Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How To Be A Good?

As Gwyneth grows older and stronger, and now that she is out of contact isolation and I can touch her again, it is becoming easier and easier to spend more and more time with her. But, that means I'm spending a little less time with Tricia.

Usually, this isn't a big deal. But, my favorite time to go down to the NICU is late in the evening because I'm usually one of the only guests down there, and everything just seems a little more quiet and peaceful. And, usually Tricia's favorite time to have me around is late in the evening when she's beginning to settle down for the night, wanting to talk and snuggle (as best I can with my gown and gloves).


Tonight, like most nights, I headed down to the fifth floor to check in on my baby girl. I told Tricia that I would just be a few minutes, wanting to just say goodnight and take a few pictures before helping Tricia fall to sleep and then pulling out my cot and going to sleep myself.

Gwyneth is becoming more and more lively, and seems to be spending a little more time awake these days. And, she's beginning to already learn that an empty stomach is an opportunity to voice her opinion about things, with her tiny, raspy cries. Tonight, just as was about to head back upstairs, she decided to wake up and let us all know that it was time to eat.


I just couldn't leave her while she was crying, and her nurse was busy helping another baby and mommy, so I stuck around for about 45 more minutes, talking to her, holding her pacifier in her mouth and trying to help her find a comfortable position between the red-faced cries (and getting a few photos, like the one above). All the while, glancing at the clock and knowing that Tricia was wondering where I was.

I finally pulled myself away, as her nurse was finishing up with the other family...I could still hear Gwyneth's faint cries through the plastic incubator as I walked out of her room.

I had a few tears myself, feeling guilty both for leaving my baby girl and for being gone from Tricia much longer than I had promised.

By the time I finally got back to Tricia's room, she was just falling asleep, with the lights out and her fan on. I missed the opportunity to be with her, not knowing how many more nights I might have to talk and snuggle and watch her fall to sleep.

And, now, here I am, wondering how I'm supposed to be a good Husband and Father at the same time when I'm rarely able to be with both of my girls at the same time...

Nate

111 comments:

Pauline said...

At times like this you wish the hospital could accomodate them both .. Nate you do a terrific job!
:)
My hat is off to you ..
Pauline

CrazyTiredMomma said...

"...not knowing how many more nights I might have to talk and snuggle and watch her fall to sleep."

Reading those words were enough to make me leave my first comment after lurking for quite a while. Praying that you will have many more nights with your love...

Paige said...

I'm sure Tricia loves you so much more, just because of how much you love Gwyneth.

While I know you're not looking for compliments, you seem to be doing a wonderful job at taking care of both girls. You're not perfect. You're just a good man, doing the best he can under the circumstances.

You are blessed to have wonderful nurses who can take care of Gwyneth if you feel you need to be with Tricia.

Tricia and Gwyneth are 2 blessed girls to have you.

Rachael and Travis said...

Yup. Know what you mean! While not in your situation, I know what it's like to be torn between two...then three...then four. And then the Dr's tell you to find time for yourself! Hey-you're experiencing a bit of normality finally! LIMH ;)

amanda said...

Awww-you are already doing it! But it's just one of you, and it isn't possible to be 2 places at the same time, but God can, and I will be praying that he helps you with what you are feeling/experiencing tonight, and He's already taking care of those 2 little women who HE knows you love dearly! I hope God blesses you always, but especially tonight!

snaprebelx said...

Thats got to be so difficult. I would like to think that Tricia understands, but at the same time, she is in a position to be a little selfish (not meant as a BAD selfish) I know you r doing the best that you can. And thats all anyone can ask. God does not give us more then we can handle. Sometimes I hate that saying, cause I feel like I cant. But I know its true.

Rachael and Travis said...

I meant normality, not normalicy!

Rachael and Travis said...

-wait. which one is it?

Paige said...

By the way, I second what the 2nd poster said.

Praying that you will have many more nights with your love....

Paige said...

normalcy :)

Paige said...

Why does Tricia sleep with a fan? Maybe hers is for something totally different, but I sleep with one just for the sound. Can't sleep without it. :)

Sara Cohen said...

I agree with the commentor who said that Tricia loves you more because you love your little girl so much. You will always feel torn, even when they are both home. SOmeone will always need something and you really can't do it all. You are doing more than most people could do so make sure you give yourself credit for all of that. Good luck figuring it out, maybe pick every other day, who knows. Thinking about you all! Sara

amangoprincess said...

I am glad for your sake that Gywneth is at least in the same building as Tricia. Imagine how much worse it would be if Gwyneth was home and you were torn between being in one place with Tricia and another with Gwyneth? That is what happened when my husband was hospitalized in one city and I had to leave my newborn with my inlaws in another city,so that I could be there for my husband. I totally understand your torn feelings. Don't feel too badly, because I bet Tricia is happy to know that you are there for Gwyneth so that she has at least one of her parents at her side. I hope both your girls recover soon so you can all be together as a family in ONE room! We are praying for you all.

debangel said...

