Tuesday, December 13, 2011

MSNBC on Micro Preemies


The fact that some of these people are arguing against saving these babies is what hurts me the most (in the comments).  Who would ever look at my son and say he wasn't worth saving?

The article itself says little to offend, except to further the idea that many preemies aren't worth saving. The lack of information and knowledge out there is frustrating and infuriating, and the fact that people routinely ignore this issue for Breast Cancer Awareness makes me even angrier. And yet, I don't exactly know what to do about it - I'm going to participate, no question, in March for Babies. I'm very much looking forward to it. Still, it doesn't seem like that is enough.

It's the gestational age of a baby, much more so than the weight, that matters in saving him or her. Even then, yes, sometimes the complications are very great. However, people labor intensely to save 80-year-olds when they are struggling to survive; how much less worthy is a child who hasn't even had his chance yet?

It makes me feel helpless and angry. If you're reading this, please share this information - no parent should have to lose his or her child if that child could be saved, and no parent should have to fight the naysayers who think that our children aren't/weren't worth saving.  It's just sickening.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

8 months

Dear Little T,

This month has been a roller coaster.  While you are absolutely more adorable than ever, you are impossible to capture on camera. It never does you justice.

Thanksgiving sucked, because you have been so sick.  The continuous rattle in your throat and chest has made into my very own little Model T Ford.  We're best buds with the doctor now (a new doctor that I love). She even calls us at home and meets us on Saturdays.  Seriously, I totally love her.  The pharmacist also knows us by name, and I am not even kidding. She recognizes us before I tell her who we are, and lets me know if your prescription is ready yet or not. 

This month alone you've been on three rounds of antibiotics, most of which are so strong that runny, snot resembling poops are becoming a way of life.  I've actually lost track of the number of times I've lifted you up and thought, "Oh. He's wet. Wonder if he had a bit spit up? Oh, NO. NO, that's NOT spit up. Ewwwwwww!" and then we're running for the bathroom. The scenario that follows is a bit like this:

Mommy holding baby out from body, rushes to bathroom. Then, Mommy twirls in circles, wondering where on earth she's going to PUT baby while she runs the bath. No more spreading of the poo! Somehow, she manages to wrangle the baby out of the PJs with one hand, balancing baby on the edge of the sink, pulls the diaper off, dumps in sink. More twirling while we once again worry about where to put baby. Finally, giving up, puts baby on towel or blanket on carpet outside of bathroom, while warning dog away. Dog will most certainly lick baby parts, which will lead to Daddy, Mommy or both throwing up and adding to mess. Mommy finally gets bath run, plops baby in bath, begins to scrub. Baby then produces more phlegm-poo, and scenario begins again, only this time with wet, naked baby.

Usually this happens on the nights when Daddy is working, of course. Mommy is about to join the cast of the The Walking Dead because of the lack of sleep - not only from the phlegm-poo scenes, but from the Very Full Monster Wet Diaper (VFMWD) that you somehow manage to produce while you are asleep for like, an hour (seriously, people, how does one kid pee that much?), which also produces a similar bath scene to the phlegm-poo scene, the HONGRY wake ups at midnight, 2 or 4 or 5 am and, my personal favorite, the Breathing Treatments.

Yes, Breathing Treatments (with Albutirol, another reason the pharmacist knows us), with a capital BT. Apparently, you wheezed. I was a little worried you hadn't kicked your cold before Thanksgiving, so we went to see the doc, and Lo, Little T is wheezing. I couldn't hear said wheezing, I still can't identify said wheezing if my life depends on it, but you were. (Actually, when I did finally identify wheezing, a week later, we had a full scale panic alert. Mommy + no sleep + sick T + wheezing = Trail of Mommy Tears.  We went to see that poor doctor on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and she called us at home on Sunday, and had her office staff call us at home on Monday.  Anyway, the Breathing Treatments were every four hours around the clock, and Daddy was working all those nights, so I got up and gave them to you.  You don't like them. I don't like them, either. The face mask, made to look  like a friendly, cheerful fish, has no appeal for you. You straight up scream when I tried to put it on you. It's clearly made for a child twice your size, anyway. I just ended up sticking the blowing tube of steam-like medicine (not hot, just steam-like) in your face and letting you breathe. It smells a lot like new plastic. You like to nom the end of it sometimes, but I figure if it makes you happy and you'll put up with it, we're good.

