August 2006


I spoke with my family a short while ago. Georgia was taken off of her respirator earlier. She is with her sister now, at peace in one another’s loving care. Oliver and Ashley are coming home this evening. The struggle is finally over.

Goodbye, Adeline and Georgia. Your family loves both of you very much and we miss you.

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We arrived at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis around 8:00 pm Friday evening. I got to meet my nieces right away, in the Nenonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I had never seen such sweetness in all of my life as these tiny little babies. What a blessing.

After saying hello to Adeline and Georgia we returned to the obstetrics floor, where Ashley’s room was located, to rest for the night. At 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning, we got the call to return to NICU. Adeline had not responded well after her blood transfusion, and blood was filling her tiny lungs. After two hours of intense medical treatment, it was apparent that her little body could take no more. Her brain had been without oxygen for two-and-a-half hours.

Meanwhile, the hospital staff could not manage to get Georgia sedated. She was thrashing with all of her might, curling her tiny fingers and clawing, trying her best to literally crawl out of the little incubator bed she was in. She was trying to get to her sister. It was so clear to everyone there that she was struggling to touch her big sister. Every time someone placed their hand in her incubator, she would calm down, and when the hand was removed again, she would begin thrashing and clawing at the bed again. I’ve never seen determination like that, not even in adults, let alone a tiny newborn. It was heartwrenching.

The staff was able to make a portable bundle out of Adeline’s life support system so that she could be placed in her sister’s bed to lie beside Georgia and say goodbye. The instant her sister was laid on her bed, Georgia stopped her struggle and cuddled close to her sister. It was the most precious thing I have ever seen in my life. I will be forever thankful that I was there to witness that beautiful moment.

Afterwards, the staff prepared a room for the family where we could spend Adeline’s last moments with her in privacy. As her support system was removed from her body, her transition was so peaceful that no one knows when the moment came. We only know that it did come.

My brother told me later that as soon as her tubes and wires and breathing apparatus were removed, and the expression of fear that had dominated her face since birth began to change into one of peace, he knew that they had made the absolute right decision. It was so very precious.

 Georgia’s struggle since that time has been a roller coaster. Her stability and future change with each breath. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. The doctor is a very negative sort of person. He goes so far not to give false hope that he sometimes seems to give false despair. The nurses have warned Oliver and Ashley not to feel pressured or limited in options, because “certain doctors” do not present the hopeful side accurately. We are all trying to keep that in mind as we continue our prayers for this sacred little one.

The last word we received was that there is motor damage from Georgia’s brain hemhorraging, and possible cognitive damage as well. Additionally, the pediatrician says that her little lungs will never develop to the point that she could be off the respirator. Of course this is very discouraging news, but we continue to look for blessings in all of this. We have listened to so many success stories up there, of children who were as bad off (or even worse) at birth, who are now out driving cars and playing football. So, we continue to hope.

I had to come home Sunday morning after spending a brief period in a hospital bed myself. It is just an infection, it turns out, which will not affect the baby. However, having been awake for so many hours prior and under stressful conditions had made my nerves extremely acute and overly sensitive to pain that might normally have been much milder, so when the pain first occurred Saturday night, I began to have a panic attack, fearing that I had abused my body and unborn child through the long hospital hours and emotional stress. I was taken to the ER first, and then transferred to a labor/delivery room for exam, monitoring and tests. As I was being examined, Geoff appeared. My sister had called him and he had driven all the way to St. Louis in the middle of the night. After diagnosis, he argued with the doctors until they finally said I was allowed to leave with him. He had made me up a little bed in the car, and drove me straight back to Carbondale, where I slept almost uninterrupted for over 24 hours.

I saw a cardiologist yesterday (an appointment that had already been set up a month ago), and will go back in for an ECHO test tomorrow (Wednesday), and be set up with a holter monitor to wear. On Thursday, I see my regular OB nurse practitioner first, to be treated for my infection, and then go straight back over to the cardiologist to have the monitor removed and review the ECHO. I was prescribed a couple of different medicines already at the hospital, and will be on antibiotics after Thursday, so by the end of the week, I will be a walking pharmacy. But despite all of the medicines and appointments, I am fine. Everything that seems to be wrong is pretty much benign in the end, albeit painful or annoying. None of it will affect the baby. So nobody needs to worry about me. Seriously. I am fine. Baby is fine. We are resting and taking care of ourselves.

Meanwhile, I am saying constant prayers for my dear little niece, Georgia, and her parents, who have been through so very much these last two weeks. If you happen to see a Southern Illinoisan today, Addie’s obituary appears in it. A very tiny obituary for a very tiny person who meant more to her family than we can ever express.

