Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our little routine ...

After the initial trauma of leaving Beatrice Kate in the NICU for the first time, Casey and I began to develop a little routine each night once we got home from the hospital. I've mentioned several times that I can be quite obsessive about things and how order and structure are coping mechanisms for me. So, it should come as no great shocker that I insisted on a 'schedule' of events to unfold each night, in the same order, the same way every, single evening.

Now, before you all start thinking that it's just me- let me justify saying all this by telling you that Casey is the exact same way about certain things. NC State sporting events for one. In fact, I've seen him spend an entire football game standing in a doorway with his hands in his pockets or on his head, or in motion to his ear/face/mouth/etc. just because State made a good play or scored a point. The boy is nothing if not superstitious.

We both became the same way about Beatrice Kate's progress in the NICU. I know. I realize how stupid this sounds; but at the time- it made perfect sense (to us) that if we would do things in a routine we could somehow align the universe just right so she would continue to make amazing advances each day. So daily, for 6 straight weeks, our nights went a little something like this:

  • Drive home from the NICU around 6 or 7 p.m.
  • Pump (me)
  • Let dogs out and feed them finally (Casey)
  • Make dinner (and we all know that meant "heat something in the microwave" or "hope someone really nice made us something and its on our doorstep")
  • Return the calls of all 7 of Beatrice Kate's grandparents, numerous friends and neighbors (No, they didn't all communicate with one another and no, the Care Pages blog wasn't enough. Everyone wanted a daily, voice confirmation of her daily report card)
  • Pump
  • Get in bed
  • Casey call the NICU to find out how Bea had done since we left earlier that evening
  • Go to bed
  • Toss and turn most of the night until ...
  • 2 a.m. when I would get up, pump, have some water and fenugreek, fret about what Beatrice Kate was doing/feeling/going through
  • 5 a.m.: get up, Casey calls the NICU, I pump
  • 7:30-8 a.m., get to the NICU for morning update and first Care Time of the day nurses' shift.
You may have noticed a slight trend in our evenings Casey did all the NICU calling. I never once (seriously) had the courage to call myself for an update. Waiting for the front desk to transfer our call to Bea's nurse alone was enough to do me in.

Instead, I would sit with my ear about 4 inches from the receiver trying to hear what the nurses said, annoying Casey by asking things like, "What? What did they say? Did she poop?Ask if she pooped. Did she gain weight? No, ask them specifically. Did she gain weight and how much exactly? What does her color look like? Is she moving around? Is she crying? How does she seem?" ... you can see where his frustration grew.

My therapist says that anxiety feeds obsessive behavior and I believe her! Our anxiety levels were obviously very high during those days and our obsessive behavior was equally outrageous. Luckily, things have calmed down some... well, some. Of course, having any sense of a routine and order with a finicky 5/9 month old is less than impossible.

Anyway, I'm curious. What were your NICU traditions and routines?

1 comment:

  1. Oh boy does this sound familiar! I'm a proud momma of a 29week5dayer who was 750grams (640g or 1lbs6oz at her smallest). I just saw your story on Spearmint baby and I can really relate to most of it so thanks so much for sharing. I was basically fine until I wasn't so no benefit of seeing the NICU or really knowing what we were in for. My little girl moved a bit different, not her normal kicking routine as I went to bed, but I didn't worry too much as I had an ob appt the next day. I worked until 2 went to see the ob, she said "hey, why not just go to the triage get on a monitor and be sure all is well". At the hospital on the monitor by 4, hmm not only 20 min like she said, ultrasound 6ish - nope not liking the looks of this. Steroid at 7, hmm I know what that's for. Ambulance to the bigger hospital ie level 3 at 10something. Not liking what I can hear on the monitor, I know that's her heart rate bottoming out. 12:01am so technically the next day she arrives by emergency c-section. And boy was it ever I had essentially no amniotic fluid left - no clue why to this day. That routine, that revolving my life around pumping - 9 times a day as I had a low supply. That feeling like I spent more time with the effing machine than my little love. Oh what a fight for all three of us, 8 weeks of feeling more like a mommy-in-training. Like you I could not handle calling as once they offhandedly couldn't remember what room she was in to transfer me to her nurse. Hey idiot don't says things like "I'm not sure where she is" to a NICU mom. A million things drove me nuts about her stay at the NICU and then SCN, but I swore it would never let it show when I was bedside. Letting it all out while driving home was another story. Well I'm going to keep reading and see what else we have in common :) Emma