'Cause I'm all done. Well, mentally all done. I'm all done being a superhero. I'm ready to have one identity. I'm ready to not have to go sneaking off for covert operations (at NICU). I'm ready to be with all my kids simultaneously. I'm ready to put away my alter-ego and put on the same face for everyone.
Each day I go to the NICU it becomes harder to leave. I think it was easy in the beginning because he was fragile and needed lots of things that I couldn't give him. As he gets closer and closer to coming home, and I can care for him mostly, I just want him home. I know he will come home when he is ready. But I am ready now. Doesn't that count for something?
Maybe this is my final month of pregnancy. You know, where you are sooooo ready to be done that you will do anything to have the baby. This is the month where the anticipation is starting to get to you, and you are ready to have your "normal" life back. That's how I feel. I can see my due date (coming home) approaching, but I don't know exactly when it will be. I look forward to it with fear, joy, excitement and relief. I just want it to get here. I'm mentally all done waiting.
That's right, I have one. Tardiness. As simple as that. I hate it when people are late. I hate it when I am late. Hate it. I think it is disrespectful to be tardy. You don't respect the other person's time as valuable if you are late.
While I was growing up, my mother taught me, "If you're not 5 minutes early, then you are late. If you are going to be late then you shouldn't go." We were always on time. ALWAYS. For everything. So on time, in fact, that my friends attempted to teach me how to be fashionably late. I still can't do that comfortably.
These days people ask me how I can be on time to church (as early as 8:30) with 2 little kids. Not just on time, early. Every Sunday. Every single one. It's simple. I plan to be early. I schedule time to be on time. I schedule the 5 minutes it takes to get to church. I schedule the 5 minutes it takes to get everyone loaded and strapped into the car. I schedule breakfast, showers, getting dressed, and I schedule extra time in case of tantrums, meltdowns and clothing/hair malfunctions. I make sure I have time for all those things to happen, and time for the unexpected.
If you know me you know I plan (schedule) very few things. Because if I make an appointment I have to be on time for it. It stresses me out to be late. My planner is very vacant.
I like the freedom of a to-do list. I like to make a suggested list of activities that is free of time constraints. Appointments leave open the option of being late; and I can't have that.
As a teenager one of my friends was constantly late. Her whole family was late. We used to joke that the problem was so bad they would be late to their own funerals. They simply didn't practice the art of being on time.
Once, her dad was supposed to take us to the airport so that we could go on vacation together. We agreed upon a time that would get us to the airport with plenty of time for check-in and security. I even had included a 20-30 min "time buffer" in case of traffic problems or other unforeseen disasters. I didn't schedule the disaster of them being late.
Needless to say, they were late picking me up. I don't remember how late it was, but I think it was more than 45 minutes.
When I called my mom after we got to our destination (we did make our flight) she told me she was sorry they were late. I asked her how she knew they had been late: she had been at work. She told me about the mess I had made in the living room with a deck of cards and the furniture. I had been playing solitaire while I waited and waited. I had gotten so mad I literally shuffled the deck of cards into the air and let it rain all over the furniture, repeatedly. The mess spoke volumes to my mom about how late they had been.
I still get really ticked when people are really late. REALLY TICKED!!!!
I say all this because I realized last night that I didn't just snap when they weren't feeding my son. I started to get mad when he wasn't fed at feeding time. The longer I waited the madder I was getting. I just didn't let it get to me for the first 20 minutes or so. Instead, I gave them the chance to make it right for that long.
It's like watching your kid do something that will eventually end badly. They do it repeatedly without the consequences until the last time wherein they get an sudden, unexpected result.
I should have seen the snap coming, but I didn't.
The burr gets under my metaphorical saddle as soon as "on time" stops and "late" begins. My level of frustration, disappointment, and feeling of disrespect is exponentially relational to the amount of time by which one is tardy for my appointment. Which explains why I was still just "warm" at 20 minutes late and "LIVID" at 30 minutes late.
If I have ever been late for an appointment with you, I apologize. I was probably already mad at myself for not being on time. If you need me to be on time for an appointment, just let me know. But don't ever, EVER, make an appointment with me and then disrespect me by being preventably late. I don't forget it when people are late. And I really don't like it either.
Tiger is going to grow up to be a comedian. I have proof. When he makes you laugh, he tries all his good lines to keep you laughing.
Lately, we have been making Tiger do many things for himself that he would normally want us to do for him. Examples: clear your dishes, dress yourself, pick up your toys, bathe yourself, etc. Always things that he is capable of doing but would say, "It's too hard," or "I don't want to." So we always say "You're a big boy. You can do it." and then add some addendum about why he can do it. Like: "your arms work," or "your strong enough," or "you know how."
