Saturday, October 3, 2009

Getting Mobile

AHHHH....the lazy days of snuggling with baby who was a prisoner to the way I position him are now long over. He has now discovered that his arms and legs reposition any which way he my sudden yet short-felt dismay. Development is a beautiful thing, yes I agree, however: IT MEANS YOU NEVER GET TO SIT DOWN...EVER!!!!!! Whoa!

Currently, we're battling our first illness. Boy that's painful, those once quiet nights give way to middle of the night crying, once again reminding us of the newborn days. So a gallon of Vapo-Steam and three Barefoot Contessa books tucked under one side of his mattress later, we're still dealing with a little congestion and a fever here and there. Just enough to put this new mom over the edge. As if worrying about the Swine Flu wasn't enough, I'm ready to build a bomb shelter under the house. Call me in March. We'll emerge pale, light sensitive, and hairy.

Speaking of hairy, that leads me to my latest Parenthood discoveries list:

1) Shaving. Now, is it really necessary? I mean, so many other things have been cut out of my life. Why not use that little time-saving treasure in the shower? It's a constant internal struggle every morning. (This may be TMI, but who am I to withhold information?) I shave my armpits every morning. That cannot go untreated, because, well that's just disgusting. But razor in hand, I always look at my legs and begin this dialogue in my head:
-I felt a temperature below 70 degrees the other day. I can just wear pants.
-But, Tony might be disgusted if I get into bed tonight with prickly legs.
-Well, I bet it will grow enough to become soft by then. You know, soft flowing
leg hair?
-You're right. Let's skip today. We'll use extra lotion.
BOOM! I'm outta the shower in 5 minutes. Nice....

2) Rolling. Boy that sure was cute for five minutes. Now I have to strap Harrison in my papoose in order to get anything done. If I walk away for two seconds, he could manage to roll to Frisco if the front door was open. But at night? A big case of the Sundowners Syndrome. Oh, well he rolls onto his stomach and then he can't figure out how to get back over, so let's just cry until Mommy or Daddy flips me. We stopped flipping. Tough love, right?

3)Solids+Talking=Stained clothes. This child is so my husband's offspring. We've started mini-discipline during feeding time because he REALLY enjoys blowing raspberries into the spoon, thus creating a prune/banana/applesauce/pea Tidal Wave. Tasty. When I look at him sternly and say, "Harrison! NO." He drops his little chin and gives me this flirty look as if to say, "Yeah right, Mommy. I'll just whip up a fever here real fast and I'll have YOU eating out of the palm of MY hand!" And he's right.

4) Holy explosion in the diaper running down your leg, Batman! What in the grossest poop ever is going on here? Damn solids.

5) Ahhh....we revisit intimacy. Yeah, go ahead, have one teeny, tiny, dirty thought and it's meltdown city and Harrison's the mayor. Abort the mission, you've got a baby! You silly adult with adult needs! Forget 'em!


6) Have you seen What About Bob? Please tell me you have...and that you remember the scene where he's sleeping and no one can wake him up. They jump on the bed, scream in his ear, hit him...and it isn't until the tiny bell from his tiny alarm clock dings and he arises if nothing has happened.
Well, the freaking Polar Express could blow straight through my living room and this baby won't wake up. Oh, but sneeze upstairs on the other side of the house and you can consider that nap OVER! Baby steps for shiz....

I love this baby and seeing all of the wonderful new developments that happen, literally, daily. What a blessing it is to see such a little miracle (my fifteen pound miracle, mind you) change and grow. I got my first hug and kiss the other day. Sloppy, but joyous. Our precious son, as time goes by becomes more and more like us. I'll try to remember that when we're experiencing his first time-out, or God forbid, spanking!

I think we'll stick with one child for now...Box wine, where are you?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Letter to Mom

Dear Mommy,

As you know, your grandson is now almost five months old. It's truly amazing, as you said it would be, to watch how much they grow and change day by day. I only wish you could be here to see it. I give you full credit for watching over him as he was brought into the world VERY early, and keeping him healthy and stable. Thank you. He's got every bit of fighting spirit that you had. What a special gift!

We never know what kind of mother we will be. We know what we will aspire to be, what we think we'll be, but those results don't always come to fruition. I've however, had the pleasure of discovering that I am very much like you in so many ways. This pleases me because you are always on my mind, and I am constantly reminding myself of you. Seeing as how this is the closest I will get to being with you, I'll take it. (Granted, I sometimes roll my eyes at myself when I see it happening)

Brutally honest and raw, yet capable of so much love and passion, I can see how my reactions to different situations are sometimes laughable, sometimes pitiful, and sometimes selfless and heartfelt. I also find that there are times I allow that panic and paranoia to creep in, resulting in great laughs from my peers. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, but I think for the most part you would be proud of me. I can't take any credit though, for everything I do and feel seems innate...implanted by you over 29 years filled with love, care, and concern.