A week after this begins, you're better, but  not well. So, back to the doc we go. The Breathing Treatments, (which apparently aren't all that unusual for little kids, even "Termies" as we call full term babies) are almost over, but you still sound like a little Model T. Now you're on steroids. Maybe that's why you've been so irritable this week - Baby 'Roid Rage.  Anyway, you finally seem to be actually getting well, which is almost new to us, since we haven't seen it since summer time.

Moving on from illness: Somehow you are growing so fast, it's unbelievable. You eat more than any baby I've ever seen, and yet you're still so thin for a baby. It's odd, but I guess you're eating to make up for the lack of extra baby fat. I figure that, and then I have a good cry, because I still feel like it's my fault that you didn't get the time to get that baby fat. You are, however, bigger than one of my friend's one year old daughter, which astounds me. She's pretty wee, but she looks like a normal one year old to me. It's fascinating to watch her stand. How does a kid do that? You aren't even sitting up yet. Actually, we'll sit you up, and you'll totally fold yourself over in half, and have your face literally on your knees. Then you push up with your hands, which is totally cool. The house is filled with squeeing and excitement (mine) when you do it. Of course, when the camera's out, you'll just roll to your side, as if to say "ha! Ha, Momma! I defy your camera!" Contrary kid.

Along with growing up very quickly, your hair is getting long on the top. You still have a bald spot in the back, but long hair in the front. It's very stylin'.

Since it's December, I get to sing you "Baby, It's Cold Outside", my favorite Christmas song. There's no snow, of course, and if you think about the meaning too hard, or at all, it's a little creepy for me to sing to you, but whatever. It's a song, and you don't care yet, anyway.

We went to see Santa today. I really thought there was no way we'd get you to smile, but you were hamming it up for the 8 year old girl in line in front of us.  - I hope you cry. Although, you totally smile any time you see just about any one, but especially Daddy. Every day, and every smile is like sunshine for us. Your Grandma Deb visited today, and she said what I often think - just seeing you makes her(my_whole day better, and brightens her(my) mood. I know just what she means. I wish I could bottle up your laughter and save it forever.


Friday, December 9, 2011

The Duggars and loss

It's been announced, yes, that Michelle Duggar has had a miscarriage.

I'm so deeply conflicted about this. I'm absolutely sorry for them. Losing a child, especially that far along in pregnancy, is so painful. Regardless of how many children one has, a parent anticipates a child for so long, feels him or her moving inside of her, and to have it die... I can't, and won't imagine. It devastated me to go from being pregnant one minute to waking up a couple hours later and not being pregnant anymore. My baby was alive, and is a beautiful boy now. I don't know how I'd face life if I'd lost him.

I am grateful that she has other children that she has the opportunity to take solace in, but I imagine, too, that she has to provide comfort, as much as one can, to those children. If she gets pregnant again, it's never going to be with the innocence of anticipation that someone who has never lost a child, or had a preemie, has. I know the thought of being pregnant again fills me with as much fear as it does joy, for many reasons, but primarily the fear of loss. The fear that I will love that child so deeply, be literally connected to him (or her) and then lose that child prevents me from even considering another at the present.

So, yes, while on one hand I am not terribly surprised that this pregnancy did not go well, I feel true sorrow for her and her family. I know her body is probably tired, and I disagree with her that she could go on trying for children, or simply not preventing them, because I think God allowed us discover birth control so that we could better take care of our bodies, and take better care of the children we have.  My father himself comes from a large family, and I know there were times where he and his siblings did not feel they, as individuals got enough attention. It's not that they weren't cared for, but they lacked something. I would never choose that for my own children.  I think there's selfishness, even greed, in that.

Nevertheless, no one deserves the pain of losing a child. Just having my own son has made me much more sympathetic to that. I loved him before he was conceived - I yearned for a baby. I adore this child, and I have known women to face life without a baby that they felt moving and living inside of them. I cannot imagine the pain of that loss, not truly. I can try, and that in itself shakes me to my core. I honestly do not, cannot, imagine living after something like that, or wanting to. I'm not saying or advocating suicide if one loses a child - not at all - I just don't know how I could face it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I love a good mom post

For those without children, sometimes it seems like my gushing in bullshit, and my complaints are too horrifying to imagine.  This mom sums up my response to that very nicely:


This section had the most impact on me:
"Fear. Loving a child means spending countless hours, days, weeks, years fearing for that child. You fear that they will be hurt, that they will become sick, that they will die, you fear that you will die and they will be orphaned, you fear that they will ask you about death and you won’t have an answer; you fear that they will be the one kid in their kindergarten class that isn’t invited to that one kid’s birthday party; you fear that they will never love books as much as you do; you fear that they will worry about their looks; you fear that their heart will someday be broken. You lay awake at night worrying about the fact that their heart willsomeday [sic] be broken. You lay awake at night, worrying. Which is why, on those rare nights when the children sleep right through? You’re still not sleeping." 

