Miles and I made sure to at the very least see Bella before we picked mom and dad up from their hotel to make it to the 11:00 church service. Unfortunately I was extremely tired (thanks to Percocet) and woke up later than desired. We made it there by 9:45 after a trip to Starbucks. The doctor had not yet looked at her numbers yet and had not yet made his orders. They said we could hold her after they studied a few numbers and tried a few things.
The doctor wanted to take her off of the hood (oxygen rich environment) and... let her breathe room air!! I was so excited to hear this news. After watching her numbers on the monitor, he decided he wanted to try to keep letting her breathe without anything all day, as long as her numbers were within a certain range.
Alongside being able to breathe room air, he wanted to begin feeding her in groups like meals as well as increasing her intake. IF she showed signs of interest (which, I don't honestly know what that would be), they would also offer her a bottle. She seems to quickly be on her way to meeting her requirements to come home!
Nurse Lindsey from last night walked into the section Bella is staying at looking rather tired, yet smiling and sweet as usual. She handed us a manila envelope with a note written across it: "Brittany & Miles, thank you for letting me take care of your angel. Lindsey" She insisted we open it later, but the nurse taking care of Bella this morning/afternoon, Sharlyn, opened it to show us. She'd made us three scrapbook pages. A mommy page, a daddy page and a little handprints page. Had I not been in public, I would have bawled my eyes out.
Hanging above Bella's incubator was also the art project she requested us to take part in. Both Miles and I had one hand of ours inked, then once pressed onto the paper shaped into a heart. In the middle of this "heart" was one of Bella's little hands. I don't know what touched Lindsey to do this, and to stay late enough on her graveyard shift to finish it for us... but it really, really touched me. What a wonderful woman.
For about 20 minutes we sat in the parking lot (not realizing we had left the NICU a little early) before calling mom and dad. This morning I finally realized that I am stressed. At first I'd thought I was handling everything extremely well, and I still am, but it was the first time I allowed myself a moment to soak things in (and Lindsey's endearing gift certainly had pushed a button inside) and on our way from the hospital to the hotel, I began to cry. I needed a moment to collect myself before calling my parents down, so we just sat listening to some music and taking in the breather we desperately need.
When mom and dad got in the car, I was so excited to show them Lindsey's gift. They were touched as much as we were, and agreed that she is a very special person.
As soon as Miles and I stepped into the lobby at church, people hugged, congratulated and cooed over the birth of our daughter. We received a prayer shawl made for Bella from the women's ministry (I ended up napping with it later today), and Angie discussed the baby shower they'd like to hold for us. I requested we wait until Bella is out of NICU so everyone can admire how wonderful she is :) Haha. They're talking about providing gift cards for food, gas and whatnot when we make our trip to Omaha for Bella's heart surgery (whenever that is). I was incredibly touched at how much people truly care about Bella, her condition(s) and how we are.
Once we left church, Miles made a side trip to the Chevy dealer to have a look at his beloved Camaro :) Mom likes the look of it, and they discussed wheels and tires and upgrades. I'd gotten extremely hungry and mom and dad wanted to treat us to lunch at Olive Garden.
Again, the fact that I'm stressed showed up. Our waitress wasn't exactly employee of the month, but she (according to my parents and Miles) hit a button with me and I thought she was the rudest waitress ever. After we'd finished our meals, Miles took me out to the car because, apparently, I was slowly getting more and more loud about how rude she was.
Mom and dad were dropped off at their hotel room so I could go home and just nap. For some reason I was unusually exhausted. Before I took my nap, I called in their names at the NICU so they could visit Bella. They took their rental car and got to hold our baby and stay with her until we were able to make it over tonight.
Miles and I made it over around 9:30. I'd woken up around 7:00 PM and the NICU is "closed" from visitors between 7-8 PM. We got to hold Bella for about 45 minutes each (usually only 15 minutes!) Little Bella was dropping in her blood-oxygen that evening so on and off the nurse put her on oxygen... (but that still counts as breathing on her own). Other than that, she'd been doing well all day! I'm so proud of our little girl. She's working so hard!
Before Miles heads to work (he's not going to take his leave until Bella comes home from NICU) we're heading over to NICU at 5 or 6. When we come home he'll head straight to work and then mama will come pick me up to be at the NICU by 8 AM so that I can talk to the doctor and see what new development for the day is taking place.
It's nearing 1 AM, and we've got to leave here around 4:30 to make it to Bella early enough.
Heavenly Father, I wish I could thank You properly for all the blessings you've betrothed Miles, Bella and me. Thank You for surrounding us with people who care so much for us and our daughter. Thank You for our family, who have supported us spiritually, financially and emotionally. Everyone has been so wonderful to the three of us, and I can't thank You enough. We don't deserve it, Lord, but yet You provide it anyways.
Thank You for Bella's extreme progress! You are leading her home quickly, and I thank You so much. My heart aches to be with her as a mother should be with her child. Please, Lord... bring Bella safely home to us soon. Until then, provide Miles and I the strength, endurance and patience to handle being away from our child for so long. We give up our daughter to You, and know You will take better care of her than anyone else.
Thank You for everything, but most of all, thank You for Bella. Amen.