4 Lovely Things

Lovely #1: Eloise. She is a lovely baby. All this beautiful dark hair. I know moms aren't supposed to hope for hair or eye color, but I wanted a dark haired baby. Mostly to even the odds. She's a beautiful little girl, with a perfect little face.

Lovely #2: Amidst all this distress, I had one perfect moment. Once I was finally discharged from the hospital, I was driven straight to Primary's to see Eloise. To set the scene - I cannot walk, must be wheeled. Visiting a hospital I've never been to. Meeting medical professionals who are throwing critical information at me (brain is foggy from pain meds). Proof of ID, ID tags, elevators, long hallways, late at night. Finally pass through the doors, pass a dozen incubators and cribs, to my finally destination: my darling new baby.
Of course I'm overwhelmed by a million feelings. I approach her little incubator and say something like, "Oh my sweet baby. You're mine." She stirred, blinked, and looked up at me. It was the very first time she had ever opened her eyes. The nurses, doctors and my husband were so surprised. But she knew my voice and wanted to see me. Its a moment I'll never forget. Despite all the distance between us, we were still connected and she knew who I was. Did this mom's heart good, answer to prayers...

Lovely #3: Jo, Millie and Hazel got to meet their baby sister for the first time. We thoroughly prepared them as to their behavior, and to their credit, they were perfect. It was lovely to introduce someone to Eloise who didn't ask a hundred questions. The girls don't know babies come into the world any other way; they don't know to be anxious about the dozens of wires, IVs and tubes hooked up to their little sister. They just enjoyed her. "Look at her teeny weeny feet, mama!" Or, "Her hands are so small!" "Aww, cute little Eloise! I love her!" It was really a lovely, special moment.

Lovely #4: There hasn't been a moment in this process when Trevor and I have not felt supported and loved. My parents have been beyond amazing. Sacrificing their time and resources to help us get through this. Its scary for me to think where I'd be without the incredibly loving, caring parents I have been blessed with. My siblings too - my brothers have helped almost every day, playing with the girls, watching them. Which of course the girls love. Trevor and I have come home to happy, fed, healthy girls thanks to my family.

Post-partum blues mixed with insurmountable stress and anxiety have left me feeling like I'll never be happy again. I have all these stifled new-mother hormones. I cry when I leave my daughters at home, and cry when I leave my daughter at the hospital. Eloise is getting top-of-the-line care at Primary's, such excellent doctors and nurses. But even with all the attentive care she's getting, its clear she's in pain and uncomfortable from the surgery, from the tubes in her mouth and down her throat 24-7. Its horrific for a parent.

In the long and fruitful life Trevor and I envision for our little Eloise, three months won't be that long. But right now it feels like forever because we're stretched too thin, and our darling new baby is suffering. I still haven't held her, or even seen her face without tape across her mouth. I'm just not sure how we're going to make it. We've spent more time on our knees than ever before, and are keeping those lines of communication open...

But even with all these difficulties there are lovely moments, beautiful blessings. That's what's worth writing about.


  1. I suspect you will find the practice of writing down and spending focus on the four lovely things you can grasp will change your entire experience, and even more change your memory of it. You will be so glad. I'm going to pow-wow with Renn and we'll drop some gift cards off to your house. He knows where the best, closest food is from when he interned at University hospital.

  2. (p.s. take lots of pictures, even if you think you don't want to. You will be shocked at how hard it will be to remember this experience in detail if you don't.)

  3. This made me cry. You are such a wonderful mother Shelley!

  4. Dear Shelley, I am so sorry for the condition of your sweet little Eloise. I can't imagine the weight of it all on your heart. Know that I'm thinking of you and praying for her to be made whole quickly. Please call me with any request at all. I love you!

  5. Also, the story of Eloise opening her eyes for the first time was incredible. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Shelley

    I can so relate to this post. When our 4th little babe was born last December and had to have emergency surgery the next day and be hospitalized, I experienced much of the same emotions you describe here. Although our twins had been in the NICU before, this experience was so traumatic. I missed my kids at home, but ached for my baby, and the post-birth hormones were not helping! I sobbed every day, sometimes multiple times a day for the first few days. It seemed like it would be an eternity for her to come home and for us to be a family all together under one roof. I hated having my family split up, and wanting to be with my kids at home and with my baby at the hospital. It is so so tough. I am anxious for you to get to hold sweet Eloise for the first time. I was talking to my mother after my baby's surgery and I was such a mess and she said how much I needed my baby (and not just that my baby needed me). Getting to hold her was super therapeutic and I did it as often as they would let me. That's another thing--we have been blessed with great staff both NICU experiences, but it is so difficult to not be able to care for your baby as the prime caretaker and to be subject to what others dictate, even tho you know it is the right thing.
    I know you don't really know us (we are in your ward), but I have such compassion for this situation because it is so hard. I have been there, tho it looks like your go of it is going to be quite a bit longer than ours. I left a message on your husband's cell tonight asking if it would be helpful for me to bring you guys dinner next week. We just want you to know we are thinking about you, and I am here for a listening ear if you need one. I was such a basket case during this time for me. It was hard!! Just know you have support, and we are cheering for your sweet Eloise!!
    Also, if you need more pumping supplies (if you're doing that), I have some that I would love to give you. Sorry for the long comment!!

  7. Shelley. This was so touching. You brought tears to my eyes. I love you ad your family so much, I am sorry for the length of time you are looking at, but my family's prayers and thoughts will be going strong until your little battle maiden is home for good.