Monday, December 16, 2013

What a year it's been!

Man o' man!

Can you believe it? We made it a year baby!!!

December 16, 2012
4lbs 8oz 18.5 inches long
December 16, 2013
17lbs (approx.) 29inches
This day has been filled with emotions. Broke down getting my Caribou coffee this morning. They were donating coffee to families in the PICU at Children's hospital. I of course had to join in. She looked at me and said "thank you so much, we are putting together care packages for the families and you are helping with that". I could hardly get out the words conveying that a year ago our son was born in the NICU - I started crying, met her eyes (I can only assume her kid was the reason they were collecting the donations) and I drove away. What are the odds that they would be collecting for a cause so near to my heart this morning?

I prayed the whole rest of the drive for all of the families in the hospital. Whether it is the NICU, PICU, cancer ward, or main floor - a hospital stay is always unplanned and scary. I prayed that my sweet boy would have a great day at daycare. Turned the radio to KTIS, and the first thing I heard was "do you have a special baby celebrating a birthday today?". I have NEVER called a radio station before, but I had to do it. I was telling him all about Gavin. 5 minutes later, as I drove the same exact route the ambulance took me on one year ago, I was listening to my voice on the radio - sharing about our miracle. 

This year has been one that I will never be able to describe. It has been filled with the highest highs, and some pretty low-lows. Each day we get with our sweet Gavin is a gift. We love him so much, and can't believe that God chose to give him to us. 

I decided to share my last (lengthy) journal portion - it is about his birth. No doubt it is full of emotion, but aside from our wedding day, it is the biggest part of our family story. 

December 15. I hadn't been feeling the greatest all day. Almost like I caught a stomach bug. didn't really feel like eating, but I got some food down. Then more nausea hit. I thought it was the flu for sure! Once I started feeling a little better, contractions started. STRONG. Jason rubbed my back to ease the pain, and they started getting a little better. We watched the Timberwolves play for an hour or so, and around 11:00pm I knew something wasn't right. My heart raced. What was happening? I yelled at Jason “We need to get to the hospital NOW!” While he rushed around getting our things together (bless his heart), I got on the phone with the U of M Delivery team, since we were scheduled to tour down there the following week in prep for our delivery. They recommended that we head to the closest hospital to get checked out. Off we went. Panicked….

When we got there I was greeted by a nurse with less than stellar bedside manner. She hooked me up to a fetal monitor to keep close tabs on our little guy. I was so scared for him. The next hours flew by. They thought I just had a UTI, or was dehydrated, but when the Dr. came in to check on me she said I was 2cm dilated and 60% effaced. I was in labor. NO!!!!!

To stop the contractions, they put me on magnesium, which has been refered to as "devil’s spit". It literally makes your whole body feel like a Red Hot. No amount of ice chips could help me. We were admitted for the rest of the night. They brought me a little fan to cool of my feverish body and replaced my nurse with a nicer, older one. I had hoped to get some sleep, but between the contractions, drugs, and adrenaline, I laid awake - watching my sweet husband sleep on a pull-out couch next to the window. 

