Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wanna hear God laugh?

Tell him your plans.

Yeah, that plan I wrote about (at 5AM yesterday) is already out the window. Yesterday, in addition to my planed cleaning of the kitchen, doing laundry, hosing off the deck,...I also watched Z all day. Not Slick's fault. She was tired, then she had to go to the dentist, then while she was out she stopped at the store for eggs (untainted, hopefully.) Then she needed a nap. Finally, Slick took the night shift. Which was still probably more effort than my whole day.

And then this morning? Well, isn't it obvious? Z and I have been hanging out since 5:30AM.

Plans? HA!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daddy Shift Gets Easier & Harder

Z has been having digestive issues since the weekend. He finds it difficult to burb and even harder to poop. We were learning to manage this with more vigorous burping, bicycles with his legs & Mylicon. Poor guy must not have been dealing as well as he should because he got Colic.

Colic, I've learned, - One learns a lot in a very short time when a baby is born, especially a preemie - is a "catch-all" term for baby becoming extremely fussy due to stuff like digestion issues. And when I say fussy, I mean occasional periods of 20-30 min where he screams at full volume even though he's been changed, fed, burped, held, etc.

The Dr gave us marching orders on Monday. Not only do we need to keep at this gas/constipation issue, we've also got to get him gaining more weight. So, more feeding, more formula, Mylicon as needed, new burping technique, and ways to help him poop.

Which I prefer to avoid sharing.

This all translates into Z being fed as much as 12 times a day right now. Slick and I are, for the time being, doing something of an 80/20 split with responsibilities around here. She's doing 80% of baby time, I'm doing 80% of everything else. We'll do this for as long as we can.

Possibly until she returns to work in 4 weeks.

So, Daddy time is "easier." I get him for my usual 5AM shift. I'll get him for ~2-3 other shifts. I'll feed him formula during this time. I'll put him in the stroller at sunrise and walk the dog. By the time all that's done, Slick will take over. This sounds really simple, right? Wrong.

Poor guy is always fussing. Sleep is a real challenge for him. Sometimes he just needs to scream bloody murder. Comforting him can work, but doing bicycles with his legs actually seems to have a better long-term effect. A couple good farts, some poop & he's able to rest for a bit.

Oh and don't be confused by Daddy time. I'm still helping all the rest of the time. But Daddy time, which lasts for 3-4 hours at a time, is Daddy-only time. Slick uses that time to get extra rest, take a break, do anything on her 20% to-do list. I'm just afforded a full 4-6 hours of sleep at night while Slick can never get more than 4. And 4 is only if she's really lucky.

And of course, through all this, my dog supervises me. He sleeps when I sleep. He monitors the baby when I monitor the baby. He checks the baby regularly, too. He's been better than the monitors at knowing when Z is really needing us. Max runs over to Z's room, then runs back crying for us to go check on him.

Oh well, everyone warned me and I'm not surprised, but today I finally did ask, "What have I gotten myself into?" As hard as it's been with the hospital stay, the reversed nights/days, the digestion problems & the colic, it's still worth it. I love the little guy.

Wow, he just let one rip from the bouncy seat beside me. Never thought I would be so excited by a baby farting.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Night Shift

Z came home Saturday. Thank goodness my sister & inlaws are here. They've been awesome. Meals, errands, cleaning, and helping to watch Z.

Saturday night, Z & Slick had a hard time getting into a rhythm feeding. Sunday night, Z became a night-owl. So Monday evening, I went to bed at 8pm. Grammy & Auntie took care of Z until Midnight. Slick took the 12-2am shift. I'm the overnight shift. Slick's still getting up to feed. But between feedings it's all me.

I setup his bouncy seat next to the computer, put some lullabies on Pandora, and have been relaxing with leftover coffee & web-surfing.

Hopefully, we can move Z to a day-time schedule quickly. Feeding is one thing. Being wide-awake ALL night is another.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Months Later...

I know I've not been blogging. I had plans of writing funny stories about pregnant Slick, but then at week 18 we found out that we had lost one of the twins. We still have the other. In fact, he got tired of waiting and showed up during week 34-5/7.

My son - whom we'll refer to as "Z" - is 2 weeks old today. This means he's still days shy of 37 weeks. This means he's still a preemie.

Soon after his birth, we nearly lost Z to a collapsed lung. The doctors & nurses in the Presbyterian Hospital in Matthews, NC worked all night to keep him alive. A decade ago, this may not have been possible. That was then, this is now. My little dude lived. My little dude is beginning to defy expectations. He's a fighter. (Old school, first edition D&D)

The first few days were hard. He was constantly watched. They had more than one additional intervention. Yet, once the weekend was over, he started to surprise everyone. Z began to improve rapidly. Nurses would go home for their nights off and come back shocked. He started out with a ventilator, chest tube, feeding tube & a nutrient tube in his belly button. By the time he was a week old, they started removing tubes and wires to expose one damned-cute baby to the world.

Now, even though the image of my son looking like a Borg-baby is still fresh, there's serious talk of us taking him home. We're "ready." We've got the gear. We've had infant-CPR. We've been working with the nurses daily to understand how he's the same as (and different then) any other baby. And yet, we're old enough and just wise enough to know, we're not ready. One can never be ready for their first baby to come home.

Preemies have special needs for the first 2 to 6 months. All babies need caution around people and germs. Z won't be going "public" for at least 2 months. No sick people are supposed to visit. If we get sick, we're supposed to wear masks around him. For the next several months, we're supposed to be germaphobes.

