Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Just call me Mike Tyson

I won't go into all the details but Luke has been a sick little boy since last Thursday.  And it's been emotionally hard and exhausting on him.  And us.  And me especially because a) I'm his mama and when he hurts and cries, I hurt and cry and b) I don't function well on minimal sleep...stress management is not exactly this mama's forte.  Now that he looks like he's on the mend, things are getting back to normal a little at a time.

Last night though...Kelsey and I crawled in bed to go to sleep.  Except instead we left the light on and talked for almost an hour.  We ended up laughing so hard and it was great to just goof off before bed.  We got to laughing about a story from waaaay back when we first moved in together - and of course, I was all "that's hilarious.  I'm so putting it on the blog" and he rolled his eyes as he tends to do when I declare what's making the cut onto the blog.  So....this is me.  Putting it on the 'ol blog. 

[AND..... SCENE!]

When Kelsey and I first moved in together, we lived in a "transitional" neighborhood.  Which really was my way to convince myself that living on the edge of the ghetto surely had potential to get better.  And I'm talking straight UP ghetto, like I've seen the neighborhood on the show Dallas SWAT.  Who would have thought, right???  We actually really liked living there mainly because it was soooo different than anything either of us had experienced - well that and we were literally on the cusp of a really, really nice part of town, but that's besides the point. 

Anyways, this house was a little bungalow style house with a huge gameroom added on to the back of it.  It was like 20x20 big...and we thought it was so cool except for the forest green carpet.  But we made it our movie room.  And we used it.  A LOT.  Oooookaaaaay, like for hours on end.  Every weekend.  And one night, we watched a special on boxing and the comeback of....someone.  I don't remember who anymore.  BUT basically, for THREE HOURS(!!!!!) we watched this documentary on boxing.

It was inspirational.  It was motivational.  It was a really feel-good story packed with a some serious punch (pun intended- ha!).

So, the show ends and we are fired up.  We are kind of dancing around with our "guard" up and laughing and dodging fake punches.  Just goofing off.  And then I I had this genius idea

"BABE!!!!  Wait.  Let me go get a pillow and I'll put it in my shirt and you can actually see if you can hit me!  I bet I can totally dodge your hits"

And Kelsey laughed and thought it was the most ridiculous thing ever.  He would totally hurt me for sure.  BUT, he decided that if he put some shoes on my hands he could hit the bottom of the sole and it would absorb the blow. 

Let's pause for a moment while I acknowledge that I know we sound so weird.  Mmmmkay.  That's enough awkward silence.

So anyways, there I am with my running shoes on my hands.  Kelsey said, "Now make sure you keep your arms really really tighten them up as much as you can...."  So I am standing, arms out in front of me, hands flexed, shoes sticking straight up and I'm flexing with all my might.  And Kelsey takes one jab and my hand flies back a little.  We laugh uncontrollably.  He takes another and it's the same thing.  Laughing, laughing and...

Let's pause again and acknowledge that my husband out weighs me at this point by....oh, let's just say he's about 2.5 or 3x my size.  Mmmmmkay, continuing....

As we are really getting the hang of it, he gives it all he's got (he still swears he was at 20% but)... my hand goes flying back (with the shoe on it) and knocks me in the face, dropping me to the ground like a stack of bricks.  I was sure my nose had exploded on my face.  I had images of black eyes and swollen lips.  And somewhere in my mind, I thought about how nasty the freaking carpet was that I was laying on. So there I was, laying on the gross carpet, bawling and wondering how long it would take to recover from my nose job I was sure I would need.  Kelsey sat down with me feeling terrible.  He would never admit it now, but I swear he was crying about to cry as he kept saying how sorry he was. 

So, anyways, that's the story I went to bed thinking about last night...smiling and laughing at the idiots we were (and sometimes still are)!  Taking care of sick babies is serious work, but having fun times to laugh about -- and knowing that there are so many more-- left me laying in bed awake for quite a while, thinking of all the memories we still have to make.  As a couple.  As a family.  And what a good feeling that is!

But, poor Luke.  He better hope his daddy will teach him to keep his guard up because mommy is clearly not the expert!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

NICU Survival Skills - Link Up!

