Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another Angelversary

On July 10, 2010 I was hurriedly released from the UW Medical Center at around 8 am. I wasn't all that anxious to be officially released when I was, but my nurses seemed very pushy that I go. I am so grateful for them now!

Ransom and I were shocked to find that there were no shuttles on the weekends so poor Ransom had to run (literally) to Seattle Children's to pick up our car and drive it back to me. We Ransom loaded everything into the car and were off to the hospital by nine. All I could think about was how excited I was to give Jonah his first feeding. I called the NICU a few times to make sure no well-intentioned nurse would beat me to the punch.

When we arrived to the NICU, we were escorted to a new room. After Jonah's brain shunt surgery, he had been transferred to a private room for easier nighttime monitoring. I remember as we headed deeper into the NICU we heard the loud screams of a baby. My heart hurt for that baby until I recognized that it belong to Jonah... then it ached! We walked in just as his nurse was trying to calm him down with medicine.

My poor baby looked awful. He was naked except for his diaper and had huge white bandages on his head and stomach. He was obviously in pain and it was all I could do to watch.

But as Ransom and I spoke to him, he caught our eyes with his and calmed down. Back to his peaceful self.

Soon I was finally able to feed Jonah. I wanted more than anything to breastfeed, but his doctors needed to monitor the amount. If you remember from this post, the feeding did not go as well as I had hoped, but the bonding I was able to share with Jonah soon afterward made up for it in so many ways.

As I continue with my memoir of Jonah's days on earth, I now find myself at a crossroad. I can write about the next several hours in two different lights: the heartbreak and shock or the unbelievable closeness to heaven that few get to experience. I feel that I've shared enough of my feelings of sadness surrounding this day.

Jonah was not meant to live a normal life. He was not meant for longer that the 55 hours he was given. He was needed in heaven. And more than I felt any other emotion on the day of his passing, I felt so strongly that I needed to let him go.

His room became a haven for us. It was honestly like heaven had consumed it to make Jonah's transition that much easier. For those few hours, neither we nor our families could tell if Jonah's spirit was inside his body or not - I think because heaven was in the room.

When it was time to say our final goodbyes, the only tragedy we felt was our being left behind. We were relieved for Jonah, proud of Jonah, happy for Jonah. He had turned out to be every parent's dream. Perfect.

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2010

Becoming a mother and feeling like a mother are two very different things. On July 9th, 2010, I finally got to feel like Jonah's mother.

I could barely contain my excitement when I woke up that morning. I knew that it was only a matter of minutes until I would be able to hold Jonah for the first time. Ransom was busy getting everything ready for our shuttle ride 2 miles down the road to the Children's hospital but I was too excited to help! I didn't even think to put on a bra let alone pack anything we would need for the next few hours. (Don't worry, I did get a bra before we left- but not because I thought of it!)

Getting to the shuttle on time was stressful- I was totally bound to my wheelchair and Ransom had to hurry me downstairs, making an unplanned stop at the pharmacy, before racing to stop the shuttle driver (the shuttle only left every hour and we didn't have a car of our own). Luckily, the shuttle driver waited for us and even let down the wheelchair elevator lift for me. It was about mid-elevator lift ride that I realized why my nurses had pushed for me to change out of my hospital gown. Too bad I hadn't taken their advise and just had to laugh as the wind blew my gown wide open.

I remember how stressed Ransom was by the time he got all of our things onto the shuttle. And rightfully so- I was of no help to him. But honestly, NOTHING was going to get me down at this point. I was on my way to hold my son!

When we finally got to the NICU, I braced myself before entering Jonah's room. I was afraid of what I might see- tubes, wires, beeping noises- the typical hospital scene of the movies. But what I was not expecting, was seeing this completely normal, peaceful, sleeping little angel wrapped in a blue blanket. There was no beeping. There were no tubes. Only an IV and heart monitor hidden by the soft, blue blanket.

