Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 30--Happy birthday to me!

It started out like any ordinary day. I was planning on staying home with Evje and doing some laundry and some other chores around the house that have been neglected lately. Oh yeah, and it's my 30th birthday. Sigh.

I really look forward to my birthday each year; after all, it's the only day of the year when the entire world is focused on me. It is, isn't it? But this year I just wasn't feeling it. 30 sounds so old. I don't feel 30. I don't want to be 30! I want to be forever young, maybe 24 forever? 24 is a good age. Or even 26. But 30, ugh. Too old. So I was feeling a little glum, a little blue. Then I had two or three friends drop by with sweet and thoughtful bday presents. So nice. I have the nicest friends ever. They cheered me up pretty good, just by letting me know that they were thinking about me on my special day. THEN I got the phone call. It was Clayton.

Ok, somewhere along the line, Clayton's cell phone number was registered at the hospital as being our home phone number. Even though we've corrected it or thought that we've corrected it several times, the nurses still occasionally call Clayton first instead of me. Which is fine, except that sometimes Clayton can't answer his phone at work. So he gets a call from Elsie's primary nurse Bethany (whom we LOVE), who tells him that if we can come to the hospital, then we can hold Elsie. Clayton can't leave work, so he passes the message onto me. At first, I was kinda hesitant, because I didn't have a babysitter for Evje, I'd driven to SLC the last two days in a row and it gets to be a long and boring drive, it had snowed earlier so I didn't know how crappy the roads would be, and the last time that I had gotten to "hold" Elsie, I simply held her in my hands for like 5 seconds. I didn't know if it would be worth it for me to go to all of the trouble to get there if I was only going to be able to hold her in my hands for 5 seconds. I mean, I love my baby and I WANT to hold her, don't get me wrong. But it's a lot of work for me to get to the hospital. So I called Bethany to find out what was going on.

Turns out that every two weeks, they switch the babies' beds. You see, with all of the humidity and moisture involved in an incubator, there is the opportunity for mold, fungus, and other yuckiness to grow in the bed. So every two weeks, they switch the babies to a new, sterilized bed and then get the used beds cleaned. Today just happened to be the day that they were moving Elsie to a clean bed, and since they were going to be lifting her up and moving her anyway, it was the perfect opportunity for me to come in and hold her. And not just with my hands. Bethany said that I could hold her in my arms, for as long as Elsie tolerated it. Um, yes, I'll be right there.

Thank heavens for my wonderful friend Heidi who immediately dropped everything to come babysit Evje. Heidi is golden. I don't know what I'd do without friends like her. I texted my sister Mona to see if she wanted to come with me, because if Clayton couldn't be there, then it would be nice to have someone else with me. I raced into SLC. I hurried through the hospital lobby and into the elevators, this whole time with a huge grin on my face at the thought of what was to come. I probably looked kinda crazy, but I didn't care. I scrub my arms and hands very carefully, and then rushed into the NBICU Room 1. And then this happened:

Mommy and Elsie :)


 I got to hold my sweet miracle baby in my arms for the first time since she was born almost 4 weeks ago. She was light as a feather, and her breathing felt like the movements of a butterfly. I wore an open hospital gown so that I could hold Elsie skin-to-skin to help keep her warm. You can see the many blankets that she was bundled up in, also to help keep her warm.


We had to be really careful with her breathing tube and feeding tube that were still down her throat. The nurse explained that when she graduates off the ventilator & breathing tube and only uses a CPAP to help her breathe, then we can hold her more often. But now, if the breathing tube were to accidentally come out, that's bad.



She had her mouth gaping open like this for the longest time, even though she was sound asleep. It was soo funny. She looked like a little baby bird. While I held her, an alarm on one of the machines kept going off, telling us that her oxygen levels were high. Bethany explained that this was good, that it meant that Elsie was happy and content. I don't really understand the correlation between the two, but I'll take it. As long as her heart rate was normal and her oxygen levels were stable, then I could keep holding her. I whispered softly to my little Thumbelina that this was the best birthday present that I'd ever gotten. I got to hold her for about 45 wonderful minutes. Then the nurse took Elsie's temperature to make sure that she was staying warm enough, and unfortunately, she was getting pretty cold. I guess that's what happens when you have no body fat. So I had to give her back to the incubator.

On the long drive home, I spent a lot of time thinking. Thinking about Elsie and what a miracle it is that she is alive and well. Feeling the joy of finally being able to hold her in my arms. As I drove alongside the Great Salt Lake, the clouds opened up and for the first time in what seems like months, the sun came out and there was a big section of blue sky. It's been a long, cold, gray and gloomy winter. To see the sun shining on a blue sky seemed almost like a miracle to me. And at that moment, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I felt the love that Heavenly Father has for me and for Elsie. He knows us and He loves us. I felt it so strongly. I saw the beautiful mountains covered with snow, against the shimmering backdrop of the lake. God's creations are so beautiful. All of them. Elsie, even though she is too tiny to live on her own, is perfect and beautiful, because she was made in God's image. And if I have joy at being able to hold her in my arms today, I can't even imagine the joy that we will feel someday when we are in God's arms.


I guess 30 ain't so bad after all.

18 comments:

  1. The flood gates have opened. This post is absolutely beautiful. I love the picture of her mouth wide open. So glad you got to hold her!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I teared up seeing the picture this morning on FB, but now I'm really crying. I'm so happy for you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love happy birthdays. Now you'll always remember your 30th. She's beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Elsie is such a little miracle, love reading about her progress! I bet that was the best bday present ever!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can't imagine any better birthday present. In times of sadness & sorrow you truely found the light. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ruth! Keep shining sweet baby Elsie.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ok, that made me cry:) Glad you had such a special birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Riley: I am so happy you were able to hold her. I know that Heavenly Father cares so much about Elsie and your family. In the last paragraph I felt that Heavenly Father really was with you. I bet Elsie was so happy that her mommy finally got to hold her. Happy Birthday! P.S. Total jealousy that you got to hold her. I hope one day I will be able to hold her :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry Riley, someday you will get to hold her. And you'll be her favorite cousin named Riley! Love you, cute girl!

      Delete
  8. I'm so happy you had this experience on your Birthday. Isn't it interesting that in the most challenging circumstances, moments of extreme happiness can still take place? I'm mentally keeping track of all of them and relish your joyous times.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very moved by your wonderful miracle! Happy happy birthday, Ruth! God does live and love us each and every moment, each and every day. It is in our times of greatest need and greatest joy that our eyes are opened and we are able to "see and know". So grateful your birthday was one of the days of "greatest joy"! My heart rejoices for you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Words aren't good enough to express what I feel after reading this sweet post! How we love you, all of you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. So wonderful. I can't get enough of the pictures of you with her. What a wonderful blessing. And I know that Heavenly Father is aware of YOU and your family. He knows each of our struggles and helps to guide us along the way. Never did we feel it more than when it was the scariest with Sam. You are an amazing mom. Thanks for sharing this with all of us that care about you. Love you!
    April

    ReplyDelete
  12. Grateful hearts from St George! This is so wonderful and a very special birthday present for you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for sharing your beautiful insights - Elsie and Evje are lucky to have a 30 year old Mom!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ruth, this is Jen, Arthur's wife. I've been following Elsie's story, and I was so touched by these pictures. Happy birthday, and we are thinking and praying for your family.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Truly one of God's tender mercies. Also, now I know why I'm never cold. Love you!
    Eric

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhh, Eric, you make me laugh. I love my brother!

      Delete