Aside from being given the name that you chose so many years ago, I notice so many of your special qualities in Harrison. Like being really loud. (See video below) He'll talk forEVER just to be heard, and only seeks acknowledgment. He definitely enjoys a good conversation, as we used to do for hours, only he doesn't last that long. Thank goodness! He also coughs when you clean his ears with a Q-tip. Getting through it is torture, but anything to avoid "Ragu Ears" as you would kindly put it. His greatest attribute, aside from being the most wonderful baby that ever existed, is that he snorts. A true treasure amongst us Enke women, I am so proud to have passed that endearing gem on to him. It may not last, but I'll enjoy it while I can. Tony thinks my snorting is cute. I imagine Harrison won't bag many women if he continues. Hmmm...I may have discovered a Master Plan?? :) He hasn't, however, unintentionally insulted a midget to their face yet. But give him time...

Working. I know. It isn't how you did it, and it isn't how I wanted to do it, either. But Mom, I'm doing my very best, and I hope you know that I've managed to find the best care for your grandson. Your niece. Who now lives two doors down from me. The relationship you asked for us to treasure and continue on your deathbed has turned out to be one of the biggest blessings I could've asked for. And as Lauren, Robert and I were raised as siblings, so will Harrison, Eva, and Luca. The gift of family is irreplaceable and precious, and I can't help thinking that you aligned some sort of parallel for us to follow, as you've sent your graces about us to make things easier. In addition, having Tony's family has been something I never knew I'd find, and now couldn't live without. You led me to this, and I thank you for that as well. Harrison has many "villages" caring for him. Don't worry, no tribes. Nothing primitive here.

I know you know the coming year is going to be a tough one. Daddy is sick, and I know you're watching over him. Please know that he is in good hands, and I'll continue to do everything in my power to keep him safe and happy. Being surrounded by people that love and adore him I know will make the transitions he faces that much more comfortable. You'll roll your eyes with disgust to know that since you've been gone, I've still been unable to educate him on how a dishwasher or washing machine works. I'm sorry for marking your washing machine dial with permanent marker, he needed a visual but it still didn't work. Good thing you bought him underwear for every damn holiday. He never runs out. I digress. Most importantly, he is being taken care of, so don't worry. People will think I'm cruel for saying this, but they don't know our relationship, so I'll say it anyway. Party hard with Janie now, because if and when he shows up, you're back on the clock! Get your rack of lamb and rutabagas ready...and good luck with that because I've stolen all your Le Creuset and All-Clad from the house. I imagine that they have a pretty good set up where you are, so I won't feel guilty about it. Remember that time I called you from the grocery store to ask if a whole chicken was a chicken? Yeah, I haven't improved much since then. I think I'm fancy when I don't burn the BĂ©arnaise and I get a salad on the table. So hijacking your pricey cookware hasn't done much for my culinary talents. Whatever, I know you're laughing.

I've spent the last three years wishing I could get one more kiss from you. One more hug. One more laugh. One more phone call. One more trip through the Dog House drive-thru where you called the owners Communists and you forced us to hide out in the parking lot.

One more anything....

But now, if given the chance, I'd trade that anything to give my son one kiss from you. Just one. Through pictures, I might be able to paint a fragmented picture of you, your character, your legend. But if I could give Harrison that one kiss, I don't doubt for a second that he could capture your entire soul and remember it for a lifetime. This precious child, whose only misfortune will be never knowing you, has become my best way of dealing with your absence. I desperately give to him all the love and affection you were never ashamed to show me, and though I may not reach perfection, I know I have enough love to give him from the both of us. What's more is that I have enough courage and strength to say that.

Thank you, Mom. For demonstrating true love, leading me to love, and giving me the power to love like you did. Unconditionally, irrevocably, and eternally.

Loving and missing you always,


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rolling Right Along!

Wow! So here's our boy, taking one of his first rolls across his playmat. Of course I didn't catch the first one because he did it behind my back...sneaky little thing...just like Daddy.

The first three months were amazing, watching him grow and change. Steadily, he started doing all the things he was supposed to. On time, and even early in some cases. This is incredible to us considering we were told to expect him to do things two months late. You show them, Harrison! But now, it seems that every day brings something new. Like today, the thumb sucking. For all my FB friends out there, you saw the pictures. He woke up this morning (actually, WE had to wake him up, praise Jesus!) and started going after his thumb like a maniac. Problem is, he doesn't know where to put the other four fingers. He quickly solved the problem for one of them...straight up the nose. Bless his heart, I know I'll be yelling at him for that one day. As those precious little hands get bigger, I can just see how time flies, and how every moment is a gift. Our day is a steady routine, thanks to my sister-in-law who generously lent me her Babywise book which I think is the most sacred document ever written second to the Bible. I'm pretty sure Harrison could take care of himself at this point. However, I'm still learning, and to keep with tradition, here are my newly learned lessons from Mommyville.

  • That erection is much more than embarrassing, it's a sign you're about to get peed on. Cover it up NOW!
  • The discovery of hands is as powerful as Zack Morris' "Time-out".
  • After four months, other parents stop laughing at your paranoia. Now they tell you to shut up, you're being stupid.
  • "Mystery Diagnosis" is a dangerous show for new moms. Who needs a pediatrician? I give Harrison a full physical every time I watch that damn show. No symptoms yet, but I'm sure they'll turn up.
  • Be patient with the husband. He knows the baby is much more resilient than we give them credit for. I watched Tony pick Harrison up the other day in a very Chimpanzee sort of way. Horrified, I decided to keep my mouth shut and went for the wine.

