Archive for December, 2008

Someone to watch over me


Satch and friend

 Oh hello there. It’s 7:19, and somehow I’ve found myself with a thimbleful of time before the commotion of the 8:30 feedings gets a-rolling. I am sitting at the dining table with a bottle of wine to my left, and a bottle of moisturizer to my right, and I know full well which item will be more useful to me in the coming months, and yet I am foolishly drawn to the other. Now comes a faint whimper on my 900mhz Fisher Price baby monitor system, telling me, in all likelihood, that Levi is still working at that lactose, or reflux, or whatever it is that fills his tiny shape with belly and throat grumbles after a feeding – sometimes even for hours. And now he’s quiet again. He and his big brother Pablito are sharing a crib, swaddled to within an inch of their lives, staring at one another with that deep, deep love we’ll call (for now) obliviousness. I am amazed at how totally unmoved each is by the other’s rackets. I guess seven months of getting kicked in the head or punched in the gut renders a little noise pollution pretty tame. 

A word on the above photo soon, I promise. Definitely before 8:30. 

We have a system working here, and it’s quite nice. Two infants, three adults, it’s perfect. So it turns out we ought not have had triplets, but instead twins and a third spouse. As things stand, one of us can each skip a nighttime feeding. I take the 2:30 by myself, because everybody knows what a struggle it is for me to get to bed much before then anyway (I can though, and I can sleep right beautifully from 1:25 to 2:20 – even on the floor of the boys’ room, which I did last night while the monitor battery charged). This earns me a pass on the 5:30 – which, people, we’ll all admit is THE feeding to skip. I woke up shortly before 8 feeling invigorated, refreshed, hopeful, confident, and downright ducky. I’m not sure Alex slept so much though – but we carved out a chunk of this afternoon for that purpose, and so far all three of us, Alex, Alex’ mom, and I, are a step ahead of the exhaustion. 

I will postpone a discussion of the dishwashing. Suffice to say that we have no dishwasher, and we know, we know. Save it. Our situation (renters in an ancient building with shaky electrical wiring) precludes a dishwasher. I’ll give you a tip about a future blog post, though. It will be called “My World and Welcome To It” and it will feature a picture of the bottle drying rack, and you, my friends, should be very afraid. 

Now to Satch. I visited him this morning, and timed my visit well. I came in  just after his nurse – Stacey – had warmed up some milk for him…his first post-surgery feeding! Would I like to give him a bottle? Is that a trick question? So we wheeled over the awesome NICU recliner (the NICU recliners would CRUSH the CCN recliners (which don’t, among other things, recline) in any fair contest), lifted the little Satchmo out of his isolette still attached to his monitor and IV (we had long since begun taking the boys off monitor for feedings, but Satch is in the dire wing so we play by the rules), plunked him on my lap, protected with a cloth diaper (that will – in our world – only ever serve the purpose of burp cloth), and raised the bottle containing 15 cc of Alex’s milk, a third of his normal feeding back in the day, to the boy’s lips.

And as he latched on with vigor and proceeded to suck down that paltry bottle’s contents in three minutes flat, I was suddenly overcome. This boy, who I have been fighting the good fight not to allow to become my favorite, whose inquiring eyes seem to see you to your very core, even if they can’t really see at all, who is the smallest and the oldest and the wisest of the troika, a dancer and an artist, this boy nearly took us to the brink of rational parenting and gave us a glimpse of the sprawling, awful abyss that lays beyond. Did we really have those conversations? Did I really look up Necrotizing enterocolitis on Wikipedia to read this sentence:  “Despite a significant mortality risk, long-term prognosis for infants undergoing NEC surgery is improving, with survival rates of 70-80%”? Did we sit and listen to the young woman from surgery tell us that signs were that Satch’s bowel had been compromised, and that they would need to “resect” it, and if they couldn’t do it smoothly they’d just create an “ostomy” so that the contents of his bowels could drain directly out of his abdomen? As I sit here and listen to Levi’s soft hiccups coming over the monitor, those twenty hours seem distant, a lifetime ago. But today, in the NICU, holding old Satch up on my shoulder and gently rubbing his back – knowing 15 cc probably wouldn’t earn me a burp – I finally allowed myself to let the brief horror of that affair, the stuff Alex and I worked so hard to keep at bay all of that terrible Friday night and Saturday morning, rip into me and contort my face. This little man’s resume may be somewhat thin to date, but he already has an outsized personality. He is a star a among the NICU nurses, who lamented (sometimes too vocally) the fact of his return to the dark side, and he is a necessary and perfect compliment to the two boys currently warming a crib for him.

So this morning, just for a few moments, I offered forth a few whimpers and allowed myself the self-indulgence of a big What If. It didn’t last long, nobody saw, and no-one was listening on a monitor. And then I smiled a really big smile that I may have felt more than any other that I’ve smiled, and placed my improving boy back in his cage. For courage, I snuck that there book into the isolette, giving Satch a photo-op-length moment to be watched over by his illustrious and prolific forebear. I’m hoping ole Satch, the OLD ole Satch, bestowed upon this little one the gift of a long and prosperous life, because what more can you ask for?