December 16, 2012 - Slowly, the morning came and our nurse let us know that the U of M called decided that since I was stable, they would transfer me. They wanted me to be able to be close to our baby, should he be born soon. 
I was transferred via ambulance to the U of M. The ride wasn’t too bad, aside from the bumps. I remember the main EMT asking if my husband drove a silver Chevy. Yep – sure enough he was tailing the ambulance. He even beat us to the birthing room!
I can’t say enough good things about the U of M staff. They are far and away the best medical staff I have ever come in contact with. Our sweet nurse even wrote on our board “Goal for the day: Stay Pregnant”. I liked that plan.
Jason’s parents came to visit us after church, and we watched the Vikings game with them. My contractions were slowing down, but I was still on fire from the magnesium and it was starting to make me nauseous. I tried to shut my eyes since I was going on 24+ hrs without any sleep. That didn’t happen.
We met with Dr. Hess who would be preforming surgery on our baby, if his esophagus was not attached to his stomach. Very nice man, with a calming bedside manner, we knew Gavin would be in good hands if he did need surgery.
The nurses’ shift change happened at 3:30pm. While they were changing, I felt something was wrong. I alerted them, and the nurse-in-training checked me out. She had a look of concern on her face and checked with the nurse in charge. They brought in the Dr., she checked me – said they were going to just step in the hall to discuss the next steps. They came back into the room in 3 seconds (no lie), and said we would be delivering right now.
The rest is a blur. I remember a man coming with a bunch of forms to sign about not suing them if anything happened, a list of risks, and who knows what else. I didn't even read them. I was focused on getting our baby out safe. I was listening to the monitor that tracked his heartbeat, not to the speech they were giving me to prepare for the emergency c-section. The overheads lights passed by as I was pushed into the OR, I parted with my sweet husband, and they began scrubbing me up for the delivery.
You would not believe how calm I was - even I was surprised. I HATE medical procedures. I DREAD the dentist, and needles. But the peace that the Lord gave to me in that OR, was Divine for sure. They gave me my spinal, which I had read about so many times, and was so freaked out about. Nothing. I felt nothing! These guys were amazing! They did all of their tests to ensure I was numb, pulled up the blue curtain, and brought in my love, Jason. I missed him so much in those 10 minutes! It was a quick operation. Within 5 minutes Gavin Lee Dupay was born into this world. He was silent and it took a while for him to cry, but when he did, it was the sweetest sound to his new mama! (We later learned that they had to resuscitate him after birth). He was tiny, weighing in at 4lbs 8oz and 18 ½ inches long. They had Jason go over to “cut” the umbilical cord, even though it was already cut during the operation. Then the nurse brought Gavin over and I got to meet our boy for the first time. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't due to the operation still going on. Our little boy was here! 
My sweet little Gavin.
They took him immediately to the NICU.

Jason was the gopher for the next 2 hours while I sat in recovery. He followed them down to the NICU to see where our sweet boy would live for a while. He ran to the waiting room to update the family that our baby boy was here. Since my parents were still traveling from ND, we had to wait to tell them the name. We wanted them to be present. Especially my dad, since Gavin’s middle name is my dad’s first name.

The recovery room was much less scary than I expected. The nurses were great about making small talk and answering my questions. I do was extremely itchy, which they said was from the spinal. The Dr. said my placenta was very “funky” aka – unhealthy. It had in fact abrupted. Had we been home, we probably would have lost Gavin and my life would have been in danger. The Lord had us in the right place at the right time. No doubt another miracle!

Jason ran back and forth to give me reports on Gavin, and fed me ice chips. After 2 hrs and I could finally move my feet again. After I got the all-clear to leave the recovery room, they wheeled me into the NICU to see Gavin. I remember laying beside him. He was in his tiny hospital bed, I was in mine. I reached over to touch his sweet warm skin. I knew he was mine. I knew he had my heart, but I ached to hold him.

To be honest, I felt robbed. Most mommies get to hold their little ones for the first time right after they are born. I couldn't do that. Most parents get to sleep as a family in their hospital room. Mine was silent, no cries from my baby. He was 1 floor down from my room. That night I didn't really think about all that had just happened, I was delirious from the sleep deprivation. However, try as I might, I didn't sleep that night either. I had this strange feeling that if I fell asleep that I would stop breathing. I had the nurse check my blood pressure like a million times, and my temperature, and my incision. I honestly thought I was going to die. My night nurse was doing everything she could, and even offered me warm milk or tea. So sweet! I tell you the U of M staff is wonderful!

