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Monthly Archives: November 2009

I shoulda been a ninja

Ollie is in a bout against the poops. The loosy-goosey kind that stains shirts and burns bottoms. Poor little dude.

It started Sunday night when his bottle was punctuated by an unusual poo, and every bottle since has had an attitude.

So I called the doctor and was told that if it lasts longer than two weeks (two weeks!?) that we should come in. Ridiculous. There’s no way I’m letting his bum and belly go through this before taking some sort of action.

The kind of action that includes diet change and sneaking into his room to check his diaper while he’s asleep.

I am *that* mom who’s becoming interested…no…intrigued by the state of his diaper in these past few days. Any fart, growl, bubble, gurgle, and grumble that his belly does has my ears perked up like a German Shepherd. “What’s that, Ollie’s belly? Whaddyasay? Huh? HUH? *wags tail*

Whatever he’s doing, I lift and sniff.

Last night, while trying to go to sleep, I lay there, thinking about the Ollie-bottom. What if there’s poop? I’m going to let it sit there, all night, eating away at the skin?

I’m not that kind of mom.

So I sneak in, armed with a diaper, washcloth, ButtCream and a flashlight and confident in my Grinch-like creeping abilities. I delicately tiptoe to his crib. I carefully unsnap his pajamas, lift away the diaper from his dupa, and quick-like-a-bunny, shine the light to see what lurks.

Nothing! Hooray!

Snap! Snap! Snap! go the jammies and I skulk back out.

He never knew I was there.

I shoulda been a ninja.

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Posted by on November 19, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Blind Dates for the Stay-At-Home-Mom

When we found out I was pregnant, we started looking for daycares in the area. Why wouldn’t I continue to work? On top of the tiny life brewing in my belly, we had a new mortgage, a new car payment, and lots of lovely workmates and a career that I love. But, Ollie had different ideas on how life should be and with his prematurity, we thought it best to keep him out of daycares and the germs they famously promote.

So I haven’t worked full time in almost a year.

In the months since, my family has set me up on a couple “blind dates,” if you will.

Someone in my life has met another mom and thought, “Lisa would like her; I should set them up, they will be friends.”

But I can’t get over the idea that these meetings are essentially Blind Dates. Using the same thought process that might have been used if I were single and looking for a romantic mate, my husband has thought, “this woman could be my wife’s pal.” This woman could help complete my life, to fulfill my need for a buddy in mommy-hood.

They’re odd, these dates. It’s like an interview. The same interviews I went on when I was in the process of meeting my husband.

The wrong answer could destroy these baby friendships; a wrong word could make me seem callous…or even gulp “attached”, and the decision is made right then and there that this match is “not the right fit for our needs at this time.”

Like a “real” date, I can tell when they go well. I tell my husband that I liked That Mom and the person responsible for the other set-up calls the next day and says, “Oh, This Mom really liked you, she wants to go out again.”

I recall the meeting. I was poised, funny, didn’t burp or fart loudly, didn’t drop the F-bomb and saved my secrets for when This Mom is ready for them. I realize I “still got it.”

The second date is being planned, I’m afraid I won’t live up to my first impression. I’m afraid that spark won’t be there again.

Kinda like my second date with my husband.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

November is Prematurity Awareness Month


According to the March of Dimes website, 543,000 babies are born prematurely each year. Five-hundred-forty-three thousand are born too early.

It’s something I never thought I’d experience. A cousin was born two months early a few months before Oliver. I thought “how sad, I hope she makes it.”

After 3 months’ worth of twice-daily visits to my NICU (West Allis Memorial in Wisconsin is a wonderful place with wonderful nurses), willing my baby to live, cheering on the tiny accomplishments he figured out that day, worrying, praying fervently, changing tiny diapers, and feeding him through a tube, I’d experienced it.

I’d experienced it the way that almost 550,000 parents do a year.

I’d experienced it the way the hundreds of thousands of parents of a micro-preemies do.

I’ve experienced it first-hand. And it’s horrible. Terrifying. Something I wouldn’t wish on the worst people in the world. To go through the experience changes you; reveals your strength, forces you to allow yourself to rely on someone else, makes you grateful for small feats, takes the wonder of babies to the highest levels. How a baby so tiny and fragile and so helpless can make it through is impressive and honestly, a feat of God, a miracle, and a testament that the research and medical advancements done in years’ past are needed and necessary.

The following is from the March of Dimes website…

For the second consecutive year, the United States earned only a “D” on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, demonstrating that more than half a million of our nation’s newborns didn’t get the healthy start they deserved.

The March of Dimes advocates for national and state health policies and programs that benefit women of childbearing age, infants and children.

As part of the national Prematurity Campaign, at the federal level, the Foundation is advocating to:

  • Increase access to health coverage for women of childbearing age (especially those who are pregnant), infants and children
  • Fund implementation of the PREEMIE Act (P.L. 109-450)
  • Secure federal funding to implement the next phase of the National Children’s Study
  • Secure federal funding for increased interdisciplinary research to find the causes of preterm birth and to translate those findings into clinical care strategies
  • Enhance data collection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve understanding of prematurity, birth defects and infant mortality.

In years past, early babies were put in shoe boxes and kept warm by the oven. Thanks to the research and strides made by organizations like the March of Dimes, we’ve come so far. But we need to go even further.

If you can, visit Oliver’s band here the March of Dimes to donate.