This morning Tiger came and got in bed with us for a couple of minutes before asking me to go down and make him some breakfast (which we don't expect him to do for himself). I declined. I told him to go downstairs and play and that I would be down later to do that for him. His response is: "Mom, you can do it. You know how to walk."
I rolled away from him and started laughing. I covered my head with the blankets and laughed even harder. I thought I had concealed my amusement somewhat when Tiger tries his other sure-fire line on me: "Mom, I said, there's a hook stuck on the front of that jeep."
So, I went to see Mac at the hospital today. I try to go to one feeding a day, take the chance to see if he will learn to feed today. I get him all ready for his feeding by taking his temperature and changing his diaper and waking him up. I want him to have the best chance to learn while I am there for one feeding. I am always on a time constraint because someone else is watching my kids. Today I had to leave right when his feeding was over so that I could pick up my kids and come home and pump (a little late). That's how it goes. Hospitals consist of routine and more routine. I know the routine, I can operate in sync with it. Things are the same everyday (the nurses change the activities don't). Until today. Today I had a "GET BENT" moment wherein I accused the hospital staff of letting my baby starve to death. He is gaining weight, so I know that this is unlikely the case. But in that instant I truly felt that way. I felt totally at a loss. My baby does not wake up to be fed. My baby does not cry when he is hungry. My baby does not feed himself (from a bottle). And so I sat there waiting for my baby to be fed (through a tube). Waiting, and waiting, and waiting. At about 30 minutes past feeding time I start to get really nervous. Nobody has made any motions toward feeding my baby. There is no indication that they intend to feed him. And then I snap. I suddenly feel like my baby is totally neglected. (If you have kids you know that this can happen really fast). I suddenly feel that if I don't say anything he will not get fed. I put Mac down, and then politely (ok, not politely nor quietly) accuse them of letting my baby go hungry. Then they ask me why I'm not holding my baby. I respond, "I'm Angry." Excuse me, for stating the obvious. Suddenly his feeding is top priority. Suddenly all the things I did to get him ready to feed are important. Suddenly all the things that were more important than Mac, weren't. What scares me most about this is: what if I hadn't been there to say something? What assurance do I have that he is not missing feedings? He doesn't cry. He has no feeding alarm. Really, what proof do I have he will get fed? I went 2.5 weeks not worrying about it, now all my trust in them is gone! That's what is really bothering me. That I can't trust them to feed my baby. I know this is somewhat irrational. But I was holding my baby feeling like he was getting neglected and I was powerless to stop it as soon as I left. Which I had to do imminently. Then the Dr. calls and fills me full of some B.S. for 20 minutes about how they would never let that happen, and he was going to get fed in the next 5 minutes anyway, blah, blah, blah. I was there, she was not. I watched it go down. And all my mommy emotions saw things the way mommies are supposed to see them. I had a need to tell someone to GET BENT, though I didn't. I scream at the Dr. on the phone. I basically told her she was blowing smoke. I am sure she called to make herself feel better, because she didn't make me feel any better. I want results, not promises. Action, not excuses. The Dr. feeds me some promise about communicating better with each other and with me, and that some other supervisor is supposed to call me and make me feel better. You can call, but I promise not to feel better. I know the nurses are human. I know that they (and I) are fallible. I know that things are not perfect and situations arise that make it impossible for things to happen at exactly the same time every day. I am there everyday. I am sure I could have handled things better. I know how things work. That's why I waited and waited today to give them ample time to get his feeding started. I didn't even get mad until I suddenly realized he was powerless to get fed, and he was unable to do anything about it if I wasn't there. Another side effect-Tiger and Blanket don't get my best for the rest of the day. I will be moody, demanding, short, impatient, pissed off, and generally not a good parent for the rest of the day, or for the next couple. To boot, Tiger got defiant and got sent to his room, waking Blanket up early from his nap. So just add two whiny kids on top of Mama Bear trying to protect her cub, and we are having a great day. In case you really feel the need to comment, please remember I will be better about this in a couple of days. I will still feel like I did the right thing. I will still have lost a little faith in the system (that nurse in particular). I still won't want to talk about it. I will still be a little angry, but not enough to interfere with my daily activities. I will still go see my baby in the hospital. I will probably forgive them, but not forget.
Maybe I should take the Zoloft they gave me, then I will be nicer about it next time.
I took the camera with me to the hospital today. I realized we had no pictures of Mac in the incubator. He was moved off the warming bed and into the isolette on 1/7/10. Today they had the temp turned down so far that I feared tomorrow he might not be in it anymore. I might miss the opportunity to document his progress. When he went in it was turned up to 32.5 or so. If he gets all the way down to 28.0 then he gets rid of his box. Yes, he still has some (limited) oxygen assistance. His Dr. said that if he were at sea level, this would not be a problem. It's just so hard to keep up your O2 levels at 6000 feet. Hopefully bigger lungs will mean easier breathing. For bigger lungs he has to grow, and that's what it's all about right now.
