A Long Slog

A new doctor is on this week, the third of the four partners, and he visited Garrin for the first time today. He described Garrin’s condition as “stable” but also indicated that he’s got “a long slog” ahead of him. Although I could deduce the meaning of the word, “slog” is a new term for me — vocabulary is just another way I am growing from this experience.

Garrin’s oxygen needs were down earlier today, but they have increased slightly as he has been poked and prodded, preparing for his third blood transfusion. My heart breaks today for the pain my sweet baby must be feeling as the nurses attempt to place an IV into his teeny tiny veins. Two attempts and a new nurse takes over. Garrin can’t cry because he is intubated, but his heart rate increases signifying that he is uncomfortable. Of course, he is on pain medication, but it is evident that it only reduces the discomfort. All of the pokes and prodding are why positive touch, including kangaroo care and oral cares, is so important. Unfortunately, because Garrin’s breathing tube has developed a significant air leak and he is at risk of inadvertently being extubated, I can only hold him on a limited basis.

Besides the blood transfusion, and obviously avoiding any breathing tube mishaps, the only goal for Garrin today is to grow. He has finished the ten-day steroid protocol that unfortunately as a side effect can inhibit growth. Last night he was back up to birth weight (yay!), and he has grown a centimeter in length since last week. Grow, baby, grow!

Speaking of milestones, I made it outside for a 1.27 mile walk today, which is a far cry from the miles I was running before I got pregnant with Garrin. Having been glued to my chair the last three weeks and on activity restriction for the eight weeks or so before Garrin was born, I am definitely out of shape. It’s time to start taking care of me. Some time this week or weekend, my husband will bring one of our cars to leave here. My goal is to hit the gym and to get into some semblance of a routine again.

The day after I gave birth to Garrin, I tried to convince my boss and our HR department to let me continue to teach my online classes during my maternity leave. I was hoping, at the time, that that would give me some sense of stability. I thought that I would have all the time in the world, just sitting here waiting. Little did I know how unwise that would have been. Not only has this journey been the most trying of roller coasters, but so much of my time is spent pumping, praying, sleeping, and talking to doctors, that I would not have been able to do my courses justice. I cannot say enough about my coworkers who jumped in without a day’s notice to cover my sections, have fed my family twice a week since Garrin was born, and have taken such good care of me while I have been in the hospital with him.

So many people have done so many nice things for us. Thank you all, including my sister’s coworkers, who have never met me or my husband, for everything, including, if not most importantly, the prayers. Your kindness brings tears to our eyes. We will never be able to thank you enough. My goal for the rest of my life will be to pay the kindness we’ve been shown forward. Today, I leave you with this quote as you have all done this for us: “Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.” ~Roy T. Bennett

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