Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Guilt of a Preemie Mom

When the boys were in the hospital, I was racked with guilt.  Every pin prick, every breath on a ventilator, every shaky cry of protest, hurt me to the core.  If I had stayed in bed more, if I had drunk more water, if I had insisted the doctor examine me when I felt something was wrong . . . there were so many things I could have done that might have delayed their arrival.  At the very least, if we had known they were coming we may have gotten the steroid shots.

All of the pain they went through -- it was all my fault.  When they were in the womb, I was the only person who could protect them and I failed.  I failed to keep them safe.  For a long time that guilt hung over me, pushing me down, affecting every moment of every day.

Now the guy are healthy happy one-year olds and I don't feel the guilt or fear of the NICU.  I delight in every day with them, and that is that.  All I can do is protect them now.  I can't go back and re-do the pregnancy.

Recently, however, we were talking about kangaroo care, and how K always went right to sleep on Hubby's chest while on me he always fidgeted.  I said he probably knew I was the one that caused him the pain.  Hubby was really freaked out by that.  I guess he thought that I no longer felt the prematurity was my fault.  He thinks this is a huge problem.  I do not.  There are a lot of mistakes you look back on and regret, but you can still move forward.  I know a LOT of events combined to result in the premature birth of my boys.  Still, I feel it is natural and right for me to take my part of the blame.  Every time I hear of a woman on strict bedrest, wearing a contraction monitor, or living in the hospital in the days leading up to her delivery, I know that should have been me.  No matter what the doctors said, that we were out of the woods and everything should be okay after my cerclage, that a little activity was good for me, that the pains I was feeling were natural and not indicitave of early labor -- I was the one who trusted them instead of me. 

It doesn't affect my life now.  It is in the past and, like I said, I can't change it so I don't dwell on it.  My husband's shock and horror that I still have these feelings and have accepted them as part of my life, however, has rattled me somewhat.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peeing with a Baby on my Lap

Surely this is not only something that happens with multiples.  I am certain there must be some circumstance that causes this to happen in households with singletons as well.  I can't think for the life of me what those circumstances would be but. . .

Last night I found myself peeing while holding a baby on my lap.

How did this happen?  The boys have gotten to the age where the sound of one crying can wake the other up.  This is especially likely to happen close to morning.  I can handle being up in the night with one baby, but 3 a.m. with two wailing children, each setting the other off just as sleep is almost achieved, it's just disheartening.  It is to be avoided at all costs.

This is why, at 3:30 in the morning, when I heard H suddenly start crying I LEAPED out of bed and ran down the hall to retrieve him.  Now, usually when H wakes in the night, all it takes to make him fall asleep again is to pick him up.  He generally dozes  off almost immediately.  There are some nights, however, when he just seems to find himself to be Awake.  He is perfectly happy as long as you don't try to put him down.  Unfortunately, this was one of those nights.  I rushed into their room, switched off his monitor with my foot as I scooped him up out of his crib.  He immedately quieted.  A small whimper and shuffle from K set my heart aflutter but he just went back to snoozing.  H, however, was grinning at me, wide-eyed.  I knew then that I was in for at least a half hour of convincing him it was nighttime.  This was also when I realized how badly I had to pee. 

There I stood, in the dim light of the nursery, bobbing from foot to foot in an odd hybrid of baby rocking and pee-pee dance.  At one point H laid his head down on me and I attempted to lay him in his crib, but he bounced up as if on springs, looked at me and I could see the bellow lurking just below the surface.  I scooped him up again, whispering soothing sounds and humming. 

Now it was an emergency.  I couldn't put H down without waking K.  I didn't want to wake Hubby because he had to get up in a couple of hours to go to work.  So, I took H into the bathroom with me.  Here I couldn't put him down because they love to play in the bathroom and once they start exploring any attempt to remove them is met with a full-on hissy fit.  Besides, I was doing everything I could to keep him feeling snuggled and settled so he'd sleep.