Just a few new I'm ready for more.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Look How Far We've Come

Harrison turned 3 months old on July 1st. Such blessed and spontaneous beginnings have given way to methodical routines and prayers for sleep. We haven't quite mastered sleeping through the night yet, but he's done it, and continues to do it. He just likes to trip things up a bit every now and then with a 2:30 wake-up call.

One could say that I've gradually become more accustomed to motherhood, however time has not cured my incessant paranoia. I'm pretty sure I've diagnosed him with every disease from Asbestos Poisoning, to Lupus, to Restless Leg Syndrome and everything in between. My current mission: Flat Head Syndrome. No matter how I position that boy, he loves loves loves to sleep with his head turned to the left. Now, I know what you're all saying. "It's fine, it happens to all babies, when they start to sit up and roll it'll even out." Well, that's all fine and good, but until that happens, (which according to my handy dandy milestone chart is between 4 and 6 months) I'll be investigating new ways to inflate that side of his head. Within reason of course. :)

Speaking of milestones, on June 12th, at what was perhaps the height of my paranoid state Harrison looked straight at me, laughed AND smiled. It was at that moment I TRULY felt like a mother and I knew Harrison was officially "in the world". There will probably never be another moment that precious and genuine again in my life, but I bet he'll surprise me. The only thing cuter is Tony's face when Harrison smiles at him. Such a wonderful and proud Daddy. Those smiles eventually gave way to abundant laughter, which is heart melting, and happens with more frequency. I mean, what can I say, Tony and I are pretty hilarious. You can't blame the kid.

Three Months of Motherhood Discoveries

  • Naptime will only occur if you walk in circles in the house and DON'T stop no matter what. The minute you sit, consider naptime OVER.
  • The days of getting dressed in one fell swoop are over. First, I shower. Playtime, feeding time, naptime. Then I can dry my hair. Playtime, distractions, fussiness. Then I can put on my makeup. Even then, I'm not fully put together seeing as how I went out yesterday with mascara on only one eye.
  • Speaking of makeup, Harrison thinks he has two mommies. There's the one that gets him up in the morning and dresses him. Her face is quite blank. She's a little scary. Not too many smiles happening for that Mommy. But when the second Mommy shows up, he notices that this one has eyes that he can look at. And shiny lips. Much more pleasant Mommy. Not so much of an eye sore Mommy. Well, and yesterday, I was obviously the one-eyed Mommy. I think I'm developing schizophrenia.
  • My son is a complete angel anywhere in public. Except Target. Every time I have set foot in that God forsaken place, he screams at one point. This occurs usually when I'm in the clothes section. Better hustle over to the frozen foods.
  • Cribs only work at night. Period.
  • 5:30-7:00 pm is his personal Witching Hour. Nothing pleases him. This is when I drink wine.
  • Absolutely NO kisses for baby after he eats. Unless you like the taste of regurgitated formula.
  • And finally, why didn't someone inform me of these permanent 10 pounds stuck to my arse?? I did not sign up for an extra ten pounds. How selfish, you know, my kid could've used those ten pounds in utero, but NOOOOO....stuck to my arse they will remain. I'll show those pounds. Just find me a diet where I can continue with my Witching Happy Hour.
Three and a half months of stresses and joys have passed us by. We anxiously await the new surprises and moments we know Harrison will bless us with. We just hope to enjoy them on a full nights sleep.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Ants Go Marching

The details in this story are true and accurate, and have not been elaborated. No names have been changed to protect the innocent. No one's innocent in this story.

Murphy's Law. I have been a victim of it for 31 years. Because of this fated victimization, I have been deemed an Anti-Optimist. Which I prefer to call a "Realist." Anything that can go wrong...will. Famous lines by Thomas Moore:

I never had a slice of bread
Particularly large and wide
That did not fall upon the floor
And always on the buttered side.

Tony and I make the WILD and CRAZY decision to attempt a little rice cereal in the little man's formula. I wouldn't have done this for sleeping purposes alone, but I did read that it helps poor little reflux babies keep their food down and comfortably so. After the previous night of bi-hourly eating and crying, we were fit to be tied, therefore, fit to mix in a little of the good stuff.  Anxiously feeding him, and anxiously awaiting the coma we hoped would ensue, he finishes his dinner and goes right to bed. Not a peep. This is usual for his last feeding at 10:00. Let the countdown begin. Like giddy, pre-Christmas children, we rush to get to bed, praying for the gift of REM sleep for the first time in 7 weeks. Tony passes out in under two minutes, I tidy up the kitchen and prepare two bottles. There was a tidbit of my positivity coming out. Only preparing two bottles. The Self Fulfilling Prophecy MUST work at some point. 

