Wednesday, June 19, 2013

People Who Get It

Since the arrival of the wonder preemies, the Dotytron has been saying that the people least equipped to handle stuff like babies in their friends' lives are some of his single, ne'er-do-well musician friends.  They just don't get it.  Maybe because they're not required to live grown-up lives as yet?  Who knows. Either way, they don't seem to understand basic social niceties or interactions - like, having babies to them is as incidental (probably more incidental) than like, getting a new pick up for your guitar or something.

To put it in perspective, Jim, the guy who is building our deck for us (because OF COURSE our deck build was scheduled to start the day after I gave birth!), was a) one of the first people to find out about the arrival of the babies (since I had to coordinate the delivery of the lumber AND give life to two separate souls); and b) GOT US A PRESENT FOR THE BABIES.  That's right: Jim, who is listed in my phone contacts as "Jim the Fence Guy" got me two sleepers and hats and they were size/seasonally appropriate and individually wrapped in tissue paper in a baby-themed gift bag.  Meanwhile, some of the Dotytron's oldest friends - people he's known for almost 20 years?  Maaaaaybe a "congratulations." Maybe.

We are feeling pretty discouraged 'round here.  It's only been 12 days, but we're already at the point where we're seething with resentment whenever we see parents bringing a car seat into the NICU.  Car seat test = getting ready to go home.  The parents across the way from us were being prepped by the nurse that they might start to transition out of the NICU to the paediatrics wing, where you stay in a room with your baby and sleep there and get them established on the bottle or breast and then you can go home.  The parents were strangely resistant - like, "You mean there won't be a nurse doing everything for us?"  "What do you mean we'll have to be there overnight?"  We were like, GOD, GUYS, WHY DON'T YOU BE LESS INTERESTED IN GETTING YOUR BABIES HOME!?!?

Anyway, both babies have been losing weight - they're still spitting up.  L is spitting up every feed and Q is spitting up every now and then.  They've got Q on some kind of caloric supplement to help him bulk up (which appears to be working, he gained an ounce between last night and this morning).  L is on this thing that slows down the delivery of the feed so it happens over the course of an hour.  Then they took him off my milk and have him on this hypoallergenic formula - which according to our paediatrician, is going to make us very unhappy if we have to take him home on it, because it's apparently super-expensive.  They think he might be reacting poorly to dairy in my diet, so I have to lay off dairy for 14 days.  Fourteen days!  Do you know what I have in the fridge right now?  White chocolate oatmeal cookie dough, a cheesecake tart, Balderson cheddar, three litres of whipping cream...the list goes on and on.  All of it, gone.

We showed up at the hospital today and L is still losing weight.  It's just disheartening.  I don't know why, but I had no idea that having the babies in the NICU was going to be this hard.  It goes without saying, but we just want them to do well and come home.  We come home to sleep, and then we show up at 9am thinking we're going to have some good news and then we find out that L is still losing weight and barfing after every feed.  It just sucks.  Going home with them seems so far away.  A giant downer.  Then I feel like maybe it's my fault - like I'm poisoning him with my rotten breast milk.  We're finding it a little hard to stay positive.  Trying to remember that last week on this day, we were dealing with them on the CPAP and having spells and now it's just on to the next hurdle.  If he can't keep down this hypoallergenic stuff, then it's on to maybe making him drink something that will make his insides glow so they can see if there's something wrong with his mechanics.  I don't want him to have another x-ray. I don't want them to make his insides glow.  I don't want there to be something wrong with his gut.  It's the pits.  But I'm trying to remember that there will hopefully come a time when this time in the NICU is a distant memory and also, that there are people who are dealing with issues with their babies that are much more challenging than what we have to deal with.

It doesn't need to be said, but I will do anything (including giving up butter, whipping cream, and ice cream) for these little bubbas:

I think it's really hard for other people as well - we keep getting offers of help, but when we're in this weird in between stage while the NICU nurses are doing most of the heavy lifting with the twerps, we don't need that much help, so we're turning it down.  Right now, our main priority is maintaining the Big Yam's schedule while we can and we can do that with what the NICU expects from us at the moment.  Once we get to the point where we get moved the paediatric rooms or when I'm breastfeeding exclusively, then we're going to need all hands on deck.  We're going to go back to living at the hospital and that's going to be really hard for the Big Yam.  As Dr. Rei said, it's like the babies are here but not here.

On top of all this, the Big Yam has been a holy terror.  Last night we had an epic, drag-out, throw down, tantrum episode.  Like, him screaming himself hoarse type of tantrum.  He didn't want the bath, he does want the bath.  He was hitting me, refusing to put his diaper on, super-sad and angry and it got to the point where I could do nothing but withdraw and silently put his jammies on and put him to bed without any of the usual good stuff - no hugs and stories and songs.  He was screaming for the Dotytron (who was doing the 9pm hospital shift) and it just made me feel guilty and rotten and like we have been doing something wrong with our end of the parenting.  It sucks and I know it's totally related to us being gone every night and to the twerps being around, in addition to him being almost 3.  There is NO SUCH THING as the terrible twos.  It's three.  Three is an unholy age.  We had a debrief about it last night and we're going to try some new techniques:

1) lowered voices, instead of raised, elevated voices.  We're going to try to remember to stay calm, and emotionless.

2) if he hits another kid, not giving the aggressor attention, but focusing attention on the hurt party.

3) trying to give him choices and distracting him.  The idea being that apparently kids tantrum when they feel powerless and like they don't have agency, so allegedly, when you give them options instead of just telling them what to do all the time, they feel like they have some control over their own fates.

4) more fireside chats? (This technique is something I've come up with, that hasn't been corroborated by anything I've read from experts).

5) giving him the words to express his emotions.

I'll report back.


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