Holding Their Own

Monday, January 22, 2007

I went to Mac on Saturday morning to see Erin and the babies. Rhonda and Tim (and Isaiah) came down, so I met them. We had put together a basket of goodies to bring her.

When Jairus was born and we were in hospital for SO long, it was the first experience I'd really had with hospitals. His birth was the first time I'd ever been admitted. The only other times I remembered any significant hospital encounters (other than emergency room visits) were when my grandfather and great-grandfather died, a few friends gave birth, a foster child got the croup and my dad had a couple surgeries (gall bladder and apendix, I think). All this to say, that I had no idea how much a hospital stay turns your life upside down.

Of course, lots of people came to visit me and Jairus in the hospital. We got lots of flowers, baby gifts--usually clothes. One friend thought to give me some nice 'pampering' things, and a couple others called in advance and asked me if I had any cravings for food (I think they brought me pizza and cheesecake). Some people came and didn't bring anything. Perfectly fine.
But I tell you, I will never forget a visit from the pastor of the church that we had left the previous year. He and a few others from the church came and gave us....a parking pass.
When the OB and the geneticist told us halfway through the pregnancy that Jairus would have to stay in hospital for a bit, parking was the last thing on our minds. It came quickly to the front, when I was suddenly in hospital for 5 days, and Jairus for 2 months. We really didn't understand what Jairus' problems meant--we had thought that he would need extra oxygen when he was born, and then we'd go home. Since we hadn't yet taken control of our finances, that was alot of money to spend on our car, expecially when we hadn't even considered we'd need to do that. But someone at that church really put their brain to the task and figured out what could be a tremendous help to us. Flowers are nice, clothes certainly are needed too, but that parking pass was Christ's love in action.

Since then, I've endeavoured to be thoughtful and sensitive to families in need. I'm sure I've overlooked plenty of opportunities, but I know I've taken a few too. Having been in Erin's shoes, I thought of a few things she might need and enjoy. Rhonda and Tim and a few other friends of Erin and Kevin helped out too. I hope it'll make the next many weeks a little easier for them.

So we went up and found Erin returning to her room after visiting the babies. She was looking well and we all headed back to the NICU, as Erin said we could go see. Unfortunately, the usual hospital politics and lack of communication reared their ugly heads, and Erin was unable to bring us in, as brusquely stated by the highly attentive front desk worker. Bummer. But we saw polaroids. It was hard to tell exactly how big the girls were, because the pictures lacked a point of reference, but they did look a good size. Erin said their little feet are barely 2 inches long.

I couldn't help but think of Hayden when I looked at those pictures. Sometimes I wished I had seen him. But I have a pretty vivid imagination.

So the twins seem to be doing well. They're being fed by NG tube (through their noses) and Erin is pumping breastmilk for them. (You GO girl!) They might be able to start nursing in3-4 weeks. If they are still doing well by 32 weeks, they could be transfered back to Barrie until they're up to enough weight to go home.

Good--no, GREAT News!

Friday, January 19, 2007

I talked to Rhonda this morning. The girls came in at a whopping 2.5 pounds each! Yes, I know, that sounds tiny, but that's amazing for 28 weeks twins!!

They've been called Gwen, short for Gwenivere (I have no idea of spelling and that looks wrong to me) and Meg, short for Margaret.

Even more amazing is that they are both OFF THEIR RESPIRATORS!

Ooo, I hope this keeps up. Very encouraging indeed. And even though mom had to have the second one by emergency c-section, she's doing really well, says Rhonda.

Keep up the praying!!

---Oh, and if you'd like to do something more tangible than pray, than drop me a line--A bunch of us are putting together some gift cards and such to food places near Mac and the more the better!

Early Girls

Thursday, January 18, 2007

On Monday, I was talking to my sister-in-law, Rhonda, who's one of my best friends. Her and Tim live in Barrie, they've got 3 little boys (Elijah, Josh and Isaiah) and little girl Micah should be joining the family in about 6 weeks....

Their church does small groups and Tim and Rhonda always speak highly of the little gatherings. They seem to become really close friends with all the families in their group and even keep in touch with those who move away. Right now, there seems to be a plethora of pregnant ladies in their group, and one of them was Erin.

