September 12, 2013


(Peyton has learned to smile! This was after she made a mess in her bed and the poor nurses had to clean it up. )

I was reminded this week that grief can hit at anytime. I've been doing great emotionally and I think a big part of that is because Peyton is doing so well (I'll get to her update below, along with more hilarious pictures). Many friends remind me that I don't have to be so strong. Not to worry, Ryan and I are not putting on an act. Everyone handles grief differently, and our route is to be positive and not dwell on the negative. With that said, we will always have difficult moments and shed plenty of tears over our children who we can no longer hold here on earth.

It's interesting how little things can trigger that grief. On Monday, I met the nicest viewer who made beautiful quilts for Peyton. I was in a great mood. But as I sat holding Peyton, just looking at her made me cry. There were several new babies brought into the Nicu that day and I couldn't help but look at the happy parents. The joy they saw as they stared at their perfect little child or twins, made me long for that moment. I felt robbed of the special memories that most parents get. I never got to hold my babies and smile for the camera the moment they were born. Instead, I have pictures of Ryan and I in tears, watching our daughter Abby pass away in my arms. I didn't even realize that Peyton and Parker survived because I was so sick and was rushed off to surgery. I never had that precious moment of seeing my babies for the first time in the NICU. It was a few days before I had the strength to be wheeled out of the ICU to meet Peyton and Parker. I was in such a daze, the first week of their lives was a complete blur to me. As I watched families react to their healthier babies, a rush of emotions took over. I left the NICU and burst into tears the moment I reached my car. I spent the day crying at home and feeling sorry for myself. I didn't have the courage to walk back into the hospital on Monday, knowing I couldn't handle it. It was then that I realized mourning is not something that only lasts a short while, it is a feeling that will likely stay with me for years to come.

I'm not sharing this heartbreak for people to feel sorry for me. As I've said before, I don't have the attitude of "woe is me". I just want to be as brutally honest as possible. Oftentimes, people hear the miracle stories, but there is so much more to the story before the happy ending. After crying with family and friends that day, I was better. I was reminded that it's ok to break down and feel sad. It's all part of the mourning process. I spent the evening in kitchen baking for the nurses, which cheered me up. And the next day, I was back to my positive self, happy to see my daughter and feeling ok with seeing other happy parents.

(I had to share this picture of Parker. We call his hair sticking up "Parker hair", since it always looked like that. When Ryan wakes up in the morning, I just point and say "Parker hair"! Even his sister Peyton gets "Parker hair" every so often.)

Now onto happier news. I want to share with you a story that will likely stay with me for the rest of my life. A triplet mom halfway around the world let me know that my angels are busy ones. She was looking at a picture of Parker and her son asked who he was. After sharing his name, her boy asked if he could play with him. The mom said no, that Parker lives up in Heaven with his sister Abby. The next morning, the mom asked her son what he dreamt about. He told her he played with Parker and Abby at the park. He went on to tell about the swings, climbing a tree and feeding the ducks. He said Parker was a good sharer, but Abby was a naughty girl throwing rocks. The mom was shocked at his long-winded dream. She shared the story with me so that I would know my children had a busy night in Heaven playing in a park in Australia. I get tears of joy every time I share this story. Thinking about my sweet angels staying busy and playing together makes me know everything will be ok.

That brings me to our little ray of sunshine here on earth, Peyton. She's up to 3 ½ pounds. She still isn't fitting into preemie clothes just yet, but she's close!

And she seems to enjoy our dress up moments with the nurses. Even a droopy bow didn't bring her down.
So many people commented on the funny faces she makes. She sure is developing quite the personality! Ryan and I learned how they give her a bath and the face she kept making is now her signature look.

("Is this really necessary guys?")

(Nurses call the princess of the NICU. She gave us the same face of "Really guys?" as we tried out a tutu from a viewer—Adorable!)

Last week, we tried out her new Oregon Ducks football headband…a gift from a lady out in Oregon (I wish I could list all of the random acts of kindness from viewers and other people across the country, but it would probably take me days!).  SO cute! I picture Peyton thinking, "What? Oregon is only ranked #2 in the country, not #1?!?".

As she gets bigger, she has more activity throughout the day. She gets physical therapy several times a week, where they work on her range of motion and head positioning. She also gets her eyes checked once a week. Ryan and I have many pictures like the one below, where her eyes are all over the place. Her muscles are not fully developed so it's entertaining to watch where her eyes decide to wander.

Overall, Ryan and I are thrilled with Peyton's progress. We are finally shifting our talks from "If " she goes home, to "when" she goes home. While we know that things in the NICU can change in a heartbeat, we feel that in our hearts Peyton will be coming home. And for those asking, Riley is doing great. I feel terrible that I haven't mentioned our "first child" lately. He definitely knows something is going on. We let him sniff the blankets and clothes we bring home from the hospital. He also is attached to one of my childhood stuffed animals …it goes everywhere with him. But for the most part, he seems like he just wants to mope...secretly knowing that his world is about to change!

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