Morning came, and with it – tears. So many tears. Heartache from missing my son. There was one point where I felt a twitch in my stomach and thought he was still in there. He was taken from me so quickly and I was still processing it all. It was like a scary dream, but it was my reality. I was able to get out of bed for a short trip to the bathroom. I had more pain than I expected, but still managed it with ibuprofen. I was able to go down to see my little man that afternoon, but only for a little bit. All of the beeps and machines made me woozy so I had to leave. 
I worried that I wouldn't feel connected to my son. Instead of breast feeding, I was hooked up to a breast pump. Instead of going home with him, I wondered if he would ever make it home. The fear was unbearable. I cried. No, not cried…sobbed. I wanted out. I needed to escape. There wasn’t the escape of sleep, there wasn’t the hope of going home anytime soon. 
I had Jason go down to take pictures of him, because seeing him in person was too much to bear at times. I feel awful saying that, but I have no other way to express the pain I was feeling. I was selfish. I honestly had moments of the deepest, darkest depression that I have ever experienced. At points I wanted my life to end. I wouldn't have made it without my Abba Father, sweet husband and my family. My dad kept reminding me to think about “whatever is true". I kept hearing the “possible” outcomes of my little Gavin’s life. I heard about the surgery that needed to happen that day to repair the gap between his esophagus and stomach, and to detach his trachea from is esophagus. We learned about the risks associated with that. The LONG list of “defects” in my son - VACTERL association. It is a bunch of anomalies that all happen in one person. Not a disorder or a syndrome, just random happenings in one little 4.8 lb body.
The surgery took place that afternoon, and was approximately 3 hrs long. Jason was a wreck, I was just completely exhausted and in pain from surgery. The surgery was a complete success! They were able to attach the esophagus to the stomach in the first surgery. They thought it was a 7cm gap between the two, and that we would have to “grow” the esophagus for 4 months and then have another surgery to repair it. Thankfully the Lord saw that we had enough, and the gap was only 1cm.
For the first time in 3 days, I rested. Our sweet overnight nurse just left a note on my pump that said to buzz her when we woke up, and she would give me my pain meds. When I woke I felt better, but still very dark and depressed. The social worker came to see us and talk about different foundations set up to help NICU parents. Parents in our situation. She talked about post-partum depression. She talked about help. I wanted to scream.
I cried after she left, because it was just too much. She meant well, (and I really do adore her) but it was too much for me to take in after just delivering a baby, having that baby be in the NICU, and having that baby have surgery. TOO MUCH! STOPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!
Day after day, my parents, Jason’s parents, siblings, and other friends came to stay with us. They brought us gifts for Gavin. They made me feel somewhat normal again. I could see it in their eyes, they didn’t know what to do. Who has been in that position before? They hadn’t. Neither had we. We all just did the best we could. We knew that we needed them, and that and their presence brought hope.
Thankfully the depression started to leave, and looking back I don’t know that it was depression. I think it was just plain sadness, mixed with an onslaught of fear, as well as a deep longing to hold my baby.
As the days went on, I was discharged from my room and thankfully we were able to stay in a “boarding room” aka unused hospital room. Night, after night,  Jason and I squeezed our bodies onto a hospital bed. We visited our little boy each day, some days we had good news, others there was more bad than good. We went anyway. At night we would bring a book to read to him. After his surgery he was on a paralytic to keep him still, but we read to him anyway. I think it was more for my own sanity, but I like to believe he could hear me. Being able to do “cares”, such as temperature checks, and diaper changes helped me feel more like a mommy and less like a milk cow. We were even able to swab his mouth with some of the milk.

Every day had its battles. Every day had its tears. But with every day, we moved closer to the home we had prepared for Gavin.

This is where my pregnancy journal ended, and the CaringBridge journal started. 

Looking back my emotions threaten take over, but then I look at our miracle boy. Full of so much love and joy. He is our happiness and we are so blessed to have him. 

Gavin, you are more than just my son. You & daddy are the happy ending to long days at work. You are goofy, expressive, so fun to be around, an inspiration to many, and a MIRACLE. I pray that as the years come, that we are able to show you how much the Lord loves you and cares for you. I could go on and on, but this sums it up - You are the Miracle I prayed for 3 years ago. You see, in the midst of doubts, I cried out to the Lord to show me He was real. Throughout your first year of life, He has shown us that miracles still happen and baby - you are one of them! The Lord used YOU to show me that HE is real.

Love you to the moon and back! 

1 comment:

  1. Sweet, sweet Gavin! So hard to believe it's been an entire year since you arrived to forever change our family! I pray that your second year will be oh, so much less eventful...just full...full of blessings and joy and love and laughter and celebrations.

    Aunt Tracy