Thursday, December 16, 2010

'Tis The Season. . .

My, oh my. So much to journal about; so little time. I have so many thoughts constantly floating around in my head, and I really want to write them all down so I can some day look back and remember. But then, I sit down to write, and it's gone. Oh wait, I just thought of something I've been extremely grateful for lately - sleeping on my tummy!!! Oh how I missed it during my pregnancy. It's heaven being able to snuggle into bed at night, and then flip over. Ahhhh...

Ethan finally got to hold his little man. That was a sweet moment. He got back to Marquette about 11:15pm driving straight home after his last final was finished. We went over to the hospital around midnight and Ethan got to see how much Caleb had changed and progressed in the short week and a half he was gone. And little Caleb was even awake for his daddy! So sweet. Just look at the adorable, squishy face!
We have been getting so much done this week since Ethan has been here. He is the most helpful, understanding guy I know. Seriously, I'm like the luckiest girl alive. :) Anyway, I love feeling productive and getting things done off my "to do" list. It's especially nice, because any day now, we will have our little newborn home with us, and life will be forced to slow down. Hopefully Caleb will still seem like a newborn by the time he comes home...

This is the mess Anna and Ben-Ben made while I was downstairs on the computer. It's funny because I was even thinking, "Anna and Ben play so well together. I love that they're old enough now to actually engage in pretend play together, and entertain each other." Then I came up stairs and this is what I saw. To be fair, they weren't just making a mess for the sake of it. This was part of their make believe play - they were packing for a trip...but I was still a little upset. Side note: Benjamin can climb in his crib on his own, but then he gets stuck. I'm sure he could climb out on his own too, but we regularly remind him of the time he fell out of his crib doing just that, and really hurt his arm. Works like a charm to keep him in there. Anna has been so sweet with Benjamin lately. If he is cranky about something, or upset, she tries to help him feel better. Tonight when Ethan was reading a story to Anna, Ben-Ben was sad because he wanted to read a different book. Anna said, "That's okay daddy. We can finish my book later. Let's read Ben's book now." So. Unbelievably. Sweet.

Benjamin came in to my room before church this past Sunday and said, "Do you see your handsomest boy, mama? It's Ben-Ben." So. Cute. Love these Christmas-y pictures of my two cuties. We've been doing some fun winter/Christmas stuff since Ethan has been here this past week, but I'll save that for another post. LOVE this time of year!

Caleb has now been in the NICU for ONE WHOLE MONTH. Ridiculous! It's obviously time for him to come home, but apparently he didn't get the memo. So, things that have changed...he doesn't use a feeding tube at all anymore. Caleb has finally, definitely got the whole eating thing down. He LOVES to eat. Speaking of feeding...I am phasing out breast pumping. It was just getting too stressful with everything else going on. I started producing less milk, which was also a source of stress for me, because the only way to remedy that is to pump more often....but as you may have guessed, extra time is not something I have a lot of right now. And again, trying to avoid extra stress, this was a good decision for me. (Breastfeeding Anna and Benjamin were both extremely challenging experiences...I was even advised by a lactation consultant to simply pump with Ben-Ben because he was so "breastfeeding challenged". They had latching issues and a major tongue issue...mix that with crying, frustrated babies for two hour feedings... it was not something that meshed with my I'd just do the pumping thing for awhile.) So yeah, it isn't something that has come easily before, and I was prepared for it this time too, especially with all the complications with Caleb's delivery and first few weeks of life. And just to clarify, it's not something I'm "sensitive" about...I mean, my kids each got a good one or two month start on breast milk before transitioning over, and have turned out very healthy, very smart, and very adorable...okay the last one doesn't have anything to do with what they're fed, but just thought I'd throw it on there. :) If it works out, great - breast milk is the best option, and I feel like I gave it a good try. I do feel bad for mothers who have guilt about it...just move on and realize there are limitless ways and styles for being a good, loving mother; and limitless ways and options for raising healthy, happy kiddies. Plus, a major perk of course being that Ethan gets to be a very active part of feeding the baby and bonding in that way; something he loves, and I love. However, I will miss Ben-Ben constantly asking me, "Are you pumping, mama? Oh. Can I help you?" Benjamin LOVED "helping" me out with the pumping and was just very interested in that whole process. Ethan even gave Ben a little taste, because he wanted to try it, and Ben-Ben said, "Oh. That's disgusting."
Okay, back to Caleb. He still needs a little oxygen assistance, like when he's getting a diaper change and starts crying, or during some of his feedings, but he is mostly on room air. He is just taking his sweet time to fully recover. We are really praying and hoping that he will be home by Christmas. As soon as he no longer needs any oxygen assistance at all, he can come home. We're sooooooo close! My sister mentioned, and I see her point, that by the time Caleb comes home, we may feel like we're adopting him. It is definitely a different experience from my first two. Living apart from your sweet, precious baby for a whole month is obviously just not the way it's meant to be. Yes, there is definitely love there. A lot of it. Luckily, I get to visit a few times a day, but if it's been awhile, I feel anxious and definitely miss Caleb. But, there are also stretches of time I forget I even have another baby...weird. I think that's because Caleb never came home with us in the first place, this is all we've known with him. I also feel like he's not fully mine, in the sense that I'm not calling the shots for his care. It's all up to the doctor and nurses. Ethan and I definitely feel involved, but we're not ultimately in charge. Again, it's a weird feeling. Like I mentioned before, I am positive all will feel right when Caleb finally gets to come home with us. I just wish that day would come sooner, rather than later. And we'll keep you posted on that.


Mike and Adrianne said...

I had a very stressful experience with Will and breastfeeding. I was on some medicine for seizures and the lactation specialist told me the medicine was poisoning him. It really freaked me out. He had relux and pretty much cried non-stop the first three months of his life. I already thought he hated me so to have the lactation specialist tell me I was poisoning him was really bad for me. I felt like such an awful, awful mother. The pediatrition, neurologist, and Mike and I decided to wean him off of the breatmilk so he would not have any problems. But that was a very long process due to complications that could occur if I just stopped immediately. So I was advised to pump for six weeks until the medicine was out of my system and then introduce the breast again. I was very stressed and worried and a new mother. Pretty much it was a nightmare experience. When I went in for my six-week check-up my very wise OB heard of my situation and took one look at me and my crying baby and said, "You love your baby and you are not a bad mom if you stop breastfeeding." So I went home and stopped pumping and stopped worrying about trying to be the perfect mom and doing exactly what the doctors wanted me to do. Instead, I just followed my OB's advice and did what was right for me and my baby. (I did wean him off according to the advice of the doctors, I just decided that once he was weaned, I would not try to introduce the breast again).

I've come to realize that most moms really love their babies and want to do what is right for them and no one should ever make a mom feel bad about doing something that will make them a better mom.

For me, instead of being so worried all the time, it allowed me to reduce stress and focus more on being the best mom I could be to my baby.

And of course, you are being the best mom you can be too.

I'm sorry he is still not home and hope he can get home soon!!

Anonymous said...

You are one of the best moms and families I know! You inspire me with your posts. Remember Christmas is 12 whole days long! So whether the little babe comes home on the 25, 26, 27th etc I hope you all have plenty of Christmas-y fun. Hopefully someday Elsa and Caleb will be able to meet/play. They are our 37 weekers!

Kelly said...

Wow Angela! What a crazy month this has been for you. I hope Caleb gets to come home soon so you guys can settle into a routine. I admire you for being so positive through it all!