Tag Archives: NICU

Fuck Birthday Parties

16 Apr

This will be a snazzy little double post, where Violet & I share our thoughts on Pterodactyl’s birthday party.. Sorry that we’ve been a bit quiet, sometimes life gets in the way, and until we get paid the big bucks for spewing crap all over the internets… Well, ya know, we have other obligations.

Now, on with the show!

-Daisy

We had Pterodactyl’s first birthday party this weekend. I have two observations to make:

  1. Daisy is a life-saver, and it wouldn’t have happened without her. (Or it would have, but I’d be up in a tree, rocking back and forth, rattling a bottle of Xanax.) (Hey, Pterodactyl is like 1/8th mine, no big thing! -Daisy)
  2. I’m never, ever, ever doing this shit again.

We decided to hold the child’s birthday party at a park. (“We” is a generic pronoun here, since the Army decided not to release Buddy, and he missed his daughter’s first birthday party. Assholes.) The logic behind that decision was two-fold: first, I didn’t have to clean a park like I’d have to clean my house, and second, the assortment of “big kids” in attendance would be entertained by the playground, whereas my house isn’t “big kid” friendly.

Yesterday morning, Daisy loaded her crew into the car at o-dark-thirty and made the two-hour drive to my neck of the woods. My saving grace, she knew that I’d need an extra set of hands or five to make up for Buddy’s forced absence. I decided to run some errands before her arrival so we could maximize our time together. On my way to the store, I drove past the park where the party was going to be held, and found some coke whore lovely lady (Daisy edit) and her kid parked under our pavilion. I pulled over and went into the park to inform her that I reserved that space. An argument ensued, and I had to drive my happy ass home, get the documentation, and return. Long story short, I didn’t make it to the store, and this bitch almost had a tightly-wound Birthday Mommy pounding the life out of her. Fortunately, Terry agreed to stand guard at the park while Daisy, the kidlets, and I took care of party business. ‘We went to the store and accomplished everything we were supposed to accomplish. (While Daisy was rendered useless carrying Pterodactyl around and kissing her, since I hadn’t seen her in MONTHS -Daisy) If Terry had to murder any would-be pavilion-thieves in the interim, I don’t want to know about it. (He didn’t. He was cold, though. -Daisy)

The party went relatively smoothly, except for my neurotic “GOTTATALKTOEVERYONEANDBETHEPERFECTHOSTESS” bullshit. Yes, Pterodactyl smashed a baby cake. Yes, our friends grubbed on pizza and soda and made small talk about teething. It was all very cute. I had the where-with-all to book an amazing photographer, Angel Event Photography, to capture the day, and Daisy thought ahead enough to videotape Pterodactyl’s birthday cake event for Buddy. Relatively speaking, the party was successful.

(Daisy here. In my birthday party experience, it went off without a hitch. The birthday girl hadn’t napped AT ALL and she didn’t have ONE breakdown. That is admirable for a little diaper dweller, in my EXPERT opinion. Auntie Daisy made sure to take her off on quiet walks every so often, hoping that it would help keep her calm. Seems like it worked. That, or the kid is a superhuman being that can turn on the people charm even through extreme tiredness. Diva, Intuitive, and Handsome were on excitement overload. There were SO many babies. They were in heaven. These kids are total baby lovers. (I think they have asked us 7 times since Saturday if we are going to have another baby. HA. If they agree to wake up in the middle of the night to feed the kid, SURE.)

Back to Violet.)

 

Except that this shit sucks.

My house is now a depository of party bags and tissue paper. There are new toys/books/clothes strung all over the place – I have a very generous, very giving set of friends, for whom I’m grateful. I have leftovers in the fridge that must be eaten, and I’m a bit “pizza-ed” out. The stress and exhaustion from the party compromised my immune system, and I’m coming down with something awful. It’s only a matter of time until Pterodactyl picks it up, too.

