Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Day in the Postpartum Ward with a NICU Mom

Despite our best efforts the Husband and I are NICU parents again.  It’s not what we wanted, and I really believed that taking the progesterone shots again would help avoid the situation.  The kids aren’t allowed in the NICU, so they haven’t yet met their brother, and we don’t know how long it will be until he comes home.  I keep telling myself that it’s only temporary, but it’s a whole different type of emotional turmoil and sleep deprivation than having a child in the well-baby nursery.

6am - I’m in the NICU with my baby boy, trying to coax another feeding out of him.  Sometimes he latches, sometimes he doesn’t.  I can’t force the breast, because I know that if he doesn’t gain weight and keep his glucose levels up he’ll stay in the NICU even longer.  I get an update on the overall status of his night from the nurse before getting kicked out for shift change.

7am - Back at the room, I begin pumping.  The Husband passes out on that thing they call to pull-out bed.  Before I’m done, the postpartum nurse has already stopped by to give me my latest dose of medication and the tech has come by to take my vitals.  Next up is the OB, who checks my c-section incision.  Does it hurt?  Of course it does, and so does all the swelling in my feet and the pain in my shoulders.  

8am - Call my mom to see how the kids are behaving for her.  I started the day thinking I might actually get a shower before the 9am feeding, but instead I get to wipe myself down with an adult version of baby wipes and add a few swipes of deodorant.  Thank goodness for dry shampoo.  Even though this was my third c section, I apparently brought the wrong clothes.  I can barely lean over enough to put on my yoga pants and fresh gigantic hospital underwear. At exactly the moment I need to leave for the next feeding session, my breakfast is dropped off.  It will have to wait until later.

9am - Exit the postpartum ward.  Ring the doorbell to the NICU and wait to be let in.  Most visitors are required to scrub in before entering.  That means no jewelry, and scrubbing your hands and arms with the equivalent of a sterilized brillo pad.  Since I still have an IV in my arm, I get to skip straight to the hand sanitizer.  I spend the next hour cuddling with and feeding the baby.  The husband gets to give him a bottle after I’ve soaked up most of the time with attempted breastfeeding.

10:30am - Back in the room.  Breakfast is cold, and I’m too hungry to care.  I scarf down the best parts, leaving most of the english muffin and the grapefruit juice.  Lunch orders have already been taken, so that will just have to be a mystery meal.  Time again to pump, clean up the pumping supplies and get my vitals taken again.  My mother and my older kids arrive with only fifteen minutes to spare before my next feeding at the NICU.  

12:10pm - I’m a little late getting to the feeding.  My mother brought the Boppy, and it’s so much easier to nurse this way.  Baby is far more secure, and dozes off while he eats.  I may also end up nodding off to a light sleep while he’s nursing.  Next thing I know an hour has gone by and I need to quickly feed him his supplement while I meet up again in the room with my family.

1:30pm - The hospital room is chaos as I manage my older girls, who are getting bored, coach the Husband on everything that needs to be done before the 6 year old goes back for the first day of school tomorrow, and help figure out what everyone else will be eating for dinner tonight.  

2:15pm - The Husband and the kids leave for the night, leaving my mother and I to talk while I quickly pump and scarf down my lunch.

3pm - My IV is now off, so I scrub in at the NICU for the next feeding with the surgical sponge and brush.  This place takes no chances.  I try not to fall asleep while nursing baby E.

4pm - I head back to the room with my mother.  A phone call from the Husband shows he’s already overwhelmed.  I quickly pull together a week’s worth of menu items based on what’s in our house and what can be bought at the store, create a grocery list on the Wegmans app and email the list to my mother.  I love technology.  Realize when the nurse came in that I missed a dose of medication.  No wonder I was getting so sore.

5pm - I’m alone in my room for the first time in 3 days.  Instead of pumping, I try to get some rest and check my email.  Decide that my Bloglovin feed and email are too big to deal with right now, so I take a fifteen minute nap before heading back to the NICU.

6pm - NICU time.  Never actually took that nap.  Get a quick rundown of baby E’s status from the daytime NICU nurse and quickly feed and change the baby before getting kicked out for shift change.

7pm - Back at my room.  Eat my cold dinner quickly and pump while giving my father and stepmother an update.  Get frustrated when asked “When is a time we can call that you won’t be doing something else?”  Meet the night shift nurse.  Like everyone else, she marvels at my bruises.  Finally I met a nurse that is willing to adjust my medication and vital stats timing based on when I will actually be in the room.

