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.

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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.

He stinks

sniffing homemade cheese
it is a great stinky smell
when in tiny neck

Ike-a-saurus is so smelly all of a sudden! Like blow-out-your-cheeks-put-one-finger-on-your-lips-
pretend-that-you’re-trying-not-to-barf smelly. For real.

I’m not sure how one gets so stinky while living in an isolette pumped full of regulated clean air, but I’m guessing it has something to do with trying (sometimes unsuccessfully, but mostly successfully) to keep 30mL of expressed breast milk in one’s belly every 3 hours.

I am so proud of his stink. He smells like a real baby. Not that he isn’t a real baby, or that I haven’t perceived him as a real baby, but something about the visceral neck cheese smell does my heart good. He is a real baby. A tiny real baby.

Yay!

A night out

The wee one and I had a date tonight!

We scored some free tickets to Ballet Austin’s "Not Afraid of the Dark" glow-in-the-dark ballet. (Well, I promised to chat up the ballet on the blog in order to get the free tickets – full disclosure and all that.)

But you guys… the show was great. I would say it was great even if I’d spent the $10-$14 for tickets (which isn’t a bad deal at all). It was only an hour-long performance, which was perfect for the wee one’s attention span. Disco balls, glow-in-the-dark dancing human-sized stick figures, a brief appearance of a glowing Hoberman sphere – it was a lot of fun.

They snuck in some real ballet, along with the cool tricks, so I’m happy to say the wee one liked those parts, too. My only vague complaint was that the costume for the "mother" in the show looked an awful lot like a maid’s dress. But maybe I am sensitive to things like that. Ha.

There was one part in the show when these incredibly bright lights flashed and the dancers shadows were frozen on some green screens. It was blinding, but impressive. Lots of oohs and ahhs and arghs! from the audience.

It was a nice evening. The wee one and I haven’t gone out by ourselves in a very long time. We had to get my husband to drop us off because I still can’t be hiking all over downtown to park, but I made it through the show without any aches and pains and that was a real relief. The wee one was overjoyed to have his folks home with him tonight instead of going to the NICU (which is what we’ve been doing every night after he goes to bed and there’s a grandparent here to watch the kiddos). He has been having a really hard time understanding why I need and want to go to the hospital so much. So having a night of no hospital – though hard for me – was just what he needed.

And the show was short, so no pumping drama!

If you’re in Austin and you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend, Not Afraid of the Dark would definitely be fun. And I’m not just saying that because they want me to. I swear.

It was a nice time and we really, really needed it.

Did you bring your pump?

Had the root canal a couple of days ago. I am unclear on why my mouth hurts more now than it did BEFORE the stupid root canal, but at this point I am not surprised. Hopefully, in a few days it will feel better. If you scrape out a nerve in a tooth, shouldn’t that tooth not hurt?

Oh, and in case you were wondering, dentists are lying liars. "Your root canal will only take 45 minutes." "You won’t have any pain afterwards – maybe a bruised feeling." etc.

When I showed dismay at being in the dentist chair for the SECOND HOUR, I asked how much longer it was going to take because I needed to pump. "Did you bring your pump with you?" the friendly hygenist/devil asked.

No.

No I did not bring my hospital-grade rented pump with me to the dentist’s office. Can you imagine pumping while hanging upside down in the chair. Can the hygenist suspend gravity so that I can pump during the root canal? My body would be filled with pleasurable sensations, wouldn’t it?

Speaking of bodily sensations, if I lay on top of my bed with no clothes on, and don’t move at all, nothing on my body hurts. My arms fall asleep, though.

Actually, other than my stupid face, the aches and pains of bedrest and surgery aren’t so bad today. I avoided the wheelchair for one leg of this morning’s NICU visit, and Ike-a-Saurus actually rooted around while we were kangarooing and was rewarded with a few minutes of suckling. He didn’t get any milk, which is completely expected, but just the act of nuzzling at the breast was amazing. He gave a couple of sucks and then I managed to pump about 14 gallons of milk. Ha.

Is this a rambling post? It feels rambling. Maybe that is because there is so much noise surrounding me right now. Why the wee one has about ten pounds of change in a scarf and is rattling it around remains a mystery. What will not be a mystery is why I take that scarf full of change and heave it across the street.

Oh, and by the way, my insurance has denied all of my hospital claims. All. Of. Them. That is a post I can’t muster the energy to write, because really. I could go on and on but Fuck Those Assholes seems to be very concise.

Ramble over.