12.05.2009

floating

I am on a 'break' right now from maybe the most horrific few days of my life. And I am home to have alone time with Margot but she fell asleep and I am trying to pick up the house because I want a distraction and don't want to be still even though everyone tells me to get some rest and I can't fucking stand to pick up the house because there are little booties and swaddle blankets all over everywhere reminding me that Ruby isn't home. So I turn to the blog for comfort, release. Something familiar. Glad you are here.

She's in the hospital. Where we have been since 5am yesterday. She couldn't breathe...upper lip the color of a bruise, thin flesh sucking all alien-like up under her tiny comb-like ribs. Oh it was so so awful and it is still too recent to really reflect on. I was calm and collected on the drive to the ER while Andy waited at home for our dear friend Pam to arrive. But then I stopped in front of the giant glass doors under the bright red sign and stepped into the 4 degree air, holding my bundled babe thinking are we going to be those people? That couple who had it so good with two beautiful girls and one dies and it is all so unfair? How could it happen? I feel so sorry for them.



It was a whir of tests and poking poking poking at her threads of veins. She was limp and couldn't even cry. But that's when I cried and cried and cried. For the love of all things holy I couldn't stop crying for hours. The doctors and nurses all processing it right in front of us...meningitis, heart failure, apnea...fuck.

And the result is a (relatively) good one: respiratory virus and pneumonia. Treatable with oxygen, time and vacuuming an unreal amount of snot out of itty nostrils every two hours. And so we sit in our sterile room on the third floor with a gorgeous view of the Bitterroots holding our tiny girl, stroking her forehead, feeling so thankful for modern medicine and each other. Trying not to think on the mortality of our children too much. Knowing it will be OK. Laughing at Margot as she finds joy in every little thing in that room...the curtains, the trays, the bed, Ruby's tubes and wires, the nurses.

I will feel so much better when she eats. It's been nearly two days. She woke last night and stared into my eyes and opened her mouth, searching for my breast. I almost screamed I was so excited to see that life in her. I was alone with her when it happened and it felt like we were the only two humans in existence for a few minutes. And I definitely had a deep-down, primal understanding of what is most important to me: my people--my kids, husband, parents, brother, family, friends. The exchanges humans have every day. The give and take. Heart beats. Breath. Impermanence. Life. Love.



She's eaten a few times and just a few hours ago was able to keep the sweet, fatty milk in her tiny belly. It just feels so wrong and just dreadful to not nurse Ruby. But they say it's ok. She's healing, on an IV. I just want her to eat because then I know she is alive, awake, fighting, thriving.

When Ruby was born I knew she was on old soul and when I saw those dark, perfect eyeballs amidst the ticking of the clock and the beeping of her vitals, that wise monkey was telling me, I'm not going anywhere mama. And so we wait, knowing this episode will be a blip in the life of Ruby Jane. Can't wait to see what my wee six-pound human will do in this world.

73 comments:

Gillian said...

good god, girlfriend. this is just one of those that you can't really believe. i am so glad that she is eating and things are moving in a positive direction. you must have been so, so scared. you sound so strong in this post and it makes me love you even more.
i have been thinking of you since i left andy's show with the word that sweet girl was sick. i couldn't even stay downtown, it all felt so stupid.

know that i am here to do anything.
love you all,
g

Elke said...

Girl, I just want to give you one of those hugs where you can just cry it all out. Those moments when it gets crystal clear, life trumps all. Health is precious. Fear can pour icy all over you. Hang in there. Know there is a team of mamas out there who understand the vigil, the fear monster, and the deep love that WILLS our kids to be OK. There is power there. And you community is there too, rooting for you, rooted for you in this ground.

paige said...

You have the power to move mountains and lots of tears with your words.

Once Ruby is better this experience will make her stronger and wiser and more appreciative of life... even though she won't remember it at all.

And you will carry this memory always, a constant reminder to hold on to each moment even more than you already do.

I love you.

jen said...

I can relate to this and I'm sorry I can. My son (first baby) was in the NICU for the first 5 days of his life and they never would tell me WHEN he was coming home because, they told me later, they didn't know IF he would.

Today he is a 5'11" almost-14 year old with an appetite for food and life that would make any mom exhausted and oh so incredibly happy.

It'll be alright,girl.

Laura Joy said...

I'm just a mere stranger throwing up a prayer for you and your wee one. My heart twistes with joy for little ruby that she is on her way to recovering.

Courtney said...

Nici, I'm sending many, many good thoughts and prayers your way. May Ruby Jane heal quickly and her Momma and family heal just as quickly.