I hop into bed, update my Facebook, turn on Friends, and .............. What the hell was that??? I felt something on my neck. Having itched from imaginary bugs before in a non-drug induced state, I confidently went back to Facebooking. Hey, maybe even spend some QT with the hubs, if you know what I mean...wink wink........OUCH!!! Again, I feel it. This time burning. Lots of burning!! I reach for the lamp and nudge Sleeping Beauty to my left. 
"Is there something crawling on my back??"

Holy Mary Mother of God, he pulls off an ant without missing a beat. And another. And another.  
I EJECT from the bed, and do that familiar dance that people do when covered with crawling things. Kind of like doing an Irish Jig on crack. Hop, hop, itch itch, front, back, top, bottom. I strip off my nightgown, not even taking time to suck in my stomach which I normally do to make myself feel better, and shake it like a maddened beast. As I return bedside, there it is. (Insert dramatic music here.) A trail of what must've been 300 ants coming from the baseboard, up the bedskirt, and right up under my pillow where my ill-fated head was resting. What on EARTH is under my pillow that is so attractive to ants you ask? Nothing. These must be the vicious, torturous ants that get a rise off of harassing innocent sleepers.  Meanwhile, in rushes Tony the Ant Warrior armed with his deadly Dustbuster. He starts sucking them to death, now all the while poor Harrison is TRYING to sleep through the night. At least we pray.

A few stirs here and there, but he's still way out of it. Phew...we must forge on! Kill the ants!! (Here comes the worry aforementioned in my previous blog) But wait!!! Are the ants going to kill the baby?? I envisioned a trail of helmet wearing ants as long as the Great Wall of China, leading up into my baby's crib attacking his every extremity. They'd probably snatch his remaining testicle!! KILL THE ANTS!!!

After a good 3o minutes of Dustbusting, I go out on a limb and suggest we get some ant spray, bait, traps, ANYTHING!!! Tony continues to Bust away. I think I saw a gleam in his eye as he continued his seek and destroy mission. Spray would just take the fun out of watching them being sucked up into the cyclone of ant death. Now, I credit my wonderful husband for always attempting to solve problems with a minimal expenditure of energy. An excellent time manager, he's always seeking shortcuts, but the repercussions of this battle would have to be prevented with diligence! After an ant bit him on his badonkadonk, he was finally convinced we needed to arm ourselves with poison, so he goes to get dressed. **Time elapsed 4 minutes** I walk into the closet and he's casually thumbing through his repertoire of collared shirts in an effort to find his best ensemble for Wal Mart.... at midnight! WHAT?? I frantically point to a t-shirt sitting on his dresser and yell for him to GOOOOOOO!! 

Dustbusting, yelling, Irish's still in ZZZZZZZZZZZ Land. Phew! 

Waiting, waiting, waiting. Where's Tony?? I hear the text message. I read the text message. 

"Pulled over." 

Murphy's Law has struck again. 15 minutes later, here he comes with ant traps and spray in one hand, citation in the other. We change the sheets, surround ourselves with traps, and hop into bed. Only this time, I'm sleeping on HIS side of the bed in the event the ants have a National Guard that steps in when the full timers have been defeated. Alas, the sleep we've been needing for over 24 hours has arrived. We pass out sans wink-winking.

"WAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" Harrison requests room service. So much for rice cereal. Murphy's Law is too busy marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah. 

Only, nobody's stopping to climb any trees. Damn ants. 


Monday, June 1, 2009

Three's Company

Can't believe we've made it two months. Half of me can't believe we've come this far this fast, and the other half feels as if I should be wiping tears of joy as Harrison crosses the stage in his cap and gown. 

As any parent of the newborn variety knows, it ain't easy, and boy has it taken it's toll on our lives in general. All I can pray for is that it's painless for him. I mean, he looks pretty comfortable...well except for today during his two month immunizations.  HONESTLY, why didn't someone prepare me for the look of horror that I can only describe as his "WTF WAS THAT???!!!" face, followed by screaming only to become limp and lifeless in my arms as if to say, "Mommy, take the pain...... away!!!!  Oh, the horror!!!"  Needless to say, we survived. Weighing in at a bountiful 8 pounds 4 ounces, he has managed to zip right off of the preemie charts and onto the term baby charts. Granted, he's only in the 3rd percentile for weight and height, but hell, I'll take it. His head on the other hand is in the 35th percentile, enough to qualify him as Harold and the Purple Crayon's replacement.  Or Stewie's, depending which cartoon suits you.

I've broken the last several weeks down into subjects as I've learned that life with a new baby is about different chunks of day. Bite off only what you can chew, but plan on biting quite a large chunk. And chew hard. And floss afterwards.

