Rooming In

I can't believe we've had Sadie Ann here at home for over two weeks. I wanted to share some pictures from our first night together with her. Sure, it was spent in the hospital and I slept a combines 12 minutes, but it was the best night ever. Plus, we've had a lot of practice at living in a hospital. 

A couple weeks into her NICU stay, a nurse mentioned to me that prior to Sadie Ann coming home, we'd have to spend the night with her to help ease into taking her home. Since I knew very little about the NICU, this came as a surprise. We'd spend the night with her? Looking down at her only a couple weeks old, with so many tubes, leads, and IVs, the thought of us taking care of her was nothing less than frightening. However, as time passed and she continuously improved, we began to long for the day our daughter wasn't hooked up to a monitor and we could hold her without having to strategically place our hands in order to avoid setting off alarms. 

Then that day finally came. 115 days behind us. 

This hallway is so significant to her journey. We started all the way on the other end in Room 1. She spent the majority of her NICU stay in Room 1 because of her critical condition, but as she improved and eventually became "the best baby in the room" (medically speaking), she was able to move down the hall. We eventually found ourselves in Room 2. Then Room 3. And, lastly, Room 4. 

Room 4! The room babies graduate from! 

Below, Room 4 is the closest door on the left. This picture is taken right in front of the room we stayed in. We had finally made it all the way to the other end of the hall. 

The rest of the pictures are my attempt to document that special, long-anticipated, and slightly frightening night on Thursday, April 9. 

This picture below is so special and significant to her journey. I wanted to focus in on her ID tag. It's something she has worn since December 16. Most babies are in and out of the hospital within a couple days. I image their ID tag hardly has a bend on it. Sadie Ann's is crinkled, the edges are folding up, and a lot of the ink has faded and even worn off. A true sign of how long and wearing her time in the NICU was. 

Nothing but smiles at 2 o'clock in the morning! 

After a long night, the morning seemed to (thankfully) fly by! Shortly after shift change, we spoke with the nurse practitioner and the doctor and heard the word discharge

Discharge. A word we honestly did not know if we would ever hear. 

After we got word that we would be leaving soon, we dressed her up in her going home romper and bonnet. 

And then we left the hospital. Just the way we would have if things had gone normally

Sadie Ann was welcomed home with decorations inside and out (courtesy of a sweet friend and neighbor) and a sign from Footprints Ministry. Katie was ecstatic (and a bit confused) to finally meet her little sister. Our little girl is finally home and everything feels right in the world. 

We give God all the glory that this little girl was able to come home. She had all odds and statistics against her, but we know from the beginning He was in control and had a plan for this little girl. So thankful His plan invoked us bringing her home. We could not be more amazing and thankful for the miracles and blessings performed in the past four months. 


What NOT to Say to a Friend with Infertility

I've wanted to write this post for quite some time, but life got busy and hectic and threw us a curve ball (or five) - so I didn't. It worked out though! This week is National Infertility Awareness Week - so there could not be a more appropriate time to share this.

As many of you know, I dealt with infertility for about two years before becoming pregnant with my twin girls. In those two years, I most definitely encountered one (or more) of the statements below. I think when someone who hasn't dealt with infertility offers advice, it's genuinely coming from a kind-hearted place; however, because of the lack of knowledge surrounding infertility, it usually just plain hurts (and sometimes sounds stupid - because, again, most people just don't understand infertility).

So, whatever you do, don't say any of the following statement.

Just relax and don't think about it - then you'll get pregnant. 
I hate this. What awful advice. The first thing to know about infertility is that it's a medical condition. It's not like there's a timing issue - or that something like stress is hindering conception. No. Something isn't working correctly in the complicated process of conceiving. Telling a woman to relax and don't think about it is like telling a person with cancer or diabetes to relax and not think about it - then the disease will just go away. Not how this works. 

I know someone who tried this supplement and they got pregnant right away.
Great for that person! Sounds like they didn't really have too hard of a time. Unfortunately, a simple supplement isn't necessarily going to help produce quality eggs, make the uterine lining thicker, or make those swimmers swim harder.

Just have sex all the time. 
That's it? Never crossed my mind. I was over here not having sex to try to get pregnant. Stupid me. Seriously though - Some women dealing with infertility could have sex every day of the month and still never fall pregnant. It's not that simple. I'm also willing to bet that couples dealing with infertility are baby-making around the clock! Trust me.

