Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Life Goes On

Day 26

Sorry I haven't been getting updates on here as regularly as I would like. It's been a bit of a hectic week. The visitation and funeral for my Grama was yesterday and today. It was nice to see people I have known for years but haven't seen in awhile. It was amazing how many had heard of Kaia and were obviously thrilled to learn that she was alive and doing well. I wish she could have been 'present' (not that a newborn would be the best guest at a quiet funeral), but it would have been fun to show her off 'for real' and not just in photos.

As we are approaching 4 weeks out from Kaia's birth I'm getting more and more anxious for her to come home. She's more interactive and responsive and it sucks leaving her at the hospital each day. I realize it could be awhile longer, but as she gets bigger and bigger (almost 4 lbs 15 oz!), it's easier to picture her as a 'real' baby who lives with us and not a 'preemie' who lives at the hospital. She's starting to have some chub on her cheeks and she's definitely longer than when she was born. She fits into preemie clothing now, so I've had fun picking out outfits that will fit her for all of a week or two before she gets too big to wear them. She's still needing a bit of oxygen, but seems to be better at keeping her sats up and doesn't 'dip' as much. Her breathing also seems a *wee* bit slower than it did last week, so I'm hopeful that's a sign of easy breathing to come (soon please?!!)

I must admit, I'm anxious for her to come home not just for her sake (healthier, bigger, stronger...good to go home!)...but for ours. Cuz' holy is EXHAUSTING having a kid in the hospital. I constantly feel like I should be somewhere else. When I wake up in the morning, I want to hurry through pumping, showering, dressing and get my butt to the hospital...but WAIT there is housework and chores to do. So when I get to the hospital and see Kaia, I'm happy...but WAIT it's feeding time and I have to try to breastfeed (which is not progressing as quickly as I had hoped...but I'm sticking with it). Then I snuggle her for awhile (best part of the day)...but WAIT now it's time to pump again, and then I get hungry and must find food...but then, oh no, look at the time, it's time to pump again... So then I get back on the bus, head home, make dinner...pump some more x 3, then go to sleep, wake up x2 overnight and pump...then wake up for a third time and do it all again. Whew!

The inefficiency of pumping bothers me. Why can't I just sit every morning, throw on a good movie and pump for like 2 hours straight? It would be so great if I could get all my day's milk in one go. Think of the time I'd save!!! Having to stop every 3 hours for 20 minutes at a time and attach myself to plastic bits which I then have to wash afterwards (I have dish pan hands!!), is so tiring. To feed Kaia directly will be more fun and satisfying and definitely more portable as I won't have to plug her into to an electric socket to get her to milk me. To give you an idea of my life right now: Brian and I usually are NEVER late for anything. We are almost always the first ones to show up at any gathering...but today, (BECAUSE OF PUMPING), we were the absolute LAST people to arrive before the funeral started. Almost late to my Grama's funeral because of my embarrassing.

We are also busy as we are trying to get as many things done prior to Kaia's arrival home that we can. Most people do these sorts of things in the last 20 weeks of their pregnancies, but since we were a little busy worrying about our child's survival while I was pregnant, we are trying to get them all crammed in now. We have acquired many baby items including a car seat, crib mattress, baby clothes, stroller (THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED...I will do a post specifically about this item very soon, I promise), and bedding set. Others are on order including Kaia's bed room furniture. We have made a registry for a lot of other stuff and my 'real life' baby shower is planned for August 13th.

In all the 'happy' that has been going on with us, there have been a few down moments when I reflect that I should have been doing all of this last year for Aidan. My uncle introduced me to someone at the visitation last night as 'his niece who just had her first baby'. Um...not exactly...but what was I going to say at that point? Funerals are places people feel comfortable expressing their condolences, but feel much better saying "I'm sorry about your (85 year old) Grama (who had Alzheimer's, was almost blind, deaf and had a broken hip)", then they do when you say "Oh, no, Kaia's not my first first baby died last year at less than an hour old". People have more trouble with that one.