My blessed mother in law (who really is one of the best mothers in law anyone could be blessed with) wants to keep my son for the weekend. This weekend is my birthday, and I feel like shouting "WOOOHOOOO!" on one hand, and on the other, a little sad that my baby won't be home for my birthday. It seems this works for almost every aspect of motherhood. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


T is just shy of 7 months, and he's on the charts for his weight! I'm so excited!

According to the World Health Organization (and the chart below, which has random stats, not T's), he's at 10.9%!! He was at 5% just a month ago, so this is amazing. As of yesterday, he weighed 16.1 pounds. He's quintupled his birth weight.

By infantchart.com

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Preemie awareness month

This is what T looked like 11 days after his birth. That is a beanie baby next to him.  I know of other babies, equally premature, who did not do as well, and died. Please be aware of the problems of premature birth, which is the most common cause of infant death. Go to marchofdimes.org for more information. Thanks for your support. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

7 months

Dear Little T,

Since Daddy always calls you that, it seems suitable that I address you as such on the blog.

This month you are really trying to sit up. You've begun squealing, and screaming (happy screams!) which is so cute, and you make the most use of those screams when you are proud of yourself, like when you sit up for a second (usually with a little help from me or Daddy).

We put together your Johnny Jump Up this weekend, but you're not really into it yet.

It's getting so much colder, so we've finally dug out your sleep sacks. I'm so grateful that someone gave them to us - they're not cheap, and you've managed to dirty three of the four in the last couple of days.

While we started you on solids a month or so ago, we decided that you needed to wait a little more. I tried you again the other day and it was so different. You sat up (in the bumbo chair), opened your mouth, and leaned for it. You didn't seem to want it that much, but I have a feeling you just weren't that hungry.

Christmas is coming, and Mommy is trying to make some gifts this year instead of buying them all, to save money, and because it seems more thoughtful, for those that don't want specific items. However, I feel sometimes that I'm neglecting you while I'm working on those. There's so little time!

I remember last year thinking that this would be the year that I'd take my own baby to see Santa. I can't believe that's really coming up. You got your picture taken at "baby school" (daycare) last week, and you looked so unbelievably grown up.

You're already getting too big for your size 2 diapers, and moving into 3's. We haven't even finished the first box of 2's yet!

You got shots (they were supposed to be 6 month shots, but you got in a little late, and then you were sick when we took you, so you had to wait), and that was miserable. You were so cranky that weekend! I know you didn't feel well, and I felt bad for you. You pretty much slept, ate a little, and cried/whined. We watched Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast (your first time for both), but you didn't seem to enjoy them all that much. Maybe later. Maybe we'll try The Jungle Book; that was your aunt's favorite.

This month you have begun grabbing things and stuffing them in your mouth. I know that's a normal baby thing, but it's fascinating to watch you. I bought you a stuffed tiger at the zoo last month, and I gave it to you just to see what would happen. Not only did you attempt to stuff his entire head in your mouth, but you got so frustrated when it didn't fit! I thought only the dog could manage to slobber on a toy that much, but I was completely mistaken. Clearly, you are giving him a run for his money.

Your giggling is the highlight of my days. You start by smiling, and then saying "Ohhhhh", which turns into "EEEEEEEE".  It's not a conventional laugh, but it's more than delightful. I can't help but laugh with you. I'll do anything to make you laugh more - get hit in the face with the bear mobile over your swing over, and over and over again, sing silly songs, stand on my head. It's worth it.

Halloween was beyond adorable. You were given two costumes, which actually turned out much better than the one we bought you, just in terms of comfort. We didn't go trick or treating, but I did take you to our annual party, where you promptly fell asleep. I think the highlight of your grandmother's night was getting to hold you before I took you home.

I can't imagine life without you, Little Man. You bring new joy to every single day. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Month 6

Dear TK,

Today 13 days ago you are turned six months old. I wrote this post then, and needed to find pictures. I'm slack.

