All Together Now

After all the hustle and bustle of landing home and then getting through Ben’s last week of school for the semester AND then the excitement/hubbub of Christmas, we have finally had the last few days to just be as a family of seven in our own space, without anything extra pressing or even on the calendar for that matter!

Take yesterday, for example.

It was a whopping, what – 5 degrees – outside? So really, the perfect day to stay warm and cozy indoors (and in pajamas), so that’s exactly what we did. No one went anywhere, not even outside to play in the snow because BRRRR!

Instead we napped (well, WA, TJ, and B and I did, anyway) and had screen time and played games and even managed to squeeze in Mama/Daddy Time with each of the Big 3 (not that Trumy doesn’t count; it’s just that he can’t count yet and therefore has no concept of time/taking turns with this stuff, plus he finds plenty of ways to have his own time with us).

Now, we’re not very good about doing this as often as we should, but much like a Mama or Daddy Date, M/D Time means each kid gets undivided attention individually with each parent for a set amount of time. I.E. 15 minutes to do whatever you want (minus screens) with one parent and no extra kids. That sounds incredibly minimal and simplistic (it is), but you’d be amazed at how hard it is to pull off because you have to have the other parent available to keep said wandering sibs away from your special time and it easily takes at least an hour+ to get the three 15-minute sessions accomplished. And then when you’re trying to do time with both parents in one day, well, there’s your afternoon, folks!

Although it felt like we dropped back into home life in a ding-dang whirlwind of mid-December chaos, I am so glad it’s the holiday break and we have the opportunity to be doing these “do nothing” days filled with whatever whims our kids or we can conjure. Of course it is not paradise and we are having as many kid squabbles as the next family cooped up in the same house day after day, hiding from the cold, but bless it, we needed this time together to acclimate, to regroup, to adjust back to our own “normal” after Wilson’s wild arrival.

As a friend pointed out to me last week, part of this normal is that we’re a Together Family. And it’s so true. We do the majority of our stuff together and the majority of it is close to home. That’s just how we roll (by not rolling much of anywhere sometimes). So the whole Omaha/Hastings split was extra hard because none of us are used to having one parent gone for any extended amount of time, much less both and for so long.

Since we’ve been home, I’ve noticed some residuals from our separation, mainly in the form of questions coming from The Middles about our (Ben and mine) whereabouts. Lincoln is terribly concerned, in the way of any good 4yo who can ask the same question 10 times a day, every day for a week straight, about our upcoming return trip to see Wilson’s surgeon in Omaha. He wants to know exactly how many sleeps we’ll be gone (none; it’s a day trip) and he’s got to ask at least four times to clarify that when we say zero sleeps we MEAN zero sleeps. And Raegan, too, had a moment during our newborn photos, when the baby and I weren’t quite done and ready to follow them home, where she turned to me, eyebrows raised and concern in her voice as she asked, “Mama, when are you coming home?”

These aren’t concerns we’ve had to field in the past because prior to November 22, the question of “When will Mama and Daddy be home?” was a nonissue. We were just always, more or less, together.

And thankfully, that is now the case once again, so much so that even in the multi-levels of our house, we can end up all in the exact same corner of the living room as a total coincidence of Family Time.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. img_8831



Bless it, my friends, we are finally home! I apologize if we were a little mum and sneaky during our last 24 hours at the hospital, but things started coming at us quickly, and we were just happy to comply and get the heck out of there as quickly as we could once that ball started rolling!

img_8569It began Wednesday afternoon with the Charge Nurse coming to tell us we could move into the Transition Room that afternoon. This is the before-home room that has its own door and bathroom (um! Hello and thank you!!) and a place for two people to sleep (due to other rules on the Unit, the other two nights we slept at the hospital with Willa actually meant me sleeping on a pull-out chairbed (that was acquired only by giving up my rocking chair) and Ben sleeping on the bench/couch thing in the waiting room. Nooooot exactly ideal). So we booked it over to the Rainbow House were we quickly packed up our stuff and checked out of there so we could spend the final two nights in the TR instead. The Rainbow House has a waiting list right now, so we were very happy to give up our spot for some other family in need of close lodging, and a couple nights early, to boot.

