Friends, I apologize for such a late response to the post on Monday.  The past couple of days have been filled with tons of feelings and it has been hard for us to put into words exactly what we went through.  I sat down yesterday for three hours trying to come up with a post that would explain what happened and also to explain how I felt.  Writing the day down on the blog made it seem like it was nothing when it actually was something that is still on my heart today.  I appreciate the support that we have been given by all of you - trust me it has helped far more than you will ever know.  But, sometimes I feel like nobody truly understands what I am feeling unless they have been in my place.  I know we must all feel that way at times....like we are going through our trials all alone.

As most people were enjoying their day off from work, we received a grim phone call from our doctor saying that Maralee's veins were no longer taking her I.V.'s and she would need to go to Children's to have a surgical procedure done.  Maralee has been on two different antibiotics, one for her staff infection and the other for her yeast infection. For her to be given these medicines, she has had to have two different I.V.'s because they can not be mixed into the same vein.  Since her birth, she has been stuck in all possible locations - heels, legs, arms, even her head.    The nurses had been warning us that it was possible for the meds to break down her premature veins.   On  Monday, they made several last chance attempts to stick her - they even went as far as to shave her little head in spots to get a prick - but nothing would stay.  Her veins were so weak that the I.V.'s were literally falling out.  So, the doctor told us that Children's would need to come and get her so they could do a surgical procedure for her to have a method to permanently receive her medicine.  Basically, they would need to cut an incision into her neck or leg so the medicine could flow directly into the stronger veins  that are found deeper within the body (very similar to a "port" for cancer patients to receive chemotherapy). Of course she was going to need two incisions because of the medicine - the emotional side of me could only think of the fact that one of my daughters was likely now going to have two large scars on her beautiful little neck.

Soon, we were heading north to meet our girl at the hospital located in downtown Birmingham. We weren't sure how long she would be staying at Children's so I packed enough clothes for a week and Raleigh decided he would stay the night and then decide if he needed to head back to Montgomery.  It crushed me at the thought that I wouldn't get to see Adeline for a couple of days but I couldn't bear for Maralee to be all alone either.  So, Raleigh's mom came to stay in Montgomery with Adeline and we went to Birmingham, along with my parents for support. Driving on I-65, I thought it was slightly ironic that she was being treated at Children's because that hospital was one of my accounts when I worked at the American Cancer Society.  After all of those visits, never did I dream that I would be visiting for my own child.  Walking through the cheerfully decorated corridor, we located the NICU and met our new nursing team.  They informed us that they would first attempt to insert a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line into her and if that didn't work, which was likely, they would have to do the surgical procedure.  So we sat.  And we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Late afternoon, we were finally allowed into the NICU to see our daughter.  It was interesting walking into a new NICU - they were the same yet very different.  It just didn't feel like home but we knew it was a great home if that makes any sense.  When we located Maralee's new incubator, we were told that we could visit with her for a little while, and then the nurse would try to insert the PICC line.  It was a relief to finally see her - I knew she was safe but it was still nice to look down and see her beautiful face.  After our short but sweet visit, we left to get some dinner so the nurse could have time to do her thing.  My parents treated us to P.F. Chang's but I wasn't in the festive mood.  It was hard to even make conversation because all I could think about was Maralee.  When our food came, the savory smell filled my nose and I realized how famished I was from that stressful day.  After eating, I felt better and we returned to the hospital.

After more hours of waiting, we were finally allowed to enter the NICU.  By the grace of God, the PICC line was a success.  Thanks to a machine that allowed the nurse to see the larger veins beneath the skin, she was able to locate a strong vein in the pit of Maralee's arm.  This process is extremely less invasive to her body and decreases the chances of additional infections.  Also, they installed a dual-PICC line which required only one insertion point.  The new PICC will be permanent until Maralee comes home, she will not have to pricked anymore to receive her antibiotics.  I was filled with gratitude for the patient nurse who searched for a strong vein for hours and my heart lifted when I saw Maralee's sweet face.  She looked tired and I could only imagine the stress her body endured that day.  After telling her how much we loved her, we finally left the hospital late that evening to crash on a borrowed bed.

Tuesday morning we received a phone call saying that the line was still good and she would be heading back to Montgomery!  We were so thankful that the trip ended up being shorter than we thought and that soon she would be reunited with Adeline.  When we entered the doors of Baptist East, we felt like we were coming home.  It was a joy to see the girls together again and to see the friendly faces of all of the nurses that we have come to love.

Thank you friends for your continued prayers.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, raleigh and christen

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