06 October 2009

Brian's Thoughts: Minutiae

We have developed an entirely new routine in such a short time that we have still been very aware of how our daily lives are different now. We thought we would share a few of the small things that have grabbed our attention during the last few days.

Ronald McDonald House
We begin each day at the Ronald McDonald House. Brian wasn't even sure what the Ronald McDonald House did before last week, but our experience here has been great. It's like a hotel and a fraternity (Breck says sorority) house combined: there's a dining area, kitchen, game room for children, garden, and gated parking lot. Apparently Coca-Cola donates sodas for free and the house charges just 25 cents a piece for them, which is really cheap. Each of the rooms have Sleep Number beds (like on TV), which is a unique sleeping experience. We get a room key and can come and go as we need.

The NICU at Scott and White is a great place - it looks brand new! Right now they are only admitting parents into the NICU as a precaution against H1N1 infection. The interesting thing about the NICU is they have stopped asking us for identification. They know us now.

In order to enter, we have to scrub up like we're going into surgery and put on gowns before they let us into the room. We have both put away our wedding rings since you can't wear jewelry into the NICU.

We have both decided to keep our hospital wrist bands on until Bennett comes home (or they fall off). It is interesting how these bands have played such a significant role for us in the last few days. They remind us, like our absent wedding rings, that as they cleave tightly to our bodies that someone else is grasping for us.

Bennett Time
After prepping we enter the NICU and walk over to our little man. Bennett keeps losing tubes and pumps, which is a good sign. He's been sleeping on his side lately and opening his eyes much more, which makes us both very happy. The nurses always tell us the news for the day and occasionally we get to help them do a few things. The nurses allow us to do small things like change his diaper, take his temperature or listen to his heartbeat on an infant-sized stethoscope when we are there. They make an effort to help us care for our little one. We spend some of our time there taking pictures of Bennett as it's our way of connecting with him since we can't hold him or take him home. So, eventually, after taking copious amounts of pictures, we decide to give him some time to rest.

The neonatologists (specialized baby doctors) are always on call on the floor (it's open 24 hours a day - we can go there or call any time). When we go in the morning we always try to debrief with the attending physician. It is so great that we have that kind of access to our baby's practitioner. Brian asks lots of technical questions and Breck attempts to get a clearer picture of Bennett's prognosis and care.

Driving to Waco
We leave directly from the hospital to drive back home. Car time is a good opportunity for us to debrief and share our thoughts and feelings with each other. Luckily we're breaking in a new worship CD; we imagine we'll get to know it very well before our time is done.

Oliver Time
We arrive at home in time to eat lunch and play with Oliver before he goes down for his nap. Thankfully Oliver is (mostly) unaware of what's going on. He loves his momma and daddy. He likes to snuggle up with momma and wrestle on the floor with daddy. During his nap we spend time doing the daily activities that need to be done: family finances, downloading pictures, making plans, calling a variety of people and also attempting to either work (for Breck) or study (for Brian).

After eating dinner Oliver prepares for bed. We read, sing and pray in bed with him, assuring him that Mom and Dad will be back tomorrow.

Drive to Temple
We then drive back to Temple and straight to the hospital. We see Bennett one more time, getting more news on how he has progressed throughout the day. Because the nurses change shifts every 12 hours, we are usually getting to know new people each visit. It's hard to have to meet a new face each time we visit Bennett. But the nurses are always very tender towards our boy and they are very well-informed with his care. We especially like the late night visits because they are quiet and calm.

We leave the hospital and return to the Ronald McDonald House. It's dark and quiet. We get a small carton of chocolate milk found in the House refrigerator and a powdered donut and sit by a lighted fish tank in the empty dining room and debrief once more. It's one of our favorite time because at that moment life is still, quiet, serene.

...until tomorrow.


  1. What a day! Only God could provide the strength... Love you guys!

  2. That was a powerful post. Thank you for letting us in on your life and routine right now. I just told Justin last night that I would like to start supporting the Ronald McDonald house because of how they have helped you guys out. I'm not sure what that will look like for us, but it definitely sounds like they are doing a great thing for families!

    Love you guys!

  3. I wondered how you guys were doing it all. It's probably helpful to have a routine amidst the helps you cope with it all. Is your family staying with Oliver or do you have a sitter that you've hired? I know it must be hard to be away from him.


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