I got the joy of returning to church today for the first time in 5 weeks. I have to say, I was a little nervous about being bombarded with questions and tackling them on my own without G by my side (he was on call at the hospital). However, I felt so welcomed back to "our 2nd family" that all my nerves quickly subsided. Nothing makes a person feel more appreciated than receiving a round of applause from the entire congregation after the pastor announced I was back. I also didn't realize how much I had missed singing. We Raynor gals don't go too long without breaking into song, so 5 weeks was a lengthy stretch for me. It felt so good to sing and be able to say THANK YOU to everyone who has prayed and sent cards.
We truly have been blessed by so many people....many people we do not even know, but they perhaps know us or have heard of our story. People have stopped us in grocery stores and at gas stations to tell us they are praying for our family. We feel as if an army is behind us. It means everything to us to have friends, family, and even complete strangers keeping our family in their prayers.
As I've said before, my writing is an outlet for me so that I sleep at night and have documentation of this journey for our family in the future. For many reasons, G and I have recently discussed about making the blog private (meaning only visible to closest friends and family). However, we always come to the same reason as to why we want this blog available to everyone. We want to pay it forward to others some day. If we can help another family going through a similar experience, by all means, let us.
We've already received several very touching emails from people who have been moved by our story. In turn, they have (and continue to) move us.
---I have had two women share with me their private struggles with postpartum depression for months or more. They have finally worked up the courage to seek medical attention after reading about our journey with Elise. I have such admiration for these women and their bravery.
---There is a group of 11th and 12th graders in Vermont who have been following our blog in a pre-med class filled with nurses and doctors of our future. They have discussions about Little Lady's progress and all her medical equipment. Coming from an educator myself, I LOVE this!
---Just yesterday I went to get the mail and found a Ziploc baggie with the teeniest hat inside. A family friend's daughter had read our story and made a hat for Elise. I have no idea how she got her head measurements because even the retail "preemie" hats are still too large. However, this homemade hat fits Elise's head perfectly. So touching.
I tell you these stories to tell you this: I know for certain we could not make it through this journey without the love and support from around the country; literally. When we receive an email about how our blog has affected someone else, it makes it a tiny bit easier to rise out of bed, put our feet on the ground, and say, "Let's do another day."
Right now, the days are holding steady and putting smiles on our faces.
Her feedings continue to go extremely well! She is up to 13 ml's of breast milk every 3 hours that they fortify (add extra calories) so she continues to gain weight. Speaking of weight, she is up to 1 pound 15 ounces. We are REALLY hoping for a 2 lb. party soon! Due to her weight gain (and blow outs- ha!) she has graduated to the preemie "big girl" diapers. Don't get me wrong, these are still teeny weeny diapers, but instead of fitting in the palm of my hand (her former diapers), they now fill my entire hand. It's progress!
Update on Elise's Ami: She is progressing quite beautifully at home after her open heart surgery. She has to walk around the house 30 minutes daily. Although she tuckers out just like her Elise, she is faithful about her walking. She is slowly getting her appetite back and it's been rumored that she craves McDonald's hot fudge sundaes -ha! This is so funny to G and I because Ami has been and continues to be so devoted to healthy eating. The doctors have told her to eat whatever she craves so that her appetite will come back. GO FOR IT AMI!
Things that are coming up for our Little Lady in the near future:
1). CPAP - and we pray it "sticks" this time
2). In the next 2-3 weeks, Elise will see an eye doctor for an initial eye exam. Many preemies sometimes struggle with vision issues and meet the eye doctor at a very young age!
3). Once she weighs 1,000 grams she gets to dress in her fun preemie clothes! Yeah! (she's 905 grams tonight).
We are praying for a week filled with positive news!
G & J & E