Daisy and I were discussing this phenomenon. She’s had her fair share of overwhelming kiddie parties, and knows the stress of this all too well. (Yeah, if I were to fill you all in on the politics and sheer HELL that was Diva & Intuitive’s 1st birthday party.. OY. Family issues and stress and I had just found out I was pregnant with Handsome. We’ll save that for another day -Daisy) While figuring out how to simplify this process in the future, we had a collective epiphany: we never have to do this for Pterodactyl ever again, and here’s why.

Every year, about this time, my city hosts the March of Dimes walk. You all remember from previous posts that Pterodactyl spent a few days in the NICU, and Intuitive and Diva had their own mailing addresses in a NICU for several weeks. (Only 8 days. For their gestational age and problems at birth, they bounced back very quickly. Thanks very much in part to the wonderful NICU nurses and staff. Sure felt like longer, though. -Daisy) The March of Dimes is a charitable organization that both Daisy and I feel strongly committed to. We decided that if we have to part with time and money every April, why not give back to that philanthropy, make a difference for thousands of premature babies, and teach our own children about charity, as well?

So we devised “The Plan:” next year, Pterodactyl’s birthday party will BE the March of Dimes Walk. Instead of presents, we’ll request donations to our March of Dimes team. (Because my friends are so generous that the charity will greatly benefit from my child’s second birthday.) In lieu of party favors, we’ll give each walker team tee-shirts. Instead of putting on pounds with cake and chips, we’ll shred them as we walk three miles around the prettiest part of my city. We’ll make sure the children understand the value of this organization (particularly the girls, who all got a little NICU action as newborns), and share the joy of philanthropy. Best part? I won’t kill myself over streamers and cake!

As The Irreverent Reptile reminded me, our culture is so materialistic that we expect children to have birthday parties, and we expect our friends and family to send gifts. That is NOT the message I want to send my kid. The best gift I have received (besides the child herself) was the amazing team of doctors and nurses who cared for her during her stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and this is my way of thanking them.

Daisy, again –

While Violet is exaggerating, and I really don’t feel like I did that much, I’m totally behind her idea for next year. Pterodactyl will enjoy the hell out of the day, party or no party. We will be doing out part to help babies like ours, and we will be spending time together. What’s better than that?

 

 

So, what do you think? Any funny party stories from you guys?

To C-section or not to C-section

21 Mar

What the hell is with all these people saying that elective c-sections are sooooo much easier. Seriously? Easier?

It’s major fucking surgery. What is easy about that? Sure, shooting a kid out your baby maker is tough. I’m not saying it’s rainbows and butterflies, just ask Violet.

But major surgery being a simple alternative? No, dude. It’s not. I’m not huge on statistics, but I know without a doubt that 100% of c-sections involve MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY.

My c-section experiences were fairly easy. No complications, no bumps in the road, and at the end, healthy babies. Does that mean it would be my first choice for myself?

NO.

I had two pretty normal c-section experiences. If I could time travel back 7 years, I’d probably do things a bit differently. When you are 19 years old and in a high risk pregnancy expecting twins, often times if the doctor you trust says jump, you’ll jump. (Well, unless you’re 34 weeks pregnant with twins and have been in the throes of pre-term labor for like 7 weeks. Then you’ll probably just sit.) My doc said a c-section would be better, safer, quicker, so, figuratively, I jumped. Looking back, I wish I would have tried to go natural. Sure, it would have taken longer, sure it would have been uncomfortable, but those babies were in the perfect position to coast out of the womb smoothly. In fact, they had to work harder to get Diva out because she was in such a great natural birth position. That means that Diva had a huge bruise on her head for a week thanks to the vacuum. After the “easy” c-section came a short trip to hell. All expenses paid!

