Every family has it’s share of trials. Ordeals are an inevitable part of life. Refining ones! Our challenges in life are not things we would ask for, yet we wouldn’t give up what we learn from them for anything and our recent experience with the arrival of our darling new granddaughter is no exception!
Many months ago the eagle eye of our darling daughter-in-law Kristi (Noah’s wife) noticed that there was something not quite right about how the heart looked on the ultrasound of their baby that was due to arrive in April. She has a medical background and somehow her eye incredibly picked that up. A move from San Diego to Orange County and their oldest son McKay’s baptism was immediately upon them so it was another month before they could have that checked out. When they did, sure enough they found that the right ventricle of that little heart had not formed properly and there were worries that the pulmonary artery that provides oxygen to the lungs was malfunctioning.
To abbreviate a along arduous few months looking for specialists who could tell them exactly what needed to be done and just the right hospital to give birth, very close to one of the best Children’s Hospitals in the world (two of them were in pretty close proximity), they painstakingly decided on what seems like the perfect plan. The baby, who was also breech, blessedly flipped at the end of the pregnancy was going to be in the hands of some of the best care givers and pediatric heart surgeons in the world at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
Because Kristi has had a history of very short labors (90 minutes in one case and about three and a half hours in the case of the their other three children) it was important for her to be very close to the hospital when the last week before the birth. Stuck in LA traffic in labor when the baby would need immediate emergency care at birth was just not a happy thought.
SO Dad/Richard and I arrived at their home on April 16th to take care of the kids while Noah and Kristi spent some time at the Ronald McDonald house across the street from the hospital anxiously awaiting the arrival of the baby. At the Eyre home we were welcomed by this sign that McKay and Lyla had carefully prepared for the team of helpers who were about to arrive. Kristi’s parents were due to arrive in about a week.
Translation: Welcome Everybody Welcome So cute!
The doctors had determined that they would induce Kristi on Thursday, April 24th if she hadn’t gone into labor on her own by then because that is when the huge team of doctors required to save the baby’s life would all be on duty.
While we waited at home with the kids and Noah and Kristi spent some much needed time together, Dad/Richard and I had so much fun with the kids: McKay 8, Lyla 5 1/2, Cubby 4 and Bennett, 2.
As always everything happens at once! On April 20th, it was Cubby’s birthday and since that was also Easter Sunday, we took the kids in to L.A on the 19th for a birthday celebration. We picked up Noah at the beautiful USC campus because he was attending class. He is getting his Masters’ Degree in Business there while also working more than full time as a manager for a software company called Imagine Learning. From there we went to the nearest bowling alley which Cubby decided should be his birthday tradition. Fun! Luckily he can’t read. He was delighted with his “Birthday Cake”!
Those bowling alleys have pretty low lights, but you get the idea! A great time was had by all!
From there we saw Noah and Kristi’s new digs at The Ronald McDonald house and took a picture of the L.A Children’s Hospital where they baby would be taken immediately after birth:
And the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center across the road where Kristi would give birth.
The next day was Easter and we had so much fun coloring eggs (approximately nine of twelve were broken by the time we finished) but those along with a plethora of plastic eggs, the annual Easter Egg hunt with the kids was ready…a treat we haven’t had for many years! What a cute little tribe waiting on the stairs, ready for the wild hunt:
It was also Cubby’s real birthday. Here is his collection of paper airplanes that McKay made for him to play with when he woke up on his birthday. Cute!
They loved playing with their Easter toys after church. I think it’s cruel and unusual punishment to have church at 8 a.m, especially on Easter morning. But it is what it is. It was a wild ride to get this crew to church on time on Easter morning! Note 2-year-old Bennett’s adorable smile on the right.
What you need to know about Bennett is that he has a passion for make-up! He must be destined to be a make-up artist when he grows up. His dad’s passion when he was Bennett’s age was getting IN toilets at every possible opportunity…sometimes three times a day…fully clothes and with whatever else may be in there. I guess unusual passions run in the genes because three minutes after Bennett disappeared on Sunday afternoon he somehow, once again, found his mother’s make up and this is how he decked himself out with cover-up and mascara (note the knees)!
Same adorable smile as above. What a kid!
This child is also an escape artist and regularly got out of the house (despite all of Grandfather’s efforts to put block the doors with chairs) and into the street as well as figuring out how to get out of the gate at the swimming pool unbeknownst to Grandfather who was the “babysitter”. Luckily a lovely neighbor who knows Bennett well found him and brought him back. He was constantly entertaining us! Instead of “Where’s Waldo” it was “Where’s Bennett” all week!
We spent a lot of time watching the kids explore at a nearby park:
The next day was Easter Monday and since the kids were out of school we took the 90 minute journey back to the hospital so the kids could be with their parents for a while and my good husband took me out for a birthday dinner. Tuesday was my birthday and Kristi and Noah, with SO many other things on their minds, somehow remembered to send flower. Really? Plus my favorite color! Such a lovely surprise:
I promised myself that I would never forget how hard it was to be “in the trenches” with little children but I did! By 8:30 p.m.when the last child was tucked in, the dishes were done, the clothes were washed, dried and folded, the wailing over which color of plate each child wanted to use for dinner had stopped, the homework was packed in backpacks ready to go back to school, the lunch boxes were ready to be filled, the dirty diapers were safely pushed down into the diaper pail, pull-ups were on the four year old, stories and prayers were over….we were exhausted! A new profound appreciation surfaced once again for so many dedicated parents who do this day after day, week after week, year after year. So much fun and so rewarding. Something you wouldn’t give up for anything and would treasure the memory of, but still….so hard!
By Wednesday April 23rd, Kristi’s parents had arrived from Texas, ready for the next exciting day. They were with Noah and Kristi when Kristi was admitted to the hospital that night. After a week at Ronald McDonald House expecting that baby to immerge at any moment (Kristi usually delivers about 10 days before her due date) everyone was ready for that baby to come forth and the precarious journey after the birth to proceed.
There was so much they could see and so much they couldn’t see on the ultrasounds to know exactly what was going on with the baby’s heart until they could get an accurate echocardiogram when the baby was on the outside, so the anticipation of the imminent delivery was at a fever pitch. By 11 p.m., while in her hospital bed Kristi got one of her notorious cases of violent giggles and her water broke and she went into labor. The doctors were hoping that she would be able to wait until morning to give birth so that the team of expert doctors would be there and somehow things worked out just perfectly as her labor slowed down during the night. By morning they medical staff realized that only part of her water had broken. The “other part of the water” (go figure??) was immediately broken and within an hour and two big pushes later, their precious bundle burst forth into the world at 8:10 a.m. Perfect timing! Also Noah and Kristi’s 10th Wedding Anniversary :).
I will be posting about the exciting, heart-wrenching, difficult and eventually incredible and joyful events of the next week soon but if you want a real hands on treat straight from the eyes and hearts of the parents and some magnificent pictures straight from their “real” camera, go to Noah and Kristi’s remarkable blog posts on the miraculous events of the next few days starting here. It’s an Eyre Family event that none of us will ever forget and all of us will treasure forever!