Potty Time and More Gifts...

November 15, 2011

Life is beginning to return to normal around here, whatever our normal is.  Lilah is doing fine after the dirt bike accident, but Jamie is still very sore. 

I mentioned in my list last week that "potty time" was a gift.  I'm going to attempt to explain that, but I don't know that any words (certainly not with my limited ability to use them well) can touch it.

Saturday evening, after the ventilator had been removed and the Foley was out, I was expecting Lilah to perk up more quickly than she did.  The most activity we got from her was wriggling and writhing from what we assumed was discomfort due to her full bladder.  IV fluids were still being pumped through her body, so despite the fact that she wasn't eating or drinking, baby girl had to go.  Her nurse and I explained to her that she could just go ahead and potty -- that there wasn't a bathroom in this room.  We were careful not to use the word "diaper," but she still didn't care.  Lilah wasn't going to release her bladder.  Finally, we decided to try our luck with a potty chair.

Stephanie (super-nurse) brought in an adult-sized bedside potty.  We carefully lifted Lilah, Stephanie under her arms and I took her knees, and lowered her onto the potty.  She peed!  We wiped and fastened her diaper back up and returned her to bed where she continued the deep sleep of the sedated.  Then, a couple of hours later, she'd wriggle and writhe again.  This became a new routine and during those overnight and early morning hours, I was reconnecting with my baby.  Each time she pottied, she seemed to be more alert -- nothing dramatic, but the light in her right eye (left eye was swollen closed at this point) was brighter every time.
By Sunday morning I was handling potty-time by myself.  After the vent came out, we no longer had a nurse to ourselves.  Stephanie was with her other patient, so I just decided I could do it.  I would sit Lilah up, slide her legs over the side of the bed, and stand her on the floor -- all while navigating an array of wires that were still hooked up to my girl.  I'd support her as she stood up for a few seconds (Mom thought she needed a little "exercise"), then lift her onto the potty.  Kneeling in front of her and holding her up became a very special time.  She wasn't talking yet, but she was understanding me. 

Lilah is a very animated child, so for her to be basically non-verbal was very strange.  After her potty-time around noon on Sunday (it was just the two of us; Jamie had stepped out to eat), I stood her by the potty while I re-tied her pajama bottoms.  Her right hand that boarded to hold her IV in place was on my shoulder.  She patted me with it!  I moved her left arm up to my shoulder and asked her if she'd give me a hug.  "Squeeze me tight!" I told her.  She did.  She squeezed my neck, then we had a moment of just looking into each other's eyes before she decided she might crawl onto my lap as I was squatted in front of her.  I held her there until my legs began to shake, then I moved her back to bed where we sat on the side for a few minutes.  She reminded me of a girl we knew from our former church who has a developmental disability -- nearly non-verbal, very slow in terms of her cognitive abilities, but mostly OK physically. In this moment I was ready and willing to accept this -- only this -- if this was what God had for us after the accident.  

This became a treasured routine over the next 24 hours until we left the hospital.  It was a special time, just the two of us -- no words needed.  Thankfully, my girl is mostly back to her sweet, spunky self.  As difficult as those days in the hospital were, I never want to forget them.   

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