Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Twas the Night Before Induction...

..and all through the house...

No, sorry.  This will not rhyme.  I'm good but not that good! ;) 

Well, here we are.  I can't tell you how we got here and I certainly can't tell you how it happened so fast, but here we are.  The night before our induction.  The last night pregnant in our home.  

Sleep now, they say. 
You'll never get to sleep again, they say

My question for "they"... How on EARTH is someone supposed to sleep the night before their life changes forever?!??  Is ambien on the approved medication list for pregnancies?  Kidding.  But, seriously.  Tonight I'll lay my head down on my pillow for the last time as just a wife and puppy momma.  The next time I lay my head down on my pillow, I will be a mom, to a real HUMAN.  A tiny, tiny little human.  Not any old human, but one with complex medical needs.  And somehow, I'm supposed to sleep?  

No, instead I'm sure I'll lie awake, mind racing from here to Lord knows where.  In a half awake/half slumber stupor, I'll picture our little girl's face, I'll worry about labor, I'll imagine her first surgery, I'll see myself in waiting rooms, I'll get up to pee (because that happens a lot), I'll look over to see if Patrick is in the same state as I am (he won't be.. he's sane).  But I highly doubt that I'll sleep.  Oh well, there's always tomorrow, right? ;) 

As we prepare for our big life altering moment, I want to ask for some prayers.  Please, first pray for baby Sawyer... that her entrance into this world is one of joy, not fear.  Please pray for her momma and daddy -- for strength and courage through the difficult times ahead.  That we can lean on each other rather than push against one another.  Please pray for her grandparents.  Their skin isn't as tough as ours yet.  Please pray for the doctors and nurses who will care for Sawyer.  That God does His work through their skillful hands.  This is SUCH a big adventure and it's hard to imagine that this time tomorrow, our adventure truly begins.  Thank you SO much for your support along the way.  We hope you're ready to embark on the rest of this journey with us! 

(I think it's about to get a little exciting)

OH!  And for those who have been touched by CHD or touched by our story, please consider supporting the cause by raising awareness and funds for research!  Patrick designed these shirts and I absolutely love them!  The funds raised from these shirts will be donated to The Children's Heart Foundation to support future families affected by CHD and research for a better future for our CHD babies! 

Click the pictures to check out the shirts! 
HEARTstrong Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - frontHEARTstrong Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - back

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Phew, that was quick.

In November, when we found out we were having a baby we couldn't wait.  And then time craaawwwllleeed by.  The first 20 weeks were dreadfully slow.  We waited the longest 13 weeks ever to tell anyone.  We waited even longer to tell everyone.  Time. Stood. Still. 

Now, here we are... at 38 weeks... and I'm wondering where the heck did time go?!?! How is it even POSSIBLE that we are one week away from our induction date. 

Yes. One week.  7 days.  168 hours.  

Say what?!????

As we've grown nearer our induction date, we've been hit with lots of 

You must be so excited!!
Are you nervous yet?

I bet you can't wait to see her sweet face. 
Are you ready?

And my response to all of those comments has been something like "lkasjfoiiajef...incomprehensible reply... stumbling and mumbling over my lack of words..lkasjfl..."   I have had a real difficult time putting my feelings into words -- or even making any personal sense of my feelings lately, but with one week left... Patrick and I have decided to try to express how we're feeling.  Here goes. 

From Samantha

One week. One week until we get to meet our little girl.  While most women at this point in their pregnancy are screaming "GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME!" and doing everything in the book to try to induce labor, I'm not. Not me.  No siree!  Everyone keeps asking if we're ready, and I can honestly say I have no idea.  The ONLY real answer I've gotten from any doctor this whole time is that our daughter is safe inside me.  That her heart function would be just fine as long as she remained in the womb.  So to let her out of there... well, sheesh!  That's kinda scary!  How does someone prepare for that?  How is anyone ready to expose their child to danger?  At the same time, I also know that she can't have surgery until we welcome her to this scary world.  And she can't get better without surgery.  It's all part of that "new reality" that we're dealing with.  Up until now, our reality has only been changed by news, by words and pictures.  I've gone to a few thousand extra appointments, I've spent hours of my life reading, I've spoken with doctors.  Soon, though, our reality will change in BIG ways.  It won't just be words and pictures... it will be NICUs, cardiologists, surgeries.  Real stuff.  So, no, I guess I'm not really ready, but at the same time, I am, because the only way to move is forward.  How's that?  Could I make any less sense?  

