Friday, November 18, 2011

Fry sauce please

I love Red Robin!  It's one of my favorite places to eat.  Last night was our last night with a Mom here to help us before we're on our own with Nate.  So Steve's mom let us go on a little date :)  And we chose to go to Red Robin.  Well, one reason I love it so much is the bottomless fries!  Those things are GOOD.  But in Utah, they always bring you that yummy fry sauce made of I don't even know, but it's yummy.  So last night we got our meals, but no sauce.  We asked the waitress for some fry sauce and she didn't really know what we were talking about.  So she brought us onion ring sauce (which was good...but not the same.)  Is Fry Sauce a thing of the west?  I know they have it in Washington.  And I know they have it in Utah.  But she didn't have any idea what we were talking about.  Sad!  We should get fry sauce started over here.

Healthy Heart

We had the post-op appointment on Wednesday.  Who knew that was an all day adventure?  We arrived at the hospital around 9:00 and left around 2:00.  It was quite the day, I'm glad I had my emergency supply of formula in my bag :)  Poor kid, he thought he was done with all that stuff, but here's the list of all he had done that day:

Blood work (which means a mean poke in the foot)
Chest x-rays
Heart echo
Nurse practitioner
Wound specialist

  It was an eventful day for this little man.  But it was a day full of good news :)  The cardiologist said his heart looks good and healthy!  The left ventricle filled up and is now the size/shape it needs to be!  The aorta is patched and works great!  The 2 holes are patched and his heart is a good heart!  Isn't that a miracle?  He's only 3 weeks old and he went from a heart that couldn't keep him alive, to a working healthy heart! His incision is healing up nicely too!  

The one problem he has is gaining weight.  He's still not to his birth weight and the doctors are a little worried.  They suspected it would be harder since he didn't learn about eating until 2 weeks after birth.  So we've changed some things so we can better measure how much he's eating and we're adding some calories to his milk.  I'm excited for him to be weighed on Monday because this kid has been CHOWING the past few days, which makes us so happy.  I'm sure he'll be right on track with weight gain.
We let him hang out with Pop-eye to motivate him to gain more weight and get big :)

This kid LOVES to stretch.  

Don't cry over "tossed out" milk

Did you know that people who adopt or women who just can't produce milk can actually BUY breast milk?  Kind of weird, I'm not sure I'd ever buy someone else's milk.  Who knows if this is true, but someone told me it's pretty expensive, like $20 per ounce.  Makes sense...that's valuable stuff!

Well, Nate didn't eat anything for almost 2 weeks because of his surgery, he was getting some other liquid stuff through a tube (Gatorade for babies).  So I pumped every 3 hours night and day until we were able to start nursing.  So you can imagine how many $20-ounces I had been making--lots--3 huge bags full of 2.5 ounce bottles.  Well the nurse forgot to give me all my milk when Nate was discharged (and I forgot to ask for it :( ).  So I called the day we left and asked them to save it and there must have been a miscommunication (or maybe someone took it and SOLD it) because when I came a week later, it was gone.  Sad, right?  My baby's nutrition! So...I have honestly complained WAY too much about it and I've decided that this post is the LAST time I'll say anything about it.  I will no longer "cry over my spilled milk".

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lessons Learned

The Children's Hospital is a sacred place.  Spending 2 weeks day and night there taught me some cool lessons.  I'd like to share them with all of you :)

1) The Lord loves his children! 
3 Nephi 17 went through my mind as I saw so many sweet little children.  I know the Savior was with them comforting each of them.

2) Even the newest of babies can exercise faith.  
Seeing Nate go into surgery with a countenance of trust and faith in the Lord.  I just knew he was communicating with the Lord and trusting in him.  I believe children have a special relationship with Heavenly Father.  I saw it in all the children I passed at the hospital.