We are so grateful to everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this time, and we are so thankful that God sent us these dear little ones to bless our lives.

–G.

I just received an email from Mom. Here is what she writes:

“The babies have had air leaking in their lungs because of the immaturity, but the ventilator has the ability to overcome that part of the scenario because it’s more efficient than the lungs are. Adeline seems to be worse off than Georgia. Her hemoglobin is extremely low and urine output also too low. Oliver said the doctors haven’t come out and said that they’re going to lose them, but Ashley thinks that they are. He’s trying to hold on and be strong for her, but it’s getting harder and harder. He said they were doing ultrasound on them to check for brain hemorrhage and so far had not seen anything like that, so that’s good news, but we need some miracles, and we need them pretty quickly.”

I just spoke with Mom on the phone as well. She has not slept in days and is driving up there by herself tonight, so I am leaving work now to prepare to ride along. Keep praying.

Proud Mama and Papa...8/24/06

The babies are here! They weight 1 lb., 4 oz. each, and are identical!

Miss Adeline Mae Priddy on her birthday. 

This morning Adeline is having trouble breathing. They have switched out ventillators and she seems to have improved a little with the new one, but she is still a sick baby and needs our prayers.

 Miss Georgia Anne Priddy on her birthday.

Georgia is breathing fine, and the doctors actually had to reduce her ventillator output last night because she was doing so well on her own. Look at her all sprawled out without having to share space with her big sister anymore!

Georgia's footprints (also about one-and-a-half inches long)      Adeline's footprints (about one-and-a-half inches long)

Addie’s footprints.                                                  Georgia’s footprints.

What tiny little miracles! Their feet are 1-1/2″ long! So sweet! I am so excited. My obstetrician’s office has reviewed my travel restrictions and OK’d a trip to see my new nieces tomorrow! I can’t wait!!

Well, I am the proud aunt of two bouncing baby girls, Miss Adeline May and Miss Georgia Anne! They are both healthy lil’ babies, tipping the scales at a little under 1.5 lbs. apiece, wiggling around, breathing on their own, and generally doing wonderfully. Ashley is doing just fine post-delivery as well, and everyone is as good as they can possibly be right now. The twins have been placed in neonatal intensive care (NIC-U) at Barnes Jewish Hospital, and Oliver sounds like he has spent the day riding around inside of a washing machine. A proud papa, but sounds like he needs a nap, poor guy.

Yes, these little ones were very early. Yes, they have beaten a lot of odds, and have many weeks of close supervision ahead. But yes, they are in God’s hands, and yes, they are doing as well as they possibly can, and are the blessings of a lifetime to two proud parents and a family of loving relatives.

 Thank you all for keeping this family in your thoughts and prayers. I will continue to post our blessings and opportunities as they come.

–G.

Ashley went into labor this morning. They are delivering the babies at 24 weeks. Oliver called Geoff from the road to give an update. He and Mom were stuck in road construction on 64 about 20 miles outside of St. Louis. Meanwhile, the hospital was prepping Ashley for delivery. We don’t have much information at the moment, but the babies seem to be almost certainly coming today. Please send them your prayers. I will post when I know more. I am staying at the office today, and not taking a lunch hour or anything, so that anyone who needs to reach me should be able to. I will be here until 4:30, presumably.

 Love,

–G.

So it’s the first week of school and all the students are back in town. We survived another move-in weekend, complete with ten thousand overloaded minivans driving the wrong direction down the one-way streets and hour-long lines in every drive-thru restaurant in town. And while I inevitably swear each year that I will think ahead and be sure not to need anything from Wal-Mart during freshman welcome week, I ALWAYS manage to wind up there just the same, amid all the chaos.

 As I navigated the aisles and attempted to fulfill my Wal-Mart shopping list in just under a day, I couldn’t help but notice the expressions on the faces all around me. Every single aisle had at least three bewildered-looking dads pushing mounded up carts, while the ends of the aisles were all congested with nervous moms barking orders over their cell phones and looking frantic. But somehow this year, I did not roll my eyes and groan while I waited in line for my turn to look at the Frosted Flakes and Rice Chex. Instead, I watched these parents.

They all had the same terrified look behind their eyes. That whole “it’s-almost-time-to-say-goodbye-and-what-do-we-do-then?” expression. And I felt bad for them. All of a sudden, I thought ahead to my own future, and that of my baby’s. Suddenly,  I was that scared parent sending my little one off to college, loading palettes of water bottles onto the cart and thinking wistfully how it seemed like only yesterday that it was still just a tiny little thump in my tummy.

 What a weird feeling.

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