Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sorry it's been a few days..

Posted by Leslie at 8:46 PM 0 comments
.. but I had good reason. On Sunday, August 21st .. a month before his September 21st due date, Milo Spencer came home to his family!!

We got to room in with him the Saturday night before. It was like being in a hotel but so much better since we got to be with our son. It felt like the culmination of a very LONG 45 days in the NICU. It was a moment that I had dreamed about but never thought would happen on some days. I am beyond over the moon to FINALLY be the 'new mom' with the baby at home. Despite sleep deprivation, I am so glad to be taking care of my little man. It's an adjustment .. as is a new baby always is.

He will be keeping me busy. We've already had a WIC appointment (twice, since he needed a special formula to go with my breast milk supplement) & a pediatrician appointment. His real pediatrician wasn't there so we are scheduled again this coming Monday to have her meet him. But the doctor we talked to said he is doing wonderfully & despite some feeding issues associated with his prematurity .. he gained 5oz since he had come home at that point. :) Over the next few months he has to see an eye doctor for his immature retinas (common in preemies), the cardiologist (to keep an eye on his barely borderline coarctation) & the genetics doctor to one strange vertebrae that doesn't seem to be affecting him much. He is very wiggly.

That's all for today. I have a few topics I want to write about in the next few posts. I am going to strive to find a few moments to type up a post every other day or every two days at least. I have a LOT to say.

Coming up in future posts:
  • Mourning the loss of your pregnancy experience, birth experience & so on when you have a preemie or have a child in the NICU.
  • The evils of Facebook in relationships.
  • Why I chose to have a Welcome Home Party instead of a Baby Shower (even before I had my son!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm Scared...

Posted by Leslie at 11:52 PM 0 comments
& not of what you might think. I'm scared of Milo being home. I am excited about him coming home soon, but at the same time I am extremely terrified. I have spent the first 6 weeks of my son's life watching him be cared for by other people. To ask if I can pick him up, change him, feed him. I am his mother but for this whole time it hasn't felt like it.

Can I do it? Can I care for him? He has had monitors to keep track of things. I am doing my best to watch for his signals. So far, even when he has brady spells, his color never changes. Without those monitors.. will I know when I stimulate him? Will I be checking on him every 10 minutes to make sure he is still breathing at night? I am a mother of 4 .. my first child came to me in 1999. Yet, I feel like I have NO idea what I am doing.

I am scared of being the one to take care of him, yet I can't wait to be the one to take care of him. I really took for granted knowing what I was doing when it came to taking care of my own baby. Now I feel insecure in my ability to be his parent. I want him home badly, but I am filled with anxiety about the whole thing. I want to try to enjoy these moments instead of feeling like I am missing out on it by only thinking the negatives about it.

That is much easier said than done.

On the bright side .. looks like someone got this for me from my baby registry at Babies R Us:

Steven's Baby Boom 5 in 1 Diaper Bag - Brown/Green - Baby Boom - Babies "R" Us

This makes me happy. I was looking around today at diaper bags & thinking I will need one really soon. This will be perfect. So thank you to whoever did that. You rock very much!

& if you wanted to see my registry: Babies"R"Us - Baby Registry

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Happy Holmes-coming

Posted by Leslie at 1:44 PM 1 comments
Notice the title says "Holmes-coming" & not homecoming. Because Milo isn't going home yet, but he WAS transferred back to our local hospital, Holmes Regional. This is a big step! His cardiologist cleared him to be closer to us now. This hospital is only 15 minutes away compared to the 60-90 minutes it took to get to Winnie Palmer. Don't get me wrong, Winnie Palmer is an amazing hospital & my experience there was nothing short of wonderful. The staff, nurses, doctors.. even the parking attendants, made us feel warmly welcomed & comfortable. I plan on making sure they are the first NICU unit that receives help from "Dragonflies & Rainbows".

Oh wait, you didn't know about that. I want to make care packages for NICU families (both with babies in the NICU & also bereaved families who lose their babies in the NICU) & I have started a Facebook page for the idea. I have lots of ideas & I am hoping to get some donations of certain items. It might just start out as me doing it, but that's okay. I will be happy if I help just one family to ease their NICU experience. This is a small idea right now, but I hope to expand it one day. Maybe even get donations from businesses & companies. If you are interested in the FB page here is the link: Dragonflies & Rainbows: Care Packages for NICU Families. I am already working on it's logo: well, I doodled it while listening to my voicemail, but it's a start.

