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January 20, 2017 / Mettā Reiki Center

The Life of Ali


She’s had an exciting past few months! This is an adorable little photo video my husband put together – from Thanksgiving until now, it’s been a fun ride for her!
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January 19, 2017 / Mettā Reiki Center

Potty Humor

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I know it’s been a while (ok more like ages ago) since I posted a blog. And this should probably be a warm fuzzy about how the past few years have gone.  Perhaps this will be enough of a synopsis of how things are going right now to give you a good idea…

Several months ago, Ali went perusing through my bathroom while I had my back turned. As most moms know, it only takes a few seconds for this to not end well. She trotted out of the bathroom with one of my maxi pads.  “Mommy what’s this?”

Oh boy.

“Well, sweetheart, they’re…well…kind of special diapers.”

Five minutes later she came barreling in the living room with her stuffed “Shaun the Sheep”, the “special diaper” placed perfectly between its legs. I probably should have had a fit about wasting an expensive “special diaper” but all I could do was howl laughing. From that point forward, Ali called those special diapers “BaaaHaaa diapers” because of COURSE they were made for Shaun the Sheep.

Fast forward to present day.

We start the day at Target to pick up manuscript books to help with her printing letters.  “Do you have to go potty?”  “No, mommy, I’m good.” Okay. On to lunch.

Then we are at a little Greek place.  We have a nice lunch, and my plan was to take her potty after we paid our check when a lady walked in with…well, an interesting hairstyle.  Ali proclaimed in a very loud voice, “MOMMY!!! Her hair is made of funny strings!”

I forgot completely about the potty plans – we got the hell out of there.

Next stop: Publix.  She’s going to go to the potty, dammit. We find the restroom and thankfully out of two stalls, one was open.

Ali: “I don’t have to go potty.”

Me: “I don’t care. You’re going to try.”

Ali: “Well then you go first, Mommy.”

That was fine with me, because I had to pee like a racehorse.

I am about 2 seconds from finally getting to sit on the loo, when she proclaims, “I have to potty!!!”  Me:  “You’ve got to be kidding me.”  Ali: “No mommy, I have to go BAD.”

Zip up the jeans, put the kid on the can.  She does her business.  She says she’s done. FINALLY it’s my turn.

“Oh, wait, Mommy. I have to poop.”  GREAT. By this time I have my legs crossed.  Hurry up, kid.  I hear a quiet snickering from the stall next to us.  Yeah, really funny lady.  YOU come in here and deal with this if you think it’s so funny…

Ali literally squeezes her eyes shut and grunts. What. The. Hell. Where she learned that, I have no idea, but when I find out, they are in big trouble. More giggles from the next stall. When she finally stands up, there’s a little bit of nothing in the commode.  “Seriously, Ali?  All that drama for one little turd?”  (Clearly Ali wasn’t the only one that momentarily forgot we weren’t alone in the bathroom.) “But you said if I need to poop, even if it’s a little to go ahead and poop.”  Why do these kids have such good memories about THOSE things but can’t remember to include the number 15 when counting from 1 to 20, when you’ve told them about a thousand times?

FINALLY, I get to pee. 20 seconds without an inquisition?  Nope.

“Mommy, what’s those little trash cans for?”

How the hell am I going to artfully dodge this one?

“They’re just special trash cans, honey. Don’t worry about it.”

Ali’s face lights up with a sudden realization. “OOOOOOHH!  They’re for BaaaHaaa diapers!”

The woman in the next stall forgets all about stifling her giggles and starts laughing out loud.

We’re out of there.

“Mommy!  We need to wash our hands!”

“Forget it, we’re using the Purell in Mommy’s purse. Move it.”

The bathroom door shuts the sound of uncontrolled howling laughter in the bathroom.

This is why mothers drink.

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November 28, 2014 / Mettā Reiki Center

Where Our Hearts Are

I’ve had a thought in my mind most of the day today that I have struggled to put into words. This is the best I can do:

I saw people today that couldn’t be home for Thanksgiving because they are very, very sick. Later, I saw a man with a sign as I was driving between hospitals who had no home, and gave him a crocheted scarf because it’s crazy cold outside (non-sequitur – time to make more, it was my last one).

I have many friends with enormous, beautiful brick and marble homes who are able to see and appreciate the beauty of the home I live in, even though it is much smaller and more humble than where they live. They appreciate the love and care we’ve put into it so that it may be a safe and loving place for our daughter to grow. These people know we may not be fancy, but we work hard and love deeply. The people that recognize and respect the beauty and love of our home – despite it’s imperfections – are the ones I consider our true friends, and we see the same beauty and love in their homes that they see in ours, regardless of how big or small or how tidy it may or may not be.