When he was finally placed in my arms, every hope, every expectation I had of motherhood was fulfilled. I felt so complete with him resting there. And I honestly forgot that I had ever feared for his life.

I held him as often as I could that day. It was all I wanted to do. Well that and nurse him; but I was trying to be patient about that. I knew that wouldn't happen until after his brain shunt surgery was completed.

For a few minutes Ransom left Jonah and I alone together. And during that alone time, I was able to do something I have never done before. I sung for someone... by myself! I didn't really think about what I was doing- the words just came out. They were the primary songs I had sung all my life, "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam", "I love to see the Temple", and "I'm trying to be like Jesus" -but they meant so much more to me now that I was singing them to my own son. And while my new inhibition of singing for another human being was amazing enough, what really blew me away was the sweet expression on Jonah's face letting me know that he had heard these songs many times before.

If the doctor hadn't walked in, I could have sung for hours.

The day was perfect. Ransom's and my families came to meet Jonah, I had gotten to hold and take care of him for hours, and his doctors were being very proactive with his care.

Late that night our doctors called with the good news that Jonah's brain shunt surgery had been performed successfully and he was back in the NICU.

I went to sleep happier than I can ever remember being.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Today is a special day. My perfect little boy was born 2 years ago today.

It was a beautiful morning as we drove to Seattle for my scheduled c-section. I barely noticed how nice of a day it was because of the nerves that surrounded me. But it was a day much like today. High 70s- low 80s and sunny. I do remember the sun- because the operating room I delivered in had a beautiful view of Seattle and the sun was shinning through the window. I should have known the sun was a good omen.

I had been thoroughly prepared by my doctors (well, as prepared as you can be) that my son's birth would likely be a silent one. That although my son was alive before his birth, being born might take that life. Or, if all went the best it could, he would live through the experience, but be on oxygen immediately.

So when I heard that scream- that blood curdling, "I'm here!" scream of my firstborn child, there was nothing in this world that could have prepared me for the instant attachment and love I felt. He was mine. He was here. He was OK!

I only got to spend a grand total of 45 minutes with my Jonah on his birthday- as he was taken to Seattle Children's Hospital and I was to recover at UWMC, but I will always remember that day when I first became a mother.

Happy birthday to my perfect, amazing, sweet Jonah! Please click here to watch his video and remember him with me.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fear

It's that time of year again- birthday season. Sweet Jonah's 2nd birthday is on Sunday and I am beside myself trying to figure out where those 2 years went. In some ways it feels like it's been 20 years since I've held him; but in other ways, just 2 months.

I've been in WA for the past two weeks spending time with the family at a reunion, celebrating the 4th of July, and visiting Ransom as he's been working in Seattle doing a law internship. I love being here! But being in my last trimester (29 weeks yesterday) and finding myself in Washington, celebrating the 4th of July, going to our family reunion, shopping for baby clothes with my mom, and sleeping in my old bedroom has kind of given me that deja-vu feeling. I keep feeling like I've done this before. And I have- except I was carrying Jonah.

There's the good and the bad to that feeling. It reminds me of things I had forgotten about being pregnant with Jonah. But of course, it also reminds me of what happened to Jonah. And I can't quite shake the fear that I'm headed down the same path that my last pregnancy ended in. Up until the past few weeks I could confidently say that I didn't have any fears related to the health of this baby. But now I find myself unconsciously preparing myself for the unspeakable. I have this reoccurring picture in my head of a second gravestone directly beside Jonah's with the name we've picked for this baby. I hate admitting to this fear because I know it's such an ungrateful way to celebrate the gift of another baby boy.

I'm hoping that this fear will pass with July. And that as we get closer to d-day, having had a few more ultrasounds and being back in Tucson, I will be able to believe that not all pregnancies end at the cemetery.

But until then, I am holding on to a few things:
1. The blessings Ransom and I received the day after Jonah passed away promising us that we would bear and raise many more children in this life
2. This scripture, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim. 1:7