Lessons Learned from Premature Babies

5 days ago, our 4th child came 4 weeks early.

Gideon Nelson McVey made a surprise entrance when we found out my uterus would rupture if he stayed put any longer. My biggest fear would be that he wasn’t ready, that he would need to be flown to a hospital that had a NICU…and guess what? That happened. 8 hours after Gideon was born, he was medi-flighted to UC Davis in Sacramento, 2 hours away from the hospital I was recovering in. Ian met him there.

This was by far the scariest night of my life.

The past 5 days have been a roller coaster. Let me see if I can break it down quickly:

Day 1: He was intubated and they did a procedure on him to help his lungs open up

Day 2: They found fluid in his lungs and air in his chest cavity. Tube was inserted into his chest to remove the air.

Day 3: Respiratory rate still very high after removal of most of air. Xrays showed fluid still in lungs, but much less. A little bit of air in his lungs, Dr’s felt it would resolve on it’s own.

Day 4: The intubation tube came out! He was put on a C-PAP machine to continue to assist him in breathing. His respiratory rate still extremely high, meaning he is breathing way too fast, yet everything else looks normal, so the Dr’s have been a bit perplexed as to what to do with him.

Day 5: Today, he finally seems to be slowing down his breathing. AND we get to hold him when we visit. THIS IS THE MOST WONDERFUL THING EVER. Praying the C-PAP can be removed soon so I can nurse him.

You know what else is wonderful? My baby sister set up a GoFundMe account for us, and people have been SO GENEROUS. We will be staying in Sacramento for 2-3 weeks and the amazing generosity of so many will make that burden a little lighter. While it has been very difficult for me to accept the help, I am filled with so much gratitude.

These past 5 days have been a huge learning experience for me. I wanted to share what I have learned, so I don’t forget!:

  • What We Focus on Matters. The first 2 days, while I sat in a hospital room without my baby or my husband, I was constantly thinking about all of the things that had gone wrong. All of the things I may have been able to do to prevent these things from going wrong (news flash: there is NOTHING I could have done, and that line of thinking was torpedoing my mental health super fast). It wasn’t until Day 3 that I had a huge shift in my focus. I made a huge change by focusing on how blessed we are. We:
    • Have three amazing, bright, funny, kind and loving children who are so excited to have their baby brother here in the flesh, even if he is hooked up to all kinds of tubes and they can’t hold him yet!
    • Have parents who change their schedule to be available to watch our 3 older children while we are away
    • Have friends who send texts and messages of love and encouragement
    • Have a community who prays
    • Have the opportunity to be at an amazing hospital with extremely capable nurses, doctors and specialists.
  • Choosing Joy. Joy and Happiness are internal, they can not be found outside of us. While I’ve been sitting in the NICU, staring at my beautiful son, I have been reading “The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” by The Dalia Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This book is full of wisdom on the necessity of choosing joy and finding it inside ourselves. I highly recommend it.
  • Patience and Faith. I am a very impatient person. I always have been. I always joke about how my children were given to me to teach me patience, my husband was given to me to teach me patience, my anemia was given to me to teach me patience…on and on and on. But really, none of these things were teaching me patience. I have been trying to control everything, all of the time, and ultimately, not placing any faith in God, His plan and His timing. This trial? Wow. I can confidently tell you I am truly learning patience. I am being shown it’s ok to let go and trust. I am being shown it’s ok to not have all the answers. It is amazing.

I love this quote:

bearing a load
David A Bednar quote

I am learning that happiness and joy come BECAUSE of and DURING these times of trial. I am learning that this “load” is necessary, essential and welcome. I am becoming a better wife, mother and ultimately woman because of this challenge. I am so blessed to be going through this and so grateful for the opportunity it is affording me to grow and become better.

Thank you so much for your prayers, keep them coming. Our life of wealth and abundance is being realized day by day.

Much love.

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