After looking at the forecast for the week (shows chillier temps and rain for the next three days), I decided it is time to sit down and finish my thank you notes.
We are so grateful for all of the people in our lives. You never truly realize how fabulous your support system is until you need it. From helping with the boys, making dinners, and the countless prayers they said for Hailey. Some times, it was just knowing if we needed to talk, we had someone that would listen. I don't even know all of the people across the country that prayed for her....friends of friends, our church, my fabulous support group from the Babycenter message boards, a convent, monastery, family of friends...I think the list could go on and on.
Then...there are all the fabulous nurses, doctors, and social workers that we have dealt with beginning with our initial diagnosis, NICU stay and then her heart surgery. I took care of the thank yous to our family and friends. This week, I'm going to write thank yous and mail pics of our beautiful little girl.
The nurse during Hailey's delivery was definitely my advocate. She stood up to hospital staff when they tried to take another patient into a csection for me. She stood up to the ob when she argued that I couldn't possibly be ready to push. I'm hoping to figure out who she was. I will never forget her.
Two of her neonatologists, I will never forget. We had several but only two of them covered the majority of her three weeks there. First is the doctor that gave us our initial diagnosis. At first, I didn't like his demeanor. Later, I think it was just my initial shock and I was just anger at the messenger for delivering the message. For the first 10 days, I cried the second he crossed the threshold into Hailey's room. It was like turning on a faucet. He assured us when he told us about Down syndrome that she is our baby and to take things as they come. He said that Hailey will enrich our lives....oh so true. Our second neonatologist was a little older. He was the sort of person that you instantly like...he had a wonderful bedside manner. The very first day I met him, he sat down and cried as I sobbed about my fears. After that day, he continued to check in on Hailey, even when he wasn't scheduled to be Hailey's doctor. He gave me a huge hug and told Hailey good-bye when he found out she was going home.
The nursing staff in the NICU were fabulous. Hailey was a bigger than average preemie and wasn't in serious condition so the nurses that were assigned to her were able to talk to her more, cuddle more, sing to her. They would even argue over who would get the beautiful little girl with the dimples. They sat with me and my husband as we went through the grieving and acceptance of Hailey's DS diagnosis. They talked to us and gave advice when they thought we were ready for it. They cried and we cried the day Hailey left. They were fabulous.
Hailey's cardiologist...we met her the day Hailey was released from the hospital. She is very straight forward and to the point but there are no silly questions. She will explain anything and everything until we 100% understand it. My husband says she only speaks to me but I haven't noticed that. She stopped into the CICU before we were even able to see Hailey to check in on her and then made sure to check on us. She left on maternity leave before Hailey was released so we haven't seen her since. We will see her for her follow-up in February.
Here is a video of Hailey right before her surgery:
The surgeon...this one is self-explanatory. He was a very straight-forward, studious man who didn't look us in the eye...not sure I would have either. I think it would be hard to focus looking at two parents with tears in their eyes. He saved my baby's life. How can you ever repay a miracle like that? I hope to never see him again as a patient's mother but I am forever grateful for his skill and talent God has given him. I will pray that he can help many more families.
The nurse practitioner and nurse that we handed Hailey over to outside of her operating door. The nurse practitioner came and checked on us several times throughout Hailey's surgery. Yes, I know it is her job but she was fantastic and the perfect bedside manner for us. One of the nurses walked us down the very long hall back to the waiting room after we left Hailey at the operating room. That walked seemed like walking the green mile. The nurse looked at us and said, "You don't need to worry about your daughter, I will make sure we care for her like she is my own child." I hung on those words through the surgery. He truly made me feel like she was being cared for by her family.
The director of the CICU was a very busy man. I watched him during rounds every morning. He checked every morning to see if we wanted to participate in rounds. I'll be honest, the first day it was so overwhelming that I felt like a kindergartner in a room full of high school seniors. I understood a portion of what they said. I was so sleep deprived and emotional, I couldn't absorb it all. After he spoke with the 15 med students, residents, nutritionists, surgeon, and fellows, he looked at me and asked if I had any questions or if I needed anything explained. The second day, I was sound asleep in the "recliner" at 2 a.m. when he made his rounds. I jumped up out of the chair and asked about Hailey's echo (they had performed it 12 hours prior but no one came back with the results). He seemed puzzled that no one came to tell us the results. He immediately checked on it and came back to tell me that everything was working the way a heart should. I felt the tears instantly. He placed a hand on my shoulder and asked if everything was okay. I said, "You don't understand...this all started with an echo and now you are telling me everything is ok with an echo." He simply smiled and said that his goal was for us to leave with a heart healthy little girl. A few hours later, during rounds, he smiled big and said, "She's moving to her room today and should be home soon." I couldn't speak I was so happy and the tears came again (I've had a lot of tears the last 7 months!). All I could do was mouth "thank you".
Our pediatrician is a fabulous man. The beginning of all Hailey's appointments, he focuses on the me and the family. He wants to make sure that we are getting all the assistance we need and that there aren't any roadblocks in the way of Hailey's development. He is great with the kids and is very thorough. I never feel like Hailey is a number or just a file. I never feel rushed.
Sorry to have bored everyone with my long-winded explanation of why I need to thank everyone...I'm sure I have forgotten someone. I'm enclosing a picture of Hailey with all my thank yous. I want them to see how great she looks and for them to see what their work did. I will never be able to put into words my gratitude to everyone but hopefully I can get close.
We are a very lucky, very blessed family!