Thursday, December 29, 2011

People are inherently good

In some psychology class back in the day I remember learning the theory that: "people were inherently evil" and that we had to work hard at making decisions to be kind and good people.  I firmly believe the opposite is true.  I have never received such an out pouring of love and service as I have through out this experience.

We had just moved into our ward in Alpine when we found out we were pregnant.  We kept it hidden for quite a while, and never made much of a fuss about.  Still the women in the ward were always so nice to me and supportive.  When my water broke early Sunday morning, we texted the Shippens, (we rent their basement apartment) and let them know what was happening and to see if they could find a sub for our Sunday School class.  Word spread quickly through out the ward and I was receiving encouraging texts all through out the day/night.

When we were released from the hospital empty handed it was heart breaking.  I was terrified to go home alone and see his empty room.  Jason dropped me off and then went to pick up all of my prescriptions.  While he was gone I walked past Ashton's room and saw this.
I knew right away it was the Shippens who had done this for us.  I broke into tears and called them.  I cried as I told Jaime how much it meant to me, no one had ever done anything like this for me.  I know it was just a shelf with some books and toys, but the thought that was behind it all meant more to me then I think she will ever know.

I couldn't drive for the first week that I was home.  The Relief Society organized rides for me to and from the hospital so I could go visit Ashton.  They brought in meals while he was in the NICU, and again when he came home from the hospital, we had more food than we could even eat.  It was humbling to be on the receiving end of things, and made me want to strive to be a better "giver".

My Mother-in-law, Sisters-in-law, and my Mom threw me a great baby shower in October with family and friends.  They all went in together and got me the Chico Travel System I had been coveting.
My Grandma Morehead had a shower planned for me in Idaho while we were there for Thanksgiving, but we had to cancel it when the doctor said we couldn't travel.  She still sent us all of the treats and presents she and my Aunts had gotten for us though.

The week Ashton was born we had two other baby showers planned.  One from Blue Lemon friends and the other was from the ward.  Both of which obviously got cancelled since we were in the hospital.  Our ward rescheduled the shower for the following week.  Which was perfect for me since Ashton was still in the hospital it gave me something to look forward to and got me so excited to bring him home so he could see all of his new presents.  We got so spoiled.  The women of the ward, some that hardly knew me, went all out.  We got everything from a crib mattress, to a bouncer, to a million diapers and clothes.  Between all of the outpouring of love from so many people we are not going to need to spend much money at all on this little man.  Which is a huge blessing saying as his and mine medical bills are going to be outrageous.  You are loved more than you know little guy.
When I look back on this I want to remember the intense kindness and generosity, I want to remember the desire to want to serve others more and I hope I can act on that.  I want to always remember: Jaime Shippen, Natalie Daley (my visiting teacher), and Brenda Webb (a woman I had hardly ever talked to prior to Ashton being born, but talked with almost every day for the first two weeks).  These women are exactly the type of mothers I want and need to be one day.  People really are inherently good, and they are living proof.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Miracle

 This year hardly felt like Christmas at all with everything we had going on.  However, we did get to spend some time with close family and friends, plus our own little Christmas Miracle.

The week after Ash was born Blue Lemon had their 3rd annual Lemmy Awards.  I had helped plan this event and wasn't about to miss it.  So we left Ashton with his very expensive nanny (aka the NICU) and got dressed up for the night.  Can I just tell you how good it felt to fit into something other than sweats?!
Red Carpet night, with yummy food
and good friends.
We didn't make it to any family parties, or to see the lights, we did most of our Christmas shopping in between NICU visits, and we didn't even begin to think about making treats for the neighbors...

But we did have our own little Christmas Miracle
December 15th at about 11:00pm we got to bring the best present in the world home with us after 18 long days in the NICU.

We shut our doors and didn't leave the house till after New Years.  Jason's Parents and Crystal and Skyler came to visit Christmas Eve.  Jason and I had our traditional Chinese take out for dinner and spent the next 24 hours in a Lord of the Rings Marathon.  

Only to be interrupted by my entire family coming up Christmas Day and surprising us with Christmas Dinner and one of the best sibling gift exchanges we've had (we decided on a $2 limit this year = creative and funny presents).
Jason and I opted out of presents this year and took to snuggling Ashton as much as we could.
Definitely can't complain.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coming Home

December 15th was a great day.  It was the day we got to bring you home.
We were hoping the time was coming close.  Some days would be so encouraging, other days not so much.

Every baby that came in to the NICU after you did and then left before you did was a little heart breaking.  You want to be happy for that smiling family taking their little one home, but deep down you're jealous.  I cried the first time the little girl across from us went home.  The nurse reminded me that girls progress faster than boys.  Then it was our turn, our turn to take you home, and I was so excited but I was also afraid to see the other moms who had been in there longer than we had and still had a ways to go, I felt guilty now.

