Thursday, May 30, 2013

Second Time Around

I am enjoying my new baby so much more than I did last time around.  I can hold Bubba in my arms and just stare with awe and joy and love.  My heart aches and I feel so fulfilled every time he lays there contently.  Maybe it's because he was in the NICU for so long.  Maybe it's because there are so many blessings of family, friends, and tender mercies that I'd be ungrateful not to enjoy it.  Maybe it's because I'm not so dang worried because I feel like I actually know something now (but this might be a gross misconception).  Maybe it's because he's hooked up to a monitor so I'll be alerted if his heart rate goes up or down or he stops breathing.

All I do know is whatever I'm feeling now.. the second time around... I think is what some moms often describe as being enamored or sooo insanely happy with their firstborn that I don't think I ever really fully understood until now.  I get it now.  I feel it now.  I just can't get enough. And I am loving it.  I'm punch drunk with love with my cute little baby.  And my big baby has also been so great.  He is the beset big brother so far!!

Jordan is so in love with his little brother, which is so nice and such a blessing given the stories I've heard of friends with two boys and the older boy simply hating his limelight stolen and being mean to the lil one.  I think it helps that Jordan was given a lot of notice about Adam, that he only got to see him through the NICU window at first, and that he has become accustomed to Mommy not always being around (hospital bedrest was two weeks!).  In anticipation of his baby brother, Bubba, (he never calls him Adam), we also read a lot of books about big brothers, brothers, and new babies.  There were also so many reminders around the house about Bubba coming home soon.  For example, we got Bubba a baby swing that sat in its box since Bubba was still in the NICU even after I was discharged.  Jordan kept pointing to the box and telling us it was for Bubba.  And since Bubba never came home for a month, he continued pointing at the box everyday to advise us that was his baby brother Bubba's as if we'd forget.  When we drove by the hospital, we'd tell him to say hi to Bubba.  When one of us left for the NICU to visit Adam, we'd tell him we were going to go see Bubba.  So now that Bubba is home, Jordan is stoked everyday.  He was grinning from ear to ear when Bubba came home, knows he has to use the hand sanitizer before we let him touch him, and loves touching Bubba's feet.  He has been able to hold Bubba (with the help of Daddy), and wakes up every morning running into our room asking about Bubba and then peering over the pack n play to see him.  If Bubba makes funny sounds, Jordan mimics it and then laughs.  It has been so sweet to watch how much Jordan appreciates his lil brother's presence in the home.

It is tiring, but I'm over here laughing at myself as a first time mom because the second time is so much harder.  The first time around, May helped me change the baby's diaper before I would feed him (I know, she's a champ man!) in the middle of the night.  This time around, I not only get up to change Adam's diaper and feed him, but have to time it right so I can also pump for 15 minutes (the times I haven't have not been pretty.. imagine lots of dripping milk and an unhappy mom and crying baby).  If I'm not careful and neglect taking a nap in the afternoon, the night shift is awful.  To make matters worse, Andy is on nights which means he works from 5 PM until 7 AM, but during the day I get lots of help from May and Andy who help feed while I pump and Jordan sleeps in the same room as Grandma so if he wakes up, May is there to comfort him.  It's wonderful!

Friday, May 24, 2013


Seeing how effective #freejimmer has been, I decided to start a free Adam hashtag. Although much less traffic on the hashtag than on the Jimmer version, it seems to be getting more results faster. Unlike #freejimmer, which despite many people using (including celebrities), has been mostly futile, with Jimmer riding the pine throughout the season, I started #freeadam, about 2 days ago, and I am sitting here on the eve of his discharge. Maybe if I started instagramming about freeing Jimmer, he would be free.

I am so incredibly excited and grateful my little guy gets to come home with us. He has had a great week, and unlike last week when I had some reservations about the potential discharge, I am comfortable with how much he has progressed, and how he is getting the hang of breath, suck and swallow.

As difficult as this whole process has been, I have learned some priceless lessons about patience, long-suffering, love, priesthood blessings and fasting. Now that Adam and Jordan will be able to hang out, I am sure they will start plotting how they can teach mom and dad the next lesson on long-suffering.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Firstborn

Future golfer methinks?  He is so precious and has been such an awesome boy during this whole NICU baby my parents just drop me off at friends' homes for playdates everyday and what the heck is going on and why do I keep saying "hi and bye Bubba" every time we drive by the hospital and why does Mom always disappear to go "pump?"

He is learning so much, testing the waters, trying to be obedient yet crazy at times, eating so much better (thank goodness for that!) and just a bundle of joy during this busy time for us.  

Thank you Jordan, for being such an awesome big brother and first born.  You are setting the bar quite high for your siblings.  And you look so darn cute with your lil golf bag and real golf clubs!  Way to go Jordo! Don't worry, Bubba will be home soon and you can teach him all about Jake and the Neverland Pirates, golf, ball, and float boat.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

And Then I Kicked a Box...