It surprised us how different the new room felt and we spent the rest of Wednesday evening getting semi-settled and ready to get Wilson through another night of feeds because we REALLY needed her to show a weight gain by 7:00a Thursday morning as this was the one thing the doc was really looking for after letting her go ad lib on nursing Wednesday. For our sanity’s sake, we kept up with the before/after weights on each feeding because the last thing we wanted was a surprise (in a bad way) Thursday morning!

True to #WonderWilson form, Baby Girl rocked it and even added an extra feeding in there, making her 7-7 total for her first day with no NG supplementation a whopping 94% intake via the breast. Amazing (& as a friend pointed out, good dang thing I have a lot of dang milk!)!!

We saw her doctor in the hall Thursday morning and gave him the good news (she did indeed gain by her official weigh time Wednesday night) and then while we were eating breakfast in the waiting room, our nurse came by to tell us that she’d heard a rumor we might be going home that day instead of Friday.

As you might imagine, our hearts leapt at this and we got


right to it with sending out all the hopes and wishes and prayers that that might actually happen, which we found out less than two hours later was very much indeed the case!

Because Willa showed so much progress and aptitude for feeding these last few days, and everything else had been cleared and done, they saw no need to keep her for one more day/night just to prove she could go home. So pack we did and by noon Thursday we were officially in our van, driving away from Children’s for Wilson’s very first car ride. HOME.

We could not wait to surprise the Bigs after school! And we couldn’t wait to surprise all of you with this fun and fantastic news, too!

From here, we know we enter a new period of chaos. Of course it is a much better, more familiar kind of chaos, but we still have a lot of adjustment to do as a not-so-little family. Not only do we have to recover and regroup after three weeks of crazy separation, we have to do the typical “Hi! There’s a new person in our house!” stuff which can be interesting even without such a wild, disjointed start.

To be perfectly honest, we’re probably going to hunker down a bit, and we hope you’ll understand if we’re not really out and about or big on visits right now. It’s not that we don’t want you to meet our Sweet Wonder Girl – we very much do – but we also want to stay mindful of many things right now including Cold & Flu season (our doctor flat out told us to avoid crowds and playing “pass the baby” anywhere) as well as the fact that we’re probably going to need about as many weeks as we had at the hospital here at home before we really feel settled. And while we’re flying high on adrenaline and love right now, I’ll warn you that there may be days when I flat out can’t talk about it because the whole thing has been surreal and it is going to take time to process before I can maybe have normal conversations about it all. Please don’t take it personally if I 1) burst into tears and/or 2) change the subject on you the next time I see you!

Please also know that I will continue to post updates and pictures for you and that we appreciate so very much all of your continued support up to and beyond this point in Willa’s story. You all stepped up to help and provide and love on us when we needed it the most and even though it took longer to get home than we hoped, we know you all helped us get here as smoothly and quickly as possible.

And a huge shout out and thank you for understanding as we give Wilson and all the Bigs (and ourselves) time, space, and grace on this much-anticipated, much-appreciated time of re-entry. Besides trying to acclimate back to our own house, we’re trying to do as much of this (line-free snuggles) as possible: img_8641

Go Fly

After a handful of steady days of a steady plan (and slow but steady progress), we hit a hiccup with Wilson’s feeding that started Saturday overnight and definitely carried over through last night and this (Monday #3) morning.

As you might imagine, any sort of setback at this point is pretty frustrating because we NEED that steady progress to happen in order to go home, so B and I hit the ground running this morning with the attitude of “What can we do to turn this around (and no offense to the nice folks of Children’s, but…) to get the heck out of here?!” Thankfully some of those nice folks are very much on the same wavelength as us and so a new approach was hatched.