God bless Tony. There are times in the night that I don't even know I'm still alive, and he'll take care of the baby knowing full well it isn't his "turn".  And he does it quietly. If it were me, I'd be banging around like a Riverdancing Elephant just to make it known I was handling his business.  I'd like to think it's the hormones that are making me vicious. :) I knew the sleepless nights were getting to me when I microwaved an empty pyrex.  We usually fill the pyrex with water, microwave it, then set the bottle in there to warm up.  I stood there for at least three minutes wondering why the bottle wasn't getting warm.  And just when things were getting deliriously out of hand, Harrison started sleeping five hour stretches at night. This lasted long enough to rid me of the ridiculous sleep deprivation induced dreams I was having.  Some examples?  Tony leaving the baby on the floor with 19 dogs during a party, my dad's lips falling off, and most recently, me climbing a tree to meet with a squirrel for one of "our talks".  Yes folks, it is time to pop the Ambien and call it a night...or a week...whatever it takes.  But alas, we cannot. Especially since the five hour stretches have ceased and he's back to his two week old ways again.  We must pull through.  The good news is that there's a Roseanne marathon during my shift, so there's time for me to watch some dysfunction that doesn't relate to the questioning of my own parenthood. It is frustrating, however, to sit down, position the Boppy, tuck the burp cloth under his now very fatty chin, pin down his hands since he likes to do Kung Fu dining, get the bottle aimed directly in his overly rooting mouth where his head flops side to side like Shamu's best air maneuver, and then realize that the remote is in the kitchen and I'm stuck watching Sports Center from Tony's previous shift. Sh*t.

So we've overcome the incessant screaming during eating, which was heart wrenching. We've loaded him up on Prevacid and it seems to do the trick.  Well, by "the trick" I mean eliminates the crying.  I'll be sitting there in a half coma listening to the rhythmic pattern of his cute little grunt-swallow-grunt-swallow eating, and PHHHHHTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!! There comes the force of air that could power a hot air balloon and I am suddenly soaked with formula, which smells like rotting milk before it ever rots. Realizing then this might be a sign that he needs to burp, I place him lovingly on my welcoming shoulder, kiss his cute little cheek, and BLECH!! He turns his mouth just in time to feed me his Similac - bird style. Delicious. When can they start solid foods??

Hahahahahaha. Shut your mouth.

So, in an attempt to be the vigilant mother that I want to be, I purchased a backseat mirror so I can watch my boy's every move while on the road. Excuse me, WHAT IDIOT came up with this shenanigan? I have been so enraptured watching the kid sleep that I have slammed my breaks a dozen times saving us from driving up a semi's ass. Then, and tell me if you've done this, I look in the mirror, and am not satisfied with what I see, so I turn my body entirely around to look at the mirror head on. Yep, still sleeping. I'm considering installing one of those privacy windows like in a limousine.  Seriously, like I'm going to look back there and see Harrison flashing me the jazz hands.  At this rate, I'm more likely to see him shoot me the finger.

A natural born worrier, I never thought I had time to worry more. But I do. How on earth can I worry about such simple things? Oh my God, his eyes are crossed. Oh my God, he hasn't pooped.  Oh my God, he's crying. Oh my God, is he breathing? Oh thank God, he's breathing. It doesn't help the situation that he's a preemie and he might face some obstacles in development over the next year, so pair that "extra" worry with "natural" worry, and you are in serious need of Botox. A whole case of it. Tony does a good job of attempting to keep me calm, but he remains defeated. I do my best to keep a level head, and I know the worrying won't stop, but maybe there's a 12 step program I can join to help manage the insanity? My latest worry, (and he'll kill me when he's a teenager for sharing this with you) is that one of his testicles retracted. WHAT?? You might as well have told me that one of his eyeballs retracted, or an arm, or a foot. It's that serious to me! I'm sure some of you can say you know someone with that experience, and I'm sure the problem will correct itself, but seriously?? As if I have time to worry whether or not my boy will spend his life as a Eunuch.  A little dramatic, I know, but hey, it's me. Everybody, please pray for my son's testicle.

So, that concludes the experiences over the last month. Could've been more dramatic, could've been less. Either way, we're adapting to parenthood as best we know how. The Lord has blessed us with a wonderful little boy who shows us miracles everyday.  I love watching our little man grow and change, and I can't wait for those milestones to start, so the gallstones can stop. Be assured I will record every last beautiful moment with him to share with long as they don't happen in the back seat mirror of my car. 


Friday, April 24, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

In my Big Boy Bed!

Well, we've survived the first 5 days at home, and I have to admit that leaving the NICU was tough.  Above you'll see our favorite nurses, Hope and Amy, with Harrison tucked (and I mean TUCKED) in his car seat ready for departure.  The care they gave our son was without measure, and taking him home without them sitting nearby was a scary situation! I got through that initial fear by realizing that if he wasn't ready to come home to novice's like us, they surely wouldn't have discharged him! 

