Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sweet Boy

That little red blinking light. Anyone out there with a Blackberry knows what I'm talking about. That little red blinking light that notifies you when you have a call. Or a text. Or an email. And when your phone is on vibrate or silent as frequently as mine, it's often times your primary source of notification that you have a new message.

Lately, that red blinking light has become my life's blood.

Blink: Monday afternoon. We found out that Mama was experiencing some pretty bad swelling, and her blood pressure was alarmingly high. After being evaluated, she was diagnosed with preeclampsia and admitted to the hospital. The hope was to get the blood pressure down with some Magnesium, administer the steroid shots to encourage baby's lung development, and as he was breech, deliver via C either Tuesday or Wednesday. Everything seemed to be stabilizing, and baby was looking good with a predicted weight around 3 lbs, 6 oz. We are officially in stand-by mode.

Blink: Tuesday. Things seemed stable in the morning, but by afternoon baby's heart rate started to gradually decellerate. Rather than risk waiting any longer, little man was delivered shortly after 2:00pm CMT, and came into this world weighing 3 lbs, 7 oz and crying. Praise God. I received this email at approximately 4:30 EST. As I was leaving work. Getting on the interstate. I will remember that car ride as long as I live - tears streaming down my face as I sped down the highway, looking at the very first pictures of this sweet boy.

Since Tuesday, the blinks have all started to run together. My phone is attached to my hip constantly. Baby boy is of course in the NICU, and as an parent of a NICU baby knows (I had two ~ my son who is now 9, and Lil Miss last year), it is one giant rollercoaster ride of emotions. It's not day to day, and sometimes not even hour to hour. Often, it's minute to minute. In the past 2 days, he has had highs & lows,but overall is doing very well for a peanut his size. His prognosis is excellent, and he has the two most doting and loving parents in the world there with him every step of the way.

And yet my heart aches. Some moments unbearably.

My heart aches for them. After everything they have been through in the past year. The one year anniversary of the loss of their precious daughter mere days away. And now having been through the scare of the past several days, and having their son lying in the NICU. Dear God, how much is one couple expected to take? I pray that He gives them the strength. I pray for her physical recovery. I THANK GOD that they are the amazing, loving couple that they are, the very best parents that this little boy could possibly ask for.

And my heart aches for him. For that sweet, sweet baby boy. I close my eyes and I see his little face. I see his crazy toes, just like Little Miss. I see his dark, fuzzy hair. I see the soft downy still covering his skin. And I ache for him.

I see what could have been. And it hurts. With every fiber in my being, down to the depths of my soul, it hurts.

I am in a strange kind of limbo right now. And honestly, feeling somewhat selfish for even acknowledging my own feelings, knowing what his parents must be experiencing.

I continue to pray fervently that God watch over him, that he is quick to heal and grow, and is soon home with his family ~ where he belongs. I would ask that you please do the same.

Welcome to the world, sweet boy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

I realize the phrase "calm before the storm" implies a negative connotation. But in my personal experience, it can also refer to some of the happiest and most cherished moments life has to offer...

For instance, late on Christmas Eve (or early on Christmas morning), I love looking around the living room and soaking up every bit of it. The tree, the lights. The nativity. Almost 20 years worth of homemade ornaments. The snowmen, the angel atop the tree. And the piles and piles of brightly wrapped packages. For that moment, everything is peaceful. Still. But shortly after sunrise (if not before!), the proverbial storm swoops in and what had previously been a near-perfect moment is now transformed into one of those rare moments of utter and complete joy.

Excited screams. Grins from ear to ear. Hugs. Thanks. Laughter. Sometimes ~ if the gift is perfect enough ~ tears...

That's the kinda storm I like. And it's the one brewing thousands of miles away from where I sit.

Now that the 30 week milestone has come and gone, I've found myself almost in my own version of "expectant father" mode. I am constantly checking my phone. Making sure I didn't miss an email, text, or call. Always taking no news as a sign of good news, and blissfully it has been just that. The nursery is ready. Little outfits (I'm sure!) hanging in the closet. And best of all ~ a mommy and daddy just bursting with anticipation and excitement.

The impending arrival of Lil Man is felt silently yet heavily in our home. With Lil Miss becoming busier, chattier, and more toddler-like by the day, I find myself missing those precious baby moments. A soft (and still!) hug. A quiet moment. Those sweet cooing sounds. For us, those have been replaced by flailing, excited hugs (if you can catch her as she's running by!), giant, wet kisses (love those!), and shouts of "Mommy!", "Daddy!", and "Doggie!" The other night, I took out the photo album from her early months. Amazing to think it was only last year....

As I flipped through the pages, I started concentrating intently on her tiny fingers. Her crazy toes. The shape of her eyes. Her little button nose. Her waking and sleeping facial expressions. And wondering. Wondering how much he'll look like her. His biological big sister.

I think that is the reality that has been hitting me more & more. Yes ~ there are also four biological half-siblings. Ones who are older and don't have quite the stake in this that she does. What will she think? How will she feel? Knowing it could have been her? I want to believe ~ have to believe ~ that if we follow the path we discussed, remaining as open and forthcoming as possible, telling her how very much we loved each and every one of those babies and were going to do everything in our power to help them, that she will understand. That she will be grateful knowing she wasn't the only one given a chance at life.

And yes, of course, there is also a part of my heart that sits in waiting. Waiting, upon seeing images of his sweet face, to leave my body forever. Just as it did when I delivered my five children. So a piece of my heart will go to their sweet boy as well.

But I continue to believe, and have steadfast faith, in knowing that the piece of my heart will be just one of many. So many people already loving this little boy, counting the days til his arrival.

And so we wait. And we pray.

I love the calm before a storm.