Starting tonight we will not be sleeping at the Rainbow House. Instead, we’ll be here in the room with Wilson for the next 48 hours, breastfeeding around the clock (instead of the bottle feeds that had been happening overnight) in hopes that that is what it takes to get enough in her system so we can meet those benchmarks that actually get us out the door. So, essentially, we are going to do a normal newborn schedule in the most not-normal environment and pray that it works (and works well)!

Hence the feather. img_8132

Confused? Let me do my best to explain…

Remember the Tembo post and Wilson’s animal connection to the elephant? But also how she had previously been tagged as a bird because of all the feathers I saw during pregnancy?

After I shared that post, a friend wrote to me about the symbiotic relationship between elephants and birds which I had forgotten about until she brought it up, but as soon as she did, my brain instantly clicked to the thought: allllllll of those feathers I saw were still signs, just not for the baby, but for her helpers (Still with me? I promise, this does all make sense). Remember in Dumbo how he uses the feather to boost his confidence enough to “fly” for the circus act? That feather was his helper and all of you have been Willa’s (as well as our) feathers in the last three weeks, helping us navigate as best we could through our family’s biggest time of challenge and need.

Seriously. We could not have made it this far without your love, prayers, messages, meals, rides, letters, gifts, and all the other goodness you have sent our way.

And now we are calling on our feather-helpers for what we hope is one last big push to get over the hump with feeding so we can go home to do actual newborn things in an actual normal environment because that would truly be the greatest blessing of all. Please keep those hearts and prayers lifted, your fingers and toes crossed, and all the good vibes coming because our Little Miss is so, so ready to fly.


The H-Word (Revisited)

A few weeks ago, on the after school pick-up run, HD hopped in the van and said, “So-and-so said the h-word!” Out of sheer curiosity, I responded, “OK. What’s the h-word?” Well, bless HD’s sweet heart and my hippy-dippy ways, because the answer I got back was, “He said it was hell but I know it is hate.”

Now, on Day 11 in the Children’s NICU in Omaha, I am pretty sure the h-word is actually Home, and if I’m being honest, it was dropped a little too soon around my anxious mama ears.

I have no idea when someone first said it here or even who that someone was (every day is a bizarre blur, especially since we started breastfeeding attempts), but I know it was right around or just before we hit the Week mark because Wilson was just blowing through every marker they had for her for progression all the way up until we started independent feeding. Then, we hit that wall everyone had warned us was coming.

And then, those mentions of the h-word quietly faded away in terms of soon, to be replaced by, “Well, when she does this…” with this meaning eats enough on her own (breast and bottle) and continues to gain weight.

As with any newborn, it’s very tricky to put a timeline on that this. So much depends on different variables and body parts and systems deciding to click and work together that we really have no idea if we are talking about a day or two or another week. Basically we just need to keep trying and trying to feed her until she recovers enough from surgery (again, every baby is different in terms of how long this takes) to be more awake and active during those feeding sessions and then, maybe?, we’ll know more about how long we might be away from our h-word.

In the meantime, we have been fortunate enough to be staying at the Rainbow Houseimg_8471 which is associated with Children’s and runs on a donation based system for families with Littles who are patients here. It’s is blessedly close (three blocks?) to the hospital, has free laundry facilities, a full kitchen you can use at your convenience, individual little lockers with a mini fridge and shelves for each room located just off the kitchen, and many nights meals are brought in by local groups from the community that are free to folks staying there. There is also a shuttle that runs every day in case you don’t have a vehicle to get you here. Plus as you can see from the photo of the entryway, it’s just beautiful.

Essentially, it is amazing and we are so thankful to have a spot there. To be this close to where Willa is makes a huge difference, as does having access to our own, prolonged “living” space and food storage. Because, let’s face it, for someone like me, the creature comforts of home are greatly, sorely missed right now.

