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Monday, February 14, 2011

In Wrenn Time

Sent by Nicole 2/14/2011

The one thing I know from this entire journey is that I don’t like to look back and I certainly don’t want to GO back. Going forward has been much better and I feel myself getting more selfish every day. For many months Wrenn was very sick in the NICU and then recovering from major surgery. Now she’s my 10 month-old baby girl, who I want to be normal in every way possible. It’s what every parent wants when they hear they’re going to have a baby. "Healthy" is what everyone hopes. I look at Wrenn’s tiny toes and they remind me that she’s still a little baby. It feels like she should be 4 years old by now. She also possesses a maturity about her that I can’t quite explain. She’s been through so much and pretty much did it all on her own. I can’t even imagine taking credit.

I ask God every night (with Tanner’s help) to continue healing Wrenn’s lungs. I also ask that she eat on her own so we can discontinue feeds through her G-tube. The therapist continually reminds me that Wrenn is really three months younger. (Around 6.5 to 7 months old). She was born four weeks early and then spent two full months practically unconscious. The therapist assures me that all developmental milestones will be accomplished but in ‘Wrenn Tme’, and that Mommy must be patient!

In the last four weeks Wrenn has had ups and downs in her therapy. She decided after two weeks of trying baby food that she was done. She wouldn’t open her mouth for anything and if it meant turning blue she was okay with that. She would smirk and it cracked me up. I swear she’s MUCH older than 10 months. TOO SMART! The therapist said to quit giving her baby food. This depressed me because I wanted it all to work out nicely. I wanted to move forward but the therapist said that sometimes you have to take a few steps back in order to go forward. (How many times have I heard this???--Ha Ha). This made sense to me and even the therapist could tell that we were BOTH getting frustrated and needed a break.

The next thing the therapist suggested was that we take another look at the volume she was getting from the G-tube feeds. At the end of each feed Wrenn gagged and cried, so we cut back on the amount but added a feed at midnight. (We are hoping this increases her weight to where it was.) According to Wrenn’s doctors in Clinic, she must gain or maintain each week since her body is still healing.

The next thing that happened was a miracle, I think: Timing is everything, I now realize. Wrenn was getting her four front teeth and started chomping pretty hard on teethers and anything else that would fit into her mouth. I capitalized on this and presented a baby bottle, which she actually loved. She chews on the nipple and the milk slowly escapes and she doesn’t gag or choke on it like she did four weeks ago. AMAZING in itself that she WANTS to drink and LIKES it. We've even given here Tylenol by mouth a few times and she did great! The therapist is working on getting her to suck the bottle now, which is extremely important for the rest of her development, including learning to speak. It all ties together, the therapist explained. Apparently, skipping natural developmental steps isn’t a good thing.

So last Friday night the therapist was amazed at Wrenn’s progress in just two weeks. Wrenn welcomed baby food with a spoon, and then didn’t mind any type of stimulation in or around her mouth. The therapist felt that Wrenn would be eating sooner rather than later. This made me smile and I felt like we were finally making progress.

Wrenn is also getting stronger through her trunk. She sits up for long periods of time, rolls all over the floor, but the biggest thing is that she reaches out for her toys. Before, she was more motivated by people, their voices, and their facial expressions because that’s all she knew from birth. Now she wants everything we hold in our hands. She grabs for Tanner’s toys and is especially excited about cell phones, which is a BIG NO-NO, since they carry germs. Her aggressive curiosity might cause her future illnesses or rejection.

The therapist said the biggest thing that Wrenn has going for her is that she is very interested. She is a mover and a shaker and WANTS to run before she walks. The therapist said that some babies don’t show that burning desire and so their therapy slows. I’ve been told from the beginning that girls are the best fighters. Wrenn is a good representative.

There is one thing that Wrenn does NOT like and that’s when I try to hold her hands. She pulls away in an untrusting manner. This behavior came from living in the hospital where she associated touch with negative actions like being held down when the nurse put in an IV, or when they changed her broviac dressing, which hurt because they had to pull the tape off of her chest. (The dressing is still changed every 5 to 7 days here at home but we place toys in her hands and she no longer cries. The therapist said to take her hands and caress them so she starts associating positive touch.