But I can't blame my uncle for his slip. You see, I've done it too.

The other week I was at the hair dressers get a much needed cut. As I was sitting down in the chair to have my hair washed, the hair dresser was telling me all about her son's girlfriend who is due with her first grandchild in December. She was looking forward to the "gender ultrasound" planned for later that week and she was guessing it was a girl. With all this talk, I shouldn't have been surprised (but I was), that she commented on my baby pooch and asked "are you expecting too?" (note: way to make a postpartum woman feel like shit...tell her she looks pregnant. If her baby is healthy and alive, it makes her feel fat. If her baby is dead, it makes her feel fat and depressed). So I told her about Kaia, and how she's in the NICU, but doing well etc. Then the woman asked the dreaded "is she your first?", and I responded in the affirmative.

In that moment I didn't really feel badly about doing so. I didn't really feel in the mood to 'share'. I'm not a regular customer of this woman's and she never saw me pregnant with either Aidan or Kaia, so it's not like she'll ever call me on it. Most of all I didn't really feel like yelling Aidan's story over the noise of running water and blow dryers. It's just not that kind of story. Plus it seems terrible to share your story of babylost-ness with someone who has just told you how excited they are to meet their new bundle of joy. Buzz kill, much?

But then something happened...

I'm not sure if it was me sharing that Kaia was in the NICU or what, but the next thing out of the hairdressers mouth is "My daughter-in-law's best friend was due this week. She went to the hospital and the doctor sent her home saying she wasn't ready to deliver yet. So she waited over the weekend and then she woke up and said she felt different..."

Oh shit...I know what is coming next. I've heard this story dozens of times in the past year...
And sure enough...

"...and she went to the hospital and her baby was dead".

Damn. Some other woman, maybe younger, maybe older, maybe black, white or Asian, maybe richer, maybe poorer, maybe more or less educated...has just become like me. A woman whose baby died before that baby had a chance to live. It's just not fair.

And at that moment, I wanted to go back and tell the hairdresser that I too lost a first...and it was horrible and terrible and yet I wouldn't have taken his existence back for the world. His name was Aidan and he was perfect..and could she please tell this newly bereaved woman that things won't always be this bad? That while life will suck for a good long while, and that there are going to be plenty of sad, depressing and awful days ahead, and while it will NEVER NEVER be okay that her baby died...she won't always feel this bad. Life will get better. She will smile again.

But no, that new babylost mom has to learn that lesson herself, in her own way, in her own time. Nothing I can say, no wisdom I can impart will make it easier. 'Better' cannot be rushed, but nor, thankfully, can it be stopped. Life goes on. It just does.

Kaia says so:


  1. wow, she has grown a lot!
    I like giving people hope too, that life won't always be bad, but you are right, all you can do is show them that you are living fully.

  2. Her chunky cheeks are just so beautiful.

    Hearing stories like those brings tears to my eyes. Someone just starting their journey into grief with the long long road ahead of them. I'm so sorry for her.

  3. Wow, look how chubby her cheeks are, so sweet!! I understand the inconvenience of pumping, I breast fed my twins for almost 8 months, and for the first couple of months I felt like all I did was pump or feed, I didn't have a moment to myself, but I wouldn't have changed it for the world. I didn't nurse my first baby, I think I didn't really understand the importance of it being only 20 years old at the time. I really wish I would have.
    Sorry to hear about the loss of your grams.

  4. Awww, those cheeks are just adorable! I'm so glad to hear how good she's doing! Did you ever imaagine that you'd have an almost 5 pound baby!! Keep up that pumping, she is beyond worth it!


  5. Her face his filled out so much! Love those chubby cheeks. I'm sorry pumping is so inconvenient. I'm proud of you for sticking with it and hope you can transition away from the pumping soon. It makes me so happy to read that Kaia is growing and improving. Continue to take care of yourself too, mama.

