Tomorrow will be one month for the boys! It is strange, but it feels like it hasn’t been that long. I say its strange because when Addison’s stay was only one month-long and I remember thinking it felt like a lifetime. I am sure there are a few reasons for this, the most obvious being that I know that my boys clearly aren’t close to ready to coming home. I just hope they are home around my due date – January 20th! We know we are in this round of the NICU for the long haul.
My sense of urgency isn’t the only difference with our NICU stay this time around. When Addison was born at 32 weeks and required a 30 day NICU stay I was terrified. Nearly paralyzed with fear. Every hiccup, change in stats, behavior, etc. was cause for alarm. Not to mention I was completely overwhelmed by the entire experience – I didn’t talk to many people, waited for the doctors to approach me, took direction and updates at face value as I quietly meandered through the process. I didn’t feel bold or confident in the whole atmosphere – it was too scary. Not this time! The NICU isn’t nearly as scary as I thought it was two years ago. Which is funny, because the boys have a much scarier ride than Addison did. I know all of the boys’ day doctors and nurses by name, I see them in the main lobby and we talk. If I have a question, I walk out to their desk and ask it. While we love most of the nurses, some of them rub us the wrong way and when we feel the need, we voice our opinion.
Most impressively, I am not afraid. Don’t let me mislead you, there are things that I am very afraid of. Illnesses, issues, complications… However, I have a handle on the day-to-day. I know each one matters and to celebrate just that. With Addison I think one of the reasons I was so afraid is that everyday I was desperately trying to get to the “normal” part of having a newborn. So each day that kept me from that was filled with fear that those normal days would never come. With the boys, I feel abundantly patient and feel no need to rush their delevelopment and milestones, I am content to be happy with each and every small success. Take today for example, I celebrated being able to put lotion on Carter. Giving him a little massage made my day. I celebrated knowing what to do as I watched Griffin’s heart rate drop, and I celebrated being able to help him pull out of it. On Saturday, I celebrated holding Griffin in my two hands inches above his bed so his nurse could change his bedding. There are just so many things to celebrate. Even on days like today, when Griffin is having a hard time keeping his heart rate up, his food in his belly and had to go back on the ventilator to support his immature lungs. Because I know tomorrow things will be different. So I take things day by day, it is what it is and it is clearly NOT in my control but in God’s hands (thankfully – for I know I am not equipped!)
Looking back at the blog I kept for Addison, there are very few entries during her time in the NICU. That is because I was so overwhelmed by what was happening I couldn’t even find the words. I never did my own research online of any of her conditions, afraid of what I might find. This time around I have taken ownership of our situation. I participate in a web community of parents of preemies. I read discussions, post my questions and encourage other parents going through similar things. It gives me strength and hope for our boys. And of course, I blog about nearly everything. This blog has been one of my biggest sources of therapy.
In 2009 when we went through our first bout with the NICU we had faith that things happen for a reason. But now, in 2011 that reason is glaringly obvious. Without the relatively easy and short stay with one little girl in the NICU two years ago, I know we wouldn’t be half as prepared, secure, comfortable, knowledgeable..for our long and precarious stay with our two tiny boys now.