Wednesday, March 7, 2012

::our miracle::

happy happy birthday, crosby d!!!!

i truly cannot believe that 365 days have passed since we were blessed with your entrance into this world.  it has absolutely flown by and there has not been one day that has passed that i have not looked into your eyes and been overwhelmed by the Lord's goodness and mercy.  you are such a precious reminder of His love for us and i am so thankful to constantly be remembering that.

your birth was a day that was so frightening and tumultuous and sometimes i think back on it and wonder if it truly happened to me or if it was all a dream.  some days the emotions of it still feel so fresh that tears fill my eyes.  and other days it seems like a lifetime ago.

some details seem so fuzzy and some seem crystal clear.  after you were born, all i could focus on was staying above water and i never really recorded what your birth was like.  although frightening, i never want to forget how precious it was.

the day before you were born, my contractions had finally slowed down and we were so hopeful that with a little time, we might be sent home to let you gain some time to grow inside of me.  the day before you were born, i was so doped up that i could not even chew gum or lift my hand to my head.  but, i was so grateful that my uterus was quiet.  i was so hot from the inside out due to the mag sulfate and i remember feeling like even my breath was hot because my insides felt like fire.  ryan was laying beside me on the hospital bed and i was slipping in and out of an awake state as we watched a movie.  he was wearing layer upon layer of clothing and was covered in blankets and i was as stripped down as much as was possible while still maintaining a shred of decency.  i remember a medical student came in to do a neuro check on me and he was so nervous that he had to come back in three times to complete the exam.  on his last visit into our room, he finally admitted that he didn't know what he was doing and pulled out a book and read down the list while finishing up.

my parents brought lily and finn to visit and i remember being so glad to see them, but i felt like such a shell of a mom.  i was glad that they were in such amazing care and that i didn't have to fight to make it through the small tasks of motherhood without help anymore.  i was thankful that the days of lily worrying about my "little bleed" would soon come to an end.

i remember ryan and i settled in for the evening and i begged to shower.  they told me i could not yet and i remember being humiliated that my amazing husband was having to care for me in ways i never wished he would have to.

our team decided to turn off the mag sulfate and see how we would do. i wanted to stay on it for weeks.  although i felt miserable and was absolutely debilitated, i would have stayed on it for three more months for your sake, crosby.  they worried my placenta was abrupting and told me that we would see how the night went.

ryan and i went to sleep and the start of the night was so quiet.  i was so very hopeful that things were settling down.  around 4 am, i woke up and thought i felt a contraction coming.  but i did not want to admit it to ryan or even to myself.  through the previous weeks, when i had a contraction, it would be one big contraction that would last for a few hours.  there would never be a reprieve and i would just have to bear it through the hours it lasted.

 as i felt things starting on march 7th, the first few contractions came and went and i prayed it was not starting again.  ryan got up around 5:30 because he had to go round.  even at that point as things were amping up, i was too scared to tell him.  he gave me a kiss and walked downstairs to check on his patients.  i kept trying to readjust my position to get some relief, but by 6:30, i had been in a solid contraction for over an hour.  i paged ryan and told him he needed to come back up immediately.  the contractions earlier in my pregnancy had felt like those when you were in transition labor...unbearable and incredibly intense.  they were miserable and i would weep through them.  this time however, i felt like my insides were ripping apart.

i texted my amazing friend, katy and asked her to pray. she texted me back a verse from john 14 that said, "do not let your heart be troubled, trust in the Lord."  it gave me such strength as i prepared for what lay ahead.

 i was still too nervous about what the outcome would be if i called my doctors in.  so, i layed as still as possible and waited.  around 6:45, a team of doctors rushed in and told us things did not look good. even though i thought i was being all sneaky about my condition, they had been watching the tracing.  they knew things were ramping up and my labwork had just come back and was dire.  they said i needed to be rushed to the OR.   for days every time they rushed in and told us we needed to go to the OR, ryan begged them to run labs one more time or to give us a few more minutes to see if things would quiet down.  as tears streamed down my cheeks, i knew that it was time.  i felt like i was deteriorating from the inside out and i knew that i could no longer provide a safe home for you.  i trembled with fear, but told them that things were changing inside me and i knew we needed to go.

it was exactly the outcome we had been praying against.  it was exactly what we had feared would happen if we let down our guard and got admitted to the hospital.  it was exactly what i worried the big academic hospital would decide to do since they had such a great NICU.  all i wanted was more time with you tucked inside me.  three more weeks, i had prayed.

but then, a resident we had not yet met came into my room and told me that she was close friends with my friend, meg, and that she had talked to meg and told her to pray as we went to the OR.  and she promised me she would take good care of me.

and a sense of peace washed over me like never before. our circumstances had never been so dire, but i truly felt the Lord wrap me in His hands and i knew that this was what we needed to do.

the next hour was such a blur.  i remember pain and fear and feeling like i didn't care how much i suffered as long as you made it.