Right now I'm focusing on preparing the house for Milo. My last couple weeks of pregnancy I had a hard time moving around, & then of course.. I was very sore & tired after having Milo. I am getting to the point where I can physically do things again. So I am focused on getting the house organized, getting rid of some stuff we don't need to make room for baby things & get Milo's area set up. It's exciting for me. I am so glad to be at a point where I can do this & not worry about whether or not he is going home... he WILL be coming home. It's just a matter of when! So I don't want to be caught off guard.. I want to be ready. I was already caught off guard by having him at 29 weeks. My birth was not what I had hoped for. I am still emotionally dealing with the loss of "normalcy" & I might talk about that later, but I am trying to positive right now. We will be seeing Milo later. I am stuck here at home as I can't bring my daughter to the NICU & Daddy is at work.

We are getting there. That's all that matters. Milo looked wonderful last night. 5lbs, 11.3oz, Sp02 looked great.. still doing some tube feeding, but hopefully he'll be on a bottle completely soon. I can't wait to have my little boy home. But I CAN wait too... 'til he is healthy & strong.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ups & Downs

Posted by Leslie at 2:35 AM 0 comments
I am going through so many ups & downs. & not even because Milo is doing badly or anything. In fact, he is doing well. Still cruising. No new orders from the doctors which means to me that he isn't doing worse. He went a few days without any apnea/brady spells & that is awesome. I guess he had one today that they had to stimulate him a bit. I want to be happy that he went days without one but my mind goes into immediate worry mode because he had one that was a bit worse than some of the others. I do my best to tell myself: preemies do this! But how often do we really listen to ourselves? I know that I've always had issues with listening to that still small voice & instead listening to the big booming one that screams worst case scenarios in my head. I really need to stop listening to the voices all together.

I suppose my biggest deal is that I have no focal point for Milo's homecoming. Yes, he makes great progress. Gaining weight (5lbs, 10oz today!) & up to 3 bottle feedings per day. He has his up days & down days, just like I do. But there is no light on the horizon that I can set a course to. I am just wandering around blindly at this point. Do I believe I am taking home my alive, relatively healthy baby? Yes, eventually. Does it feel like I ever will? Not at the moment. It feels like it will never happen.

I think too much. That's the problem. I have this energy that was there after giving birth .. to care for a baby. I don't get to do a lot of that yet. So this energy is just consuming me. I'm trying to find things to do. The blogging helps. I am working on several projects that I will be talking about soon. But I still like a new mommy with no baby & it makes me feel so useless! I organize Milo's drawer under his bed whenever I visit him. I take home dirty clothes & bring hi fresh & clean ones. I want to feel like he belongs to me... he doesn't yet. & that's all I really want. I know it will happen when it is supposed to. I just need to focus on getting out of the NICU because honestly... the NICU itself is a HUGE trigger for my anxiety, my grief, my stress. My last baby never left it.. I want to be positive about this time around. But I am experiencing a new type of grief: the loss of my hopes for a normal pregnancy, normal birth, full-term baby... it was ripped from me. & it's a REAL loss. & I am definitely mourning it.

The ups & downs are driving me crazy.

Milo's Tickers

Posted by Leslie at 1:03 AM 0 comments
Milo's mommy loves tickers & countdowns, so ... yeah. Here's some of those just for Milo.

Lilypie Premature Baby tickers Ticker

Lilypie Breastfeeding tickers

Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Prompt-driven writing (A NICU Experience)

Posted by Leslie at 12:34 AM 0 comments
I wrote this for a prompt-driven writing contest on livejournal. The prompt was "concentration & focus" .. so being as my life is pretty consumed with all things NICU, I drew from that. It definitely felt therapeutic. & now I go sleep. I have a CPR/Car seat safety class to attend before visiting with Milo.


A NICU Experience: Lessons learned in concentration & focus.

Beeps. So many beeps. Sometimes I find it hard to tune them out. There are so many of them. They echo around me. My head whips up quickly to the monitor overhead. Heart rate: 154. Respiration: 62. Oxygen saturation: 97. I feel the wave of relief come over me. I let go of the breath I was holding inside. I look down at my tiny preemie son in my arms. He is sleeping as the feeding tube give him nutrients into is belly through his nose. It is the only tube running into his tiny body.

