Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Special Thanksgiving

I've been very hesitant to point to specific people or acts for which I was grateful since the Bean was born.  I feel I must, however, just share one or two people or bits of service that were especially helpful.  I hope this isn't taken to demean or lessen the gratitude I feel for all of the faith and prayers and acts of service we received.  Please know we couldn't have survived this without them all.

The day after I went into the hospital, a gang of ruffians came to my house and mowed my lawn.  Seems so simple, but it meant that our house didn't look abandoned and Jon could be there with me instead of home mowing the lawn.

One lovely soul took the bummer lamb I was raising.  The bummer lamb who wasn't weaned.  The bummer lamb who thought he was either a chicken or a person, and so would break out of the pasture to hang out with the chickens or on her front porch.  I was so happy to not have to worry about Lambchop, and didn't want to have to prematurely "process" him.  Lamb formula is expensive and we had already been through an entire bag.  Thanks to her, our freezer is now full of the most amazing lamb you have ever experienced.  This was all after mowing my lawn with a broken mower and bringing Jon dinner the night I was admitted to the hospital.  She didn't ask what she could do...she just showed up.  Thanks, Rickie.

I have chickens.  They have to be let out in the morning and put up at night.  Their feeder and waterer have to be filled.  Their eggs have to be collected.  My next door neighbors, who have five kids of their own (one welcomed to the family in June...about two weeks after Mac was born) did this for me until the day Mac came home in September.  I didn't have to choose between getting rid of them and coming home before dark every night. It was a huge burden lifted.

I was admitted to the hospital on the 18th of May.  The morning of the 25th, I found out I was going to have to deliver three full months early as a result of pre-eclampsia.  I was unaware at the time of the ramifications of the fact that it was likely he wasn't going to make it and that the road ahead was long and steep.  I just knew I was scared.  At 2am on the 26th, my friend Maren walked into my hospital room.  Why, you ask, would this make me happy?  Well, she bought a ticket that morning right rafter she heard my news and just left her husband and two little ones and hopped on a plane from Oregon that night to come sit by my side.  For a week.  Not just anyone could have done that.  Maren has a skill set that was especially helpful; she is a neonatology nurse.  She answered my questions and helped me know what to look for.  She asked the nurses questions and told me what questions to ask.  She told me when to be nervous and when to relax, and helped me prioritize my concerns.  She explained the monitors and alarms and needles and wires and tests and vocab.  She bought the nurses chocolate.  She washed my pump equipment at 11, 1, 4, and 7 so I didn't have to get out of bed.  She and my sister made me freezer dinners, did my laundry, and held my hand.  They kept me sane those first days and weeks.

My little sister.  She didn't hop on a plane.  She hopped in her car with her husband and a six month old.  In addition to dinner and laundry, she and her husband D fenced and planted my garden.  She did dishes.  He rigged the feeder in my chicken coop to go up and down so the mice wouldn't eat all the chicken feed.  He entertained their little one (translate: he drove around a lot) so Laura could sit in the NICU with me.  That was most important.

Speaking of sitting in the NICU with me, that is what my super active mom did every day for three weeks.  She managed to do this without going postal.  Nuff said.

Jon and I drove 120 miles round trip every day in separate cars for over 100 days. This got very spendy...but not for us.  Employees at Vivant, where Jon's sister-in-law works, raised $500 for Maverick cards for us.  Jon's parents (in addition to driving an hour down from Heber several times a week to sit by the bedside of their grandson) gave us each a credit card to use for gas after the cards ran out, which happened very quickly.

This all in addition to the many many prayers and days spent fasting and faith of family, friends, and perfect strangers, if there is such a thing in this world. 

"The Lord does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other...So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds!" Spencer W. Kimball

I'm feeling especially full of gratitude this Thanksgiving season.

**Update: 22 November
I forgot two very important people. 

My best friend, Krista, also left her family and came out to be with me when Mac came home.  Krista had her own early one, and knew that it would be nerve wracking those first few nights away from the nurses and doctors.  She cleaned my  house, did my laundry, made us dinner, and gave me massages (she is a massage therapist...ahhhh).  It was heavenly just to have her here with me and I know it was a sacrifice for her to come out from Oregon.  She has been such a blessing in my life.

Jon's boss, the mayor of Mount Pleasant, not only gave him all sorts of time off the first weeks after McKell was born, but she then let him take off from work an hour early every day so that he could drive up to Provo after work to be with Mac, even just for an hour or two.  Not only was that excellent for him and Mac to bond, but I was in serious need of Jon's emotional support.  And while we are talking about work, how about all of the people who stepped up and helped with my classes the last two weeks of school that I missed.  God bless the people of  this community.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


We haven't meant to go missing, it's just that the last two months have been pretty crazy as we adjust to having the Bean home.

First of all, a reminder:

He was such a little guy, and so covered in wires and stuff.  This was taken just a couple of weeks after he was born.

This was taken tonight:

It's the same bear and, believe it or not, the same Bean.  My goodness, in case we were concerned he wasn't growing, I guess...

So, here's the skinny on life since the last post.

Mac had surgery for a hernia while we were still in the hospital. It went off without a hitch and he recovered really quickly.  He was well enough to come home four days later. We said goodbye to a lot of people we had grown to love.  I spent as long in the hospital as I have lived many places in the last 15 years.

Mac wouldn't eat at first.  He had reflux and threw up most of the small amount that went in.  He cried when we tried to feed him.  He cried when we held him.  He cried when we put him down.  It was tragic.  He was already on medication, but the first Prevacid he wouldn't take at all, and then we got dissolving stuff that he loved, but it still didn't make it all better, so the doc threw in Zantac for good measure.  It worked like a charm. He still wouldn't eat as much as he "should" have, but at least he wasn't losing weight and he wasn't in constant pain from reflux or hunger.

We had to make weekly trips up to Provo for eye exams to monitor his retinopathy, and I am happy to announce that he had his last appointment two weeks ago and was pronounced "out of the woods"! No surgery and no lasting damage to his vision.  It still isn't 100% finished developing, but he's old enough and it is good enough we're safe.  Halleluja.  Curious to know what those appointments were like? Go watch Minority Report...except that Dr. Carver was wonderful and his office was clean...but having things stuck in your eyes to keep them open and then having instruments jabbed into your eyes to move them around, well, it doesn't much matter how great the doctor is; that sucks.

I started back to work part time the beginning of October.  I work every other day and Mac hangs out with his Meema (I have no idea how to spell that). It is wonderful that he gets to bond with her and she spoils him rotten, which is OK by me.  I still treasure my relationship with my grandparents and want the same for him.

All in all, life is grand.  It is so nice to have him home.  I have never existed on so little sleep, but am functioning remarkably well and he is starting to sleep longer stretches during the night.  He is not a very fussy baby, though he does have his fussy times.  This is especially rare for preemies, so we are grateful.  Don't get me wrong, he fusses, but not for hours at a time and he isn't usually inconsolable.  Between his vibrating chair, his sling, and one of us walking him around, we can almost always find something that makes him happy.

We took a trip to Oregon last week and he didn't need oxygen the whole time we were there.  6K feet elevation makes a big difference though, so he still needs a little bit most of the time.  If he keeps eaing like he has lately, however, we'll be done with it in no time.

God is good. We're daily aware of how blessed we have been.  So far, we haven't seen any developmental delays, and there shouldn't be any long term health issues.  He brings us so much joy and we are so glad he is a part of our family.

And that outfit he is wearing in the above pic? Doesn't fit him any more.