Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Let's start with the Good, shall we? One of my coworkers asked if Zach needs any summer clothes, and since I have only bought about 5 or so summer outfits so far, I mentioned that we could use some, that I haven't really shopped. Well, she had us meet her and gave me bags of her son's cothes to go through. Oh holy crap. There were 4 pair of swim trunks, 6 pairs of sandals, 30 complete outfits and a ton more separates, 7 pairs of light pajamas, and even an unopened pack of swim diapers. All looking brand new, all designer labels. So while I had this huge list of stuff the boys needed for summer, all that is left for me to buy Zach is bigger-sized onesies. Seriously. Love it!
The Bad: Well apparently, I have upset some people and I do not know why. I shouldn't care but I do. I have always worried too much about what others think of me and have been insecure about it. But I keep noticing people from work gone from my friends list on Facebook. Unlike some of my coworkers, I will not start WW3 over it. Hell, I won't even mention it to anyone. But it kind of makes me wonder what it may be the result of. Am I just a bad person? Am I completely pathetic for even worrying about it?
The Ugly: Apparently a coworker had her annual evaluation at work and my name came up. My supervisor mentioned the "problems" we have like I would instantly know what she is talking about, and I honestly have no clue. This person is always nice to me and this was the first I had heard of it. I just played dumb when I should have spoken up. I mean, there are some people who just will not like each other, but to go so far as to bring it up to my boss? Really? And the only thing I can think of was when I first found out I was pregnant with Zach and, keeping in mind the experience I had with Evan, I was sort of upset about it. This girl had been trying to have another baby for sometime, and got very upset, to the point of screaming at me, for being upset. She now, after my pregnancy, understands, I think. But at the time she was downright mean about it. I don't know if it stems from this or not. But this worries me. What did I do?
So anyhow, that is what is on my mind. Just a little concerned.
So anyway, I'll tell you what the recipe calls for, then tell you what I did.
1 can diced tomatoes, 1 white onion-diced, I container of Philadelphia cooking cream cheese-Santa Fe Blend, 3 cups shredded chicken, cooking oil, Kraft Mexican Blend shredded cheese, 8 flour tortillas.
You're supposed to cook and shred the chicken breast, heat the oil and saute the diced onion, then mix 3/4 of the cream cheese, some of the shredded cheese, the chicken, and the cooked onion together, then roll the mixture in the tortillas. Place the them in a greased 12x9 pan, seam down. Spoon the remaining cream cheese over the top and sprinkle with more of the shredded cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350.
But I can't follow directions, and I was too lazy to cook the chicken and then shred it. So I mixed the onion with some lean ground beef, and cooked until the beef was browned. And I mixed that in in place of the chicken. And then it didn't seem like enough, so I cooked one of those Uncle Ben's microwaveable rice pouches (Spanich Style) and mixed about 2/3rds of that in the mix.
OMG, they were awesome. The pan was gone in like 3 seconds flat, I swear.
And I got the recipe off of the back of cream cheese!
Friday, March 25, 2011
Yeah, I know. These things are great, making it possible for the infirm and extremely elderly and handi-capable all to go buy important things like food. And medicine. And their Depends. Well, they're great and wonderful and convenient...until you have to be the one on it.
Let's start with how I became an expert driver of the Mart Kart (yes, that really is the brand name of the cart Wally World uses. (Thanks to Evan, whose young and agile brain is able to store vast amounts of such useless info.) I became an expert while preggers, when I was on either bedrest or modified bedrest, and John would shout out, "Honey, I'm going to the store!" And I would yell, "Oh hells no, I'm COMIN'!" And most times I would just waddle to the car and ride along for some scenery, windows down for some fresh air and sunshine. And sometimes, depending what was needed, I would actually go in. But aside from my team of doctors' orders, I was physically incapable of walking through any store, especially the huge box stores like Wally World, Target, BRU. He would drop me off in front before parking the car, and I would be moving so slow that people passing me on all sides would literally create a breeze effect. Because I had been in bed for months and also because as soon as I tried to stand upright, the contractions would pull my belly so tight that it automatically had me walking stooped over. I would hunch and hobble and waddle my way to the electric scooters and hop on. I had so many misadventures on those damned things and became an expert.
