Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cooler Rules

Since Munchkin has been in the NICU I've been pumping breast milk and bringing it to the hospital in a cooler. However, more times than not I forget to put the ice packs in the freezer so I have to improvise.

Frozen peas and corn work the best because it's small and has little pellets that form to the milk bottles. Broccoli shouldn't be the first option because it makes the whole cooler smell like...well, broccoli. And definitely don't use ice in ziploc bags because the ice melts and the bags leak all over the place.

Word to the wise, don't forget to put the ice pack in the freezer!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Praise You in This Storm
-Casting Crowns

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

Chorus:
And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away

Chorus

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

Chorus


I feel like I'm drowning sometimes. Every time something starts going well it seems something else happens and we have a set back. If feels like we've been in the NICU longer than everyone else and other kids born at 29 weeks have gone home before us. I not only want him home, I want him to be doing well. I don't want him struggling anymore and I'm getting frustrated. He's being so strong and fighting and I need to stay strong and fight. None of this has been easy, none of this has been fun. The only consolation is seeing his little face every day and watching him grow. He WILL come home, he WILL thrive past this but right now it's been the longest 7 weeks of my life.

Please God, get us out of this storm. Why does it have to keep raining on my boy? Let us see the brighter days soon, please.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Admitting

They say admittance is the first step towards recovery. I have a lot to recover from and have been trying not to admit painful things. Even though I live in the middle of it every day I try not to let the truth creep in, but it's time to start admitting things so I can start to recover from the last 8 weeks (and counting).

Even though it hurts to admit it, I admit:
-I am the mother of a preemie, born 11 weeks and 1 day early.
-I have been terrified for eight straight weeks, since the day they told me Munchkin was coming out early.
-I have cried more the last 8 weeks than I remember ever crying.
-I miss my grandfather so terribly it hurts.
-I believe with my whole heart that my grandfather is in the hospital watching over Munchkin.
-I ask myself and God constantly "why did this have to happen to US?"
-I feel jipped of the normal, exciting pregnancy and birth experience.
-I am not, and never again will be, the person I was when I was 29weeks and 2 days pregnant (the day before I was admitted to the hospital). That woman doesn't exist anymore.
-I live by the quote "You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option."
-I'm about to my breaking point and don't know how much more I can shoulder.
-I also know I have no breaking point and I'll shoulder this until I don't have to anymore.
-My faith in God has been shaken but alternately it's been strengthened. I don't know how to get through this without him.
-I will never NOT be a NICU mom. We will graduate from the NICU but I will ALWAYS be a NICU mom; it will never go away from my heart, my soul or my sons beginning.
-I'm terrified.
-I've met some absolutely wonderful people I wish I never had to meet. We all belong to the tight-knit fraternity no one wants to belong to; preemie parents.
-I did nothing wrong to make this happen but I hate the fact my body couldn't handle the end of my pregnancy.
-This has been the most challenging, hardest, rewarding, strange thing that's ever happened.
-I no longer take things for granted. I had no idea how lucky I was to be ignorant and oblivious to the plight of NICU parents.
-I get mad and jealous of the women who are still ignorant and oblivious to this side of having a baby. They have no idea how lucky they are.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hard Day

Today was a hard day. Munchkin had a fabulous day and that definitely helps (read about him at the link on the left of my page) but I still had a down day. Sometimes I'm happy and joking and laughing; sometimes I'm sad and low and crying. A lot of times both of those can happen within the same hour.

The drives to the NICU are hard and I'm not sure why. I cry almost every day as I drive there to see my son. It's not always necesarily crying for Munchkin, just crying for the enormity of all that I've been through and continue to go through. It seems like every day is a different thing I'm going through.

Today, I miss my grandfather and I'm reliving the terror of the night I was admitted to the hospital. I tried sleeping last night but I felt like I couldn't breathe. My mind kept reliving the 36 hours before I was admitted and I could literally feel those hours; the liver pain that we mistook for reflux, the long, agonizing drive to the hospital filled with pain, the fact we were being admitted and the frightening fact that my pregnancy was rapidly coming to an end 10 weeks early.

And I miss my grandfather terribly. Mentally he's been gone for many years but that doesn't mean his death was any easier to take. I can't imagine this world without my amazing grandfather. I didn't want Munchkin to never know his great-grandfather's laugh and his mischevious smile. Munchkin has that smile and when he randomly smiles in his isolette I imagine my grandfather whispering jokes to him. They have their own inside jokes I think.

Munchkin is doing amazing today. He had a rough few days with his breathing and his events but they found some fluid in his lungs, got rid of it and now he's doing great. He's breathing much better even than before and having very few events. His brain is starting to develop much more and he's getting bigger every day. When he does well it makes me feel so much better.