Diva & Intuitive were in the NICU. I was in recovery, scratching myself silly and shaking because I was freezing. They finally take me to my room, where I proceed to be almost overdosed on morphine because some nice nurses wanted to make me feel good, but forgot to record how much they gave me. That made for a nice day and a half. The girls were born at around 1 am. On the trip from recovery to my room, I was taken by the NICU to see them for about 2 minutes. I don’t remember much of that. By 8 am I just wanted to see my kids. At this point, I’m informed by the nurse that in order to go see my babies, I must show them that I can walk one loop around the maternity floor. Then, and only then, will I be allowed to go see them.

At this point, I’m thinking “What the fuck. The NICU is like 7 miles away from Maternity. Are they going to make me WALK all the way there 7 hours after major surgery? Fuck it, let’s do this”

With minimal help, I threw myself out of the hospital bed, thinking, “I’ll show them. Let’s go!” Perhaps it was a good thing there was so much morphine in me? They got me a wheel chair to push around the hall for support, and off I went. Cursing in my head, and feeling like my innards were all about to fall out on the hospital hallway floor.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I seem to have dropped a fallopian tube. Would you be so kind as to pick it up? I can’t quite bend yet. Oh, I have to pick it up? Hmm. I can do without a fallopian tube. I have another. Shit, there’s my bladder. I DO need that.”

We make our journey around the Maternity ward. I get asked once when I’m due. When I looked up with a scowl on my face and say “Yesterday at 1 am”, she looks confused. I keep walking. I’m pretty sure that my family apologized for me. We arrive back at my room, and the nurse smiles and says,

“Alright, hop in the wheelchair, and head over and see your babies! Enjoy”

Hop. In. The. Wheelchair. ?!?! I don’t have to walk there? You made me walk for NOTHING? I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. In my morphine induced stupor I begin to have a panic attack on the way to the NICU. Upon our approach, I see 87 of my ex-husbands family members, including his video camera obsessed grandmother. Full panic attack NOW. The First Husband takes me down another hallway, as I start the waterworks and the “PLEASE LET ME JUMP OUT THE WINDOW”, which quickly turned into “PLEASE LET ME THROW HER FUCKING VIDEO CAMERA OUT THE WINDOW”. My mother ran some damage control, got the video camera put away, and the large numbers of family into a waiting room so that I could see my babies for the first time.

I got to spend lots of quality time walking back and forth in the NICU to each baby. Then, back to my room, because my nurse and doctor needed to check me out. I thought that meant they would take my vitals.

No. This bitch lifted up my overhanging ex-baby belly to examine my incision. Just lifted it up like it was a curtain. Then she poked around. What. The. Fuck. (She redeemed herself by letting me know that she was recommending I stay in the hospital for a few extra days because she thought it might be damaging to my mental health to kick me out while my babies were still there. Thanks, doc.) We talked about the morphine issues, and at that point, I told her that I didn’t want anything except for Tylenol for pain relief. She looked at me like I was insane. I don’t think it was insanity, I think it was more of a deisire to be PRESENT and not HIGH for these early days with small, sick babies.

You know how when you have a c-section, they tell you to rest and not do much? Yeah, well, having a couple of preemies in the NICU kinda overrides that. My 5 days IN the hospital were mostly spent in the NICU, unless my nurses called down in a tizzy wondering where the hell I was. Sorry guys, more important shit to worry about than having my temperature taken. Laying low wasn’t really an option. I was walking the halls of that hospital on the regular. Once I got discharged, it meant LESS time to rest. The hospital was about 45 minutes away from home, so we’d leave at around 7 so I could be there by 8 and spent the day there, leaving around 10:30 or 11pm. I popped a stitch at one point, and had no idea. I didn’t really care either, I just wanted to be with my babies.

When they finally got released, at 8 days old, I FINALLY got a chance to rest a little. Well, as much as someone who had their guts split open and now has two high maintenance premature babies to take care of CAN rest.

While it was painful and uncomfortable, I feel that mind over matter is helpful. I didn’t GIVE myself the option to sit around and deal with the pain. I had things to do, and babies to take care of.