As much as I may pour out here on the blog, I’m a fairly reserved and private person – an introvert who craves quiet as much as she craves music playing and sitting down with a “relaxed” cup of coffee, and her own bathroom (OK, that has nothing to do with introverts vs. extroverts, but you all know what I mean, yes?). Here there is no quiet. We are part of a well-oiled machine on this Unit, thank goodness, but with what is essentially a curtain for a door and all kinds of machines dinging at us or our neighbors all the time, and people* constantly popping in for one thing or another, my system is on stimulus overload more often than not. [*Side note: my brain is so desperately seeking signs of home that people on the Unit are constantly reminding me of folks from home. Often this means physical resemblance, but I was fortunate to have the same day nurse for three blessed days in a row and she sounded and spoke just like a friend from Hastings, which was so strangely comforting. Is this a NICU thing? Sleep dep? Survival mode? I clearly have no idea, but I’m grateful for all of you who have popped up here in spirit in these resemblances.]

Anyway, hence the leaky faucet face the last few days, but I stand by the claim that that is both normal and healthy and very much a given when your postpartum expectations suddenly get totally turned on their head. I mean, even ugly cries have to be scheduled because losing your shit behind a curtain is anything put private in a situation like this.

For Type-A planners like Ben and myself, it would be easy to slip into thinking that this experience is more like those first two h-words HD mentioned that day in the car. However, since WA is continuing to make progress (they continue to stair-step her up on her feeding levels, so between breast/bottle and NG, she is now up to 70mls of milk, so just over 2oz. every three hours), we know the actual h-word is coming….just as long as we stay patient and give her the time she needs to be able to thrive once we get there.

Of course I would like it to be sooner than later, but I know I need to back the h-word off the whole thing because the last thing either (any) of us needs is more pressure on the feedings to magically take off.

So. Deep breaths. Sweet snuggles when we can. And finding other ways to get that much needed space or quiet that keeps us calm and moving in the right direction.



Little Tembo

As a mama and especially as an English teacher, I reserve full rights to edit, and edit I am with Wilson’s designated animal. If you are unfamiliar with our little animal babies, check out more of the back story here, but for the short version here’s the low down: every single one of the little Welschies very much embodies, from the womb on, a certain animal and we honor that after their birth (and for years to follow).

Months ago, I wrote about the babe who now know as Wilson and I predicted an “early bird” (species undetermined) for various reasons. One of the main reasons was the fact that I kept seeing feathers of all shapes and sizes EVERYwhere and that trend very much continued all the way through her pregnancy.

And then she was born in a whirlwind and while she came in the very early hours of her birthdate, she was in fact my only babe to be born on her due date, so nothing early about that.

And even though my sleep deprived mind will tell you that I was totally convinced I saw a huge feather shaped cloud in the sky as we drove to Omaha that same morning (no photo proof because, hi, I was driving and B was sleeping), since then I have felt drawn very much to an animal that is way, way different than a bird. Like totally opposite.

Enter the elephant. And I promise, there are several good reasons for this shift.

On the day of Wilson’s surgery, a friend sent me a link that I’m fairly certain I’ve read before but on Thanksgiving it reduced me to a puddle of mush in the OR waiting room because, TRUTH. I don’t often share big quotes from other places in my post, but for the connection of the animal to Wilson’s arrival, take a second and read over this absolute gem from Jen Hatmaker:

“A few months ago, my girl Nichole Nordeman sent me a picture and a story.

It’s about female elephants. You know, as all good stories begin. See, in the wild, when a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so that the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of badasses.

They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through 40 tons of female aggression first.

When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds.

Scientists tell us this: They normally take this formation in only two cases – under attack by predators like lions, or during the birth of a new elephant.

This is what we do, girls. When our sisters are vulnerable, when they are giving birth to new life, new ideas, new ministries, new spaces, when they are under attack, when they need their people to surround them so they can create, deliver, heal, recover…we get in formation. We close ranks and literally have each others’ backs. You want to mess with our sis? Come through us first. Good luck.

And when delivery comes, when new life makes its entrance, when healing finally begins, when the night has passed and our sister is ready to rise back up, we sound our trumpets because we saw it through together. We celebrate! We cheer! We raise our glasses and give thanks.