Nobody ever knows how many more nights they have to be with the ones they love. We just do our best and pray that it's enough. Being a great dad no doubt adds another dimension to Tricia's love for you. You're doing great..don't doubt yourself!

Carey said...

debangel is right, noone knows how much time we have. it's clear from your stories though that you make the most of it and cherish every moment (and photograph every moment too, which I love!) You're such a great husband and father, don't ever doubt that.

Chelley said...

Nate you do a terrific job!

NEVER DOUBT YOURSELF!

You are doing what some would find so hard taking it each min by min by hour by day...
Nobody knows how long we have left you have to live for every moment!

Stratecigally Imbalanced said...

Obviously, it is not possible for you to consistently be with Gwyneth and Tricia at the same time right now. From reading your blog, it's apparent that you love both of them dearly and are attempting to make the best choices that you can. I would be willing to bet that God is pleased with how you work so hard to do what is right. Also, unless you just didn't mention it, it doesn't sound like Tricia's upset that you are there to comfort Gwyneth.

I will never understand what it's like to be in your shoes. As a wife and mother, though, I know all too well that I can only be in so many places, doing so many things at one time. If your blog accurately portrays your thoughts, feelings, and actions -- and I'm confident that it does -- then you have managed to live in a way that honors God despite how overwhelming these circumstances are.

I believe you when you say that you're still human and screw up sometimes, so please know that I have not placed you on a pedestal. However, if each person who read your blog lived as honorably as you do, or even a fraction thereof, can you even imagine the way we'd affect this world for God?

Thank you for being a good example of how to use the opportunities we're given, especially the difficult ones, to glorify Jesus.

Sonja said...

Praying for you to find your "happy medium". It's a great place to be just sometimes hard to get there. Keep the Faith... Your doing great.

Sonja

Bobbi said...

Nate--I have no advice for you just sending my thoughts & prayers your way. I couldn't imagine what you must feel when you have to walk away from them. I almost have a nervous breakdown when my 5 year old Cfer is in the hospital for weeks & my 2 year old healthy child is at home crying for mommy over the phone, I couldn't imagine having to leave Tricia at night with that uncertainty but you are a wonderful, loving, caring & terrific person & God is going to continue to provide you with everything you need to get through this. I hate that you are in this situation but I believe that God chose you & Tricia & Gwyn for this because he knows that you have an undying faith that can not be broken & you are at peace knowing that God has a plan for you all...just look how much you have touched the world in this short amount of time.....the whole Lawrenson family, extended & all has been such an inspiration to me during the time I've been reading your blog...it has given me light at the end of some really rough days. Sending lots of prayers up for your peace of mind tonight

Tracy said...

I am a mother of two teenagers, who has been through many personal tragedies and illnesses within our family. I think that Tricia understands that you are trying the best you can, to be all that you can, to the both of your sweet girls. Obviously, whether in ill health or otherwise, as a mother, she is putting her child's needs ahead of her own and understands your position, understanding all the while how hard it has to be on you. You and Tricia are an incredible testament to your faith, and I believe, through all of the prayers going forward, your family will prevail. God Bless each of you...I know He will shine through each of you and show his Power of Healing.

suzie said...

Good morning Nate,
Just wanted to say you're doing a wonderful job at trying to be in two places at once but I do understand the feeling of guilt because you can't physically manage it.

Just keep doing what you do now because your girls are definitley progressing with your support.

Praying for Tricia to stay well and her new lungs to come soon, Gwyneth to gain strength and weight and stay free from infection and for God to uphold you so that you can carry on being the lovely husband and dad that you are.

P.S. I had a pint of guinness with a straw, two cherries, a slice of lemon and an umbrella in for Paddy's day....hehe!

I'm going now
Much love to you all.
Sue.

Cherlyn said...

God will continue to give you the strength and the wisdom to be an awesome husband and father, Nate... You are doing a great job at both, I am sure. Have faith. :)

Adie said...

Being a good husband and father means doing the very best you can for both your girls, which you are doing. Even without Tricia and Gwyneths' extra needs right now, parenthood/marriage is all about trying to find that balance, trying to be an elastic band, and stretching yourself in every direction, in order to meet the needs of all your family. You're doing it, you ARE the elastic band, and you're doing the best you can...so that's being as good a parent/husband as you can get!

And tbh, none of us knows how much time we have with our loved ones, we cannot know what is in store for any of us, so we must try live as best we can, showing our love, in whatever our circumstances are.

Scott said...

. . .and how do I just be a good guy myself, a good pastor, employee, whatever. "Oh Lord, how we need your help and wisdom just to be."

jmgarnet76 said...

You my dear are not clashing cymbals. Your love overfills your heart. May God give you peace in your choices. May God wrap you in joy as you snuggle with your wife and your daughter. May God bless Tricia of beautiful dreams of you snuggling her and new lungs.

