From the beginning so many people have said that this is going to be a roller coaster. There will be ups and downs in emotions and peaks and valleys in her progress. This morning started off just that way. We went to bed last night after reading our darling angel her first bed time story about the birth of Jesus. She had been fairly stable through the first 48 hours with so much unknown to lie ahead. After thrusting myself out of bed to start my every two hour time clock, I was determined to start the bottles as early as possible (God has absolutely 110% fulfilled that need); which really meant I could get down to see our baby girl even sooner. As my magnificent husband stated earlier, our 6am trip was a tear to the heart. I think we both woke up revitalized and reassured that Isabella had a nice night with Colleen. To see the look on Colleen's face when she said the word "episode" made our stomachs turn; then the description she gave of what had happened during the night crushed both of us on the inside. After this trip we went back to the hospital room to rest...yet I was due for my second shift of the day. So after accomplishing that task, we both took a break. I was able to fall back asleep while Chris went down stairs to grab a bite to eat. Under the impression that he would be right back, when I woke up at 9am I panicked in wonder why he wasn't sitting next to me in his chair. It was gruesome to feel that all I could think was the worst. I was trapped in my bed, straining to breathe, and searching for someone to save me. I quickly grabbed my phone to call Chris in order to find out why he wasn't there with me and if something was wrong. Once again I counted my blessings for the morning that everything was okay. We both spent the remainder of the day counting blessings. We watched Bella's progress on monitors and listened to test results. It is often hard seeing all the numbers you think are stable signs and then hear professionals tell you of the small things you cannot see on the inside. The best news we had throughout the day was that our baby was a "superstar" according to the Nurse Practitioners. Even with that blessed stature bestowed upon her, it is hard to over come the fact that we know she is so fragile and vulnerable.
After three days of being just a short walk away from her, we vacated the hospital as a residence to the closest hotel. We settled in slightly and then realized that I didn't have all of my "liquid gold" equipment. Chris and I made the jaunt back to the NICU so that I could produce what will be so precious for Bella in the days to come. During this time, I got to share the nursing room with another woman. It really helped to talk with her about her situation. The nurses said that would be good for me...once again they proved to be right. Chris was able to bond with his beautiful creation during this time; it makes me so happy to see him talking with her and awing over her precious being. It is often hard to see the pain in his face and fear in his eyes; but I know that he funnels so much love to her in her little home just like he did when she was still a part of me. There is something captivating about standing back and watching him bond with her. We blew her kisses and our love before heading out to our first dinner outside the hospital. It was a peaceful place called Maya's. But no matter how serene it was, the three of us still felt confused. After eating a fairly delicious meal, we needed to head to CVS to pick up a few essentials now that we didn't have a nurse to bring it to us. Unfortunately that was a little stressful. So after that mission completed, we picked up the camera and a book at the hotel and headed to kiss Bella good night. With the day having been so tough, we just couldn't wait to see her tiny toes and adorable fingers and cute nose. Just like before I had to spend 15 minutes in the nursing area to finish up my pumping for the day. I had asked mom to help me a little bit, truth be known I just didn't want to be back there alone. Once she got me hooked up, she headed back out front to talk with Isabella. I wrapped up my pumping and she walked in just in time to help clean up. She was smiling and pleased because she read the story of Jesus to Bella as Chris and I had the night before.
We got everything clean and put away to head back up front. As I rounded the corner and peered down the corridor, I saw my precious husband sitting in front of his daughter. Even with his head turned three-quarters away from me, I could see that handsome smile of his beaming. I walked up, stroked his hair and said hello to my baby girl. As he glanced up at me, I saw tears in his eyes and this time they were accompanied by a perched smile...like he was holding something back. He looked up at me and said, "She weighed 1lb. 8oz." That was AMAZING news. That day she had gotten blood and eaten several servings of my milk, allowing her to gain back the weight she lost the day before. Thank you God for giving her this strength. At the moment our hearts are at ease knowing she was able to put on weight. She is truly amazing and captivating to watch. God, thank you for these 76 hours, thank you for our daughter, thank you for all the blessings you have bestowed upon our family, thank you for the incredible staff and professionals at UVA, thank you for all the love and support coming our way, we are truly blessed.