Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 33, Growing Up

 Did I mention yesterday that my daughter weighs five pounds?  Well she does, five pounds, one ounce.  She has gained 2/3s her birth weight.  I was looking at her today, marvelling at how much she has changed in a mouth.  She is still tiny like you wouldn't believe but she looks like a real baby now, not just a little doll.  She is also doing so much better with her nursing.  Yesterday afternoon I was so frustrated I wanted to quit.  When your baby stops breathing it is so scary and the fact that I'd caused that, well it just had me really nervous.  I talked with the lactation consultant and she asked me to pump for 2 1/2 minutes before I put her on so the let down wasn't so strong.  She said, "mature breast like yours.. (this made me laugh for whatever reason...I guess I just haven't outgrown junior high) often let down very quickly."  And so last night after getting the ok from the resident to add a second feeding I went back to the hospital to try again.  This time I pumped first and when I put Cheetah on she nursed for 5 minutes and then feel asleep, no Brady's, no choking, just good nursing.  Then today at the noon feeding I repeated pumping first.  Cheetah nursed for thirty five minutes.  She was so successful that the nurse decided not to give her any of her ng feed.  I'm hoping for repeat success tonight!  It is amazing how much she is growing...just in case you think she might be getting too big for her britches though...

 Turns out she's still sneaking out of her clothes...and this happens to be a preemie outfit that her Grandma Jane sent her.  Cute outfit but I'm guessing it is going to fit for a bit longer :)

Cheetah isn't the only one growing here.  Dr. J had a birthday as well.  Being the overextended wife that I am I didn't get around to get the present I know he wanted and I planned to get :(  I did manage to give him a gift I bought last year but forgot to give him.  I also got two movies we loved this year during Black Friday sales.  We made a cake and ate some ice cream.  It wasn't much but we did want to recognize the man.  I love my hubby.  I like to tease him, he might not be perfect but he is perfect for me!  Happy Birthday to my sweet hubby!  I love you so much least five ironed shirts worth :)

 On the home front I managed to get the Advent Calendar up.  It is definitely looking like Christmas here and I'm getting excited.  Most of the Advent stuff is crafts and I found that my local dollar store had most of the supplies I need for cheap!  I also replaced some of the cards with activities like, going to look at lights, reading the Christmas story, or having a Christmas music dance off.  Definitely excited to try to have some more fun in this house!  It's about time if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 32 Killing Me Softly

Killing me softy with breast we had another breast feeding session and baby Cheetah had a major episode.  I knew it was going to happen.  I was holding her up to the breast, she was sucking swallowing, breathing and then she wasn't breathing.  "Breathe little baby, breathe," I said as I rubbed her back.  The alarms went off.  The nurse came in.  Finally she took a breath and then next thing I know she wants to nurse again.  But I'm not going to lie, my heart was racing.  The resident called me to tell me Cheetah was up to five pounds and they want me to try and fit two feedings in today.  So I'll be heading back to the hospital after dinner.  Through rain, through snow, through sleet and hail, I feel like I should join the post office.  Seriously though I'm a little stressed out about feeding tonight.  I know the breast milk is important, I want to nurse, but man watching the kid not breathe.....AHHHHHH!  Tomorrow is Dr. J's birthday.  I know what he wants, I want to give it to him, I see the chances of me getting it anytime soon as zip.  Poor Dr. J.  And then there is my advent calendar.  I wanted to put together and activity advent calendar but I just don't think it is going to get done.  I found this really cute one online....  I should be able to just print it off and do the activities.  I hope I can get around to it.  Advent calendar, birthday, laundry, figuring out what is wrong with the dryer, homework, clean bathrooms, nurse, nurse again...please don't expect much from me this year.  So Cheetah didn't get kicked or anything but let's just say I can relate to this poor mama!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 31 A Planned Birthday That Wasn't