We went to the Pediatric Rehab today to have a NICU follow-up. I was very nervous; I suppose I was just afraid they were going to tell me that something was wrong with you. I know you're perfect. You've been the Strongest Baby Ever since day 1. My pride in you and your abilities truly knows no bounds, and I'm sure that would not have changed had the doctors said something was wrong, but nevertheless, I worried. That's what I do. The doctor and the therapists all said that you're right on track for your age. You're not the average six month old, but since you should have been born in June, you are absolutely doing great for the average 3 1/2 month old. You're at the 50% percentile for head size, and your weight is on the 5% for 6 months and 50% for 3 months. You're still a little short, but that's ok. You're a member of our family, so you fit right in.

Geekery and drool.

The cooing and talking and squealing continues, and every time you and I have a conversation, it's a joy. You are so much fun right now! You respond to people more than anything - you don't care much about toys, or music, but you really like people's faces. You light up and smile whenever anyone talks to you, and when we go out to the store, you're not happy unless you can see my face, so I put you in your stroller backward so you can see me. You sure know how to make your mommy feel loved!

Your current "words" are: Aroooo, Wooo, Gooo, and AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Oh, and WAH, which is an old word for you. Daddy likes to say that Aroooo is your best friend. Maybe that's what we'll call the toy tiger I bought you on your first trip to the zoo on Saturday.

The last couple of weeks have been really difficult. An acquaintance lost her son two weeks ago to SIDS. He wasn't much younger than you are, and, worse, he spent less time in the NICU. It reminds me just how fragile you are, and it made me very, very afraid. Her words just tore me apart. I hope I'll never be able to truly imagine her pain, but what I can imagine is absolutely terrifying. I'd be sleeping with you in my bed if I weren't afraid that would risk your life more than keeping you in your own bed.

This month I've been trying to knit you a Sock Monkey costume, but I don't think my skills aren't quite at that level, so I bought you a banana costume instead for Halloween. I can't wait to see the pictures of you in it!

Everyone is always commenting on your beautiful big eyes, which are obviously turning hazel now, like mine. Every one of your expressions are so beautiful, but when you open your eyes wide and smile, no one can resist you. I meet babies your age, and I often think, "Gosh! They have such small eyes!"

Your daddy says he still doesn't like babies, but he obviously adores you. Watching you two play together is like a dream come true.

The bath is new fun for you now. You're learning to enjoy splashing, and when you get your feet really kicking, everyone gets wet. I don't think our home has ever had so much laughter in it.

You do cry, but usually only when you're tired or hungry. Yesterday you cried for 30 minutes on our drive home from visiting a friend, but as soon as I picked you up out of your car seat, you were smiling and happy again. It was dark, and I think you might have just been lonesome.

This month you are in size 2 diapers, which in the way of milestones is no big deal, but it's exciting for me. I had to return yet another box of size 1s. Target actually will not let me return anything else! I'm banned!

Our NICU bills are still pretty formidable. We've actually resorted to having money taken out of your father's check every month, and one of the bills has gone to collections. I hate admitting that, but it's true. Even with insurance, which actually covered enormous amounts of the bills (which totaled, just for you alone, $250,000), the remaining costs still fall to us, in addition to lots of testing and bills for me. I can't imagine how bitter I'd be if we were dealing with all these and we didn't have you with us. I can't imagine being someone who struggled and struggled and still lost their baby, or family member. I'm really looking forward to joining the March of Dimes this coming year in hopes of helping others. Someday there might be a cure for HELLP Syndrome, and Pre-eclampsia, so this won't happen to other families, I hope.


Monday, September 12, 2011

5 months: letter #4

Dear TK,

Yesterday, on September 11, you turned 5 months old. It's the 10 year anniversary of the most terrifying moment in my personal history, aside from the day you were born. I was not there, but I can, more than ever, empathize with those that were, or those that lost family. I have been blessed to lose few close family members, and none of them young, but I came very close to losing you, and you are more precious to me than anything I can imagine.

It has, otherwise, been a pretty eventful month! You dazzled us with your snuffling and snorting from your first ever cold, which you caught while we were at the beach. Contrary, as usual.

You've met quite a few people that I was so eager to introduce you to: my very best friend, and her daughter, who is only a couple months older than you are, and unbelievably adorable, and your Daddy's two best friends and their children as well. We spent a week at the beach, which you were totally unimpressed by, but you have grown and developed in amazing ways in the last month. Suddenly, you smile in recognition for me and Daddy, and just yesterday evening, you grabbed a toy and shoved it in your mouth for the first time on purpose. I thought your Daddy was going to burst in pride, especially since it was the first toy he bought for you before you were born.