1 Corinthians 13:1 to 3

1 I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don't have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal. 2 I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don't have love, I am nothing. 3 I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don't have love, none of these things will help me.

pianogrl81 said...

This has got to be the hardest thing to do.... you and your family are certainly in my thoughts and prayers.

Mandy said...

Thinking of you and imagining how difficult this is for you. I am praying for you, Tricia, and that sweet Gwyneth.

Mandy
GA
www.madelinegracehopkins.blogspot.com

P.S. I forgot to comment and let you know that I blogged about what it means to me to be a mother. Read if you get a change because I mentioned your story again.

swahilimama said...

Just checking in before my quiet time this morning. Lifting your concerns up to our father.

marcia said...

Ah, but Nate, that is EXACTLY what makes you the wonderful husband and father that you are! While Tricia probably did miss you, I can assure you that her Mom heart knew that you were lovin' on her baby, and she was thankful that you could do for Gwyneth what she is unable to do herself right now. One day, soon, you will all be home , and you can share all of those late evening hours together. "Be still and know that I am God." Ps 46:10

Carmen said...

Nate my thoughts and prayers are with you, Tricia, and Gwyneth.

Destini said...

I tell ya Nate, if you ever get that question figured out, please let me know. Granted, my situation is no where near yours, but it seems like as a parent/spouse you constantly are making the decision to "sacrifice" time with one family member or child for another, hoping the decisions you make now will not come back to haunt you a few years down the road. I am praying the Lord will give you the discernment and wisdom to know how to best spend your time where you are needed the most and that he will indeed bless your diligence.

Shari said...

NATE,

Sometimes it is hard making those decisions as both of your girls need you. I am sure Tricia understands and appreciates your caring for the little one. I pray for many evenings you can all snuggle together!!

Shari NC

Christina Scottish said...

I don't know what to say but to send hugs your way, we all feel this way sometimes. (Wife to my own nate & mommy to four munchkins 6 and under)

Emily said...

With that much love, it's hard to know what to do with it all! I'll pray God gives you comfort during these late evening hours, for the discretion to be with whom needs you the most...

Laurie said...

Praying for wisdom to know what to do when and strength to handle all that is yours to do and God's grace to continue to flow through you as you care for your girls and then so eloquently share your life with the world. May He continue to uphold, preserve and strengthen you all.

kidsworld said...

God bless Nags Head Church for making it possible for you to be at Duke full time!

From here, it seems you're doing an excellent job with that balance, however, with my mom experience I'll tell you that you'll be the last one to realize this. The best part of being a mom is sharing the love you have for your children with a wonderful man like yourself. I've always felt that this guilt is God's reminder to always strive at being a better parent! Remember, Tricia feels that guilt, too! She knows how lucky she is that you can be there for Gwyneth while she cannot.

Praying for your strength and balance, self acceptance, and new lungs...

refreshing in ohio

TORI said...

Even though your personal situation is a more extreme than most, we all, as parents, struggle with how to be everywhere at once and struggle with who to give our time to first. Welcome to parenthood. :-) Soon, you will find yourself looking at Gwenyth wondering how a year has past already, then two, then three, still seeing the small, helpless, little girl in the isolette. It is my hope that while you watch Gwenyth grow, learn and thrive your hand will be firmly held in Tricia's and you will know that it all worked out. And trust me, Tricia, being a mom, will want you with your daughter if your daughter needs you. You did the right thing. Hugs.

Jessica said...

This is why you are a good husband and father.
I pray for many more nights with both your girls.

amazedbyu said...

My heart aches because of you feel torn between your girls. As a parent and husband you just have to do the best you can at any given moment and hope and pray it's the right thing. It usually is!!

Sallie said...

Many prayers for you Nate. May God give you wisdom and strength.

Lee said...

My heart is flooded with empathy for all of you. My prayer is for your discernment, patience (with yourself) and that very soon you can all go home together! Praise God you can be there as much as you are!

April said...

I ditto what Paige and "Rachael and Travis" said. You are doing an incredible job. I think it is something that all parents struggle with - enough time for kids, spouse, and self. God understands and will be help you be the best Daddy/Husband you can be!!
Thanks for being real with us.

Emily said...

You're doing great.

Ellen said...

Praying for you as well as your girls!

sarah. said...

I'm not sure what to say and I almost didn't even comment because I know you're not looking for advice or compliments. Just wanted to say... I think the fact that you are so torn about this is just another demonstration of how much you care about both of them. Not all women get to have a husband who cares so much... and not all little girls get to have a dad who loves them so much. Hoping the three of you can all be together very soon...

Magoon Family said...

I just recently found your story and it has really touched me. I have prayed many times for all of you and I will continue to. Your daughter is beautiful and it is amazing what you have both sacraficed to have her there. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you having one little love in the NICU and your wife in another room. Hang in there. We are all praying for you.

The Sinks said...

