Mirror Mirror

I wake to a drizzling rain dancing down my window and a groggy little boy by my bedside reminding me of a promise to get donuts before school.

As my eyes adjusted to the light, I realized I slept straight through a date with the pump which should have taken place around 4am. Needless to say, it was time. The thunderstorm that rolled through earlier that morning had caused a power surge in our home. Some lights worked but others weren’t working. Chris had already left for work so it was up to Cooper and I to figure out the apparent electrical issue. I checked the breaker box and everything appeared normal…at least to my untrained eye.

It is moments like these I realize just how much I depend on Chris. I need him, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

By this point, I was convinced I could feed a slew of newborns and went to grab the pump. I plugged it in and nothing. Okay, no big deal…went to another. Still, not working. After walking around the house, carrying the pump with a trailing Cooper just behind, I had checked nearly every outlet possible with no luck. Each time I got more and more frustrated and Cooper could tell.

Finally, I just gave up. Convinced I would literally burst and would deal with that hurdle as it might come. After an exaggerated sigh, Cooper looked up at me and said, “Mommy, on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, I learned when I get frustrated to count to 1-2-3-4. Can you do that, Mommy? Can you count to four?”

So I did. “1-2-3-4…”

Pleased, Cooper says, “And then you go like this…” He inhales a giant breath deep into his chest and lets it all out.

Once again, this little boy reminded me of such a good lesson. Relax and breathe.

Audrey is 38 weeks today, but 12 days old. The range of emotions I have felt over these past 12 days is vast. Even more than what I felt while still carrying her in my belly. I have felt some incredible highs and some deep lows. A couple of nights ago it seems I quite literally hit a wall. I didn’t even realize how tired I was. Or how a sense of complete overwhelm can make me feel so out of control. I didn’t recognize myself. Where did my strength go? It felt like looking in the mirror was a changed person, a person I wasn’t familiar with.

The help we have received, the generosity we have been blessed with, all of it is incredible. I understand that in life, we are all givers and takers at different times. Lately , I feel like the taker of all things. I want to give back, show appreciation, pay it forward.

Then, I stop. I breathe. I am reminded that this help is something I should say thank you for and move forward. Help, in every sense of the word, is probably going to be something I will have to learn to accept from now on. Audrey will need help in ways we cannot provide. The idea of being able to do it all is something I need to let go of.

That is a hard reality for me.

Luckily, my husband, my family and my friends love me anyway. In those moments when I have used up my strength and my happy is wearing thin, I have people who stick around even still. When I deserve it the very least. When I say, “Mirror, mirror…” and feel the least fairest of all, I know that I’m still loved. God’s good grace shines through the people in our lives and I am reminded, once again, to lean on Him. I am not in control.

Audrey bunny has made incredible strides since the last update. She was stuck on a proverbial plateau, yet since then she has moved forward and started rolling down the other side. She has been weaned off the vent, then to CPAP and now to a high flow nasal cannula. Her temperature is starting to self regulate, which would get her closer to being out of the “glass house” and into a hospital crib. Her PICC line has been removed and her feedings are up to 35mL every three hours. Yesterday, she and God seemed to have made a deal and she showed me her eyes. For probably two minutes, she worked her little heart out and seemed to look around and a couple of times appeared to look straight into my eyes…but it felt like she could see all the way into my very soul. I was alone with her, holding her little body, stroking the soft hair on the back of her head…right where the cyst resides. She just…opened her eyes. She woke up. For those two minutes I felt like she knew she was giving me a gift. I needed it badly that day.

Here is a snippet of this perfect moment.

This morning, Chris and I spent the morning hours alone with our daughter. We got the update on her stats. We cuddled with her and loved her. An amazing moment was when the nurse said she has been given orders to try bottle feedings up to three times each day depending on Audrey’s status and interest. We were here for the very first try! I got to hold her as this moment took place. It took a lot for her to try but she did, and of her 35mL, she took in 5mL. A success I would say. She still has her feeding tube in, so the remaining milk went through it.

Like I said, amazing progress. She still has some hurdles to overcome before she would be discharged, but she will get there in her own good time. No one is pushing or rushing her.

As I have said before and will do so again, thank you for your continued love, support and most of all prayers. You are warriors. Truly. You may not see her in person but know that she feels the benefit of your love.

Love and hugs dear family and friends,




8 thoughts on “Mirror Mirror

  1. Audrey is so blessed to have you and Chris for parents. The strength and courage you have will benefit Audrey in unknown measure. May God keep you and Audrey in his loving arms today and always.

  2. Sweet Rachael you will have everything you need to get through each and every trial and obstacle. God chose YOU and Chris to be his precious Audrey’s mom and Dad. He has you covered. Take care of yourself through this process my dear so you can reap all the joys to come. Cassie Travis and I send our love and prayers.

  3. Rachel, it is 4:00 am and I’m awake reading your post from yesterday. That was God’s leading and love for you that led me to your blog in the early hours of the morning. God has you, Chris, Cooper and Audrey in the hollow of His big hands! He will never let you go nor fail to supply you with the strength you need for today. God is faithful. When you are weak He will be your strength. I am praying for your encouragement and strength today and hope for tomorrow. God hears the cry of your heart! How do I know this? God has promised this in His Word and God always keeps His promises!

    Grace and Peace today,
    June Cromling
    (Julie Mesa’s Mom)

  4. Wow Rachel I can’t believe the progress! The hurdles u talked about on Friday have been resolved! We r all so thankful to God for these little miracles!! Love love Coopers costume!! The “A” is for Audrey right!!!

  5. Precious Audrey (and mom),

    PawPaw’s first night back home in Stillwater and already I miss seeing you two, hearing lots of tiny sneezes and the funny little snoughs (my sniglet for her sneeze/coughs) she seems to have once in a while. Two weeks old at 1:41 today, you continue to fight the good fight to defy the odds and make a place in this world. You have already found residence in more hearts than some do in a long lifetime I think. We are cheering from far and near for your simple yet complex job of eating/drinking from a bottle, perhaps your last hurdle to come come. Home! Wow, yes home! Words we have been fearful to utter as if saying it would change the reality. Talk of baby beds and home baby supplies, purchases of cute frilly little onesies, even socks! Your heavenly Father has been working non-stop to keep you safe and strong through countless prayers and with the blessed help of his angels in the NICU. He has also been working hard at work on the faith of your family as we marvel at His ways.

    A Baby Changes Everything:title of a song by Faith Hill. Yes you have. We love you baby girl, keep fighting, drink up!

    Love, PawPaw

  6. I love the bright shiny eyes of Cooper, eyes directly on Dad as he touches his little sister, perhaps wonderng, is this okay? or can I poke her just a little bit? or …… And Dad who looks just about as content as he can be, joy filling every facet of his being, for just this moment in time ❤

    Peace and love to you & the road you are so gracefully traveling~ Aunt Cynthia and Uncle Woody

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