3) I need to pray for more people
I was so impressed by how many strangers told me they would pray for me and my baby.  The janitor who came in to clean my room said, "Excuse me, Ma'am, I'm just here for housekeeping but I want you to know your baby will be in my prayers."  So many strangers and newly made friends would say they would pray for Nate.  It was very humbling to me because how often do I tell a stranger I'll pray for them?  Not very.  And when if I do say that, do I actually say a specific prayer for that person? I got thinking about the covenants I've made and it is my duty, as a member of the Savior's church, to represent him!  What better way to represent him than to pray for others for real.  I don't think just saying, "Oh, you're in my prayers" is good enough.  We should actually say a real sincere prayer when we tell someone we will.

4) People are good.
We made some good friends while in the hospital.  I'll mention 2 in particular.  Brenda is the grandmother of a baby with a malignant brain tumor.  She and my mom got to be good friends because they were both kicked out of the rooms at 8pm (which made me mad...but that's another story) They slept in neighboring recliners in the Family Sleeping Area and got to be close friends.  She is such a sweet woman.  By the time we left, we exchanged contact information and we gave her a Book of Mormon.  Steve was able to talk to her about the temple a little. This woman was so receptive and was truly full of goodness.
The other friend is Billy.  He and his wife are the legal guardians of their grandson who came in for hip surgery.  There were complications and he ended up having more surgeries and more problems.  Billy was not happy about it.  Billy was a BIG black guy who sometimes wore a do-rag and sometimes a baseball hat to the side.  Whenever he saw me he'd ask, "How yo Momma doin'?  An' yo' baby? You sleepin nuff'?"  He was great.  When I finally got to meet his grandson, I bawled.  I had grown to love Billy and even his grandson that I just met and seeing him in such horrible shape made me cry.  Billy didn't see, but his wife did.  Mom and I returned to our room and about 5 minutes later Billy comes bursting in, whips open the curtain, "My wife tell me you be cryin'!  There be no need for you girls cryin'!  I tell my wife, 'that girl an' her momma, they coo!  They be real cool! You know, you shouldn't be cryin' for my boy, just pray fer im' okay!  Just pray and everything will be alright"  Then he opened his big arms wide and hugged us, mom on one side, me on the other :).  As funny as it was, it was a special experience for me. 

5) Grandmas should not be considered visitors
Someday I'm going to make my own hospital and Grandparents will NOT be kicked out at 8pm.  I wanted my mom AND my husband there and they wouldn't let me.  

6) The smallest acts of service mean so much
People have been so good to us and the littlest things came at the perfect times.  Someone made lunches for Steve when he went to school straight from the hospital.  Dave and Nikki brought us dinner several times and also brought me random things I forgot, like socks :)  So many little things meant the world to me.  

7) Family is important to everyone
Sometimes I forget that family is not only important to me and to other families in the LDS church, but it's so important to everyone.  It was neat to watch other families come together to pray and support each other.  

There are so many other little lessons I learned there.  I feel that my life has been changed, not only because I now have a baby, but because of the sacred and special experiences I had while at the hospital.  I will never forget it! I am so grateful for people!...for SO many people.  I am grateful that a good man got an education to learn how to do major surgery on the heart the size of a newborn's fist.  Really?!!!!  

Home After Surgery

Nate is finally home after surgery!  What an incredible miracle that he recovered as quickly as he did.  Here's the timeline:

Born: October 28 

Open heart surgery: November 2 

Off the ventilator:  November 4

Learning to eat by mouth:  November 5

Moved from Cardiac ICU to the Step-down Unit: November 7

Sent home :) : November 9


The entire experience was incredible.  This little baby I think has gone through more in one week than I ever have in my 25 years of life.  Watching this sweet baby struggle after the surgery was the hardest thing for me!  I'm sure he won't remember it, but I believe it definitely has already begun to build his character.  He is a tough boy :)  He's also pretty patient and submissive.  I can already tell how determined of a person he'll be.  I believe even babies can have faith and he definitely exercised great faith during those few hard days.  He's already my little hero!