It's time to link up with Heather, at
Blonde Undercover Blonde!

Here's Our Story
(for any newbies to my blog..the rest of you, come back another time - I'm sure you've heard this all a bazillion times!)

Meet Luke, living proof that my heart is walking crawling around outside my body.

This was Luke when he was born August 6, almost ten weeks early!

Stats @ birth:
Weight -     3 pounds, 0.3 ounces
Length -     17.5 inches

Time in the NICU:
Luke spent one month in the NICU but was fortunate enough to come home a month earlier than we were originally told.  Poor thing had "Wimpy White Boy" syndrome!  Did you know that white males have earned this name from nurses because they typically have more breathing issues than any other demographic?  My little guy was no exception.  He was intubated for a week (ish), then he was on a C-Pap, then nose cannula (don't judge my spelling, medical community - I still avoid Google...see below).  But once he could breathe on his own, it was pretty much smooth sailing.  He was a big eater from the get go and didn't have any trouble learning to take the bottle.  We of course had little hiccups along the way as I have come to learn is normal with NICU babies so we dealt with things like jaundice (as evidenced below) and threw in a few Bradys just for good measure.  

Coping with the NICUu
Honestly, it really is all a little bit blurry now.  Which is proof that while it is all consuming when your child (your HEART if you will) is actually in the hospital and you don't think you can make it another does pass!  For me, my blurred memory is probably partially because we don't really know why I went in to labor early and partially because I think you just go into survival mode.  It's not like I had complications during my pregnancy and sort of had a heads up that my baby might come early.  It was a little like getting mugged while walking down the Rodeo Drive at noon --- completely caught me off guard.  You can get the story here and here.

As for survival tips:  hmmmm.....I tried not dwell too much on what might happen but instead focused on what was happening and what I could do about it.  And the thing I was lucky enough that I could do, was pump.  And ya'll.....I made it my religion!  HA!  I set timers on my phone to pump every three hours on the dot for exactly 15 minutes and HOLY DAIRY FARM.  We bought a deep freezer for the garage and still have a major stash of milk!

Beyond that, I tried not to get too caught up in the medical jargon, AVOID GOOGLING ANYTHING YOU HEAR IN THE NICU - the doctors and nurses will tell you the basics so go on that.  And trust your gut.  I tried so hard not to rely on the monitors to tell me how he was doing but instead to look at him and see - did his coloring look good?  Was he breathing normal or short breaths?  Did he look cozy or uncomfortable?  Not quite the advanced medical diagnosis but I think it's so important to begin trusting your instincts before you ever even leave the hospital.

Love your little one when you can but remember that you have to take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of your little one.  One thing I wish I had listened to the nurses about was to take advantage of going to a couple nice dinners with my husband or girlfriends while Luke was still at the hospital.  I kept thinking "Oh, it'll be so much easier when he's home and we aren't driving back and forth all the time".  Well....yes...and no.  He's right there and it's emotionally easier to walk out of his room than walking out of the hospital and leaving him behind.  BUT those nurses are also babysitters!  I did use the last week he was in the hospital to get his room finished, the car seat installed, all those major milestones, but a fun night or two would have done me good!

We had more health issues once he was home (re: breathing issues and the obviously underdeveloped immune system) so we got a little bit of cabin fever.  When that sets in, and you can't be out in public just yet, walk.  We went for walks hours on end just to get out of the house!  Also, let people help - we had a friend of my husband's family who got THEIR church to bring us dinner twice a week for three weeks.  I totally hesitated to accept because after all, I didn't know these people from Joe on the street but it was beyond amazing to get home from the hospital and have a home cooked meal ready to go.  ACCEPT HELP.

Bottom line, trust your gut.  This baby is YOURS.  No matter how many nurses and doctors it takes in the beginning, you are the MAMA and your opinion counts.  When you are upset, talk it over...with your spouse, the nurse, a friend....anyone.  But it does pass.  Things will get easier.  (And, then they'll get hard again...but then they'll get easy again... it's a cycle I'm learning all to well!)

It's so cliche but it really does all pass so quickly.  See? 


I'm always happy to meet other NICU moms or answer questions so feel free to reach out to me!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tina Fey, GENIUS...

