Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This Time Last Year Pt. II

A year ago today I was experiencing what I thought was the worst stomach ache of my life. If you know me at all, you know that I don't take sick days because when you're a freelancer, taking a sick day means you don't get paid. But there I was, in bed, literally writhing, trying to sleep because it was so bad and wondering if I needed to poop. (Did I? Poop out a baby, maybe.)

Is it normal to get a case of the weepies around one's infant's first birthday, or is that something reserved for parents whose birth stories weren't marked by gentle and joyful births, balloons and flowers, and taking the baby home in a timely fashion?

Oh, would you listen to me? I've been a bit of a sorry mess lately, which is why I've been distracting myself with ever more ambitious projects related to Paloma's upcoming birthday party. Paint the hall? Sure! Sew a new diaper bag on a Sunday afternoon? I need it, don't I? Rolled fondant, vegan cupcakes, royal icing, homemade height board, etc.

Paloma -- foot

But I feel so silly at the same time. If you don't count the week of contractions before the Saturday Paloma was born, I was in proper (and unmedicated) labor for a mere three hours before she popped out. And for most of that, I was able to talk and joke with our wonderful midwife. I went from transition to being a mama in something like twenty minutes. Sure, Paloma was whisked off to the NICU, but she didn't even need oxygen, and they let us take her home after a mere 12 days.

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Twelve days of her NOT having heart or breathing problems, twelve days of no infections or bleeds.

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All right, so she stopped breathing once, but they jump-started her lungs with gentle massage (apparently if it's a healthy preemie they wait to see if the 'pause' will self resolve, then they do some hands on stimulation to remind them to breathe, and finally will do the real emergency stuff if necessary). There was a feeding tube, oh my gawd, wah wah wah.

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And her heart rate dipped pretty low once, but the nurse thought it was probably just the machine.

Those stupid dinging machines with their alarms that go off every time a baby shifts. The NICU is a noisy place, for sure.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I still after all this time have trouble looking back on Paloma's birth and having positive thoughts past "We got a healthy, awesome baby," which I know is more than some people get.

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Twelve days in the NICU, not twenty-seven or forty or three months, so I feel like a stupid, whiny fool every time I get my cry on when I think about preemies or the NICU. Doesn't help that I do work for a micro-preemie non-profit and you can just imagine the pictures and stories I come across when I'm doing research for them... talk about a trigger!

But why should I even have a trigger? As I keep trying to remind myself, in the grand scheme of things, nothing bad happened.

6 comments:

  1. She is beautiful, and I am happy for your family that she was well.
    Stopping by from SITS

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  2. Happy B-Day Paloma! It's ok to get emotional...she is beautiful and you are lucky:)stopping by from SITS
    Have a great day!
    Anat

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  3. Time will heal all wounds, including this one.

    Take care.

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  4. Seriously, I had the same experience. We were only 10 days in the NICU with our preemie, but it was terrible! My son wasn't breathing himself and was intubated for about 12 hours or so. Of course, this was the first thing I saw when I came from my room to see my baby. I wasn't expecting it. My baby was strapped down, had an IV, monitors, feeding tube and a tube down his throat. The doctors and nurses and I couldn't touch him(at Mary Birch.... a women's hospital!!!) failed to warn me before going into the NICU that this is what I would see. It was traumatizing. So, I know what you mean. 9 years later and I still feel the same way you do, so don't feel bad!!! My son is healthy and smart and wonderful.... thank God for those wonderful NICU doctors and nurses and modern technology!!! But come on.... you could warn a first time mom with loads of hormones.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

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  5. Thanks, all! Nice to hear that I'm not totally off my rocker!

    @Tami Oh, wow. I can't believe that they didn't even give you a heads up before you went in with all that going on. Even just walking into the NICU is like walking into a different world in the hospital, what with all the bells going off all the time and the wires and equipment. Glad to hear you got a healthy son out of it, though!

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  6. I think everyone's birth story, no matter which child it is, will stay with mama forever. I didn't have any problems after my oldest son was born, I don't have a NICU story at all and I pray I never will. But any NICU story is special and shouldn't be discounted just because the length of time spent there was short.

    Blessings to you and your family

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