Written by H&S and John Cashin
Friday, February 22, 2013
Double the LOVE and Double the Fun... Two Miracles in one!
This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read! WOW is all I can say when I read John and Kelly Cashin’s Story of their twins – Erin and Tyler. Double the LOVE, What little miracles they are... Meet Erin & Tyler.
There have been thousands of dollars donated to the NICU from Heart and Sole but in 2012 alone, Heart and Sole donated $18,000 to the NICU at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. Thank you for helping babies like the Cashin Twins!
It isn't often the daddy writes the blog about his children. This one is extra special!
Thank you John for sharing your story..... Meet Erin & Tyler.
My daughter is a beautiful, little, four-year-old who loves to hear another story at bedtime after we've all read one together. She asks me to tell her about the Pinky Princess. It's the story of little girl born so tiny my wedding ring could fit over her tiny little foot and follow it up over her ankle, calf and thigh. The Pinky Princess was so special, the story goes, that they locked her away in a guarded tower and protected her night and day with dozens of Doctors, Nurses, Respiratory Therapists, Speech Therapists, technicians, Physicians Assistants and Surgeons. They put her in a special bed with a heat lamp to keep her warm and monitors to make sure she was well. You see, the Pinky Princess could not eat, she could not breath, she could not make blood or keep herself warm but she was so very special that all of her Doctors and Nurses made sure to do all of those things for her. They fretted and attended to her every need, rushing to her side dozens of times a day when she fell asleep and forgot to breath. And her parents came to visit, they knew the password so they were let in and able to hold her and whisper their love. And as the days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months, the Pinky Princess learned to breath and to eat and to keep herself warm. In fact, everyone helped her learn so much that one day her parents came to visit and were told they could take her home with them and so they did. And the Princess came to her house and met her brothers and kept up all of her hard work until she found herself, one night years after, sitting on her soft and comfortable bed listening to a silly story her Daddy always tells her of a very tiny baby that grew into a beautiful little girl.
If you met that girl and her brother tomorrow you might be surprised to know they are four now, they are small for their age, but soon you would see two perfectly normal, if a bit precocious little ones. You might meet them jumping around Monkey Joe's, playing laser tag at Putt-Putt or just running around Hickman or Pendleton King Parks. If you asked about them, you'd be surprised to know they spent 97 days in the NICU, especially if you had any idea what the NICU is, but thanks to them our two children, born so special, are now perfectly normal.
Prior to the birth of my twins, my knowledge of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was peripheral at best. It was the place they took kids from L&D that were born a little too early to finish baking them. I'm married to a nurse so I knew the general idea. For example, I knew that anything less than 28 weeks gestation was bad, potentially catastrophic and that's about it. My twins were born at 25 weeks and 6 days.
They weighed about 2 lbs and dropped some of that instantly. They were like two tiny, skinned and burnt squirrels. Flame red, shriveled, completely helpless and worst of all, they were not ours. We could not provide that level of care so they belonged to the NICU and would for the next 97 days. I could handle the beeping and bonging and chaos of the NICU, the babies' roller coaster ride on and off ventilators and meds, their uncertain outcome, but going to see them everyday and then going home alone again, saying goodnight to them with no kisses, no hugs, no rocking . . .
Still, we went everyday to see them and we learned about lipids and oxygen saturation and retinopathy and Penrose drains and while we did we learned about the Doctors, Nurses, PA's, Therapists, Technicians and staff that took vigilant care of our children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week while we worked and slept. We learned their names, Bathia, Bartley, Bodie, Buckler, Bunyapen, Brawley, Borders, if we just keep it to the doctors beginning with B. We learned that the FDA does not recommend any drugs for the treatment of preemies. We learned they rely instead on years of rigorous training that must continue every day through consultations with colleagues, internet research and conference attendance. Most importantly, they rely on their own common sense and the most deep seeded desire to help others I have ever encountered.
As the days passed we began to realize something else, that we were only the parents, we would make helpful allies in the future, but for now, our babies were their patients that kept them awake at night, analyzing their unique bundles of symptoms, endlessly comparing them to prior cases and treatments and studies and a staggering list of possible paths. It was our children they thought about on the drive home and cheered for on the good days and cried for on the bad ones as they searched day and night for the best course, the best outcome for our children. We learned to leave our babies in their capable hands, grateful and confident in their commitment to treat them as their own. They were our twins' first family and I can promise you they took damn good care of them.
The day my daughter was discharged my wife and I sat in a small conference room across the table from Dr. Bodie as he read through a laundry list of potential issues and possible outcomes for her before starting on the dozens of specials instructions. About half way through the list he got to the feeding instructions. "This," he said, "is the most important." And he gave me a familiar look that I could not place. I knew I'd seen that look before and finally it hit me, two years later, on the way home from a follow up visit. We had just met with a different Dr. Bodie, one that was no longer filled with ominous warnings but boundless hope for a little girl that may very well have dodged more bullets than Bruce Willis. I knew that look because Stephanie Meyer's dad had given me the very same one when I went to pick her up for our first date in the 11th grade. On that day, I realized Dr. Bodie gave me that look because he wanted to know if I would take good care of his little girl.
For our part, we have tried to take care, our only goal when we brought the twins home was to try to maintain the level of care and comfort they were afforded in the NICU, we knew we could never exceed it.
Words can give you an idea of the type of work done in the NICU and the extraordinary people that do it. However, they cannot give any of those people back the missed soccer matches, performances and holidays they gave up for our children. My words can't give them the four years of joy and laughter the twins have given me but that's not what those folks want or need. They don't want our congratulations, they don't want our thanks, all they want is positive outcomes for every patient.
These folks are playing chess against the most difficult opponent imaginable and they don't have all the pieces but they still manage to win a few, as improbable as that is. With our help, maybe they can win a few more. They save our children against all the odds and all they want is to do it better.