It’s that time

to go or not go
not fun decision to make
where’s teleporter?

It’s the time of night where I have to decide – am I going up to the NICU? If I am, I have to leave now so that I’m there for the 8pm feeding. That way Ike-a-saurus can have a go at breastfeeding before the gavage. I was up there this morning and he nursed for ten minutes straight and then for another five. He did great. In between those two bouts, though, he had two consecutive heartrate drops, turned pale and blue and FREAKED MY FREAKING SHIT. He was fine, but damn if that didn’t shave about five years off my life.

Now I have to not let that scare me from feeding him. Obviously, he has to learn how to eat. And obviously, he is not ready to just chow down. He is getting stronger everyday and sometimes I forget that things are still perilous. But today reminded me. "This is why he’s still here and not at home," the nurse said and I nodded my head vehemently. Yes yes. I totally understand.

In the evening, when I am so tired and the drive to the hospital looms and the mile-long walk to the elevators taunts me, and I am afraid of nearly killing him with my boobs, I know it’s a good night to stay home, regroup, catch up on TV and relax. But I feel tremendously guilty.

I want to be there with him tonight. I want to try to nurse him. I want to scrub the germs from my arms and fingernails. I want to hold him and smell his head and pepper him with staccato kisses. I want to whisper in his ear how strong and amazing he is and how he’s going to make it through the night with no Brady’s or apneas or de-sats. I want to tell him that he’s perfectly capable of breastfeeding and surviving, that this is just the training period now. He is like a triathalon athlete, training for the big race, and he will improve his stamina the more he practices. This is what I say to him in the mornings when I visit and in the evenings, and all the time. I’m sure he’s probably tired of hearing it.

I hate to not be there tonight to have our chat. And my husband is too tired to go, too. I know the two of us need quiet time together, too, but still. I miss the little dude, and even on good days I only spend about two hours out of my whole day with him. I hate to not be there. I hate to be tired.

The nurses will take care of him, though. They will give the bottle a whirl if he’s alert and awake. Maybe they’ll even give his stinky butt a bath. It’s nice to know they’re there for him, but it hurts my heart to not be the one doing it.

The TiVo better hold some magic for me tonight, because damn if I’m staying home to just watch crap TV and feel inadequate.

Photo_2

Nippling Protocol

Nippling Protocol
Not a dirty spy movie
a big step ahead

Ike-a-saurus begins his nippling protocol today! And though it sounds like a backroom James Bond-esque porno, it is not. It means the nurses are going to try to feed him a bottle. It also means we can really work on the breastfeeding in earnest. Yay! He is officially 33 weeks today, gestationally (which is weird to say, since he is gestating in a little temp controlled condo and not my belly), and 33 weeks is when they can really start practicing the whole suck, swallow breathe thing.

Wish us luck – this one’s a biggie towards coming home!

ARC! ARC! ARC!

The advanced reader copies of my book are out! Some are in the mail to me right this very second. I can’t wait to see them. Can’t wait! Can’t wait!

With everything going on I almost forgot that I’m a writer. Ha.

Watch out librarians – watch out reviewers… Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel by K.A. Holt is heading to your mailbox. Pick it up. Read it. Love it. Review it. Tie people up, make them buy it. Whatever it takes. I’m so excited!

ARC ARC ARC! I sound like a seal!

Gak

a debate debate
whether to liveblog or not
sleeping seems more fun

I toyed with liveblogging the debate that’s going on right now, but ugh. It is giving me a headache. Do these things really change anybody’s mind? I mean, I see why debates are necessary, but I am just too tired to put up with paying attention to it tonight.

McCain wants to give me a $5000 tax credit to purchase health insurance for my family? The same health insurance that costs $12,000 a year in premiums alone – not counting deductibles and co-pays and getting-fuckeds? Can I use that $5000 tax credit towards the $100,000 bill from the hospital that my insurance is trying to refuse to pay? Gee, thanks.

No energy to even get started on this.

Obamanos!

When it’s good to neglect your kids, or why I was so excited I fell asleep from overstimulation

So!

This morning did not start off well. It is my second day All Alone With The Kids ™. (I don’t know why I TM’d that, it just makes it seem important.) I haven’t been All Alone With The Kids ™ since something like April. There has always been a grandma or grandpa or aunt here to help out. It’s been great to have so much help, and we’ve been incredibly fortunate, but I was really itching to get things back to "normal."

In fact, I’ve been acting a lot like the wee-er one has been acting in her splendor of being two. In our own ways both of us have been shouting MY DO IT! and NO NO NO WAY, MY DOES IT NOW! Because we both have wanted to be independent and we both have not been able to do it.

Well, my independence has returned to something like 85% of normal. I still can’t go up and down the stairs all day long and I can’t pick up heavy things and I get tired really, really easily, but it’s OK, because MY DO IT. And my has been liking it. Well, until the wee-er one went crazy apeshit this morning, hollering and shrieking (and that was before the sitter got here).

The sitter calmed her down, though, and off I went to the NICU.

Well. I got to the NICU and the first surprising thing was that Ike-a-saurus was wearing clothes. Actual baby clothes! I was like, "Uh, hi, is this my baby? Did he sneak out for a trip to Abercrombie last night?" And the nurse told me that he’s big enough for clothes now and doing a better job of regulating his temperature so they took him off the shiny silver temp lead that sticks to his belly and plugs into the isolette. Yay!

You know what this means. This means shopping. Hard core, heavy duty, preemie clothes shopping. Oh yeah.

Also – and this is the most incredible news of all… he nursed. More than just nuzzling. His little mouth latched on and he sucked like a champ! His eyes were wide open, and as I immediately bragged to my best friend, the look on his face was all, "Shit, yo, stuff comes OUT of these things!"

