Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lisa vs. Elise

Have you ever had a day when you fight back tears ALL day long and finally get to a point where you can no longer hold them back?? That was me last night. I came to a breaking point as a new mother. After witnessing Elise drop her sats yesterday, I took a while to shake it. Her monitor numbers kept flashing in my head the whole drive home and into the evening.

Like I said in the last post, my husband has seen monitor numbers drop drastically on patients. As a physician, you know why it's happening and what you can do to improve things. Lucky Dad. This Momma was just spooked and needed to have a good ol' cry.

When G and I finally got to the root of my tears last night, a light bulb clicked on. My mother Lisa...Elise's namesake, was in and out of hospitals my entire childhood. As I've mentioned before, she had a chronic lung disease that affected her from 1990 forward. Two things we watched and monitored with Momma during every hospital stay were her oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

When it was Momma's time to leave this Earth, her CO2 levels were sky-rocketing. There was nothing the doctors could do. Medicines had stopped working for her. It was simple...her lungs were shutting down from all the hard work she had put them through. Around 5am on February 20, 2011, her numbers slowly dropped, monitors shut off, and she left this world very peacefully.

It has always been ingrained in me to worry and fret over oxygen and CO2 levels ever since I was a little girl and looking at my mother's hospital monitors. Therefore, I have been subconcsiously comparing my mother's hospital stays with Elise's NICU stay. I am so focused on Elise's lungs and her CO2 levels. I have even compared Elise's numbers to my mother's final numbers before she passed. One of my greatest fears is Elise will get tired and her lungs will stop working, just like Momma's lungs. Not ONE of my greatest fears....THE greatest fear of my life. I lost my mother to a lung disease....but there is no way in hell I will lose my daughter as well.

Momma knew what she was doing when she placed Grant in my life. Last night during my break down, he was able to make me realize how Momma and Elise are very different people. Momma had a condition that was simply not going to improve. As much as we hated to talk about it when she was with us, her lung condition was going to be the cause of her death someday.

Elise is a new life. She has new lungs. Yes, she is still in critical times, but her lungs are improving day by day. Babies are much more resilient when compared to adults, so I don't have to compare these two amazing females in my life.

My tears subsided after I realized: they ARE different, and Momma made sure of it before she sent us Elise 15 weeks early. Mom absolutely hated her lung condition and longed for the day she could dance the night away on a dance floor, rather than sitting and watching everyone else dance. Sadly, that day never came for Momma...but I am now betting money that it will come true for her beautiful granddaughter someday....

Momma J


  1. Beautiful post, Jessica! I have goosebumps. Thanks for sharing your day...prayers and love always...I am so thankful you have Grant right by your side every step of the way...I agree, Momma Lisa knew what she was doing. Love you!

  2. Hi Jess, Grant and I were classmates at Valpo, and I have been following your journey with your little tiger. She is beautiful and so lucky to have the two of you for parents. I sent you folks something the other day, too...I hope it gets to the hospital all right...

    I had to comment on this post because I know EXACTLY how you feel in this situation. I lost my dad just about a year ago (March 31) to pulmonary fibrosis and we spent a period of time monitoring his O2 levels and all that stuff too. Hospital monitors and the whole deal. Our son, 4, was diagnosed with asthma this fall and we had a scary weekend over Halloween where we ended up in the ER with him hooked up to the same monitors with the same stats beeping across the screen and all that stuff. It was all I could do to focus on getting him better. My son's doctors have been very patient with me, as I have explained my neuroses around these breathing issues, and have assured me that asthma and the fibrosis are totally different animals, but that fear still lives.

    So, you are not alone. While I didn't have the NICU experience that you are going through, you and I have walked similar paths in a number of ways (I teach, too-big kids, but I love them). Please feel free to read my blog (I've been a bit negligent since we lost Dad, but, the story is there) and contact me if there is anything that I can do for you. I know that we have never met, but I think about you and your little family often and wish you all peace and strength through this journey.