 
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Posted by on November 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Where It All Begins

It’s been almost a year since Ollie came so early. Strange things take me right back to that day, and I’m sure for a very long time, the Drifters version of “White Christmas” could make me cry. In the 11 months since his birth, we’ve been through a lot; I figger it’s time to write some of it down…..Here’s Ollie’s birth story:


So Christmas Day, after the rush-rush-rush of wrapping and unwrapping, eating and digesting, talking and hanging out, my mom asked if she could feel Li’l Baby Miller (“LBM” what we were calling him because we were Team Green) move when it does again. I responded with, “it’s kinda quiet in there right now, but it’ll perk up again.” I didn’t think much of it, because just that morning, I remarked to Matty, “boy, this kid’s kicking my ass this morning!”


After I realized that I haven’t been feeling LBM move so much, I started paying attention.


12/26/08 – moving, but not as much as he was. Started to worry, but I’m paranoid, so tried not to think too much about it.


12/27/08 – Ollie’s Birthday – After feeling “eh” most of the day, I threw up some Cheerios. I drank OJ and laid on my side and had caffeine and laid on my side, but LBM just wasn’t moving. A faint kick here and there would put me slightly at ease, but not enough to stop worrying, so I called the doctor.


They told me to go to L&D just to be checked out. After convincing Matty that Band of Brothers could wait, we leave and (White Christmas was on the radio, weird, ‘cuz it was after Christmas) arrived at the hospital around 3 or so. Hooked up to monitors and hear the heartbeat. (“Good, we can leave now, it’s still alive.”) Peed in a cup, BP taken, q&a with the nurse. She sends us to get another U/S and both of us thought separately how neat that was because we’d get to see LBM again. I had an ultrasound on October 12th, so we hadn’t “seen” him in over two months.


Have the u/s and are told that LBM was the size of a 25-weeker (I was 28W, 5D). Worse yet, his amniotic fluid was almost gone. It was at a 2%. I looked at the screen, and there he was, just laying there. Such a heartbreaking change from the previous u/s when he was doing baby acrobatics. It made me think of someone left behind in the desert. And this is when I started crying.


Get to a room in L&D, and they start trying to get an IV in me and the nurse comes in with paperwork for Matty to sign. She’s talking quietly to him and I see his face just….change. From hopeful and “it’s gonna be okay,” to “oh this is bad.” He tells me they’re taking LBM now; it’s better for him outside than it is inside, your blood pressure’s so high you may start having seizures, they’re going to do a c/s.


I wanted to delay it. I just kept saying, “He’s too little; it’s too early.” I wanted to talk to a neonatologist. I wanted my mom. and Oh, how I cried.


I was told there’s no time. We can’t wait for my parents. Luckily(?) they couldn’t find a vein for the IV so I needed a central line put in. We had to wait for someone to come do that, so in that delay, my parents were able to get there. A neonatologist came and “reassured” me that babies born at 28 weeks turn out fine, they have a Level 3 NICU and blah, blah, blah.


I was given a sedative and wheeled to the OR. Matty came in and sat next to me and we “chatted.” He was doing such a great job at reassuring me making me feel better. He made me pay attention to him, rather than letting me sink deeper in my thoughts.


Ollie was born at 6:42 pm. He was 1pound, 9ounces (711 grams). The OR was silent. no cries, just a token, “it’s a beautiful baby boy!” from the doctor. They wheeled his isolette next to my head, but I couldn’t see him because I took my contacts out and didn’t have my glasses. I saw a still brown shape the size of a shoe.


Four hours later, I got to see Oliver. Terrifying. We had him baptized his first night by the hospital chaplain. His head was the size of a tennis ball. He was on a ventilator, so most of his face was covered. His eyes were still fused closed. He had IVs in his belly button. He was on a sedative to keep him comfortable. Because his skin was not fully developed, he was red, like a terrible sunburn. His diaper was smaller than a tissue. I did notice, though, that he has my feet (my second toe is longer than my first) and told everyone, “he has my feet!”


His first week was full of bad news. We were told so many bad things. We were told many times that “he is a sick little boy.” He’s jaundiced and needs Bili lights. He has too much acid in his blood. He needs blood transfusions. His blood pressure is too low. We have to put him on a higher powered ventilator (it made him vibrate). The forced oxygen may leave him blind. He has a slight brain bleed. It’s possible he will have cerebral palsy.


After all the bad news, the news started getting better. Ollie was weaned off the high-powered vent after three days to a regular vent, then to CPAP after a day or so. He was breathing on his own by his 9th day (but with the oxygen til August). He was off his blood pressure meds and sedative by mid-January. His eyes also opened on his 9th day. I held him for the first time on his 7th day. He started on breast milk through a feeding tube on January 15.


I would list his accomplishments, but that gets long. I will say that he did develop ROP (leads to the blindness talked about above) – but it resolved on its own. He didn’t have any intestinal issues, which was awesome. He didn’t need any surgeries, except for hernias, but that was in May. He developed Apneas, where he’d stop breathing and his heart rate would go down. But grew out of those. Late February, I started relaxing about his chances and started enjoying my baby’s amazing and impressive feats.


Anyway….we brought him home at five pounds on March 20th, three days after his due date. It was neat because we “roomed in” at the hospital taking care of him on March 17 & 18, so I got to be in the hospital just like if he had been a full term baby. He came home on oxygen (just a tiny puff), an apnea/heart monitor, a diuretic, a visiting nurse who’d come once a week to check on us all.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2009 in Uncategorized