Target's sucked. They had the big bumper thing on the bottom to keep you from getting too close to anything in the store. But this bumper thing is what caused me to crash into everything. It is what put the feat of God in the people working the electronics and how I got the best service as they brought different cameras to me so I could look and decide on one. There was no way they were going to let me get that close to a glass case. This was, of course, the same day I took out an entire rack of newborn clothing, and I am not even going there. Click the link if you want to read about Mach 5 embarrassment like no other. It was also the week before Zach's birth.
And then there was the time I thought for sure that I had been busted by the very one from my practice who finally told me, "No more, Andrea. You are to be on bedrest until you deliver. You're done." (I later 'fessed up and discovered that while he didn't see me that day, that according to him, he has busted many a bedrester that way.)
Or the day someone accused me of being on one out of laziness. Yep, I hate the things.
So here's what went down: I woke up just a couple of hours after falling asleep on Wednesday morning with my left foot filled with this intense ache in very localized places, yet still radiating up my leg, if that makes any sense at all. I honestly thought it was the weather because it was sunny and 70 here one day and literally 34 degrees and cloudy the very next day. And trying to storm on top of that. I have a bit of arthritis in that leg after having ACL surgery in 2003, so I thought maybe it was the beginning of that type of pain. I took some ibuprofen and went back to sleep. It got worse, but I went to work that evening as planned. Within 2 hours of starting work, I had no idea how I was going to make it through the full 12 hours. It was that bad. I did make it until all of my patients had been seen, though, and I handed off my pager to one of the other therapists. I had to make J0hn come and get me, and went home to ice and elevate my foot. Which helped. Until I tried to stand on it again. I ended up in the ER, getting it x-rayed. I felt silly and stupid and was seriously worried that they would think I was drug-seeking because there is nothing visibly wrong with my foot. Nada. Except I have the ugliest feet. Bunions, ingrown toenails, calluses. Because what I do for a living doesn't go hand-in-hand with sandal season. But I got people who knew me. And I turned down the pain shot I was offered and requested an anti-inflammatory injection instead. And they said it is bad tendonitis, that they could see hazy areas of inflammation on the x-ray, and that I may have some underlying stress fractures as well, but I won't know that until it fails to get better. But I am on crutches now. And spent last night drugged up enough that I slept through the entire season finale of Jersey Shore....Erm, I mean another show--a more high-brow show that isn't so embarrassing. Sucky sucky sucky. Because I apparently work too much. (In fact, it was Wednesday and I had already worked 48 hours this week....They may have been on to something!)
And so I am grounded for a couple of days. But Zach needed diapers because I never did manage to make the switch to cloth. And he needed formula. (Completely random tidbit and silver lining in all of this? That last night, I bought either the last or second-to-last bit of infant formula I have to buy for Zach! That crap is so expensive! And I have yet to decide if I am going to use the toddler formulas they make now.) And the fridge was bare here. And so I had to use the damned scooter. Again. And John laughed at me through the entire store, though Zach watched me from his perch in the cart and seemed to be fascinated that Mommy was motorized.
Such is life.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
We tried everything. We met with a private psychologist, had meetings with the teacher and the guidance counselor of his school. We were told he was just really gifted and bored. And so we relayed the info to the proper people, and still received the same treatment. Pressure to put him on medication.
And then it got worse. And we took him to our family doctor, who could tell within a few minutes that he did have ADHD. We left that day with a script for ritalin. And it did nothing. Change it to Adderall and it worked. But it worked too well. You can look at the pictures of Evan over the years and tell the exact point where he started the medicine because it is like someone dimmed the light in his face, the spark in his eyes. It breaks my heart. He wouldn't eat, either. And at 8 years old, he lost so much that he dropped 25% of his weight in 3 months. And the Adderall was stopped immediately. We tried not medicating him and that lasted for about 2 weeks before we were back in the doctor's office, begging them to find something, anything to help him. The answer was Straterra, which lasted all of 2 days. Enter Concerta, and the kiddo was doin g better in class, but started to have more problems: manipulative, conniving, angry. After a couple of months of this, we said "enough" and didn't refill the prescription. That lasted about a month.
2 weeks ago, the principal of his school called us in the middle of the day and told us to not bother bringing Evan back to school unless he was medicated. I understood that he was having issues, but some of it was a stretch. For example, he got a behavior notice sent home because he accidentally farted in class. I swear. I know it's gross and we teach him manners, but he is a young boy. And when I asked him about it, he said he had a belly ache that day and he accidentally farted when he bent over to pick up a dropped pencil. And he said "excuse me". And he got a behavior notice.
