Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 7

Early this morning, I was holding Elsie, when suddenly, her breathing tube came out. The nurses tried to get it back in, but there was some kind of complication, and they couldn't get it back in. One of the nurses tried to see if holding Elsie skin-to-skin would help out. I thought the nurse was a girl, but as she/he held Elsie to her bare chest, it became apparent that the nurse was actually a boy. The skin-to-skin obviously did not help Elsie breathe, and Clayton and I had to sit there and watch her breathe her last breaths. The nurse put her into a large plastic cup filled with warm water so that we could hold her. Oddly enough, as we watched, she became smaller and smaller and smaller. And then, she died. And then, I woke up.

Dream interpreting, anyone?

I thought that my dream was an omen of bad things to come, but the only bad thing that happened today was Evje spontaneously puking right as we were about to head to the babysitter's house. I panicked a little, because Clayton and I had a meeting scheduled this afternoon with Elsie's doctors, and I didn't want to be late and I knew that I couldn't bring Evje with us to the NBICU, but I didn't want to get my babysitter's family sick if Evje was contagious. So I called our sweet babysitter-of-the-day, and explained what was going on. She calmly offered to come with us to the hospital and sit with Evje in the waiting room. What an angel.

We had Elsie's 30 day "Care Conference" today with Elsie's doctor, nurse practitioner, and nurses. Every 30 days while the baby is in the NBICU, the caregivers have an informal conference with the parents, just to make sure that everyone is on the same page and to keep parents updated on what is going on with their baby's care. Most of the information was things that we have heard before; there was nothing really new or exciting. Here are a few of the things we discussed:
  • Elsie is continuing to steadily gain weight. They showed us her weight charts, which showed that she is following a curve just under the 50th percentile for babies born at 23 weeks. She is tolerating her feedings well, and we discussed when Elsie might be ready to have her feeding tube removed and eat from a bottle or nurse. 
  • Elsie's head. Her brain ultrasounds lately have shown that the bleeding is "stable". I don't really understand all of it, but basically, she is not currently showing any signs that would indicate hydrocephalus or other brain damage things with long technical names that I don't remember. This is not to say that she does not have any brain damage; that remains unknown and will be unknown until she gets farther along in her development. But she is not currently showing signs of some certain types of brain damage. Like I said, I don't understand it all, but things are fairly optimistic for now.
  • Elsie's lungs. The next big goal for Elsie's treatment is to get her weaned off the ventilator as soon as possible. She is currently on a ten day course of steroids to help her lungs grow. The sooner she is off the ventilator, the better, but it all depends on Elsie and how she does. 
  • Estimated time of Elsie going home: who knows, really? Assuming that she does not develop any big complications along the way, there are a few milestones that Elsie needs to hit before she will be able to come home. Obviously, this will not be happening for at least 2 months, and more likely, 3 months. But here are some of the milestones:
    • Able to breathe on her own, without any apnea, or forgetting to breathe. She may go home still on oxygen, like with a nasal cannula, or she may be able to go home without it. We'll see.
    • Able to eat on her own. No, I'm not saying that she'll need to be able to pick up a knife and fork and cut her steak into pieces. This just means that her feeding tube will be removed and she will be able to nurse or drink from a bottle, and is reliably gaining weight.
    • Able to maintain her body temperature. Right now inside her isolette, the temperature is kept toasty warm. She doesn't have any body fat to keep her warm, so until she does, she'll stay in the isolette. Or incubator. Whatever you like to call it.
Anyway, those are a few of the topics that we discussed. Like I said, there's nothing really new or earth-shattering, but it was nice to talk things over. 

On the way home from the hospital, I had a nice discussion with our sweet babysitter-of-the-day. We talked about giving and receiving service. I think that letting people help us and serve us has been one of the biggest lessons Clayton and I have learned during this ordeal. You know that saying, "I couldn't do it without you"? I like to be snarky and say, "We probably could do it without you, but it's a whole heck of a lot easier to do it with you." Sarcasm aside, we are incredibly appreciative of all the help that we have received, and continue to receive on a daily basis. It is unbelievably humbling to be the one who always needs help. Be it babysitting, food, money, prayers, offers of help, or even just a hug, it means the world to us. Sometimes I feel like we don't need or deserve as much help as we are getting, and it would be so easy to say, "No thanks, we're doing fine, don't worry about us."

But . . . if we didn't allow people to serve us, then they can't receive blessings from Heaven for doing service. Sometimes, service is more for the person giving the service than it is for the person receiving the service, and that's ok. And if we didn't let anyone help us, then we wouldn't be experiencing this great lesson of humility.

Lesson learned: As I approached our sweet babysitter-of-the-day's house to drop her off, she told me to wait as she ran inside her house, and brought out a big pan of food. It wasn't necessary or even expected, and I'm perfectly capable of making dinner these days. Usually. But it was a gesture of love and service. So I sat back, said "Thank you very much," and let her serve me.


Angels watch over us.    


  1. I wish you could have seen Riley's face as she began to read this entry... it went from stunned confusion to sheer horror to utter relief, followed by a shaky "That *scared* me!" Haha. We love you and are thankful for the opportunity to serve your family in whatever way we are able!

  2. Oh Ruthie I love you all so much and am so glad Elsie is doing so well, and that your dream was just a dream! These next few months will hopefully fly by so Elsie can go home with her family where she belongs! I hope Evje is ok.

  3. My heart sank as I read this post - and I am so glad it was a dream!!! I we continue to pray for her!

  4. That was mean. I'm reading this in a public place.

  5. Way to make my heart stop...but we're grateful Elsie is doing so spite of the extra trauma her fans experienced!

  6. Oh Ruth, we all owe you one for that little prank!!! You silly girl!!! You could have told us it was a dream to begin with. Glad you still have a sense of humor. I can't wait for the day you bring our littest Relief Society Sister home. Thanks for a good laugh, after the heart attack... We'll get you back... Ha Ha!

  7. Wow.... that was a pretty intense dream! Glad it was only a dream and that her reports are so great.
    It's interesting to be on the receiving end of service, isn't it? Your perspective will change for the rest of your life, and you'll be more eager to serve.
    Thanks so much for sharing this journey with the rest of us.
    And thank goodness for all the willing 'servers' in your lives right now! You deserve their love and services.

  8. not funny. at all. even though i knew it wasn't real when you said what the she/he nurse did.

  9. Agreed! You suck. Love ya Ruth! That is great that there is no evidence of Hydrocephalus!! Woot! That, plus seizures, has made the most negative impact on Camryn's development. How awesome they do a little 30 day conference! From what I understand they usually plan on preemies being there until their due date and if they are performing like superstars (like Elsie!) and they hit those milestones you can leave early!

    1. There is no evidence of Hydrocephalus YET. Doesn't meant that she'll never get it :)

  10. Pure panic attack! However it does put my problems back into perspective. Every time I start to feel overwhelmed with the trials in my life I think about your wonderful family. I admire you. So very happy to know that was just a bad dream. Elsie is one special spirit!!

  11. got me! I'm SO thankful I tend to glance ahead and fairly quickly saw "and then, I woke up", so I didn't have a complete heart attack! I'm so thankful Elsie is doing so well! I check regularly, anxious to read about all the wonderful progress Elsie's making and rejoicing with you! When our family went through a significant learning experience three years ago, we kept friends and family updated with a blog. It has been a sweet experience for me to follow your blog from the "outside"; I'm thankful for the opportunity it has given me to pray for your family, as so many others prayed for ours! Thanks for sharing your wonderful example and faith!