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Yesterday

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DALE

The blog contains little bits of my life, my passions, and my work. I update it daily so there is always something new to come see.

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It’s hard to believe that the story I am about to tell you happened only yesterday. I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime between then and now… or at least a week. Yesterday morning, I woke up before my 5am alarm by springing out of bed and into the hospital shower at Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville. While in the shower, I put on a courage meditation from my Peloton App. I remember feeling such hope and excitement, which carried me through putting on my bunny suit. And taking a selfie of me in a ridiculous hair net.

Blessing of the Hands

Have you ever been to a wedding where the vows include “Blessing of the Hands” by Daniel Harris?


These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

Blessing of the Hands by Rev. Daniel L. Harris

That poem is what I was thinking about the moment I took this photograph. Tyler asked me to hold her hand, just like we did on our wedding day. I know that no matter how hard a situation might be, facing it holding hands is a hell of a lot better than facing it without.

A Star is Born

Less than 15 minutes later, our child was born.

I debated on whether to put the following picture because of the blood, but ultimately decided to include it after turning it black and white. It’s a beautiful moment… one that changed Tyler and my life forever.

newborn baby from a c-section being held up by the doctor

And for the first two minutes, the room was filled with the most incredible feeling and sound in the world: our baby was crying. That’s exactly what you want from a newborn baby.

But it was only for two minutes. I didn’t hear an Apgar score, even though I listened intently. I didn’t hear anything from the baby at all. Tyler and I watched as they rolled the baby cart out of the room.

Pulmonary surfactants, cannulas, and other words I learned yesterday

The reason our baby stopped crying after two minutes was from fatigue. Our little one got tired. We anticipated a NICU stay, though I would be lying if I said I didn’t speak some positivity into the air that morning. You always hope your kid is the exception to the rule… the one that fills the room of doctors, nurses, surgical techs, and two hopeful parents with surprise. But alas, our expectations were managed and off to the NICU we went.

When a premature baby’s lungs aren’t fully developed, they sometimes have trouble opening back up. There is a medicine you can give – albeit through tube down the throat – that can line the lungs to help them do this (this is the surfactant). Our baby was a fighter and, for awhile, got by on just adding oxygen. In the end, however, in went the tube.

Now Showing: Dad Guilt

Meanwhile, Tyler is in recovery. It felt almost wrong that I was allowed to go see the baby when she wasn’t. There was definitely a bit of guilt. After all, she was the one who bled on the bathroom floor, had her body cut in half, and… oh yeah… carried the baby for 33 weeks. I hated that she wasn’t able to come see the beautiful child she grew and cared for. To compensate, I made sure not to touch the baby so that Tyler could be the first.

On another note, I felt guilty that Ellie was performing for the last time at DanceMakers in Branson. I’ve never missed a DMI weekend, and some of those years I drove on ice for two hours to be there. I hate that I had to miss her last one (though happy I could stream it). Her company scored the top scores for all their dances, and got the best overall score from the entire competition. I feel so proud and so guilty at the same time.

(I’ll talk about Scout’s role in all this during a later post)

On the Cece front, she had to go to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock for some testing. They ran light tests and ended up putting Cece on new seizure medication. I’m happy they were able to figure out the best course of treatment, but sad that my sweet, lovable Cece had to undergo those horrible-looking tests. Man, parenting is a bitch!

Kangaroo Care

Back to baby. And on to the good stuff. Without giving you all the ups and downs and tears of yesterday, allow me to fast forward to today.

Tyler woke me up from the hospital couch (not the most comfortable, I’ll admit) by saying, “they going to let us hold the baby!” I could almost cry just writing that sentence because there was such excitement in her voice. I sprang up, immediately feeling like I should shower or put on better clothes, or at least brush my teeth to be presentable to our little angel. But there wasn’t time. I slid on my shoes and escorted my wife to the NICU.

Have you heard of kangaroo care? In short, it’s where you hold the baby on your chest–skin to skin–to ensure bonding as well as emotional and physical development. My personal definition, though, is this: one of the best feelings in the world. Ty went first, spending two hours holding our baby this morning:

In the afternoon, it was my turn. OMG there is so much hair! Can you believe it? I’m freaking OBSESSED.

Our baby still has a long road ahead. We still have to introduce feeding, though Tyler is pumping and giving all the milk needed so far. And of course the machines are still hooked up. But if yesterday>today was any indicator, we are both filled with so much hope, and can’t wait to make a formal introduction soon.

Thank you for being here.
Dale

Read the Comments +

  1. Dale, I met you on a lunch break at WPPI many moons ago, and have found your ability to write and share your life motivating since. Congratulations to you and Tyler! Welcome to the world new baby!

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