Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Adventures of Granny Nanny

   The month of May 2014 hosted two weeks of my life that were a blessing beyond blessing. And adventure beyond compare. One doesn’t get to say that enough in life, but I can.
   My daughter and her husband have adopted a second child through an open adoption. Their son came along in April of 2013, and now his biological sister was born on May 21. Yep. Thirteen months apart.    Two in diapers and completely reliant on adults. Yep. Daughter needs prayer.
   But that also afforded me, Grandma, the privilege of going down to Texas to care for my grandson, upon their request, while we waited for Amelia to come. My new position: Granny Nanny. We enjoyed a few days at their home, a day at the zoo (bucket list item achieved for me. Grandkid zoo excursion.),
dinners out, lunch with daddy, Granny Nanny learning the ropes, and relaxing.
   My son-in-law rented a nice hotel room by the hospital, which was two hours away, for all of us when the time was near for Amelia’s arrival, of which they got to spend two whole nights in. Me and Timmy…much more time. He needed naps and peace and quiet. And Granny Nanny got to rest too. It’s a lot of work to haul around a little guy with all his gear. His mommy and daddy stayed at the hospital waiting with the birth family.  
   You must understand, I have the cutest grandson on the planet. There is no prejudice here and no need to disagree. I just do. ;) And at 13 months, I knew I’d have a ball with him. And that we did. We read, we sang silly songs, we danced, we played, we napped.
   One of the really fun things I managed to do was teach him how to give Eskimo kisses. Rubbing noses together. It was a hoot and he learned quickly so we did Eskimo kisses a lot. Fun except when the
Eskimo kisses
drooling was excessive. Still fun, but burp cloths were needed more so on Granny Nanny’s face.
   I have no problem admitting my age. I don’t care, and on the outside chance that someone thinks I look younger, I want them to know I’m 56 years old. Then they can just be awed that I look so good. Or something.
   Which leads me to this. I have an important thing to tell you all that are around my age. As a grandparent, you remember quickly how much stuff is needed for those babies. Timmy, thankfully, isn’t a big kid. Point of interest, his backpack weighs more than him. Diapers, food, spoons, bottles of water, formula to mix, wipes, toys, small blankets, extra clothes, you name it, it’s in the bag. Then there’s the whole “figure out how a stroller works” episodes. And car seat straps? Wow. My arms are half way to the size of Popeye’s after two weeks of all that. Then let’s talk Texas heat and going back and forth between the hospital and the hotel. No, let’s not. I’d like to forget that part. And it wasn’t even the hot time of the summer yet.
   Amelia entered the world and all seemed well. We got to meet her, Timmy got to poke at her. We were all so excited and happy, but that quickly changed. I held that beautiful baby girl at an hour and a half old. And yes, I cried. So sweet, black hair and lots of it. Seven pounds, ten ounces. Perfect size. Timmy didn’t have much of an opinion of this new creature.
   After the initial feedings, she wasn’t keeping anything down and quickly got dehydrated. She was put into NICU and tests began. It kept getting scarier. The fears cropped up. Establishing an IV line in a tiny baby that is dehydrated is nearly impossible. Through many tests, it was also discovered that she had a small hole in her heart. That was really difficult for everyone to hear. 

   The nursing staff worked and worked to get a line in her, somewhere, anywhere, one took, but then the vein collapsed. This went on for what seemed like forever. I stood with the birth father outside the viewing window for a short time. We watched, we waited, we worried, I cried, that another attempt was being done over and over.      Little Amelia screamed and screamed. That just tears your heart out. I asked the young man if he would pray with me. So we bowed our heads and prayed that they would get that line in and Amelia would be okay. We prayed for the staff working with this sweet little girl to have wisdom and success. We agreed with an Amen. He decided to go let someone else come back. Only two at a time were allowed in the NICU. When he passed through the doors, I was still watching. The determined, experienced nurse looked over her shoulder at me, nodded her head and mouthed, “We got it!” I cried again. Amelia was able to settle down. Fluids were finally flowing into her little body to restore and replenish what she had lost.
   Thank you God! Answered prayer!
   Time needed to pass. We needed to wait. Cardiologists had to be consulted with. CT scans, EKG’s, blood work, x-rays, I’m sure I don’t know half of what was done. She had to be at an angle at all times to keep things down. Two families, ten of us total, waited it out together, visiting two by two, praying and supporting each other. God does remarkable work.
   After forty-eight hours, Amelia was signed over to my daughter and hubby. The birth family stayed to make sure she would be okay. The support between us all is totally a God-thing.

