Daddy’s Girl…

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…

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11 Responses to Daddy’s Girl…

  1. Diane Sheridan says:

    So happy that Madison and Avery are both Daddy’s girls, seems like he definitely has enough love for both of them and a million other people,especially his beautiul wife!

  2. Nancy Musser says:

    Robin…my dear friend. You are truly amazing. I have been aching with you as I read your blog and of course praying like crazy! At Mass today the priest asked the congregation to pray for all pregnant women and those who have had difficulty with pregnancy. It was like my whole church was praying for you! I had goosebumps! I am so grateful to have you in my life and that Quin will also be in our lives!! He is a wonderful man…my kids talk of him constantly! Love, Hugs, Kisses, Prayers, and Thoughts to you and Quin and Avery. The kids say a prayer for Sienna to watch over them and all of you! She will never be forgotten! We love you!

  3. Jen Klima says:

    I loved Quin the moment I met him too… but love him even more after reading this. His eyes lit up every time he spoke about or watched Maddie that night I met him. I can only imagine how much Avery has him wrapped around her little finger already. I love hearing how Avery’s vitals increase when he is touching her. I am glad to hear she had a good day… hoping and praying only good days continue!!

  4. Angel Roggenkamp says:

    Robin and Quintin, I see Robins point. I remember being kids everyone that knew him loved him. He was the “BIG BROTHER” that I wish all siblings had. Quintin has this heart of gold. And, well sometimes he had to show “tough love” But, without the tough love I am sure I would not have gone back to school and enter the medical field. Although he and I have not seen each other in a long while I still brag about him. Even though I have not had a chance to meet Maddie yet I brag about her. And, Robin, please know I brag about you. You are an amazingly strong woman. You give a whole new meaning to that phrase. I will forever brag about Sienna. She fought a tough fight. But, God had bigger plans for her. Avery, Avery, Avery wow……. She is so tiny but yet so strong. How can I not brag about her. I love all of you. I just know in my heart that she will be home with you all where she belongs.

  5. Susan McMurray says:

    You don’t have to tell me. My girls fell in LOVE with Quin on our last visit. He so easily entertained them for hours – it was really amazing. Avery and Maddie are such lucky little girls (as are you, Robin)!

    Happy to hear Avery had a good day. Small victories!!

  6. Sam Horn says:

    Robin and Quintin:

    Please know I’m thinking of you and continuing to send prayers, hope, support and strength.

    I can only imagine there are times when you do not want to write about what’s happening – please know that what you’re sharing is connecting with and impacting all of us . . . .

    and that someday your heartfelt outpourings will serve a greater purpose and offer solace, comfort, insight and inspiration to many, many people who need to hear it and will benefit as a result of you taking the time to put what you’re going through to paper.

    Blessins to you.

    Sam Horn

  7. Cherie says:

    This is very touching & special. 🙂

  8. Robin and Quintin,

    Although we have never met, I feel such a connection to you. I was pointed to your blog and have been blown away since reading. What honesty and wisdom, even through such hard, devastating circumstances. Thank you for allowing me to follow your journey.

    We had a 23 weeker son last year and spent 4 months in the NICU. I know this is all SO hard. No one really knows the NICU experience unless you go through it. I can’t even imagine what you have been going through with loosing precious Sienna. She was and IS loved so much. What an angel! She has certainly touched many, many lives.

    I am praying for sweet Avery and will continue to do so. You guys are doing such a great job!!!

  9. Maggie Nick says:

    I work in the CA’s Office in Victim/Witness and wanted to let y’all know that we have all been praying for the Roggenkamp family and keeping up with the latest through this wonderful Blog. I also wanted to share the HelloGrief.org website with you- I am a volunteer with Comfort Zone Camp, a non-profit bereavement camp for kids ages 7-17 who’ve lost a parent or sibling. It was founded in Richmond, VA and has expanded to include 3 other locations around the country. All camps are free for all children to attend. The website is http://www.comfortzonecamp.org. Also, Comfort Zone created HelloGrief.org to establish an online community of support for people living with grief and loss. It is kind of like Facebook in that you have a Profile and a “wall” where people can leave you messages, but you can create a Memorial Page for anyone you have lost and include favorite memories and pictures, and have a Blog on your profile. There are also groups including “I’ve Lost a Child,” “Missing my Spouse/Mom/Dad/Sister/Brother/Niece/Nephew,” “Stronger Than Cancer,” “I’ve Lost Someone I Love to Violent Crime,” etc. There are also Forums where you can share with others who are living with grief and loss. We are up to just under 1000 members, and the I’ve Lost a Child Group has over 40 members, so that would be a good way to connect with others who have also lost a child.

    Hang in there Roggenkamps and we are all praying for you.

  10. Sharon Slayton says:

    Robin and Quintin,

    I am so saddend to hear about little Sienna Rose and just know that I am praying for Avery. These little souls are so blessed to have such loving parents.

    Sharon

  11. Jenny Jones says:

    Robyn, such beautiful words. Its wonderful to know that you understand all about God’s time not ours. Treasure your beautiful family, we are praying for you.

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