March 16, 2019
One year ago today we brought Dottie home from the hospital. After 75 days it was finally our time to say goodbye to what had been our home for two and a half months. Yes, I was excited, but I was also nervous. I didn't really know what to expect and did not feel as though we had been taught enough about how we were to take care of Dottie on our own (this is probably my only complaint about our time at OHSU Doernbecher).
So, what was it like? How did that first day go?
It started off great, all packed up, Grandma Liz and Grandpa Dale took a car load of stuff home. We packed out our trunk (turns out you can collect quite a bit of stuff in a hotel room over 75 days) and got Dottie all settled into her seat. We were supposed to hookup Dottie to her TPN at 7:00 pm. Our home healthcare nurse should have arrived at least an hour before that to walk us through the procedure and do the first hookup. This is where things got dicey, she didn't show up until 7:00! I was getting more and more discontent as each minute passed. Once she showed up she was very nice, and we got right to work. She taught, we listened. She explained, we practiced. Dottie got all hooked up and we scheduled to have a nurse come out the following day to walk us through the procedure again. Ahhh, done.
Long after 7 o'clock I stood, holding Dottie in my arms, in our bedroom and cried into Seth's arms. I was so overwhelmed. In that moment, I held tightly to my baby, the fact that she was alive and well and home was still so new to me. I was extremely unsure about what the days and weeks ahead would bring. I didn't feel like I could do all I was supposed to do in order to care for her. I missed our nurses and doctors and their expert knowledge! What were we going to do without them there watching over her? In that moment, I was weak, tired, and scared. Seth held onto us. I took a deep breath and night continued on.
Here we are one year later and that moment, those emotions, are still so real and clear to me. I am much more confident and comfortable taking care of Dottie now. Seth and I both are able to set up for her HPN and connect her each day, and disconnect her each day. We can finagle the Joey (machine for her G-tube feedings), get the air gaps out, and trouble shoot problems. It's all second nature now, but continues to keep me on my toes.
Today is a random day in March with seemingly no meaning. But for us, today is a miracle date. A day we didn't think was going to happen for a long time. A day that was overwhelming with joy and stress. It took a lot to get us to this day one year ago. It took dozens of doctors and nurses looking after Dottie. It took dozens of family and friends looking after Seth and I, holding our hands, giving us hugs, feeding us. It took thousands of prayers from all around the world. It took a God with great plans for one little life- we are so excited to see what He has in store for her. I know that we are blessed, but the blessing is not Dottie's life. The blessing is God's love and grace for us. Babies die in the NICU, parents mourn, and God still LOVES. I do feel blessed and I am so grateful that Dottie is alive and still with us. But I know if things had turned out differently, it wouldn't be because God took away His blessing or love. We live in a broken world, things aren't perfect and I don't understand why some live and some don't; why some struggle more and some less; why some "feel" blessed and others don't. All I know is that God loves me, died for me, and has saved me. I am grateful for Dottie's life and am sorrowful for those who mourn the loss of loved ones.
Thank you for your support and prayers.