Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


I just stepped through the door of our home and climbed into my bed. I walked through our nursery with a pain in my heart to peek into the room of my son. I walked back through our nursery, paused for a moment at the foot of Ashley Kate's bed and closed my eyes remembering what it looked like with her so sweetly tucked into it. I walked down the hall looked into the door of Allison Brooke's room and listened as she lie there breathing. I was grateful for the sound.

Now I sit in my room, on my bed and try to remember how good it feels to snuggle up next to my very best friend. Its been 9 weeks since we last lay next to each other in this bed. Its been 9 weeks since all three of our children were fast asleep in there beds. Its been 9 weeks since our world, my favorite piece of it, was all well. There is nothing I love more than to end the day with Dave by my side and my children all in our home asleep in their beds. Life does not get any better than that.

Dave and I traded places tonight. He at the hospital with our gherkin and me in our home with Blake and Allison. The children put themselves to bed tonight, no conversation, no prayers, no goodnight with their mom or dad. That pains me. It truly does. In the morning I will wake them, pray with them before leaving the house, and take them to their schools. I'm so grateful to be here. So grateful to have the chance to look at them as they sleep and wake them for school. How I wish we were all here together, but since we can't be I'm going to be grateful that their is a highway that runs between the two places in which our children currently reside. It takes me a little over an hour to get from Ashley Kate to Blake and Allie. I'm grateful that we have a vehicle that can run that highway as many times as it has this week. I'm grateful that I have a husband who is willing to drive that highway over and over again each week even if he only has an hour to spend with Ash before needing to return home. He drives two hours to look at her for one hour.

It is no accident that we are arriving each way safely. I don't take it for granted that while we are spending so much of our time on that highway this week we are under His protection. I know we are only safe under His arms. I envision the Father's hands around our vehicles as we drive. Safely taking us from one place to the other. Even while we are exhausted and our eyes are fighting to stay awake as we drive. I'm grateful to be here. Safely.

Ashley Kate was awake and alert more today. The paralytic has worn off and she is now being weaned off of the fentanyl and verced drips. Her body is suffering with withdrawal symptoms and she is being treated with high doses of methadone and ativan as she adjusts. To watch her tremble and see her have no control or understanding of what is taking place in her body is difficult. Ash will be on these drugs for a while. It will be a slow process of decreasing the amounts in her body. She began to breathe above the vent in the hours that she was awake today. That is a good sign. She is trying to communicate by sign although her tiny hands are very weak and uncoordinated at this time. Her rate of respiration's on the vent today was decreased to 22. She has to be down to 8 before they will attempt to remove the breathing tube. The other measures are all at the rate she needs to be at to come off of it. The drain was removed from her abdomen this week and the ultrasound revealed no more build up of fluid today. That is a praise. Her line is flushing well, and drawing periodically. Some days it works great and some it does not draw at all. It is so frightening to know that it runs through such a vital organ. X-ray shows us that the placement of it has not moved and so the fact that it is so "picky" is tough to swallow. We desperately need this line to work and to last. I have no idea how long it will take to get Ash home. I do know that it is the goal of every member of our ICU team. They all want us to get to take her home.

Our current plan is for Dave to stay at the hospital with Ash tonight and tomorrow. I'm going to try and get the house cleaned up, the laundry caught back up, and the lawn mowed while the children are in school. Tomorrow evening we will all go to the hospital to spend some time with Ash and then the kids will stay in the RV that is parked in a lot at the hospital for the night. Saturday and Sunday afternoon Blake will be playing baseball. Allie will be staying at the hospital and Dave and I will be taking turns watching the games.

Life isn't perfect or even normal. No, its not even close to either of those for us during this time, but we are close enough to have some time to spend together. For that I am grateful. More than anyone could probably ever understand. Like Dave said to me this afternoon, our goal at this time is to make sure our family survives in tact. We can't even see past that goal at this time. One day at a time concentrating on our children and getting all three of them through this current struggle. The physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and financial. We have
quite a task set before us. We have no choice but to come out on the other side together and whole. There is no other option.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for being patient with us. Thank you for your continued presence, kindness, encouragement, and prayers. We know we are not alone. You have no idea how comforting that knowledge is at this time. I just wanted to say thanks tonight.


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