Anonymous said...

Go Ruby, Go Ruby, GOOOOOO RUBY!
She has those fighting genes and before you know it she will be looking you in the eye and saying.."I wuv you mama"! Love will see you through your darkest hour. You are so strong and she will feel that strength. She knows what she has to do and she will. She will get better! She will thrive.

LOVE YOU!! LOVE YOU ALL TO PEICES!!!
e

Polar Bear and The Dodger said...

Sending prayers and love your way. I have been a lurker for awhile and have always enjoyed hearing about your lovely adventures with the world. Sending some good thoughts out that way.

kr said...

you are loved loved loved and supported. and that all extends to ruby and all that love you and that you love. your words are beautiful. blessings, deep breaths and all things positive...

Keri said...

I don't know if I've commented here yet but I've been a reader of yours for about a year. I'm so glad Ruby Jane is okay! Scary moments like this really puts things into perspective and makes us appreciate every little thing. When Ruby Jane comes home, please, PLEASE stay home and rest well. Try not overdo yourself. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Ruby Jane!

Dakota said...

Oh dear... Many, many good vibes and wishes coming your way. I hope Ruby will be home soon.

Amy said...

Oh, my goodness. *hugs*

Ruby will be fine, I'm sure of it.

Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden said...

Sending peaceful healing thoughts your way.

Catherine said...

Oh my God, this is so hard to see your tiny little one suffer like this... You are a strong loving mama... Sending love your way.

Kelle said...

i cried when i got your first text. i have been there. i think i've told you a bit about it, but i remember that exact moment of crying, crying, crying...no sleep...and finally saying the words to a friend...'what if she dies?' she was just days old. and i thought of that the minute i heard about this and how it's such a blip now and how i know yours will be such a blip too...but how that doesn't erase the fact that right now it's not. it's real and raw and awful and hard and sickening and you have to swim through it. you will remember these moments alone with her in the hospital as some of the most precious, bonding moments with her...for her entire life. and definitely the most vulnerable of yours. cry. sleep. love. laugh. cry some more. and give her kisses. you ARE a strong mama. oh, i remember how precious nursing was when i couldn't do it but for a bit here and there. this too shall pass, friend. xoxo

jen said...

mustering up every single ounce of positive energy and healing that i can for your sweet ruby.
thinking of you guys.

Shelby said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now - I linked in from another blog...your little girls are so beautiful.
I'm sorry you are going through such a rough time - but am thankful you got her to the hospital and now on the road to recovery. My son spent the first 8 days of his life in the NICU and it was horrible - The most difficult part was walking out of the hospital while he had to stay. He is now a healthy, amazing 9 year old little boy. Your little Ruby is in our thoughts and hearts.

Domestic Diva said...

tears and love, lots of love from a fellow mama ...

Anonymous said...

that is stop the heart scary stuff to deal with so close after meeting your new little girl. i totally get you wanting her to eat for some good bonding and ol' fashioned reassurance, and I'm sure she'll be back home and chowing down on your mama milk every few hours real soon!

someday this will be one of "those ruby stories" you'll tell, but for right now it's gotta be a total mind%&$@.

Good luck and many blessings to your family.

TRB Holt said...

Yesteday was one of the longest days of my life....I am a take charge kinda person and I felt like a useless rock. Wanting to hold you like I did when you were a little girl and tell you everything will be alright. AND hating that I am no longer a 5+ hour drive away. Today I am better,because I sense in your voice that you are better. I love you so very much Nici.

Mom

lera said...

I'm sorry. I know how you feel. We had a newborn who was sickly and needed a blood transfusion within in his first few weeks of life. It was horrifying. It took months of testing to find ... nothing. Not a thing. He was severely anemic and they never found a cause. And he's a quite healthy and brilliant little 7-year-old now. (We also had a scare with RSV with a newborn, which was scary.)

I hope Ruby Jane regains her strength and can come back home soon. Hang in there. You have to be strong. Or at least fake it.

*Wesley* said...

I'm so sorry for your stressful situation. I am graduating in about a week and a half with a respiratory therapy degree - and I'm sure you've been seeing a lot of us over there at the hospital. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I know I'm just a stranger, but if you ever need anything, I'm here.

Angela said...

I'll be praying for your littlest one, and for you during this time.

Penne said...

My Positive energy is with you and your family. Healing and health, and tons of love to Ruby Jane, she will beat this!
xxoo Aunt Penne

Lurky Mommy said...