At my job, we know that when we enter a patient’s house, it’s their home – rich or poor, whether their dishes are Lenox or Goodwill, whether they have beans or caviar for dinner – it is where their families and hearts reside, the roof that they work tirelessly to keep shelter over their beloved families. There is incredible beauty under those roofs, whether large or small, concrete or tin, or anything in between. We just have to open our eyes to see it.

Today I am thankful for home.

“One’s home is like a delicious piece of pie you order in a restaurant on a country road one cozy evening — the best piece of pie you have ever eaten in your life — and can never find again. After you leave home, you may find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a more efficient dishwasher than the home in which you grew up.” ~Lemony Snicket

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August 27, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

Family Feud

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We have a nightly ritual of watching Family Feud. Makes us feel smart, I guess. I just love Steve Harvey – he makes me smile.

Tonight there were two very proper families that apparently never had a naughty thought in their lives. Not the best families to have on Family Feud…

Tonight, Steve asks, “Name something that you like better warm.”

The families were answering with, “the car”. “A shower.” “A towel.” My husband was aghast that no one guessed his answer. I asked him what his answer was, figuring as with most nights we would have the same answer.

He said, “Your lover, of course.”

Me: (pause) “Oh.”

Husband: “What? What was your answer?”

“A brownie.”

Honeymoon’s over.

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August 5, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

Green Thumbs

I do not have a green thumb.

Seriously, I can kill SILK plants.

I’ve never been much of a gardener – I love flowers, but I’m not good at caring for them. Every time I’ve tried, I’ve ended up with a pathetic weed-ridden patch of dead stems.

Lately, though, that has changed.

Ameleigh is fascinated with flowers. Any kind. Even weeds. She pets them, talks to them, picks them and puts them in her hair. Before our little girl came along, I would notice flowers from time to time, but now we stop and sniff/look/touch every flower in our path – our daughter demands it.

And all of a sudden, flowers have started growing.

I planted rosemary and lavender about three months ago for her to enjoy the nice scent. They’re struggling in the searing heat, granted, but they are still alive.

A butterfly garden has quite literally exploded on the side of our yard with a rainbow of blooms – daisies, black eyes susans, Queen Anne’s Lace, you name it. Much to Ali’s delight, butterflies swarm this garden every afternoon and evening for a snack.

And this morning, I discovered a surprise under the bird feeder. It looks as if the birds (that Ali adores) have gifted her with a sunflower from their birdhouse stash. It stood out this morning, bright and proud, as I looked outside to catch the sunrise.

I can’t help but wonder if the flowers bloom a little brighter, a little stronger, and a few extra butterflies show up to rendezvous on them because they know the wonder they will bring to the eyes of a child?

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July 30, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

What I Will Miss

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A few days ago, I had a conversation with someone about their kids, and she said, “I miss when they were little babies, when you could just hold them and snuggle them, and there weren’t the messes and the tantrums…don’t you miss that?”

I was at a complete loss for words. What a bonehead question.

Or was it?

Should I miss it?

Because quite honestly, the answer was a resounding NO, I did not miss it, I DO not miss it, and I don’t see myself getting to any point in my life where I will miss it.

I knew her experience was different from mine. I knew that when her child was little and snuggly, she didn’t have to wrestle with wires, lines, breathing tubes and monitors. When she gave her baby a bath it wasn’t a mad rush under a warming device to make sure her baby did not get hypothermic. Nights were spent rocking her content, chubby little one to sleep where ours were long, nightly ordeals with a baby struggling with reflux and just figuring out how to suck on a bottle, swallow, and breathe without strangling herself. Not to mention the frightening transition to pureed foods and solids, that is usually an exciting and fun time in a mom’s life.

I could go through a slew of comparisons of differences in our experiences, but the long and short of it was that I walked away from that conversation reeling with guilt. A good mother should cherish every moment, right? A good mother would never look back on any period of their child’s life and not miss it…would they? Surely there was enough good in those months where I could find a way to miss it, right?

It took a long conversation with my husband and being able to spend some time with a dear friend today to bring me back into the reality that is being a (real and true) mom. Maybe in some mommy circles I should miss every moment – and those mommies probably think I’m the crappiest parent to walk the face of the earth to feel otherwise. But after a period of time, one gets tired of smiling and nodding even when everything inside is saying “no”. After a period of time, you have to be honest, if for no other reason than being true to yourself.

