It’s about 9 am on Thursday. Josiah and I have finished our first night in the hospital. Not what I thought I’d be doing a few days before Christmas 2018, but it could be worse.

There is a lot to be thankful for. The convertible couch/bed for Josiah that is not too bad. The awesome nursing staff. A new IV placement that doesn’t pinch as much as the first. New fuzzy blankets from Mom Trumpower giving us a warm night’s sleep. A whole fridge stocked with patient snacks available 24/7…including chocolate milk! <slurp>

Jayce and Justine appear to be passing their intermittent heart monitoring so far. This makes me extra happy because in addition to them being healthy, it also means I get to do normal-people things like use the restroom without fifteen cords draped around my neck. I’m also as mobile as I want to be around the hospital, as long as I show up for monitoring sessions.

Our next session is at 9 am. We’ll learn more about the plan for today at that time.

Today’s big deal is the echo exam for Jayce’s heart at 1:30 pm. I am praying for clear information and good decisions. It would be awesome to learn that he merely shares Uncle Jonathan’s narrow aorta valve. Hopefully it won’t require surgery.

As this is my first legit hospital experience, I’ve already learned a few tricks for making the experience more pleasant.

Pack Smart

Bring one or throw blankets and several pillows.

Wear loose, flowing shirts. Pair with black leggings. This helps you get away with not wearing hospital gowns for as long as possible. (If they can get the equipment on/around your clothes, they let you keep them!) Choose black to hide stains like blood from IV lines.

Bring a lightweight black robe. Helps keep you covered during the times you do have to wear the hospital gown. Again, black hides stains.

Manage the Boredom

Ration fun so you have something new to look forward to periodically. Spread guests out over the hours/days.

Don’t forget your phone charger!!! But also bring a book. Staring at a phone all day will not make you feel good about yourself.

Digital boardgames on an iPad are a lifesaver. Depending on the game, you might even be able to play with friends/family not physically with you in the hospital.

When you’re bored, staring at the ceiling at 2 am, or feeling stressed….make a thankfulness list! During a restless period last night, I decided to lay there and thank God for all the little things so far: enough fuzzy blankets to be warm, a bed for Josiah, a good snack supply, a successful midnight heart monitoring session, a place for my mom to stay while she helps us, ice chips for when you’re not allowed to have water…there is always something to be thankful for!

Keep your morale up.

Take care of your support system. They help keep you sane! Make sure they have time to rest too.

Change positions and settings when possible. Don’t stay in hospital bed all day if you can sit on the couch in your room. Eat a meal in cafeteria. Etc.

Do things for yourself as much as possible.

Go to the bathroom as often as possible when you are unencumbered by medical equipment. You never know when or for how long you’ll loose that privilege.

Be smart about your physical care.

Pack an icy-hot muscle rub to relieve cramped muscles from hospital-bed sleeping or too much sitting.

Bring lotion for your hands. Hospital soap is intense and the air is dry. Your skin will thank you for the lotion. (This tip brought to you by my awesome sister-in-law, a nurse who works in a hospital!)

Take a short nap in the evening if your night will be interrupted by nurses checking on you. Sleep when you need to, but also wake up when you’re ready. Tossing and turning in the name of “sleeping” to a more reasonable hour may frustrate you. Hence my 5:30 am wake up time!

Don’t look at stuff that grosses you out. (Me: blood draw, IVs, anything poking me…)

Snack on healthy food. Fruit, nuts, milk, low fat cheese sticks, water. Eat healthy snacks most of the time so that when you want a moral booster, you have some calories to spare.

Stay clean.

Take a shower. Brush your teeth/hair. Wear deodorant. Put on makeup if it helps you.

I woke up at 5:30 am and so far my favorite part of the day was my brief “me-time” in the bathroom where I took a minute to look human again. I may be dressed like a butternut-squash-shaped hobo, but at least I smell clean!

Stay tuned for more updates

Thanks to everyone for your prayers about the continued safety of the kids. It’s been a challenge keeping some of the stress at bay. (Read: “Amanda is not ready to deal with labor”). But I know God is already at the end of this day, this week, and this experience. He knows what will happen even though we don’t. And that’s okay.

We’ll let you know what we find out this afternoon! Take time today to appreciate your freedom to walk anywhere you want without accompanying medical devices. 🙂

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