Happy Birthing, Anya!

For those of you who don't use Facebook (which unfortunately has taken a front seat to my Blogging for the past 8 weeks...), I just wanted to announce:

We have a baby girl!!!
Anastasia Sophia Harrison
February 9, 2010
5 pounds, 1 ounce
18 inches

Because of pre-existing conditions, she is happily recuperating at the Children's Hospital NICU in San Diego. Yes, I miss her like crazy. No, we don't know yet how long she will need to be there. Yes, we are sad, and yes, it is unfair. Yes, it's only been 5 days, but it's already felt like an eternity. There are good days, and there are really bad days for me. I've gotten to hold my precious little girl three times, for maybe a total of two hours all together.
Why is she in the NICU, you may ask? Well, two main reasons:
1. Esophageal Atresia. The good thing (if there really is anything 'good' about this) is that she was diagnosed with this condition well before birth, so we were somewhat mentally prepared for a NICU stay. The first surgery to connect a feeding tube directly into her stomach happened on her first 24 hours of life. We still don't know how long her NICU stay will be; the doctors don't have a good enough idea of how close the separation of esophagus to her stomach is, and they want her feeding tube site to heal well before they do more studies to find out. They gave us an expected NICU stay of between 1 month to 1 year. So right now, we wait. And wait. And wait.............And it's hard waiting when you are still recovering from an emergency c-section and can't drive yourself the 30 mile one-way trip to see your baby.
It's hard waiting when all you can do is pump instead of hold your baby to feed them (and might I add, pumping really sucks, and it's not like the real thing at all. Especially when it's all you get to do).It's hard not being able to spend the entire day with her, or even be able to hold her when I want to.It's hard to see her be in an environment where the nurses get to touch her and hold her more than I can.
It's hard to see how difficult it is for Bryan, who is supposed to 'suck it up' and be our rock right now.And it's especially hard when you have that oh-so-awesome hormone release after having a baby, and everything seems a bazillion times more stressful/crazy/sad.
2. After birth, she was also diagnosed with anal displacement. Basically, that means your plumbing isn't where it should be. Thankfully, the doctors have found her anus and it barely missed the mark of where it should be. Surgery to correct and move this into proper position can be put off until she's about a year old.So rightfully so, I am sad. I'm sad that she's not here, sad that her extended family and even her older brothers can't meet her yet (curse you, overly sensationalized swine flu!). I'm so sad that we've been talking about her and my boys have only seen pictures and videos, and won't see her for a very long time. I'm also sad that I don't have the ability to care for my two little ones at home. I'm sad that their routine has been thrown completely off for the past week, and will continue to be wonky until further notice. I'm sad that because of this, my 2 year old won't let me snuggle him or show him affection whatsoever. That breaks my heart!
Don't get me wrong... we have SO many people praying for us right now! For that, I am so incredibly grateful. I am grateful for all the meals, the babysitting, the well-wishes, the hugs, and everything in between. I'm not unaware of these acts of service and I am so humbled! I'm not very good at accepting help; I've always been self-sufficient and never really 'needed' help like this before. I've never been in a situation where I feel nothing but helplessness, and at the mercy of others' goodness. I've always been able to get through whatever life has thrown at me. I've always been able to put on a brave face, and for the most part be able to muddle through whatever.
But this time, I really do feel helpless. I'm still healing after surgery myself; the house is too quiet because my boys have been gone at various homes for the past week. There is too much time in the day to sit and do nothing (can you tell I'm also not very good at sitting around?).
I know I need to rest. But my mind does NOT rest. My body might need it, but I lay awake at night, thinking too much and coming up with a million different scenarios.
Like I wrote earlier, I shouldn't complain. Anya's prognosis is really actually VERY good. She is very strong, and she did incredibly well in her first surgery. She has no genetic disorders (which was a concern for the doctors so much so that I had an amniocentesis done the week before she was born), and she is a gorgeous little girl. She is super well-behaved (hardly cries, and when she does, she fusses for a few minutes then goes back to sleep), she's passing stool through her intestines all on her own (meaning her plumbing actually works, yay!) and she's responding well to larger feedings. All of these things are great signs of thriving. But I'm sure you can understand how difficult it is to have her so far away from me. Especially since I was diagnosed with hydramnios while carrying her; it was literally as if a huge part of me was left at the hospital. (and huge it was! Normal measurements for amniotic fluid range from 8cm to 25cm. My last measurement was nearly 60cm!) I lost over 4 gallons of JUST amniotic fluid alone!

Please excuse my belly shot; I'm illustrating how incredibly huge I was, and I couldn't do a thing about it. This isn't even a very good representation of my tummy mass, but it's the first picture I could find!