I don’t miss it. And I’m okay with that.

The first year after Ali was born was a long year. I remember being terrified – a lot. And uncertain. Waking up every morning to rush to her crib and make sure she is breathing. Feeling my heart stop everytime the apnea monitor alarmed – and worrying when too much time went by and it didn’t alarm. Worrying when she slept too much or too little. Worrying over every doctor’s appointment and the dreaded three words, “Failure To Thrive”.

And feeling overall like God was completely out of His gourd for thinking I was fit to be a parent.

But then things changed…about 6 months ago, Ali changed, and I changed. I can’t put my finger on a specific date or time. But Ali gained an incredible amount of strength, and along with that, her eyes brightened, became clearer and began to drink in the world around her. Her legs strengthened and brought her body up to standing – first to stumble, then to walk, then to run. Her hands went from clumsy mittens to grasping fingers that can hold a crayon, sign the word “silly”, and pick flowers.

And as she gained strength, I was able to let go of at least some of the fear, some of the worry. Finally, rather than fearing the worst happening every day, days have become full of exciting, new, messy and beautiful opportunities for us. As she started breathing better…

…so did I.

Where the first year felt like an eternity, something has happened to time now. It has sped to a whirlwind pace and the days are flying. One day she is able to take a bite of a banana. The next day she can feed herself with a fork. One day she can take a small sip from a cup being held for her; the next day she is drinking from a straw. I think that these are the days I will painfully miss. These are the days where I am doing everything I possibly can to take advantage of every opportunity to show her the world – the sights, the sounds, the smells, everything that you get to see again for the first time through the eyes of a child.

So what about those tantrums and messes?

The tantrums…ahhh, the tantrums. The fits of emotion when Ali gets overwhelmed by the world around her…and the messes, oh, the messes! Smeared fingerpaints, spilled cereal, thrown food, the occasional spitup, the perpetual drool…

In a roundabout way, those tantrums say to me that Ali is starting to understand things around her – understand enough to become overwhelmed at times. She is beginning to feel emotion. Her whole perception of the world around her is deepening – she is growing, she is learning.

The messes say to me that she is experiencing life – she is jumping in to everything around her to see what it’s like. That is awesome to me.

Honestly? No, I won’t miss that first year. And I guess I’m writing this just in case another mom (preemie mom or not – you don’t have to have a premature baby to have a difficult first year) faces the same questions. I think it’s fine to be true to yourself – and if someone doesn’t feel like your truth is “the way a good mommy should feel”, then that’s not a person you need in your support system.

To the mommies who struggled those first months…you’re not alone. But there are amazing things around the bend…things like tantrums. And messes. And all of the other wonders that come along with them.

March 6, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

Ali’s Legwarmers

When Ali started crawling, a friend recommended trying “BabyLegs” to keep her knees from getting raw on the carpet – I had seen them on some of the other babies in the NICU and thought the idea was pure genius. Being able to keep your baby in a onesie, and not having to fuss with pants during diaper changes while still keeping baby’s legs warm? Where do I sign?!?

A NICU mom gave me the website:

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They have an adorable selection…but at $9-12/pair, they were a little pricey for my budget. So off to Pinterest I went.

I found an idea there that used knee high socks, so I gave it a try. They suggested kid size knee high socks for newborns, and adult sized for toddlers.

Target clearance rack, here I come!

There was some sewing in the instructions as well, so I grabbed a sewing kit.

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The first step was to cut the feet out of the socks as evenly as possible.

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Then, turn your leg-warmer-to-be inside out and fold the cut end over slightly to sew the edge. That way it looks all neat when you’re done.

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I learned 3 things here:

1. Hand sewing is a pain in the ass.

2. Babies don’t care if the ends are neat- they wash the same, and regular socks don’t fray in the wash.

Last, but not least:

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So I decided to try just cutting out the feet, laundering them, and trying them on baby. Guess what? It worked. So I was able to protect her knees on the cheap, and get some pretty darn cute outfits from the deal.

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March 6, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

And more cookies!

I found a new recipe online that was a bit more of a traditional cookie recipe, so I gave it a try with a couple of modifications. The cookies ended up being a hit with Ali – they had a mild flavor and lots of nutrition when you figure in the ingredients – so I wanted to share the recipe!

