Writing our last regular post is somewhat bitter sweet. It was a similar feeling when we left the hospital. We are were elated to be bringing Ellie home, but were sad to leave so many good friends and supporters. The people who read this blog have also been a great support to us. Your prayers, encouragement and cheering has been a real source of motivation that has kept us going throughout the last 12 months. Thank you.
Ellie has been doing really well and has handled the transition without any major dramas. Her two big medical challenges now are to consume enough food orally to not need an NG tube, and to breath without any oxygen support (She is booked in for a sleep study in July to trial this).
Tonight, Ellie came to the 6pm Church service with us. Bringing her to Mass had always been a moment that I had marked in my mind as the end of the hospital journey. Most of the highlights from the journey that I will take with me are from the resilience and miracles that Ellie continually showed us:
- Making it to 26 weeks alive and kicking despite early predictions and complications in the pregnancy
- Correcting the small hole in her heart by herself after the drug trial had to be stopped due to her first bout of sepsis.
- Fighting off a triple sepsis infection that an adult would not survive (the night we were told she wouldn’t make it through).
- Not having an oral aversion despite her very late bottle and food intake (quite rare)
- Avoiding her tracheostomy by improving her breathing the day after we agreed to the surgery (our decision was made after multiple teams assessed Ellie). This was a very real prospect because they said she would not progress to low flow and would be on high oxygen support long term.
Thank you to everyone who has shared this journey with us, we will always tell Ellie and Hannah about the Village that rallied around and helped us raise them. – Matt
Ellie coming home is busy, but feels so normal. No fanfare or big happens, just a normal family together who have easily accepted that this is the way it was always meant to be. And wow it’s been a long time coming! I finished work in November 2015 due to pregnancy complications, coming off a miscarriage in August 2015 (Grace would have been due less than a month before the girls were born).
Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be
Que Sera, Sera
I’m not sure I have a highlight as much as I know things will never be as they were (and not because we now have to extra kids). The six of us have been on a journey that has never been traveled before and will never be traveled again. It is unique and it is ours. We did not get through it alone.
What I hope to remember from the last, what feels like years, is the people, the community, the support. I want to remember the nurse who bath and fed Hannah while I was sleep deprived and terrified my baby was going to die. I want to remember my sisters coming to be by my side with less than a days notice because I messaged them and said I was scared to go to a meeting on my own. I want to remember the nurse who looked at me as I walked into the NICU, told me to leave Hannah and walk back out so I could have 20 minutes to myself. I want to remember the nurse who took Hannah when she woke at 530 so I could get an extra 30mins sleep after a bad night. I want to remember the nurses who told me to go and shower and take a quick walk while they bath both my girls. I want to remember the probably 100s of people who supplied 5 meals a week for us for 3 months straight, I want to remember the people who continued to provide meals for us over the last 9 months, I want to remember that my cousins came and helped us maintain our yard, I want to remember the people who gave us various gifts often when we needed them, I want to remember our families who endlessly took care of our boys and stayed with our girls when we couldn’t, I want to remember every little and huge thing our parents have done for us, I want to remember that 204 donations were made and that my sister was asked to talk about how to inspire people to donate, I want to remember that Roy has and is going to run 2 half marathons in honour of our girls (https://smh2017halfmarathon.everydayhero.com/au/roy-humphreys feel free to donate 😊), I want to remember all the friends I have made – with other patients and there families there is a bond that other people simply don’t understand, I want to remember the nurses I chatted to for hours on end, I want to remember the doctors who looked after, saved and cared for Ellie, I want to remember all the cards, emails and messages we received encouraging us to keep going, I want to remember how hard and scary and stressful it was, as well as how joyful, exciting and exhausting, I want to remember expressing 7 times a day and first hugs with my daughters, I want to remember not knowing if my baby was going to live or die and relaxing lunches at the pub laughing about NG tubes coming off.
I want to remember all of this and more because it has changed me, it has changed our family, it has changed our perspectives, it has made me angrier when people don’t do everything in their power to make sure their kid doesn’t end up in hospital, it has made me more sympathetic when you hear someone’s kid is sick, is has changed my perspective on what sick really is. It has made me more aware that although things made life easier they are just things, ultimately if your family is healthy and safe with food, any clothes and shelter nothing else matters. It has changed me.
Everyday for at least 7 months I have read the below quote, sometimes aggressively in Ellie’s favour, sometimes adding expletives to give it more attitude, sometimes in hope. I like tomthing of the fate character as being a bit of an over bearing bully and the warrior being controlled and strong standing up to this force and whispering, nothing more was needed. Ellie was known for doing the unexpected, people came prepared for Ellie to call the shots and change their plans. Ellie is my warrior and Hannah is her greatest advocate and motivator. Hannah is often over shadowed, however do not forget she fits into the under 28 weeks, under 1.5kg category. Babies in this category require additional hearing and vision tests, qualify for physio, speech therapy and OT – babies in this category do not normally look and act like Hannah. No way was being born small and early going to hold her back!
One last, and possibly insignificant thing to many, thing is I don’t want to forget the quotes that pulled me through and the songs that lifted me up.
Where it all began…. crazy that this was only 7 weeks and 2 days before they were born.