He even took that picture, which leads me to another amazing development: you and Daddy are suddenly best buds. He got positively teary eyed last night thinking about going back to work today and leaving you, when a few weeks ago we thought there was no way he was going to survive his stay at home with you. You went from screaming terror, unable to get out the gas that was apparently boiling in your stomach, to happy, cheery, squeeing baby. You are officially FUN.

My child, you have mastered the art of the head bob. I'm pretty sure that's something you got from me - a large head and a wee body, so it's hard to hold up. You are trying to sit up, however, and hopefully this won't turn you into a head banger. That's so 90's. Which, oddly, reminds me of a new dance craze, called the "Bern", which imitates the dead character in Weekend at Bernie's. Yeah, dance like you have rigor mortis. I can't wait to see what the future in dance holds for you. I hope you'll participate and not be afraid - nothing's funnier than recalling my own history with the Roger Rabbit, my neon socks, my scrunchies and my tiger printed half skirt over biker shorts.

Your NICU follow up is next month, and even though I know you're doing perfectly, it scares the crap out of me. Our friend T's son R is easily four pounds bigger than you are, and trying to stand when you can barely hold your head up. He's not sitting up yet, either, but he's close. He's a month younger than you are. Still, you two are pretty close in development, and you were meant to be a month younger than he is.

Squealing and yelling is new M.O. You shout, and you bob your head, and you yell about how you hate being cold. You detested the ocean, so the three swim shirts and shorts I got carried away and bought pretty much went unused. You slept once on the beach, and we walked a lot. That, I'm afraid, is as good as it got. I learned to knit while at the beach instead. I spent most of my time with you, knitting and reading. You loved your travel swing, mercifully. You refuse to go to sleep to the point where I changed to the lyrics of "I Never Go to Work" by They Might be Giants from "Oh, no, no, I never go to work" to "Oh no, no I never go to sleep". You make me crazy, and just when I think I couldn't love you any more, you grin and coo at me, and I cannot resist you.

Love, Mamma

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The momma's boy paradox

Yes, I'm THAT mother.

When you get married, you believe that you're going to be with that man for the rest of your life. That's a satisfying feeling.

When you become a mother, you quickly begin to realize that the person you love more than anything, or anyone else, is the one you will have to let go of. I suddenly understand why that's so hard.

My little man is all of four months old. He smiles at me, and I adore him. Even when I'm in the foulest of moods, his smile makes me giggle and laugh. And suddenly I'm overwhelmed with jealousy of a woman that's probably in her cradle right now, or not even born yet - the woman that will take my son from me.

Do I want to have a Momma's boy? Heck, no! Do I want to have Howard from The Big Bang Theory, and have my son living at home into his 30's, doing all his laundry and cooking his food, regardless of his success? NO! That's pathetic. Do I suddenly understand the compulsion to allow your son to live with you into his 30's? Yes, I'm afraid so.

Which leads me to the unfortunate conclusion that I'm looney tunes, and I'm going to have to fight my impulses. I do not want to be the mother-in-law from hell. My mother-in-law has done exceptionally well at letting her boys go, and has been wonderful to me. She is like my third mom, actually (because I have both a mother and a stepmother who are very good to me as well).

Still, all of this? This desire to hold my son tight and make him stay a baby, while simultaneously standing proudly by as he grows (that stifling paradox of motherhood)? Makes me suddenly have so much more sympathy for you, Mrs. Wolowitz.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Four months

Dear TK,

You are now four months (and four days) old.

You were born just before one of the hottest summers I have ever known; it has been over 100 degrees almost every day for months. This week feels like the beginning of fall because the temperatures have dropped to the 80's. Oddly enough, school starts today.

Yesterday we had a huge, if very short, summer rain storm. It was just like the ones I used to take your Aunt Kelsey out in to play when our parents were at work. We'd rush out, play in the rain and the water slushing down the street, and then rush inside and throw our wet clothes in the dryer. I can't wait until you're old enough to do it, too.

I really look forward to your growing up, but at the same time, it's sad. I love your tiny baby faces.
I know these expressions won't last forever.

On the 6th, you started making chatty baby sounds, and babbling noises. You still only do it mostly in the morning when you're in a really good mood, but it's so adorable. You're smiling at us, and finally showing us that you know us. You squeal and squee and make a sound that your Daddy says sounds like a monkey noise (hoo, hoo, hoo!).

You have just reached the stage where you can hold your head up, and the Bumbo has become pretty fun. You also finally enjoy your swing, much to our relief. Before now, you demanded with your tiny fists and screams to be held around the clock.