No pictures please!
My beautiful face free from distraction.
Today Cheetah is one month old.  It also happens to be the day they were going to induce me, because she is officially 34 weeks today.  She is topping the scales at 4lbs 15 ounces, which I think is probably about what she would have weighed had she been born today.  She happens to be anemic and so they've upped her iron supplement even higher, but what can you expect from a baby who almost entirely missed her third trimester, the time in the womb when babies make their iron stores.  Yesterday she was entirely episode free, not Brady's/apnea but today during our second ever nutritive feeding she forgot to breathe. I know these things are totally "preemie normal" but as a parent they are horrifying.  The monitors going off is one thing, the looking down and seeing your baby not breathing totally another.  And so I had to gently stimulate her back and she started to breathe and then promptly fell asleep, because you know drinking five mouthfuls of milk is just exhausting work.  When I came in today she'd pulled her NG tube out and so I had the privilege of watching them put it back in.  The nurse first wet in Cheetah's mouth and then stuck it down her nostril.  Gagging ensued both for Cheetah and myself for more than one reason.  Before they put the tube back in I picked her up and nuzzled both her checks.  It was the most unattached she's been since birth and I couldn't miss the opportunity to give her a little mama love.  I think back to those six weeks ago when my water first broke.  I wonder could I possibly have sat in bed this whole time.  It was what was expected and so I guess had I stayed pregnant I would have done it, but wow that really would have been torture.  Thanksgiving in the hospital, ick!  And what about more poor children, six weeks without mom at home.  That just doesn't even seem like a possibility for them.  On the other hand...what if I could have taken Cheetah home this week, oh how sweet that would have been.  I'm glad it wasn't a choice I got to make but instead a decision was forced upon me because I have a hard time knowing what I would have choose on my own.

What do you think of these rolls...I had them on the counter rising and a daughter who isn't always as gracious as she could be couldn't resist squishing the tops of almost half of them.  In sibling news we also had a sweet prayer from Captain E last night.  He asked Heavenly Father to help Cheetah grow and then said, "And please bless that she can be home with us for Christmas."  It is the major hope in our family right now.  The best gift we could receive is a family together.  Then there is Peach.  Today in the car she kept screaming, "Let me out, let me out!"  Finally she feel asleep.  As I went to pull her out of her car seat in her sleep she groaned out a final "Let me out."  Yes sweetie I know.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 30 1st Nutritive Feed

Today I got a call from the resident, "Cheetah is giving all the signs that she wants to eat, so we've decided you can try a nutritive feed."  And so that's what we did today.  How much milk did she get?  I have no idea.  That's the one thing about nursing that is difficult you just can't tell how much your baby has eaten and we are in such a different position then with a newborn.  When a newborn is born the amount of time they spend sucking correlates directly to how much milk you produce.  They eat until they are full.  If they need more milk they suck longer and that stimulates more milk production.  Meanwhile we've got preemie girl.  For thirty days I've been pumping so my milk supply is far more then what she needs to eat in the day.  Then instead of being like a newborn that sucks until she is full, preemie girl sucks until she is to tired to eat, which happens really fast.  And so I put her on and for about five minutes she would suck and sleep, suck and sleep.  I know she got some milk.  I know she swallowed some, but how much it was, who knows?  After she ate I pumped six ounces of milk.  Not for the first time in my life did I wish that my breast were clear so I could actually see the milk.  I want my baby girl to nurse, but when the student nurse came in and told me that with her preemies she just pumped and then feed them by bottle because she wanted to make sure they got enough to eat, I totally understood where she was coming from and knew there was no way I couldn't say that I might not end up in the same place.  But for now, I'm hear, I'm trying, and I'm hoping my little girl will build up some stamina.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Preemie LIfe - Day 29 ROTs

Today I had an episode of ROTs (Random Outburst of Tears).  I'm really confused as to where this emotion came from.  Was it an overabundance of joy from our good news this week?  First off Cheetah is a champ when it comes to weight.  Last night she weighed in at 4lbs 11 ounces.  Then she's moved from the isolet into a normal newborn bassinet.  It means she's temperature regulating on her own and now losing weight in order to do so.  The awesome thing for us is it means that I don't have to ask anyone if I can pick her up and there is no restriction on how long we can hold her outside of her bed anymore.  Also uncle David came last night.  This morning when the kids saw him they went nuts.  Peach jumped off my bed, threw herself in his arms and refused to let him put her down for five hours.  Gigi and Captain E ran around the run in huge circles singing, "Uncle David's here!  Uncle David's here!"  There has been some concern by family members about uncle David's actually ability to help out but the important thing is the kids adore him so when I left this afternoon for Cheetah's non nutritive feed there was no complaints from the peanut gallery and when I came home they were relatively clean, feed, and definitely entertained.  Hard to complain about that!  The again it may have been feelings of disappointment.  When I went to change Cheetah today I noticed that her umbilical stump had finally fallen off and I felt this wave of sadness that it didn't happen at my house.  That she's now going to be able to have a real bath and I'm not going to be the one to give it to her.  That all her first thus far have been enjoyed by people other then myself.  Then there is the stress.  Net week we start nutritive feeds and I've made up a schedule that will allow me to be there at as many feeds as possible while maintaining some sense of normal for the kids.  It goes like this.