The nurses were disbelieving that, at 32 and a half weeks he was clearly latching on. I just kept yelling for people – anyone, strangers, janitors – to come watch. It made me cry.

I was warned he might not do it again for a while, that this just might have been all the stars aligned at a perfect moment in time, but that’s OK. My baby that wasn’t even supposed to be born sucked milk out of my white hot pump-bruised nipple and I luxuriated in it.

And he looked at me with those bottomless dark eyes and we had a mind meld. Our thoughts met and they said, "Take that, bitches. Look at us now." And then our mind meld decided to not be so harsh because we have an incredible team at the hospital now – and we did throughout my stay, too – so our thoughts met and they said, "No one here ever expected less. And now we are showing you that you were right."

At one point the lactation consultant came by and assumed she was there to help us. But then the nurse said the 32 and half week baby was doing fine, it was the full term baby at the end of the bay that needed the help. And she winked at me. Of course, we may need tons of help in the future and breastfeeding will, of course, be hard, but today was some kind of magical moment.

And so, I ran around like a maniac this afternoon, so excited about the nursing, so excited about the clothes, and once the wee one came home from school I passed out, unconscious on the couch. The wee one and the wee-er one then managed to spill bubbles, glue one or more of their hands to the kitchen table, eat ketchup directly from the bottle and chew on a black marker all while I snored desperately from the sofa.

It has been a big day today. And I am pretending that my incision doesn’t feel like it is sewed over a bowling ball right now because I so want to go back to the hospital tonight. I don’t want to still be this tired. I want to go nurse Ike-a-saurus all night and dress him up in tiny onesies and beg the nurses to let me take him home, even though he’s only 3 lbs 4.9 ounces (big!) and still on the canula. It is both exhilarating and incredibly frustrating to have these great days. I want him here right now.

I WANT THAT.

THAT MINE.

MY DO IT.

***
ps. writing this post made my milk let down.

Sorry!

I’m not going to be able to liveblog the Emmy’s tonight. (Yes, yes, I can hear the wails of who cares-ed-ness.) I am too lazy to go back through the archives to see how long I’ve been doing the Emmy liveblog – two years? three years? Anyway, I’m kind of bummed to not be doing it this year, but unless they have a TV up at the NICU, it’s going to be tough.

HOWEVER, I can’t leave the Emmy’s completely alone. No way. I’ll be home before they’re over and if they are anything like they’ve been in past years I should be able to fast forward through the 17 hours of commercials and catch up pretty quickly. So stay tuned.

Go 30 Rock!
Go Tina Fey!
Go Amy Poehler! (What? Has anyone else ever been nominated as an actor from SNL?) Awesome.
Go Michael Angeli for Battlestar Galactica’s writing!
Sorry Pushing Daisies that you’re up against 30 Rock, because you’re going to get smoked even though I think you’re pretty cool.

Acting nods for the Wire? Where are you? Acting nods for BSG? Hello? I mean how can anyone ignore Mary McDonnell? And what about Friday Night Lights? Connie Britton acts more with just her eyelashes than pretty much anyone else on TV. 

Also… WHO CARES ABOUT BOSTON LEGAL?! ARGH.  I can’t even make a joke about it because ALL OF THE JOKES HAVE BEEN USED UP. For real. After all 900,000 nominations this show has received over the past 100 years there’s nothing left to make fun of.

And why forget David Duchovny? He could use the distraction.

Almost done with the rant, but wait… how can they leave out Elizabeth Perkins from Weeds? How? Celia kicks certain ass. And she is forsaken for who? Holland Taylor? Come on.

OK. OK. Clearly TV means too much to me. But you have to remember it has been a very close companion of mine for quite some time. My sorry butt, sitting in bed for so so so long, was comforted greatly by Laura Roslin’s strength through her fear, Celia’s hilarious cancer, Hank’s general badassery, Liz Lemon’s all round awkward awesomeness….

In fact, I’m kind of going through some TV DT’s right now while I spend all my nights at the NICU. I’m so behind on all the new shows (and the old shows) and I haven’t even watched an episode of Gossip Girl yet. I know!

So no liveblog, but obviously I won’t be able to leave this alone. I’ll be back. If only I could liveblog both Ike-a-Saurus and the Emmy’s!

7:01pm: Ike poops!
7:02pm: I want to kick Howie Mandel in the mouth!
7:10pm: Ike’s heartrate is steady and calm!
7:11pm: I still want to kick Howie Mandel in the mouth!

It would be great.

fortress of solitude

sshhh do not disturb
but there is no sign to hang
only stealthy lock

I really, really like hot showers. I could stay in a hot shower for hours. Sometimes, thanks to my awesome shower bench, I DO stay in the shower for a long time (though maybe not hours). It’s relaxing and for some reason it allows me to think about things other than day-to-day stuff. Even now, with so much else to worry about, I can take a shower and get ideas for new books, think up dialogue for stories I want to work on, plan pieces that will be kindly rejected by McSweeney’s….

And while I am soaking and musing I often hear the tell-tale kaboom kaboom kaboom of the kids running across my upstairs bedroom, on a beeline for the bathroom.

This is when I brace myself for one of my most favorite sounds in the world – the WHUMP and then soft bounce of the children slamming into the locked bathroom door and then gracefully arcing through the air to land on their soft little bottoms.

The door always steadfastly holds its own against the kids. The raining noise of my watery fortress always drowns out their indignant wails. And I get a nice hot shower.

Glory be to the person who invented the combination of button locks, hot water and Sunday mornings.