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1/2 cup butter (one stick, softened)
1/2 cup fruit puree (I used the Sprout Banana, Cinnamon and Brown Rice in the picture)
2 tablespoons sugar (I used brown sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 egg yolks (or one egg, for babies over one year old)
2/3 cup flour (I used whole wheat flour)
2/3 cup iron-enriched baby cereal (I used the Gerber Oatmeal with banana)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (in the recipe, it was listed as optional, but I did use 1 tablespoon in my cookies)
1 pinch salt
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Cream butter, sugar, and fruit, then gradually add egg and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients, mixing after each ingredient. The dough was creamy but it yields a soft, moist cookie.
Drop dough by tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes until edges are golden.
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies.

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Happy baking!

March 5, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

Watching her grow!

When I was little, I remember Mom standing us up next to a door in our kitchen to measure how much we grew.  We had a “chart” on the door jamb that looked a little bit like this:

 

 

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It was so much fun to watch as we grew. I always figured we would be in that house forever – but as life will often do, things changed, we moved – and the growth chart stayed at that old house, no doubt covered with several layers of paint by now.

I wanted to find a way to keep track of Ali’s growth that we could keep with us always – even if life “happened”, it could be something we could take with us. I did a bit of searching online and found growth charts sold by places like Pottery Barn that looked a little bit like this:
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I LOVED it – it was exactly what I needed! But the pricetags started at $50 and went up to $100 or more. That part I didn’t need. So I started browsing Pinterest for ideas and came up with a brainchild.

I headed out to Home Depot and picked up a piece of wood that was about 7 feet long, about 6 (?) inches wide and an inch thick. I brought it home, and laid it out with the measuring tape to see if I could try to semi-duplicate the Pottery Barn version of the growth chart with some paint and patience. The first step was measuring out the “tic-marks” for inches and feet. I used some painter’s tape and secured the measuring tape to the board and used a pencil to make small marks where the paint would go to mark off the inches. Since I knew that the chart would hang 12 inches up from the floor, I lined the bottom of the board up with the measuring tape at the 12 inch mark.

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Of course, I had some help…

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Once I finished making the small marks, I wanted to do some flowers. My idea was to do a climbing vine of flowers with little caterpillars at the bottom and a butterfly at the top. Another idea I found on Pinterest: use the bottom of a water bottle to make flowers. You dip the bottom of an empty water bottle into some paint and dot it onto your “canvas” where you want your flowers to be. The “star” shape of the bottom of the bottle makes perfect flower petals, so all you have to do is sponge a separate color in the middle and add some green stems and leaves to make a pretty flower vine:

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Once that dried, I grabbed my “puffy paint” (black fabric paint) to mark off the “tic-marks” of my oversized ruler, making sure to make the 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 foot line markings longer so I would know where to put the numbers.

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Again, I let the paint dry (that is the most time consuming part of the project!)…and added my caterpillars…

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The best part of the project was the butterfly. It is made out of Ali’s footprints. Daddy dipped her feet into some paint and put her footprints on the top of the growth chart (right foot on the left, and vice-versa, so the footprints look like butterfly wings). A little puffy paint for the body and antennae, and we have a metamorphosis!

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My husband used some hooks in the side to tie rope onto the top so it could hang a little more securely from a hook mounted in our wall (with the alligator hooks to secure it, to be on the safe side):

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The final product was a growth chart similar to the $50-100 Pottery Barn ruler, but altogether, even with the paint, cost us less than $25. It’s a project you can get done in just a couple of days if you work on it in your spare time – the paint drying time is what takes the longest, but the time is worth it…this way, you can add your own whimsical fun to the project to make a beautiful and unique keepsake for your home!

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February 9, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