I was angry at being forced to medicate him. Which, if we get down to brass tacks, was really what was happening. But what do I do? So I made an appointment for him and John took him. We asked them to put him back on Adderall because that is the only thing that got him to behave in school. I figured we could avoid the nasty side effects by just adjusting his dose. That was this past Friday. He started the medicine and--Wham!--the side effects started. The last time it at least took a few days for this to start happening. He acts like a Zombie. He won't eat. He behaves alright. Because he is too depressed and tired to misbehave. Well for the past 3 nights, he has not been sleeping at all. And complaining of a headache. And either vomiting or dry-heaving. I just had to page our family doctor and they called in a prescription for Phenergan so the poor kid can at least try to sleep without vomiting. It's horrible.
Tomorrow we take him to the doctor. And they are going to do something about this or he is stopping the medicine. I will home-school the child if I have to, though I believe doing so deprives kids of the normal social experiences of childhood. But a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.
I'll try a new approach: STANDING!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
It was just yesterday.
It seems as if Zach's first year is flying by even quicker than Evan's did. As a matter of fact, next month, because of the way everyone's work schedule is falling, we are going to be making the trip down to John's parents' to celebrate Zach's birthday with them. There'll be cake and ice cream, and of course presents. And we'll sing "Happy Birthday" to him. And I will cry. Just like I cry every year with Evan. But Zach? This is hitting me even harder. Maybe it is because I'm getting older. Maybe it is because we always assumed Evan was to be the only child and Zach seems even more of a gift because of it. And more than anything, I don't ever want that gift to leave me. Having an older child has shown me just how quickly it all goes by. And so while this is the first birthday of many, I know that 2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9.....that they will all whirr by me in rapid succession. The tee with the blue one on it for that day and then the next day he is wearing a cap and gown, or a tux for his wedding. And even then, it will still have been just yesterday.
Just yesterday that I felt the last of those horrendous contractions and I begged the NICU staff to bring him to me. Just yesterday that the days of new babyhood flashed in a blur of home and togetherness and cuddles. Just yesterday that I held him on my chest and cried from his beauty.
So today, Zach is 10 months old. For 10 months, my very soul has existed outside of my body. For ten months, I have witnessed a miracle daily. And I won't bore you with milestones reached or new things he is doing, other than to tell you that we swear he said "Bubby" the other day, which is what we call Evan. This was the first time he made a consonant sound, and so now we know he is okay. Everything has fallen into place. He has escaped the debaucle of his pregnancy and premature birth literally unscathed, making him even more of a miracle.
2 months left of his first year...
I have loved being this little boy's mother. I cannot believe that he was not always a part of the plan. John is my heart. Evan has been my life and my breath. But Zach? Zach is my soul.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
I am a huge fan of old clothes. Comfortable clothes. And the best example is the old pair of jeans. You know the ones. The pair that seems to remember each centimeter of the curve of your hip. Soft against the skin and faded to perfection. You can shop and shop for new jeans. I have. Designer jeans on which I have spent an arm and a leg. But they always have the stiffness, the newness, the unfamiliar quality to them. They’re perfectly fine jeans. They fit well and look nice, but when it comes to comfort, to being home, they will never hold a candle to the faded old pair.
Of course I am not talking about jeans here.
The young girls at work are on a mission from some higher power to “spice up” my marriage. Meaning that they think John and I are boring. It all started with an invitation to a Pure Romance party that another coworker is holding. Of course being the older voice in the room, I made a statement to the effect that no matter how freaky-deaky I could possibly choose to be in my private life, there is no way in hell that I would order a sex toy at a party with my coworkers. Yes, I realize the reps at these parties take each customer someplace private to complete the ordering process. But you still have to sit through the presentation. Yeah, right. Like I’m going to sit through a dildo show with my colleagues. So they think John and I have lost something. They’ve volunteered to watch the kids. One even joked that she was going to take me lingerie shopping and make us a Marvin Gaye-esque mix tape. Because we are so boring. I made the comment that we have been married 10 years, that we have two kids, for crying out loud. To which both of them exclaimed that this doesn’t mean we have to let the spark leave our marriage. I think these young whipper-snappers are confusing familiar, comfortable, stable with boring. And this is where the difference in what one values comes into play.