When I was pregnant with Handsome, I was hellbent on a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section). I just didn’t want to deal with the unknowns of major surgery again. I wanted to run into the hospital hollering “MY WATER BROKE!” not walk in at a scheduled time. Mostly though, I was just scared of ANOTHER major abdominal surgery. They move a lot of shit around during a c-section. They take shit out and put it back in, and do the hokey pokey while they’re at it. I really didn’t want to have my organs moved around AGAIN if it wasn’t necessary.

So my doctor and I discussed the VBAC. She was on board. I was happy. Then, friends, I did the very thing I proclaim to dislike. I scheduled a c-section. My ex-husband was in the Army at the time. He was set to leave for 4-6 weeks ON Handsome’s due date. I couldn’t handle the thought of him not being there for the birth and the first few days. Now, while I’m all for letting shit happen naturally, it was kinda nice to be able to call my parents and get travel plans all set up. They would be coming up (we lived about 6 hours away from them at this point) two days before the birth, helping with final junk we needed to do, and of course, taking care of Diva & Intuitive. Scheduling sure turned out to be convenient in that respect.

Scheduling also turned out to be a major stressor. I had days to think about everything that could easily go wrong. Days to worry about spinal blocks and anesthesia and complications. Oh, and the MAJOR SUCK of the day after.

Finally, it was time to go. I kissed my baby girls, hugged my mommy and daddy, and off we went. Sat and waited for about 3 hours. (Thanks emergency twin c-section. Been there, done that!) Finally, time to go. Smooth sailing. So smooth, in fact, that my ex-husband was able to cut Handsome’s cord. Like, the real first cut, placenta still inside and attached. That doesn’t often happen in c-sections, apparently.

After this c-section, I felt a bit better than the first. Maybe it’s the fact that my kid was healthy and off to do normal after-birth activities. I was itchy, again, but in great spirits, trying to sit up in recovery. Nurse chewed me a new one for that. I got on the phone in recovery and called the Mayor.

Me- Hey mom!

The Mayor- Hey!

Me- What’s going on?

The Mayor- Nothing much, girls are asleep. You still waiting?

Me- Nope.

The Mayor- WHAT?!

Me- Yeah, he’s here. 6lbs 15oz of awesome.

The Mayor- I’ll be there in a bit. I can’t wait until tomorrow

Or something like that. Headed off to my room and surprise of surprises, they BROUGHT MY KID TO ME. In a huge flip from my first birth experience, my kid got to stay in the room with me. I didn’t have to walk ANYWHERE to see him. He was right there.

I decided that we would get out of that hospital as soon as humanly possible, and less than 48 hours after Handsome was born, we blew that popsicle stand.

Recovery from my second c-section was much more difficult. I knew what to expect, but I also had 2 18 month olds at home PLUS a newborn. Even with my ex-husband and my parents being there for a few days, I still had shit to do. I didn’t allow myself to rest, EVER, and I know that prolonged things.

I fully believe that if I would have had a vaginal birth, even a difficult one, my recovery would have been quicker and easier. Running to and from the NICU would have been much easier. Running after two 18 month olds would have been much easier. I hate the fact that I’ve pretty much guaranteed myself another c-section should I ever decide to have another child. Honestly, the fact that I would have to have another c-section is one of the biggest reasons that I don’t want another child. I really don’t want to tempt fate. I had two relatively simple c-sections, and I’m just worried that the 3rd time would be catastrophic.

C-sections are NOT an easy way out. C-sections should not be part of a “celebrity” birth plan. They suck, and should only be used when necessary. I don’t understand why so many people say that people are taking “the easy way out” in regards to a c-section. It boggles my mind. How is MAJOR surgery, with a laundry list of MASSIVE possible complications and outcomes, EASY? Since when is shooting a kid out the way nature intended harder than involving tons of doctors, anesthesiologists, machines, SCALPELS, and tons of beeping shit? I am in no way a crunchy granola all natural mom. I fully believe in medical intervention when needed, including c-sections.

But don’t tell me it’s easier. It’s not.