Maybe you need this too. If you are closing ranks around a vulnerable sister, or if your girls have you surrounded while you are tender, this is how we do it.

There is no community like a community of women.”

OK, so that is long, but do you get why this spoke right to my heart? Not even 48 hours in to Wonder Wilson’s life, our circle, my circle, gathered tight around us even though we were miles and miles from home. And I am never going to forget or stop being amazed by the love and support that has come from this circle and our community as a whole. Incredible.

When I messaged some of my girlfriends about this sudden animal shift and my bird hesitation, one of them wrote back almost instantly to say “What about Dumbo? A FLYING elephant!” And this is why I love my friends, because I had totally already thought the same thing.

That, naturally, led to me remembering and then Googling the lullaby from Dumbo, “Baby Mine.” Note: do not Google lyrics to a weepy-inducing song while eating a snack in a hospital cafeteria. It does not end well.

In case you are not familiar with said lyrics, let me share:

Baby mine, don’t you cry.
Baby mine, dry your eyes.
Rest your head close to my heart,
Never to part, baby of mine.
Little one, when you play,
Pay no heed what they say.
Let your eyes sparkle and shine,
Never a tear, baby of mine.
If they knew all about you,
They’d end up loving you, too.
All those same people who scold you,
What they’d give just for the right to hold you.
From your hair down to your toes,
You’re not much, goodness knows.
But, you’re so precious to me,
Sweet as can be, baby of mine.


Now the context is off and certainly no one is making fun of Wilson or giving her anything but love, but this is the first official song I played for her (and it took me over a week to get to her first song, if that tells you anything about how off our world has been) because she is my baby-baby and we’re here doing every last thing we can to get her home and back to the rest of our, pun intended, herd.

To top it all off, according to the Interwebs, elephants symbolize not only strength, but also patience and acceptance, which in case we didn’t all figure out months ago, Wilson has been teaching me/us from the womb.

So. Our sweet little Tembo (elephant in Swahili) she shall be. Her daddy even found the most perfect little elephant at the Children’s gift shop with, you’re seeing it correctly, a bird on its trunk, and surprised us with it yesterday. It’s perfect. So is she.


To See Both Sides

Today marks one week for us at Children’s. I’ll be honest, most moments I still can’t quite believe we are here, and much less that we’ve been so for an entire week, but try as I may to stiff upper lip my way through each day, the toll of being here is starting to show.

The second I say that, however, I remember that we could have been sitting here for at least 48 more hours beyond today just waiting for WA to have a bowel movement, but she crushed that milestone last Saturday which has led to her jumping hurdle after hurdle since and so maybe what I am experiencing right now is emotional whiplash as much as anything.

Honestly, I think we’ve had our heads spun pretty much every day during our time here which is perhaps why it feels way longer than just a week and also like the time has flown by in a blur. B and I decided this morning when we again walked into a “Oh, my. Really?!” morning update on her PIC needing to come out (which then led to us attempting to exclusively breast and bottle feed today) that literally EVERY morning has been like that.

“Oh! She pooped already?! WOW!”

“Oh! She’s off the O2 and can start 5mls of colostrum via the bottle?! Amazing!”

“Oh! No urps and we can put her to breast?! Holy cow!”

“Oh! She can breastfeed as much as she wants?! For real?!”

Legit, that traces back over each of the previous four mornings and while all of those things have been gloriously good green lights, that doesn’t mean they have been stress-free announcements. I mean, we’ve been through this new-parent gig before, so I guess we shouldn’t really be surprised that nothing is going to go as planned/expected and thankfully things are still mostly going in a positive direction, but it starts to mess with your head and your heart when the timeline and expectations are constantly shifting like that.

I always tell people, the best parenting advice I ever received with Baby Harrison was that just as soon as you think you know what is going on, the baby changes. So it also goes for our experience in the NICU.

And that’s when I remember/realize that I’m a NICU mama now. It may still seem surreal, but we are in fact doing this because what choice did we have?