We have all lived for that spark. The fireworks of a first kiss at the end of a good date. The thrill of the dating game. The fun of courtship. Just like shopping for those great new designer jeans. But I think we all eventually reach that point where comfort is most important. It is in that comfort zone where we find security, peace, and in the right circumstances, empowerment. And we slip on the faded jeans.
My marriage didn’t start out this way, of course. It took years of practice, years of breaking in much like the metaphorical jeans. But because we have had those years together, he has become perfect for me. Where I am weak, he is strong, and vice versa. He always gets the perfect gift because he knows me as well as I know myself and can know in an instant what it is that I will like. He knows when it is that I need to be left alone and doesn’t follow then. But he also knows when I need him to be there with me, by my side. How I like my eggs cooked in the morning, and exactly how much creamer to put in my coffee. When we watch a sappy movie together, he will look at me and away from the screen at precisely the moment in the film where I am going to start to cry. He is the only other one to know from where we have have come and to believe in where we are going. To have been there for me in all of the moments where I thought I was losing myself, to be the one to remind me just who I am when I needed it most.
John and I don’t need lingerie or sex toys or expensive dates. We don’t need to hand our kids over to someone else. We are happy enough to just be. With Evan. With Zach. As a family. Evan’s and Zach’s presence doesn’t take away that before they came into the world, there was an us. We know that. And this doesn’t mean that we forget how to be a couple when they aren’t here with us, either.
Quite simply, we have evolved over the past decade to where we don’t need any of that any more. It isn’t that the spark is gone because in order to have what we have together, there have to be some embers glowing constantly. Sparks are just the fleeting part of it all, and that isn’t enough on which to build a life together. We have so much more than that.
So comfortable and secure does not equal boring. Taking simple pleasure in each others’ company doesn’t mean for a single second that our marriage is suffering or lacking in some manner. The opposite is true. John is my home.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
I have to explain and I cannot believe that I am going to admit this in black and white on the damned internet.
Tonight I went to Staples for supplies for school.
Like I am fricken starting kindergarten and my Mommy is going emblazon my name in permanent black block letters on everything from my requisite 2 boxes of tissues, all the way down to my shiny new crayons.
Except I'm not in kindergarten. And I am a grown-ass woman. Seriously.
So I get my binders and dividers, color-coded by subject. My new planner that has enough space to write assignments and exams and other details. Pens and white-out and post-its. And I feel so silly and stupid because, while nobody else knows what is going on in my head, I know.
And what is going on in my head? That I love new school supplies. And textbooks. And school in general. And I am almost giddy about it. Maybe it is because I was pretty much forced to abandon my education, not only when my mother died when I was a freshman in college, but also during pregnancy. And I want to get back to it.
Or maybe I'm just a nerd and there is no other reason than that. Because honestly, I could think of nothing more enjoyable than taking classes that interest me for the rest of my natural life. To always be learning. And so I am ready. Ready ready ready.
My first class, incidentally, is Marketing. Ha!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
This is how I found Evan outside after I woke up yesterday. After the homework was completed and he did the required changing of the clothes to get out of his school uniform. John, of course, was oblivious. The kid was clothed, so he didn't care. But now I feel I need to point out that the child has jeans that fit him well. He also has every variety of shoe one can imagine for a 9-year-old little boy. But the rule is, after replacing expensive gym shoes every 2 months, that he is not permitted to go outside and play in mud and muck in his new-ish Jordans. His solution? A pair of brown leather oxfords, sans laces, and apparently socks are optional as well. The 6-inch flash of ankle really sets them off, don't you think?
But this? This is how he was playing. Outside. Where my neighbors and passers-by could see. Everybody look at the poor child whose parents don't provide appropriately-fitting clothing. I was so embarrassed. And then I started to thinking again. I hate when I do that.
Isn't it supposed to be the other way around as Ev gets older? Isn't he supposed to reach a point where he is embarrassed by us, too cool for us? But here lately, the kid will throw on anything. Too short, too long, holes, stains, worn-out? These are of no consequence to Evan. Of course I couldn't care less in the house. But we will be getting ready to go out-- to the mall, to dinner, wherever--and I will look and see Evan in this weird combo of clothing choices and if we haven't already left the house, I have to make him change. If we happen to have left already when the discovery is made, the plans are instantly changed to drive-thru meals and a return home. Of course there have to be solutions to this. But it goes a little deeper than just what he is wearing.
