survivingmyboyz

tales from a stay-at-home mom of four boys

Archive for the month “February, 2015”

A return to the NICU

The other day I decided to bring cookies to the nurses working in labor and delivery and the NICU for Valentines day. I hadn’t initially planned to do this and wasn’t expecting to go back there until next month when I plan to drop off a service project to celebrate my son’s first birthday. Still, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal, the NICU is a secure ward, so I’d just call call in, someone would come to the door to get the cookies, and I’d leave; no big deal. I was wrong. It was a little bigger of a deal than I had planned on and prepared for.

I’d been back to the hospital exactly once since my son let the NICU and it took a lot of mental preparation to go that once. He was six months and healthy by then, just awaiting a second look to confirm there was no regrowth of his cyst. Driving into the parking garage made me feel claustrophobic, but other than the parking garage, I didn’t go into any other part of the hospital that was connected with memories. It wasn’t long after that that I stopped feeling tense anytime I drove in the direction of the hospital. I still got occasional pangs of painful memories if a certain song came on the radio and the weather was just so as I drove near the hospital, but other than that, I was pretty ok. Yesterday, however, I made an actual return to the second floor and the place where my son spent the first 77 days of his life.

When I called into the NICU, I really didn’t expect for them to buzz me back, but they did. The second those double doors swung open with a whoosh, that sickening-sweet sterol smell hit me, and I felt like I was floating in a dream. The first thing I caught sight of was my son’s original room, which now was occupied by some other little boy, with his name plate displayed on the door. I resanitized my hands upon entering and proceeded around the corner to the nurses’ station. One of the nurses who was usually at the desk was sitting there and immediately recognized me. I presented them with the cookies and focused on my task at hand. When I was done, the nurse who remembered me asked about my littlest guy. I began to tell her how great he was, but the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of the NICU, coupled with discussing my baby became too much for me. My eyes began to fill with tears and I had to quickly take leave, explaining that it was just too much to be there, but promised to come back with pictures next mother. I walked so quickly to the door that I forgot to hit the security button to let me out and I got stuck as the door made a little sound. I apologized, joking that I was out of practice, and made my quick escape. The tears came as I entered the stairwell. I was desperate to exit the building and get back to the car where my baby was. All I wanted to do was pull my baby from his car seat and kiss and hug him, thankful that he was no longer living on that second floor behind those secure double doors. Unfortunately, when I returned to the car, my littlest guy was sleeping so soundly in his seat, I didn’t dare touch him and wake him, so I had to settle for a quick glimpse of him before jumping in the car and heading out. It took me a few minutes to recover and I even began to tear up again as I told my husband about the experience.

This spur of the moment trip was too much for me right now, but I’m hope to be better prepared in a few weeks when I return for the one year anniversary of my son’s arrival and stay at the NICU. I’m not really sure how I will mentally prepare for this visit or how I will even deal with what would normally be a happy time for most families. It feels so bitter sweet to celebrate his first birthday next month. I’m so thankful for my son and the fact that he is now healthy, but I fear there are still a lot of emotions I never truly let myself feel and this might be the opportunity they take to escape. I’ve already felt great hesitation and sorrow at the idea of the anniversary of my two week bed rest approaching, so I know those feeling are beginning to stir inside me. I’m just hoping I can feel more joy rather than guilt and sadness on my son’s first birthday. I will just have to try to continue to focus on the present and future and my son’s beautiful smile to get me beyond the past and all we went through.