Daddy’s Story, Part 2: Coming Home

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Our baby girl was born the day before Thanksgiving, 2011. The procedure was an emergency caesarian (c-section) procedure. My wife had been suffering from preeclampsia and at 29 weeks the doctors told us that they needed to bring her into this world if we wanted the best chance of ensuring both Mom and Baby were to come through the birth safely. We spent another few days in the hospital as my wife recovered and the doctors brought her health issues under control and then we went home – without our daughter.
We were not ready for this. We walked into the apartment and suddenly everything felt out of place. The nursery wasn’t ready, we had 3 cats (would she be allergic?), the apartment was too small for a toddler and the neighborhood while decent wasn’t one we wanted to bring our daughter up in. The other kids in the apartment complex played in the halls until all hours of the night, how would she ever get to sleep? We had to swap bedrooms to ensure the nursery wasn’t at the front of the apartment but that also meant our bedroom was right next to all of the a/c units for the complex and they were noisy as all get out – sleep was not going to be easy for us either.
We tried to get settled into a routine – I was back to work and my wife would spend the days up at the NICU sitting beside our daughter, reading to her and talking to her. At the end of the day she would come home and we’d call the overnight nurse at least once and usually 2 or 3 times just to check on her. Physically my wife was doing better and that was a good thing. We kept saying that this might be a blessing in disguise so that she could be able to work on the nursery before bringing the baby home – trying to find the glimmer of good in this stupid situation. Everyone kept telling us how lucky we were to have each other and how lucky we were to have such a beautiful baby. When my wife went back to work, it was at the same hospital our daughter was at and at first we thought this would be great but it turned out to be just the opposite – the fact she was in the hospital and not there next to our daughter weighed her down mentally. When someone would visit the smiles would go up and the statements of we’re doing ok would come out – yes, we’re ok – Baby is doing great – yes, much appreciated, thank you. Every conversation was the same. And every conversation was an act. I will admit that we were putting on a good show for everyone. We were not ok, we were broken.
Emotionally, mentally, physically, we were broken. Neither of us could sleep without dreaming about what might go wrong at the NICU. We felt guilty for not being by her side constantly. My wife started to blame herself for the pregnancy not making it to term. She felt like she was less of a woman and failure as a mother. Night after night she cried for hours while I sat beside her and held her. She became so focused on her time at the NICU it was almost like an obsession. She would spend 16 hours a day sitting by our baby, then come home and tear herself apart because she felt she should be at the hospital. The questions she asked herself were the same night after night: What if the baby forgot her? She had not gotten that opportunity to bond with the baby right after she was born – the baby had been wisked away to the NICU – what damage would that do to their relationship? What if the nurses at the NICU didn’t like her, would they take it out on the baby? What if another parent took her when they weren’t looking? What if she stopped breathing? What if she never came home? What if she never lost the weight, would I ever be attracted to her again? How could I want to be with her after she failed so badly as a Mom and a Woman? She would lie in bed and hold her tummy and cry – her little buddy wasn’t there anymore. Night after night, question after question, worst case scenario after worst case scenario. Yes, we were broken.
And then probably the worst thing that can happen to a new mom besides having to leave your baby at the hospital while you go home happened, my wife’s milk dried up. We don’t know if it was the meds or just her body but no matter how much she pumped, the amount just kept getting smaller and smaller until she had to stop. In her mind, another failure as a mother. Then it did get worse with the visit from the vision specialist who’s assistant told us that not only were they required to force her eyes open with this contraption that had to have come from some medieval torture chamber – if we didn’t continue seeing this exact specialist after she was released from the NICU then they would call social services and have our baby taken away to someone who could care for her properly (and yes, folks, that was the quote made face to face with both of us – right there on the NICU floor beside our baby girl). Yes, we were broken.
I was scared – my wife as teetering on an edge. Every ounce of her being was telling her she was a failure as a woman and a mother and while the dedicated nurses at the NICU were great – this statement from the eye specialist had a major impact on my wife. She was scared someone was going to come and take our baby and we would never see her again. She was headed into a full blown post-partum depression and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I was trying to help guide her through the process but in the end I could no more then try to make sure that she had a loving set of arms to fall into and a set of shoulders to beat on when needed. I was, at times, truly scared about what was going to happen when we would finally be able to bring Baby home. Many of the nights were spent with me telling her that we’ll get through it – the baby will come home and we’ll have the nursery done and life is going to be great. I had to be the positive force and try to keep her focused on the good side of things no matter what.