You may or may not have seen this by Tina Fey, but with Mother's Day this last weekend I thought this was appropriate to share.  I found this courtesy of Glennon at Momastery

“First, Lord: 

No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her:
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

"My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.”

GENIUS....pure genius.  I love me some Tina Fey... but one thing I might add---  

"Lord, please think twice before ever considering me to mother a little girl.  For I have heard about karma.  And I'm very afraid.  AAAAAAAAA-men".

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Did you know I'm in a gang?

I love that I've been invited to do this!  Heather at Blonde Undercover Blonde had the genius idea to do a NICU moms link up.  Here's the thing- if you haven't been a NICU mom, don't feel too left out.  See, it's a really tough club to be a part of....almost like a gang in that you have to take a beating within an inch of your life to be a part of the club.  But you get this awesome gift at the end...a little miracle...Well, hmmm...maybe not that much like a gang after all.  Apparently I watched too much Sons of Anarchy last night with my baby daddy.


The whole purpose of the link up is to create a network for NICU moms, current and former, to share resources, stories, and survival tips.  Feel free to link up and share your stories NEXT TUESDAY!!!  Visit Heather's blog for more detailed instructions...or to read her stuff!  She's got a great sense of humor and a beautiful little girl!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Well, I'm sure you haven't been able to sleep lately, wondering what we are up to.  Hmmm???  What's that?  You didn't realize I haven't blogged in almost two weeks?  Oh, well then sssshhhh...let's just keep that between us ;)

Anyways, what HAVE we been up to!?!?!  Quick recap:  I went to Atlanta, friends visited from Kentucky (I didn't get a SINGLE PIC!!!),  Luke said "mama", I worked a bunch, Kelsey worked even more, bought a new stroller (which I'm FANATICAL about---love it!), went to Kansas City, caught the early flight home to get to my sick baby...only to find he was doing better.  He even stayed up late....AND CRAWLED.  YA'LL....MY BABY IS CRAWLING!!!!!!!!!   Can I just tell you how bitter sweet that is?  I'm so happy that he's developing and growing and getting stronger all the time.  But my BAAAAAYBEEEEEE is almost a TODDLER.  And that straight up blows my mind.  A couple more months and this shindig I've kind of, sort of already started planning will be underway to celebrate Luke turning one.  (*tear)

We go to his nine month checkup Friday and I am definitely excited to see how we've been doing.  When you're used to visiting the doctor every week or two and then you go TWO MONTHS without a visit, it's nice because you actually start to listen to your instincts on what to do and when, but it makes this mama a little antsy to know how lil man is doing!  Not antsy maybe...but definitely interested.

We're working on sippy cups.  Not doing a wonderful job but he gets some of it in his mouth I'm sure!

Luke naps great for mommy and not so great for Nana and the nanny.  So the only thing I know to do is to keep working on it and just really emphasize the time of the schedule and not so much the place or the person.  And somedays, when he's supposed to be asleep and isn't, his naps go mobile. And it totally works every time.

I love this picture!  Hopefully you can see his little face in the mirror...too funny.  Oh, and we love these shoes to...they're hand me downs from his cousin Jack and they fit "Luke's style" so perfectly...
yes, I know he may not have his own style that he vocalizes yet, but he definitely has a look that works best on him.  Comfy, casual and preppy.  Atttta boy!

We hung a swing in our front yard.  Yes, we're now "those" neighbors.  I actually had to debate it with Kelsey that it wasn't a big deal....and I really don't think it is.  But he fought me tooth and nail on it.  Until it was hung and he saw how much LUKE LOVES IT!  We even swing in our jammies right before bed just to make sure we are getting some fresh air.

Just maxin and relaxin, bach-ing it up with Daddy while I was in Atlanta.

Had to get the mustache out again for Cinco de Mayo.  That's about as far as our celebration went

But enough about kids!  HAHAHA!  Can you believe this massive (dead) snake that was floating in the pond behind my parent's house?  It was an event to say the least..  I can already picture Luke and Jack messing with all this nastiness as they get bigger.  And I've got a feeling they're Uncle J will be right along side of them!