Since having Zach, I've been hyper-sensitive to how things appear. I take more pics of Zach because, well, Zach's a baby and is constantly changing and doing new things. Evan? Not so much these days. Example: Zach stood the other day--really stood. And I took a pic. No pic of Evan standing because he's been doing it for about 9 years now and it isn't so new. I can assure you that I did the same with Ev when he was Zach's age. And Zach is constantly outgrowing clothes or reaching new stages where he needs different gear or the next size up in clothing, so it seems we are always going shopping for something Zach needs. And it makes me question whether I am neglecting Evan.
Of course I'm not neglecting Evan. But I'm still crazy/neurotic/worried about it. And it's little stuff like this on which my neurosis feeds. Because people see us out and Zach is adorably dressed in brand names and Evan is soiled and stained and in disrepair. So then I am thinking that other people are judging me, when in truth, Evan would be dressed just as well and look just as clean-cut if we could revert to the days when I bathed him, I dressed him, I did his hair. I miss those days. Really I do. Because aside from the horrible clothing choices, we are also in what I am choosing to call "The Pig Stage".
The Pig Stage, seriously. Where he takes these God-awful long showers and emerges with hair that smells like dirty hair instead of shampoo. Ewwwwww. And I have to fight him to go back and wash himself. When did his personal hygeine go out the window? And the bedroom. We've already gone there. It's enough to make me insane.
So, since I have never had a daughter, I am left wondering if little girls do this stuff, too. Is this phase going to pass? Or maybe it is just that I am whirling from the over-abundance of weiners in my house. I think we should add another pair of ovaries to the mix. Someone else who smells like flowers and stuff. Who bathes and actually enjoys being clean. Someone who will be able to tell the boys, while I am at work, that they really shouldn't go out in public like that.
Or maybe I just need a kid who will wear clothes that fit.
Primum non nocere.
Of course we all recognize this as the cardinal rule of any medical practice. Nonmaleficence, meaning that it is entirely possible that the best course of action for me to take in an emergency is to actually do nothing. That doing nothing, and thus not causing further harm, may be better than being wrong in a manner that leaves my patient in worse shape. Now take all of that and combine it and roll it into a big ball and realize that I grapple with this in a split second when my patient has stopped breathing. That instant that truly seems like an eternity. The great void between the realization that your patient is indeed pulseless and apneic, and the pushing of the big blue button that will trigger the calling of a Code Blue. In my career, I have had situations where I go back and think about a patient and wonder if me reaching any conclusions sooner would have changed an outcome. And thus far, I have had the luxury of being able to say that I don’t feel as if I have harmed anyone.
Last night, I had to face that possibility when, after some aggressive airway management for a patient who wasn’t ventilating well, I witnessed the spiral. First the oxygen saturation starts to drop. And then the blood pressure is low, followed by the slowing of the heart rate. Finally you reach that chasm where the heart ceases to beat, whether it be a pulseless ventricular rhythm or completely asystolic. The patient is dead. Expired. And you can do all you can and whip out everything you have learned in years of education and professional experience in the hopes that it will help. That the heart will resume beating. (Not so much the breathing because, honey, I can make anyone breathe with the right equipment.) But this happened last night. While I was there with my hands on that patient, taking the opportunity to teach a new ICU nurse about ventilator basics. I have never had that happen to me. And after we got her back not once, but twice, and they finally got the stat chest film for which I kept begging, it was determined my patient had a pneumothorax. And so when the family arrived at the bedside and told us to stop all efforts at resuscitation due to patient wishes, in the blink of an eye, my role switched from caring for the patient to caring for the family. To help them find some peace in her death. I did all I knew to do. I extubated her, washed her face, smoothed her hair, tucked her in, and left the room so they could have those final moments with her on her death bed.
And then I went into my back office in the ICU and I cried. Actually I started crying before I got there, prompting fellow ICU staff to follow me to make sure I was okay. I was. I was still breathing. My patient wasn’t. It was the first time in my career where I was physically working with a patient when they went down, and my instantaneous thought was, “Did I do that? Did I hurt her?” Of course after logically recounting the steps to her demise, it is obvious to me that she suffered the pneumothorax before I did anything that could have caused it, and thus I cannot blame myself. But it just did something to me, and I cannot really explain why.
