They call the “ups and downs” of this journey a roller coaster.
Well, friends – I’m a roller coaster fanatic. If there is a roller coaster to be ridden then I am on it! Hands in the air, eyes wide open, staring zero-G in the face. I know my roller coasters. My favorites include Screamin’ California at DCA, the Rockin’ Roller Coaster at WDW, Revolution, Tatsu, and Goliath at Magic Mountain, and (of course) Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. I’ll try any roller coaster (no matter how high, how fast, or how many loops) at least once! But there is one catch: The coaster can only go in one direction: Forward. I can’t do backwards roller coasters. I can’t see where I am going and that freaks me out. Free falling backwards makes me feel very out of control because I don’t know what is coming next. If I can’t see the curves up ahead, I can’t prepare myself for that curve. Changing directions at those speeds makes me want to vomit.
So for me, “Roller Coaster” was the PERFECT way to describe the last 2 and a half months of my life. I have been riding a roller coaster and I can’t tell you how much I want to get off!!! This roller coaster sometimes takes turns and spins that I can handle, but then, out of no where, it changes directions on me and goes the complete opposite way. It makes my stomach drop out of my body.
Sometimes this ride has been so surreal. I keep having good news! And I can only try to explain how amazing that is. For example: Abby is now 11 weeks old, and only 35 weeks gestation. I know of several other babies who went home with oxygen assistance for MONTHS even though they were born later in gestation than she was. But Abby hasn’t been connected to oxygen tubes for weeks, and is doing just fine without them. Most babies like Abby can barely grasp the concept of “latching on” at 32 weeks gestation (the earliest they allow a preemie to try) but Abby was ready and raring to go. She succeeded on her first try and has been successful ever since. And her weight gain is chugging along at an average of 1 ounce of growth per day.
But just when we think everything couldn’t be better, once again the realities of being this premature darken our door. Abby was diagnosed with ROP on Monday. That stands for Retinopathy of Prematurity. The best I can describe it is that the blood vessels in her eyes didn’t get a chance to develop properly before they started getting used. So because of this, it is effecting Abby’s vision via her retinas. She is in what they call “Zone one” which is the lowest advancement you can be in. I guess that is good news. Kind of the like whole “No bleed in the brain going to small bleed, but still great news” thing… kind of backwards, but that is how these things work apparently. The other good news is that she is in Stage 3 of maturity, meaning her eyes are in the furthest stage along they can be before becoming “full term.” So her chances of this being no big deal are pretty high, which is what we are praying for. BUT we are all of a sudden at a much higher risk for vision problems for Abby. If we go to Zone 2, we start talking about corrective surgery for her eyes… as in soon! Laser surgery? On my poor little angel? You’ve got to be kidding me! And if that doesn’t work and we somehow progress to Zone 3? Yea – that means the chances for her going blind very quickly are highly likely. Well @#$%^&!
Anthony and I try so hard not to be over dramatic about stuff like this. The truth is that RIGHT NOW there is nothing really to worry about, and there is nothing we can do. But Hello? We are new parents! Parents of a very fragile child! Worry is currently our middle name! I find comfort in knowing that many babies get the same diagnosis and nothing ever comes of it. But the smart ass in me hears my cynical voice in my head saying, “yea, but it had to happen to SOMEONE for them to make you sign that stupid paper saying you know its a risk, right?” Ugh…
…That is where I stopped writing this blog yesterday. Can you tell I wasn’t in a good place? But I’ve decided I’m not going to finish. The Roller Coaster has taken yet another turn…but this time for the better, and I’m in a good place right now.
All I can (or will) tell you is that Abby is doing VERY well. Her Doctors are starting to make projections about when she will come home, and it is sooner than we anticipated. I’m not going to broadcast dates. Sorry peeps – its private, and 1) I don’t want to jinx it and 2) it is subject to change (and already has a couple of times) at a moment’s notice so what I write today will probably change tomorrow. The point is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we can finally see it. Please say a prayer for us that the roller coaster is making its final coast into the terminal and has no more surprise turns before the end. We are so ready to disembark!