Despite your unique circumstances, you are experiencing what every parent does...the pull between spouse and child. It is hard, and often unclear what you should do. But God's grace is greater, and know that you are doing a great job taking care of both your wife and your baby girl, as it's evident that you are seeking the Lord with your whole heart. I'll be praying for you as you experience this hardship of new parenthoood.

Vandyformeplease said...

I know you must feel like you are not being a good father\husband at times because you can't be 2 places at once, but know Jesus is ALWAYS with both of your girls. When you are with Tricia- Jesus is there and ALSO with Gwyneth. Rest easy knowing that you are all in the presence of Jesus.

Much love and prayers for much more time with both girls!

Annie- Nashville

The Dukes Family said...

Your situation is one that very few people can relate to - two people that need you so much in two different places. Your love for your girls is so evident and you're doing a great job, being a dad and a husband - don't become discouraged or hard on yourself. May God supply all that you need.

Paul and Christy said...

That is a question that I know many a mom has asked. You finally have to just do the best you can. I used to feel so pulled between Paul and Matt. Then, one year to the day later, Patrick entered the picture. I have just sat down and cried. I knew that all three needed me. It is something that works itself out. It just hurts when your stretched. Wish I had an answer for you. It is just a matter of dealing each day. The GREAT part is that God will give you new Grace and Mercy each day to help.
Hugs and Prayers,
Christy in KY

Aimee said...

Nate, you're doing the best that you can do, and in my opinion - you're doing awesome! Both of your girls need you, and I'm sure it's hard to be drawn in two different directions, but just do your best!!:)

Family by Love said...

That is such a tough situation. I will be praying for you to have peace as you do the best you can for both of your girls. We are still praying for Tricia to get that transplant so that you will have many more nights with her.

Debra said...

That will be a challenge you will probably always have, but you are doing a good job! Some day, Lord Willing, the three of you will be home in the same place where you can all three be together!

I'm sure Tricia sees you as a good dad, but it also is reassuring to her that you can check in on her little one at times when she can't. So you're doing something for Tricia at the same time.
Aspiemom

mom2izzyandallen said...

I think this is something every parent can relate to, even without critical illness in the family. We all are in a constant battle to "balance" all the important things. It's not easy, that's for sure! Praying for wisdom.

The Murray Crew said...

Nate,

My circumstances were very different, yet your words here are very familiar.

When my quadruplet boys were born in Feb. of 2007, I so yearned to be in the NICU with them, getting to know my new, precious, baby boys. One of my boys had life threatening blood gas levels that they could not get in control of, and were trying every ventilator setting they could think of.

Yet, in those first few days after birth, my wife's life was in danger and I felt a need to be by her side. Jen had lost a lot of blood, and they could not stop the bleeding. Her blood pressure was way up, and they were watching her for heart failure while giving her transfusions.

Anyway, you really took me back to those painful days. Such joys, yet so many torn and afflicted feelings tearing you every direction. Your issues are much different than mine were, but it just amazed me how similar I would have described our situation.

Praying for you brother, hang in there.

Brad Murray

JanelleGrace said...

I hope that all three of you get to be together soon and you won't have to make decisions like this.

But until then, I am sure Tricia misses you at times like that but she probably also understands.

anita said...

Oh Nate,
"Don't allow your soul to be discouraged. Don't be upset, expect God to act! For I know that you shall again have plenty of reason to praise Him for ALL that He will do. He is your help! He is your God!"
Psalm 42:11

Much love & prayers...

Martha said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. One of the hardest things about being a spouse and a parent is trying to be in 2 places at one time. You want to be there for everyone, but you just can't be all the time. The fact that you are trying shows what a good parent and spouse you are. Your love for both your girls is very obvious, they will feel it even if you are not there. Because you are able to express your love when you are with them, it will stay with them and keep them when you are not. That is why you are a good husband and daddy.

Nathan's Mommy said...

Your situation has so many 'other' complicating factors... and this post just breaks my heart. But you know what? It makes me think of feelings I've had as a mom a thousand times these last 17 months.

Feeling that there isn't enough of me to go around to be the best wife (as I'm called first), the best mom, the best friend, the best servant.. the list goes on. Because in order to be "best" to one, I deny the other. It can be agonizing.

My heart is often comforted to some degree just knowing that I am not alone in my struggles (which is why I think I enjoy blogging and reading other's blogs so much). I just wanted you to know that although there are other complicating factors in your situation, what you are experiencing is also just a newfound dilemma of being a PARENT. I know that this tension, this push and pull, between my child and my husband, will continue until my children leave the nest. What it looks like will change, but the underlying emotions in my heart will remain the same. It is comforting to know that we are all adjusting to life anew as the parent of the most precious gift in the world, a child.

ImNuts4Pugs said...

When you give the best of yourself to each of them, then you're being a great father and husband. You're going above and beyond what most of us give to our spouses and children each day and it shows in your writings. I think you've made most of us better people. Thank you; you're doing a great thing . . . and I think you're a great dad and husband to them.

The Smith Family said...