-Daisy

 

© Daisy and Violet 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Why I Quit Breast-Feeding…and that’s OK!

26 Feb

Being Daisy’s Mommy-Apprentice, I knew from the time the sixth pregnancy test showed positive that I was going to breastfeed. I registered for nursing covers and nipple creams. I bought a $300 Medela pump. When my friends who had babies during my pregnancy fell off the Boobie Train, I scoffed. Determination of will, Ladies! I thought. Stick to it! I had learned though the 23871 baby books I read and frequent conversations with my heterosexual life partner that Breast Milk is the Best Milk, and I was damned if my kid was going to be some formula-feeding half-wit. Oh no.

When my kid finally came barreling out of my baby-maker, my world turned upside-down. Latching was difficult, but with the help of various Lactation Consultants (who were grabbing my boobs like I was in a Cancun Wet T-Shirt Contest), we eventually got her on. Hurdle number one, conquered. When the kid wound up in the NICU, the hospital gave me the Spawn of Satan pump to extract some breast milk for my jaundiced munchkin. Fine – I’ll endure some woosh woosh for a couple days. But then, the proverbial shit hit the fan (and no, I’m not talking about projectile baby poop.)

Home with my baby, the struggle to breastfeed continued. In her first few weeks of life, I nearly lost my shit. Post-Partum Depression was rearing its ugly head, but I was going to fight it. No more trips to my shrink, who had pre-pregnancy Violet on a variety of happy pills. This baby was going to receive unadulterated boob milk!

Until my father almost died. The phone call came after yet another sleepless night, pleading with my newborn to feed and sleep. He was in the hospital and in a coma, and there was nothing I could do but sit and wait. With my coping skills stretched unreasonably thin, I battled two demons – that of lowered milk supply, and the depression which was threatening my stable mindset. Two days later, my husband was downsized (even though his bitch of a boss knew very well that he just had a baby!) With Daddy in the hospital and Hubby out of work, I knew I was battling an uphill climb.

I relinquished and went to my shrink. First thing out of her mouth was: “They’ve reclassified your anti-depressants. They are now a Class 4, and they will most certainly enter your breastmilk and effect your baby. If I put you back on them, do you promise to stop nursing?”

My world was crumbling. All I wanted to do was breastfeed my child. We were making gains in the latching/milk supply department. There was a future for my boobs. But my doctor was asking me to choose my mental health over my child’s nutritional health, and I couldn’t handle that shit.

Daisy, my wonderful, rational Siamese Twin, talked me off my metaphorical ledge. She reminded me that a happy mother is a happy baby, and that baby formula is quite nutritious and not detrimental to baby’s development. A depressed, crazy mother, however, was. For the next two days, I pumped and pumped and pumped so my kid could enjoy as much Mommy Juice as possible before I began my meds. The first time I put a pill in my mouth and swallowed, I cried. Ultimately, my kid received breast milk for the first month of her life, between my boobs and my pumped supply.

Switching to formula was the best decision I have made for my family thus far. With Buddy staying home with Pterodactyl, it is much easier on both of us for her to be a formula baby. My regiment of anti-depressants has stabilized my brain, and I’m a happy Mommy. I don’t think my kid would have benefitted from my breast milk if it were diluted with tears, do you?

When people give me shit for choosing to take my kid off the boob, I don’t even flinch. I know it was the best choice for all of us. My kid is brilliant, sweet, and (just to squelch those stereotypes about formula babies) svelte. Mommy is balanced out, and Buddy isn’t calling Daisy up at all hours of the night asking her to comfort and fix crazy Violet anymore. So to all the holier-than-thou breast-feeders (not all breast-feeders, just those with rude comments about my family) who condemn us formula moms for feeding our kid from a bottle, all I can say is: Go Fuck Yourselves.

Epilogue: My daddy is just fine, now. Two scary surgeries and a long recovery later, he’s back to his normal self. =]

© Daisy and Violet 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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