Keeping Wrenn germ-free is proving to be our biggest challenge and I’m still not sure how we’re going to live in a bubble. It’s very difficult with Tanner but I keep thinking it’ll all work out somehow. Again, I try to forget that I can’t plan too far ahead. The future is so unknown that to have it all figured out is lying to myself as well as the rest of us. One day at a time. One cold at a time. One flu season at a time. Just let her heal and develop, I whisper to myself each day.

Wrenn has recently discovered that Mommy sometimes leaves the room. It doesn’t take long for her lower lip to quiver and then she cries. It makes for a tricky day. Even in Daddy’s arms she stretches her neck in search of me with pouty lips.

Monday Wrenn has Clinic. She’s do for immunizations. On Thursday she’ll receive her monthly infusion, which boosts the immune system to battle flu season. I was told that the broviac will probably come out in the next couple of weeks. The surgeon will put in a new port that can be accessed underneath her skin. Like the broviac, we could have potential issues and there’s some maintenance we’ll have to learn.

Tanner’s been great! He loves interacting more now that Wrenn’s sitting up and grabbing for toys. He randomly kisses her on the head and when she cries he says in his little mousy voice, “You’re okay, Wrenn.” When I lay on the floor beside Wrenn he shoves his pillow underneath my head and spreads out his Toy Story blanket over us. He then joins us on the floor and starts giggling, which makes Wrenn smile and then the two of them totally melt my heart. Time stops in these moments, they are all priceless.

Not every day is an easy day. Not every day is a hard day. But every day is certainly a mystery. And for Wrenn, everyday is a gift! To everyone on this blog, we continue to thrive from your support as our journey continues. Our extended web family is just as important to us as our new family of doctors here in St. Louis. Your prayers have and are always answered, in Wrenn time.


Becky on February 14, 2011 at 10:23 PM said...

Thank you for the update! I think of your family and precious Wrenn often. I will continue to pray for you all and so will our church. We will not stop. You are loved!

Tracie on February 14, 2011 at 10:29 PM said...

She has come so far and is certainly a fighter. Will keep your family in my prayers and am always thrilled to read your updates!!!!

Susan on February 14, 2011 at 10:35 PM said...

I love the title "Wrenn Time". It so suits her. I pray every night for your whole family. Lately though, my prayers have been more concentrated on you. You have been amazingly strong through all of what has happened in your family's life ~ not just Wrenn's. Your gift of writing is also wonderful. I feel when I read your posts that I am reading a book and can't wait to get to the next chapter. I know, that you know, that you are not walking alone during this monumental time in your life and the life of Jason, Tanner and Wrenn. However, I do want to solidify that by saying you are not alone. There are so many people out there praying your the Parris family that you don't know about, and that's okay. I will continue to pray for you until whenever. I have grown to love your family simply by reading your writing and seeing the photos. I love you all the way up to God. Stay healthy, stay happy and stay safe in His arms until we know all is well.

racheyrox77 on February 15, 2011 at 12:20 AM said...

So beautiful. I am forever touched by your blogs.

Michelle D said...

Just when you think that nobody is thinking or praying for you guys or that you are all alone - please be lifted up by this thought...your family's journey has been such an inspiration and we think about ALL of you and pray for a full and happy life for each one of you - a world beyond medical concerns and what ifs. Life in itself is filled with that on a daily basis - and I pray for just those 'normal' what ifs for you.
Thank you for sharing your heart and your story - we are continually amazed by the progress - as to us, every step is a miracle!!! God bless!!!

Cindy said...

I love getting updated information on your family. Wrenn is definitely a fighter. I miss the days when my 2 kids would laugh and play with other. There is nothing like a young ones laughter it is so contagious. We are so glad things are going well.

Anonymous said...

Your so good to write all of this down so we can share your ups and downs. It is so amazing.......all of what you do and your words mean so much! Thank you! You are such a great mom to Tanner and Wrenn!

Anonymous said...


Thank you for bringing Wrenn's current situation to all of us. We love hearing about her ups and downs and all the wonderful "normal" periods in yourlife. I feel so warm when I read your blog about your precious little girl, she is a miracle but so are you. God knew what he was doing when he put you two together! Take it slow, enjoy every single moment and love more than you ever thought possible. Take care of yourself and your family but let them take care of you as well - you are not in this alone. May God bless you all. Keep theupdates coming they lift my spirits very high!! With Love, Wanda P.


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