Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Molly Rose

I have been needing to blog about the recent events that took place in our amazing family.

They are so significant that I don't want to forget about them. Back in the fall we found out that the baby Annalee was carrying had a significant heart defect called an interrupted arch. Annalee learned all she could about the defect and found out that it was associated with DiGeoerge Syndrome. It was hard for Annalee to think that her baby could face life threatening trials. The whole family began to pray and fast for her. Annalee found out she was having a girl and decided pretty early on that she would name her Molly Rose. We prayed for Molly by name. Annalee got a priesthood blessing the night she found out the extent of Molly's heart defect. All of the siblings spouses and cousins were there and we heard Molly's name in that blessing for the first time. It was very very spiritual. All of our hearts were softened and our love poured out to Annalee and James and their little family.
Baby shower for Annalee at Cafe Rio. Al set up Molly's tiny crib in the restaurant!

As time went on in Annalee's pregnancy, things went so smoothly. In utero, Molly was thriving. She was growing well and had a strong kick and a great heartbeat. The doctors told Annalee that once Molly took her first breath, things could change. She would not survive without immediate surgery. Doctors have a way of telling you the worst case scenarios and somehow, that it is the main thing you think about! In my mind, Molly would be lucky to survive birth. Annalee chose the date of Molly's induction opting to wait till the very last available day to keep Molly safe in her belly as long as possible. In case Molly didn't survive the birth, Annalee asked me to be there to take as many photos as I could. Molly was scheduled to be born on Monday, February 24th. That weekend we had a lot of family time to keep Annalee and James' minds occupied. I thought about wanting to watch Annalee's belly, just to see a kick or some movement so that I could witness little Molly in her element. Annalee told Denise that through her prayers, she could feel Heavenly Father giver her the strength to take on this challenge. It was like a "come what may" moment.

 Sunday night Annalee and James each got a preisthood blessing. The blessings talked about giving comfort and being strong. I explained to my kids why we were doing all of this. I told them the severity of Molly's condition and that they needed to keep her in their prayers. Every single one of the cousins seemed to have a strong faith that everything was going to be okay. Noah was sure Heavenly Father intended for Molly to pull through this. I would get weepy thinking of all of this and worrying about Molly and James and Annalee. I found myself relying on the faith of the kids to get me through. Noah told Annalee that he talked about Molly a few times at school. Once with his teacher and once with some friends. The friends decided they would all say a prayer right then and there for Molly. Annalee was very touched. TK is taking a class at BYU from a distinguished professor of religion named Dr. Parry. The day Annalee was giving birth, TK was supposed to be in his class but was excused to attend the birth. Dr. Parry had the whole class kneel down and pray for Annalee and Molly. We chuckle, "only at BYU, ha ha!" but it really was special. It felt powerful to have so many minds and hearts on Molly. We fasted and prayed so sincerely as a family for her. The kids would ask why we were crying in the prayer and I told them that when you are pleading with Heavenly Father, you feel the spirit so strong that it makes you cry. You have this humility that you are begging him for help.

As Monday came, Annalee got to the hospital early because she had actually been having contractions all night. She labored comfortably after her epidural. She was amazed that the contractions weren't painful but she could still feel her feet. When it came time to push, Annalee could actually feel that urge too. She knew it was time. I had never had that with my epidurals. As Annalee pushed through  the contractions it was a tense time. Annalee was in a lot of pain and she could feel a lot with the birth.We were all cheering her on. The nurse got right in Annalee's face to help her focus. I was sobbing, It was hard to see someone I care about int that pain. Then as Molly's head started coming into view I yelled, "she's here!!" in hopes that would alleviate Annalee's pain! Molly came out a great color and was "screaming, crying, and fighting" as the nurse said. That alone was the answer to many many prayers. Molly looked amazing! As was planned, Molly was passed through the special window from the delivery room to the ICU where she was examined and put on an IV of meds to help her heart.
Molly immediately after birth: kicking, screaming and fighting!:)

 Perfect little angel

In the days following, Molly was at Primary Children's while Annalee recovered at the adjoining University Hospital. Molly had an IV and was given tests and being monitored. She was able to nurse and was doing well. As test results came back, Molly's heart still had not grown in certain spots to ease the surgery. She also tested positive for DiGeorge Syndrome. Molly was scheduled for heart surgery to fix the hole in her hear and repair the interrupted arch. Annalee said that it somehow made her feel btter that the doctor said surgery was her only chance of survival. it made Annalee feel less bad about putting Molly through all this. Annalee also mentioned the pain she felt in delivery was meant to be. I need to ask her why, but I'm thinking she meant so that her and Molly could fight together for her precious life.

In the mean time, James had been doing all that he could to help JJ and Madi feel loved and secure. He was taking them to the zoo, bringing them to the playroom, and keeping their lives full of fun and happiness. We tried to get them together with their cousins as much as possible. Jason and Jennie kept them over for two nights in a row. It felt so good to see everyone pitch in to help JJ and Madi. I had all sorts of memories come back to me of times friends and family members would take denise and I out to get our minds off our mom when she was sick. You never forget that kindness and those tender mercies.

JJ asked Noah to tie his shoe

Fun with Madi and JJ at Classic Skating

hanging out at the hospital

family text for blessing

The day of the surgery was super intense. I decided I would go to help with the kids, run errands, or just sit and support. I thought that if things didn't go well, I could take the kids and Al, TK, and Karen could help James and Annalee. When Annalee said that surgery on a heart was like cutting into soft butter, it just made me so freaked out at how fragile life is.

We all gathered in the waiting room as Annalee got almost hourly updates. TK would text the whole family as all updates came. The hardest two updates were 1) when they made the first incision and 2) when the doctor said they were wrapping up and wouldn't answer Annalee about details. She was worried they were unable to repair the long space of the arch and that they just finished quickly. These updates were given on a phone from the surgical room to the waiting room. The doctor came to the waiting room after over another hour or so and told Annalee that the surgery was a success!! He told her that it was everything they had expected and that they were able to patch up all places they needed to patch up. The blood flow was good and Molly did well! It was THE MOST AMAZING NEWS. You could almost see the weight being lifted off Annalee and James' shoulders.
post surgery family text
Molly right after surgery. Tiny girl with all those big gadgets.

A week now has passed since the surgery. Molly is two weeks old. She is off all machines and just has a feeding tube. She just got moved out of the cardiac ICU. She is doing fantastic. My prayers prior to Molly's birth were me begging Heavenly Father to help her "survive and thrive." We visited her two days ago and that was just what I saw. Molly's swelling had gone down, she had great color to her and she was sucking away on a pacifier. That little mouth working on that pacifier was the eptiomy of thriving at that moment. Our prayers now are just full of thank yous. Molly is a little miracle.
Annalee's latest Instagram post.