Friday, April 11, 2008

Just what I needed

I just got home from an appointment with Lantry. I haven't seen her in three months and it was nice seeing her and her staff again. I took Jackson with me while my sister took care of Alexis and Zachary. My goodness, it was so much easier with just one of them. It didn't take me an hour to get out of the house! I just strapped him in and off I went!
So anyway, they had LOTS of questions at Lantry's office. About how I feed them, how they sleep, who takes care of them, how much help I have, about the schedule...pretty much about how I do everything. They wanted all the details! It was kind of interesting listening to myself explain it all to them. Like, WOW, I am really way more organized that I have given myself credit for. Lantry said I look fantastic which I was surprised to hear. I guess people can't SEE my total exhaustion. LOL.

Lantry then asked about them sleeping through the night and I told her that unfortunately I am still feeding them every 4 hours at night and I am EXHAUSTED. I told her how I haven't gotten the green light from the pediatrician yet to let them sleep longer. She was like "what what what??? LET THEM SLEEP. THEY WILL BE FINE." It was as if a light went off. Like, wait a minute...I can make a different choice? I don't have to do everything the pediatrician says? DER. The fact that Lantry used to be a pediatrician helped a little too. I asked her "but what if they don't get enough of what they need and something with their development goes wrong because I DIDN'T FEED THEM enough??" She gave me a look and then said that they are old enough/big enough - preemies or not. Hmmm. She then asked, "You're going upstairs to visit NICU, aren't you?" I as planning on it but I was having second thoughts.

Then I said goodbye to everyone and went upstairs to the NICU. I was a little anxious ringing that buzzer to get in. Would they remember me? Would it be weird that I came to visit? What would they think of Jackson? Would they judge me? I always felt so judged when my kids were there. Anyway, I walked in and it was like a flood came towards me. All of these familiar faces were smiling and SO EXCITED to see me and Jackson. The kid had a GREAT time being held by everyone. He was in Heaven, actually. They sat me down and had a million questions (while passing Jackson around - everyone wanted to hold him). They were so supportive and understanding. I could talk about the apnea monitors, medications, ect...without having to explain stuff since they were so familiar. They really understood how hard it was for me to have not one but THREE preemies. And they were so happy that these three preemies were thriving and as normal as can be. No more monitors (I haven't been using them), no more caffeine citrate, no more reglan...I realized sitting there and talking to them how much my babies have improved in the two months they have been home. They wanted to know all about Alexis's reflux and Zachary's feeding issues...it was so nice to talk to people that really knew so much about my kids in this way and understand how hard these issues can be. Then they too asked about sleeping through the night and I told them the same thing...that I am waiting for the green light. They had the same reaction as Lantry - START LETTING THEM SLEEP ALREADY. Then I really felt better. Maybe because they are experts on preemies AND are all mothers themselves - and they all said the same thing. I have been feeling like they were ready for a while but I was so concerned about them getting the calories they need and about abiding by the pediatricians orders. I didn't want to do the wrong thing. Now I am finally convinced that my instincts were right - they are ready. So I am looking forward to starting. I am looking forward to the end result - more sleep!!! I have been holding back, anxiously waiting for the next phase. Now, I fear that they are SO programmed and used to getting up at the same time that it will be difficult to break them. It will be another adjustment but I am confident that the end result will be good.
We then talked about how isolated we have been and how fiercely protective we have been, per the pediatrician's recommendations. I mentioned about how I feel bad and how some people are MAD at us because they haven't seen the babies yet, while others have (grandparents, helpers and VERY few people in the LOW RISK category). The doctor and nurses and respiratory therapist all jumped in and said "DON'T FEEL BAD!" they told me that this has been the worst season in YEARS for our area and that they have seen a record number of babies RE-ADMITTED for RSV. Babies that were in NICU at the same time as mine. Babies whose parents were not as strict about visitors and took their babies home like regular newborns and did the normal thing - have lots of visitors and show the baby off - something I so desperately have missed and wished I could do. They said that it is so important that I have kept them isolated and as hard as it is, that it has been worth it. And that if people don't understand then screw them (someone ACTUALLY SAID "screw them."). They said that it is unfortunate that NICU parents have so many limitations even after the babies come home and that they often times don't have the support they need and that people don't always understand. I can't tell you how much validation I felt. I was feeling like I was a bit crazy. I am already a germ freak. But I've had to be vigilant with people who come near the babies. Hand-washing is MANDATORY. I've gotten a little laxed recently because I was feeling I might be too overly-cautions. But then today, I received the validation I needed. And I got a chlling reminder of how important it is to me that they stay healthy this season. Being there in the NICU (I actually didn't go into where the babies are kept) I felt the same awful feeling in my stomach I had the entire TWO MONTHS my babies were in there. I remembered how sick Alexis was - how she almost died because of an infection. And granted, she is MUCH healthier now but still. I could not take having to send one of my babies back to the hospital again only because I felt BAD about people not being able to see the babies.
Its really hard. Not only can't I make babies the 'normal' way but I can't even bring them home and live with them the 'normal' way yet. I can't just strap them in and take them to the mall or have people over and show them off. At least not yet. It makes me sad because I WANT to show them off. I WANT to be normal. I WANT to be able to take my babies places. Not only have I had to grieve the loss a normal pregnancy but I have had to isolate them and myself to protect them. I didn't realize the price I would have to pay for doing this and the relationships that would suffer because of it. However, I wouldn't change any of it. As hard as it can be, I am SO GLAD that I have these three perfect children. Yes, I am sad about the things that we haven't been able to do but in the scheme of things, its all worth it. And soon enough, I will be showing them off and lettting everyone and their mother hold the babies. Soon enough. I just have to remember to enjoy this. Take advantage of the isolation. Make this a special time with us and our babies. :)

In other news, I have become totally obsessed with coupons. I am constantly searching for deals and coupons for diapers, wipes, formula, ointment, bath stuff...basically all babycare products. You know why? Because EVERYTHING is SO expensive. And I use SO MUCH of it. I go through a ridicuous amount of wipes every week. You don't even want to know how much we spend on formula (haven't gone to WIC office yet..not until after RSV). When I find a sale I get excited. Add onto that a manufacturer's coupon that the store will double - its like I won the lottery. I get SO EXCITED. The problem is that I don't particularly have the time to really dig and clip coupons like I would love to. So those of you who know us in real life and have asked how you can help...you could send me coupons. Sound silly? Well, it makes a whole lot of difference for us to get the savings from coupons. So here's the task, if you should choose to accept. Be on the lookout for any coupons for diapers, wipes, bath, ointment, etc. Like I said, ALL baby care products. All brands. Just e-mail me if you want my address to mail me any coupons you may have found.

And I can't forget...I have to thank all of you for your support. Along with the supportive comments I have gotten some really honest e-mails from some of you and I have been overwhelmed by the love that has been extended to me. It has really impacted me and given lots of hope! You all are the best. Thank You!

Much Love,
Cindy