Love, Actually

Yay for good days

This mommyhood thing is a lot harder than it looks. I don’t even have her home yet and already I might be starting to doubt my decision to become a Mum. We’ve all had a good laugh at how Nyana is forcing me to learn to be patient, and for a while now I’ve been thinking that I’m doing a really good job learning; that I’m nearly healed of my impatience. And then we have a few days like the ones we just had, where she’s fussy and I’m agitated, and I find myself so frustrated that I actually hold her up at eye level, look her dead in the eye, and say “I hate you.”

It’s true—that I said it, not that I meant it. But before anyone freaks out, this is a total case of hate the situation, not the baby. Hate the tubes and the wires and the beeping and the nurses. Hate the trek across the city every day. Hate everything about not being able to parent your child, but don’t hate Nyana. It’s not her fault.

Wednesday had been a very good day; she was happy and alert for much of the day and we recorded about two hours in a row at 21% oxygen (room air). Thursday morning my Princess had been replaced by Miss Fussy Pants, and she spent much of the day crying and squirming if she didn’t get exactly what she wanted. Crying and squirming, all day long.

This shouldn’t be an issue, and wouldn’t be if Nyana were like most babies, who get to live at home and not in an intensive care unit. If we were at home, I would be able to strap her to me in a baby carrier and get stuff done while she fussed. If she were a healthy baby and not one with cystic lung disease, I would be able to put her in her chair and let her cry it out while I got stuff done around the house. If I didn’t have a team of nurses and doctors and therapists checking in on me twelve times an hour and asking me asinine things like Why is she crying? and Is she OK? and Have you tried this or that or the other thing?, I might actually feel like a mother, and not like a bystander in my child’s development.

So all day Thursday she squirmed and cried, and I stayed home that evening while Don tended to her fussiness. She fussed through his visit, too, and found herself at 30% oxygen, but worked herself back down to 23 before Don left. I was dismayed when I arrived at the hospital on Friday morning to find her turned back up to 30; between two fussy days and a nurse notorious for chasing her oxygen, three days of progress had been undone overnight. I spent most of the day trying to cuddle her back down to at least 25%, but she continued her fussy spree and when I left her on Friday afternoon, the best I’d been able to get were blood saturations of about 89, 90, with her oxygen down to 26.

Saturday morning, I remembered on my way in to the hospital that day shift was with our new primary, Nurse Peachy. I immediately felt better about the day I was about to have. I was thrilled to walk in on Babygirl sound asleep in her crib, oxygen turned to 25%, saturations of about 96. I took her out for a cuddle and by her 3 o’clock feed, we were at room air. We stayed there the rest of the afternoon. I left the room around 4:30 to meet Don and grab a bite, and when we came back, we found Nurse Peachy in the glider, Nyana propped up on her shoulder, both of them happy as a clams. Nurse Peachy begrudgingly passed Ny off to Don.

Nyana’s high scores continued in Don’s lap, through her six o’clock feed, and right into 7pm shift change. I turned to Don and said, “That sounds like Nurse Awesome in the hallway.” Nurse Peachy was doing her handover to Nurse Awesome! Primary to primary! I knew Nurse Awesome had picked up an extra shift on Saturday, but I’d assumed it was a day shift and she had a different assignment. I was so relieved to see her tonight; I knew she’d do everything she could to help keep Nyana’s numbers in check. We need Nyana to keep up the high scores she’s been getting; our plan has changed from “zero changes for a week” to “zero changes until she spends a week at room air”. We figure it’ll take two or three weeks for that to happen, but this decision could be the difference between home oxygen or not.

I’ve been feeling a bit like I’m cracking lately; I seem to have moment after moment with her where I wonder whether I’m cut out for this motherhood business. Lucky for me, I’m part of a What Were We Thinking? support group with about a hundred other new mums, and while I know none of them are going through what I’m going through, it’s nice to know that I’m going through what they are. One of the women posted a discussion topic the other day about how happy she is that after two months of loving her baby, she can finally say that she’s *in* love with her baby. I totally understand this.

When Nyana was born, I instantly loved her. I loved her and I would have done anything for her. I was amazed that she was What We Made. But I didn’t feel what I thought I would feel. I had thought that upon seeing my child for the first time, my tear ducts would burst and my heart would explode and I wouldn’t be able to see anything in the room except her. I didn’t feel any of that. I was amazed by her, in awe of her, but I wasn’t in love with her. And I didn’t know then if I’d ever have the chance to fall in love with her.

It’s taken four and a half months for her to grow into a seven week-old baby, and it’s taken four and a half months for me to completely fall in love. She reacts to us now, she interacts with us now, and I know now that she’s going to be more awesome than I ever imagined. Doctors and RTs have been telling us for months that there comes a day when something snaps and the babes just “get it”—I’m so very hopeful that we’re finally on the verge of the next chapter now. I can’t wait to watch her grow into a little person—discover her hands and discover her voice, develop an attitude, display her personality. I can’t wait until she decides she’s ready to come home.

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About Mrs. B

Wife, mother, marketer--not always in that order. Lover of fine food, good company, and exceptional grammar. Mother of one former micro-preemie and one full-term monster baby. Building childhood memories in Vancouver's suburbs.
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6 Responses to Love, Actually

  1. Stacey Feehan says:

    Karen, you and Donners are amazing to be able to go through what you have over the last several months and continue to go through day after day. Nyana is lucky to have attentive, concerned parents, who do love her.

    Wondering if you are cut out for motherhood–sometimes I wonder that too, even now after years of being a mother. I think that is normal. We don’t always know if what we are doing is the right thing. Parenting any child can certainly be exhausting (physically and emotionally) and stressful. Indeed parenting a child with special health needs is very exhausting and stressful. You continue to do it. Sometimes it’s just putting one foot in front of the other until you get past the latest obstacle. Ultimately it’s so rewarding.

    Happy to know that you have such support from not only family and friends, but also from groups of other moms, and medical staff who care nearly as much as you do and listen to your concerns.

  2. berlynn23 says:

    Every day I wonder if I’m cut out to be a mom. Most days I can come up with a yes for one reason or another, but boy there are some days that make me doubt that. But, thankfully, the kidlets go to sleep and in the morning it’s a redo and they love me all the same.

    I figure if they survived the day and I got a few smiles, then I’m doing a pretty good job:)

  3. Twiggy says:

    It’s not easy being a mom sometimes as Stacey said. You three are always in my prayers.

  4. Diane says:

    I believe all mothers (dads too) have those doubts, some more able to admit the doubt than others. I’ve certainly had my doubts, but try to remember that I don’t have to be perfect – I can be good enough. I’ve often thought,” please be patient with me, I’m a work in progress as a mom”. My “boy” is 36 and I’m still learning. He’s grown into an amazing young man, some times in spite of me.

    Nyana is lucky to have two parents who are loving, dedicated, honest and “works in progress”. There will be good days & not so good days. I’m pleased and privileged to share the beginning of her journey to becoming an amazing young woman – just like her mother.
    Hugs,
    Diane

  5. Janice Taylor says:

    How do I join the What were we thinking? support group? Email me and let me know, cause so far, we say that everyday with ours and we’re out of the NICU now! Could use the support online! Keep your chin up – its hard in there, but its also really hard out here, just a different kind of hard cause its 24/7 and its all you! They tell me it will all be worth it, but so far that feeling is sporadic and sleep-dependent. Pretty much in the first week at home, we were just happy we were all 3 still alive.

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