I kicked a box yesterday.  Really hard.  Not enough to hurt me, but enough to make a loud sound of fury.  I then grunted really loudly in anger.  I also moped around the house, upset that none of my pants were comfortably loose around my c-section scar area and all that is still swollen around, and everything that was adequate was out of the question since it smelled like sour milk.  And I was just so so tired.  I just wanted to sleep.  I fell into a deep sleep while Andy was reading The Hungry Caterpillar to Jordan before he was put to sleep.  I was OUT.  It was a rude awakening that I had to get up, get ready, and head back to the hospital.  Grrrrr.  Ugh.  The boxes around our house, the packed and flat ones, the laundry overflowing the baskets, and the folded laundry we still are too lazy to put away did not help.  But that's how I felt.  And you know what... kicking the box felt good.  Really really good.  

I'm about ready for Bubba to come home and tired of the positive attitude I've managed to have this whole time, with constant hospital trips, waking up butt early to get Jordan ready and drop him off for playdates, and worrying every time a 509 number calls me on my cell (as it could be the NICU).  I guess what goes up must come down eventually, and it sure came down yesterday.

I got to the hospital and it was dark in the parking lot.  I imagined some psycho capturing me and putting me into the trunk of a car or something worse.  I looked at the "no weapons beyond this point" sign on the door of the many doors I was entering, wondering what exactly the would do if a weapon did get in.  It's not as if there was a metal detector or anything else besides a sign that said "don't do it."  Pitiful.  I walked really fast.  Like a speedwalker.  I really hate walking down empty corridors with empty rooms and shut doors with white walls.  It scares me, makes me feel like I'm in an insane asylum where chaos could break loose at any given time.  But I kept walking, wondering if someone was following me and then walking faster, proud I had made it farther than the minute before when I was contemplating such thoughts.  I was still perturbed, by what exactly at that point, I knew not what.  I just was.  And I felt like every step I took was with more and more upset frustration.  I became upset at my overwhelming desire to just sleep without having to wake up and pump and then wash the pumping parts and label the milk because I knew it was all for good reason.  I was just negative, unwilling to see all the blessings that were abounding.  Like all the wonderful people who have brought us food, have helped watch Jordan, and have kept us in their thoughts and prayers.  Or the wonderful doctors and nurses that we know a little too well after three weeks there now.  We're not newbies anymore.  "Why hello Mrs. Phillips" or "hey there, how's it going tonight, he's doing well!" are greetings that often come my way as I enter the NICU.  I just was over it.  

And yet in all my blurry upset fatigue, everything was clear, everything was fresh, everything was so trivial and stupid the moment I was in the room with little Adam.  Taking his temperature.  Changing his diaper.  Switching his co band to the other foot.  Taking his little body into my arms and feeding him.  Just like that.. I had the clarity I seemed to be missing before.  And I just admired him as he fed, thinking how much he resembles Jordan but how he is his own personality already, with his own way of holding his hands up by his face, with his intent focus that reminds me of Jordan, yet is so different  since it took him so long to get to the point of breathing and eating.  It's really been a struggle for him to learn but he's getting there and that means... hopefully we will get to go home with him soon!

 Adam still with his feeding tube (now gone!)
 but in clothes now!
 a break from the hospital... a visit to Riverfront Park
 beautiful Spokane
 gorgeous isn't it?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Breath of Fresh Air

Apparently I can't stay away from blogging, it's just too therapeutic.

When I used to be an auditor with no life during busy season, I remember how odd it was to be home from work around 6 PM and not now what to do with myself until dinnertime.  Moreover, not know what exactly I'd be eating for dinner without the consult of my team and a newbie to go get it for me free of charge.  Life was so odd to me.  Time, this concept unknown to me, was at my fingertips, and yet I knew not what to do with it.  I remember turning on the foreign object known as a television only to discover the world of cable engulfing me.  And then I'd pause, text a co-worker about how odd it was to have such available time to do whatever I so pleased, and see she felt the same exact way.  What a transition to go from absolutely no time and a life dedicated to the well being of the audit opinion to a life of choice.

We've gone two days without May or Andy, just me, Jordan, and trips to drop him off for playdates and trips to the NICU.  I'm still running on adrenaline so I'm not tired despite waking up at 11 PM, 2 AM and 5 AM to pump and then starting my day off after 5 AM with a shower and getting everything ready to go.  The fact that Jordan can climb a little stool to hop into his own carseat has been a great finding on our part and a blessing as I can get out of the house with him and avoid carrying him.  Only once has he tried to escape the carseat when coming off of it and made a dash for the front seat where he likes to sit at the steering wheel.  Only once has he thrown a tantrum about now wanting to get into the carseat, so I'd say we're doing great!  And then we had a ripple in our schedule this morning when Jordan, who has been waking up at 6 AM and 6:30 AM, decided not to wake up in time for us to make his morning playdate while I go to the NICU at 8 AM.  He is OUT.  I changed his diaper, nudged his shoulder, took off his blanket, said "Jordan!  Jordan!  Jordan??!?!?!?" and nothing.  Not even a blink.  He is sound asleep, suppose the over abundance of playdates and outings has finally tired him out.  So I just called the NICU nurse and told her I wouldn't make the 8 AM care session, am hoping to make the 11 AM, but now my body can't retire to the bed.  I've just stopped to get a breath of fresh air and just like my audit days, I'm unsure what to do with my time.  Sleep?  Pump? Watch some TV?  Text some friends?  Read a book?  Blog?  Yes, I went with the last option.