None of this worries me like my fear of him having lung problems. The CPR class is helping to alleviate some of that anxiety. In the hospital, he's got wires all over monitoring his vitals. He's got his nurse, nurses all around, doctors & respiration specialists at a moment's notice. They all know him. They all look at their job in NICU as a "calling." They can protect my son. Can I?

These are all natural fears. And, I'm a big fan of verbalizing fears. I'm a bring my fear into the light and confront it sort of guy. It's probably why I would have taken that infant CPR class even if it wasn't mandatory for all NICU parents.

And yet, let me tell you, there's been nothing better than my nightly visit with Z. Nearly every night these past 2 weeks, I've driven the 30 minutes to the hospital just to help feed and change him. Then I hold him, rock him, hum softly to him. And then I go home alone. The drive itself is draining to do over and over. But the reward is worth it.

At some point during one of my drives, 10,000 Maniacs popped into my head. The song suddenly makes so much more sense to me.

These are the days.
These are days you'll remember.
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it,
You'll know it's true
That you are blessed and lucky
It's true that you
Are touched by something
That will grow and bloom in you

I don't know if this is a blog-resurrection or not. This is a place for me to write when I need to. Sometimes I don't write because I have nothing to say. The last several months I haven't written because I had too much to say. Now, I'm just bubbling with joy & fear.

These are the day!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Twelve Weeks And Counting

December 31, 2009 started out unlike any other day of my life.

The day's plans were to be simple. I would sleep in a little and get up to start preparing from our New Years weekend house guests. My wife had left for work early and I had indeed gotten up late. Tired and sore from a ton of holiday traveling, I wanted to stay in bed but my bladder had other plans. So, like a zombie-movie reject, I lurched towards my bathroom. On my way, I picked up my Crackberry. I had set it to "bedside mode" the night before with the goal of sleeping in. The plan - never to be used again - worked oh so well. I noticed 3 missed calls, several emails, voice mail and texts. All from my wife! My urgent need to pee disappears. Panic - I knew - was milliseconds away.

I don't know what made me see it. But in that void between need to pee and need to freak, my eyes spotted something white stuck to the mirror above my sink.

"Yes," My brain told my legs. "Move towards the white thing. Perhaps it will save us! It's only 4 steps away. We can make it. DON'T PANIC!"


Plod...Can't see it yet. Why did I grab my phone instead of my glasses?

Shuffle...It looks like a post it note.

Plod...Yes, a post it note. Dammit! Still can't read it.

Shuffle...Words! There are definitely words. Wake up! You can read them. Huh? Wait? These words don't make sense to me. What language is this?

We may be pregnant!

Look at phone.

Look at sticky note.

Look at phone.

OMG Yes!

I remember my wedding. I remember breakfast in Hawaii on the first morning of my honeymoon. I remember Venice and the Grand Canyon. I remember all the great moments of my life. They are snapshot of beautiful places and moments surrounded by loved-ones. Suddenly, those perfect moments would share space in my mind with my dirty - someone please clean it or put up hazardous waste signs - bathroom.

I called and talked to Slick for several minutes, she in hushed tones at work and me in my "top of the world" voice.

Amazingly, the day was mostly crap-tastic and I didn't care. BABY! Clean... BABY! Grocery store... BABY! This is the worst...BEST day ever!

Best, except for 2 weeks later at the ultra-sound when the technician said, "And here's the second sack."

Brain to ears! Did she just say 2nd sack? What's going on?

"And here's the 2nd heart beat."

OK, seriously, what's wrong with you ears? She's saying something that doesn't compute. Get her to say it again.

At which point, Slick pulled herself together long enough to confirm that this woman was not crazy or insane. Yes, we are having twins.

Not One but TWO!

The odds of twins according to the internets is less than 3%. Twins are most likely to occur if you use fertility drugs, are over 45, have family history of twins, are born in places like Massachusetts or Nigeria. Not being in any of those statical categories, one might think we're "safe."

Never tell me the odds!

So amazingly improbably is this whole twin thing that it took us several minutes to convince my sister that we weren't shitting her. She believed baby. Heck, she figured out Slick was pregnant by reading between the lines in a cryptic email where we begged out of a family event this summer. But twins? I had to swear to her that we were not lying. It's just not the kind of gag I could pull.

The family all knows. Last week we started telling friends. Today, 12 weeks +1, I'm finally breaking my blog silence and writing about it. It's literally been killing me to not write about this. Pregnant with twins is a constant source of material.

My father apparently stops mid-thought sometimes, looks at my mom with this incredulous look and says, "Twins?" My mother-in-law saw the ultra-sound for the first time this weekend and was just dumbstruck even though she's known for weeks. And our friends. Avouz was so happy for us but unsurprised when we told him Slick was pregnant, but utterly speechless (really hard to do) when we added the twins part.

And before you ask. We have no idea - for at least 6 more weeks - what their genders are.

More to follow...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Showboat Coin Cup

I've been doing some heavy cleaning this week. While cleaning, I moved the well-faded Showboat casino coin cup - which I keep all my loose change in until I turn it into a Starbucks card - and set it on my desk. I've been looking at said cup all week and thinking about my college friends. Why?

It's the only remaining souvenir I have left from my bachelor's party 11 years ago. I love my friends, but admittedly didn't enjoy my party much. The party all made sense of course. We had free access to a beach house just 20 minutes from Atlantic City. It was a bachelor's party for goodness sakes. There was just one unfortunate detail: I don't like gambling.

And yet, the cup - when it's not sitting on the floor of my computer closet - is a constant reminder of their efforts that weekend and our friendship which has endured since freshman year nearly 20 years ago.

I don't miss those times - I was a rudderless person back then - but I do miss the company.

I cherish my stupid showboat cup.

Sunday, January 24, 2010