8-9 am get kids ready for school.
9am take Captain E to school, miss the 9 o'clock feed.
9-11 am play with girls and get GG ready to go.
11 am leave girls with David
12 pm - feed Cheetah, while my friend Jamie picks GG up from our home and takes her to preschool.
2pm come home from hospital, do home stuff.
3-4pm pick up Gigi and Captain E from school, miss 3 o'clock feed
4-8 pm homework, dinner, get kids ready for bed, then leave for hospital
9 pm - feed Cheetah
12am - feed Cheetah
3 am - feed Cheetah
6 am - feed Cheetah
7:30 am drive back home

I'm not sure how this is going to work out yet, but by driving out to the hospital twice, and spending the night there I should be able to actually breast feed her 5 of the 8 times a day she eats while still being there for my children in the morning and in the evening when they really miss me the most.  Yes I think it is weird that she is so scheduled but in the hospital with preemies feeds are almost like medicine and so you do what you have to do.  Looking at it right now the schedule seems a little crazy and to say I'm not feeling some anxiety over it would be a lie, but it will probably take a week or two to even get up to full feeds and then hopefully we'll only have to do it two or three more weeks.  Then there is the fear.  What if she doesn't outgrow the Brady's soon?  What if they keep her in the hospital until January?  What if she won't breastfeed?  I know I shouldn't feel this way, that I should just let it go, but with all the disappointments I've had, it feels like the most crushing would be if I can't get her to eat.  And so all these things are swirling in my mind, weighing on my chest and so today when I was chatting with the nurse and asked her what Cheetah does in the day when I'm not there I just burst into tears.  A full out ROTs to be sure.  I tried wiping my eyes but couldn't get it together and finally just said to the nurse I was sorry.  "Happens all the time," she said as she handed me some tissue.  As I walked out to the car I was grateful to be in a hospital where girls crying through the halls aren't a totally uncommon site and most people had the decency to just give me an encouraging smile and look down.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 28

Anyone else feeling post thanksgiving weight gain?  Well Cheetah certainly is.  The nurses called today and told me she is now 4lbs 9 ounces and they are upping her feeds to 40mls every three hours!!!!  Amazing.  When we finally get to bring her home we are going to have a mammoth!  The kids are getting more and more insistent on their disappointment about not being able to see her.  What a weird experience this must be for them.  They see other kids with their babies coming home and it just doesn't make any sense to them why theirs isn't.  To kind of take the heat off we took them to the Children's Museum again.  This time was much more fun.  No crying, screaming, manipulating, and we only lost Gigi briefly once.  Seems like an improvement to me!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 27

Thanksgiving when you boil it down to it's very basics we are talking about a holiday where we thank Heavenly Father, and one of those most basic things to thank him for, survival.  Obviously this turkey didn't survive this year.  Each day we make it I thank Heavenly Father we made it through just one more day, hopefully a day that is bringing us just one day closer to having our baby come home with us.  Today we got to enjoy a little bit while we were surviving.  This morning I went in and saw Cheetah, and said hi to the nurses who got stuck working on the Holiday.  The lame thing about medicine, people are sick on the holidays.  And so I had to thank all those people who had to take time away from their family to take care of mine.  I then rushed home to be with the family while we put the Christmas Tree up and make mash potatoes to take to my friend Andrea's house.  She invited us to join her family and her sister in law.  So fun!  Two seven year olds, three five year olds, one three year old, two two year olds...two md/phds, two attorneys, one speech therapist, one teacher and was such a blessing to have a place to go where we just had to show up and be feed and entertained.

Cheetah and Nana!

Some mirror fun!

Look at Cheetah in her Cheetah pants!

