I got exactly one hour of sleep last night. The one hour I got was some of the hardest most amazing sleep ever until it was interrupted by the hungry fussing of David and Mary Louise - and by Brent trying to kiss me goodbye on his way to work. Poor Brent. He almost got swatted! Sweet babies, they didn't sleep a wink and certainly kept their momma on her toes last night and today.
Overall I tried to keep my wits about me, but must admit that I felt a bit downtrodden around noon time when, amongst Mary Louise's cries and David's grunts, I got a phone call from the cardiologist asking me to bring Mary Louise to have blood work...today! HA - as if just walking out the door is the 5 minute task it used to be!
I waited until Brent got home so that I could leave David home and set out with Mary Louise for her blood work. Armed with 3 extra sets of clothes, 10 diapers, ointment, a bottle of breast milk - in case she wouldn't latch on which she sometimes does - a pacifier (I'm sure I have 2 in there just in case one falls on the floor - even though it's clipped to her at all times) - keys, wallet, ins. cards, at least 3 burp cloths, a blanket, a hat...ha - I could go to the pathology lab for a simple blood test or I could leave the country for a few days! I entered the building with her tucked safely and almost invisibly into her sling - sleeping away as if her mother were not the most paranoid germaphobe "don't touch my baby!!" "this is an RSV and snotty nose free zone thank you!!" mom on the planet.
My mom says that people give off vibes when they carry their babies. I've noticed. Some people look like they don't care about their extra luggage - they are just at the store, etc. to get what they need - no fuss no muss. Some people look as if they would like their baby to be on display in the store window - they attach so many bells and whistles of entertainment to the carrier they perch on top of the buggy that it might as well be a stage with a spot light - this is my baby!!! and he/she is the cutest ever!!!! (now, I am actually one of those moms - on the inside.) On the outside, I'm confident I put off a vibe that says, "do not stop me, do not ask questions, I am crazy bag lady (complete with a very cute diaper bag attached to me at all times) - you have no idea what I have in this obvious piece of fabric (sling) around my torso - and I'm not telling you what it is either so stand back - let me do what I came here to do and no one will get hurt."
The paranoia that is instilled into a micro-preemie parent's psyche is such that each time I leave the house - which is only for doctor appointments anyhow- I feel anxious, I weigh the risk of showing up to the appointment and the consequent risk the risk of showing my (to me) perfect porcelain delicacies to the world against the opposite risk of keeping them safe at home forever - away from the swine flus, RSV-ers, and of course the snotty noses of the "outside" world. Of course I know that the outside eventually blends with the inside - it is an absolute impossibility to protect them completely, but is it not a fact that paranoia is based on irrational thought? What if someone coughs or sneezes? What if someone has a sweet curious babe that bravely toddles up to me and "wants to see"? For months I've been told, "now when you leave, you MUST keep them away from crowds and people as much as possible - and if you have to go out, you MUST keep them covered - do not let people touch them or ogle them unnecessarily. This is required of you if you want to avoid ending up right back in the hospital on the vent with a respiratory infection."
After such long hours in hospitals - and over 3 months of such intense care, to know that a simple common cold could possibly land us right back where we started is almost too much to handle. On the flip side, to know that if I can keep up the nutty facade and breast feeding/ pumping as long as is possible gives these little ones a chance to have healthy lungs, fewer allergies and ear infections, better motor and vision skills as well as a host of other benefits fuels me to continue - regardless of social costs.
So, Mary Louise did just fine with her blood tests. We were thankfully the only people there as I intentionally went around closing time; and finally, I managed to allienate the lab personnel enough for them to oagle at our little beauty from a comfortable 5 foot radius. My most important resposibility and greatest joy left the building unscathed - and I took a deep breath in the sunshine once outside. I revelled in her strength and sort of giggled at my "going into battle" approach.
With time, I'm sure it will get easier.
HA - this blog has taken me 2 days to write. I type a sentence, place a paci, type a sentence, change a diaper and so on.
We had a wonderful relaxing day at home - after their up all night crying, pooping, and playing party, both babies were so exhausted that they slept most of last night and David is still having to be disturbed for feeding purposes. Speaking of which, I'm sure many feel it's ridiculous to wake a sleeping baby for feeding. However, when said sleeping baby is just barely 4 pounds and has slept for 5 hours, it becomes necessary for weight gain purposes to wake him. Thankfully, David goes right back to sleep with his full belly and by staying on top of his feedings, I avoid the panic stricken scream of, "I JUST WOKE UP AND I'M STARVING MOM!!!" by the little firecrackers.
We also had the long awaited mom and tot swim time in the tub. I held them in my lap until they got gently acclimated to the warm bath water, then slowly floated them about. David fell asleep and Mary Louise kicked and kicked and kicked - just as she did when I was pregnant. They both seemed so content. It was just wonderful - so simple and so so wonderful.
I read to Mary Louise last night. David was already fast asleep as Mary Louise continued to voice her opinion on an apparently to early for her bedtime (um - midnight). So I read Mary Louise The Giving Tree. It has always been a favorite of mine - one of a select and (in my opinion) elite group of books that grows with a person - regardless of age. The simplistic but incredibly insightful words dripping with my own memories of my mom and grandmother's voices flowed calmly and freely as Mary Louise fell fast asleep in my lap. I looked down at her and smiled.
There is no where else in the world I'd rather be.