Sunday, October 9, 2011

An apology from the Smith's.

To Whom It May Concern:
Let me first off start by saying that there are probably many of you out there. And...I feel horrible for that fact. But, it's life...and it will eventually get better. I promise. Well, it has potential to - if you allow it.
I married my husband going on five years ago. Even before marrying, I longed to be a mother. It's been my dream for a long time, and I would have literally given up anything on this earth to fulfil that desire. Anything. And now, after three long years... I am finally living my dream...though it was not easy getting to this point.
Towards the end of my pregnancy with Lilly, things took a turn for the worse. I won't say that I had the worst pregnancies that I've ever heard of... but you could say that both of mine were definitely not routine. Blood pressure sky rocketed, and there was nothing that I could do about it. I spent the last month of my pregnancy with Lilly, parked on the couch - doing everything that I humanly could to preserve her little life. Never in a million years did I think that my baby would die. But she did. November 13th,2009 was the most uncontrollable situation that I've ever experienced in my life. Unless you have been through it first in, it literally happened to you, you can never know the pain. You will never know how it feels to go into an operating room, to deliver your baby...your dead baby. And you'll never know the heartache of still expecting to hear that shrill cry of a newborn babe...and even know that sound will not fill your ears, you still will it to with all of your heart. You pray that the doctor's missed beg God that your baby is okay. But she's not.
That day in November turned mine and Clif's world upside down. And the helpless feeling that filled our hearts that day will haunt me forever. My heart literally begins to ache, just thinking about it.
Fast forward to January 4th,2011. The day we had been waiting for. The day we got our first pregnancy test with the triplets. Talk about mixed emotions. Clif and I were overcome with joy, and thankfulness... but along with those feelings came fear.
Soon into my pregnancy with our triplets, my blood pressure became an issue once again. At week ten of my pregnancy, I was already on medication to help control it.
A triplet pregnancy in itself is high risk... not to mention my already existing history/problems. I feel as if there was not a split second that I wasn't asking God to protect our precious little ones growing deep within my womb.
There were several scares during my pregnancy with the three E's. Doctor's were called numerous times, not to mention all the times we called the emergency room & doctor on call. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I was sure that I would lose our three little blessings.
Throughout my whole pregnancy, I continuously bathed it in prayer. And an every day struggle for me was giving my children over to the Lord. A friend at church gave me a book that helped a lot... and showed me that God put these babies in my womb, and that He would take care of them. They weren't (and aren't) my children. They are His.
From January 4th,2011 until July 15th,2011 I silently stood by... waiting for the bottom to fall out. It's almost as if I expected something bad to happen. But God was faithful, as He always is. I only wish that I had trusted more.
Our little miracles arrived (semi-smoothly) on July 15th,2011. They all had minor issues at birth, but all in all - they did wonderfully. We couldn't have asked for a better outcome to have been born at thirty one weeks... not to mention that they are TRIPLETS!
As July 15th drew near, Clif and I talked a lot. Talked of things that may or may not happen...worst case, and best. We admitted to one another that we wouldn't experience relief until we heard our babies cry for the first time.
I cannot even begin to tell you the relief that we felt as Eli was born, followed by Easton and Elliana. All three screaming. Though, once Eli was born screaming...he stopped and was "touch and go" for a while, according to the doctors. He was given some medication soon after birth, and the day after.
Oh what a joy to give birth to three LIVE babies. Again, unless you have lost a baby yourself... you could never understand the feeling. Clif and I went through a lot, and my body went through even more... it took us three years, and a lifetimes worth of tears to bring three beautiful, relatively healthy LIVING, BREATHING babies into this world. It took a LOT to get them here. And we fully recognize that it was nothing that either of us did, it was all Him.
Clif and I believe with our whole hearts that Eli Zayne, Easton Layne & Elliana Rayne are gifts from God. And we realize that we cannot be selfish with our children.
That being said, please read on with an open mind.
Our babies spent close to six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. Our first triplet born was given medication to help his lungs because for a short time, he was literally not breathing. He, Eli, still has immature lungs - according to our doctor, as of two weeks ago. Our second triplet born had a hole in his heart. Since then, Easton was given medication to assist in closing that hole. Praise the Lord, as far as we know - he has no hole...and he is probably our healthiest baby. Our third born triplet was born with a very large hole in her heart, known as a PDA. Elliana underwent two rounds of medication to assist the closing of the hole. Neither rounds all. When Elliana was two weeks old, she had heart surgery to correct her PDA - as it had begun effecting her respiratory system. We were told weeks later that the surgery that has a 1% failure rate, did not work for our daughter. As of September 6th, our daughter still has an existing PDA...which has also caused her left heart to be enlarged. In the future, if this problem does not correct -we are looking at having to take her to UVA to have this permanently corrected.
Clif and I were extremely blessed in the sense that our babies were not as bad off as the doctor's may have thought that they would be. BUT...none the less, our babies were still sick.
And that's huge. There is nothing in this world that is more important to Clif and I than the health and well being of our children. And in the process of trying our best to protect them, we have hurt many feelings along the way. Of family, and friends alike. And though we cringe every time we have to face yet another awkward situation involving our children, and other people - it's what's best for our kids.
We learned SO much during our stay in the NICU. And where we may seem like over protective parents, we are doing what we know best... the best we know how. We had a very talented staff of doctors, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses that taught us much. Among the things we learned, we were given many pointers to live by - especially for the first two months of our babies being home with us.
Things that we learned include, but are not limited to:

*don't be afraid to tell people no.
*if someone is sick, don't allow them to be near the children.
*school age children should not be allowed to be near the children.
*smokers (of cigarettes or anything else) should not be allowed near the children.

While in the NICU, we were told about RSV (a respiratory Virus) that is extremely dangerous to preemie babies. Anyone with a common cold (or even if you don't know that your "sick") can carry it, and give it to the babies. If our babies were to develop RSV, it could very possibly land them back in the hospital. In our eyes, our babies spent enough time in ICU, and we don't want them going back there. Therefore, we have been extremely cautious when allowing visitors into our home.
People probably think that we are whacked because of how cautious we are. We screen our visitors before they come, and ask that they "scrub in" with the antibacterial soap that we have seemed to buy stock in. Call us crazy, but it's what we feel is best protecting our children.
Basically, it is what it is. We hate that we have hurt feelings along the way - and we pray that we will be forgiven. We are new parents...and maybe we are wrong in the way that we are caring for our children...but that's just that. They are our children.
Right now, we just ask that you bare with us. As of this week, we have two sick babies. Elliana is still just considered to have a cold. Eli on the other hand, has a cold...he is wheezing (on medication for it), and has an ear infection (on medication for it). Praise the Lord that Easton is still well, which we are trying to keep that way!
So, after all of that we ask that:

*if you have been sick, you're getting sick, or you have been around someone that is sick - that you not visit until the incubation period has passed.
*if you are a smoker, live with a smoker, or have spent a significant time with someone who has smoked in close quarters...that you not visit the babies.
*if you have children - you are more than welcome to visit, just not with your children.
*if you do visit, please respect our wishes - washing hands upon arriving, not wearing strong perfumes/colognes, avoiding contact with the babies face(touching,kissing,cuddling ect).

I know this seems bogus... but right now, with sick babies and flu season on it's way to full swing - these are our requests. These requests are not more Clif than myself, and visa versa. We both fully agree in the above stated.
We hope and pray that you can be open and willing to understand our fears when it comes to these babies. And pray that you will not be offended.
In the weeks that the babies have been home, there has not been a single night that we wake up and scramble to watch (or feel) our babies breathing. To make sure that they are okay. Not only does that come from them being early, and sick... but it comes from losing our first born. We feel that the situation we faced with our Lillian Joy, could not be controlled by us. And while we know that our children are not in our hands, but His, we feel that we have a little more control on their health... on their lives.
Even though they are all home, we continue to face every day scares. Them becoming sick, them choking and not breathing, SIDS...everything the average parent worries about - we worry about times three. So, just because they are home, does not mean the worry ended at the hospital.
God gave us these children, and we believe that He will take care of them. We also believe that we are here to see that these children are taken care of, and doing what we feel is in their best interest.
Basically, all we are trying to convey with this post is that - we are sorry if you have been, or will be offended by us. We ask that you forgive us, and love us in spite of the situation. We don't expect everyone to know what we are feeling, but we ask that you try to put yourselves in our place...and just imagine how you would be.
It won't always be like this... but for now, it is.


Sarah said...

Well written! I was very protective of Cyrus. I didn't let people visit us in the hospital, and I didn't let school age children (or any children for that matter) near him. We kept him home from church for 8 weeks, and when we returned he never left his car seat. These children are in your care, and you need to protect them the best way you know how!

Nika M. said...

Sending you hugs and prayers, especially for those little ones.

Brittney said...

Very well stated - but, I can't believe you even have to apologize for putting your children's well being first. Don't allow people to let you feel bad or guilty for protecting your children - I have small kids, and I would never dream of taking them near a small baby - especially three who have been in the NICU! I had to tell people not to come to my house after my daughter was born (she was in the NICU), but I just explained the issue and said she was my first priority. I don't let them go visit my grandmother in the nursing home because of germs (yuck)! Don't worry about what they think - if they care about your kids enough to want to see them, they should care about them enough to want to keep them healthy!

belle said...

you are a good momma :) no one in their right mind would be offended at any of these requests! if they ARE offended, it is selfishness on their part, e you have been polite in your requests and you are doing what is right for YOUR children. that, dear friend, is your JOB! :) praying for the health and safety of your sweet little ones :)))

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