Oh baby. I am sorry. I will pray. It's what I do. I know what it is to stare into the eyes of your 6 pound new love and wonder if you're walking out of there together or alone. I'm so glad it's something treatable and that she is hungry and healing! Strong girl with a stong mama. Be good to yourself during this time. I know there is no rest when your baby isn't home, but try to take care of yourself and do what you have to do. I'll be praying and waiting to see news of Ruby back home and healthy!

barbaras said...

Nici,
So sorry to hear about Ruby. I can only imagine how scary it's been. Sending positive energy your way and thinking of you all.
love, Barbara

Talitha said...

Oh Nici, I am so sorry you and Ruby and the whole family have to go through this. I won't pretend to know what it's like and I won't pretend to know what you need to do or be or feel. You need to do or be or feel whatever you need to do or be or feel, dangit! Thank you for being courageous enough to share this. I will be praying for all of you.

Chiot's Run said...

Oh, so sorry for this ordeal! We'll be sending prayers your way for you and for little Ruby. Hope she gets better very very soon!

Kathie said...

Sending love and healing thoughts.

Jan said...

So glad things have turned for your sweet baby. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.

Jan
Always Growing

Katie said...

shit. how terribly scary. and yes, thank god for modern medicine. it truly does have it's place in this world. sending all my love to your fam, and all my strength to sweet Ruby. love you all....

jessie coughlan said...

Sending all our love and prayers to Ruby for a speedy recovery!
Love, Jessie, Brian, Alex & McKenna

Anonymous said...

Nici: I am sending all my heart to you and Ruby and your family...much love,
Kelley

It's me ...Mavis said...

Sending happy thoughts and better days ahead for you and your baby...

Ann said...

I can't imagine what you must be going through. Edie is wearing her Dig This Chick Texas onesie for Ruby Jane.

Slow Travellers said...

I feel compelled to delurk to send well wishes to sweet Ruby Jane. Usually I love to read your blog, but this I do not like. Will be thinking of you, hope all is well soon. Callie x

When will I be Zen said...

Your entire family are in my thoughts--continue being strong!

Katie said...

Thinking of you and the family on this cold California day. Your perspective in the last sentence says it all, but that doesn't make the clock tick any faster when you feel like you're living in a nightmare. Hugs and strength to all of you, especially dear sweet Ruby.

Melissa said...

oh nici how terrible. such strength in your voice. i can imagine the scene only too well and i'm so sorry you had to experience it firsthand. sending you much love and support to help you through this. hopefully the other side isn't too far off.

Malissa said...

I am so sorry your little babe is sick! She looks like a feisty little soul....she will kick this pneumonia to the curb. Hang in there, you and your family are in my prayers.

Cassadie said...

Just wanted to say that a family in Oregon that you don't know is thinking of you and your family during this wild and crazy time.

dc said...

I'm sending positive thoughts and prayers for sweet baby Ruby Jane and the rest of your dear family. Hope she's doing lots of feeding tomorrow!

megan said...

ruby has her mama's strength. i'm sorry you're experiencing this & i hope she is able to come home soon.

your family is beautiful...

love being sent your way from a family in tempe arizona.

Erin O. said...

Thinking of you and your family. Can't tell you how sorry I am to hear that you've spent the last few days in such a hellish place.

booksNyarn said...

Oh, Nici, what a horrific thing to suffer through, and what strength and courage you have - as a Mother and a woman - to face these challenges head on.

So many of us are thinking of you, Andy, Margot and Ruby. Sending love and strength.

Tammi said...

I woke up thinking about Ruby last night and couldn't get back to sleep. I'm sending you love and strength, although I sense you're made up of quite a bit of both (and Andy & the Bean).

Hoping you bring your little one home soon.

Linda said...

Nici, I am sending all my love, thoughts and prayers to you and your family, big hugs!!

June said...

Heartache. I am so so sorry. Cry and cry and cry; it will keep you strong for your girls. Much love from Maine, Nici. We wish healing for Ruby and strength for you and Andy.

Anonymous said...

From one mother-to-be, just sending my well wishes, hope and prayers from Paoli, PA to Montana. Hang in there. Ruby is surrounded by such love that she will conquer & thrive! Before you know it, spring will be here and you will be outdoors gardening with your 2 beautiful girls!!!

Anonymous said...

Sending love and healing thoughts your way. Hope Ruby Jane will be back home soon. From someone who thinks your blog makes the world a better place.

Nina Alviar said...

I love you and your tiny girl with the BIG spirit. Food on it's way and prayers every hour. May you be well, May you be happy, May you be free from suffering.

Eva said...

Nici, we are thinking of you and Ruby, Margot and Andy. Let me know what I can do to help. I'll bring you food and give you a big hug.