Nana just finished her first visit. It was wonderful spending time with my Mom. I honestly was scared to have her visit for almost two weeks - I get tired of pretty much anyone in that much time - but she was a wonderful guest. She was so loving with you, and I learned so much about who I am from spending more time with her. I have to admit I got a little spoiled, having a third person to help so we (your Daddy and I, at least) could get enough sleep.

Speaking of sleep, you slept through the night last night for maybe the second time. I flew out of bed this morning at 5am to make sure you were alive. Then you went and slept for another hour, until I was so hopped up on coffee that we bounced around the room together like bunnies.

And, for all that even now you seem to have more energy than I do already, I am amazed by you. Aside from the fact that you're still smaller than other four month olds, people would honestly never know you're a preemie. It's a miracle, and I couldn't be more grateful for it. No one but other preemie parents (and perhaps the NICU nurses) will ever understand what a real miracle it is. Above all, I will give you those extra kisses every day and night for as long as you will let me, because I am so, so grateful for every day we have together, my baby.


Monday, July 25, 2011

If ever anyone said it right.

This mother did. Her triplets were in NICU a fair bit longer than TK was, but what she writes on this post is like she's saying just what's in my heart:

From: http://jennandtonica.com/2011/07/one-more-kiss-goodnight/

"For all the nights I said goodnight through your plastic isolettes,

all the nights we spent apart,

all the nights I could only reach in and lay a gentle hand on your back,

all the nights you woke without your momma by your side,

all the nights I left without a kiss -

just one more kiss goodnight."

3 months old: Letter# 2

Dear TK,

You have decided to no longer sleep. You have declared it in your loudest voice, and, as we often say, "Busy baby is busy", because that's what you are. Far too busy to be sleeping. You won't keep a pacifier in, when you so clearly want it - searching frantically for it when it's already in your mouth is one of the funniest things I've ever seen you do. You shake your head back and forth as fast as possible when it's in your mouth, searching like a fish. If I hadn't seen Ms. A doing the same thing a couple months before, I'd swear something was wrong with you, my little sillyhead.

You still startle yourself awake all the time, so I have to swaddle you, and then TIE you up with a second blanket to keep your arms in. You're so strong! My little preemie boy, who looked like you were having a huge fight the day after you were born, and has never stopped.

I've been watching you wave your hands around, because in spite of both wrapping you and tying your arms, you have freed them again. You are hunting for your pacifier again by waving your head around frantically with your mouth open. You may end up eating your Boppy pillow yet! You aren't using your hands to search yet, because you haven't figured out how to work them just yet. They're purely for throwing upward in disgust or surprise right now. I'm actually a little surprised at your patience sometimes. You've been at it for several minutes, and you haven't made a peep about it. Busy Baby is busy eating the pillow for now.

These days, we mostly want you to go to sleep. Shouldn't I be grateful for every second? Shouldn't I love even your crying, because it's a sign you're alive? Sometimes I am. Sometimes even watching you cry is cute. We worked so hard for you; we nearly lost you. Still, last night's screaming makes it hard to think anything's cute. I went to bed since it was Daddy's turn, and you screamed for over three hours. Your Daddy shushed you so loud that I woke up hearing it, and still you cried. I had to get up in the middle of the night to help. It made me super proud that you got quiet for me, and that I was able to put you to sleep, but I doubt Daddy felt that way.

After feeding and changing you, rocking to you and reading to you for hours, do you know what finally worked? I laid you down on your other side. You didn't WANT to be on the left, you WANTED to lie on the RIGHT side. For Heaven's sake, Mommy! Can't you read my mind yet?! I hear you shouting at me. When I finally got it right, instant calm. I birthed a strange and stubborn child.

Just when I thought you couldn't be more beautiful, your smiles have gotten so big I see dimples. Holy hell, the little man has these gorgeous dimples! Now if you'd only smile for more than a half second so I could get a photo! How could I possibly have wanted a girl when I have this beautiful boy? I did - I admit it - I wanted a girl until the moment I heard you were a boy. Now I can't imagine anyone better than you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Two months: letter #1

In honor of Heather Armstrong at dooce.com I'm writing letters to my son. I've adored her for years for her letters to her daughter, Leta. Now, I finally get to do it, too.