   Me and Timmy made trips back and forth so he could nap. He had lots of people to play with while at
Granny Nanny at work
the hospital and he was a happy boy. Granny Nanny was really getting the hang of this stroller thing, back pack, eating/napping schedule and the route to drive. Not far, but Texas has this addiction to frontage roads that go one way so you have to circumvent the highway to get anywhere. Timmy was such a trooper!
   A few trips to Wal Mart were needed since we only packed for the anticipated 3 days and a few more were spent, and we didn't really know for sure how long we’d be there. If heart surgery was going to be necessary, then who knew how long we’d be. Washing stuff in a hotel sink is not real practical especially for a toddler and three adults. And Timmy started to run low on his favorite baby yogurt.
   Shopping with your grandson is super fun. And expensive. He saw a Mickey Mouse holding a soft blue blanket and reached for it. I handed it to him, and he hugged it. I hadn't seen him really hug a toy yet. So, really, how can I possibly put that back on the shelf… I mean really.
   On day three of the NICU, grandpa was able to join us. He flew to Texas then rented a car. Good thing since we were like 5 hours away from that airport now.

Blessed relief for a new mommy
   After four days of NICU, Amelia improved and was able to go home. After her parents learned infant CPR and received extensive instructions on her care from one of the best nurses I've ever met. I
listened in on that and wondered why in the world my daughter did not come with instructions. Sure would have made things easier. Ah, but I digress.
   Obviously with two car seats and four adults, one vehicle does not work anymore. We had even taken two vehicles down. (I foresee a minivan in their future…) My hubby had the rental car so all the new accumulated stuff had a place to occupy. Since Timmy was quite used to me at this point, I drove with his car seat in the back. He slept anyway. The kids went with the new baby to keep a close eye on her. And Ron followed behind for the two hour drive. Our little happy and relieved caravan.
   Life had now officially changed.
   Now being the kind hearted person that I am *cough, cough* I offered to keep Timmy’s baby monitor all night, every night. I would keep an ear out and watch the monitor faithfully and see to any of his needs, giving mommy and daddy time to bond with Amelia and get used to that little baby.
   Yeah. That’s it.
   Granny Nanny knew she’d get to sleep through the night just like Timmy does. But I was there for him! I’d be ready. Awww….. Blissful sleep envied by two others.
  I continued getting him up most every morning, changed, fed, played with, stories read, down for naps, up from naps and the whole routine over again. Splash, splash time before bed every other night (my knees aren't cut out for that), a sweet bottle time, hugs, prayers after which he waves up at the ceiling when you say, “Night, night Jesus.” (Is that too cute or what?) (I told you I had the cutest grandson.)
   Treasured moments that I’ll never forget. This grandmahood stuff is pretty easy to take. Now back in Colorado, I sigh a lot as I look at photos of our time together. There’s this little catch in my heart as I think about what I’m missing now with TWO babies so far away.

   But I’m thankful. I’m thankful for two young people and their family that made a heart wrenching decision to do what was best for their children. That allowed those babies to go to a family that will love them forever and give them the best of opportunities in life. A chance to become a grandma and see my kids become parents. I’m thankful God brought our little Amelia through such a challenging start to life. And we know and trust He will continue to bring her through this and bring healing to her heart and the reflux issue. Our little miracle.

   Quite frankly, in all the adventures we've ever gone on, this is the best adventure I could have ever dreamed of. And being a Granny Nanny was the most exhausting fun I've ever had. 

(I'm crying again.)