Concentrate on him. Focus on the baby.

I consider myself lucky for that. No breathing apparatus, no IVs. Just a small baby trying to grow up in a world he wasn't really ready for. For now he is well, resting in his neurotic mother's arms. I no longer know the meaning of the word "relax". I grasp onto every moment as if it's the last. So desperate to take it all in until I cannot take in anymore. Yet, I am lucky. For a brief time I have let myself hold onto the idea of bringing home my baby. Unlike his big brother who left a gaping hole in my heart when he died shortly after he entered the world. So hard to breathe when you say goodbye so soon after you say hello. Now I hold a miracle in my arms, a rainbow after the storm.

I concentrate. I focus.

I focus on the small things. The good days. The coos & diaper changes. The moments where I become his mother before handing him back to a nurse. He is mine for a short while. It all feels normal in those brief moments. Except for the beeps. So many beeps.

I concentrate. On the future. I focus. On making it happen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

There's More To Life Than the NICU

Posted by Leslie at 1:36 AM 0 comments
That's not to say that most of my life on a daily basis isn't consumed with my son being in the NICU. I am sorry for the delay in my postings. I spent the weekend with Milo's Daddy at the Ronald McDonald House across the street from the hospital. I got myself spoiled in that arrangement. We only got to stay from Friday to Monday, but that was amazing. Robert has to go back to work on Wednesday. Neither of us is too happy about that. It will really put a damper on visiting Milo as much as we can. We put in our RMH paperwork for next weekend. I will call Friday morning & see if I can get us in for at least Friday-Saturday. If we can get Friday-Sunday that would be even better. It will depend on what arrangement we can make for the other kids. I really hope it happens. If anything we will at least try to stay Friday-Saturday.

Robert & I had a really hard time on Saturday. I won't go into details but it left most the day a complete waste, along with hurt feelings & things that were better left unsaid. I am still emotionally recovering from it to be honest. I'm trying to resolve a lot of what was said to me in my own head & try to understand that things get said in the heat of anger & frustration. & what we are going through as a couple right now is really difficult. Especially since we've already suffered a loss. I've been dealing with some postpartum depression. I know it's really exacerbated by the NICU issues, the pumping breast milk issues .. the traveling. It's just all really stressful. I am trying not to give up with the pumping but even with all the effort ..I don't get much. But I suppose something is better than nothing.

Milo is doing very well. He is going to be moved from a Level 3 NICU to a Level 2 as soon as there is room for him. He doesn't need to be as intensively monitored. He took a bottle for the second day & he ate 10ml the first time & 8ml the second time. He's still little so it's a trial period. But he's doing great. He has a really bad rash because he poops all the time though & it pains me to have to see him in pain when I change his diaper. :(

As for life in general. I'm trying to just look forward. I want to start getting his crib & things together. I need to get on the ball with the cloth diapers. But I have to get Ian, Milo's older brother, ready for school. So money is going to go to that. I have to call the school tomorrow & see if I can get a school list. I'll be getting $40 less in child support for the next month at least so the kids' dad can catch up with bills. It's going to hurt & it's a really bad time but I have to deal with it. Money isn't important, but it's really NICE to have when you NEED it. I miss working even just for a paycheck. Even if it was small.. at least it was mine. I try not to worry about money but it's hard not to. I won't get support money 'til the 15th now. I have to pull together my car insurance & the water bill too. I feel like I am drowning. I hope that Milo's welcome home party will get us things we need: cloth diaper items, sheets & blankets. A travel system would be nice too. I'm already feeling a little disappointed that the turn out to the party doesn't seem like it's going to be very big. There are only 10 confirmed & that includes Robert & I.. yet we sent out quite a few invites. We might end up missing out on some much needed items due to lack of interest in coming to the party. It's a bit depressing actually. But I am trying not to think about it. Sometimes I wish my close online friends could come. I know someone who had an online baby shower & seemed to have a great turnout to that.. I thought about making one, but I honestly don't feel like I'd have that much of a success. I occasionally have that high school feeling of people know who I am, but no one being close enough to care.

Yeah, I am being emo. I'll quit it. I am really thankful for everyone who has helped out during this rough time, especially my best friend & she is throwing the party for us & I appreciate it a lot.

Time to pump .. again. Oh goody.

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