But I can't shake everything that has happened. I think in light of all that happened all at the same time, I'm handling things quite well. I just can't escape the things that happened and the trauma I went through. I have a grieving process that never got to take place for my grandfather but also for other things. I need to know how to grieve the end of my pregnancy being taken away; I need to grieve the "normal" event labor should've been and the joyous event it usually is and the fact we got neither of those.

Seeing other moms leave the hospital with their babies 2 days after they had them is hard. It seems almost every time I go to the hospital there is a mom and a dad with goofy grins on their faces going home with their brand new baby. Me on the other hand, I'm on my way in to see my son who has been there for 5 weeks and counting. I know I will get my day when Munchkin comes home and it'll be one of the best days ever but I had to work for it a hell of a lot harder than most people. I will be one of those goofy grinned people soon but in the meantime it's hard to watch those other new parents go home with no idea how much it hurts to watch them be oblivious to any other outcome.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Don't Call Me Tiny

I know my son is small. He was born at 30 weeks weighing 2lb 7oz. I know he's smaller than a newborn. You know why? Because he's a preemie and preemies are small. When you look at a photo of him, don't let the first thing out of your mouth be "oh, he's so tiny!" I know he's tiny.

When you see a newborn baby what do you say? You comment on the amount of hair, their cheeks, their eyes or facial expressions. You comment about how cute they are whether you actually mean that or not becaue let's be honest, sometimes it's just lip service. We all know "those" newborns.

How about next time I see your kid I comment on something that's super obvious. You show me your kid and I say "Oh, their head is so big!" or "MY oh MY that's a large child.

Sound good?

Monday, January 03, 2011

This is My December

December was a bad month. To spare some details, let me summarize the shitty month that ended my 2010. My beloved grandfather finally lost his battle with alzheimer's. I was completely torn up and not ready to grieve the great loss. My heart ached for the fact the world lost this man and I lost my wonderful grandfather. Although he had been mentally gone for a long time due to the dimentia and alzheimers, he was still my awesome grandfather who made growing up so fun and exciting.

Two days after his passing, still grieving, I started to get what I thought was severe acid reflux. For two nights I didn't sleep because of this awful pain and on Sunday December 5 I went to Labor and Delivery triage for a pain cocktail as prescribed by my doctor who was meeting us there. Minor annoyance but all in the name of pregnancy. Well, not quite.

Once we got there and they started taking vitals and bloodwork they diagnosed me with Pre-Eclampsia. My blood pressure was sky rocketing and they had to admit me to the hospital. We then heard the most terrifying words we'd ever heard; "We hope to keep your son in for 48 more hours but we'll see how it goes." I've never heard anything more awful in my life. I was barely 29 weeks pregnant and they hoped to keep my son in for 48 more HOURS??

In a few short hours they diagnosed me with severe pre-e and severe HELLP Syndrome. Basically my liver was failing and self-destructing, my platelets were falling making it easier to bleed out and my blood pressure was so high they had to put me on a magnesium IV so I didn't have a stroke. Unfortunately the mag makes you feel like you have the flu but worse. My face felt like it was on fire and I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.

I got two steroid shots but I kept getting worse and worse. Even sitting still my blood pressure would skyrocket to over 200/110. Even though I was getting worse I held on for four more days to give the baby the best chance at survival. I got him to 29 weeks 4 days pregnant when I started to take an even worse turn. My doctor told me at that point I was so bad they needed to take him out or I would die.

They prepped me for the csection and I've never been so scared. I was only 7 months pregnant, how was this happening??

 He weighed 2 pounds 7 ounces and he came out crying. They told us to expect him not to cry, it didn't mean he was dead it's just that he was so early they had no idea how formed his lungs would be.  But he was yelling his head off; the sweetest sound I've ever heard. He immediately peed on my doctor. And I shed my first tear in 4 days. He was out in the world and it was so bittersweet. He should've still been inside. I should've been able to protect him better. But his cry was strong and that was music to my ears.



They whisked him away to the NICU and sewed me up. They took me to the intensive care recovery room to monitor me for 4 hours to make sure I didn't bleed out due to the HELLP.

The only way to stop the HELLP Syndrome is to deliver the baby but with severe HELLP, that isn't enough to stop the syndrome. I kept getting worse after he was out and was in the hospital for 6 more days. I wasn't able to see Munchkin until his 3rd day which almost killed me. I wanted to see him so bad but my blood pressure wouldn't stabilize enough to let me get out of bed. Finally my nurse got a lower pressure reading and snuck me down to the NICU so I could finally meet and hold my son.



It was an incredibly scary, traumatic experience but our son is doing amazingly well in the NICU. I'll post some updates later but he's doing so well, I couldn't ask for a stronger, more feisty child. He's fantastic and the light of our lives.