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  • Renee Burns

Settling into Grief and Gratitude- Dec. 13th, 2019

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Happy gestational week 30, and the girls 26th day in the NICU!

The girls are doing as well as little micro-premies can- as we continue to learn what the baseline is for our cute little micro-premies. Daily blood transfusions, IV's to the head, needing to be "bagged" by staff to help them breath, echocardiograms, chest xrays, changes in cpap to intubation and back again, going on and off milk, being stable enough to be held, versus needing time to "chill and grow"...these are the daily norms we brace ourselves to learn about each day we walk through the hospital doors...and we're getting quite good at bracing ourselves?!

This week has been a busy week for the whole family of four. Monday started with saying good-bye to Mimi as we sent her back east, Tuesday was a surprise visit from a friend resulting in Zach getting to go to the Wild NHL game, Wednesday we welcomed a visit from the Minnesota grandparents Nana and Papa, Thursday Zach drove to Duluth to do another dig out of snow and to spend time with the animals, and Friday ended with Renee's 1st follow-up appointment post-surgery.


We celebrated more positives than negatives for the girls this week as well- including being able to hold Vivian for the first time since her stomach surgery last week, and her starting on mom's milk for the 1st time since birth! (via a tube through her mouth straight to her stomach). She was also put on a Cpap today to see if she can sustain breathing without being intubated! Eloise was changed from a mask Cpap to a little "prong" Cpap"- allowing her to continue to work on breathing on her own. She had her "PICC" line removed (invasive IV with multiple tube attachments to pump various fluids/meds/nutrients/etc to her) and has one less tower of tubes next to her bed. Also, not only were mom and dad able to read to them, but both grandmas got to read to them as well this week! However, the biggest milestone this week?...BOTH girls hit the 2 lb. mark! Currently Vivian is 2 lbs 5 oz. and Eloise is 2 lbs 2.5 oz.

We continue to be endlessly grateful for the amazing nurse and doc. teams that are pretty much "parenting" our girls when we are not able to be there.

This week has also challenged us as we head into the holidays. We have heard from numerous people about how "strong" we are being and how well we are 'handling the current situation". To this, Zach and I continue to look at each other and say what other choice do we have? All we can do is take each day as it comes, look for the things to be grateful for, and work on supporting each other the best we know how.

Having said that, we are allowing ourselves to give voice to the grief we are aware of going through this process. The fact that we didn't get to see a belly fully pregnant, didn't get a 3rd trimester, didn't get a "traditional" baby shower, didn't get have the labor process we visioned, didn't get pregnant the "normal" way, and aren't able to have a "baby's 1st christmas" the way we imagined, etc...We are working on being OK with holding space for grief as well as gratitude. Cheers to the human condition...

It's a fragile place to be in with one another- having awareness of all the things that we don't/didn't have as well as ALL the things we do. It's confusing, eye opening, challenging, beautiful, and grounding all at the same time. We don't know what tomorrow will hold, but we know that we are able to chose to how we respond to it, and how we respond to each other. One thing we do know, is that we are able to voice appreciation each day for our tribe near and far, as well as for the team of docs/nurses that are cheering us on as we run this marathon. We couldn't ask for a better support team on our sideline! We love you all- thanks for keeping us in your prayers/thoughts/mantras/etc...

With love from a snowy Minneapolis this full moon Friday the 13th- R, Z, V and E xoxo

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