Graham and I have always been appreciative of the fact that we have such a supportive community of friends and family, but we never knew that, in a situation like this—an unwanted but not unbearable situation that will, in the end, be okay—we would be so well thought of and looked after for days and days and days. David has just started his third week in the ICN. The amount of calls, voicemails, texts, emails, facebook messages, facebook posts, hospital visits, blog visits, blog comments, dinner drop-offs, drop-ins, flowers on the counter, cards in the box, invitations to go out for lunch, to meet for dinner, or to just simply step outside and take a walk, to get some air, remain, well, endless, and coming to us like breaths on a ventilator: steady and stable.
A simple, modest blog thank you from us back to you hardly seems enough.
But a thank you is what we want to give. Thanks for thinking of us and our son, whom most of you have never even met. Thanks for taking the time to check in, for caring, because it means a lot, and although we might not (but hope to) get around to thanking you all individually, we want to at least thank you here, collectively. Your collective support—even the shortest note and the passing “thinking of you”—have not gone unnoticed. Their collective, reverberating positive effects have helped us to “get through” our days in the ICN, to help us see past all the Purell pumps and the monitor noises and the tubes, to a day when David will be home. The thoughtful attention we’ve received has also helped us to remember something important in this life: to have regard for others, because although I’m trying here, I can’t really tell you how nice it is to know that as we watch after our son (and fret over his every twitch, furrowed brow and drop in heart rate), you watch after us.
So, thanks, all of you.
We haven’t updated in a few days but David had a fairly good weekend. He finished his indomethacin and as of yesterday his PDA was significantly smaller. As I said before, an open PDA in a micropreemie like David is extremely common. Of all the words we’ve heard in the ICN the two we like most are common and normal. He is right on track for his gestational age. He turned 29 weeks yesterday. The 30 week milestone is in sight!
His lungs are also looking better. This is the second of two x-rays I’ve seen. All I know is that black is good and gray indicates something is not quite right. He has much less “gray” in his lungs now, and the doctor thinks the smaller PDA is contributing to this.
The next course of action is for David to take it slow, eat and gain weight. If he doesn’t come off the ventilator in the next week, we’re told not to panic. If he can gain weight and strength he will eventually be able to repair his lungs on his own, and start breathing with less support. Yesterday I thought back to when I measured David’s progress in my womb based on the size of fruit or vegetable he was each week. He started out as a lentil, grew to a lima bean and then an apple, and then, eventually, a melon. Every Sunday he changed shape and size and developed a new skill: he could stretch his fingers, he could suck his thumb, he could hear! I no longer think of him as a particular fruit. He’s a human, and all those developmental phases are taking place in front of us now, which, when I step back and think about it, is something quite astonishing.
Tomorrow is Tuesday, harp day.
On that note, I thought I would include a poem that was sent to me by the number one card writer I know, Emily Copeland. This is a poem by Mary Oliver and it’s one of my favorites. Please do not feel pressured to read it, especially if poetry turns you sour. Please don’t read it if that’s the case. And if you just want to read my most favorite parts, I have cliff-noted them in bold and italics. If you want to read the whole thing, then by all means, read away. I encourage you to read it slowly.
Messenger by Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
J & G & D