I love my job. Love it. But I have always had confidence in my professional skills and training. I haven’t really doubted myself before this. Well, I have, but not in the manner that I had to stop and think on whether or not I did damage. I have always said that the most dangerous person in healthcare is the one who will not admit that they don’t know everything. So with that in mind, there has always been a healthy dose of fear. There has to be when you are literally running someone’s life support. But that fear cannot be so great that in inhibits one’s performance, one’s ability to be on their toes when a true life-and-death emergency strikes.
Lately, as a senior therapist, I have been mainly working the critical care units. Once in a blue moon, my boss will give me something else so I don’t go insane, but it isn’t very often. And the thing about this is that I am in a teaching hospital. Meaning when there is an emergency and the code team assembles, it really is a team effort. In other areas of the hospital, this may not necessarily be the case because there are more seasoned physicians running the show. But in the ICU’s, you get residents. And the presence of “MD” behind their names has yet to give them the idea that they know all because of their education level. They know that an experienced ICU nurse or therapist has seen a lot and can help them. I work with them on intubations, on managing pulmonary issues. I give crash courses in blood gas interpretation or ventilator management. And in a code, when we get to the point where we have exhausted all possible causes, or in one where the cause is obviously pulmonary in nature, they look to the therapist. Me.
I don’t know what I’m getting at here. I think it is just that I had to think last night that it was possible that I hurt a patient. And even after coming to the conclusion that I did not, the fact that I could have just seemed to linger. And of course this has made me think of my role in the hospital even more than I have before. The pressure. The weight. The responsibility.
I upheld my ethical commitment last night. I did no harm. But I had to come face to face with the idea that I hold lives in my hands when I go to work and clock in at night. That I very well could hurt someone. I think it just caught up with me.
Monday, March 7, 2011
I cannot quit making milk.
It's driving me crazy.
And so I am deciding that I am going to continue to pump. Not a lot. I will no longer wake myself up to do so. I am not going to torture myself for it anymore. But so long as I am making it, I might as well give it to Zach. Until he's a year. Gah!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tonight we gnoshed on homemade chicken alfredo and garlic bread. Zach participated in the family dinner today as we settled on the living room floor with bowls brimming with pasta. And I got brave. Despite Zach's trouble with tectures in his food, I gave him few noodles and a the crusty end of the loaf of bread. He was more interested in the bread than the noodles, but he did fine with both: no gagging, no sputtering, no choking.
I even tried taking my ultra-vast tome of Austen into the bathroom and sitting in a hot bath for what seemed like forever. It would have been relaxing except that heat made me cough even more. As in coughing so hard you puke. And I have gone through 90 puffs of my inhaler since Monday. So I stayed up as long as I could because, by the time I was finished in the bathroom, it was almost 5 AM, and I figured what's a few more hours? The plan was to call the doctor's office at 8AM sharp and get an appointment. They do this uber-frustrating thing where they book up all appointments except what they call "same day appointments" for the suddenly ill. But they will only fill same day appointments on that day. So unless you call as soon as they open, you ain't gettin' one, sister!
I fell asleep. And woke at 8:45. From coughing. And wheezing. And gagging.
And so I thought to myself about all of the people who clog our ERs for the stupidest of reasons ("My pee has bubbles in it!") without either insurance or the ability to pay the bill. Not making a statement about healthcare--we treat the indigent. But really? If tax payers are gonna pay for your visit, shouldn't it be a true emergency? Anyhow, I figure I am insured and can pay my bill, so double score! And in scrub bottoms and a ratty sweatshirt I have worn since yesterday, and with my hair so crazy I look like a lunatic, I go to the ER. Not sure whether it is my claim as one of them or what, but I got back pretty quickly and was seen even quicker than that. Turns out I have bronchitis, which is exacerbating my asthma, a sinus infection, and for a triple dose of fun, a middle ear infection. By the way, who gets an ear infection over the age of 5? Me, that's who!
So I'm on antibiotics and steroids and have to step up my game on my asthma meds. After calling in sick last night because I was miserable, I was ordered to not work tonight, either. I hate that. The only times I have missed work is for my bedrest during my pregnancy and when I was hospitalized for pneumonia a couple of years ago. I hate it I hate it I hate it.
So here I am, nursing myself back to health, trying to get better without innocculating the rest of the clan with my cooties. Of course this involves dowsing myself with Purell evert 5 minutes.
Being sick sucks.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Where to start?
