(NICU) Day 24 – Green

I try to stand by the “if you can’t say something nice” philosophy when it comes to blogging. Considering it has been 20 days since my last post; you can therefore come to a damn near close conclusion regarding my experience in the NICU thus far; while I say “nothing at all”.  I will, however, provide an unbiased overview:

  1. Evelyn had a bowel infection.  This required a lot of different antibiotics, a blood transfusion and a food fast from the last good x-ray through the following 7 days. We are currently on day 4 (imagine starving a baby who is used to eating every 3 hours). This will set back Evie’s growth and increase her stay in the NICU.
  2. Around day 10, we were relocated from the “emergency” NICU [ERN] to the long-stay NICU [LSN].
    1. The ERN was abundant in young, happy-go-lucky nurses who are full of fresh ideas and endless energy.
      1. The LSN is staffed by nurses who have 25+ years of experience, not to mention their own personal histories of raising kids and grandkids.
        1. A majority of these know-everything nurses work 12 hour shifts. Twelve. Hours.
        2. The night nurses think they are at a slumber party and their gossip is louder than any wet diaper alert.
    2. Our ERN room had one full wall of windows that overlooked the city streets.
      1. Our LSN room has one small window in the corner, facing a brick wall.
    3. The ERN has the shower and Ronald McDonald family kitchen with free coffee, treats and laundry facilities.
      1. The LSN is a super long haul to the ERNs amenities.
  3. It is Christmastime; me and my new baby are living in a hospital room (facing a brick wall). It is her 1st Christmas, in case that is not clear.
  4. We will be here in the LSN until next year.

During the time it took me to write out the above, I have had to put Evelyn’s pacifier back in her mouth 7 times. I am SO jealous of that damn thing; which just so happens to be the color of envy (and the size of a baby bottle – practice). There is nothing (legal) in the world that is capable of soothing me the way a paci allays my girl. Except maybe, the way she holds my hand when I help keep it in place.

Make that 8 times.

Happy Holidays!

(NICU) Day 5 – Eggs

Please read this from beginning to end …

On Sunday I was discharged from the hospital, so I brought all of my things home to then repack for my move into the Ronald McDonald house on Monday morning (5 blocks from the hospital vs. my 30 minute drive from home). In my head, I saw myself getting a good night’s sleep in my own bed and waking refreshed, ready to load up the car and start this new 2 month adventure in the NICU … unfortunately, that is not exactly how things went.

When I awoke on Monday I felt like total shit. Nauseous, faint, exhausted beyond belief, and EMOTIONAL as bloody hell. I text my Mom and told her how I was physically feeling, in return, she reminded me that I did just have a baby on Friday. BABY SHMAYBE! In my head – that’s not who I am.  I am the person who has a baby and hosts a luau the next day. Nevermind I am 41 which in baby making years is way old (I don’t give a fuck how old Janet Jackson was); inside – I am still a young 27!

I text my Mom again, asking if my Dad had gone hunting for the day (fishing to find out if she had transportation to come save me from myself) and when she responded, “Yes…” that was it, the tears didn’t just flow out of my face those bastards RAINstormed. However, unsurprisingly when it comes to my Mom, she then wrote, “do you need me to come over?” YESsssssssssssss!!!!  I replied, “yes I am losing it. I will come pick you up,” and off I went to scrape my windshield.

When I pulled into my Mom’s driveway she was already standing inside the porch waiting for me but as she opened the door, I noticed she was juggling a bunch of red lidded tupperware containers. I won’t get into the 500 considerations that passed through my head regarding those but I quickly refocused on my happiness to see her and can’t even remember what I mumbled through my tears when she slid into my passenger seat.

As we made the long 60 second drive over to my house she said, “I’ve got eggs, milk to scramble them, and turkey sausage! You cannot start the day without a good breakfast!”  First thoughtkeeping in mind my hormonal stateAre you fucking kidding me Mom? I am having a total breakdown and your instinct is to make me EGGS?

We found our way inside and while relaxing on the couch, watching (and hearing) my Mom make her way through my pots and pans, I cannot deny there was a reactive rumble brewing in my stomach and weight rising from my shoulders. Then, even after proclaiming to not even be hungry, I finished almost an entire plate of the most tasty scrambled eggs and turkey sausage I had ever had in my life and an hour later my Mom and I had everything in the car ready to go.

As I sit here watching my little one fight her way to freedom, I only hope that I will break open the eggs when the time is right. If I am even 1/10th of the Mother that my Mom is … baby Evie is one of the luckiest preemies on the planet. I abhor there being one calendared day of the year dedicated to showing your Mom some gratitude, it is like using Valentine’s day to buy flowers – use today to tell your Mom that you are thankful for her; send her a card in the mail for no reason (or Holiday) at all and hug her as if you have never hugged her before. You never know when you might just need a good breakfast.

