She Lives.

The fact that you are taking a moment to read this proves how much you care for baby Audrey and our family. Thank you, dear family and friends, for loving our girl so well.

I sit in a dark hospital room, quiet with only the sound of the Medela Symphony to break up the silence. What an incredible machine this is. It allows Audrey to get the nourishment she needs all while giving me a sense of purpose. It works away while I ponder so many things, eyelids heavy…heart heavy.

There are so many details from these past several days in the hospital that I hope some day I will take time to document. Moments that were beautiful, scary, precious, deep and everything in between. Between Chris and I, we have felt an array of emotions, and as Carrie posted last night…they can change on a dime. In the beginning, I felt a bit guarded. I protected my heart and tried to take Audrey’s first breath, her first cry…my first look at her body…in small doses.

What if I let myself love her too much and we don’t get to keep her here on Earth?

But I fell. Hard. I fell into a deep love with my daughter. She has captured my heart. I need her.

As a parent, I wondered how you can have room enough to love more than one child equally and wholly…well, God is good. He grew our hearts and made the space for Audrey. Not only in Chris and I, but in Cooper, our parents and families and our incredible friends.

Cooper is a big brother. I love those words about as much as he does. He is becoming more and more comfortable in the NICU, each time he spends a little more time with her, talking, hiding her hand, asking questions. He understands that she won’t come home today as I am discharged from the hospital.

He does. But do I? Am I ready? I have no choice really. I cannot live here, I cannot move in and set up permanent residence as much as I would like to. No longer do I need to be a patient, now I must prepare to leave. It is time. Time for me to sleep in my own bed, next to the husband I adore, after tucking in the son who first stole my heart. I can do this. The God I believe in and trust will help me through this day. Along with the superheroes that make up my family. We’ll gather the beautiful flowers that have been sent, the baskets of goodies brought by and the supplies I need to continue to recover from home. We’ll spend time in the NICU with our fighter of a daughter…then, somehow, I will crawl into the car and stare in the rear view mirror as we make the 10 minute drive home.

10 minutes…that’s all. Some parents with babies here live hours away and they simply cannot be here as much as they so desperately want. I ache for them and praise just how close we really are. 10 minutes.

As Carrie so eloquently stated, our hearts will be in two places. I know, because I have seen it, that Audrey in being cared for by angels. The team of people providing her care is made up of loving, compassionate, dedicated and understanding people who, I am almost certain, must have wings tucked in their scrub tops. Thank God for them. I imagine, with the help of Unisom I presume, they are how I will sleep at night.

I know how important it is that I take care of myself so I can be my best for not only Audrey, but for Chris and Cooper too. It is so easy for me to forget to eat, or to stand for too long. My family is good at reminding me to
do these things. I must refrain from being stubborn or trying to be a hero because I am certain it would backfire.

The Medela Symphony has done it’s job. Of the 120 CC’s it helped provide, Audrey takes only 4 CC’s over 3 hours. This girl is SET! Another blessing. Some mama’s cannot provide their own milk to their fighting babies and this breaks my heart. Depending on Audrey’s needs, I could potentially donate some of my own at some point. What an incredible way to pay it forward.

The sun will start to rise soon and this day will truly begin and the hours that I am still a patient will go by too quickly. My sister (in-law really, but she feels more like a blood sister than the law calling it so) selflessly stayed with me last night after Chris and my incredible mama gave me their time and company this week. She sleeps as I quietly type away. I smile as I remember what a perfect evening she got to experience in the NICU with Chris and I. We have “touch times” every few hours throughout the day and 9pm is usually an important one. During that time they take more time beings hands on with her and we get to be a part of it. Last night I watched as Debbie carefully changed Audrey’s diaper. She was so gentle and Audrey was perfectly comfortable. A bit later, the nurse came over and she have Audrey a sponge bath. And we received a gift. Debbie watched as Audrey had her head turned in the opposite direction from Chris and I toward her, she quietly said “Look! Come look! Her left eye is open just a little!”

