By Jody Fuller
Over the past few weeks, my articles haven’t been appearing regularly in the paper. Quite a few people have let me know that they’ve missed them. Most have even said it’s the first thing they turn to when they get their paper. If you are one of those people, thank you. I appreciate your support.
It all started with a very sad situation. As I was sitting at my desk writing my article, I got a call informing me that Lucy’s horse had broken its leg and would need to be put down. I had to quit what I was doing and go wake her up to inform her of the tragic news. Lucy was seven months pregnant at the time, so that was stress she did not need. Somehow, she made it through.
The next week was totally different and totally on me. I played in a golf tournament but figured I could get the article written before or after. Throw in my unexpected chores associated with the pregnancy along with my horrid golf game, and I was late—too late to get it written.
The next morning, my world changed forever. I’ve written about it in detail previously, but in a nutshell, it goes like this: Lucy had the baby seven and a half weeks early in the back of an ambulance en route to Birmingham on Friday the thirteenth. Nothing in her life, my life, or our life ever goes off quite as planned, and that’s okay.
Abigail, our little princess, did really well right from the start. She was just little and needed her lungs and heart to get a little stronger before we could bring her home. She wore a CPAP mask initially. We had no idea how long that would last, but by God’s grace, she only had to do her Bane from Batman impression for about three days.
At times, she suffered from bradycardia, which is very typical with preemies. Bradycardia is an abnormally slow heart rate. She had to go five consecutive days without falling below the set parameter. We made it to two a couple of times, but new episodes always put us back to day zero.
We spent the first two weeks sleeping in Abigail’s room on a couch and in a recliner, respectively. After that, we stayed at The Ronald McDonald House, or, as Lucy’s mom called it “Ronald McDonald’s House.” She asked if we walked or drove. We let her know that we walked in the morning but drove at night, because we had to keep an eye out for the Hamburglar. The Ronald McDonald House and its volunteers were a blessing from God. I’ll write about them in a future article.
I was blessed with speaking engagements throughout our time there. I was doing my best to take care of my family while working, while Lucy stayed with Abigail and did everything. I mean everything. She’s such a great mom. I helped her change a diaper once. During the process, she wiped a little baby poop on my arm. I reckon that was like smearing blood on your face after killing your first deer.
The last few days had me going all over the place. I drove from Birmingham to Foley to speak at a leadership summit for the City of Foley and then back to Opelika. Lucy told me to stay home and to start getting the house ready. She was taking great care of the baby. We were working on day 4.
On day 5, I worked all day getting the house straight and even got some great help from a family friend. I went back to Birmingham Friday night and took Emily with me. Because it was RSV and flu season and she was under 12, she had yet to see her little sister. If day 5 was uneventful, she would see her the next day.
Day 5 was indeed uneventful, and Emily was on pins and needles waiting to see her little “sissie.” She waited outside the door and Abigail made her grand entrance into the real world. Emily, for the most part, was speechless, but couldn’t keep her eyes off her as we made the two-hour trip home.
Auburn won that day. It was also Veterans Day, so I had to leave to go speak to a group in Columbia, South Carolina. Most important of all, after 29 days at UAB, we brought our baby home. My world will never be the same, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.