Dear TK,

It's been two months since you arrived, oh so small and early. You looked like a cross between a beet and a miniature old man. At first, all I wanted in life was to put you back in - I missed having you close to me so badly. You kicked every day for 9 weeks before you were born, starting on Super Bowl Sunday. I'd like to think the game inspired you. It was more than 12 hours between the time we were separated and the time I saw you again, and I felt like a body part had been ripped off. They say that the birth of your child is the best day of your life, but yours was not. I've never seen your Daddy cry like that - he could have lost us both. The first time I got to hold you, three days later - that was the best day of my life (so far). For the first time in days, I felt peaceful again.

It's true what they say, you know - every mother thinks her child is the most beautiful. I do, too, but I think you really must be the most beautiful baby on Earth. You have such perfect little lips, and gorgeous big eyes, and a perfect little button nose.

Leaving you in hospital was really hard. It had it's good points - we got to get used to how you ate, and how to change you, etc, before you came home, and we got to sleep while doing so. We got to meet you just a little earlier, which means we get to have you as a baby just a little longer than everyone else.

However. Leaving you every day was heartbreaking. It hurt me so much to let the nurses give you the care that I should have been giving you. I went home and cried the first time I saw a nurse change your diaper, because that was my job, and I couldn't do it. I felt like I wasn't Mommy, I was just some lady who visited you. After that, I took over. I made certain I was the one who gave you your first bottle, and no one changed you or bathed you but me when I could be there to do so.

You are sleeping in a bassinet next to me and your Daddy right now, on his first Father's Day. You are our Sleepy Bean. You give Daddy trouble feeding you at night. I think it's because you're tired and not as hungry. Sometimes to sputter on your bottles, and then cry, but you do not cry much at all. It's amazing - I always thought you'd be really high strung, like me, but you are like me in that you don't stay angry for long. You cried loudly all the way home from your first pediatrician's appointment, but it only took ten seconds to calm you. Then you curled up on my chest and made me the happiest Mommy.

The doctor is amazed at how few problems you have, and I'm so proud of you. You are stronger than anyone in the NICU thought you'd ever be, and you've proven that you're no "Wimpy White boy", although both the second adjective and noun do apply.

I get to be home with you for a month. I wish it were longer, but one takes what one can. I love curling up on the couch with you in my arms, and I wish I had an amazing camera to take pictures of your face.

Even the dog, Popcorn, loves you. (I know, he loves everyone, but he REALLY loves you.) Every time I let him get close enough, he has to give you a lick. It's fun to watch him jump up beside your bassinet to look at you. He always has to check if you cry.

Best of all, all of our best friends have babies just about your age. You are the smallest, but you were supposed to be the youngest, so that's alright. I can't wait to watch you run around and play with them. I hope you love them as much as we love their parents.

I know I've never been so happy. I've wanted you for so very long, but you were worth the wait. Although I'm going to be sad to see this beautiful baby go, I know watching you grow up will be amazing.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Home at last!

After 62 days in the hospital NICU, my baby is home.

I can't express my feelings. The drive home was a nightmare, because the nurses realized as we were putting him in the car seat that the belts weren't nearly tight enough. Um...so doesn't that mean the car seat test that he supposedly passed (to make sure he could withstand the pressure of the belts) doesn't count?

Naturally, I watched TK like a hawk all the way home. We live all of eight miles from the hospital, but I swear, it was like we were driving a horse and buggy for all the time it took. Naturally, we had to stop and get food (because we RUSHED to the hospital - he got discharged early! Yay!!) and that, of course, took 4 million years.

He hated it - all the fussing over the belts and such made for a frustrated baby, and he shook his teeny fists at us and screamed.

We made it home alive, finally. We even managed to make it before TK grew up. It took hours to calm him down, but once he did, he's been relatively happy.

...I know I ought to be in Heaven, but I'm just tired, and pretty emotional. He's so beautiful, though, and he's actually mine. It crossed my mind this morning to wonder when they expect me to bring him back. Surely they won't be letting me keep him!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ha! No tubes! For a minute.

I got into the hospital today, and TK had his feeding tube out! WOAH - he gets that out and has 48 hours of not needing it (meaning taking bottles) he can COME HOME. After 8 LOOOOONG weeks.

But no. Right away the nurse (whom I have nicknamed Nurse Bug Eyes, for self explanatory reasons) says, "Oh, he hasn't been doing well, I'm going to be putting it back in." Humph. Then she insisted that she was going to tube feed him his next feed, when I was right there to feed him. Um, no. I know my son, and he's wide awake, I at least want to try. If he doesn't do well, I won't push him too hard - that might cause him to backslide into his old non-eating ways - but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

So, she put the tube in. I'm not going to argue, because TK would get seriously upset if he had eaten half a bottle or so and then gets tubed, too. I've upset him after he's eaten, and very little is less fun than having milk spit up and coming out your baby's nose. He doesn't much care for it, either.