So, I'm ending this on a good note:
I am grateful for the Priesthood of God, and grateful that I have a whole slew of men in my family to go to if ever I am in need of that power.
I am especially grateful that my husband is a worthy Priesthood holder!
I am grateful that Anya is my miracle baby.
I am grateful for Children's Hospital, and all the wonderful Doctors, RN's, nurse Practitioners, Volunteers, and staff for all the hard work they do.
I am grateful that each time I can visit, Anya has been gifted another crocheted hat and booties, or been given a cute little Valentine's Day balloon for her bedside, or just loved on all day.
I am grateful that my boys are doing pretty well, considering the crazy upset this week has been.
I am grateful that there are so many people coming out of the woodwork to help us! So grateful!
I am grateful that Anya is only 30 miles away and not 60!
I am grateful that we ended up getting our family car literally hours before she decided to make her grand entrance! (On a totally unrelated subject, I am in love with our Kia van! I'll have to write more about that in a different post)
I am grateful I have the support I need at this crazy time in my life.
And......... I'm SO grateful for painkillers! :) Go, vicodin, GO!

13 devoted readers:

Ashley said...

Oh WOW, she really is so beautiful and I'm so happy for your family that she's here safely and has such great care in the hospital! Hang in there, you are doing such an amazing job and I know everyone tells you this but you really are SUCH an inspiration to everyone with your faith and your strength. I wish you all the BEST!!!

Susie said...

Sarah I can stop crying and wishing I was there to help you!! I wish I could drive you--I would do what ever I could. Please let me know if there is something I can do--Something special for "Curley" or "Einstien" that you could give them specially from you--what are their like and loves right now?? You were such a good...excellent friend to me I am so grateful to know you and I want to help in any way!! I love you and hope a swift recovery for you and healing/growth for Anya!!

Dan~Kerstin~Bree~ Baby #2 said...

Sarah, I hope you get to bring her home soon. I will be thinking of your family and will keep you in our prayers.

Marcie said...

Sarah, I will keep your family in my prayers- sweet little Anya! I just wish you the best through this difficult time and I pray that she will be able to come home soon to your darling, loving family. Hugs to you.

Carli said...

Oh Sarah, She is beautiful! I am so sorry about all of the medical mess. I remember when Liam was in NICU because of his pneumonia. It was so hard to not be able to nurse him and to see all of the tubes and wires. And it was even more hard on me to keep leaving kennedy while I went to the hospital to pump and hold him every 3 hours. I know that does not even compare to what you are going through, but I can only imagine. I love you and am praying for your family!

shay said...

crying a river right now.. you're in our prayers... how blessed you are that she is strong and healthy and over 5 lbs! wheew!!! She can withstand all this, because just think of all she has been through already in-utero! And even though it seems like you just stepped on to this rollercoater (cause you actually did)... there is nothing we won't do for our children. I know all your struggles, all your fears, all your anxieties, all your loves, and the peace you feel too. You go girl!!!! It's okay to cry yourself to sleep and it's okay to scream when it become unbearable. And call me if you need to just vent. I more than get it. LOVES to all of you.

Cameron said...

Oh Sarah! I am so sorry to hear of your circumstances. I am so happy to know that Anya has a strong mommy! She is obviously a tough chic as well and we will be praying that your family is together and healthy in good time. More than that, for comfort and peace for you. I have 5.5 weeks to go. The past 6 weeks I have progressively measured bigger and bigger. Right now I am measuring 4 cm too big and I hope that number doesn't get any bigger.
Anyway, thank you for sharing your story so far and for your strength. YOU are such an inspiration!!! :) Hugs, Sarah!

Cameron said...

Yeah, that's from Michelle, not Cameron, FYI. Sorry!!

queenieweenie said...

You are right...she IS incredibly beautiful...of course. Sammy was in the NICU for 10 days, so I can relate a tiny bit to what you are going through.

Please know you are in my prayers. Anytime you need a ride to the NICU to see your baby girl, give me a call (760)470-2383.

flip flop mama said...

I'm sorry you have to go through this but I'm glad that things look promising for her to make a full recovery! We'll keep you and sweet little Anya in our prayers!

Jared said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth said...

That sounds so hard, Sarah! Your "grateful list" at the end was so touching and inspiring to read - it's amazing how many things you can find to be grateful for at this extremely difficult time for you and your family! I wish I could be there to help! I am so glad to hear that Anya seems to be doing well in spite of everything she is going through! You guys are in my prayers.

Douglas and Nicole said...

Wow, Sarah, you are incredible! Anya really is very beautiful! Please let me know if I can do anything for you. You're all in my prayers.