I am so grateful we went to Timpanogos Hospital, they had a brand new NICU.  You were one of the firsts in there.  I am so so grateful for the NICU and the nurses and doctors and I'm so grateful that never once did I doubt that we would get to take you home.  I always knew you would be okay, that we would be okay.  I was still anxious though.

I remember one hard night. I had gone to visit you during the day as I always did; it was late at night, your dad was doing homework, and I was watching TV on the couch (probably moping). I made the comment that it didn't really feel like anything had changed. I worked; Dad went to school.  The only difference was it felt like we had a little puppy-dog that we got to go visit at the pet store.  One that we really wanted but weren't allowed to have.  A few minutes later Dad slammed his books shut and said "Lets GO!" I was surprised, it was late, but off we went to visit you.  We needed you.  We needed to know you knew we were there and that you weren't alone.  That we loved you.
I always had a hard time leaving you.  Always felt so sad and bad at the same time. I hated thinking that when you woke up we wouldn't be there.  I liked to think that you knew when we were there, even if we were just in the waiting room, or just sitting by your bed watching you.  Somedays you were too tired for us to hold you as long as we wanted.  Other days you would just look at us.
The day before we got to bring you home we brought your car seat in so you could do the car seat test. You had to lay in your car seat for a certain amount of time without having any bradycardia or desatting.  Those were the things we were having a hard time with.  You had to go so long without having any before they would let you come home.  We'd make it so far, and then another desat.  We were so excited that we were going to get to bring you home.  It felt so close.

The day after we brought your car seat in, December 15th, I went to visit you in the morning.  This was not a good day.  The nurse told me you had failed your car seat test.  Other things just weren't looking as good as they had been previously, too. I was pretty depressed leaving the hospital that day. I called your dad on my way back home and told him what the nurse had said.  I told him how frustrated I felt; I felt like we would do so good and then all of a sudden we would regress back.  He calmed me down and said that it was better to bring you home when you were completely ready and that the doctors really did know best.  They had told us to prepare for you to stay until your due date, January 2nd, but I REALLY hoped and prayed you would be home before Christmas. I never even let myself think otherwise.

That night I was working an event, Dad was at a study session, I got a phone call from the NICU.  My heart sank automatically fearing the worst whenever I saw that number on my phone.  It was one of my favorite nurses, one of the ones who was in charge of things. She said, "How would you like to come get little Ashton?" I was so confused at first. I thought she just meant come see you, then she clarified my confusion. "Come bring him home."  I couldn't even believe it! After such a discouraging day, I just kept asking, "Are you sure?" "Are you serious?!" I was so excited!  As I hung up the phone, all of the people I was working with screamed with me and hugged me and were so happy too.  I didn't even know what to do. I called your Dad at school, he had to finish and I needed to finish work, even though we were both so distracted.  I ended up leaving work early as soon as your Dad was able to come get me.  This was something we were so excited for and had been looking forward to for what felt like forever, but at the same time all of a sudden we felt completely unprepared.  We got to the NICU around 9:30pm.  Apparantly you hadn't failed your car seat test at all, still not sure why the nurse had told me that.  We had to watch all these movies before they let us take you home.  We got to get you dressed in your first outfit that was your own.  Before this time they had put you in a few hospital onesies, but nothing that was YOURS.
I was nervous to have you all to myself.  I was nervous that there wouldn't be any monitors.  My eyes were usually pretty glued to the monitors watching what they and you were doing.  No monitors, no nurses, no help.  You were mine, and you were my responsibility. You were going to sleep in the basinet at the foot of my bed that night.  I was going to have to feed you on my own and hope you were getting enough. No one was going to be weighing the amount of food you ate.  I was truly going to be a full blown MOM!  This was it.  It was before your due date, it was before Christmas just like I had prayed for.  It was time for you to be home.  Thank you, little Ashton, for working so hard and being so strong and finishing up all your growing so we can be a family.  You're perfect and I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Thousand Years

I first heard this song heading to the hospital to visit Ashton.  It brought me straight to tears.  I heard it almost every day at least once while I was heading there or coming home.  It is the perfect song for us and describes everything I'm feeling for this new little human in my life.

Heart beats fast, colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I'm afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer.

I have died every day waiting for you
Darlin' don't be afraid
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still, beauty in all (he) is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away what's standing in front of me
Every breath, every hour has come to this

One step closer.

I have died every day waiting for you
Darlin' don't be afraid 
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

One step closer.  One step closer.

