Friday, November 2, 2007

Fletcher's story Part 1

I thought I’d start with Fletcher’s story at the beginning. Physically my pregnancy with Fletcher went well, unlike Maddie’s. I had high blood pressure and Maddie had to be delivered by emergency c-section. Emotionally, my pregnancy with Fletcher was filled with moments of fear. I spent a lot of time worrying that Fletcher might have Down Syndrome, or that he had a form of dwarfism. I basically borrowed a lot of trouble. Now, you need to realize we didn’t know there was anything wrong with Fletcher until the day he was born. We had such plans for adding this little guy to our family! Fletcher would be the only grandson on Craig’s side of the family. So, we did know one thing, he’d be spoiled rotten! We live in a small 3 bedroom house and the plan was to move Kayleigh into the smaller bedroom and let Maddie and Fletcher share a room. Every time I have decorated my kid’s rooms I paint one of their favorite scriptures on the wall. Kayleigh’s room is now pink and brown and 1 Corinthians 13:13 is on her wall. I painted Maddie and Fletcher’s room yellow, purchased semi coordinating bedding and began to look for the perfect scripture for their walls. I decided on Joshua 1:9 ‘Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go’ I thought that was such a tough scripture and would be perfect for my tough little boy. I remember a morning that I was experiencing one of my moments of fear. I was getting ready for the day and I was panicking about my unborn Fletcher and the Lord brought Joshua 1:9 to my mind. And I felt like He was telling ME that that scripture wasn’t just a tough scripture to paint on a wall and that I was the one in need of some courage. I still haven’t finished M&F’s room. I have tried but it just doesn’t seem right to prepare a room for him when he’s not here. That’s a whole different story for a whole different day!

Fletcher in the NICU 12/30/04

On December 30, 2004 at 8:12 am Fletcher Samuel Burns was born via scheduled c-section. I remember being so emotional that morning, crying before we left to go to the hospital. When they were getting me ready for the c-section I couldn’t look at Craig without crying. He was waiting outside the operating room door as they were preparing me and every time he looked at me I would cry uncontrollably. I was a basket case! I just wanted Fletcher to get out my tummy so I could hold him! Well, that didn’t happen. Instead after Dr. Hager delivered Fletcher the nurses took him over to the corner of the room to get cleaned up. I only saw a glimpse of Fletcher and I could tell something wasn’t right with his skin. And the next thing we knew the NICU doctor was in the OR and she took Fletcher to the NICU. It seemed as though no one knew what was going on especially Craig and me! As they were putting me back together sweet Dr. Hager told us that Fletcher had some kind of rash and that they would do some lab work and try to figure out what was wrong. I did not see or hold him until an agonizing eight hours later. Since I had a c-section I had to recover for eight hours before I could go upstairs to see him. Someone brought me a Polaroid picture of Fletcher so I could ‘see’ him. I must have looked at that picture a thousand times. Craig and I knew in our hearts it wasn’t a rash covering his sweet little face. But each day we were in the hospital family and friends would say, ‘that rash is clearing up’ or ‘his rash looks better today’. Thankfully we had already prepared ourselves for the worst. That is pretty funny to think about NOW, that a so-called rash could be the worst possible thing wrong! After my eight hours of recovery Craig wheeled me up to the NICU to see my sweet boy. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. Craig was so thoughtful and tried to explain everything to me. Fletcher was requiring oxygen so they had this clear plastic box over his little face. He had a tube in his mouth and he was hooked up to all kinds of monitors. I was able to hold him, but I was so afraid. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to bond with him. Afraid I’d hurt him. Afraid of all the wires and tubes. Afraid for his future and people being mean to him because he looked different. I was a mess. Well, I went home after four days in the hospital Fletcher did not. I will never forget coming home and seeing the “Welcome home Mommy and Fletcher” sign Kayleigh and Maddie had made. It was almost unbearable to walk in the door without my baby. I tried to be brave for the girls but it was too much. I told everyone I was tired and I went to my room and just cried. It was awful. I did not know how to do this. I hadn’t thought beyond the moment. I think I must have been in shock. Somehow Craig knew what to do. So someone took me to the hospital each day and dropped me off so I could be with Fletcher and each night after he got off work Craig came to the hospital. Unbeknownst to us, this was the beginning of what we now call our life. Fletcher was in the NICU for 19 days. He was there because no one knew what was up with his skin, his right eye would not open completely and on top of all that he would not eat. The doctors would not let us take Fletcher home until he could take 45 cc’s of formula consistently. That’s only an ounce and a half! It was sheer torture making him take a bottle. We had to work with a speech pathologist to learn techniques of how to HOLD his bottle so he would take the required amount. It was crazy to us. We had just entered a whole new world and we were clueless. We thought if we could just get him home, he’d eat. Not so my friends. Poor little Fletcher was miserable. He cried constantly and he wasn’t really big on sleeping either. Craig and I were beside ourselves. We did not know what to do with this baby who didn’t eat or sleep and cried all the time. But somehow the more he needed me the more I loved him.

Holding Fletcher for the first time

Daddy and Fletcher on day 11 in the NICU

Holding Fletcher on day 17 in the NICU

The first picture of all three of our children together day 7 in the NICU

Fletcher's first night at home. No tubes or wires!


Michelle said...

I hope all who will read this will see what a remarkable woman you are. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing this journey that is your life. Just like God knew you were to be these 3 kiddos mommy, he also knew you were to be my friend. I am the lucky one! We have shared so much over the past almost 20 years (OH GOOD GRIEF!) laughter & tears (mostly laughter and craziness!) and I am proud to call you "friend"!!



Anonymous said...

Even with the "rash" he is ADORABLE! He looks like a precious little baby.

Anonymous said...

I could cry! No joke. I haven't really got to hear much background on Fletcher because I didn't want to upset anyone or say the wrong thing .. so reading this is catching me up with me having to ask any questions!

Susie said...

I just can't imagine your life, and what you go through as a "normal" day. What I do know is that our heavenly father planned all of this and chose you personally for this difficult role. You are such a beautiful offering to Him with your life, your love for your family, and your perseverence. Joshua 1:9 is the scripture that my son and I share as one of our favorites. I smiled when I saw it in your story. I'm praying for your strength to continue in this journey of "normal" life. What a testimony you are to so many!

Anonymous said...

I read everyone of your blog updates with a lot of interest,and like someone else said, I too am glad you have decided to write "Fletcher's Story" so that I can learn a little more about his backround witout asking unconfortable questions.
I just want you to know that, for whatever is worth, I think that you are one of the strongest people I have ever met and your and your family's struggles make mine seem like nothing at all, and as a person, I myself can learn what really has importance and what is just trivial and petty. All of you are always in our thoughts and prayers and we love you very much.

janet c said...

Before you started the serious talk about the NICU, I was just gushing, "DENISE!!! You are so beautiful!" and then there was that pic of you with him on day 17, and yes, you are! Bawling your eyes out, beautiful!
Love you, Janet

Dawn Louise said...

I love you my dear sister!

Sniz said...

This post touched me with your honesty. I'm so glad you posted it and hope you always keep it to remember the emotions of that exact time. I am looking forward the next installment. Thanks for being so real, friend!

Is Fletcher's yeast infection better?

Anonymous said...

Hey NeeNee
Its Hannah Scoggins. We have been praying for fletcher and I have been reading your blog, its amazing ,you are a very strong woman.
God bless you and lots of love to ya!
-Hannah Sue

Anonymous said...

Wow! I love the scripture is so fitting for your family! Thanks for beginning to tell Fletchers story, I think it will touch everyone who reads it.:)