Then we got the news – Baby was ready to come home! We had the car seat at the hospital and they had done the testing and she was ready to go home. We put all of all of the plans in place and got everything ready and on the morning of the day she was coming home we got up early – probably the first night of sleep we had had in months. We showered and got things ready – the doctors would make their rounds at 9:00am so we would shoot to be there at 9:00am so right after they saw her, we could bring her home. As we are getting ready, my wife received a call from the nurse who informed us that Baby had an ‘episode’ overnight and they were now going to have to keep her in the NICU for another week! What!??? No one called us in the middle of the night to tell us anything – what happened? We rushed to the hospital – what the heck was an ‘episode’? The doctors told us that her breathing had a moment overnight where her respiratory rate dropped to a level that meant they had to continue to monitor her for another week. No one knew about this until someone was reading the print out the next day. This was every nightmare we had been having come to reality – something happened and no one was watching! My wife escalated a complaint to the charge nurse and got a one on one meeting with them to voice her concern. This was not the first time we had escalated a concern about her care but it was the hardest to take since this stopped her from coming home. After being reassured by several members of the staff that Baby was doing ok and this was very normal and they were just being extra cautious, we went home – again without Baby. Neither of us slept. We cried, we wondered what would happen next, we wondered if she would ever come home – it felt like the entire world was against us.
One week later, it was all set again – Baby was coming home. This time we were much more cautious about getting our hopes up. As we got ready that morning we watched the phone for any hint of bad news. We headed to the hospital and met with the doctors and they had nothing but good news. Baby was going home. We put her in the car seat and began to leave when the charge nurse comes out and asks us for a picture – everyone wants to see the little miracle one last time. We finished making the rounds of all the wonderful nurses that took care of her while she was there and then we are free to go – 2 months to the day from when she was born – January 23, 2012 – Baby was sprung from the NICU and we took her home! We made the drive home and when we walked through the front door of the apartment, we did so as a family for the very first time. Suddenly, we were not as broken – we were not missing a part of us. We were home. The apartment felt a little better, the children playing outside sounded a little happier, the a/c units outside the window reminded us a little of the noises she was used to in the NICU. Suddenly, life was better and we were not as broken. Baby was home and we were not as broken anymore.
Over the next few months our apartment became a learning ground for everyone. My wife slowly came out of the depression. There were good days and bad days and there was even a time where we turned to a counselor to give her an outlet to help her get through it. But she did it. Day by day, week by week, she reached down inside and found that she is a good woman and she is a good mother. She grew as a mom as our daughter grew as a baby. Every milestone for Baby is experienced by both Mom and Baby for the first time. Watching both of them light up as Baby learns something new – whether it’s something big like learning to crawl or something small like how to pick up a cheerio with her thumb and forefinger – both of them now beam ear to ear with each new item learned. We met every one of the eye doctor appointments until she was cleared. My wife launched a website to give parents of NICU children a place to find support and information. Those first few months of our daughters’ life laid the groundwork for an amazing family unit but as with any construction project, there was a lot of struggle to get the foundation right but once it was right, the overall project is a great success.
My wife wants so badly to make up for the time she feels she lost while Baby was in the NICU. I don’t know if that desire will ever pass. The main thing I hope for her now is that she finds it in her heart to forgive herself for what she sees as a failure. Having a baby early is not a failure and it certainly does not make the mother any less of a woman. If I could take away that pain and that loss I would do so. In our situation, she did nothing wrong. She wasn’t taking drugs or smoking or drinking or anything else. She watched what she ate, stayed in shape to the best she could and even played music for the baby every night. She gave our daughter a chance. 10 or 20 years ago, even at 29 weeks she would have had little to no chance of survival. Today, thanks to the great folks at the NICU and to my wife for everything she did to take care of herself and Baby while she was carrying, our 29 week old miracle not only survived but is flourishing. I hope that one day she understands just how strong she was through all of this. She handled what can only be described as possibly one of the worst things a mother could ever have to deal with better and with more dignity and grace then she will ever give herself credit for. I truly hope that our daughter grows up with the strength of a woman that her mother has. That would be a true success story.
Out little miracle is now 14 months old and she is doing amazingly well. She is walking along the edges of couches and chairs, she is feeding herself anything she can get her hands on and she has developed a definite opinion about how things should happen – mostly she feels everything should center around her but she also has no problem taking a cheerio and sharing it with someone or smiling at the waiter just to see him smile back. She still doesn’t sleep through the night but she is better than she used to be. We no longer live in the apartment as we were able to buy a house in a neighborhood that my wife always dreamed of living in when she was a little girl and we moved in just before Baby’s 1st birthday. When I look back at the last 14 months, it’s been a crazy ride but I can honestly say that at no point did I ever feel like we wouldn’t make it. We’ve both had our moments of doubt and the moments of wondering if it’s all worth it, even moments where it just felt good to slam a cabinet. But here we are, survivors of an ordeal that unless you have gone through it, it’s very hard to explain. The counselor that my wife went to even related the experience to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that some soldiers deal with when returning from war. My wife still struggles when she hears lullaby’s but they no longer force her to leave the room in tears. Christmas this year was spent with a tree and a train and presents – not a silent vigil in the NICU followed by going home without Baby. No, this year, we tucked her up on Christmas night and stood vigil while she slept like a little angel. Yeah, we’re not broken anymore – we may not be perfect, but we’re definitely not broken anymore.

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