an then, at 8:06 am, you were born at 27 weeks and 2 days.  you weighed 2 lbs and 6 oz.  i waited for your cry and it did not come.  and my heart broke.  but then, ryan knelt down by my side and said, "he opened his eyes and looked at me."  you were ready to meet us.  and i wept.  and i prayed.  and there was a flurry as you were whisked away.  and my belly was immediately longing for your presence.  but, i rejoiced that you had made it through the delivery.

after what seemed like an eternity, i asked ryan if they were sewing me back up.  i thought that we were almost done and i was longing to go up to see you.  he told me that they couldn't stop the bleeding and they were removing clots the size of melons from my abdomen.  i just wanted to jump up off the table and be by your side.

finally, we went back to my room and i was so spent that i almost couldn't ask questions about your health.  i begged ryan to leave my side and go be with you.  they kept saying i needed to go to the ICU and i desperately wanted to stay in my room -- i knew if i was sent to the ICU, there would be no chance i could come and be with you.  my anesthesiologist rushed in and started pushing blood products into me as i lay there slipping in and out.  to this day, i am so thankful for his care and the time he spent by my side taking charge of my health.

my parents came in to be with me as katy sweetly had taken lily and finn.  ryan came back down with wonderful reports of your strength and promising signs of strong life.  and again i wept.  i wept with joy for you, crosby.

you were such a fighter from day one.  you were immediately intubated in the operating room, but within four hours they felt they could extubate you!  it was miraculous!  our parents and ryan went up throughout the afternoon and i clung to every piece of good news they brought back to me.  i was too sick to go up to be with you and i think it will forever pain me that we did not get to spend time together on your birth day.  but, you were showered in love and care by your grandparents and dad and the NICU team.

i was discharged from the hospital about a week later and it was the worst day of my life.  exiting the doors of the hospital without you was absolute torture and i truly wished i was sicker so that they would have to keep me longer.  my belly and arms ached to hold you every moment.  thankfully, our family and friends were amazing and provided the help for me to be by your side multiple times each and every day.

from there, our NICU course was filled with ups and downs.  but, you always fought so very hard through it all.  after 10 grueling weeks, you were discharged into our loving care and it was one of the best days of my life!

2 days old

6 days old

2 and a half weeks old

ry holding you for the first time on his birthday! 3 weeks old.

lily loving her visits with you.

in your new room!  5 weeks old!

so big now!  8 weeks old.

getting closer to discharge!

your homecoming!  10 weeks old.

precious first moments in lily and finn's arms.

the weeks and months have flown by since and you have proven to be the sweetest, toughest and most lovable of babies.  i am so abundantly thankful for you, crosby, and for God's goodness in our lives.

in these weeks leading up to your birthday, crosby, i have felt a huge range of emotions.  i have felt overwhelming joy that you are so healthy and well as you reach one.  i have also felt intense sorrow remembering what these days looked like a year ago.  i spent so many nights clinging to your life as i bled and prayed.  those were some of the darkest days of my life.  i have also felt like a chapter that has had so much beauty and also worry in our lives is coming to a close.  as you reach one, i feel like you are no longer a "preemie."  you are just you.  perfect and healthy and wonderful in every way.  and tears stream down my cheeks as i think of how far you have come and how faithful the Lord has been to us.


we adore you with all that we are.

happy happy first birthday, crosby d!!!


your mama and daddy


colleen said...

what a beautiful recounting of such an overwhelming time! God is good. i wish your family continued strength and happiness, court.

colleen said...

what a beautiful recounting of such an overwhelming time! God is good. i wish your family continued strength and happiness, court.

Ashley said...

Happy birthday, Crosby! We love you so much! You are a little miracle. Hooray for your first year!!

Alice Doyal said...

dear dear courtney, thank you for sharing your story. tears stream down my face as i remember your grace, trust, and courage. i am so thankful that crosby 'made it' and is so healthy and happy. i will also always remember how kindly you made dinner for us when Lucy was born...and then a few weeks later i was bringing you flowers at the hospital to celebrate crosby's birth. even in the midst of your suffering, you were so outwardly focused and continued to be such a servant. i am honored to know you. and so happy to celebrate crosby's first year of life! praise God!!!!

Lisa Henry Smith Photography LLC said...

Happy Birthday sweet Crosby! The "other Smiths" are thinking of you today and so thrilled to celebrate you! Sending lots of love! Love, Andrew, Lisa, Ellison and Quinn

LaNell said...

Wow, Court! That was amazing. It made me think of that Laura Story song "Blessings". I'm so challenged by your faith and thankful for your friendship. Hallelujah, indeed! Happy Birthday, Crosby!

jasonandnicole said...

i love this story of redemption and God's help in such a hard time. thank you for writing it for us to read, Courtney.

Katie said...

Absolutely beautiful, Courtney! I cannot imagine what it must have been like for you all, but your words express how wonderful a mother you are! What an amazing testimony your family and little Crosby have! He is an absolute miracle and God never left your side through it all. Praise Him! And happy birthday to your little man (a bit late!)!! He's a real cutie pie!! :)

Erin said...

What a beautiful story Courtney. Thank you for sharing. I had tears in my eyes! That little Crosby is such a miracle. There is no denying how much love he has with all of you!