There has been so many things going on (emotional and feeling wise), that I feel like I need to get them out. I want to be able to look back one day and read what I went through. In my last major pregnancy update (which you can read about here) I kind of went on a little rant and I got lots of messages from people (and texts from my mother) all worried about me. I guess just based on that post alone I did sound all mad and depressed, but I PROMISE that these were just some thoughts and emotions that Nick and I were going through for a small moment here and there. It’s normal for anyone to be upset when told there is something wrong with your baby which requires major surgery, and if I wasn’t thinking these thoughts and feeling those things, then I think that warrants for more concern. So I am here to tell all my friends and family who I don’t see face-to-face that often that I am truly okay! For the most part I feel I have taken everything pretty darn well, and I am not sitting at home every night crying my eyes out and I am in no way in a depressive state (which would be totally normal given the circumstances). For those who know me, I am still my upbeat, positive and optimistic self. I usually have a smile on my face, and I’m still the outgoing and social person you all know me to be.
I do have emotional moments, but I’m usually listening to a song and thinking of what’s to come. I get overwhelmed with the idea that I will have to live in Edmonton for a minimum of 7 weeks, and that’s just if everything goes smoothly. Nick will be with me when he can, and so will my mom, but there is no place like home, so I’m not exactly stoked about the whole situation. Family and friends will visit when they can, and I’m grateful that I do have some family and friends right in Edmonton, but I’m scared that I’m going to get very lonely and bored (I’m a social person – remember!). I’m sure watching and learning to care for my daughter will keep me occupied, but it’s a long time in general to be in a hospital (they’re not exciting places. I would know – I work in one!).
I know it will all be worth it in the end, and in essence this will be a small blip in the grand scheme of things. I just can’t wait for the moment where Nick and I get to bundle our little girl up and bring her home and enjoy that first few days as our own little family with no one else around (I plan on not having any visitors for the first 24-48 hours that we’re home after being surrounded consntlistey by doctors and nurses the first month of our baby’s life).
Some other thoughts I’ve been having is I can’t believe how much you can love someone that isn’t even here yet. Feeling her move around is so surreal, and how I already love her so much and so unconditionally. I try to picture what she’ll look like, what kind of personality she will possess, what’ll it be like to hold her for the first time and how my life will never be the same (in a good way). I just can’t wait!
The last few thoughts that have been crossing my mind have to do with blessing, miracles and being realistic. I have received a few comments on the diagnosis, so I just want to address and clarify a few things. I would like to explain that while the diagnosis may change and alter a little as we go along, there is no denying the fact that she has a serious congenital heart defect that will require surgery. If there was any other hope of otherwise, I’m sure the doctors would have told us. The doctors are not wrong and have not made a mistake. I have ultrasounds every 2 weeks done by different techs and viewed by a different specialist at one of the top diagnostic imaging centres in Calgary at the Foothills Medical Centre – so it’s probably one of the best in Western Canada.
The heart is almost completely formed by 7-8 weeks in utero, so this will not resolve itself as she continues to develop inside me. The only reason the diagnosis may change (and it probably will) is because they will be able to see more as she grows. There is only so much they could see at 20 weeks through a uterus and amniotic fluid! The baby and heart are still so small, along with the arteries and vessels. Dr. Fruitman was very clear that there won’t be a clear diagnosis until she is actually born and they are able to do a direct ECHO on her without having to go through me. They will not even make a surgery plan until she is born, have all the facts (so multiple tests), and those results are presented to a bored of doctors in a conference setting who will decide the best course for action.
I am a religious person and believe in God. I do believe in miracles, but I’m also a realistic person. I think people forget that we live in an age of miracles. Just look at how far modern medicine and technology have come. Had this been even 30-40 years ago, we would be telling a very different story and dealing with a much lower success rate. There are already blessings and miracles that have occurred. We live in place with access to amazing healthcare and have doctors with amazing talent available at our fingertips (the Stollery has one of the top pediatric cardiology teams in the world!). Nick and I won’t have to worry about a single medical bill, and we will not be put out on the street to pay for surgery costs. We are told that our accommodation will be take care of as we are eligible to stay at the Ronald McDonald house just blocks away from the hospital in Edmonton, and through volunteers, will be feed dinner almost every night. It’s a miracle that they even detected the heart defect. So many babies are born without their defect detected (even here in Canada), and suffer worse consequences because of that. So while I am not praying for a miracle that my baby will be born completely healthy (because though I am an optimistic person and amazing miracles can and do happen, there needs to be a balance of hope, expectations and realistic answers to our prayers), I am praying for a miracle that the surgeon will be successful in performing the required surgery. That his hands will be inspired to know what to do, and that she will recover with little to no complications. Those are the miracles that I believe are realistic to wish and pray for. No matter what happens - what is meant to be will be, and we will make it though, no matter the outcome.
I don't know if you know who I am, but we're somehow cousins on the Lybbert or Martin side (my dad is Dale). My son was born at 28 weeks last March at the Royal Alex hospital in Edmonton. I haven't been to the Stollery with him, but I can assure you that Edmonton has the most incredible medical centres.ReplyDelete
I spent 10 weeks with Jack in the NICU. Words of advice from a "been-there-done-that" mama: leave the hospital. Walk around. Shop. Go for lunch. It will absolutely tear your heart in half to leave your little girl, but she needs her mom to be sane and taken care of. I cried every night that I left my son behind. But every morning when I got back I was ready for a new day. Get to know the nurses! Leave your cell phone number and ask them to text you pictures (if they're allowed) when you're not there.
Please feel free to add me on Facebook. We're still living in Edmonton and I'm pretty close to the Stollery if you need company or I'd you need to get out for lunch or something. Seriously. I've been there. It's hard. It'll be one of the hardest things you ever do. But the rewards are huge. You'll never forget the feeling of completely bliss and being completely terrified at the same time when you see the doctor sign the discharge papers.
I'll be thinking of your family and following your story!
I definitely know who you are. I even recall my grandparents (Dean and Verena Lybbert – so Lybbert side ;)) talking about attending your baseball themed wedding (I believe our weddings were relatively close together too).
Part of me just wants to fast forward to the NICU part (as bad as that sounds). I know it’s coming, so I just want it to be here so I can get it done and over with. Waiting around thinking about what’s to come is almost worse. Oi
I’ve had a few offers from people I know who live in Edmonton to take me out for lunch and visit me, but I’m very interested in your offer because you’ve been where I’m going and sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone who’s been through it because they TRULY understand and get it. I’ll be sure to message you when the time comes (Mayish…? Maybe beforehand like in April when I’m sitting around waiting to go into labour.)