This is Lori....read on to find out why we LOVE her!
I realize this post will be sort of backward...I should have put it at the end after you read the other entries....so do me a favor, read it now and then read it again after the post where Colton comes home....it's worth it.
This process of trying to get pregnant the past 4 years has taught Brian and I a lot about ourselves. We found strength we never knew we had. We learned patience like we never knew possible. We realized that the end was never in our hands to begin with. There were reasons things happened the way they did. It just took a little time to understand and accept that.
Is it a miracle that I was able to carry three babies to 33 weeks? Some would say so! Is it a miracle that all three babies are healthy and happy? Perhaps...
But I now firmly believe that on this journey of ours, things happened for a reason. Certain people were put on our path for a reason. And I want to acknowledge one of those people. She might hate me for doing this publicly, but to our family, she is a reminder that good people truly do exist in this world. Her name is Lori D. (I'll at least leave her last name out of it!) I came to know her first through school. My sister Mary taught both of her sons for several years so I'd see her at school often.
It was not until I was in the final weeks of being pregnant that we realized Lori was a NICU nurse at UMC. I was so excited that someone I knew might be there to keep an eye on our babies. Little did I know how true that would be...
When our babies were finally born and sent to the NICU, they were assigned several nurses. Not long after, however, we were approached with the concept of "Primary Nursing" which basically meant that certain nurses signed up to always care for the Bunch Babies whenever they were on duty. This meant consistency for us, which we like! Well, Lori was the babies' first Primary Nurse.
As nurses go, she is top notch. There was never any doubt that when Lori was on duty, our babies were being well cared for. All their basic needs were being taken care of....diapers, meds, food pumps, etc. But she also genuinely seemed to like our babies....I know that Brian and I learned a TON from Lori about how to care for newborn babies...seriously, how to diaper them correctly, how to swaddle them, feed them, bathe them (as the picture below illustrates! and which could frankly become another blog in itself.) Let's just say, I almost Baptized Colton here in this picture. Thank God Lori was there! :)
Furthermore, because Colton has a cleft lip and palate, Lori knew he was going to need extra time learning how to eat from his bottle and she was always willing to help him really try, as opposed to simply taking the easy way out and putting his food into his NG tube.
But aside from the very technical nursing duties, which she would simply say, "is her job", Lori went above and beyond for us in other ways! Having babies in the NICU can be stressful and it can be sad to have to leave your kids behind every night. It was Lori who twice arranged for and allowed us to do "photo shoots" where we could actually put all three babies together. It seems like such a simple thing to do, but it meant the world to us. We were left with pictures that can only happen once in our babies' lifetime and we cherish those pictures now. (Especially the Easter Bunny ears.)
Not only did she arrange for US to take pictures of our babies, she also secretly took her own photos of our babies to make us an Easter gift. She bought a very cute Stuffed Easter Bunny, a basket, a photo album and even a cute dress for Hunter. She is the one who took those adorable photos of each baby snuggling the Easter Bunny! She made us a photo album, and even made handprints of each baby for us to have as keepsakes...
However, even more than any of that, Lori would become absolutely instrumental in our babies' lives...Colton, in particular. As most of you already know, or will know after you read the next 4 blogs, Ethan and Hunter came home when they were 3 weeks old. Colton did not. He was given the added challenge of learning to feed from a very tricky bottle on top of having a cleft lip and palate. It was because of this that he was not able to go home with his brother and sister.
Lori knew how difficult this was for us. Ok, me in particular. Wherever he got moved to in the NICU, she went to visit him. The day after he got moved down to the 3rd floor, we found her visiting Colton there and checking in on him...She even stayed 2 hours past the end of her night shift to be there to feed Colton at 9 the next morning, in case Brian and I were unable to make it. She genuinely wanted to make sure he was given yet another opportunity to prove that he could eat from a bottle. She knew that this was going to be his ticket home.
Well, Lori also knew that Brian and I had two other new babies at home now, making it even more difficult to spend as much time as we would have liked with Colton, helping him learn to eat. So where ever we could not be, Lori was there. The greatest testament to Lori's character came Sunday night. She asked if I would mind if she came to feed Colton on the 3rd floor for his midnight, 3 am, and 6 am feedings, in hopes that he'd then be able to go home Monday. So I of course, told her I'd be so touched if she did that. However, I thought she was WORKING Sunday night and was simply going to "run" down to the 3rd floor for a few minutes to feed him and then get back upstairs to the NICU.
So Sunday night came, and like we'd discussed, Brian and I were there to feed Mr. Colton at 9pm. Well, right at about 10:30, in walks Lori, bag in hand, and no scrubs on....No scrubs? Isn't she usually wearing scrubs when she works? The answer to that is yes. She does. But tonight, she wasn't working, like I thought. It was her day off and she had decided to come spend the night in Colton's room on a fold out chair recliner, so that she would be absolutely certain he got to feed with his bottle and that he ate enough to be considered for discharge the next day. Who does that?
She is a nurse. Taking care of babies is her job. Taking care of my baby on her day off is not her job. But she did it because she truly cares about Colton and knew how much I wanted him home for my birthday on Thursday. Lori, if you are reading this, you know there are not many people who would do that. You are my babies' guardian angel. Thank you for loving them and for caring for them. You really are a reminder that there are good people in this world. Before this, I would have thought you were simply a wonderful mother to two sons who happened to attend the school where I teach. But now I know you were put in our lives for a more important reason that would take us a few years to realize. Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.
**Thanks to Lori, Colton did in fact get to come home the next day....Now do you see why we love her??