Time has passed. Janneke has now been home for 10 sleeps. Mind you, not all of us have had 10 sleeps since her homecoming! The days are a bit of a blur with Rachel being fed 4 x and Janneke 7x; some of their feeds overlap, and some are back-to-back. Rachel is quite accepting of her baby sister now, and she follows Janneke with her head and eyes whenever possible. When we lay Janneke in front of Rachel, Rachel leans forward and puts her hands on Janneke. (We trust this is a loving touch and not an attempt at a choke-hold.) So, Rachel has adjusted.
The rest of us? Well, Emily and Sophia are thankful that we are not traveling as much to Mac. They have declined offers of sleepovers and playdates because they simply want to be home with all of us. Often, one of them will draw attention to the fact that the whole family is in one room -which is exciting to them.
Ralph and I are finding our way through each day, anxious to make a "new normal" for our family. We are meeting this week with our community case manager to revisit the nursing hours and care plan for both Rachel and Janneke. We are thankful for the nursing care, and we want to piece together a care plan including nurses, volunteers, and our personal support workers that best fits our family, particularly the needs of Rachel and Janneke.
The truth? We wrestle with the idea that we cannot raise/care for our children on our own. Certainly, there is the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child," but the reality has hit us... we cannot adequately provide for all four girls without additional help. We cannot take a family holiday without the accompaniment of a personal support worker or another family that can help with the tube-feeding. I suppose this is accepted reality for some, but we are still in the early stages of acceptance. And yes, time will change our situation.
We also wrestle with how to respond to everyone. The blog was created to provide updates, especially in those first few weeks after birth. Now that time has passed, and we are home more, we miss the phonecalls. Many of you don't want to bother us, but we are not bothered by calls. We can't always pick up when you call (the phone might be misplaced in the fridge or under the couch), but we appreciate the voice contact.
We have received so many offers of help, but we are at a loss as to how to respond just yet. We hope the offers of help still stand a couple of years from now. I guess what I am saying is we hope you don't forget. We have no idea what the needs for Rachel will be a few years from now, nor do we know Janneke's future. Yes, Janneke will have some physical hurdles to overcome, including the feeding, but we are not certain of the hurdles for her developmentally. With both girls, we never want to expect too little... they still have so much to teach us.
postscript: This is not to suggest that everyone should be phoning us tomorrow- or that we have not appreciated the letters, cards, and emails received over the last few weeks! We simply want to let you know we are thankful for the support, and we love hearing from you.