Everyday lives of the Meabon Household

Monday, August 16, 2010

Debbie Downer Strikes Again

Yesterday was one of the lowest days I’ve had since we learned about Harper’s condition and I just feel compelled to share. I’m not sure why but my emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. Now, let me preface this by saying Harper is doing great. Nothing has gone awry as far as her condition and she continues to be on an uphill slope. I think the fact that my little girl is stuck in the hospital just knocked me flat on my backside.

As I’ve said before, Harper’s omphalocele gets wrapped on even days in gauze and betadyne, while on the odd days, her omphalocele is left to dry out with just a support band around the base. The days when Harper is wrapped are the best days. We can hold our little girl as much as we want – to feed her, to burp her, to rock her, to lull her to sleep and just to plain smother her in our affection. These are the just wonderful and holding my little girl is something I don’t think I’ll ever take for granted. I’ll still hold her tight when she’s nine and has her feelings hurt on the playground, when she’s sixteen and has her first broken heart, when she’s eighteen and leaves for college, on her wedding day, on the day she has a baby of her own and even when I’m old and gray and just need a little Harper squeeze. I can’t get enough of that little Nugget! On the flipside, unwrapped days just seem to drag by. We can touch her and move her around but it’s just not the same as holding your baby in your arms.

Since we are still getting little sleep, are both exhausted and since it was an unwrapped day, Jared and I made the decision to spend yesterday with a few hours of the morning at the hospital and then go back to meet her night nurse that evening. Since she’s on a full feeding schedule, Harper likes to do two things – eat and sleep. We gave her a bottle, spent a good chunk of time with her while she was up and stroked her forehead until she went to sleep. We left for the middle portion of the day to see what we could do to rest and I completely fell apart. I felt like the most unfit mother to have a child that is ten days old and to only spend a few hours of the day with her. I know, I know. I need my rest to take good care of her, I don’t want my milk to dry out so need adequate sleep, she’s in great hands with the staff at the hospital, Harper won’t remember this period of time…I’ve heard it all but nothing can stop those feelings of absolute guilt and heart ache each time I walk out of the hospital. I just want my baby home, in her own bed, footsteps away from her parents. I want to be able to see her face when I wake up at 2AM instead of calling the hospital, asking for Baby Meabon, spelling it out each time because no one seems to know how to spell M-E-A-B-O-N and hearing the nurse give me a full update on what MY child did over the last few hours. Jared and I should be the faces she sees each time she wakes up instead of a different nurse most days and nights. I can’t help but feel completely inadequate when it comes to being a first time mom and not being able to parent just like “normal people” do. Oh, it was feeling like a long road already and we are just days into what will be months. I cried the majority of the day, my tears just wouldn’t dry up and ended up in a messy heap on our bed.

And just like that, yesterday’s heartache turned into today’s joy. Hooray for wrapped days! Harper spent the majority of the day today in either my arms, Jared’s arms or my mom’s arms and she continues to make progress. She’s starting to slowly put on extra weight after her initial drop from her birth weight. Harper’s birth weight was 6 lbs. 11 oz and at last night’s weigh in, she was back up to 6 lbs. 8 oz. They’ve added a calorie supplement and a vitamin supplement to her bottles so try to increase her weight. Additionally, they’ve been using five soaked betadyne strips to cover her omphalocele on wrapped days. Well, we’ve discovered that it now only takes four strips meaning her doctors thinks her omphalocele might be decreasing a bit in size.

And more great news, I got to breastfeed Harper today! Once we found out I could produce milk, we were always under the impression I’d be a pumping mom. Well, Dr. Kenton and Dr. Shapiro asked if I wanted to give the boob a whirl and, sure enough, it worked! I never knew how I’d feel about this but there’s something so natural in being able to take care of your child. God made us this way and I now see how something so simple can feel so fulfilling. To continue, Harper’s night nurse from last night (who we really liked) is back on tonight so we were able to come home to a dinner provided by our neighbors, the Gomez’s, and relax for another day tomorrow without having to trek back to the hospital tonight to meet another new nurse.

I know Harper is exactly where she is meant to be, and while this is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t think I’ll ever begrudge those late night cries when I feel my way across the house to check on Sweet Thing. So just when I think I’m down in the dumps, lowest of the low, saddest of the sad, I asked the Lord for help and look what he does! Thank you God for the simple things in life that can take a Debbie Downer Day one day into a Hooray Harper Day the next!


Unknown said...

I think any situation like this is going to be filled with good and bad days... ups and downs along the road to recovery. Everything you're feeling (both on bad days AND good days) is completely normal. You ARE a good mom, and I think you know that. You're doing all that you can do right now to support your daughter- and someday she'll look back at all you did, at your dedication, and she'll be thankful. :)
I'm definitely not looking forward to the long days (and weeks, and probably months) our baby will spend in the NICU. Or all the hours spent pumping. But I guess all you can do is remember that there is always a light in the end of the tunnel!

Unknown said...

