Baby Avery is having a good day today. We were so happy to spend time with her, and could clearly see signs of progress. Although she will long be attached to the wires, monitors, and machines that give her the support to relax and grow, she definitely looked a bit improved to us (as I’m sure you can imagine, she gets a very careful daily inspection of love from her mom and dad). The nurses assured us that everything that is occurring right now is completely to be expected for her stage and that there are several things to be grateful for in this moment. She is urinating well and she is holding down the 1/2 cc (very tiny amount) of milk that they’re “trying out,” and that’s leading to poop (hooray for poop, as this is very good news!) Her very cool daddy changed her dirty diaper today and we actually were able to laugh as her machines showed she enjoyed having him do so. She is starting to open her eyes and widened them just enough today to take a quick peek at the new facial hair that her dad is sporting these days and then she closed them again (hmmmm…..maybe this should tell him something?)
Although her blood gases are fluctuating slightly each day, she has tested negative for any infection and a spot on one of her toes that we’ve been watching appears to be going away. Additionally, the swelling in her head was noticeably a bit better today. Overall, we left the hospital this afternoon after a long visit feeling better than we’ve felt in days. Better is a relative term in this situation, as we live second to second, but we will take any and all progress with joyous hearts. Quin and I spent lunch discussing what a bizarre existence this is, and how much it’s physically painful to live in constant fear, hope, exhaustion, and grief….all simultaneously.
Another thing that we were grateful for today, is that Nurse Ann, cared for her again. During the first week we were in the NICU, Ann stopped me one day as I walked by and asked, “what is your husband’s name?” Her eyes lit up when I told her and she exclaimed, “I knew it!” She went on to explain, “my kids took their jars of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters in to his bike shop and bought their first bicycles from him. I have never forgotten how much they loved him.” Of course she hadn’t. It would be a rare, inattentive parent that would not notice how much Quintin likely touches their kid’s life….however briefly they may interact.
My husband is a man who has often gotten out of bed early, gotten dressed in his heavy and uncomfortable police officer uniform again, driven across town to pick up his police car, and gone to elementary schools to have “meet your police officer day,” after working a difficult and exhausting 12-hour shift until 3am the night before. He has piles of hand-made cards from elementary students and preschool kids that read, “thank you Officer Q” over the span of many different years, that are layered with Kool-Aid drops, dirty fingerprint stains, crayon words, and marker and paint designs, that reveal the clear impact he makes on these wide-eyed and impressionable little ones.
My husband is a man that due to an injury at the age of 5, and spending 3 months in a coma, was told he may someday walk again, but would certainly never run. He has crossed the finish line of countless marathons.
My husband is a United States Marine who served our country both in war and at 8th and I. He has been dropped into places that I can hardly comprehend. Enough said.
My husband is a man who is almost impossible to take a walk with, because he can’t resist stopping to talk or bending down to get eye level with every child we pass. He usually breaks the ice with one of his now classic routines, such as, “So what are you….about 15 or 16 years old? or, “Hi, is your name Barthalomew?” After the inevetible, “NOOOO!” followed by giggles, he spends the next several minutes learning about them and telling them something funny (okay, okay, at least it’s funny to the kids).
My husband is a man who loves his daughter, Madison, so much that he raves about her at every opportunity. Although everyone knows that I fell in love with him the first night we met, his pride, love, and interaction with Maddie was one of the things that I have always admired and have strived to emulate. She is definitely a Daddy’s Girl.
My husband is a man who is feeling immense pain, grief, and fear, while powering through every moment as it comes. He is taking the time to hug, reassure, and kiss me, and make countless trips up and down stairs to deliver the things I forget in the other rooms. Since I’m still recovering from surgery, he is making me food and drinks, washing dishes, and walking Riley multiple times a day. I could go on and on (and on and on and on…) I must mention that he’s doing all of this with one hand, as his preferred right hand is in a splint.
At work on the night of July 3rd, while making an arrest, he severely tore the ligament between his thumb and first finger. He is scheduled for his own surgery to reconnect the ligament this coming Friday. It has taken almost 2 months for the city to get his paperwork done and surgery scheduled, and last night while we stood at Avery’s isolet, I watched his thumb quiver uncontrollably due to obvious nerve damage. I ask him about the pain everyday, and although I often see him looking at his thumb and monitoring the significant swelling and twitching, he never mentions it to me. This is the same hand that allows him to do his chosen, albeit dangerous and immensely difficult, career. I know the words that are unspoken and am saddened that this is yet another thing for him to fear.
My husband is a man who is my strength, my rock, my confidante, and my true love. When I look at him, I am reminded of how many times in my life I prayed that he would find me in the world. His presence reminds me each moment that there is a God, to have hope, and that things do not happen according to our own time line (I would certainly not have waited 37 years to have met him if I had been in charge). I love him endlessly and proudly share these tiny highlights with the world (we are in such gratitude that blog readers are now reaching approximately 2000 a day) as only a fraction of his magnificence. It’s no wonder or surprise that Avery is, and will undoubtedly also always be, a Daddy’s girl…