But now, my eyes are tiring and I think I'll take a nap until Jordan wakes up.

Also, Adam is doing great as can be for a 36 week 5 day gestational aged premie.  He has graduated from the incubator boxes and is now in a crib, able to maintain his own body heat.  He still has a feeding tube but he only gets tube fed about 2-3 times over 8 feedings in a night.  He has a great latch both on boob and the bottle, but he tires out quick and just has to get over the hurdle of eating.  The nurses have begun discharge activities, including his shots and hearing test (passed!), and told us about the carseat test (he has to sit in a carseat for an hour while being monitored).  He's in clothes now (hospital borrowed ones) and is a lot more alert, darting his eyes everywhere to see what's going on when he's awake.  He is 5 pounds and 1.8 oz and hopefully will get bigger today.  I can't wait to take him home though I'm a little intimidated by the new routine we will have to set and how Jordan will react when he sees Mom holding the baby but not him.
A gift from my old co-worker at the Firm that Jordan is obsessed with because it has a plane, a boat, and a train on it!  He has been eating well using this plate thus far...
 black and white so you don't see the misfit of colors that is my son's blanket and outfit...
but here it is - just so you can see the crib he's in!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break from blogging while life consumes me.  Jordan turned 2 yesterday and I may be back in the future once the dust of moving and having our baby exit the NICU has occurred to document it, but until then.. I won't be around here.  

In the meantime, it's only two more months before we make the move to Salt Lake City and currently, we are looking towards another week of NICU time before the doctors can give us a better sense of discharge plans for Adam.  He is doing very well for his gestational age per the doctors and nurses, eating better than expected, but is back under the lights as his bilirubin indicating jaundice just spiked again.  I make my way to the hospital four times out of his eight care sessions every 24 hours, pump every 3 hours, and try to sleep somewhere in between there.  

I want so badly to pick up my other son, Jordan, but I am not allowed to per doctor's orders and my own husband's.  For six weeks, I am not to pick up anything heavier than 10 pounds, which includes my now 28 pound 2 year old sweetheart of a son.  This means no trips out of our apartment where we live on the third floor with only stairs available (even though he can walk them while holding your hand or the rail) because getting him into the car also consists of picking him up.  I know not every c-section patient obeys those orders, but given I went into pre-term labor while healthy (or so I thought...) and had my baby at 34 weeks and 4 days, I am going to listen closely and do whatever I can to fully recover and be able bodied by the time we are moving in the end of June.  

Currently though.... I am sick of being useless on a bed and useless with a weak stomach that is recovering and swollen everythings on my body.  I am tired of not being able to run and play with my son, or do simple tasks like pick up items that weight 11 pounds.  I am eager to recover and will do anything I need to fully recover and be available for my family come time.  

I am looking to the silver linings of our situation, knowing that his cord didn't prolapse, that he didn't have a traumatic delivery, that I was awake during the surgery, that he is alive and growing and doing well, that we have had so much help from Andy's mom (who has been with us since day two of hospitalized bedrest and just left today but will be back in two weeks again... thank goodness for all her love, willingness to help, and energy to kick it with Jordan 24/7) and an overwhelming outpouring of love and support from our family and friends.  I am looking to the fact that my drive to the hospital is only about 12 minutes door to door, that the nurses have all been so great and amazing, and that we have a plan in place for the two weeks I will be on my own whether Adam is still in the NICU or if he's discharged (which includes my mother financially helping us pay for help since she could not be here herself to help out).  I am happy that my Chinese mother sent me a huge package of frozen perishable Chinese healing foods which despite my disbelief in its tremendous milk producing prowess, tastes like home and comforts me (even though it has invaded our freezer space).  I am lucky to have a father-in-law who has been on his own for two weeks while his sweet wife takes care of us.  I am blessed to have family who offer constant support and encouragement throughout each change of plans and update.  I am smiling for my sweet son who does not seem to notice things have changed a bit around here and is pretty go lucky and easy and will still ditch Mom, Dad, and even Grandma for his best buddy, Finn.  I am amazed by my strong husband who has put up with my every request for this or that and has been there with me through serious fears and has been my rock.  I am grateful for my relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus during this time as I have noticed how greatly a day not started with prayer is compared to a day that starts with one.  I am uplifted by guidance given by church leaders about faith during trials and an eternal perspective.  I am guided by my faith during this trying time and I know I could also do without it, but I'm glad I do not have to.  

And so with that, I am officially on blog leave (though Andy will be by from time to time to blog) for at least six weeks (same as my maternity leave from work).