I am praying for your family. I cannot imagine how hard it is with both your girls needing so much right now. Once they are home though, there will always be nights when you feel guilty for not being able to do something for the other one. I have 4 children and I have always felt that way when one gets to bed and sleep while I am busy with one of the others- Its hard but believe me, they both know you love them. Praying for you today-

www.smithfamilyx6.blogspot.com

The Holloway Clan said...

In the moments that confront us with our own finiteness, praise God He is the God of everywhere! Neither of your girls was alone :)
Becky

Mariahs Mom said...

I am in awe of your little family. I think every husband has a job trying to keep up with you! You are doing a great job. It is obvious that your girls are loved by you. Thank you for the reminder of taking every moment to show your love to your wife (or husband in my case) and kids. Keep pushing forward and we will keep praying

Tricia :)

twokiss77 said...

My husband and I admire you so much. It takes a special person to do what you do. I am a new mommy too -- and I can tell you that I'm sure Tricia doesn't mind sacrificing some things for her precious girl. You are doig such a great job! So many husbands/dads out there would not even be able to handle your situation. But, you handle it with love, patience, careful consideration, and humor :-) We love you!

Bird On A Wire said...

Nathan, I know you don't want sympathy, and advice from the whole wide world ain't what it is either.

You know that if His eye is on the sparrow, that he's watching over you.
No way you can be two places at once, unless you've figured a way to clone yourself.

Keep on keepin on. We'll keep on prayin!

God Bless you all
Deb

Pamela said...

This post made my cry big, fatty fat tears. I'm a wife and mom to three babes, 5, 2, and 1, and trying to be enough for everyone is probably the hardest thing in my life.

You're a loving husband and father. Your girls know that. Praying that they will need you at different times of the day, that you won't have to walk away from your crying baby, and that you have years and years worth of snuggling with your sweet wife.

jenn said...

Nate,
Don't beat yourself up. You are doing all you can, and your devotion to both your girls brings me to tears. They are truly cradled in your love for them.

Your family is in my prayers daily.

Jenn

Candi said...

It must be so hard for you, and for Tricia because I bet she wishes she were spending time with you AND Gwyneth. I have no idea how you must feel but I will continue to pray that you will be comforted.

Carissa said...

It's so obvious that you are both a good husband and a good daddy, but I know the pull you feel must be enormous. I know Tricia loves you loving on your baby girl while she is unable to do so though, so even your time with Gwyneth is an act of love to Tricia too! I am praying for the days ahead when you can all be together all the time!

~j~ said...

Hi Nate,
thank you for sharing your heart as always,it is just plain difficult to do what you are doing and if not for the hope of what we know our God is capable of, you wouldn't be able to do the super incredible role you execute so wonderfully each day.
Continue to walk in 1 peter 5:7
I am so incredibly blessed by you and your girls and so honored that you have included so many in your journey.
big love to you all,
julia
p.s. my computer crashed and boy did i miss your blog! it's good to be plugged back in.

mrsnan said...

Nate,

My heart breaks for you - I pray that you have so so so many more nights to watch your beloved(s) fall asleep. You do an unbelievable job of balancing your time and emotions. I pray that someday very soon you will be able to sleep together in the same room as a family!

I've been reading the Confessions for a while now and haven't known how to best introduce myself, but I just couldn't pass by this post without letting you know how it affected me. You've given me such a beautiful image of marriage and family. I love it. I'm 25 year-old grad student and am recently married. I'm not even quite sure how I found your blog, but I'm hooked! My husband (also named Nathan) and I read about you, Tricia and Gwyneth like you are close friends. We pray for you daily.

This post piques my interest because it's such a poignant glimpse of your life at the hospital - would you consider doing a post on "A Day in the Life of Tricia and Nate?"

Much love,

Sarah Tillman

Kaylee114 said...

I agree that it is not an easy situation, but please know how very blessed you are to even be able to be at the hospital full time with both your girls.

My husband and I had to continue working full time in another city to make ends meet during our child's long hospitalization and as a result could not be there with our child 24/7 like we wanted to be.

Trust me, it tore us up each day. But, we knew when we weren't there, that God was by her side, watching and comforting her for us and that brought us some peace.

Hang in there and be comforted knowing that Tricia would want you to be there loving on her baby during the times when she can't be. Any mother will tell you that. We continue to lift your sweet family up in prayer.

Candi said...

Awww...Nate, that made me tear up!!

When my son was in the NICU and I was still in the maternity ward, I was pumping milk and sending it down to the NICU for him. My husband went to run the milk down and promised he'd be right back. He was gone for a long time and I finally went to the NICU myself to see what was going on. He sat there holding our son. He had pulled his IV out and the nurse had to put it back in and let hubby hold the baby for a bit (this was when he had been in the NICU for less than 24 hours and they weren't sure what was wrong with him and they weren't really letting us hold him....we could touch him, but not hold him). She was just about to put him back into his bed but hubby asked if I could hold him for a little bit, too. At first I was upset at hubby for being gone, but had I been in his situation, I would have done the same thing.