Trying is the fun part. 
Trying is not the fun part. You have obviously never had to try to get pregnant if you think it's fun. I will tell you what trying is... It's stressful. It's frustrating. It's emotionally and physically draining. It's expensive. It's a roller coaster of emotions. It's a lot of blood work, shots, and medication. Does any of that sound fun? The answer is no.

I accidentally got pregnant. 
Probably the worst thing to say. Most dealing with infertility will never (ever!) be able to accidentally get pregnant. What's worse about someone accidentally getting pregnant is someone not excited about accidentally getting pregnant. If you're willingly participate in sexual activity, there's no accident involved. You know what you're doing. You know if you are or aren't preventing pregnancy when you do it. It's not an accident. Stop acting like it's the most disappointing news of the year.

Don't ever have kids.
I'm so sorry you "accidentally" got pregnant six times. I know you must be exhausted and overwhelmed. But women dealing with infertility would give anything to have an ounce of the exhaustion you are going through just to have a baby in their arms. Please don't ever advise a women with infertility to never have children. That's the only thing she wants and you're just rubbing salt in the wound. Just don't.

Pregnancy is the worst! 
Yeah, pregnancy is the worst because at the end of it you get a baby - and that's horrible! Please don't ever complain about pregnancy symptoms to a woman dealing with infertility. Please consider the fact that some of these women will never know what it's like to see a positive pregnancy test, feel a baby kick, or to give birth to their own child. Something many women are desperate to see and feel. Gaining weight or having swollen feet is something that would be joyous rather than bothersome. Please don't take your symptoms for granted and do not complain.

Have you tried this, that, and the other?
Probably so. Most of us have probably given it a try. Old wives' tales. Herbs. Vitamins. OPKs. Temperature monitoring. Positioning. Timing. Stopping caffeine cold-turkey. Massages. Acupuncture. Eating this or avoiding that. Yes, we've tried this, that, and the other. No it doesn't work.

Adopt, then you'll get pregnant. 
Oh, wow. Ok. This isn't some if-then situation or proven theory. You can't say things like that. I'm sure most women with infertility would love to adopt; however, most of us have already exhausted our thousands of dollars on infertility treatment.

Grab a bottle of Jose and put on some Lil Jon. 
Ok, so I'm sure this isn't your typical advice; not many are going to specifically recommend this duo, but they will recommend the idea. Usually saying something like, "I've heard countless stories of a couple deciding to go out one night, go on vacation, or on a cruise - they let loose, have a few drinks, and two weeks later they are pregnant."  That's great, but been there, done that, didn't happen.

When are you two ever going to have kids?
This usually comes from someone who doesn't know there is a struggle with conceiving. I get that. However, starting a family is such a personal and intimate decision between two people - there's really no good reason to butt-in and be so nosey about such a big decision - especially if a couple hasn't previously been open about discussing it. If you must ask about starting a family, maybe go about it with a more gentle approach. Do you think you two might want to have children one day? Do you want children? Those sound so much better than the former nagging-type question above.

A couple things you CAN do for a friend with infertility. 

Educate yourself. 
To some people, all you have to do to get pregnant is have unprotected sex. Boom. It's actually an incredibly complicated process where a lot of things have to happen together and in a timely manner to achieve pregnancy. If just one of those things is off, it can make conceiving extremely difficult. Men can abnormal or slow sperm for various reasons; women can have issues with eggs, the uterus, fallopian tubes, endometriosis, or hormonal imbalances. Any one or combination of these things can make conception incredibly difficult. Hopefully you can understand how recommending relaxation is dumb.

I know not everyone believes in the power of prayer, but I'm here to tell you I have have seen it work. Pray for God's will. For peace for the couple. Pray that the friend or couple can conceive. Pray for the child. Pray for decision making and guidance. Pray for understanding. Pray for patience.

Acknowledge that you don't understand.
It's ok, we don't expect you to know everything about infertility. We only know everything because we've all graduated, with honors, from Google University. I'm not going to pretend to know everything about a medical condition a friend or family member may have. That's not my role - that's the doctor's role. As a friend or family member, sometimes it's nice just to have someone listen. To sympathize on the hard days.

Hopefully this week of awareness will help those with friends and family members struggling to conceive understand, just slightly, what they are going through. Hope this post was slightly enlightening as well.