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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Message About Something Else

I am sitting in my living room, trying to watch "Miracles from Heaven", which should turn out to be a great film about miracles and such. Thing is, first they show the little girl getting sick to the point that her mother refuses to leave a hospital until she knows how sick her child is. Though I have never been in those specific shoes - I did have a baby spend her first month of life in the Hospital.

My daughter Geneva was born 7 weeks premature. She was sick, and small, when she was born - and I was sick too. She struggled at first to get stable. She breathed on her own from the start - only on oxygen for less than a day, the first time. A few days later, she stopped breathing in her sleep. They added oxygen again to help her not fall "too deep" into sleep. They told us, on day 7, that she was doing really well and could have visitors. We almost announced, but chose to give it a day.

That was a good choice, because our little victory did not last as long as we would hope. We returned to the hospital the next morning to find that she had been put into an isolette under UV lights. She'd developed Jaundice and was, again, not healthy enough for visitors. I only got to hold her for an hour at a time, once - maybe twice - a day. I was pumping breastmilk for her like crazy, and got my supply up to 8-10 oz with both breasts per pump session. I was vying to give her the best chance.

During this, I barely slept. The doctors worried that she was too small for her gestation point, and that she didn't move as much as others her age. I felt as though I were failing her. More days, than not, I felt helpless, confused, and powerless to help her grow. It was Day 19 when she finally improved enough to get more visitors. A few friends came by and adored her. She was learning to breastfeed and had finally lost her nasogastric tube, and learned to eat by mouth.

On Day 28, we went home. It was over, kinda. I was still supposed to be pregnant at that point. I took her to all of her Doctor's Appointments and we discovered that she - in all her smallness - had Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), something usually attributed to much earlier preemie babies. Essentially the retinas of her eyes were growing abnormal blood vessels; those were at risk of bleeding and causing scar tissue on the retina - which would cause blindness.

We kept our little one blindfolded from sun up to sun down - trying to keep the light away from her eyes, which would strain them. Extreme care was taken, and more breastmilk was made. She ate often and plenty. At 8 months old, she was cleared. One small scar that will leave her with a minuscule blind spot.

At one year old, she had caught up with her termie counterparts in all the physical areas, and was not far behind them in her development. Our battle was over, and now we get to just watch her grow into the young lady we hope she'll be.

Movies that feature sick babies or kids - just eat me up. They hurt my heart for the (yes, fictional) parents and for the kids.
Good movie though. Very cool.

Peace, Love, and Bulletproof Marshmallows
Mandey T

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