And so in conclusion we are surviving....Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 26

Cheetah just keeps growing.  She now weighs 4lbs, 6 ounces.  I want to bring her home so bad!  She's been non nutritive nursing the last three days and seems to really enjoy it.  I'm hoping switching to oral feeds will not being a problem for her.  They are going to let me start next week.  Meanwhile Brady's are still a major problem.  The nurse came in today and said, "Well you know 38 weeks is sort of the magic number.  Most preemies clear up around then."  That seems so far away.  We've been dealing with this for six or so weeks and to say I'm tired would be an understatement.  I'm tired, Dr. J is tired, the kids are all tired.  They are asking to see the baby and there is really nothing I can do to help them out there.  On the one hand I understand the hospital policy...on the other hand, it totally stinks!  Today I'm doing a small thing about the tired.  I have a massage therapist coming to the house at eight.  She'll be here for an hour and then I'm going to roll myself into bed.  I'm feeling a little guilty the rest of the family probably won't sleep nearly as well as I will tonight....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 25 Older Children and their Fears

Yesterday at dinner Captain E was being a particular pain.  At one point he says, "The baby could die. The baby could die."  It instantly put me on edge and I roughly replied, "Why did you say that?  Why?"  And his father said, "Anyone could die."  And then we paused for a second.  And Dr. J said, "E, why did you say that? Is it something you are worried about?"  And E said, "Yes, and it makes me really sad that we don't get to see Cheetah ever."  And so we had a talk about Cheetah, how good she is doing.  How she was born early but how her health is great.  How much she is growing, and how we hope she will be coming home soon, and the things she needs to start doing before she can come home.  And he did seem slightly relieved after that.  I've thought of this conversation several time since then both yesterday and today, a little heart sick that I'd not adequately explained the situation enough to my son that he was carrying this horrible worry around.  It makes me wonder what more should I have/can I now do to make this transition easier for my children.  We pray for Cheetah constantly here, but maybe I can explain to my kids before each prayer that she is very strong and we just want her to get stronger so she can come home sooner.  I try to take lots of pictures and videos for the kids so that they can see how she is changing and see that she is getting bigger.  I've tried to explain the different tubes and leads on her so they would understand what all the wires they see are and what they are for.  Dr. J is planning on taking them to the store to pick something out for her for when she comes home and we're planning on having a gift "from her to them".  But there is a lot of fear, stress, disruption in this house right now.  If the parents are feeling it of course the kids will as well.  What more can I do?  Any ideas on how to help older children deal with the stress of the situation and the transition to a new preemie sibling?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 24 Hey We Are Here As Well

I wasn't new to motherhood when my baby Cheetah entered the world just over three weeks ago.  That gift came almost seven and half years ago.  He was joined five years ago by a sister, and then two and half years ago by another sister.  It means that when Cheetah comes home she will have plenty of company.  It also means that since the hospital has closed the progressive nursery and NICU to anyone under the age of 18 during RSV season that any time I spend at the hospital is time away from my three older children.  It is definitely a hard balance, the kind of thing that keeps one up at night.  I've been exceptionally lucky though to receive tons of help from friends and family.  Dr. J's mom was here for five weeks and my mother is here this week for the holidays.  If you can't raise them yourself who better to do it then the woman who raised you right?  We've tried to be a little more flexible.  We fully realize that while this situation has been traumatic for us it has been equally traumatic for our children, so when they whine or cry, when they are having a bad day, when they doing a little more shouting then normal, or seem a little more grouchy we try to be just a little more forgiving.  We've also tried to keep their schedule as close to normal as possible.  Bed time has stayed the same, Grandmas read the bedtime stories, bath time has stayed the same, school has stayed the same, homework is done at the same time, the same way.  Since our son was just a little tiny babe we've found that a schedule gave him security.  It doesn't mean that we don't occasionally break from it when necessary, but we try to keep some consistency.  We've also tried to do some fun things on Dr. J's few and far between days off to thank our children for their patience.  It's the reason I took my bruised and cut body to the Chucky Cheese just a week after Cheetah's birth.  We wanted to give the kids something fun, and what says more fun then unlimited tokens in an arcade.  We've also taken the kids to the Children's Museum, and luckily Grandma's keep things lively.  Life might not be perfect but at least we can make some attempts to enjoy it!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 23 Non Nutritive Nursing

