Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mamarazzi

It's no secret... I'm a little neurotic particular about things; possibly even borderline OCD about certain issues.

For example, I really like for the shower curtain in our guest bath to be perfectly straight and evenly spaced at the top. In my head, this is a logical way to prevent mildew from growing in the folds of an un-straightened shower curtain. Casey thought I should be institutionalized when he first witnessed my need to put on the same number of deodorant strokes on each armpit every day. Seriously, I count the strokes out loud to make sure I don't mess it up. I can't continue to type a sentence if the squiggly little red line indicates that I have a misspelled word. It just has to be corrected before I can move forward with the thought.

In college, I would sort out my forks, knives and spoons before I put them in the dishwasher (of course now, Casey's lucky if the dishes are even clean). I like for the toilet paper in our bathrooms to come over the top and roll under. I don't like to wear socks to bed because I don't like the way socked feet feel on sheets. The sound of someone brushing their teeth (besides me) makes my skin crawl, and for a long time, I wouldn't share a toothpaste tube with anyone. Not. Even. Family. (Uh, that science degree wasn't for nothing... germs are REAL)

Anyway, you get my point. I get fixated to the point of being ridiculous. So, it should come as no big surprise that becoming a parent to a micro-preemie has brought on an entirely new level of crazy to my life (and to Casey's). Poor, little Beatrice Kate is the focus of my newest obsession. Well, not so much her, as it is something terrible happening to her; like her dying.

I'm pretty sure this latest "tick" started when she was born so very premature and we never knew what each day would bring the NICU. As I washed my hands at the check-in desk each morning, an overwhelming feeling of anxiety would creep over me as I got closer to her bedside. Did she do OK last night? Is she getting stronger today? Weaker? We just never knew until we got there or called on our way there. Speaking of calling, I never actually had the courage to call and speak to her nurses each night. I forced my poor husband to call, sometimes 2-3 times within a 4 hour period, just to check on her (even when I would spend 12+ hours next to her each day). I would sit next to him each night when he called and ask a hundred times, "What EXACTLY did they say?" or "Tell me again how good they said she did" or "What was her weight/did she poop/has she moved since I was there?" over and over until I fell asleep.The thought that if I called and just once, the nurses didn't have something positive to report would be just too much to bear.

When she was released from the hospital, I started fearing that the doctors had somehow made a mistake and would call any moment to tell us to bring her back- that they actually mean to discharge the other Beatrice Kate. Maybe they would force us to bring her back if she didn't weigh enough at her next check-up. As a result, I would feed her constantly and wrap her up like a little Eskimo baby even in late spring so she could use her energy for growing- until a friend reminded us that "babies shouldn't be sweating". I'm sure she was thisclose to a heat stroke!

Then it became a fear of SIDS. Even though she slept either in my arms or directly next to me, I was just convinced that something could happen to her if I closed my eyes for a little sleep. I found myself holding my giant ear next to her tiny nose to hear her take each breathe, or put my hand on her chest to feel it rise and fall.Of course, this almost always woke her up and I cursed myself for doing it.

When we first moved her into her own room, part of my anxiety about it was because I feared someone breaking into our house to steal her away in the night. Or, maybe, if our house would be struck by a fluke lightening rod or her nightlight spontaneously ignite and her drapes caught fire, I worried that we couldn't get to her room in time to get her out in time.

With winter coming on, I am absolutely petrified that she will come down with RSV or a cold or the flu and wind up in the hospital or that she might not recover at all!

So, needless to point out, being a parent has made me insane.I realize it's ridiculous. I'm not sure how to break this little obsession before it gets anymore out of control. A friend (and NICU nurse) of mine suggested a video monitor so I would video-stalk my baby while she is napping.  Casey says to get over it... or she'll be the only kid likely to show up for 3 year old soccer in full football safety gear and bubble wrap. Hopefully, as she gets older and stronger, I'll learn to relax a little more. Actually, who are we kidding? It'll only get worse I'm sure!

In my defense though... it's easy to get obsessed with a face like this:
Warning: kissing these cheeks may lead to addicition

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