  6. She looks fantastic! hope she is home soon

  7. Wow, she is getting big -- she looks wonderful!

    I don't mean to minimize the extra stress and hassles you are dealing with, but your description of your day (once you get to the hospital) reminds me a lot of being home with my full-term newborn. I had supply issues, but that was about the total of our problems, and yet, and yet. I'd breastfeed him for ~45 minutes, then need to give him a bottle (because he was still hungry), and pump to try to get my supply up, and maybe he'd nap for 30 minutes (or not), and somewhere in there I'd need to grab some food and pee, and then 2 hours would have gone by and he'd need to nurse again. I mean, I do get that what you're going through *is* on another plain and is tougher in many, many ways, and I totally don't mean to minimize that ... but please don't imagine that the typical "new baby born full-term and now at home" experience is all sunshine and roses and cooing and peaceful organized promptness and that you're missing out on that, at least, my experience (as many wonderful moments as it did have) wasn't that one.

  8. wow! almost 5 pounds!she is doing fantastic.
    I completely understand that pumping/NICU schedule. Ugh, was it exhausting!I remember getting up in the morning and pumping first thing (after waking twice in the the night to pump)and then showering and trying to get ready to go to the NICU. and by the time I had gotten ready, packed everything up, made whatever phone calls I had to make that day, etc. I would need to pump again before I left. All I wanted to do was get there to see him and that stupid pump would make me later and later. Yet it was the one thing I knew I could do to help him be healthy. Then I'd drive the 35 mins to the hospital, do the wash up routine, get in there, talk to the nurse/doctors about how he was doing, and dammit if it wasn't time to pump again. UGH. Not to mention getting very little sleep having to be up several times a night to setup, pump, cleanup, then try to get back to sleep.
    In contrast to the above poster, let me tell you, it was soooooo much better once he came home. Yes, you still don't get much sleep, less in fact. But you can nap during the day when she does. You can't do that when they are in the NICU! I also had supply issues and Declan would nurse for long periods of time, fall asleep nursing, and I'd just hold him until he woke up and wanted to nurse again. So, no, not much time to eat, pee, shower. But all I had to do was sit in that chair and nurse him all day long and that is a million times more rewarding and relaxing than that freaking pump!

    She will be home soon and you will know all this for yourself and it will be glorious! You will still be exhausted, but for much better reasons!

  9. She is looking fabulous! So glad to hear she's gaining well and doing a bit better with the O2. I hear you on the pumping, now that we've brought Ian home from the NICU I'm dealing with the pumping and bottle feeding every 3hrs! He also didn't take to breastfeeding and they nurses told me we'd have him home much sooner if we focused on bottle feeding so for now the crazy schedule is worth it but it is exhausting.
    Hoping she will be home with you very soon!

  10. If it makes you feel better, like Alexicographer it reminds me of my schedule too. I found out on Wednesday that I've been starving her by nursing her, basically. Freaking mother of the year, huh? She was 9lbs 11oz at her 2-week checkup, and then I started having massive boob issues. Mastitis, thrush, mastitis again, thrush again, sores on the nipples, bad latch...omg. I honestly can't believe I'm still fighting through it. Anyway, I went to a breastfeeding clinic when she was 4 weeks and found out she was 9lbs 10oz. She LOST an ounce in almost two weeks. I felt so horrible. So back to the original point, I'm now nursing her on both sides, then offering an additional 2-3 oz by bottle after she nurses, and then pumping. And that goes on every two hours. And it takes about a full hour to complete the routine. So I hear you on the horrible schedule thing - although I don't have the additional stress of her being in the NICU, which I'm sure adds a whole 'nother level of difficulties. :(

    Hugs to both of you!

  11. It breaks my heart every single time I hear the story of another lost baby. It is just all too common.

    Lovely to see your little one thriving :)