Sweet Brooke,
Now you too have a mother's heart, like the Tin Man's you know it's breaking. There's nothing like seeing your baby (no matter how old he or she is) broken hearted and not being able to make the situation better.
I am so very proud of the mother you are to precious Harper. This is just the beginning of many years of tears you will cry for her, but they will all be worth it because I am sure that someday you will look up and she will have become an amazing young woman, and it will all be worth it. I know you are my living proof.
I love you both,

Unknown said...

I can not even imagine the ups and downs you must be going through in the NICU and yet I know just from your blogs that you are an AMAZING MOM!!! I also know that you couldn't be anything other than that because you had an amazing example from your mom. Unfortunately I don't think that "mom guilt" ever goes away...regardless of where they are or what we are doing...we somehow always second guess if we are doing enough. All of you continue to be in my prayers...may God give you the strength, courage, endurance, peace, joy and everything else that you need to make it through this season.

Kristin said...

Praying for you guys. I can't imagine what you are going through and all we can do is pray that you'll be able to handle those unwrapped days through His strength. I have a HUGE HOORAY! for you being able to nurse your sweet little girl. There is nothing better in this world. I am so thankful that you are able to do it and hope you'll be able to keep it up as she grows. That bond between mother and daughter is never stronger at that point. We love you guys!

Maegan said...

I look forward to your updates on precious Baby Harper! Harper was my #1 girl name when we had our little girl but we ended up naming her Hattie because Harper was too close to rhyming with our last name! But I think it is a beautiful name for a beautiful little girl. And I love her choices in hat wear! Your family is in our prayers. Don't worry about shedding tears either...lack of sleep, pregnancy hormones, NICU, new motherhood, and a million other things combined need to be covered in tears sometimes!

Sher said...

Each time I read this blog, I cry - it is so hard to be so far away. Oh how I long to hold and kiss my grandchild Harper, and to hug her wonderful Mom and Dad. You both have truly become parents and it is heart warming to see the tears of parenthood. There will be many more to come, both sad and happy ones, that is LOVE. You both are amazing and Harper is so blessed to have been born to such loving parents.

I love you all

adelle said...

Oh Brooke, you sweet girl...... BREASTFEEDING!!!!! It is the most wonderful thing, the most complete feeling, the best time between you and your precious child! I am ecstatic for both you and Harper! God bless you all - give Harper a kiss from her Dellie, please.

Pam said...

Ahh your mom said it so well Brooke. To think Harper will have such a wonderful understanding and loving mom and "Honey". A blessed little girl.
You are doing so well Brooke.
Keep on swimming...in the tears if you have too, it's sooo OK. We'll all help with our prayers.

OmomtoJ said...

Brooke I know exactly how you feel. It was so hard to "want" to go home but not want to leave Jackson at the hospital. I was so tired and drained and I would stand there watching him with tears rolling down my cheeks knowing that I could go home and rest of stand there and cry and watch him...or hold him. It didn't help that breastfeeding was a nightmare for us...my huge dense boobs and his tiny mouth did not make for an easy time for either of us and I wasn't making enough milk so right there I felt like a failure, like I wasn't doing everything I could. The neonatologist would say, "You have to get your milk supply up." and I would want to smack him because I was pumping non stop, taking fenugreek, domperidone, drinking mother's milk, using a hospital grade pump...Just know that I know how you feel.
You are a wonderful mom, a caring mom...but please take care of yourself too!!

Anonymous said...

Don't know why but I have just figured out how to "post". Don't tell Harper that Bonnie, the Great, is so clueless sometime!! I must say, I don't like "Debbie D." in your life, but know she is such a normal acquaintance to moms of all ages!! We will just pray she comes around much less often and you can shoo her away -- she's a joy-stealer and a liar!! And speaking of joy, it is a true joy to read of Harper's progress and the many ways you are showing her mother's love. Now the days are ticking away slowly, but one day, they will be only a memory... and you will be romping with your baby girl!!! Until then, we are all pulling for Harper and her mom and dad and asking God to show Himself mightily to you day by day!

Anonymous said...


i want you to know how much we will be praying for sweet harper! i can't imagine the roller coaster ride you are going through, but as long as you remember God is in control you can make it through anything. i am so proud of you and harper is so lucky to have you as a mom. all my love and i will be praying and thinking of you over the next few months. she looks like she is just gorgeous and i can't wait to meet her someday! much love, rachel howard

Gayle said...

I bragged earlier about hooking Harper's new computer up a little too soon. The post went to the black hole of Calcutta apparently. Will try again. Love the hats!! So adorable! Embrace those Debbie Downer days as they are a true sign of a healthy person! Rosie Greer once said that crying gets the sad out of ya!! I remember one night standing my Kristen sobbing and telling her nurse that she knew Kristen better than I knew my own child. It hurt so deeply!! I never got to breast feed Kristen but I am thrilled that you are. That is a bond that NO ONE else can share with her! only her mommy. Lots of hugs and love coming your way. Keep writing....it is the best therapy and you certainly inherited your mother's talents. Now let's try this post again.....