28Jan 2015

Collecting My Thoughts

Posted by at in baby

While I was in the NICU with Miller, I had so many emotions and thoughts about the experience that I wanted to share. I don’t know quite how to articulate everything I felt. I’ll do my best but it’s just one of those things that, unless you’ve experienced it for yourself, you can’t really comprehend it completely. 

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I had my son on a Monday afternoon. We had maybe an hour together and then I did not see him again until Tuesday night. He was a few hours out of surgery, very swollen from anesthesia, and I was in a fog from my c-section and all that entails. The day after he was delivered, I sat in my hospital room with my mom and Marin, knowing he was several blocks away in another hospital. Having surgery. Without me. Talk about a surreal feeling. Daddio was with him, of course, and his mom was there with him for support. I have lingering sadness about not being there with him when I let myself really think about it. So I kind of just don’t.

My husband wheeled me over to the Level 4 NICU that night after Miller’s surgery. I remember how weird it was that he went straight to the NICU, knew what to say at the desk, got us stickers, knew where Miller was, etc. How did he know all of this about our son and I knew nothing? I watched as he arranged Miller’s tubing and wires and placed him in my arms. This was my son and yet at the same time, it felt like I hadn’t actually had a baby. The section was a very emotionally detached experience for me and I had been in a Labor and Delivery room for 24 hours without a baby. I joked like, “Wait, am I still actually pregnant? Did I really have a baby?” because truly, it was that weird.

The days went by and I was wheeled over twice a day. We made sure to be there every morning when Neo made their rounds. I absolutely loved the neonatologist that rounded on Miller every morning. He was crazy intelligent and had a kind demeanor. One morning, he asked his fellows, “What would have happened to this baby 40 years ago?” The answer was that Miller would have died.

Once I was released from the hospital, we continued two a days. We both drove to the hospital in the morning and stayed for several hours. We would come home in the early afternoon before traffic started. So usually we would get there around 9 am and leave around 2 pm. We hung out with Marin at home, had dinner, and then one of us would go back up with either my mom or dad or my mother-in-law, whomever was at the house at the time staying with Marin. I couldn’t be at home alone with Marin because of my section, so on occasion, the hubs had to go back up alone. The night shift was shorter and we stayed about 8-10 pm. It was just very important to us to go hold him, get updates, and spend as much time with him as possible. I really believe in kangaroo care, skin to skin, and all that. I have read too much about quicker recoveries and shorter NICU stays due to them getting as much human contact as possible. I wanted someone up there holding my son.

Now, my baby was born with duodenal atresia and it was a complete blockage, we later found out. That same neonatologist told his fellows to make sure they looked at the x-ray because it was textbook. Yeah, that’s what I wanted to hear. But even though it was something that shook us to our very core, it was very easy for us to maintain perspective being in that NICU for at least 6 hours a day. A Level 4 NICU is something out of Grey’s Anatomy, people. You see and hear things that most people never stop to think even exist. So while we were going through the hardest moments of our lives, we had the healthiest baby in there. At times, it was uncomfortable for me. There was so much positivity in our situation and all the babies around us were chronic, long-term NICU babies with incredibly sad lives. I felt almost guilty when their families would watch us smile and be happy about how great Miller was doing. It’s a crushingly oppressive environment. I honestly feel as though everyone should spend some time in a Level 4 NICU. It’s the most eye opening thing in the world. Being released to the Level 2 NICU was great for Miller because it meant progress and more personal care, but also, it did not come with the same burdens and emotions as being in the Level 4, so we much preferred it there.

As I write this, it seems blurry and like another lifetime ago. I know if I allowed myself, I could feel the pain and sadness all over again, but what’s the point? I don’t want to think about the hours he spent alone, hungry, and uncomfortable. It’s a rabbit hole I don’t need to go down and it’s not in my nature to dive down it, anyway. Instead, it’s become a very distant thing in my mind. My heart still knows it all happened, and my mind is reminded when I see his little scar, but I have forced myself past it.

My husband and I are better people for going through this, that I know. It forced us to cling to our prayers because that was all we had. Our bond is stronger. Our appreciation for the health of our children is deeper. What we experienced for ourselves, and what we saw others experiencing everyday in the NICU, has etched something into us that I can’t really describe or explain, with the intensity of everything nearly impossible to put into words. We have so many pictures from that time that perfectly show the dichotomy of joy and pain we lived on a daily basis. I’m only sharing a few but I hope maybe they can say what I am unable to.