Yesterday he was 4 lbs 2.7 oz. That's almost 3 total oz above birthweight.
This is a common Saturday afternoon activity at our house. B.A.R. sits down with the computer and the boys ask for "train movie." One video turns into an hour or more of youtube entertainment. In this picture B.A.R., Zephyr, Leprechaun, and Tiger are being sucked in by youtube. Blanket had fallen asleep on the couch and was not to be revived. He missed this little adventure. And just for extra excitement, Tiger watched the whole thing with both legs stuffed in the cracker box. How is that comfortable?
During this busy time for our family, my brother Zephyr has come to stay with us to help out. I know this might seem like an odd choice, but it is really the best choice for our family. He brought with him his two children: Leprechaun, and Birdie. Leprechaun is one month younger than Tiger and Birdie is 11 months younger than Blanket. This also means that I have 2 men at my house who are in charge of almost everything. Including entertaining the kids. They have done a fantastic job. They have really let me do the things that I need to do like sleep and heal and not have to do housework and whatnot. I will sure miss Zephyr's help when he goes home. Though his wife will be glad to have him back (I think).
Interesting things happen when you leave 2 30-something men in charge of kids. Have you ever played with a cat or dog and a laser pointer? Have you ever played with 3 little boys and a laser pointer. This activity wore the boys out (all 5 of them) after just 20 minutes. It was some of the best entertainment I've had in a while. While one operated the laser, the other operated the camera. This is the result:
On the boys' second visit to see me in the hospital, Blanket managed to hurt himself in my hospital room. He smacked his forehead on my nightstand and his ear on the trash can. Then they wanted to have him seen in the ER, just to make sure he was ok. We declined. Now he has a nice bruise on his forehead. At least he didn't need stitches.
Somebody innocently inquired whether our family had a good holiday season. I responded "Yes, it was good. Just one I'd never like to repeat."
Our holidays/vacation were great, fantastic, wonderful, good, blessed, and miraculous. They were also frustrating, scary, noisy, frantic, unexpected, lazy, housebound, and sometimes boring.
While I did expect our lives to change in many ways this upcoming year, I didn't expect that these changes would come on the morning of the first day of the year. Before breakfast.
Back in June I wrote this post about changes coming in my life. I had just found out I was pregnant and could see that many things in my life would be changing. First we needed a bigger car (see this post). Second, I was very sick for a couple of months and fell off the blogging bandwagon for a while. Third, I found out that I would likely have pregnancy complications.
I learned that I would almost surely need a C-section (never needed one before). I also learned that I would probably spend the last 6-8 weeks of my pregnancy on bedrest. I figured that at least I was armed with this knowledge. Then I had complications that put me on partial bedrest beginning Dec 6. I had no more problems and so was permitted to make the trip to Utah for Christmas.
We drove back from Utah on Dec 27. I went into the hospital Dec 28 (severe complications). I spent a few days there and was doing well enough to be considered for discharge to go home to COMPLETE BEDREST. All parties decided that spending the full week in the hospital before going home would be the best plan.
Friday morning, while I was filling out my breakfast order (never to be submitted), I had more complications. It was 7:10 am 1/1/10. My Doctor was requested, and by 7:45 she and I agreed I should have the baby ASAP. I called my husband while being prepped for surgery. I had about 15 minutes alone while I was waiting to actually begin to stress out. I went into surgery at 8:53. My little boy was born at 9:17.
8 weeks early. Large for his gestational age (but not fat). Breathing not very well at all. Grumpy about being taken out of his very comfortable home. Born nonetheless. Expected to grow up healthy and strong.
So here come my changes. Not exactly what I had in mind. My life is going to be different than I predicted. I still have a baby, but he didn't come home with me. I am not spending the first 6 weeks of the year in bed, I get to spend it going to the hospital everyday to see my boy. Tiger and Blanket get a "back to normal" mommy before they have to learn to live with a little brother.
I am sure that this year will be filled with doctors appointments and other related activities.
I am sure my little boy who spent 4 days learning how to breath will dazzle me with his milestones all year. We live at 6000 ft elevation and today (one week old) he breathes without assistance.
I am sure the month my baby is in the hospital will actually be one of the best all year. What other time do you get time to spend alone with your baby and there are no other things to focus on?
I am sure my bigger boys will love that brother of theirs the way only brothers can.
I am sure Tiger will be glad he got a brother even though he really wanted a sister.
I am sure I can't foresee everything.
I am sure there will lots of bumps and challenges along the way.