From Patrick

Only seven more days until I get to meet my daughter! I can't wait! Well as most of you know there are very few things that Sam and I are on the same page about other than post-dinner runs to Dairy Queen.  The way we approached coping with Sawyer is no different. I have always been very good at bottling up emotion and making it through whatever obstacle I was faced with, but the last 7 months has been more than trying when it comes to that strategy. From the time we knew about Sawyer's condition I was very hopeful that she would get better, partly because I was grossly uneducated about her heart and secondly because I didn't want to feel scared and heartbroken. We have had many people tell us that they are praying for us and I believe in the power of prayer, but I think sometimes you know that even though a million people are praying for you, there is a journey you are about to embark on that God has planned. So to come back to the point, I am so excited to have this waiting phase out of the way. I think once Sawyer is here, I will be able to focus on the next diaper to be changed and if she needs a bottle instead of dwelling on the things that she won't be able to do. Sawyer has also inspired me to start a foundation to help other families who are going through the same thing we are, and after she is born I am anxious to start working on building it up! I'm calling it #Heartstrong so if you see me using this hashtag on Facebook or Instagram just know I'm trying to build up some rep! As always we want to thank everyone for their continued support and well wishes. They go a long way!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's not all rainbows and unicorns.

I try to remain positive.  I really do.  Most of the time, I can look at our journey as a learning experience.  I can see how the heart and spirit of our family is growing each and every day.  I can look at how much Sawyer is loved and supported already and smile.  

There are times, though, when I can't see past my worry or even my resentment. I would be lying if I said this experience hasn't put unexpected stress into our lives -- stress much different than the stress of regular pregnancies.  

The biggest strain I have felt has been the strain on my relationships. There are times where I feel so angry with people who complain about their problems.  To me, their problems seem so small.  Honestly, the next time I see a new mom crying over their baby getting a couple of shots, I might vomit.  Poor baby, they say.  My baby was so tough today... she only cried for 10 minutes.  It shouldn't make me angry, and it's not fair for me to feel that way, but I can't help it.  A couple of shots?!? My baby will never know a life without needles.  My baby will NEVER know what it feels like to be healthy.  I have to constantly remind myself that it's all relative.  A couple of shots really might be a big deal to some families and that's so amazing.  I truly hope they are forever grateful for that and I would NEVER wish our problems on anyone else.  It's just hard for me to stomach sometimes. 

I occasionally find myself feeling completely alone, even when talking with my family and closest friends.  The people who are supposed to understand... they just... don't.  And it's not their fault... it's really not.  They can't possibly know what it's like to be growing something so perfect, but knowing the struggle she will endure.  A struggle that no one should have to endure.  They can't know the worry, the apprehension, the grieving.  I wouldn't expect them to.  They can't know the thousands of places my mind goes at all times.  Doctors, hospitals, medications, NICU, PICU, CVICU, statistics, norwood, glen, fontan, interstage, feeds, tubes, lines... all of this on top of the regular worries of the house, the dogs, dishes, laundry, dinner, finishing the nursery, maintaining our lives.  I find myself feeling so alone when people tell me, "It's all going to be okay" or "Just wait til you get to snuggle your little girl." Even my husband will never fully understand what it's like to be in this situation... to be a heart mom.  It is no picnic.  

What do I do when I start to feel this way?  

Sometimes I sulk. I watch a sad movie, gather up some chocolate, and just sulk. 

Most of the time, though, I try to remind myself that we were chosen for this... that this was no coincidence. It was fate.... destiny.  Nobody knows what causes HLHS.  It was nothing I did... I did everything right and this is still our journey.  Why?  Because we can handle it.  Because even though it's not all rainbows and unicorns, God knew in His heart that we could handle this journey -- a journey that hundreds of thousands of other parents could never endure.  God knew that Sawyer would be born with half a heart, and He had to find a family that could make her feel full.  A family that could give her the life that she deserves, the care that she requires, and the love that would take her half heart and make it whole.  I'm not saying this has been easy.  There hasn't been an easy moment.  When I feel resentment toward others who have it "easy" I just have to remind myself that, though this is hard, the reward is so amazing.  The reward is a greater love and appreciation than most people will ever have the chance to experience.  The reward is in celebrating EVERY second that our miracle lives.  The reward is celebrating EVERY milestone that we were never promised.  The reward is in witnessing the love that people have for Sawyer already, a love that is sure to grow. 

It's not all rainbows and unicorns, but I truly believe that every gray cloud has a silver lining.  And our silver lining is SO worth the clouds.