So, yes, I held him through the whole event.  I was deeply grateful for three things:
  1. I was wearing a nightgown.  I'm not sure I could have managed pajama pants (TMI?)
  2. I keep hand sanitizer at all sinks.  Much easier than washing under this circumstance.
  3. Recently K became enamored of the night light in the hallway, so I had to move it into the bathroom. 
Seriously, the things I do sometimes.  I do hope he's not scarred.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Who Goes to a Birthday Party with a Headcold?

Apparently my sister in law does.  About an hour after she arrived at the guys' birthday, she asked if we had any Day-Quil because she had a cold.

Now, our guys are no longer in their 'preemie/newborn bubble.'  They have proven themselves to be hearty guys.  We ask that people keep their hands washed generally, but you don't have to scrub before touching the guys and they crawl on the floor with the dog and all.  Still, to show up at any event with kids while knowing you are sick?

She's a sweet girl but lacks some common sense.  It was nice that she wanted to be there.  Her folks disowned us a while back so it is causing friction for her to even be in our lives. 

Still, as I sit here with my snotty nose and my two snotty babies, I can't help but curse her name - just a bit.

Here they are taking matters into their own hands.  They got their impatience from their Momma!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Birthday Party

We had our first birthday party this weekend! The approach of turning one has stirred up a lot of emotions and memories but right now I want to focus on the PAR-TAY.

We knew this would be our only chance to pick a theme that didn't involve cartoons or something so we picked an island theme. We did this mainly so we would have an excuse to dress the guys up in Hawaiian shirts and it was so worth it! They were adorable.

In the days leading up to the party I was busy ordering party decorations and checking on the guest list. I was also cleaning for company, finally cleaning up the flowerbed, accessorizing the second bathroom, and doing something the boys had never seen before - dusting. At the end of it all the house looked pretty much the same as it always does - toys strewn about and pet hair on the furniture.

I also BAKED. I barely cook and never bake. I have fond memories, however, of the cakesy mother made for me. Ever since we started trying to get pregnant seven years ago, I have been dreaming of the day I would be making birthday cakes for my own kids. I made a cake shaped like a tiki god. I thought it would be easy because it's essentially round but it took two days and was so much work! It was worth it though.  Part of it was strawberry cake with a strawberry jam like filling.  I thought that was really good.  The other part of it was peanut butter cake with banana pudding filling.  That one came out a little odd.  We were left with a lot of leftover cake, but I'm telling myself it's just because people were full on burgers and not that they weren't any good.  (I chose to be a snob and make from scratch.)  After all the testing and tasting, I don't care if I see another cake ever again.  The leftovers are in the freezer.  We may pull it out on the anniversary of our 'going home from the NICU' days.

We did a private cake smashing on the actual birthday which was the day before the party.

The day of the party, many friends we had lost touch with showed up.  Some had kids of their own, so there were more than I had anticipated.  Thinking some kids might arrive and being hopelessly out of touch, I had bought some paddleballs and some bubbles.  The kids were more interested in our Guitar Hero, but then were too shy to play.  The grownups chatted while Hubby grilled burgers and dogs, and the boys wound up going to sleep for a little while.

My job before the party was to make sure the guys got a full nap, and in that I failed spectacularly!  I think they could feel my excitement because they would doze off a little but not actually fall asleep.  Finally we all got up out of the rocker, I dressed them and started filling balloons. 

Much later than expected we finally got around to the cake cutting.  The guys had just woken from their nap and were a little dazed and obviously confused by everyone standing still staring at them.  The cake smashing was therefore much less dramatic than the one the night before.  Eventually things wound down as people left to go watch the game. 

Only a couple of people got offended, and neither was my fault.  One of hubby's friends got mad because he was outside showing someone his motorcycle when we did the cake and we didn't think to go get him.  Hubby's mom showed up two hours late and was upset that the burgers were already put away.  Really, though, it turns out she was upset over something Hubby's sister did that had nothing to do with us. 

We managed to not do the gifr opening at the party, and I don't think anyone minded.  We had asked for no gifts, but honestly we do appreciate what people brought. 

It was a fun day, but I was super glad for it to just be the four of us on Sunday, and to get us back on our regular schedule on Monday.