My cheeks are getting fatter!
But I still drowned in NB clothes, look at those rolled up sleeves!
Today was an exciting day.  I originally was planning on writing a post on how we are far from perfect.  I decided to save that post for another day.  When I went in to see Cheetah today the nurse said, "Oh are you here for her non nutritive feed?"  What????  Just the night before Dr. J's chief resident had come by and asked us if they'd let Cheetah nurse yet.  I told her no and that they had no intention of letting me try until 34 weeks.  She said, "Maybe you should ask them if they'd let you do non-nutritive nursing.  First you pump, then you put the babe on to suckle while they feed her through the ng tube.  That way she can get use to suckling the breast and breathing before she has to get use to suckling the breast, breathing, and swallowing."  Dr. J and I thought it sounded like an awesome idea and so I decided on Monday I'd ask the attending about it, but Emily, the chief resident, must have gotten to her first because today they said, "Go for it."  And so after pumping a full four ounces in just over five minutes, the nurses handed me Cheetah, and I got to let my sweet baby suckle for the very first time.  I was a mess, I mean a literal mess.  You know those racking sobs that lead to snot everywhere and then you don't have any Kleenex so then you are wiping your nose on the back of your hand or your black cotton sweater...a mess!  Since my very own birth I've been a pro nursing fan, and with the birth of each of my children I have rededicated myself to the practice.  I am happy to do it for my children but I've never felt that sort of spiritual connection that some of my friends feel for nursing.  Today though, holding my breast in my hand, my daughters miniature two hands clutching my thumb and pinkie, her little tiny head being dwarfed by my already milked breast, her petite mouth reaching out for me, making contact and then instantly falling into the rhythm of eating I felt overwhelmed by the emotion of finally being able to care for my child in this way.  She suckled strong for five minutes and then peacefully feel asleep.  One of the hardest things about being a preemie mom is just trying to bond with your child, to find some sense of normal, to be able to care for them in the way that your heart tells you you must.  The heart tells a mom to pick up her child.  It tells her to hold it to her breast to keep it warm.  It tells her to put it to her breast to feed it.  To answer it's cries the first time.  A mother's heart tells her to keep her baby close.  Not being able to care for all of my baby's needs is my gut wrenching reality. I guess that is why each little bit of my baby I get back is a victory.  Via non-nutritive nursing!  And may next weeks attempts of nutritive nursing be nearly as successful.

On a family note.  My mother came into town this week.  We went to sacrament meeting today and then headed home.  The car ride out was torture.  I felt guilty about not going out to see Cheetah in the morning and miss both her morning feeds.  I was grouchy with my Captain E because he was whining and when called on it put the blame on me.  I did not like that GG refused to the warm clothes I'd tried to have her dress in.  We were running late and my mom had stayed up all night trying to do grades.  I really thought the day was going to be shot.  But after sacrament meeting we came home.  My mom made lunch for us and then I headed to the hospital.  When I got back the kids were happy and my mom was slightly rested.  We spent the afternoon playing Dance Dance Revolution and Wii sports.  It was hilarious.  My two year old was singing "Right about now, the funk soul brother, check it out now, the funk soul brother..."  There are not words to describe how funny it is to hear those words leave the mouth of a two year old.  Captain E was being a total gentlemen.  So polite and sweet and a great big brother, pulling the girls into games, telling them good job, and good try, being really supportive and kind.  The kind of big brother I always imagined I wanted, the kind all my friends with older brothers told me didn't exist.  Then after putting the kids to be I spent a little extra time in the girls room singing some songs.  I'd sing a song, and then Gigi would sing a song back to me that she'd made up.  Her first was called Veterinarian and was sung loosely to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb.  It went....

There was a horse who broke his leg.  He came to me and I put it in a sling.  Then I told him to take a nap and gave him some medicine.  Then a panda came in the door, it had a cold and I gave him some soup.  I'm the best animal doctor ever.  I listen to their hearts and I make them feel all better.

I then sung her Away in a Manger (FYI so excited I can start listening to Christmas music soon) and she sung the song Extinction to me.  It went....

I see a T-rex eating meat.  The meat is another dinosaur, oh wait it is another t-rex.  A triceratops sees him and he runs away.  He doesn't want to be the meat of the day.  The volcano starts to explode, my mom says it is called uption.  All the ash is in the air and the lava on the ground.  He's going to be extinct he won't be around.