Have you had a chance to talk to Tricia about it yet? I'm sure she'll understand. I'm sure it is hard to be pulled in two directions.

Jani said...

Just the fact that you are emotional enough to even wonder how you can be good at both, shows to me, and I am sure a lot of people, just how dedicated you are. I cannot pretend to understand what it feels like to be pulled in half, wanting to be in two places at once all the time, and never miss a single moment at either bedside.
But Gwyneth adores that time with you, and I am sure Tricia adores you all the more for your devotion to your little girl. I am praying for many many more days of snuggles and cries, and feedings and love for all of you.

Q's NEWS said...

I purposely didn't read the other comments so if mine sounds the same as everyone else's I'm sorry. But I wanted you to know that I think you are doing an amazing job. Tricia is one of the most selfLESS people I have ever had the privilege of knowing about and I think she would find it honorable that you would stay with Gwyneth as long as you could while she was upset. Any parent would have done the same thing. You can't be two places at one time and I think you do an outstanding job of balancing things.

Please don't be hard on yourself. I think God was keeping you with Gwyneth since she started crying and after so much time of not knowing this and wondering about that - that cry is probably one of the sweetest sounds you have ever heard! Any parent would want to make sure their child was alright before they walked away. I think you did the right thing, and I think Tricia loves you even more for always doing the right thing.

You are amazing!

Love from WV,
Susan

Mary Knapp said...

Just keep swimming..swimming..swimming =) I agree with each poster who commented that this is a life long issue you will have (although we are all praying for less dramatic circumstances for the three of you!!). One thought is to set aside chunks of regular time for Gwyneth (at this time when she does not have her own set of expectations) when Tricia is asleep or during identified times that you both have set aside to be apart. I agree with several posters who indicated that Tricia will most likely feel incredible satisfaction that you love Gwyneth so much but I also know that even the most loving of families it is normal to experience jealousy (Mommy or Daddy) as the individual priorities and wants/needs shift. The fact you recognize the issue means you have an excellent chance of prayerfully finding an answer to help guide you in making those time allocation decisions! Lots of prayers for you and your loves!

cmziall said...

Oh, Nate! My heart broke reading this post and with tearful eyes, I finished it wondering what a good solution would be. I'm sure Tricia understands you being with Gwyneth, the only parent that has the freedom to see her whenever you want. On the other hand, the pain you must feel leaving Tricia, not knowing the amount of time you have left with her. We continue to pray for all of your needs! God is listening and is waiting for the exact right time for all of our prayers to be answered!

God Bless,
Michelle in MO

danielle said...

oddly enough, i wondered the other day how you'd been "splitting" your time. no words of mine can ease that emotional and psychological conflict and pain. your girls are blessed to be so loved. i pray God continues to show Himself to you both in the easy and in the most difficult moments.

Rachael said...

Nate, please keep on doing what you are doing. I think that you are amazing. Stay strong. Love and prayers, Rachaelx

Colleen, Katie and Maddie's Mom said...

You already are a wonderful husband and father - you have nothing to prove. The only thing that you are gilty of is not being able to be in two places at one time and having an incredible capacity to love.

MistyBurk said...

When our baby was in the NICU and I was very ill, it was hard because my husband had to work to support us and keep the insurance. We didn't have anyone else to support us. I think it's great that you are able to stay at the hospital all the time not working and be with Tricia and the baby. No, you can't be with them both simultaneously but it's still the best situation possible. You have so much to be thankful for!

Rebecca said...

Oh, Nate... Hugs, hugs, hugs to you and Tricia...

Kristi said...

I can relate, a little. Our trio was in the nicu for 105 days, and the hospital was an hour and half away, and I had my husband and my 3-year-old little girl at home missing her mommy dearly. I swear I feel like I missed out on Kadence being 3 all together. Between the high-risk pregnancy, and then the hospital stay, it was almost a year before things got back to semi-normal in our house.
So I can only imagine how you must feel because, like you said, you're not sure how many nights you have left to snuggle and watch Tricia fall asleep. The only words I have for you are that I am praying for you, and that I think you are doing a fantastic job with both of your girls. ((hugs))

Gwenn Mangine said...

I think you've hit on the conundrum of being a parent. None of us are ever perfect at being a parent or a spouse-- you just do your best, and ask God to work out the details... you're doing a great job. I can't imagine the pull inside you to be with both your girls.

Actually, on a small scale I can-- my son was born with a heart defect which we didn't know about prior to his birth. He was transferred that evening from Rex to Duke. So just a couple of hours after being exhausted and giving birth and needing my husband, he needed to go with our son who was in a life-threatening situation. Sleeping without him in the hospital room that night was so hard, but I was so glad he was with Josiah since I couldn't be. I believe that even though it's not easy, Tricia understands.

BTW-- our son is perfect now. He had open-heart surgery at Duke on day 3 of life and after a couple of weeks in the PICU and then on the floor, he was home and thriving. After just living that life for a couple weeks, I can't even imagine the months you've spent-- my heart and prayers go out to you...

