Good Monday morning!
It is unreal to me that a week ago we were told that Maralee needed to go to Birmingham. How far we have come since last Monday! God has been so faithful to our family and has heard all of our prayers. First, Maralee has done a complete turn-around since Monday. Now that she has her PICC line, she is able to get her medicine without being constantly pricked. She started back on her feeds and now she is getting 10 cc's every three hours (a week ago she was getting no food, just the fluids to give her vitamins, fats, etc.). Both of our girls have been digesting the formula and they weigh 2 pounds 9 ounces. Last week they were around 2.4 so that is definitely an improvement.
Another great blessing that the Lord provided us is we got to experience Kangaroo Care with Adeline. *K- care is when a parent holds their preemie skin-to-skin. This helps preemies gain weight faster, leave the hospital sooner, cry less, have more stable temperatures, are more alert, sleep better, breathe better, and have more stable heart rates. It also helps parents not to feel depressed, interact more with baby, feel more important, and bond better. Research shows that when babies nestle against a parent's chest, especially with their ear over the heartbeat, the contact with the parent's body seems to stabilize the baby's breathing and heart rate. Feeling mom or dad helps to remind the preemie to breathe.
Holding Adeline so close to me was the best feeling. I actually got to touch her baby soft skin and feel the rhythm of her heartbeat on my chest. It was so cool. I could stay in K-care for hours if the nurses let me. Raleigh also got to try it and his heart just melted. Seeing those big eyes looking up at him made my husband hopelessly in love with that little girl.
I believe that God let us experience K-care to help us through last week. It was a rough week but that was his way of providing some sunshine on an otherwise dreary week. God has a way of surprising us when we least expect it. Neither one of us thought we would get to hold them so close to us while we were in the hospital so it was a very gratifying reward.
On a final note, I have been asking God to help me accept his peace. Through this experience, I have struggled with the fact that my normal means of releasing tension just won't work right now. I'm not quite ready to work out, I can't go on vacation to the beach, and it has been hard for us to have a date night without thinking about the girls. Whenever I'm not at the hospital, I start to miss the girls. It is an unusual feeling to be a parent but not really have the full responsibilities of a parent right now. I think that is why I have left this experience on my shoulders because it gives me a feeling of "doing" something for the girls. In some weird way, it is my way of looking after them. But, I have got to give that up because it is just too exhausting. I'm not myself and I can't carry this weight on my own, so I need to stop trying. Frankly, I'm tired and we still have a long journey ahead of us. So, I am trying very hard to give my worries to the Lord. They are his children and we just have them on loan. I thank him everyday for giving us these beautiful baby girls but I have to remind myself that they are His gift to us, not something I bought on my own. Yesterday, while taking communion, I felt His presence whispering to me, "Here is my peace. Take it child." I hung my head and accepted a small portion of what I needed most. I have been having such an internal battle of accepting his peace but I have begun to realize that receiving this is the only way I can release my built-up tension. If I want to unwind this tightly-wound ball inside of my chest I have to allow His peace to come inside of me. It is on me to ask for this peace because he continually offers it to me. Matthew 7:7-8 tells us, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
Till next time, let your light shine!
*The Premature Baby Book