I remember when I started to get into the throes of my pregnancy with Zachary, and John and I started to make lists of the things we needed. And we got to feeding supplies, and we started to discuss whether we were going to go with breastfeeding. I wanted to with Evan, but his prematurity got in the way and neither of us ended up interested at all. Did I want to try it again? Not really, because I was kind of afraid to get myself invested in the idea. I had breastfed Ben for a couple of months, and when it didn’t work out, I remember crying the first time I gave him a bottle of formula. And with Evan, I just felt guilty that we didn’t give it more of an effort. But knowing how breastmilk is the best for the baby, and seriously thinking Zach was to be my last chance to do so successfully, I decided to give it a go. One more try.
You start off with the idea of breastfeeding as being this remarkably bonding experience. With a mind full of rosy images of a tiny baby nuzzling at a mother’s chest. Of cuddling and warmth and a bond that can only be shared between mother and child. A bond that cannot be broken. And I think after the pregnancy horrors I faced, I really needed that. And then Zach was born.
It was never supposed to go like it has. I was not supposed to be separated from my baby immediately after his birth after only having a small glimpse of him over a surgical drape. And I remember John bringing pictures of him from the NICU for me to see while we were still separated, and it was so bizarre and surreal. I had endured so much for him and this is what I got? Some blurry images on a digital camera that John barely knew how to use? Was this little person really my son? How could I be sure when I couldn’t hold him and touch him and smell his newborn scent? They said he was mine. And I could see a family resemblance, so it had to be true. He was beautiful, that was for sure. But really? I begged and begged for them to bring him to me. Everyone said he was doing great and had just needed a little longer to adjust to the outside world. So if he was fine, then he belonged with me. If he is mine, he belongs with me.
And just like that, he was with me. I kicked everyone but John out of the room as I stripped away layers of flannel blanket to look him over. So perfect. So so perfect. And then and there, we nursed. And all was right with the world. Suddenly it all was okay- the pregnancy, the time in the NICU. Suddenly, it was just Zach and I. I loved it. And I hated when the lactation consultant came in and told me he had to have formula and asked me what type I wanted them to give him. I hadn’t planned on that. And so my love/hate relationship with the pump began.
I hated that I had to pump at all. I hated that he got formula. I wanted to cry each time he took a tiny sip of it. 20 mL at a time at first. I gave him every bit of breastmilk I could. I wished they would have told me it was okay to stop the formula when my milk came in, but they didn’t until it was too late. And the supply issues started. I did everything I could and got most of it back. And then the latch issues happened, most likely a result of the bottle feeding he had received. Phrases like “nipple confusion” and “flow preference” entered my vocabulary. Still, I did everything. Always trying trying trying to get him off of the tiny amount of formula he was getting a day. And then when he wouldn’t nurse at all anymore and I learned what it meant to exclusively pump. And my reality became the breastpump, 15 minutes at a time, 8-10 times per day. I’ve kept that up since Zach was 4 months old. I hated it, but Zach was getting breastmilk. That was all that mattered. I still felt a deeper connection to him because of the months we spent together, nursing. That is how I spent the weeks of my maternity leave. And when I first returned to work, I would come home and Zach would nurse with me in the bed as I drifted off to sleep. Zach and Mommy. That’s all there was.
It has been such a difficult road. Difficult but rewarding. Worth it. I honestly can look at the differences in personalities between Evan and Zachary and I think the breastfeeding has something, if not everything, to do with it. Zach seems more content. More secure. I cannot help but think that this is because he had more of a connection to me.
So why am I writing this now? Because this afternoon, John helped me to gather up all of the supplies I have needed to exclusively pump. All of that equipment. And I cried as I made sure all of it was organized and packed away. This week and next, Zach will get what is left of my milk from the refrigerator and freezer, and that will be the end. When I initially started out, I said one year was my goal. In a perfect world, free from latch issues and prematurity, from supply issues and tongue-tie, I would have done one full year. I am pretty proud of myself that I made it this far in the face of all of the difficulties. By the time it is over, Zach will be 10 months old. He is to the point where he is getting more and more food from sources other than a bottle, and I feel like it is time to focus on enjoying the rest of his first year free from the stress of measuring every little ounce, from setting alarms to remind me to pump every 2 hours around the clock. I can spend time enjoying my baby boy and getting some well-deserved rest knowing that I gave him the best for 10 whole months.
So here is a picture for you. This is what thousands of dollars’ worth of breastpumps and equipment looks like. All of my work fits into this tote. Amazing. And the picture wouldn’t be complete without including in it the reason for it all.