Abbie said...

Never forget Nate: when you are with one, Jesus is snuggling with the other. Neither one of them is EVER alone! You are doing a wonderful job :)

Shelleyrae33 said...

Nate,

This post made me tear up. The fact that you want to be with both Tricia and Gwenyth so much already makes you a wonderful father. Please don't ever feel that you are anything less than exactly what the two women in your life need.

Miki said...

It's so hard to leave a crying baby, no less, a preemie baby who needs food from a nurse who is already so busy with another family who needs her just as bad.

It's that much harder to miss out on a window of opportunity that is only there once a day (to snuggle with Tricia when she's having a harder time falling asleep).

It's hard knowing that you can't fill the needs of anyone in one moment; yourself, Tricia, or your baby. You really are in Gods hands.

It makes the days where you can snuggle with Tricia, kiss little Gwyneth, and fill yourself with all kinds of time with your girls that make those moments even more special.

kimmyo80 said...

Remember to take care of yourself first so that you are healthy and able to continue to be with "your girls"
you might already be doing this but could you snuggle with Tricia until she falls asleep then go be with Gwyneth? Just an idea. We are always our own worst cridict...you are doing a fine job

Tracy said...

Nate you are facing the dilemma every parent does, just with infinite more complications. Balance is hard to find but important to strive for. I'm sure both your girls understand and appreciate all you give them. Take a little time for yourself too.

My thoughts are with your family.

Lorri said...

Nate- The only suggestion I would have is to make an effort to call Tricia. She wants you to be there for Gwyneth, I'm sure, so next time that happens and you feel that tug in your heart...call Tricia or her nurse to let her know that Gwyneth is upset and her nurse is busy with another family, or whatever the situation may be. I'm quite sure Tricia will be awake, waiting for an update from you about her beautiful daughter.

Other than that...you're doing the best you can.

You are not alone in your feelings or worries about this. Most women/mothers wonder the same thing. How can I be a good mommy and a good wife? I only see my husband X amount of hours each day when he gets home from work and by that time I'm exhausted from taking care of the kids. The kids need him, he needs to wind down from work and I want to hear all about his day and tell him about mine. What to do? What to do?

HUGS!!! :)

twin power mommy said...

Just know that you are doing the best you can do. Those feelings will perhaps never go away, but Tricia knows you love her and it's good that one of Gwyneth's parents can be there for her.
I don't really have anything genius to say, but that i remember being torn when one of my twins came home from the NICU while the other one still had to stay. And then there were those many times one or the other girl was hospitalized for pnuemonia and having to leave my husband and other girl at home while i stayed in the hospital with my sicky little one.
Praise God you are healthy and can care for your girls like this.

Jen in Al said...

Nate, you are already an awesome Hubby and Daddy! I think you are being too hard on yourself. you may have already done this but i wonder if asking Tricia what she thinks or what she would have done would help you? She may be so thrilled that you can be there for Gwyneth for her too! praying for all three! jen in al

Lou said...

Nate,
Even though your circumstances are totally different you are feeling what most parents and spouses feel, and it's totally normal. We can never be 2 places at one time even though that would be fantastic! What we can do is just be the best that we can and do the best that we can. I believe that you will have MANY more nights to snuggle with sweet Tricia. Don't beat yourself up for not being the Bionic Man. You are doing a wonderful job for both your girlies, and they know it.......

My blog is private now, so send me an email at lou0728@yahoo.com if you're interested in reading our story. We are now in the process of adopting our second little miracle from Guatemala in a year! It's never boring at my house!

Blessings,
Lou

Denise said...

I bet Tricia totally understands because she is a Mom...and Mom's tend to put their children's needs above their own.

Beth said...

I wish they too could be in the same room and you wouldn't feel so torn. But it sounds like you are doing a terrific job at both - and you made me cry...

Thoughts and prayers are with all that you have many more nights with both your loves!!!
Beth

Shannon said...

Hey there Nate, You amaze me! I am 28 and have CF, living in Missouri. I love being able to read "the other side" of things from a non CF'er. It is nice to know what goes through your mind because what goes through ours is crazy. Ok well what goes through my mind is crazy at times...lol! I like being able to "see into" other CF'ers worlds and how they deal with things because sometimes I feel so alone. Thank you for being so transparent!!!

You are a great husband and father!

Thanks again,
Shannon

The Lenda's said...

You are being there for them both. More then anything in the world right now Tricia wants to be able to hold and comfort Gwyneth and I am sure she was so thankful that you were in the room to comfort your sweet little girl when she couldn't be there to pick her up herself. Praying for the day when you can all go home and snuggle up in bed together. My husband love mornings when our one and three year old girls hop into bed with us all we all snuggle up together for a few minutes before we start our busy day. Praying for these mornings to come for you Trish and Gwyneth.
Rachel in PA

Shannon said...

