When Evie first came home, we were pretty much on our own for her care. She needed suctioning every 1-2 minutes, her feedings took over an hour to do, we had to feed her 2-3 times at night, and she was pretty convinced that “night” meant 3pm-3am. I’m not sure we ever slept. During the day, I would plop Aleyna in front of the TV because we were just trying to keep Evie alive. I sat on the couch with her to make sure she didn’t throw up into her trach and did my best to keep Aleyna entertained. I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty hellish time.
They had brought up home nursing when Evie was still in the NICU, but they couldn’t find anyone in our area. And really? I didn’t want a stranger in my house. I was pretty adamant that I was a stay at home mom and I should be able to take care of my own kids. It was heartbreaking when I started realizing I couldn’t. I couldn’t go anywhere with both girls (since someone needed to be in the back of the van to suction Evie) which meant I couldn’t run any errands and Ty was having to take off from work multiple times a week for all of her doctor appointments. We started hitting rock bottom with our health as the adrenalin wore off and finally I agreed to look into finding a nurse. Fortunately, we met an amazing family in town who had a home care nurse and pointed me in the direction of a good agency.
The Friday before our nurse was supposed to start, though, I started feeling pretty sick. When Ty got home from work that afternoon, I handed Evie off and the flu took over. I was so run down that within an hour, I was so dehydrated I could hardly move. It took all my strength to text our neighbor asking her to drive me to the ER. By the time we got there, I was completely out of it from dehydration and they ended up keeping me overnight. I couldn’t even answer my phone and didn’t realize until the next morning that Ty and Aleyna had come down with the flu as well, as Ty still tried to care for Evie. Poor guy! I called our nursing agency and asked if there was any way our nurse could start that day. It was a terrifying realization that no one beyond Ty and myself was capable of caring for Evie and we were now both completely incapable of doing just that!
Our poor new nurse showed up to our house to find us sick, our house a wreck, and Aleyna puking on me. We handed Evie to her and I sat with her for an hour or so going through Evie’s history and care before I HAD to go lie down. I kept thinking, “She’s never going to come back.”
Honestly, I think this was the absolute best way for our relationship to start, though. I, the control freak, was left with no choice but to trust someone and let them see us at our absolute worst. And really, I suppose it was good for Angel to see us at that point. She knew fully what she was getting into!!!
She’s been with us nearly a year and a half now and has become a part of the family. She’s allowed us to be parents again to BOTH of our girls instead of just Evie’s nurses. I’m able to give Aleyna the time and attention she needs, I can run errands, coordinate Evie’s care, and do the research needed to make sure we’re getting Evie the help she needs. And I didn’t realize it until she started, but it was a HUGE weight on my shoulders to be the only one monitoring Evie when I don’t even have a medical background. I was always terrified that I was missing something.
She has been such a huge blessing to our family! She fits right in with her sense of humor and does such a stellar job taking care of Evie. Plus, Evie loves her. See?
I have tons more pictures of Angel, mostly taken by Aleyna and only a few inches from her face, but since we want her to continue being Evie’s nurse, I’ll refrain from posting those!
Thank you, Angel. You really do ROCK!
*I think the movie, The Help, came out around the time Angel started working with Evie and it became this huge joke about referring to her as “The Help”! (I haven’t actually seen the movie or read the book…so maybe it’s offensive? I don’t know. I was probably too tired to care. And fortunately Angel wasn’t offended…right, Angel?)
She certainly does help us, but is friend and family and will be long after Evie stops needing a home care nurse.