The first night at home was a dream. He woke up twice, and both times went right back to sleep. I think Tony and I got almost 8 hours of sleep. As for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night, well they became increasingly hair-pulling. I was constantly baffled by the fact that every time we visited Harrison in the NICU, he was soundly sleeping. He certainly wasn't without a few occasions of extra alertness during the night, but he usually needed to be awakened for a feeding or diaper change. Well, as I've mentioned before, Harrison is pretty gifted and talented, so I think he knows that Mommy and Daddy now hold full reigns and he takes advantage of the fact that we rush to his side with every grunt we hear! In fact, one evening, Harrison over-salivated on his pacifier and he made such a wet, disturbing noise, Tony and I both rush out of the bed nearly knocking one another on the floor to make sure he wasn't choking. Surely he was choking and we would discover him with blue lips. we peered over the bassinet, we see that he is sleeping away, only having lost his Soothie. I'm pretty sure the hospital equivalent of crack is the Soothie. Doctor's and nurses could sell them on the black market. It's like an instant mute button for babies, and we take full advantage. They gave us three of them, two still in the package, and I have them on such lock down, it will take Harrison Ford in the latest sequel of Indiana Jones to get it from me. I mean, even as I type this, every two words I have to bend down and put that thing back in his mouth. 

Parenthood totally sunk in for me after Tony asked me where Harrison was, and I said that I put him back in his crate.  What was I thinking??!! After 8 years of dog ownership, I could see that my life had really started a new chapter. One which doesn't involve keeping my dependents in a metal cage and feeding them biscuits through the wires. The poor dogs have spent more time outside than Smokey the Bear. Georgie, our lab, has taken to the baby very well and has mastered the Army crawl every time she's around him. And it's adorable to see that when baby is distressed, Georgie is distressed. Every time Harrison makes the slightest grunt, Georgie looks at the baby monitor like, "WTF? Why aren't you taking care of this??" Pacey, however, is more confused than ever. When she's inside, she just does laps around the house, racking up points for every object she doesn't hit. (She's blind for those of you who don't know.) So when SHE hears Harrison, she looks blankly up into space wondering what rocket ship just transported her to another planet. It's okay, in their 20 hours outside, Georgie takes good care of her. That is, when she isn't harassing her. 

So there it is folks, our first 5 days at home. Harrison is 37 weeks today, so he should be right up there in newborn status any day now. And when I'm not certain the flash of the camera will make him as blind as our Schnauzer, I'll take more pictures to share with everyone. So, I leave you with the top 5 things I've learned as a parent this week in no particular order.

1.  Going all day without clearing your throat for fear of making noise makes for a pretty phlegmy cough later in the evening. 

2.  Babies R US is the homosapien version of Petsmart. Just because it's for babies doesn't mean you should drag your whole brood there!

3. (Viewer discretion advised) Pumping/breastfeeding has turned my boobs into what looks like Slinky's. Therefore, the theme song for breastfeeding mothers should now be: "It walks down stairs, alone or in pairs, and makes a slinkity sound. A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing, everyone knows it's a Slinky. It's Slinky, it's Slinky, for fun it's a wonderful toy. It's Slinky, it's Slinky, it's fun for a girl or a boy."

4. Washing your hair is overrated. 

5. And lastly, there's nothing better than sitting next to the man of your dreams with the miracle you created in your arms. The frustration and sleep deprivation disappears knowing how much you love this tiny person and how in a matter of minutes, you and your husband went from a couple to being a family. Priceless. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Harrison was two weeks old yesterday! And he had the pleasure of meeting his grandparents for the first time on Easter Sunday.

Well, we're in a bit of a steady holding pattern. This week has been pretty uneventful at the NICU as we wait for Harrison's "feeding eagerness" to kick in. Apparently this happens between 35 and 37 weeks, and he'll be 36 weeks this Friday. After a major stunt in eating, he is slowly but surely finishing his bottles these days.  Out of eight feedings a day, he takes 3-4 through bottle and the rest are fed through the Gavage. We hope to hear the doctors up that order to 5-6 bottles a day since he's doing so well.  That'll be one step closer to home. The nurses have been incredible in showing us ways to keep him sucking, and I personally think he's fed up with that tube. Once he's taking the eight bottles a day, we're blowing that pop stand. 

We did have the pleasure of meeting Nurse #2 on my you-know-what list.  Imagine a 55 year old woman with a Mick Jagger circa 1983 haircut. Ms. Jagger liked to cackle at our questions as if we were complete idiots. I would've given her a tongue lashing, but all I could think of was her ridiculous haircut.  Remember that video with Mick Jagger and David Bowie skipping down the lane singing "Dancing in the Street"? Well, if you'd like to refresh your memory, check it out at the link below. I promise you won't be anything less than entertained. Everyone needs a good laugh. 

Otherwise, we just wait. Some nurses say one week, others say "don't hold your breath". Harrison is spending most of his time sleeping and growing, and now weighs in at a whopping 4 lbs, 7.5 oz. His sleeping patterns are the reason we don't have many new pictures, because it looks like the same picture over and over again. He officially hates his tube, and manages to pull it right out of his nose in one swift maneuver almost daily. We keep telling him, "it's up to you!" As the weeks progress, we sort of feel like we're in the middle of the movie Groundhog Day. It's exhausting, but I feel so blessed that we wait on only one development. We are surrounded by babies hooked up to hoses, nozzles and needles and we have to remind ourselves that despite the fact this isn't the way we would have planned it, we are pretty lucky.

Keep those prayers coming! 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Movin' On Up!

