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One Year From Now


Life with a preemie #11

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I'm angry. Today hasn't been a good day for me. A bunch of bad stuff going on in my head and I've been dwelling on the bad stuff.

I'm angry because we were planning on this being our last pregnancy and I didn't even get to enjoy the big belly, getting-cute-looks-from-strangers final trimester.

I'm angry because I'm having an incredibly hard time producing milk for my little boy (did you know that milk from preemie moms is specially formulated for those little preemies? Did you know that a preemie born in the second trimester like Timothy doesn't receive ANY antibodies from his mother and that's why breastmilk is even more important?) and as a result he is now receiving formula about one-third to one-half of the day, which brings tears to my eyes just to type. I know, I know, lots of babies receive formula exclusively and do fine but for preemie babies it's even more important because of the properties of breastmilk that can't be replicated in formula. I successfully breastfed the other three kids for a year each but because Timothy was born so early and the situation is very different, it just ain't happenin'.

I'm angry because I have to leave my baby at the hospital every night instead of taking him home with me.

I'm angry because I missed out on his first bath (and his second and third and...).

I'm angry because there are nurses that know his patterns and habits better than I do. I'm his mother for cryin' out loud!! I'm the person who advocates for a mother to never have her baby taken from her side from the moment of birth but all of a sudden that privilege has been taken from me.

I'm angry that because of the situation my other three children get half a mommy and I don't feel like there is anything I can do to change that.

This sucks.


Life with a preemie #10

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Life with a preemie brings a lot of tears. Jeremy will tell you that I'm a somewhat emotional person anyway, crying at sad/happy/sappy songs/movies/commercials/books. While I was pregnant I had several moments when my laughing turned spontaneously into tears for no apparent reason. I'd be crying my eyes out, sobbing to him that "I don't know why I'm cryyyyyyyyyying". But now that I have a little guy in the NICU, a 20 minute drive from my house, being cared for by someone other than me, I tend to cry a little bit easier and some days it's worse than others.

Yesterday I was really missing Timothy. I held him in the morning for a couple hours, cherishing every moment. I went home, did home things with the kids and by the time dinner rolled around I knew I needed to go back to the hospital. As I prepared dinner I had tears in my eyes because I missed him so much. Fortunately I have a very understanding husband who gave up his visiting time so that I could go back to be with Timothy.



Life with a preemie #9

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Even though we have a preemie in the hospital whom we think about all the time, we still have a life happening outside the hospital too. I've written on Facebook how I feel like I have two lives - the one I live while sitting at Timothy's bedside and the other I live when away from the hospital. For those of you that are local, I feel like the transition to my hospital life starts when I'm on the bridge from the 180 to 41S. As I round the corner I can see the hospital on the right and my heart starts to beat a little faster and I long even more for my littlest boy. On the way home I transition back when I move from the 180 to the 168.

On Sunday I decided to not visit the hospital at all. I was tired and needed to take a long nap. I wanted to spend a whole day with my older three children. I gave myself to permission to take a break after Jeremy promised he would go in my stead. I went to bed on Sunday feeling rested and like I had done the right thing, but by Monday I was looking forward to being back with him at the hospital!

I had a note from a friend who has experienced long hospital stays with two of her children. She explained a bit about how her family coped and what to expect when we do finally bring Timothy home. Leaving the hospital with him won't be a magic door into normalcy. Our family will now have four children and we will have to find a new normal. Life with a new baby is always dynamic, always changing and we will have to help the children, all of them, deal with the changes.



Life with a preemie #8

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Preemies change very fast. Of course they can get sick very quickly, like all children can, but they can also grow very quickly! Timothy is 5 weeks old today and weighs 1030 grams (2pounds 4ounces). He was born weighing 1 pound 13ounces and eventually went down to 1lb 7oz. This is a huge weight gain to see in just a few weeks. Nurses that had him three weeks ago are coming back and saying things like "He's getting so big!"

The nurse yesterday told me that the next few weeks should show huge changes for Mr Timothy. He could possibly gain at least another pound if not two. She said it's not uncommon for babies to gain nearly two ounces a day at times.

In a few weeks we will start trying to breastfeed and giving him a bottle. As he gains weight they will start to lower the temperature in his isolette from tropical to just boring Fresno temps. He has to be able maintain his body temp on his own. At this point we can start to dress him in clothes and he will be swaddled like a regular baby.

At some point they will start to wean him off oxygen support. He currently gets around 28% o2 but needs to get down to 21 because that is normal room air.

In order to come home he needs to breathe on his own, eat on his own, maintain his own temperature.







Life with a preemie #7

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Life with a preemie makes one appreciate the small things. Yesterday, after I held Timothy for a couple hours, the nurse was taking him away to put him back into his bed. Before she placed him in his bed, she put his little cheek in front of my face and said "Give him a goodnight kiss, Mom." And I leaned over and gave him a kiss, the first one ever. I've touched him with my hands, but never given him a kiss. Even now I can remember the soft, soft feel of his cheek on my lips and I think that's why I was so desperate to get back to the hospital so I could touch him again this morning.

I've come to appreciate the small (and big) things that Jeremy does for me. When I came home yesterday he had cleaned up the kitchen from lunch and when I came back from the hospital this morning he had gotten everything ready for church. What a blessing! I notice when the kids pick up their cheese wrappers instead of leaving them on the floor for me to pick up later (or yell at them to pick up for themselves). I pay attention when our neighbour moves the rubbish bins up to the side of the house after they've been emptied for the week. And I really notice when Jeremy fills up the tank with gas so I don't have to do it on the way to the hospital!


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