Small Talk

Her doctor said he could arrange for a NICU transfer if we were unable to return to the unit where Emmanuelle passed.

Rowan still resides in Room 14; Room 15 was Emmanuelle’s.

I’m okay being here. Clearly, since today is Day 62. I never really wanted to leave. I’ve always trusted these people. They literally did everything they could.

For a little while, it was hard to look anyone in the eye who was working on Emmanuelle that night/morning … whatever. Now, it’s bittersweet. I know they carry a piece of my Emme with them too. I know Rowan has a special place in their hearts as well.

The charge nurse who administered chest compressions on Emmanuelle still refuses to acknowledge us. But I like that. It blesses my heart because Emme had that much of an impact. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want these caretakers to feel responsible or guilty. But Emmanuelle was a special little girl, and we fought hard for her that morning – all of us.

During the week of Halloween, Rowan’s heart rate and oxygen dipped down low for what seemed like forever. I was holding her; it was fucking terrifying. The doctor who cared for Emmanuelle while she was passing visited Room 14 to assess Rowan and the situation. He explained what scary things and what non-scary things could have caused this “episode”. I was shocked; I was scared; I started crying. I passive aggressively complained to him about how long it took a nurse to assist Rowan. I did this in front of the Godsend nurse who actually stimulated Rowan to “come back to us” as well as the nurse who was assigned to care for Rowan that day. She – the nurse responsible for Rowie – had sauntered on into Room 14 a bit late.

“My baby is 31 weeks gestation, and she just brady/de-satted for about two minutes. Alarms were screaming – the whole nine yards. Hurry. the eff. up. next time.”

That’s what I was thinking.

I really can’t imagine the look on my face during this entire exchange. Of course, Rowan was behaving very well; she had gotten it out of her system apparently.

Emmanuelle’s doctor blatantly stated: “You probably don’t want to be talking to me about this.”

“No, I don’t.”

Bless his heart. He’s a very compassionate doctor. I think that morning was hell for him too; I don’t know if he’s ever lost a baby.

“Trust me, I remember everything about that morning,” he told me a couple of weeks ago. “I even know it was your birthday.”

“Yea, we’ll just celebrate their birthday from now on,” I told him.

The week of Halloween was a low for us. We received a call on Friday night around 10:30. The doctor on duty was requesting a verbal consent to perform a spinal tap on Rowan. FANTASTIC. Her blood culture had shown bacteria … which could have been a false positive because Rowie didn’t seem sick at all outside of her … umm … “episodes”.

Excuse me, a false positive on a preemie’s blood culture?

Within the next week we learned that this sample was – in fact – contaminated because her follow-up culture was clear. Kiss my ass, you morons who contaminated my baby’s blood test. Do you have any idea…? Any idea at all…?

Thank our Heavenly Father that week is really the only low-low we’ve (I’ve? I don’t want to speak for my husband.) experienced with Rowie during this roller coaster from the depths of hell. Dramatic? Well, it IS that dramatic.

So … I spoke to Emmanuelle’s doctor today and asked him if we need a monitor at home for Rowan. He said no.


Rowan doesn’t need a monitor, but they’ll assess the situation before she goes home. You don’t understand how hard it is to watch your child’s stats teeter-totter for nine weeks, and think about taking her home without a monitor. Because she will de-sat. She will brady. Her reflux doesn’t only cause discomfort; it causes these episodes. And that’s why it sucks. Who knew heartburn could be so dramatic, right?

He told me I will be stressed. I will be afraid. He said it’s okay and totally expected … and – yet – Rowan will be just fine. *sigh*


He explained what precautions he took with his own baby who was born full-term. He said he was scared too … because he knows too much. But – she will be okay.

He saw the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree I brought in for Rowan. Her nana bought it for her.

He very excitedly told me there’s a new Charlie Brown movie coming out next year. I imagine he will watch it with his family, which led me to ask how many kids he has.

“Just one. Yea. Will you have more?”


He knows our history. He reminded us of it the morning of Emmanuelle.

“… and I know how hard you worked for these babies. Six cycles of IVF. Donor egg. I’m so sorry.”

He quickly encouraged me to take a lot of time to recover. Enjoy our little miracle baby, Rowan.

“I don’t even know,” I said. “If there’s even a chance of this happening … I can’t do this to another baby.”

And this was the best part. Without even missing a beat, he said:

“You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not your fault. This is just how your body responded.”


18 thoughts on “Small Talk

  1. *gulp* you have my utmost respect. So excited you will be taking Rowie home soon. So sorry it’s not Emme too. Your doctor couldn’t be more right. This is not your fault. None of this is a result of anything you did. You had no control over how your body responded. None. How did you come up with the name Rowan?

    • Thank you Heidi.

      I downloaded a baby name app before I knew the genders of the twins and started looking at girl names from A to Z. I started with girls for no particular reason. I filtered out some categories of popular names, etc. From A to Z, I created a very short list of my favorites. My hubby really liked Rowan; Emmanuelle was ranked highest for me. When we found out we were having two girls, Rowan was still a top choice, and we had to name Baby B Emmanuelle because it means faith. You know our history with Emme, so it was fitting for our little girl. Rowan actually means red … As you can imagine, it wasn’t a guarantee that my girls would have red hair, even though strangers could assume they would (hubby’s a ginger too). Emme actually had dark hair. So, we appropriately named our Baby A Rowan. Sorry – looooong explanation.