 

 

 

 

Day 34 – The Science of Fun

In fifth grade biology, I was the kid who refused to participate in slaughtering a frog, but only because I thought it was the stupidest most cliche experiment ever.  If you had put me in front of a human cadaver I assure you, A+ all the way (for interest and effort, of course).

 

My favorite definition of science:  Noun; a particular branch of knowledge. I may have skated by with a C- in fifth grade bio but when it comes to the science of fun, you might as well slap the honor roll sticker on my Mom’s bum(per) right now. There are SO many books and motivational speeches out there focused on how to be happy it makes me want to chew on my sketchers, but no one dials directly into the main ingredient which in my experienced opinion, is and will always be, FUN. Show me someone who is having fun but is unhappy – double dead body dare you.

How often do you find yourself saying, aloud, “this is fun!” or “I am having fun!“? Not to show off or anything, but I have been in a hospital for 34 days and only 3 or 4 of those days were lacking in fun (as it was replaced by pain). My formula is extremely complex and all mathematical and shit; I will share it with you but if you cannot keep up, please do not feel bad.

Ready?

I bring toys with me to the dentist; if you enjoy solving a Rubik’s Cube, you can make a fucking root canal FUN.

DISCLOSURE:  I am on the low to no skills end of a Rubik’s, that was merely an example.

PS  I google imaged the word Fun and this photo was in the 3rd row …

 

 

Day 33 – I’ll show you mine

I ejected this little berry from my hoo-ha this morning. How was your day?

Day 30 – A O I U I I A

I play a lot of Scrabble.  Every day my Dad and I play each other (via iPad Scrabble Premium) from morning ’til night, with downtime in-between of course for meals and events. When he visits me on Saturday and Sunday, we sit next to each other and play while watching hockey for football. Yep, little did you know I’m a secret word nerd.

I have thought a lot about why I like Scrabble so much.  I do not have a genius vocabulary by any means I would rather make up my own words than learn new ones and in fact, I most often play more common words than complicated ones. I am also not at all competitive, never have been.  Maybe it is because I suck at most games; sports or video related it doesn’t matter, no skills here, my competitiveness comes in the form of fun.  Whoever has the most fun playing the game is always a winner! (holy. cheese.)

ANYYYWAY … I have decided to make a list of the reasons I believe Scrabble is for everyone. Maybe if it is not your thing, you will be more willing to give it another shot. You can thank me later. (Preferably with flowers, balloons, or anything that is known to brighten a hospital room)

Happy Scrabbling!

Day 27 – Irony

It is so hard to believe that one year ago, I was sitting in a room full of shrinks at Newark Psychiatric Hospital, with a white blanket wrapped around my body and up over my head – begging them to just let me kill myself. They put me back on Zyprexa and said if it did not work within 24 hours we would be discussing ECT (i.e. shock therapy).

Yesterday I was walking through the Mt. Hope Cemetery, talking to Evie as I do when we are alone (always like an adult – I hope her first word doesn’t start with Fu). I contemplated how long I have struggled to find my survival purpose (i.e. my second chance at life) and fulfill it appropriately, but as I stood there amongst the graves of so many who risked their lives for me to have mine, I suddenly realized that unfound purpose has been with me 24/7 for the past 7 months – I lived to give life to another.

Right now I am a statistic because I can be; I am strong enough to weather the obstacles that have crossed my pregnancy path but for once, I am not alone in the fight. The little human that tries to kick my iPad off my belly when I use it as a shelf is battling right there beside me and she is already a stronger person for it too.

I truly believe that I make a difference in people’s lives; when I allow myself to let people in. My future goals are to finish school and become a therapist, volunteer at the hospital to spend time with suicide patients and/or the ladies (like muy) who are hospital bound for what feels like an eternity and to train Oliver to be a therapy dog. Of course, being the best M-word on the planet is my highest priority, but having Evie as a part of my journey; bringing happiness to others, will hopefully inspire her to do the same.

A ginormous thank you to all of our Veterans (especially my Daddy) for enabling me to have this life that I have now learned to treasure.

 

Day 23 – Muffin Top

Celebrating the days and photographing the milestones. I’m guessing a hashtag of some sort should go here, but that’s just not how I roll. Word?

Today I am thankful I still have this bump.

and you?

P.S. Yes I did (make a poor attempt to) retouch the old lady lines on my chin which were looking overly dramatic due to my head tuck (into my brace).

