Please spread the word far and wide and ask everyone you know to send them strength. Please also include the doctors and wonderful nurses (Lauren, Valerie, Michelle, Megan, Melissa, Lakeya, Katie, Krista, Ann, Raquel, etc) in your prayers for wisdom to guide their decisions and their hands. Every moment we must entrust our fragile babies lives to the constant care and watch of strangers, who are quickly becoming our greatest heroes and proving to be truly magnificent and deeply caring souls.
Again, thank you to our dear friends and family for the blessings of your support and love, and thanks to God for the blessing of being a parent, loving beyond words, and learning how to truly live in the moment in a way we’ve never before known. Tomorrow will be another day of cherishing each sacred second…