Well, we've made it to 4 lbs already! And to our surprise this morning, we found our baby in an open bed, a graduation of sorts from the isolette since he can now regulate his own temperature. 

This week has been a tough one, though. I am quickly noticing the emotional highs and lows of life in the NICU the longer Harrison is there. As often as I come and go from the hospital, the sadder I become leaving without him. Each feeding is now 40 cc's, and Harrison struggles to complete a bottle. The rest must be fed through the Gavage tube.  Despite the fact that this is completely normal and expected, it is disheartening since I've pretty much elected him as a Mensa candidate already.  I really should count my blessings though, because he's managed to avoid the typical preemie problems, i.e. apneas, bradycardias, and respiratory issues altogether. Our prayer is that none of those issues present themselves in coming weeks. The evening of his first day of life, he did have one episode of SVT (super ventricular tachycardia) where his heartbeat escalated to 250/minute, but it appears that that was an isolated incident. Unfortunately that crappy gene came from me. 

I find myself these days feeling ok one minute, then quickly plummeting to a thumb sucking/rocking state of mind when I see such things as his tube being replaced after he pulls it out two times in one day. I recall committing to memory the sight of his beautiful face without some attachment, and I would have grabbed the camera had I not wanted to continue holding him so tightly. My poor husband is sometimes present for these breakdowns, and I know that he's beside himself not being able to fix the problem. As previously written, I feel closer to him now more than ever, seeing this creature we created and how our love for him is so powerful and intense.  And after not having needed anyone before, I find myself needing Tony so badly. A true testament to the amount of love and trust I have for him. A man like no other, he is. 

I simply cannot understand negligent parents, and how the world is filled with people unable to feel a passion for parenthood as a result of their selfishness. I am so consumed with guilt for not carrying this baby to term, despite the fact I had little control over the situation. The guilt then transitions into the "what if" stage where I wonder what would have transpired had I not had a doctor's appointment that day. Still not having an answer as to what the problem was is on my mind constantly, but then I find myself at yet another peak of the Hormonal Texas Giant. I certainly didn't enjoy being pregnant by any means, but would give anything to put him back in there if it meant bringing him home, happy and healthy.  I am, however, going to cling to the fact that he is doing so well, and given the circumstances, he is a happy boy as long as the pacifier is nearby and that he continues to receive the care he deserves.  As God has handed me ridiculously tough cards before, I intend to play this hand graciously, accepting this beautiful miracle as and when he came. I will continue to pray for his good health and my own sanity, as we anxiously await the day we can bring him home.

Thanks to all who follow our story, your support makes a concurrently happy and difficult time more bearable. Check back soon for more updates! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

One Flew Over the NICU's Nest

Well, it's been quite an emotional start to the week.  At one week old today, our boy is growing, slowly but steadily, and as the food quantity increases, his energy decreases.  He started out at 10cc's of milk per feeding, and is now eating over 30cc's.  The doctors expect preemies to do this, they compare the sucking of the bottle to running a marathon. So they decreased his bottle feedings to help conserve his energy...the rest is given through the Gavage tube. Developmentally, he's doing fantastic, and all we wait on now is for him to continue feeding and growing.  He did bottle feed this morning and managed to finish it all which is the most uplifting activity of the day. MY how our perspective changes when we bring a little one into the world! Another special moment today, he peed on my chest. Being peed on has never felt so wonderful because all I can think about is his amazingly functional bladder. I can't wait to see what he'll do at 3. 

Yesterday, however, was a stressful day.  I noticed the energy decrease and went straight into panic mode.  Because he's not a "critical" case (which is a wonderful thing), he gets rotating nurses.  Well, we had the delight of meeting Nurse Ratched so I had to contend with her most of the day.  My typical routine is to go see him at 9, 3, 6, and 9. These are his designated "touch" times. I get to go in, change his diaper and take his temperature. Then it's feeding/cuddle time for an hour of which I cherish every second. Well, Nurse Ratched had a student nurse, and they were using my child as practice since he's not a sickly baby. I go to change my boy's diaper, and she makes the following statement. (Say in a Ratchedy condescending way) "Ummmm, since you'll be changing diapers for the REST of his life, we're going to go ahead and get this one." Now, imagine you haven't read all the beautiful and emotional things that I've written about the blessings of this experience and recall the Pre-Child Amanda you once knew. I morphed into a fire breathing, spell casting Hell Monster, and if lasers had been implanted in my retinas, I could've blown Plano Presbyterian right off the map. Never mind my own personal weapon of mass destruction being my mouth. The eyes did the trick just fine. Throughout the day, her irritating and offensive behaviors have placed her on my you-know-what list for a lifetime. So from 7 am to 7 pm I had to field comments like, "don't you have to go now?" and "let me just watch you feed him so I make sure you're doing it the right way." My plan is to get a picture of her and put it up at the post office. Perhaps I'll even contact John Walsh. He seems to be successful in seeking and destroying the villains of the earth. Either way, she's gone for now, and our two favorite nurses are with him today which makes me one of the happiest women alive. Tony's reaction to the situation is a different blog entirely. :)

So continue to pray for Harrison. Each moment is increasingly precious with him and stubbornly enough, Tony and I want him to take his time growing, but to do it quickly. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Am So In Love

How on earth can I sleep.....I have left the son I didn't expect to receive so soon inside an isolette 10 miles away from me. Reality hasn't just sunken in, it's been ground into me in such a forceful and passionate way so much that the reality has become surreal.