Day 21 – Ob la di, Ob la da

An infinite hospital stay is unsympathetically slack-less.  You still have to:

  1. PAY YO’ BILLS – I did catch one break, the cable company allowed me to suspend the TV part of my service (for a $30 monthly fee).
  2. HEAT YO’ HAUS – I decided to not use my furnace this winter because it is run by propane and last season I was out $200-$300 a month for warmth (fucking criminal) however, my Dad just informed me that I will have to flip it on regardless, otherwise my pipes will freeze.
  3. INSURE YO’ RIDE – If my parents had not brought me my mail I would have completely forgotten that my car insurance renews this month and even though I will not be driving it for 3 of the 6 months billed, you know how insurance works … there is no optional hiatus, it is considered a consequential lapse in their profitable buttplugged world.
  4. FEED YO’ FISH – ha ha, okay of course I want Barry the betta to thrive in my absence, don’t go all PETA on me.

Which brings me back to thankfulness. The other day I honored family but I am going another round with them as it is beyond deserved.

My parents are totally tasked with double life duties. They are dogsitting my boy and they have a dog and cat of their own to care for. They are at my house every single day, fish feeding and plant watering and mail fetching, not to mention, performing an endless amount of scavenger hunts while there; in search of items I desire here. My Mom does my hospital laundry at least twice a week (gowns are for the sick, I wear my own threads); they cleaned out my refrigerator and my Dad took down my outside Halloween decorations.

My parents make the 30 minute drive to the hospital about 4 to 5 days a week, which does not go easy on the gas tank of a Ford F150 aka the pocketbooks of a retired couple. During the week when the hospital is thriving, my Mom is stuck parking on the roof which is about 3/4 of a mile from my room (super fun for laundry hauling. not.)  They are working on painting Evie’s bedroom and my Dad will most likely be putting together the car seat and bassinet that sit boxed in her room.

Clearly, all of the above tasks (+ those unspoken) would be a lot to handle for anyone, but we are talking about my vintage Mommy and Daddy. When I expressed my concern of burden-ism to my Mom, she kindly reminded me that it will be payback time before I know it. My mind took a time capsule trip YEARS ahead and before long my Mom’s comforting words made sense.

HOWEVER!

Without any degree of doubt, I look forward to spending every available minute of my life on ensuring that all of my parent’s last years/months/minutes are as simple and enjoyable as humanly possible. Burden-ism –> washed.

If anyone has the spiritual-atheist version of, “blessed,” please send it my way. Albeit, that habitually overused religious word is often a complete understatement.

Who are you thankful for today and why?

 

Day 19

My hospital room is the cool kids crib, the staff loves visiting me.  Yesterday Evelyn yawned during an ulltrasound, twice. Uterine imprisoned babies can do that shit?!  This was the first true shock of realization that I have a human life in my belly. That is the weirdest fucking thing I have ever said about myself. 

I can no longer call her an alien. Though I wish there was something else she could call me, other than the M words. I do not feel like anything M.  I feel like my own surrogate. Nope that’s not it. I feel like someone else’s surrogate but she/he/they decided that I am to keep the alien. I mean baby. For some unearthly reason.

I digress.

This is the month of giving thanks (and sporting mustaches).  I encourage you to note (mentally or physically) something you are thankful for on a daily basis.  If you have kids, wrap them in.  I wish this practice was a lifestyle, not a holiday, but I too am guilty of getting terribly wrapped up in the things that are going poorly. Negativity is human nature.  Let’s be a part of the inhuman group.

I didn’t said alien …

I am thankful for my family. I wake up and go to bed feeling loved, every single day. Everything I do, both good and bad, is supported. They not only listen to me, but they hear me as well. I still exist today due to my parent’s undying encouragement.

I am also thankful for being allowed to decorate my hospital room!

Your turn.

 

Day 5

For better or worse, nothing describes my life better than Mr. Gere’s quote(s) over there. I resigned my Catholic faith years ago but I have spiritual faith and I believe in the Universe [U].  However, just as they say, “God does not give you more than you can handle,” I think the same for the U, and the U most definitely sees me as someone who can manage a SHIT TON.

Once upon a time … nurse A came in to take my blood (done every 3 days).  Nurse A was one of the most adorable, personable nurses in the pregnancy-problem ward and my blood draw was her last task of the day.  About 10 minutes post Round 1, A reappeared in my doorway with more needles and vials in her hands, sharing that she accidentally put the wrong label on my blood and the policy calls for auto-redraw.

Round 2, nurse A accidentally blew out one of my veins, but she DID get some blood in the vials and dropped them off at the desk before heading home.  15 minutes or so later, nurse B takes the doorway’s place and says, “you are probably not going to like this, but we need to take your blood again, A did not draw enough.”

Round 3, they called for a SWAT nurse who specializes in finding good veins with zero excavation.  Third time was a charm and after crushing a handful of heat packs, I was left with this temporary (but beautiful!) tattoo to remind me of the good times had today …

I giggled my way through the battle of the blood; it was distressing not dangerous.  If you think about it, it takes SOOOO much effort to be pissed off, annoyed, stressed out, or judgmental.  Being empathetic, accommodating and compassionate, that shit is blood pressure free.

Give someone a break today and just giggle!