85 and Counting

For the past two weeks, I have thought each and every day: soon. We are so close. We are almost done. The light is at the end of the tunnel. Only a few more days. As most of you know, it has been extremely back and forth to bringing these baby girls home! In my post a couple of days ago, I emphasized the word maybe when I was explaining that we would be bringing Amelia home on Monday. Well, I am glad I prefaced that exciting news with that tiny, powerful word: maybe. Yesterday morning, I woke up with an assortment of to-do list items to accomplish before Andrew and I spent the night with our baby girl to bring her home. My day went a little differently than planned. I awoke to a phone call from the girls resident doctor. As a routine prior to discharge, Amelia had blood work done to check her hematocrit levels. The results from her blood work showed that her red blood cell count was extremely low. Our doctors have explained to Andrew and I that with newborns this lower level is common because their body is triggered after birth to make red blood cells on their own. Amelia did have her hematocrit level checked this past Monday, and in the course of four days her count did not raise as it should have, it lowered. So, Amelia received a blood transfusion yesterday. Due to her receiving a transfusion, her discharge was postponed a few days for furthering monitoring.

In relation to her low blood count, our team of doctors wanted to do an echo-cardiogram to check the VSD in her heart. The echo showed that the VSD is still there, but it has not gotten larger! Praise be to God! It looks like both of our baby girls will be having follow-up appointments with cardiology at UNC. Amelia is making her own red-blood cells, but she is not making enough. Our doctors have expressed to us that the reason behind Amelia not producing enough red-blood cells could be due to her prematurity. This will be something that our pediatrician will follow in the coming days. For now, please pray that both of our daughters continue to get stronger each and every day. Our journey in Chapel Hill has been a juggling act since Day 1, and we are continuing to take it one day at a time. Before they can come home, we still have some hurdles to overcome. Amelia has to pass her countdown (which ends today!), pass her car seat test, and have a stable hematocrit level. Leah has to pass her countdown, show no signs of bradycardia while feeding, and pass her car seat test. These baby girls have overcome so much already, I know they can do it!!

Yesterday, I will admit that I allowed myself to question as to why I am having to endure this long journey into motherhood. WHY after almost three months, am I still having to travel 24.2 (x2) miles to see my daughters on a daily basis. WHY in order to see them do I have to wear a visitors pass, sign-in, and check through two security check points like I am in an airport. And, WHY every time I have to call to check on them, I am put on hold. They are supposed to be home. I haven’t even given them their first bath. As a little girl, when you dream about becoming a mother, the journey that we have traveled is not one you envision for yourself. You envision the long nine months of pregnancy, and the exciting moment when your water breaks and your husband grabs the bag you’ve had time to pack. He grabs it out of the nursery that has been organized and decorated, and you speed to the hospital in anticipation of the arrival of your child. You endure the labor together as a couple, and minutes after your child is born you are able to hold him/her in your arms. A few days later you take your new bundle of joy home, and you get to share them with friends and family. While this is what I envisioned for myself, God has had me on a special mission. Yesterday I allowed the enemy to cloud my vision as to why I am still on this journey as a mother.

1512743_10202984439877530_267851316_nWhenever I got to the girls, all I wanted to do was to hold them both in my arms. I wanted to rock them in the rocking chair so hard that all of the wires, tubes, and monitors would just rip out of the walls. I was tired. I was frustrated. I was beginning to become restless. I began singing to my girls, JESUS LOVES ME. While I was singing, I got to the verse, I am weak, but He is strong. I started to cry. Here I was, pitying myself…yes, while this road has not been an easy one to travel, I had two precious miracles lying in my arms! Living and breathing miracles from God alone. There are other mothers that had the same vision as me, and their journey ended far worse than my own. As I held my girls tight, I thanked God for the blessings that they are. I thanked Him for allowing me to be their Mama, because it is a privilege to be the mother of two fighters. And, I thanked Him for putting me in this place. It isn’t what I ever foresaw happening, but I am so incredibly blessed this is how I have entered the amazing journey that is known as motherhood. In a matter of two months, I have learned that being a mom is full of unpredictable circumstances. I thanked God for preparing me in these months to trust in Him alone during these unpredictable moments. Life is unpredictable. For only He knows the plans that He has for us.

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I slowed down my rocking chair and I left all of the wires, tubes, and monitors in place. I simply enjoyed the presence of God in that NICU as I held my two precious daughters. There is a reason God is still calling us to be in the presence of other families, our nurses, and team of doctors. There is a reason God is still calling us to be at this hospital each and every day. Instead of focusing on when we will be bringing the girls home, I am asking God, “Okay. You still want us here. Where do you want to use us? Where do you want to use me?”

There is a reason.

Along in prayer for the girls, please pray for Andrew and I as we continue to seek God’s will, clarity, and wisdom in these final days in the NICU. It has been a long journey, but I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

4th & Goal. It is always the most nerve-wracking games that you remember the most. This game will be a story worth telling one day.

Here is to Day 85,

Mary Kate

3 thoughts on “85 and Counting

  1. Sarah Perry says:

    Mary Kate, you are so wise. This journey has brought you to a place in your walk with God that can only come from suffering and a need for total dependance on God because it is totally beyond your control and understanding. It is a terribly hard place to be. Actually is is horrible in a lot of ways. BUT after this you will NEVER question God’s goodness and control. You will ALWAYS know that God loves you and has a plan for you. That in itself is worth the walk through the fire and that is where you are. You are walking through the fire to build your faith. You are doing a great job of surrendering to Him. Keep the faith and the flames will be easier to endure. Life after this test will spiritually get easier because you will never doubt Him again. I have spiritually been where you are right now but in totally different situation. I came out on the other side and I can not even count the blessings from passing “the test” God put before me. I am still lliveing them out 24 years later. God is good and holding you tight even though you can not feel it at times. Trust me on this my sweet girl. Please know that you are loved and held tight. Your are incredible!

  2. Nancy Kelley says:

    God will continue to bless and strengthen you all. We continue to pray for you. In Christ’s Love, Nancy Kelley and family.

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