8pm - Attempt to get on the computer again.  Still overwhelmed with the inbox and undone tasks.  As I am swinging my swollen legs over the edge of the bed to make it to the NICU by 9pm, the NICU night shift nurse calls and tells me the baby is ready to eat.  Can I please get there quickly?

10pm - Back in the room.  Pump again and make sure that everything is clean for a long night of nursing and pumping.  Get my night meds from the nurse.  Call the husband and get updates on the kids' nights before he goes to bed.  

11:15pm - Turn off the computer for a half hour snooze.

Midnight - Baby E is wide awake, but not really interested in eating.  I try for over an hour, while fighting a losing battle against my body’s need for sleep.  I say a small prayer that his glucose levels stay up.

1:20am - Back in the hospital room.  The nurse comes by & gives me some motrin while I pump.  All I want to do is sleep.  I finally get to do that at 1:40.

2:50am - My alarm goes off.  Time to head back to the NICU for another feeding.

4am - Back at the room for yet another pumping session and check in with the nurse.  This time I'm shortening my pumping session so it only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.  Back to sleep at 4:45.

6am - Back in the NICU for another day of nursing, pumping, poking, prodding, and trying to just keep it all together.

Tomorrow I will officially leave my baby boy at the hospital.  I know that it could be so much worse, but my heart aches to know that we are in the same position we were in with T's birthday 6 years ago.

What were your first days as a parent like?

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Crazy Just Got Crazier

Wednesday evening the Husband and I attended T's back to school night.  While I was there I started to feel some twinges.  I checked the time on my phone.

Fourteen minutes later the same twinges happened again.

And to shorten what is a pretty intense and crazy story,  this is what happened at 4:40 Thursday morning:

And so I introduce to you Baby E.  He was born at 36 weeks 3 days gestation, weighting 5 pounds 11 ounces and measured 19 inches long.

The girls can't wait to meet him, and the Husband and I are thrilled to have him here in our lives.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Officially a Kid

Six years ago I became a mother to a loving and strong-willed girl.  Everything about her childhood so far has been dramatic…from her birth, to her vocabulary.  She’s smart, she’s tough, and the world better look out.  

Lately, we’ve seen a softer side to our oldest.  She’s growing up in big and little ways.  She’s actually able to help out when she wants to; bringing everyone’s dishes to the sink, putting away her sister’s backpack and actually knowing how to clean up a room properly.  I can trust her to get herself dressed, and actually know how to coordinate an outfit; or to at least ask if something matches.  She’s asking the big questions about life, death, and everything in between.  I even catch her sitting with her legs crossed these days.

But in so many ways she’s still a little girl.  She loves playing dress up with her little sister; thinks it’s funny to make silly noises; laughs loudly at the same joke over and over and over again; and just enjoys generally being a goofball.

So, for the third year now, we sat down together to go through her birthday interview.  

What’s your favorite color? Pink, Purple & Periwinkle
What’s your favorite food? Seafood
What’s your least favorite food? Squash
What’s your favorite book?  The Amazing Adventures of Captain Underpants
What’s your favorite toy? Magnetic Dress Up Dolls
What’s your favorite thing to do?  Watch TV
What’s your favorite song?  Let it Go, Tequila & Love Me Again
What’s your favorite show?  Octonauts
What’s your favorite movie?  Frozen
Who’s your best friend? Evelyn
Are you afraid of anything? No
Do you want to get married when you grow up? Yes
Who do you want to marry?  I don’t know yet
What do you want to be when you grow up? Ballet Teacher  
What’s the best thing about turning 6? My birthday party

I love seeing which answers have changed, and which answers have stayed the same (see the answers from when she was 4 and 5!).  Who knows what next year’s answers will be?

Your Turn!  Answer one of these questions in a comment.
How might your answers have changed in the last year?

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What's Going On

I want to thank everyone so much for all your support last week.  The last week and a half has been a bit of a roller coaster.  We went from a high of picking up T after a week at her grandparent's house, to finding out that a family member was admitted to the hospital that Saturday morning and then was gone in just over 48 hours.  None of us knew he was so sick.

The worst part is that both his parents are still alive and this is the second of their three children that they've buried.  No one should have to go through that.

But then again, life and schedules go on.  We're spending the week continuing to put the nursery and office back together and preparing for two parties this weekend.  Oh, and registering both kids for dance classes, buying school supplies and uniforms too.  I never realized just how busy August is.

When does school start up again for your kids?
Tell me something happy that's going on in your life!

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