There are times like this morning when I would argue that being a mom is seriously one of the worst jobs in the world.  I mean you want to talk about stuff that can just wear you down mentally and emotionally, sometimes I swear the kids are in cahoots with the ice cream manufactures.  Driving me to chocolate with their ridiculousness and then there are lots of moments, even in the same day where being a mom tops any job on the planet.  Today started out like an "I need an ice cream pronto day" and ended with me being able to look at every one of my children and thank heavenly father for bringing them into my life because they fill me with so much joy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 22

My daughter is official 3 weeks old.  Since her birth she's lost 33 percent of her birth weight and now she's gained 33 percent of her birth weight.  That's right my daughter is over 4lbs now!  She also is receiving over an ounce of breast milk in her feeds every three hours.  Apparently passive eating works for her because she is gaining weight like a champ.  She doesn't like to be hungry either.  The worst part of her day is the fifteen minutes before feeding time.  She cries and her heart rate goes high.  She starts smacking her lips, hitting her pacifier, rooting around like a mad women.  The girl does not like being hungry.  Remind you of any of her relatives :)  It really is hard to believe that at this exact moment three weeks ago I was sitting on a bed in triage, fear filling my heart as I watcher her distressed heart rate, confusion over what the pain in my uterus was clouding my mind, Dr, J's blood drained face my own personal centennial.  We've come so far from that moment.

 Look at this daddy, doesn't he look a lot less stressed.  We don't get to see our daughter nearly as much as we want but I come every morning and Dr. J comes every night after work.  We can't wait to bring her home but until then this is what we have to do.
Look at my cute little hat.  Now that I'm older my mom can bring my own clothes from me.  Every little bit of "normal" we can get we will take.  
 A baby on my chest and the laptop on my lap.  Yes I've been watching a lot of Hulu this week.  GRIMM is my favorite!!!!
 Gigi made this Turkey at school.  Throwing up went through our house this week.  It started with Peach, then Captain E started barfing at school, then I threw up.  Lovely!  Meanwhile little miss G who puts everything in her mouth didn't get it.  Is she just immune to everything now?  Well let's just thank the Turkey and move on.
 So Grandma Linda is leaving today.  We couldn't have made it without her.  She has been a true angel.  We made this little necklace for her with Cheetah picture and the kids made a card.  It is no way equals what she has given to us but we wanted to just let her know we are thankful for all her love and care!  My laundry and floor will never be the same without her :)  We will miss Grandma!!!!!

 Grandma's wanted to visit Cheetah one last time before she left.  Poor women, here for five weeks but because of illness and all of her kid watching this is only the third time she's gotten to see Cheetah, and only the second time she's gotten to hold her.  I hope it will be enough.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 21

You know my daughter will be three weeks old tomorrow.  It seems like it just happened and it also seems like it has been forever.  Sometimes I feel like I'm in a dream state, like is this my real life?  I went to my mops group today and one of the ladies had me cornered by the pie.  "You're the one who had her baby early right," she asked.  "Yup, that's me," I said.  "Oh, well when is she coming home?"  I had to laugh.  I'd told Jamie if I got asked when she was coming home or if it was hard I was just going to scream.  I guess that's what I get for deciding I wanted a piece of pie.  Such a weird life I live.  I feel this desire to be normal, to return to the status quo, but then sometimes it hits me, the status quo has changed.  I've changed.  My life has been forever altered.  My daughter will come home, she will join our family but I'll always have this bit of me that is changed.  For example this....once upon a time I cooked meals, I was an awesome homemaker, I baked from scratch, I avoided sugar, white flour, non organics.  There are lots of lessons I've learned with this experience, but one of the silliest although that doesn't make it any less true is this, Lucky Charms really are Magical.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to live again without having a box in the cupboard.   

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 20

Sleepless Nights!  Every parents has them.  They start the moment your day time/night time confused, I must eat every two and a half hour newborn comes home and just don't apparently end.  You have kids who need to wake up to go potty, a toddler with nightmares, a young kid with insomnia, kids keep you up.  The worst though is sick kids, and I currently have a houseful of them.  There must be something going around because it seems like there are tons of kids throwing up around here.  It started with Peach.  Three days ago she started barfing all over the house.  Then there was a day of nothing.  Then yesterday I get a call from Captain E's school.  Turns out he was throwing up at school.  It didn't stop then.  I had a Young Women's thing to go to and when I got back my mother-in-law told me Peach was throwing up again.  I went to bed and that was the end of it, because my mother-in-law is an angle.  Apparently last night Captain E was up from 1-5am begging for stuff to drink that he would then promptly throw up.  And then at 1-3 Peach was in bed with Grandma...kicking, screaming, pulling hair.  Finally she said to Grandma, "Grandma get out of my bed!"  At which point Grandma decided it was time for Peach to go back to her own bed.  I woke up at 5am to pump.  That is when I saw Grandma.  She looked so tired, bags under the eyes, pale face, crazy hair.  I saw a reflection of what I probably usually look like to other people.  What would I do without Grandma!  Grandma L is leaving on Saturday.  She's been here five weeks.  What would we have done without her?  We have great friends out here but with a new preemie in the family, with bed rest, with an unplanned c-section we have found ourselves with so many needs.  Grandma L has been the miracle to fill our needs.  We are so grateful for the time she's been here, for the care she's given us, for the love she's shown to our kids, and most importantly for the sleepless nights she's taken for us :)  We love you Grandma!  We will miss you so much when you are gone!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 19