Sure enough, for the first time, this baby girl began to open her eyes. Slowly and barely. It was bright in the room but she kept trying and trying and eventually we could see both eyes. Wow. Answered prayer. We don’t know if she can actually see but it sure seemed like she was seeing something. All I know is that we were there. Chris and I, we both were there to witness this moment.

But it gets better, I promise. What would we do without our phones these days, am I right? We were able to immediately pull them out and start snapping photos and take live video of the moment…as this moment unfolded before our very eyes, I received a text. Annie, our friend and a woman who has been intentional and specific in her prayers for Audrey since even before we knew she was sick, texted me. The first line informed me that she and her precious family prayed specifically last evening that Audrey would open her eyes.

Let that soak in.

The timing, miraculous. A coincidence? No way. This is why I believe. Things like that don’t just happen…His hand is in this.

Thank you all. Each of you for YOUR special thoughts, prayers, visits, gifts, hugs, support and so much more. I do not know what even the next hour holds but for now, I smile and am grateful.

Love and bear hugs,
R

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8 thoughts on “She Lives.

  1. I can honestly say, I feel your pain for today. Of all the hard days we had with my pregnancy and Finn and the NICU, leaving my heart in a bed hooked up to wires to do home 70 miles away was hard. And by hard, I mean painful, heart-breaking, miserably hard. I am praying (and crying) for you on this moment to come. You can do it. God will provide. And yes, NICU staff are an amazing breed.
    ~Betsey

  2. Wow Rachel and Chris! We wait anxiously for each of yours and Carries posts, praying for continued improvement for precious Audrey. We too are certain God has all of you in his hands and we are so thankful for that and for all these miracles he giving you!! Take care of yourself so you can regain full strength and be ready for the days ahead.

  3. You have an uncanny way ability to move us to a place deep in the heart that is seldom revealed. I thinks it is the place we experience a glimpse of the power of God’s love for each of us. As I take it in, I hear the words of Kathy Trocollis song Hallelujahs where she sings” my soul wells up with hallelujahs”.

    Indeed Audrey has done what many foretold she would: touch the lives of hundreds at least. Only time will tell of the impact but already it is clear she has stolen hearts.

    As Rachel said to Audrey looking intently through her “glass house” walls: “what will your life be like?” We watch and wonder and imagine and feel ourselves drawn in to her little world. The shields and walls built to protect us from the pain of potential loss were no match for the power of this little fighting princess to melt our hearts. Yes we love her in all her unique differences. We will all love her and do whatever it takes to give her what she needs. I have no doubt you and Chris and Cooper have the strength to do all that is needed without all of us but I hope we can make the journey a bit easier by helping in any way we can. There are many who want to walk along side and do what we can.

    Well written Rachel. Thank you for this gift today.

  4. I have been praying for your family over the past few months and will continue to in the days, weeks and months ahead! Audrey is beautiful and I’m so thankful for all of the joys that you have witnessed with her over the past couple of days!
    Tessa

  5. Continued prayers – daily, hourly and by the minute for you and your sweet girl. Your love for each other, strength and faith are so strongly carrying you through this journey. Since Audrey’s birthday, this song popped into my head and these words keep going through my head when I think of you all…

    “Oh I believe there are, angels among us
    Sent down to us, from somewhere up above
    They come to you and me, in our darkest hours
    To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
    To guide us with the light of love” – Alabama

    Audrey Claire is a little miracle – revealing answers to your prayers each day. We love you and are surrounding you with love, prayers and big, big hugs, today especially. Please let us know what we can SPECIFICALLY pray for. We would be honored to do that for your family. xoxo

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us of this wonderful and precious gift from God. Audrey is touching the lives of many and we are all cheering her on! May God continue to offer daily miracles and may your family continue to find strength in the love of God, family and friends. Bless you. Sending prayers each and every day.
    Toni, Greg and Max Wolfe

  7. We are in your grandparent’s, Bill and Barbara, Sunday School class. We will continue our prayers for Aubrey and her whole family. You words from the heart have opened mine. My daughter had a child in NICU and her heart was as yours. I found great joy in the times we had with Freddie there. God blessed us in many ways through him and He will you also.w

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