I can say was, because she gave birth yesterday. This past weekend, she was about 28 weeks along with twin girls when the signs of labour began. She went to the local hospital, but they warned her that they were not equipped to deliver these babies before 32 weeks. (What would they have done if the babies had just come out?) To further complicate the problem, the hospital was reporting that no other major hospitals in the province were able to take her (too full?). The proberbial rock and a hard place.

I'm not sure what changed, but sometime on Monday or Tuesday, McMaster became a possibility. So Erin was transfered on Tuesday. Things were looking good labour wise--contractions had slowed down, but Erin was told that she would not go home before these babies were born, and they hoped she could make it to 34 weeks. If the babies came earlier, then they would have to stay for a number of weeks in the NICU, so either way, Mac was now their new home for a couple months.

It's always difficult when an unexpected hospitalization occurs...specially if one is self employed, which Kevin is. They were looking at the prospect of many weeks of Erin and/or baby girls in the hospital, unable to care for the other two children and 1.5 hours away from home--and he doesn't exactly get sick leave. It was looking like he'd be spending alot of time on the road between Barrie and Hamilton...

Last night when I got home from choir, James told me that Rhonda had called: the girls came yesterday. I don't know how big, or their names or anything, but apparently they are doing alright. I believe their chances are good--around 80%, but this family still needs much prayer.

Mystery Solved

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Over the last few months, I've had a few people say they've tried to leave a comment on my blog, but it wouldn't show up. And I'd be confused because I get an email whenever someone leaves a comment on my blog and then I can decide if I want to post it and I hadn't gotten any such emails....

Well, I guess with the changes blogger has made, that's no longer the way it works. I finally got around to switching to the 'new' blogger and lo and behold!! All these comments waiting for me to moderate them!!

So, my apologies to everyone who's left comments and thought I was ignoring you. Not the case! It was rather exciting to read all these lovely comments....even if they were a few months old. Hopefully that won't happen now that I've upgraded.

And even though I said I wasn't going to post anymore about the baby, I thought I should just add one P.S. My comments last post were not in any way to guilt anyone who hadn't expressed their condolences. I've had wonderful support from 99.9 percent of the people in my life and it's helped immensely. I just know that figuring out what to say to people in pain is a hard thing, and now that I've been on the other side, I thought I'd offer some suggestions.

And speaking of pain, James lost his grandma over the holidays. She was quite old (96 years) and had really gone downhill the last few years since she lost her husband, so it was in some ways, a relief. And to know that she's with him, and the two sons she lost--one at six years old to polio, one at 3 days and whom I named Jairus (Donovan) for, is really nice. And I have to admit, it was another nice feeling to think she's with Hayden, maybe holding him...

(OK, so maybe I can't stop posting about him...!)

Well, I've just learned that a children's choir I'd been asked to take on in Grimsby is not going to go forward. So disappointing....

We got SO much done over the holidays!! When we first moved, we bought new laminate flooring from Home Depot because it was on sale, and we wanted to put down new floor in the kids' rooms and the room James will be using as his studio/office. We got it laid in the girls' room soon after we moved. (30 year old Cookie Monster blue carpet was really clashing with the Princess Purple walls...!) but then we ran out of underlay to do the other rooms and didn't have the extra money to go buy it. We got a Home Depot gift card for Christmas from Jamie's grandma, so off we went to buy underlay. James and my brother Paul (home from basic training for the holidays) got Jairus' floor down on the Friday before New Years, and the next day, James and I did the office. It looks SOOO much better....it just had stick on tile before, but the worst was that it had become the catch-all room for all the boxes we hadn't unpacked. No, we're really not terrible procrastinators....we just need more bookshelves, and half the boxes were James' studio equipment, so they just needed a space to be organized in. Plus we had set up the extra bed in there--a temporary measure as we'd had a fairly consistant stream of guests over the past 6 months who needed a place to sleep.
It's such a GREAT feeling to get organized and accomplish some of the plans we have for our house. Next we're hoping to get the basement finished off because we're starting homeschool soon....

Oh yes, we're really going to do it. I've thought highly of homeschooling for many years. When I was in Chicago, I met a few homeschooling families there and I just loved the way they operated. I saw in their families many positive traits that a) Seemed directly correlated to the fact that they homeschooled, and b) Were things I wanted to see developed in my family.

