Thursday, June 25, 2015

Welcoming Macy Jo: Part 2

I meant to write this follow up to part 1 of Macy's story a looooong time ago, but such is life with 4 kids.  I think about things, promptly forget, and then they happen (maybe) a month later.  So…yeah.

But I didn't want to not write this mainly because writing it down is my form of remembering.  So if no one but me ever reads this, I'm ok with that.  Well, I'll make my husband read it.  And my parents.  And my in-laws.  Ok, I would definitely be offended if I was the only one to read it.  I can admit that.

Back to Macy Jo…

After she was able to breathe on her own, things started getting much better.  The main goal was for her to gain weight and to eat.  She couldn't go home until she was off of the feeding tube (the tube that's sticking out of her nose) and she also had to be back at her birth weight (4.8 lbs).

Apparently, babies do not usually begin to have the suckle-reflex until they are about 37 weeks.  Because Macy was born at 33 weeks and 6 days, the doctors and nurses kept telling me not to expect her to even try to nurse until she was 37 weeks.  

But our Macy-girl.  She showed them.  She showed all of us!  At a whopping 5 days old, Macy latched on and started breastfeeding like she'd always known how.  (don't worry…I won't show you a picture of that. I'm pro-breastfeeding, not pro-let me show the whole world).  She would tire very quickly, so it was a day at a time.  Some days she'd try and others she was too tired.  

We had lots of awesome NICU nurses and we were SO grateful for the quality of care we received at Surrey Memorial Hospital.  ((One great thing about Canada: FREE MEDICAL.  That's right…we didn't pay one penny for Macy's amazing care.))  

Macy and I loved having visitors but none more than Ryan and the boys.  

The big brothers were totally smitten!

My in-laws helped so so much, especially that first week after MJ arrived.  They took charge of our kids and it was incredible.  When Macy was a week old, my mom flew in to help too.

Ryan's parents and my mom just seeing Macy for the first time

At 6 days old, all sorts of fun things started happening. I got to dress Macy for the first time...

…and she got the top of her incubator removed to start allowing her to regulate her own body temperature. 

I call this one Macy's "no! they put me in an ugly terry cloth towel" photo.

At 7 days old, Macy had enough wires out that she was able to have her first bath...

Those are definitely Ryan's hairy arms. NOT mine. Just want to be clear.

A cute swaddling blanket from Nana made the terry cloth towel a little more bearable. :)

 And a couple of days after that, Macy graduated out of her incubator and into a "joey bed."  I'm sure it's an acronym and I'm sure I'm slaughtering the spelling, but they called it a Joey bed so that's what it is.

The second week we were in the NICU really concentrated on Macy nursing.  Once she was able to get the hang of it, we knew we'd be able to head home.  In the meantime, it was a great week.

The boys came and visited more…

Noah had been praying for a sister since he was 3.  This is his first time to hold her. (tears)
I also had quite a few special deliveries show up during the week.  One of my favorites was Starbucks showing up in my room at least 3 or 4 times that week (thank you Heidi!!)...

Another favorite was this INCREDIBLE cookie bouquet sent to us by my folks.  They had my dear friend, Julie, owner of The Whisk, create this beautiful masterpiece. 

I also got to start playing dress up with Macy Jo.  Her being so teeny made it tricky but we found some things that worked!

When she was 2 weeks old, Macy did it.  She hit her birth weight AND nursed exclusively for 24 hours.  At rounds that morning, the doctors decided that we could go home that day!  We scrambled to find a preemie car seat (yes, there is such a thing), and I got packed and ready to go.  

The night she was discharged from the hospital, my dad flew in to town.  He came straight to the hospital and hung out with her until the dr released us.

There were so many things I wanted to remember from our time in the NICU.  Her first room. Her first bed. Every nurse that kept her alive and fed.  The Ronald McDonald house, where I stayed for almost the entire 2 weeks.  And then the day before we left the hospital, a good friend, who also happens to be a genius photographer, popped by.  As we sat and visited, she snapped some priceless pictures that really help me remember (almost) every detail of our hospital stay:

Thank you for these memories Melody.  I love you to pieces. 

… I think the thing I wanted to remember the most was what eventually came to be called "Macy's wall." 

 The wall changed and evolved every day.  The boys would draw on it (usually superheroes).  I'd write down scriptures that friends sent me.  People would sign it when they came in the room.  But the day we left to go home, that up there is what it looked like.  Those 4 scriptures remained on the wall the entire time, regardless of what else was written.  They carried me and reminded me of who Macy belonged to.  (The wall was also an interesting topic of discussion with every nurse we had.)

And then, just as quickly as we arrived, it was time to go.

Me and my girl in her room getting ready to go

It was so weird, and a little surreal, to be able to just hold her.  We hadn't been able to do this seemingly simple thing without the help of a nurse or without wires until this moment.  It was awesome.

And then... we were home.  

There are no words that are adequate enough to say THANK YOU to so many who prayed.  I felt so incredibly carried and covered during my stay in the hospital.  Thank you to those who brought food--we were provided with almost 40 days worth of meals.  You guys are amazing. And our family…again, I just don't have words.  The body of Christ is an amazing thing.

A couple of weeks after we came home, my friend Melody came to our house and did some candid shots with the family.  I'll finish Macy's story with these...