I’ve thought a lot about what landed us here in the first place – our “unknown omphalocele” and how it also has a “two sides” head-spinning story to go with it. The fact that we did not know about the omphalocele’s presence is still a little wild to me, but then again, everyone in the medical field has deemed Willa’s “small” so while it seemed scary big to us, we now know it’s entirely possible for babies to be born with much, much more on the outside of their abdominal wall than what she experienced.

We also learned, on Day 4ish, that we are actually lucky she got have surgery at all and that again, all the medical folks around us were a little surprised that they scheduled her for her initial procedure as they did. Most kiddos have to go home until they grow enough for all the contents to go back in, or they have to do surgery in multiple stages.

This felt like some sort of secret we needed to keep close – like we got away with something, but the more we talk to the doctors, the more we see that her size (another surprise element in all of this) is probably what helped our cause/her ability to have the procedure in the first place. Thank goodness because I can’t imagine what a wreck I would be if I’d been sent home with a newborn’s wrapped omphalocele to handle along side my other four children for X number of months. And I’m glad I never knew that was even an option until AFTER the surgery was done because wow, the added stress of her already stressful first two days would have been intense.

Another hidden blessing of the omphalocele bringing us here when it did? The blocked bowel that presented Thursday morning just prior to surgery was also unknown until that day, so had we not already been here Wednesday, we would have just been here a day later anyway and under perhaps even more duress.

The other thought that has been floating around my brain since roughly 6:00 a.m. on November 22, when I was literally driving down I-80 five hours after delivery, was just that – Wilson’s labor and delivery and what it could have been like had we known the omphalocele was there. I haven’t had time to talk to my doctor about this yet but had we known it was there my guess is I might have been sent off to Omaha to deliver or even possibly been told that I needed a c-section.

The flip side benefit of knowing would have been proper prep for the Bigs and better packing for myself and Ben. But I can’t really imagine either of those outcomes being less img_8332stressful because neither would have given me the joyful delivery I had at MLH (one of the nurses said I was going to laugh out the baby at one point but Wilson’s size actually left me a little incapacitated on the bed because my normal two-contractions-and-out strategy felt a little different with an almost 9!). And quite frankly, even more time away from my other babies prior to this baby’s arrival would have been hard on me because there is no two sides of being split from them. Either way you look at that, it’s rough and a big contributor to an achy heart and leaky eyes these last few days.

Of course, as overwhelming as all this has been, we really do know that we landed at the right spot with the surgeon, doctors, and nurses we needed to be our little fighter’s great champions. We might find ourselves surprised at each morning’s developments but clearly they see Wilson’s strength and are doing everything they can to run with it, which is exactly what we want to do, too.

P.S. For the record, I think she looks a lot like her bookend buddy, Baby Harrison.


First Flight + First Surgery = First 48 Hours

In hindsight, it wasn’t just Wilson’s first few hours with us that were intense, but pretty much the whole first two days. I will forever be thankful that she was non-emergent and there was no rush to get her anywhere for care, but I will also be forever blown away by all that did transpire upon her arrival earthside.

When we had the Bigs here with us on Friday, we asked them, “Did you guys know that Wilson flew on a plane before she rode in a car?” (technically she was transported in an ambulance first to get to the “fixed wing” with the Transport Team from Children’s, but still – that’s not a car either). Their eyes bulged with this revelation, as did ours really, when we found out it would be happening. Again, this choice came from the fact that she wasn’t in need of a life-flight. She just needed to get to Omaha smoothly and swiftly and the little plane with their three-member team and transport isolette was the best way for her to go.

There was no room for either of us to join but that’s maybe for the best in hindsight, too, because I think it would have been really unsettling to be worried about every little thing going on in that plane in real time with real eyes on her. Not that knowing nothing while driving along behind her was exactly great either, but I digress.