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08Oct 2014

Boudain Stuffed Peppers

Posted by at in recipe

 

It’s here! Football season! Not that I’m some major football fan, as my exclamation marks and obvious excitement may lead you to believe. I like it a lot, yes, but what I like most is the sounds and the feel that accompanies football season. I love waking up on Saturday morning and putting on College Game Day. It sounds like fall. Plus, I love Lee Corso. I like planning game day food like pulled pork sliders, dips, and such. This little dish is a game day food, for sure. We had some boudain laying in our freezer from Labor Day and hubs came up with this easy peasy number. If you like boudain (if you aren’t from Southeast Texas/Louisiana/Mississippi you may not even know what I’m talking about…), this is for you.

 

Ingredients

boudain sausage, casings removed

green bell peppers, stemmed

cheddar cheese, grated

 

Instructions

Place grated cheddar in the bottom of stemmed bell peppers. Stuff boudain to the top of the pepper. Cover with more cheese. Place stuffed peppers on a foil lined baking sheet. Tent a large piece of foil over all the peppers. Bake at 350 for approximately 50 minutes. Remove large piece of foil and continue baking until the cheese is bubbling and the peppers are slightly broiled.

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07Oct 2014

Thoughts On Having a Crap Day

Posted by at in tales from the trenches, thoughts on

I had a really crappy day the other week. If you follow me on instagram, you already know this. Every mom has junker days and being a mom of two under two has unique challenges every now and again. That day just had me feeling sort of cracked.

I’ve started to write this post three different times…and three different times I have deleted it. You know why? Because my crap day is over. And isn’t that the point of a crap day? It’s one day. Maybe some things go down that are stressful. Maybe you cry a bit. Maybe you drink two gigantic margaritas instead of one. But you go to bed and wake up and get to start all over. A crap day doesn’t have to turn into a crap week, month, etc. It can just be one day. I think it’s good for us all to have one every now and again. Perspective and what not.

I would rather think about the high points of the day and the two happy, healthy children that I spent it with. The husband that came home and whipped us up some fresh margaritas to enjoy while we savored our alone time. My terrible day started with my teething toddler waking up early and needing some snuggles in momma’s bed. Not crappy. It ended with the smell of fresh limes and conversation with my husband. Not crappy. Whatever happened in the middle of the day happened. A big ugly cry to my mom definitely happened but it probably wouldn’t hurt me to do that a bit more often. The point is to stay positive and realize that when you go to bed, put your crap day to bed, too.

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This picture is not of my crap day. You don’t want pictures from that day. And by the way, grammar people of the world, I know it should be crappy, but the Brits say crap, so I say crap. It makes me feel way more Bridget Jones. She understood a crap day. 

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08Sep 2014

Scenes from the {Labor Day} Weekend

Posted by at in family, weekends

I’m a week late but eh, whatever. Honestly, I’m shocked anything is getting posted in this space at all right now. It’s been commotion over here. You understand. So anyway! Over the Labor Day weekend, my sister got to meet my son for the first time. She lives about 10 hours away from me and I hate it. If there is someone you want to go through stuff with you, be there for things (good and bad), play with your babies, or whatever, it’s your sister.

Marin’s first social smiles were directed at my sister. Ever since then, Marin has adored her Aunt JuJu. They go months without seeing each other but they pick up right where they left off when they are reunited. Every time I say JuJu, Marin points to Julie’s picture. So needless to say, Marin was elated when Julie popped up at the house this weekend for some aunt-niece bonding and to meet Miller.

We cooked. We baked. We stayed up incredibly late drinking wine and playing board games. We weren’t able to go run around and do too much because of the heat and a newborn and all that but I have no complaints. We did make it out to “the best chicken fried steak in Texas,” which was most decidedly NOT, and my mom, sister, and I were able to pop over to Sur La Table. It was kind of a perfect long weekend. Side note: Uncle Tye taught Marin how to tell a secret. Funniest. Thing. Ever. 

Seeing Julie with my kids is one of my favorite things. Sisters have a bond that no one can understand, so seeing her love them and them love her is kind of the best. I wish it was much more frequent of an occurrence than it is. I wish we lived near one another. But right now, that is not our reality. And it could very well never be. So I soak up these precious interactions whenever possible and look forward to the holidays when we will all get to be together again.

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