I remember all too clearly how friends, family, and even strangers lent their advice so easily..."It's like nothing you'll ever know. Your life will change forever." We scoff at these tidbits of advice, because common sense tells us they are true.  What I didn't realize is that those common sense feelings are so profound that you find yourself permanently physically changed. My advice to future moms will forever be "Just's unreal." 

Look at our son. So perfect. You would never know he's only 3 lbs, 12 oz. That's right. He's gained an ounce over his birth weight. Something the NICU nurses have said normally takes two weeks.  Well, if you know me or my husband, you know that two weeks is way too long for creatures of immediacy like us. Our son basically said, "Screw the feeding tube! I want milk!" And off he went, solely bottle feeding at 3 days old. I never thought feeling like a dairy cow could be so joyous and fulfilling. It's the very least I could do when he's in an isolette rather than my arms. 

He's even smiling. All that hubub about babies not smiling for several weeks is a bunch of...well....hubub. (I'm trying to curtail my cussing with my newfound parenthood.) He smiles so sweetly, letting us know how content he is when he's in our arms. Just the smell of him puts me in a place of Euphoria that I can't even explain.  But if you're a parent, you know how it is. :)  All Harrison needs is a good head massage to show you faces that demonstrate sheer ecstasy and happiness!

This love for my son probably sounds moot to you, but let me add the increased love I have felt for my husband since Wednesday.  I already knew I had found the man of my dreams who continues to amaze and impress me daily. But oh how he cared for me knowing how incredibly scared I was, and what relief came over me as I saw him burst through the OR doors 5 minutes prior to the birth of our son.  He has stepped up in ways I thought no man was capable of, and I just know that despite my sadness of an abruptly ending pregnancy, a baby in the NICU, and no mother of my own to reach out to, all things are possible with this man by my side.  Our precious son is in for a real treat when he realizes the capacity of the man he has been born to, and I will continue to be amazed at the blessing of finding him, marrying him, and giving him my body and soul for a lifetime. Tony, I am so overwhelmed by the immense love and dedication I feel for our new family, and I just want to praise you for all the wonderful things I've seen over the last 5 days. I may be drowning in post-partum depression and withdrawal from our son, but the love I have for you fills me up and keeps me going in ways nothing else ever could. 

Keep Harrison in your prayers.  He is doing so well, and as long as we can get the bassinet up and running, we'll be in good shape. Never mind the fact that we haven't sorted through most of our shower gifts and that we own two bottles.  We'll get there.  Just as God made us ready for the premature birth of this perfect creature, surely He'll send some handymen to our house to prepare his room in a hurry. Harrison's feedings increased approximately 20 minutes ago, and will continue to do so as long as he's ready to eat that much, which has proven successful.  Speaking of, I'm feeling a little top heavy, so I'm off to fulfill one of my God given duties as a mother. Back to the dairy farm, and to dream of another day filled with such wonderful progress and emotion. 

Check for updates soon!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Harrison Arrives 5 1/2 weeks early!

I went in for a regular doctor's visit on Wednesday, after having a nice manicure and pedicure, and made a small mention that I hadn't felt Harrison move very much that day.  They performed a sonogram and noticed that while his heartbeat was strong, he still wasn't responding to stimulation.  They put me on the non stress test machine, and after watching the doctor literally tear the reading off of the machine, he ran it down to the specialist at the other end of the hallway.  They sent me to the specialist, who two minutes into the sonogram decided that the baby needed to be delivered within the hour. His heartbeat continued to be strong, but when they don't react to the outside world, it could mean they aren't getting enough nutrients from the placenta.  Panicked, I asked for a moment to sit and call Tony, but they denied my request and rushed me to labor and delivery before I had a chance to even absorb what was going on. Once I was led to labor and delivery, I called Tony (who was an hour away in Whitesboro) and let him know that the baby was being delivered today. They prepped me for the OR and said that they couldn't wait for Tony, that they'd rather deliver a healthy baby. I tell you what, going through a rushed epidural without someone to hang on to is quite a painful experience. I am literally hysterical at this point, and all I kept praying for was for Harrison to be okay, and Tony to arrive safely.  They laid me down, and literally right before the first cut, my wonderful husband flew through the OR doors all suited up and ready to welcome his son into the world. He made it to the hospital in 35 minutes. How the good Lord did that is beyond me, but I'm thankful.  About 5 minutes later, we heard the cries of our 3 lb 11 oz son and the rest is history. He'll be in the NICU for 2-4 weeks, and when he can regulate his own temperature, eat strictly from a bottle, and put on some weight, he'll be able to come home.  We've been told he's the head of his class down there, so please continue to pray for our little boy! We love you all and will continue to update this website with pictures and information as we get it!

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