Then I fed him. He ate the whole bottle in less than 10 minutes, with no problems. WHO'S THE MOMMA?! I must gloat.

Fortunately, his primary nurse, who is a goddess, is working tonight. I know I can count on her to listen.

Seven weeks old, and already a ham:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It's amazing how huge a milestone can be when your child is in the hospital.

For example, the other day, I got to bathe my baby for the first time. He weighs nearly 5 pounds, which is more than double what he weighed at birth, and he's seven weeks old. How did I go this long and not get to bathe my own son? I just never ended up in the NICU when they bathed him, and I was so dazed by such a tiny baby, that I didn't know to ask. It didn't occur to me.

With much laughter, giggling, and sliding around, I bathed my little boy. He looked...confused, or at least very concerned with the bathing process. He didn't hate it, but he sure looked at me as if to say, "Mom. What the HELL?" He threw his arms up in the air and then just relaxed into it, but still with that confused little face.

How I adore that little face.

Monday, May 30, 2011


This was written a couple of days after the arrival of our baby boy. It's been seven weeks, and no, he's still not home.

On Sunday morning, I had a little cramping below my breasts, but in the area that counts as the top of my belly. It seemed minor, so I ate breakfast, fiddled around, and put away laundry.

The pain wasn't getting better, so I took some Tums, thinking maybe I had actual heartburn (I never did during pregnancy). This did not help, either. I ate a sandwich, and drank some water, and laid down, thinking maybe I was having Braxton Hicks contractions.

After an hour or so, I didn't feel better. I figured I'd better just ask M (TK's Daddy, my husband, a Registered Nurse). I woke M up at 4pm. At this point, I hurt pretty badly, and it was getting hard to breathe. I've felt far far worse pain, but I was nervous. M then told me to call the doc's office, and he'd get in the shower just in case. I called the doc's office, and they said I should go to Labor and Delivery (L&D) at the hospital to get checked out.

While we drove to L&D, M started "timing" my pains at roughly a minute apart, so I was convinced I was having contractions, and they'd stop them and TK might be early or troublesome, but any labor could be stopped.

After two hours or so of monitoring, we were told:
1- TK looked great, his heartbeat was great, he was moving all over, but that
2 - my labs did not come back well. My blood platelets were low, and my blood pressure was pretty high (which was a first - I'd never in my life had high blood pressure).

The nurse said we were probably going to deliver him withint 24-48 hours and they would give me something for pain. My brain must've been off at that point. I cried a little, but I didn't *believe* they were going to deliver the baby yet. At least not for 48 hours! My pregnancy was perfect: surely this would go at least as close to how it should as possible. After all, the doctor had told me only a few weeks before that was "very low risk" based on two extensive and expensive ultrasounds.

Less than eight hours after I arrived at the hospital, they wheeled me into the room to deliver. M was not allowed in, because my blood platelets were so low I couldn't even be conscious myself for the c-section. Actually, when I was in there and conscious, they put some oxygen on me, and reassured me they were going to put me to sleep and I was so SCARED that they were going to cut me while I was awake. I was so scared about that, but now I wish I had been. After, I had had a surgery, they took the baby, but since neither M nor I were "there", it didn't seem real to me at all. I was pregnant one minute, the next I was not.

M got to go see him pretty quickly afterward. He was amazing from the beginning - for the first time, he started trying to breathe on his own when he heard M's voice (he knows his daddy!) and started kicking and moving like he's been doing to me since 20 weeks. It was several hours before I got to see him - apparently my blood work labs accidentally got cancelled, but my nurse really fought for me and got that fixed. I thought I was going to go see him at 10, but I misunderstood - it was "after my 10am labs", which didn't come in until well after 2pm. I was getting mad by then, because they took my baby from me, and I couldn't even go see him!

I did, finally, get to see him. He held my finger. His hair is so dark! He's moving around so much, and making me proud. They keep calling him a "feisty one". The day after he was delivered, he was off the ventilator. A week later, he's still off the vent, and just has a nasal canula. My amazing little boy has some jaundice, but aside from being wee little, he's perfectly healthy.

He will be in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for some time - most likely at least 8 weeks. In the mean time, we're with him every day in the hospital, as much as possible.