I can't say thank you enough to everybody at Children's Mercy Hospital for everything that they did for us while Dylan was there (and continue to do for us today). Obviously, for many reasons the birth of Dylan was bittersweet for me. And on top of everything, he had to have surgery and "live" in a hospital for the first 3 1/2 weeks of his life. It was super stressful not to be able to have him at home and to not be able to spend the nights with him right away. However, I will be eternally grateful for the family that watched over him while he was at Children's. Not once did I have to doubt how much affection he was being shown, or the care he was receiving whether I was there or not. Everybody we encountered at Children's, from the people at the front desk to the nurses to the doctors were amazing. Everybody knows that Children's is one of the best hospitals around, so I certainly always had the utmost confidence in the care Dylan would receive. However, what I didn't anticipate was the level of care that everybody would give to me and the rest of our family as well. From the doctors to the nurses, people weren't only concerned with how Dylan was handling everything, but how I was doing as well. And, we definitely formed a family in our brief stay. So tight knit that my dad and I definitely went into some withdrawal when we got to go home.
I'd also like to say a special thanks to all of the nurses that helped take care of Dylan. While everybody at the hospital is important, anybody that has ever spent any time in a hospital knows how vitally important the nurses are. Going through one of the toughest times I've ever had in my life, I leaned on the nursing staff not only to take care of Dylan but to be a support system for me as well. And every single one of them, whether I had a previous relationship with them or not, stepped in without hesitation. They were a shoulder to cry on when I needed it. But probably more importantly were people to laugh with. And we had ourselves some good times (although, I still say it would've have been slightly better if they had given me a role in the mock code). I'm a pretty tough "patient" and was extremely "high maintenance" when it came to the care of Dylan. Every single nurse we had gave Dylan incredible care and I never had to question how good of hands he was in. All of them showed extreme patience, even when I tangled the cords in intricate knots every time I got Dylan in and out of his crib. They spent time helping teach me how to feed Dylan (I think Ann spent a record number of hours with us!) and preparing us for life at home. It might sound cliche, but I honestly couldn't have gotten through this time without them. It was so nice to be able to go home at night and get some much needed rest. And I would never have been able to do it, if I wasn't 100% confident in the care that he was getting at all times. So, for that I will be forever grateful!
Finally, I can't say thank you enough to the love and support Kristen has shown us. From the time we first found out about the omphalocele and she spent 3 hours on the phone with Zach and me explaining to us what it meant, the concerns, the potential issues, she's been through all of this with us. She would spend hours talking to us before and after every ultrasound appointment, giving questions for me to ask the doctors in addition to my own (the perinatolgists always thought it was very amusing when Zach and I asked questions that we clearly didn't know what they meant). She helped Zach and I get comfortable with Dylan needing a surgery after birth. And when we had questions that came up in between appointments she would call on the Children's staff to get answers for us. Most importantly, she knew how important it was for me to have somebody I know taking care of Dylan the day he checked into Children's and the day of his surgery. She called me often with updates since I was still in the other hospital and came and spent hours in the hospital with me after she was done taking care of Dylan. She also knew how important it was for me to be able to hold Dylan. So, she convinced the surgeons to let me hold him even while he was still on the ventilator (something they really try to avoid). And without Kris, we wouldn't have the Easter basket pictures. Easter will probably remain one of my favorite days of all times! She has been my on-call nurse for the past 10 weeks and hopefully realizes that's a job she gets for life :) They say that some people are brought into our lives for a reason. Kris and I have always had a pretty special connection from that first day we met at the sorority house. I thought that having her in my life as a friend was special enough. But now, after all of this I know that God put her in my life because he knew I couldn't get through the past 4 months of my life without her. All of us (Dylan, my family, and me) will forever be indebted to her for everything she has done for us. She's made me laugh when I needed to laugh, let me cry when I needed to cry and been there for everything. She's taken amazing care of Dylan, but never forgot that I needed taken care of as well...even if it meant kidnapping me and taking me out to lunch so I would actually see the light of day instead of just the hospital. She is living breathing proof that there are indeed angels here on earth.
Dylan with Kristen!! Already mesmerized by her!
Here are a few more pictures of some of Dylan's nurses and doctors!!