As Jairus got older, I started doubting that homeschooling would be the best route for him. I didn't want my own desires to homeschool to overshadow what was best for him. But after about a year and half of lots of thinking, research, reading and talking with friends, family, and others who would know, I've decided that home is the best place for him. I'm real excited! I've started gathering the books and materials I'll need to get started. My friend Karen loaned me a great book on scheduling in the home and my mom bought me a huge 'get-started' book that is positively overloaded with, I think, all the info I'll need. I've been thinking about what method of homeschooling I'd like to do: you'd never guess there's so many ways to do it!

And so back to the basement....Since the kids' toys and the new little Ikea table and chairs are down there, I think I'd like to make it our main homeschooling room. I salvaged a Little Tykes art easel from my parents' house that we put down there, so that the kids can do painting and chalking, just like at preschool! We already have a million and one books....now we just need walls and a ceiling, and a floor. What's there will do for now, but it'll be nice to make it into a cosy, well organized room that we'll accomplish lots in.

So that's what I'm working on now!

A week ago yesterday

Thursday, January 4, 2007

We buried Hayden in Simcoe.

At first, I didn't want to do that. At the hospital, the social worker talked to us about our options for his care. The thought of a grave, a stone, a cemetary....too much. We thought we would just leave it to the hospital.

But a week or so later, James was doing a service call at a funeral home in Jarvis, just minutes outside of Simcoe. Jamie's family is from Simcoe, in fact, he lived there for much of his childhood. He got talking with the funeral directors, members of the Salvation Army there, and asked them about how they dealt with miscarriages---if they dealt with them.
They said that they did have families in a few times a year, asking for help with the burial of an early lost baby. As it turns out, they don't charge for any of the services, because "if we have to make our money off of babies, we're getting out of this business". James was really pleased with alot of what they said. There is already a family plot in a cemetary in Simcoe and we got permission to use a small part of it....

So we contacted the hospital and found out that it wasn't too late. We could still have Hayden.
Everything seemed to fall into place....I had a beautiful sense of peace that the Lord was setting this up for us. I was finishing up my Christmas shopping and I went into the General Store at Eastgate. There, in a gardening booth in the back, I found a flat stone with a poem carved on it:

So after I stood there bawling for a moment, I snapped it up and bought it. I took it to the monument place down the road and they engraved his name and the date on it.

And on Wednesday, Dec. 27th, James and I, my parents, his parents and an aunt from the area traveled to Simcoe and laid him to rest. Jamie's dad said a nice prayer and we placed him right next to the big Kent stone already there. It felt nice to see his place next to that grand stone with his last name already on it.

I don't want to spend alot of time posting about this, because I know that it's sad for people to read; hard to read for those who've gone through it....but perhaps helpful as well. I've learned that not everyone is treated as well as we were. If they went through the emergency room, or if they were earlier in their pregnancies...hospitals just aren't as sensitive as they should be.

But I wanted to just say a few more things, and then that should be it. It's about that often wondered question: What to say?

What to say to your friend or co-worker, your family member or whomever, who has just lost a baby?

Perhaps others would say differently, but I feel very strongly now about the answer. Just say something. Don't assume that nothing will be better than a bungled condolence. It's totally not. When you say nothing, the grieving mom or dad hears the message that sends: You're not really suffering anything worth my saying something.

The social worker in the hospital pointed out that my choir kids needed to be told something. They knew I was pregnant and to bypass an explanation for my absence would have been cruel and insensitive to them. Plus then I would have been left to deal with questions when I returned; questions that might have been hard to answer. She also gave me a 'sample script' to be passed along to the children. Once they knew, the kids would have been compelled to say something to express their sadness for me, but often they would not know how, so a simple thing to do was to give them some words. Her suggestion was, "I'm sorry this has happened to you, Mrs. Kent". I thought that was a good idea and to my knowledge, that's what was done.

It's not only children that sometimes need a script. Want to say something? Don't know what to say?

I'm so sorry this happened to you.

That's all you need to say. That tells me that you know this is awful, you would feel awful too. That tells me that you recognize that Hayden was a person, he was loved and will be remembered. That I have a right to grieve, because he was more than a bunch of cells, a blob of tissue, a fetus.

He was my baby.

Another one won't take his place. Because people are not replaceable. My other children have made this process somewhat easier, and caused me to treasure them even more, but it's not 'ok' because I already have three.

Just a few tips, in case you were wondering.