  2. I’ve been reading your blog for a while but haven’t known what to say since I’m just a stranger. I have thought about you lots over the last few months and I can’t imagine what you are going through with Rowan and having to miss Emmanuelle.
    Reading today’s post, I did want to tell you about a commercially available monitor I used on my own son, who was born 6 weeks early last year. I know ours does not at all compare to your NICU experience, but our son did have Brady’s (and I had missed SIDS as a baby and had a monitor for 2 years) and I too was scared about having him at home without a monitor, so we bought a Snuza. It clips on the baby’s diaper and beeps if no movement is detected. I’m still using it with my son who is now 18 months.
    Best of luck, I hope you will be able to have Rowan home with you soon and that you’ll find peace.

    • Thank you for telling me about the Snuza. I will definitely look into it. I would buy a monitor in a heart beat, but I don’t know if it would fuel my diagnosed anxiety. Like, at what point do I stop worrying? It could ruin me; I just need to find that balance.

  3. This is all just so much for me to even process from way far away and removed from the whole scene, the actual rooms, the actual monitors, the sounds. I can’t imagine living your day to day life right now… it’s all so surreal, so I don’t even know what to say. But I’m thinking of you and I want you to know that you are SO loved.

  4. “how your body responded”
    UMmmm, Im pretty sure HE took your babies out? Right? I’m not pressing blame here, nobody is at fault per say, but to say that?! Oh no he didn’t?! Not cool Doc, not at all. More like unneeded, and not true at all. He has no idea what would have happened if you waited longer, or had a different provider, or went to a different hospital, or whatever. He basically just washed his hands of it. Makes me mad.
    I love you!

    • Did I read your post wrong?
      I took it as you being offended at his comments? I think I would be, and maybe that’s why I ready it incorrectly..

      • Hey love, I wasn’t offended by his comment. Moms with pre-eclampsia feel guilty because they feel like their bodies failed their pregnancy and baby/ies. I feel reaponsible for their prematurity, but he was telling me that it wasn’t my fault. That is how I took, but my readers are welcome to feel however they want obviously! 😊

  5. Nurses and doctors try, they really do. There are bad apples though. I have not worked in as high speed as a nicu as your current dwelling place; I have drawn cultures on sick babies, as have my colleagues..contamination is what we strive to avoid at all costs, because we don’t want to give unnecessary antibiotics, nor do we want to have to poke the babies again and again; but it happens, and I totally hate that it happened to you. A spinal tap is stressful; i’ve assisted, and it scared the crap out of me, and it was not my baby…I hate this for you soooooo much!
    I’ve donet chest compression for 45 mins, and it is horrific. That baby was transferred, put on a vent and a cooling cap fr brain bleeds; after that I don’t know what happened…I don’t know how Id feel seeing her parents again, however I know I did everything I could, so actually I’m pretty sure I’d go up to the mother, hug her, and tell her I hope she and baby are doing well and ask for an update on how the baby did, and how she was later…but thats me, and I’m not your babies nurse….just a nurse IBCLC with an opinion I have to say….sorry
    idk…just making small talk..

    • I wasnt here gor the spinal tap thank God. I probably would have had to leave the room anyway. It was over by the time I arrived back at the NICU…. Then it was cuddld time, which stressed her the eff out so her stats went way down. I hate it too!!!!

  6. He sounds like a great doc! You are superwoman! My thoughts and prayers are still with you and your family. GOD bless princess Rowen, I pray her sats hit 100 and stay there!! xoxo…

  7. You so needed to hear that! From precisely him!
    You may not sleep well for a while, but she will be alright. You have to hold on to a shred of confidence, even if you have to borrow it from this trusted physician.
    Wishing you well in this transition.

  8. Dearest Allison
    My heart breaks for you, I wish this was so different. I cried reading this post, I cried for Emmanuelle and all that she won’t experience, for you and your husband and all you have lost, and little Rowan for everything she is going through. It is so unfair.
    I am relieved to hear how compassionate your Doctor has been towards you, you deserve kindness, but also excellent care so hopefully those nurses come running every time Rowan needs them.
    NICU sounds scary, you are so brave and strong. I knew this already about you from reading your many blog posts.
    Not long now and you can take Rowan home… Where she truly belongs.
    Kia Kaha… You’ve got this Allison, you most certainly didn’t do anything wrong.

  9. Bringing home your Rowie is a boatload of emotions. I can’t imagine the stress you have been through. I’m so happy that you will be taking her home, and I pray you find peace and worry less in time. It will take time, and you have every right to be scared and hyper vigilant. You are her Mommy and you love her SO much. Monitor, no monitor, enjoy your precious angel in your arms at home. All my best.

  10. Oh Allison. My heart breaks just thinking about everything you must be going through. I wish I could do something to heal ur pain. I know u miss Emme so much. I’m praying everything continues to progress with Rowan and u can find peace bringing her home. Thinking of u.

  11. I have to agree with Amanda. It’s so hard to process or imagine what your day to day is and has been. Every day, Rowan (and you) is in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that day that she finally arrives home with you is coming so very soon. I know it will be scary at first, but I love how compassionate your doctor is…you are a great mother, so yes, she will be fine. Much love to you!! xoxo

  12. I am spending time as I do every night and morning looking at the pictures and videos of my two precious granddaughters. Not a moment goes by that they are not in my thoughts…
    Alli you are the bravest woman I’ve ever known. I was there… I watched Emmanuelle’s mommy reach her arms out to hold her and her daddy kiss her precious face. I heard the tender words spoken from her mommy to her… And I held my beautiful Emme, the first time I’ve ever held a grandchild. I love her, I miss her and nana crys because her son and daughter in law are in so much pain.
    I am still the grandparent of twins!!🎀🎀
    I love how you have put into words your heart for Rowie and Emme. I am so proud of you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s