Just a typical morning of fights, chaos, and vermin

This morning was one of those not so typical mornings that seems to be typical in a household with four kids. It was filled with the chaos of wrangling four children, the fights to get them ready and out the door, and of course, the less typical, vermin.
Our morning started off far too early in the purple darkness of a winter morning creeping closer to spring. The sun no longer waits until we are almost out the door to come up, but it is still kind enough not to rise and wake our children during a time that should still be night (I.e. Anytime before 5am). No one had slept well, as usual, especially myself who was up at two separate intervals with a fussy, gassy, teething baby for more than an hour each time. I was also lucky enough to have enjoyed the double whammy of a toddler in my bed who has a habit of waking up screaming for water several times a night. My memory is foggy, but I’m pretty sure it was my seven year old who woke us, as he does most mornings, by loudly and clumsily stumbling into my room in search of an iPad. The toddler was now awake, so I sent him to wake is dad who was asleep where the toddler should have been, in bed with the five year old. Instead of my husband, a three year old and five year old came back into my room. I got up and woke my husband from his few minutes of restful slumber after a night of listening to the five year old cough in bed next to him. The baby hand off took place and everyone’s day began except for mine as I crawled back into bed for a few minutes of sleep without two children clinging to me.
The next thing I knew, I was being awoken by my seven year old crying that he was hungry as if he’d never been served breakfast.
It is entirely possible that in my husband’s exhausted state he had forgotten to give my son a proper breakfast before school, but that wasn’t the case. Apparently my son had eaten a breakfast sandwich, finished it, played games and the iPad for a bit, and the second my husband told him to go upstairs to brush his teeth, my 7 year old complained that he was still hungry. My husband asked what my son wanted to eat, to which he asked “what do we have?” My husband listed off about ten different things he could eat, but my son seemed uninterested in any and just processed to whine the two alternating phrases of “I’m hungry! ” and “what do we have?” This seems to have become a common place occurrence these days since my 7 year old seems absolutely uninterested in any food offered to him, even his usual favorites, but insists he is hungry (someone please tell me that they have had this problem before and have a solution for me). Eventually my husband had enough and marched my son out the door but couldn’t get him to walk to the bus stop. This is when the real chaos of a typical morning ensues as we race against the clock to get everyone to their separate prospective schools on time ( three different buildings, two different locations, all starting at 9:00am).
My oldest clearly wasn’t going to make the bus this morning, so I brought him back inside, fed him and myself some oatmeal, gave the baby a quick snack then marched everyone upstairs to finish dressing and brush teeth as my husband finished getting ready for work. A plan was hatched, between fights with each child to get upstairs and brush, that I was to take the baby and drop my oldest at school while my husband took the middle two to their school. We needed to be quick so everyone could get to school on time and my husband and I could make it to our appointments on time. The middle two went downstairs (one dragged in my husband’s arms) to get shoes and go off to school. As I finished dressing, I could hear small voices outside long after my husband should have left. I assumed it was the neighbor kids, but found I was wrong when I finally got my youngest, oldest, and myself downstairs at two minutes until 9:00. My middle two were both standing outside my husband’s car as my husband rummages through his it. “What’s going on? Why haven’t you left yet?!” I asked. The response, “there’s a mouse in Dad’s car!” This is the point where our typical morning chaos turns into not so typical chaos. My husband was in the midst of moving offices and had some of his office stuff in his car and apparently a mouse had crawled in with his stuff and taken a ride home with him last night. The mouse made himself at home over the course of the night, chewing up papers and pooping in the cup holders. My husband gave up searching for the mouse and left to take the kids to school. I told the kids to be sure to tell their teachers why they were late, I figured they’d probably never heard the “sorry, I’m late, but there was a mouse in my dad’s car” excuse before.
I still had to take my oldest to school in the next town, so we headed out. I tried talking to my son to try and make his morning a little less miserable than it had started out, but he had no interest in talking and just stared out the window despite my best mouse in the car jokes. When we reached school, I’d planned to just park out front, leave the baby In the car since it was pouring and quickly sign him in so I could run back to the car before the baby even realized the car had stopped. Of course, as I stood at the passenger door in the pouring rain, trying to gather my son’s things and get him out, my son had different plans. Now he had decided that he was tired and didn’t want to go to school. The clock was quickly approaching 9:30 and I had to be somewhere by 10:00. I was sleep deprived, hadn’t had enough coffee, and was standing in the pouring rain; I didn’t have the time or patience for this. Despite my best efforts to encourage, pep talk, and sympathize with my son, he wasn’t moving, so ultimately I had to threaten loss of video games to get him out (this is my go to move when nothing else works, but I hate that it has to come to that point). Finally my son got out of the car and dragged his “tired” body to the front door complaining that he was going to be grumpy all day. I told him to join the club, signed him in, and kissed him goodbye.
I felt bad and worried most of the day about my oldest’s morning and hoped his day wasn’t too bad, but I’m pretty sure he had forgotten all about it the moment he entered his classroom because when I met him at the bus in the afternoon, he came bounding out with all the energy of a typical first grader and full of smiles. My husband and I made it to over appointments with just minutes to spare, though I’m not sure either of us had our whits completely about us or enough coffee to function well. My middle two were about 20-25 minutes late to school, which is less than three hours long to begin with. As for the mouse, he has not been caught, nor have we seen anymore evidence of him residing in my husbands car. We can only hope that he found his way out of the car and has made a lovely new home for himself over at my husband’s new office.
Like I said, this morning was just another typical morning in our household. The thing about having four kids is, something strange and untypical is always happening as part of that typical day, like a mouse in the car, but the chaos is part of what makes a big family so fun.

How I met your mother according to a five year old

My husband has been rewatching the tv series How I Met Your Mother. My seven year old has decided that he likes what he has seen of the show and asked if we could watch it tonight. My five year old then turned to his three year old brother and said “Hey, want to know how I met your mother?” My three year old stared blankly at him. My five year old then answers “I popped out of her belly!” Yes, yes you did. He was a c-section.

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