As frantic as Ben and I were to get home and then get on our way to Omaha, once we did, it turned into a very long day of waiting to find out exactly what would happen with Wilson during our time here. We had been told she needed surgery to fix (i.e. put back in) the intestines that were in the omphalocele, and I think we both assumed that would happen Wednesday upon our arrival to Omaha, but we didn’t actually meet with the surgeon until late that afternoon which clearly meant nothing happening that day (except the getting a place to stay and getting a new breast pump and starting the process of arrangements for the kids back home and pretty much everything but sleeping because why would anyone need sleep after 30-36ish hours of mostly being awake and also pushing out a baby?).

Our first thankful for Thanksgiving was that Willa (I already find myself calling her both which is confusing my fuzzy brain even a bit more than normal) would in fact get to have her procedure. We didn’t know if the holiday would mess with things, but they scheduled her for an 8:00 time slot Thursday morning and we were thrilled to be there a little before 7:00a to spend time with her before walking over with her to the OR floor.

Then, of course, more waiting. We anticipated 1.5 hours but naturally they still had to get everything set and I don’t think things really got going until 9:00 or so. And then a fair amount of time passed (Ben’s parents were here waiting with us; my parents were hanging with the kids in Hastings) before someone came out to update us that Wilson was doing great but that things were going to take longer than expected.

Alrighty; not terrible news but also not really news, either, which I get for the sake of people in waiting rooms not getting on Google the second the med pros walk away, but it doesn’t exactly leave a mama with a sense of peace, either.

By noon, my anxiety levels were High. I could not figure out what was going on with our baby and after pumping for a second time in the OR Lactation Room, I had Ben run back across to the NICU floor (they are in different buildings which has rightfully been a wee bit confusing for folks) with my milk, only for that to be the time the surgeon came out so she (Oh, yes, my friends. #WonderWilson has been surrounded by #WonderWomen during her entire existence) could update us on WA’s procedure.

And that right there was when I learned about the blockage in her bowel that they discovered and which had to be removed (and then the whole rest of the bowel had to be checked for obstructions/visible issues) in addition to the intestines making their way back inside.

Oof. That is a lot to take in about your 36-hour-old newborn’s health and without your husband by your side in the doing so.

img_8362Added to that, even though we knew things ultimately went well and everything was back on the inside and connected as it should be, the surgeon warned me that we could be looking at more like a month’s stay instead of the week or two that we originally thought because everything was going to need time to heal and then see if it could function properly (i.e. poop was main goal and just the first one of those could take a week in coming).

For clarification, that’s when I lost it. Tears streaming down my face, trying really hard not to ugly cry until she walked away, LOST. IT.

I knew Wilson was fine, but the thought of being away from home for that long and away from the other kids pretty much tore me in two in that moment. And unfortunately I was still under the impression at that time that the Bigs weren’t allowed on the NICU floor AT ALL, so the whole thing was just beyond overwhelming to think of our family being split like that for so long. To be honest, I don’t know when clarification came – sometime later that day, thankfully – but siblings who are 3+ and potty trained can come on the floor if they are healthy and that little nugget of info saved me from complete meltdown for sure.

We were not yet done, however, with the waiting game for that day.

The surgeon also explained post-op that Wilson would need a PIC line put in for IV fluids to support her until feeds could begin (which had to come after the poo) and that if the PIC didn’t go in, a Central Line would have to instead and that would mean another operation. So mid-to-late afternoon, the NP started her first attempt with the PIC, told us it would be at most an hour, and we went to sit in the NICU waiting room. 45 minutes passed before we got the update that they while they got it in, they couldn’t get it go far enough up her arm to count so they came out to tell us they were trying again.

After another 45-50 some minute wait, we learned that one also didn’t work and that they wouldn’t be attempting again until during the night shift. As you may know from the FB updates, that overnight one DID work and all was well when we returned on Friday, but going “home” Thursday night was still an unsettled place to be for our heads and our hearts.

Thankfully, once we got beyond the 48 hour mark, the trend started to move up and up toward progress (and the kids got to come see us!), more of which I will detail for you in posts soon to come.