Hey Nate, Doesn't it make you mad when you type something and then it disappears, ya well that's what happened so I will try this again... You are amazing! I am 28 with CF. I just have to say that you help me to "see" the other side of things since I am the one with CF. Sometimes I feel all alone in all of this. It sounds weird but it is nice to be able to "see into" the world of other CF'ers. Thank you for being so transparent!!! I am always checking in on you guys on your blog...isn't the internet awesome!

Shannon

TheBrantners said...

Welcome to some of the "normal" struggles of being a new parent! =)

I can say that it does get easier with time. I'm praying that the Lord grants you guys just that.. time... just time.

At first, it was like a juggling act for me...spending time with my baby girl vs. quality time with my husband.... and we weren't even going through this at all! Just being at home. Don't worry, you'll find the balance! You're already doing a wonderful job!!

Kim... said...

You bleed love, Nate. It hurts, even painful...the love you have for your precious girls. You and Tricia flow through this situation with angel's wings and roller skates! - your faith carries your burden, though the weight on your shoulders may seem heavy. I am beyond blessed and amazed to have been touched by your lives and to continue on watching this beautiful journey...
I pray that you feel the warmth that surrounds you, the strength that carries you, the love that guides you and the Faith that consumes you...
Always Praying,
Kim Wilmington, NC
Mommy of 14 month old twin girls

Mandy said...

Nate, you make my heart melt so many times when I read. I can feel the love you have for both of your girls. They are so lucky. I hope they both know how lucky they are. I'll be praying for you as you sort through these difficult emotions.

candidchatter said...

If you can answer those questions and guilt pangs, you, my friend, will have the "cure" for all parent's pains in choosing who needs them most "right now". My hardest moments are when both kids cry. I have to then decide who needs me most and go to him or her first, leaving the other one to cry for a bit longer.

I don't have any advice. Just know I am praying and hoping too. Hopefully that's enough for now. I think it is. You strike me in such a way that prayer is very important to you. Amen!

Heidi Reed

Tracy P. said...

Gosh, Nate, did you strike a chord with the moms on this one or what?

I echo the poster who said she just sits down and cries sometimes. It's the growing pain of a stretching heart. It is stretching Tricia's heart too. Sometimes she will be glad that you are with Gwyneth. Sometimes she will wish you were with her. Sometimes she will be envious because she's not with her girl and you are. (We know you're not bulletproof, Tricia--all these comments attest to the fact that none of us are.) All of these are things that will grow you both individually and as a couple. It's a sweet sorrow.

Twinkletoes said...

You are an AMAZING father AND husband! You are doing a better job at this than anyone I know, including myself, could ever do. With love comes guilt - b/c you can't be everywhere at once. I am sorry you are experiencing this - but from the outside - I am in awe of everything you are doing!
Keep up the great work - and a quick aside - the black and white of Trish is amazingly beautiful! Wow!
~Lynn/PA

Thoughts and Things said...

Honestly, I would ask Tricia what she wants you to do in a situation like that. Of course, knowing her she would probably want you to stay with your wee one. But, it seems you have a very open and honest relationship, so I'd ask her what she prefers.

You are both truly in such a unique situation. I have three girls and I've always been able to put their babyhood needs first without question.

I envision the three of you home, playfully fighting over Gwyneth, lucky little girl. :)

Caroline said...

What a difficulty for you....2 totally differenet kinds of love, both just as strong, and needing to be demonstrated. It's "swings and roundabouts" - betcha some days you need to be with Tricia longer and you cannot be with Gwyneth as much?!
Praying that God will give you His strength, peace and wisdom as you seek to be the best for both of your girls.....
xxx

Anna Marie said...

Nate, you've gotten a lot of good advice already, so I just wanted to take a moment to welcome you to the club called Guilt of Parenthood. It's one of those things no one tells you about when you're pregnant, but once that baby is born you NEVER stop feeling guilty - about who to spend time with, decisions that you make, it's all tough! The good news about that is it means you are already a fabulous father and husband, and both of your girls love you for it.

walkingbyfaith said...

It breaks my heart that you're not able to be with both Tricia AND Gwyneth at the same time. =[ I'm praying SO hard that soon you'll be able to provide them both comfort at the same time. For now, in my opinion, you are doing a fabulous job running back and forth. I am astonished at your immune system and how you never seem [notice I said seem, not that it doesn't happen] to tire out. You just keep going because your girls need you and that, my friend, is amazing. You're a great man Nate and Tricia & Gwyneth are blessed to have you as you are to have them.
Much Love...

Em said...

Just being there with them and giving them all the love, hugs, & kisses. Continue what you are doing, that is the worlds greatest blessing, and gift of a husband & father.

Prayers to you

petebon5 said...

Nate your doing an awesome job as 2 people all wrapped into one! keep up the great work!! you will have trying times such as these~~~you ROCK!!!!

Jennifer said...

no words, just hugs...from someone else trying to be more than one person in more than one place.