Keep Your Head Up Mama, You Are Gonna Turn Out Fine

I learned very early after having my little ones that there is a common bond between preemie Mama’s. No one else quite understands and can empathize with us like we can with one another. I have been blessed with a community of support from other Mama’s that have been on the very journey I am enduring at the moment. Last week, my MIL shared with me another Mama’s story.

Holly Heffernan and her husband Kevin, live in Charlotte, and they were visiting family for Christmas in Texas when Holly gave birth to their little girl. Holly was at 26 weeks when she gave birth to their beautiful daughter, Scarlett Grace. This precious girl entered the world on Sunday, December 29th, 2013, at 1 lb. and 14 oz. Kevin has had to return back to work in Charlotte, and Holly is still in Texas with Scarlett Grace. She is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center. You can read more about Holly, Kevin, and Scarlett’s story at her Caring Bridge site:

When I read through Holly’s Caring Bridge site I was totally blown away by the strength that she has carried throughout the beginning of this scary journey, and I was encouraged by her remarkable trust and unwavering faith in the Lord. I wrote to her sharing our story, and that I would love to be there to encourage one another. Holly reached out to me yesterday because Scarlett will have to have the same surgery that our sweet Amelia had in December. Scarlett has a PDA that will have to be surgically repaired on Thursday at noon. I see my new friendship as a divine intervention by God alone. Holly and I talked on the phone last night for an HOUR! We have never met, but we are bonded together in the love for our Savior and in the blessings of motherhood. I will forever remember the prayer that we prayed together for our girls and for the long journey we are both traveling. My heart deeply goes out to this Mama in these first few weeks! So, I have a favor to ask of all those reading this post. I have been humbled at the amount of people who have reached out to us through prayer and have blessed us with words of encouragement and beyond measure. Today, I am asking you to pray for my new friend Holly, her husband Kevin, and their sweet baby girl!

photo 2(1)

As I sat by my girls bed side today, I thought about how far we have come in the past 81 days. Eighty-one days ago I was admitted to Chapel Hill, legs cramped in a L&D bed, hungry as all get out, on magnesium– all the while wishing I was still at home and not being constantly monitored in a hospital… and now, eighty-one days later I am looking at my beautiful 6-pound babies! When I was talking to Holly last night, I thought back to our beginning days and how this day seemed so far away. Although we are going on three months of being in the hospital, I am so blessed at the amazing progress our girls have made. They are sheer reminders of God’s amazing love for Andrew and I.

We went throughout the entire day shift with no apnea/bradycardia spells. It was a great day with one of our primary nurses, Danielle! We were happy to have the girls primary night nurse, Tara, back with us this evening. While I was feeding Leah tonight, she did have an apnea episode. Her heart rate dropped to 51, while her oxygen saturation was 28- shawty got low. So, needless to say, the countdown for Miss Leah will more than likely be restarted. Looks like we are on 4th & Goal now! On December 30th, Leah’s echo-cardiogram showed that her PDA has reopened since her last echo on the 11th of December. Leah was doing really well with feeds and went days without having any apnea/bradycardia episodes. Now, recently she has been having these episodes more frequently. Since she had her immunizations on Friday, and along with her sister having similar episodes, our doctors concluded it was more than likely due from the aftermath of having their two-month vaccines. BUT– this Mama wants to know for certain that her baby girl is okay because these more frequent episodes we have been having just don’t seem like another ordinary thing… especially since we know that the PDA has reopened. So, we will know more information after tomorrow regarding Miss Leah. I would like to have another echo-cardiogram done to see how her heart is looking. The same surgery that was done for Amelia back in December is still a possibility for Leah. What can I say? The White girls are asking for the 2-in-1 special!

We are NOT speaking the “D” word (discharge) at the moment. We are also not making arrangements for any sleep overs in the next few days. We are progressing one day at a time. We are confident moving forward that God’s timing is perfect, and His presence is constant as we endure these last few days in the NICU! I am encouraged by all of our doctors, nurses, and even the hospital staff as they share in our excitement that we are SO CLOSE to bringing our girls HOME!  As eager as we are, and as close as we may be, Andrew and I are being extremely cautious about making sure they are 100% ready to come home. The frequency in their apnea episodes are too close for comfort for us to bring them home any time soon. So, one day at a time. Like what we have been saying all along, “Keep the Faith, Hold your Breath (we don’t want the girlies doing that though!), Pray, Wait, Live and Celebrate Each Day!”

Ironically, on my way home from Chapel Hill today, I heard this song on the radio and it brought to life a new perspective than that time I heard it in Pitch Perfect. It is an awesome song. You better aca-believe it. He probably did not, but I like to think that Andy Grammer thought about NICU Mama’s when he recorded this song. I mean…this could be our anthem ladies.

This is just a journey
Drop your worries
You are gonna turn out fine.
Oh, you turn out fine.
Fine, oh, you turn out fine.

But you gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh.
You gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh.

I know it’s hard, know it’s hard,
To remember sometimes,
But you gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh

photo 1(2)I thought back to today as I played with my precious ducks- (they are quacking me up with all of their facial expressions! It’s all gas, but still… it is undeniably precious…one proud Mama right here!) While thinking back to seeing their little smiles, it helps me keep my head up to continue to move forward. Andy Grammer’s song is just what I needed to hear on my way home. If it were a different season besides winter and I was not paranoid about catching a cold, I definitely would have rolled down the windows and shouted the chorus: you are gonna turn out fine.

So, to Holly, other preemie Mama’s, other Mama’s, and for those of you that just need to keep your head up– no matter what you are going through: just let your hair down, you are gonna turn out fine.

Thank you, Andy Grammer.

And Jesus. Thank you Jesus for these eighty-one days and the days to come spent with my beautiful baby girls, no matter where they may be.

Keeping my head UP–

Mary Kate

4 thoughts on “Keep Your Head Up Mama, You Are Gonna Turn Out Fine

  1. Althea says:

    What a great story you have and what a blessing to read you blog. As we continue to pray for you, Andrew and your little “duck babies”, we will pray for your new friend Holly and her baby also. Thanks again for sharing this precious journey you are on!!!

  2. Margaret Eaddy Taylor says:

    Life is a journey and we never said it would be easy. You are a faithful follower and have the faith of someone that we all can learn from. Keep your head up and I know that the Lord will continue to bless you. You are following in the footsteps of Christ by reaching out to others in need and ministering to them! I know that you are a blessing to your friend Holly and others. Thanks for sharing and remember that you have a whole team on your side during your journey.

  3. Sharon Moore says:

    Dear Mary Late, I SO enjoy reading your blog! I’m planning to come see the babies with Linda in February whether they are in the hospital or at home. I can’t believe how much they’ve grown. Courtney and Chantal are expecting a little boy in July. Stay strong, Little Mama….Love you much.

  4. Lori Holbrook says:

    Mary Kate I love reading your blogs and keeping up with those sweet girls that GOD has given to you and Andrew. I have and will continue to keep lifting those prayers up to the LORD on behalf of The White family. I will also pray for your friend Holly and her family as they go through their journey as well. Just remember…….IF GOD BRINGS YOU TO IT, HE WILL BRING YOU THROUGH IT! Hang in there.

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