Bobbie said...

Sending peace and love. You and your girl stay strong.

Karen said...

Thinking about you all . . . take care - sounds like you're through the worst.

Marge said...

Our thoughts are with you, let me know if you need anything or want to commiserate on the scariness of RSV...

Melissa said...

God, Nici, I'm so sorry. Your very core now has this deep groove that's been carved into it by your horrifying experience. It can be a lonely place, but just know you're not alone. xoxo

Tina said...

dear nici, i'm so glad to hear that little ruby jane is feeling better. you are so loved. i'll be hoping she comes home soon to her warm home, to her big sis, her dad and her mom. all the best to you, nici. t.

Jennifer said...

know that we are thinking of you. often.

AUNT DEB said...

Nici, the love and support that you are receiving is truly remarkable. This is what life is all about..our caring,loving, praying, for each other. Ruby is beautiful. I can't wait to meet her in person. I know she will be ok. I love being the Great Aunt for her and Margot. Hang in there, we love you and yours soooo much. Aunt Deb

Anonymous said...

Nici and family,
I just stumbled upon your blog as one of Jeanne's grateful other pregnant patients and have been eagerly reading news of your latest family member...I have a 3 year old, and am expecting another girl at the end of feb. I am so sorry you've had to endure this...so sorry your littlest one has..so sorry her big sis has, and dad has. I've never even met you but I've been checking back to hopefully hear positive updates, and have been trying to send positive thoughts your way. I know the mom's instinct of looking at those old-soul eyes and knowing what she is thinking, and I'm sure you're right...that this is a blip on the radar screen...I hope all the support keeps pouring in and I hope as immediately as possible you are all back at home in perfect health.

Marty said...

So scary! We know, too-granddaughter was in the NICU in Salt Lake City for 4 months. She came home and is a feisty thriving 5-year-old.

I'll pray for you-she be just fine.

Sage said...

Shit Nici... I have been out of town and I am just now checking in with you on tuesday morning. I am sending you all my love and positive energy that miss Ruby is doing better and that you all are hanging in there. I have very vivid memories of Annica in NICU as a newborn and I remember the tears and wondering how my heart could possibly handle anything more... wondering why me and thinking what next. But it passed, and my old soul continues to expand my heart beyond anyting I could imagine.

I am certain that you have the strength to handle this and what ever the future holds. I am certain that the universe has special plans for you and that your life is blessed. I am certain that your old soul will be with you for a very long time to come.

xoxo and love you so dear friend.

slibby said...

Hi Nici! Sending you and your fam (and especially little Ruby) lots of love and prayers for strength and patience!

Montana4me said...

I am sending you and your family warm wishes from the sunny beaches of California. May they warm you in cold, frightening moments. You're in my thoughts....

FinnyKnits said...

I don't know why, but I was hesitant to check your feed today.

I haven't been in my Reader in a few days, so I knew things were piling up, but for some reason I saved yours for last, just having a feeling it wasn't going to be, well, good news.

Thankfully, it is - once I got to the hold-your-breath-until-you-get-to-the-part-where-she-says-Ruby-will-be-ok part, anyway.

I am so glad to hear that she'll be OK. That you are managing so well. That your people are propping you up left and right. That Margot still gets her mama alone time, even if she naps through it.

Big loves.

karen mcalister shimoda said...

Nici and newly extended family: I haven't been to your blog in a few weeks and just now read through the almost-a-lifetime of events that have taken place. I congratulate all of you - your process through delivery, birth, being a new mom of two, being a new mom of a sick baby; your husband's support and calm through it all; your first daughter's adaptation and eventual acceptance of her new sister; your new daughter's determination to keep you all happy and together.
I do hope you all continue to adjust well and stay healthy and warm and joyous during this holiday season. May 2010 be wonderous and wonderful. Best, Karen

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Rebecca MacIntosh said...

I fell across your blog and while enjoying all of your stunning pics I read this post... Our little girlie went through a very very similar crisis both at birth and then again two months later. Terrifying and dreadful to live through, and your description of how your little one looked made me cry... too close to home... Now two years later our girlie is a tough chicka who has a clean bill of health and is happy as the sun! :)

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AlyssaAudreyAddelyn said...

I adore your blog! I've been following for a few months and decided to start back at the beginning to catch up. This post brought tears to eyes. My oldest of my three girls will be 7 next week and at 11 months old, we thought we lost her to an unexpected, very atypical seizure It's the single most terrifying thing a mother can go through and I'm so glad your Ruby pulled through and is a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

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