Once upon a time I was a low risk pregnancy prospect.  I had three perfectly uneventful pregnancies watched over by midwives.  I loved them and wouldn't have chosen to do it any other way.  When I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child I spent a significant amount of time planning another perfectly uneventful birth.  I found local midwives, a hospital that would allow me to have a water birth IV free, with portable unattached monitors.  It seemed like the perfect plan.  I spent time ordering my hypnobirth kit and reading sites like birthfaith.  I was definitely excited.  When you spend a lot of time reading natural birth blogs and planning a natural birth you read a lot of negative things about c-sections.  I never imagined that I would find myself going through one just a few months later.  When it became obvious that there was no choice, that our baby needed to be born pronto I felt fear but interestingly enough it wasn't of the c-section itself, instead it was that my baby might not make it.  The second I knew Cheetah had to come out, the only thought I had was "Get her out" and "God please help my baby be ok."  These feeling completely clouded out the feelings of fear for myself or the feelings of disappointment I was sure that I would have.  I have a friend who just a few weeks later had the kind of birth I wanted to have and while I found her experience beautiful, when I compared our birth experiences the actually way our babies entered the world, it wasn't the lack of a natural birth that made me feel upset, instead it was the fact that my daughter had to be taken away from me due to her earliness.  Sure I'm not into my scar, and in the morning when I contemplate which pair of jeans to put on and always end up choosing the maternity ones because they are most forgiving on the still healing wound I'm a little bothered, but when push came to shove I wanted my baby safe more than anything else I could have imagined.  C-sections can be a very traumatic experience though and I know especially among people who are in the natural community there can be a lot of guilt and trauma associated with the experience.  That's why I was so excited to read this post that birthfaith linked on facebook.  Written by a doua it gave such a positive light for mothers who sometimes have to face this disappointment.  I wish all c-section moms got a chance to read it.  The comments made at the end were also beautiful.  Time to stop throwing blame and guilt at each other and really just celebrate the miracle that is giving yourself over to being a mother.  All mother make sacrifices and all babies birth's are special.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Preemie Life - Day 18

 So we've moved!  Cheetah is now stable enough to be a member of the progressive nursery.  With this achievement comes a set of new digs and a new piece of bling.  The room is actually quite spacious.  There is a pull out couch if we want to spend the night.  A bathroom for our family.  Our own chair for skin to skin care, and a huge TV that is 25 times better then the one I had in the maternity ward along with a DVD player.  Seeing as Cheetah has watched zero movies so far I'm assuming the TV is for me.  There is also a cute little table with mini chairs which due to RSV season have absolutely zero chance of being used.  The resident yesterday came in and said, "Too bad you had to have this baby now during this season, otherwise the kids could have come to visit."  Sometimes I actually get angry but I'm saving that for another post.  I actually really enjoy the new room, there are just a few things I don't like.  This little foot shot shows just a piece of it...above the glowing red light that measures O2 saturation rates you can just see a gray band.  That band holds on a tracking device.  Yes my baby is essentially on house arrest.  Unfortunately the little baby alarm is huge!  I predict that by the end of our time here my sweet little baby is going to have quite the chaffing mark.  Also I'm a little concerned on how effective the monitor actually is.  The nurse told me, so if the monitor just falls off (I mean after all we are talking about some of the tiniest little legs and feet I've ever seen) just stick it back on.  So I guess technically someone could come in here, pull her monitor and sneak her out of here....hmmm, something to keep in mind for a few weeks from now.  If you hear about a crazy mom who gets arrested for stealing her preemie from the hospital, well you'll know who it was.

 So these pictures make me so sad.  Cheetah was doing the cutest thing, cuddling with her hands under her face...of course when I took the picture and she started.  Oh well.  Part of having a baby is trying to capture everything.  Enjoy


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