December 30, 2008 at 8:12 pm 4 comments

There’s no place like home

Home at last!

Home at last!

 Um, yeah – things have suddenly gotten a bit busier! Fancy that. But there is some serious cuteness taking place between these walls (along with the usual compliment of burping, farting and pooping -yay!!!) 

Quick update on Satch – for his fanclub. He was quite anemic, so he did have to have a small blood transfusion tonight, which is something they were partially expecting after the surgery. He is doing completely fine, though, and is actually even gaining weight (despite only getting the luscious food called “TPN” injected into his veins). Tomorrow he attempts a return to liquid gold – fingers are crossed.

P.S. – You call yourselves fans?? Okay – see if you can guess who’s who (their color code is completely messed up in the photo, though under the swaddles it’s completely clear).

December 29, 2008 at 9:51 pm 12 comments

For our local affiliates

Quick report here – no time to do much, since the boyzos are making their appearance today. 

I have been meaning to put up a note or even a page with some comments for our local visitors (and many of our local friends have already been simply amazing in supporting us with food, shopping, and more – we are astoundingly grateful). Have not been able to do it yet, and suddenly time is in short supply. Our principle concern in this next period of time is going to be maintaining the health of our boys and ourselves – which is a far more complicated matter than usual since they are preemies and their lungs continue to be immature. They also have had the misfortune to be born right in the thick of rsv season. What’s that? Yeah – we had no idea either until we bounced Satchel, Pablo and Levi into the world. Now suddenly it’s the great looming enemy! I found this very good letter on line explaining it, and some of the precautions that we’ll need to take starting now. Our letter – when I get it written – will be very similar, and we plan to follow all of the precautions that the Swire triplet parents did. Please do have a look – especially if you are local and hoping to visit soon (we’re eager to see you, though we will be a little slow at first in welcoming visitors, just as we get set up and establish our routines). 

More fun stuff soon (I hope!)

December 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm 3 comments

It’s the end of the world as we know it

My brain is mush. We had a full day, most of it spent away from the hospital. We built a crib, welcomed grandma Jane, I went to the gym, frantically worked on a mix of my New Year’s song for a local radio station, and late this evening dragged everyone out to a late showing of Milk (at long last). All systems in the joint are go. And the word on third floor is that brothers B and C, Pablo and Levi, are packing their bags and heading home tomorrow. So, our adventures in parenting are to begin earnest. I had it in my head to write some big epic blog post about the strangeness and wonder and fear all wrapped up in this particular juncture, but instead, as I’ve mentioned, I find myself with mushbrains and craving sleep. Might as well grab some up, since it ain’t gonna be on offer much longer.

December 29, 2008 at 12:57 am 3 comments

None more black

Hi there – quick update from the field. Alex and I were pretty toasted after yesterday’s marathon ordeal. We slept and slept, and then I came in to check on the boys, who have now claimed an even greater swatch of real estate on this here third floor. Satch is bouncing back from surgery very well. There are still a dozen little things that bear watching, of course, but he’s dancing and stretching and staring as was his wont in the days of old, and I’m feeling pretty good about things. Best of all, the spinal tap is OFF (and if that dampens Satch’s appreciation for the glorious film of the same name just a smidge in years to come, so be it). I ran back over to Continuing Care to see how the two “well babies” were doing, and they’re just fine. Pablo is dressed in red as a show of solidarity for his missing brother, but Levi is clinging to his traditional green robes. I bottle fed both of them and even got some pretty sensational burps out of the two. I suppose the days when each disproportionately thunderous belch from the belly of my babes elicits hysterical guffaws from the belly of their papa are probably numbered, but I’ll enjoy them while they’re here.

December 28, 2008 at 12:42 pm 2 comments

Seems like old times…

Yeah, this is old school...

Yeah, this is old school...

 Satch was looking woozy but alert post-op. We visited him and he seemed the better for it. The nurse is very happy with his color and his general disposition. Even Big Bird stopped by to see him (the doctor came in…stinking of gin…and proceeded to lie on the table. Not really – but it paints a pretty picture). Alex and I see a shower in our very near future…

December 27, 2008 at 3:36 pm 10 comments

He’s out…

Okay, the surgery is over, and so far we think it was a success. What happened is this: his appendix had slipped into the hernia, which was therefore incarcerated (imprisoned, blocked, etc.). The appendix had died, and needed to be removed, and as a result, a second incision needed to be made in his abdomen. The really good news is that they did not have to cut away any of the intestine, and the surgeon (Big Bird’s colleague – Grover?) said that his intestines look fine and there is in fact no sign of NEC. The hernia is fixed, and he’ll never have to keel over in pain at a menorah lighting ceremony on Central Park West with a wrecked appendix as his pop did fourteen years ago. He’s getting a catheter put in his back for pain management, and will have to be monitored very carefully lest either of his surgical wounds become infected. And he’s going to the NICU where it seems you never know WHAT’s gonna happen. But that said, it’s a good outcome, and we’re eagerly awaiting the chance to see our boy and watch him start to heal.

December 27, 2008 at 1:37 pm 3 comments

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