I have died every day waiting for you
Darlin' don't be afraid,
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

-Christina Perri

Friday, December 2, 2011


Tonight I need a place to write.  So for the few of you that check in on this blog I apologize in advance.  But my heart is broken and a good friend said to write everything down because someday I will look back on this and find strength.  I know that everyone has trials and I know that I am in no way alone in what I am going through right now.  But for now I am grieving, and I think that that's okay, for tonight.  People always say that when you become a mother something inside you changes.  I'm not sure if that is what has happened to me or if I'm just an emotional person to begin with.

I've wanted to be a mother ever since I was a little girl.  Stuffing pillows in my shirts pretending I was pregnant and carrying baby dolls around the house.  When we found out we were pregnant I was so scared and excited at the same time.  The past 8 months have been a roller coaster of emotions.  Excitement for our baby to come and nervousness for the changes he would bring to our lives.  I played it out in my head over and over again.  I was nervous for labor, how did a body go through all that? How was that ever going to fit?! I was so excited to just hold my baby. I would think about it all night long sometimes.  Holding him so tight and loving him as much as I wanted.  I was so excited for all my family and friends to come visit us in the hospital and to love him as much as I already did.

I was hoping he would come early, and I guess I jinxed myself, I was thinking December 29th sounded good instead of January 2nd.  But November 27th works too.  I don't think I fully understood what the future was holding for us when my water broke 1 day before being 35 weeks.  When the Neonatalogist came in and talked to us while I was waiting for an epidural I don't think I grasped exactly what she was saying.  I was more focused on breathing through the contractions, I didn't understand that she was telling me that my baby wasn't going to be "okay".  Epidurals are amazing bytheway.  But nurses running in with panicked looks in their eyes, not so amazing.

Being told that your ready to push but you have to push fast and hard is one of the craziest moments.  Really? This is happening now?  But again panicked doctor voices don't make that moment feel very good either.  The words "C-Section" was never something I ever even dreamed of.  I doubt many mothers do.  I always skipped that section in the books and articles I read.  It all happened so fast.  I just remember crying and apologizing over and over again to everyone in the room how sorry I was.  I felt like I was starting off a bad mother, I couldn't even deliver my own baby.  Jason was so calm and great through everything, I felt like I was letting him down though.  This experience that he was so excited for wasn't going to happen.  Being wheeled down the hall into the scary bright lights of the surgery room, I didn't even register what was about to happen.  I was so grateful for the big blue sheet that didn't let me see what was happening but at the same time I hated not knowing what was going on.  I just locked all my focus on Jason's eyes and watched him watch me get sliced open.

I still remember the little tiny cry at first, and then nothing, I remember yelling out "why isn't he crying?!" and then it came, not the loud crying you hear in the movies but just enough of it.  He had his own special team waiting for him.  I was trying to watch him so closely, I just wanted to see him, to count his little fingers and toes and just to know that he was okay.  I will never forget the feeling when they laid him on my chest for those short minutes.  He just looked at me with those perfect little eyes, he was so tired and honestly so was I.  They took him away and I fell asleep while the doctors continued to work on me.
They told me I wouldn't be able to be with him and that he would be in the NICU, but I don't think I grasped exactly what that meant until I was sitting in my room and realized there was no baby in my tummy but no baby in my arms or even my room.  It is such an empty feeling.

I know we are not alone in this.  So many people have shared their NICU experiences with me and it gives me comfort and strength to know that I'm not alone and that it is not forever.  But for tonight I feel like I can feel a little sorry for my self.  I know we are so blessed.  His lungs are good enough that he hasn't needed to be on oxygen and in the past four days he has dropped down to just one IV and one feeding tube.  I know it could be worse.  I know there are thousands of babies worse off.  I know we are so blessed and I am in no way complaining.

Tonight's my first night at home though.  The silver lining in having a C-section is that you get to stay in the hospital longer and I was there exactly as long as they would let me.  Getting into the car empty handed with an empty car seat in the back isn't how I planned it either.  The empty bassinet I'm looking at right now makes my heart ache even more.  You almost have to "relearn" how to walk after a C-section.  It is so painful and tiring and the only motivation I had was to walk down to the NICU, which isn't very close, but at the end is your baby so you push through the pain and just do it.  It's funny how proud of yourself you can get just over walking distance.

The Nurses say that I had to pretty much give birth twice and that it is going to take a while for my body to recover.  So while I'm home healing I'll be praying that my baby is doing the same thing.  Finish growing little Ashton your mom and dad want to cuddle you and kiss you and I never want to hear that "times up" and have the nurses take you away from us to plug you back into everything again.  Even though I think you look so cute with your little sun glasses on, I miss your eyes.  We hardly ever get to see them open so thank you for looking at us so long today before we left.  Every night since you were born I just look through all your pictures trying to remember every little feature of your face and hands and feet and every little part of you that I don't even know yet.  Please know that we didn't leave you and that we are coming back to see you tomorrow and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that....