Photo Gallery- 1.) Kids and Ellen 2.) Meg and Ellen 3.) Nicky and Ellen 4.) Kids and Elizabeth 5.) Michael and Elizabeth 6.) Nicky and Elizabeth 7.) Ellen 8.) Elizabeth 9.) Bo and Elizabeth 10-12.)Trip
We just got back from the Grand Canyon and what a great trip it was. It was so good to be TOGETHER! We felt it was a shame to be this close to such a wonderful sight, so we took a few days and drove down to the canyon. It was a beautiful sight! We hiked and took lots of pictures. We also visited Zion National Park which was also breathtaking. Went on a six hour hike in “the narrows” which is where two canyon walls come together and the river runs down the middle. Definitely another place everyone should see….talk about being surrounded by God’s creations. The kids had a blast and we all got to spend some real good quality time together. We were all together in Salt Lake and down in the canyon area for a week. Thank you to everyone for help making this happen. This was the first time in over 3 months that we all felt normal. The “older” kids had a great time exploring and hiking in the canyons, but it was pretty close second to the amount of time they got to spend with their new sisters. They all got to hold them, feed them, and kiss. They even got to help with Ellen’s bath which was pretty funny. Five of us in this little tiny “bonding” room huddled around a little tub washing Ellen. We are all so excited for them to come home! The homecoming countdown is now at weeks instead of months. We are hoping it could be 3 weeks.
Bo and the kids are back in OP, I am back at the Ronald McDonald house, and we are all just hanging in there as the final weeks count down. For the first time since we got to Salt Lake, I actually see a light at the end of this tunnel. I think we might actually get to come HOME…..all THREE of us!
The girls are really growing. Ellen weighs 5 lbs. 13 oz. and Elizabeth weighs 4 lbs. 13 oz! Ellen will be the first to go, as she is getting so close to all the requirements. The eye doctor needs to authorize her release (we will see on Wednesday), she is taking all of her feedings by bottle, she continues to gain weight, and they are weening her oxygen everyday. She looks, sounds, and acts like a real newborn….yeah! Everyone asks what we will do if Ellen gets released before Elizabeth. No worries. Ellen can live with me at the Ronald McDonald house, and since she was a patient at St. Mark’s, she can go into the NICU with me to visit Elizabeth. I do hope the gap is not that long but we can make it work. Elizabeth seems like she has a ways to go, as she is not quite as close to her goals. But I just know that little fighter is going to surprise us one day and do great. This week was no picnic for her. She was struggling with her bottle feeding before we left and just seemed to have no energy for sucking. Come to find out her hematocrit was 20 (this is so low, it should be 40-50). So she got blood two days in a row and is up to 36….she is SO pink too. Then to make matters worse, she got her eye exam (which is the worst thing to watch as they pry her eyes open and stick an instrument in to examine; it also makes her heart rate go over 200) and her vaccines (5 shots) yesterday. Now that’s a tough day. Ellen tanked after hers and Elizabeth did the same. She was running a fever and struggling with her oxygen. But, unlike with Ellen, I did not panic this time. I know this will pass. The blood did get her to suck down her first full bottle in weeks and kept her awake for about an hour today so I could admire her beautiful eyes. They are both going to have brown eyes by the way, they are already starting to change just like Megan and Michael’s did. Now for the news on Elizabeth’s eyes. The doctor came in yesterday and am not totally sure of his prognosis. The best I can tell is that they were not worse. He said they looked similar to last week, maybe slightly improved. There is some new growth and that is encouraging. We will continue our prayers and wait until next week’s exam.
We did have to say goodbye to Dr. LaPine last week he is leaving for a mission trip in Africa for the next month. It was a pretty emotional goodbye. He reminded us of how much these girls have been through and how amazing it is that they are both alive and thriving. He was as choked up as we were and he sees this stuff a lot. He really admires these little girls. Especially Elizabeth. We are a little sad he wont be there to see us walk out the door holding BOTH of them. We did exchange information so we can keep him posted on their progress once they leave Utah.
Ready for a little comedy? Bo and the kids took my car back to OP. We couldn’t think of when or how else we would get it back, so this seemed like a good opportunity. Of course this leaves me with no transportation. The hospital is 6 1/2 miles from the RMH. Now that doesn’t sound too far, does it? There is a TRAX system and a bus system here and I thought this would be a good opportunity to partake of its service….how difficult could it be; 6 1/2 miles remember. I decided to try yesterday and after a three mile hike in flip flops and a few lessons on where to get your bus ticket, I ended up taking a cab home last night…failure. Come to find out the 24 of July is Pioneer Day in Utah and very big Mormon celebration day ….buses closed! But today is a new day. I struggled with the schedule and the website and after a mile and a half hike and an hour and a half ride, I was finally to the hospital. Guess I didn’t get the most direct route. The nurses are so sweet and helpful. I got a better route with fewer transfers and made it home in just under an hour. I told Bo I thought it would be a ‘fun adventure’, and tonight he was joking about my ‘adventure.’ I am going to give it a few more days and see if I am still laughing. Never a dull moment here in Utah!
This experience has been such a blessing and we continue to praise Him for our two beautiful lives. Two little lives that may finally get to come home to our amazing family and friends; and our wonderful community. When you get in to Zion National Park there is a tunnel called “Tunnel Window”. It is a long tunnel that goes through the mountain and like most tunnels it is very dark. This tunnel is different because along the way there are little windows that are carved out every half mile or so and a little light shines in as you go through the tunnel. Stacy and I think this is very symbolic of our journey. So many times we could not see the end and felt like we were in the tunnel, but we have been so blessed to have little windows along the way that let His light shine in. You all have been like little windows of God’s light shining in along the way and now we are close to the end. We can’t thank you enough!
Stacy and Bo