Happy one month birthday Knox and Lenox. One month ago our world changed! One month ago you entered the world in fierce fashion. You both are so loved.
Jealousy and Joy.
The definition of Jealousy: The state of feeling of being jealous. Synonyms: envy, covetousness; resentment, resentfulness, bitterness, spite. “He was consumed with jealousy”.
The definition of Joy: A feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Synonyms: delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, elation, bliss “Tears of joy”.
These two words encompass my life right now, and maybe you can relate?? I know I am to have undeniable faith and always find the joy in life, but sometimes those feelings are overshadowed by other emotions.
First, I want to give an update on the girls and paint you a picture of the NICU. The NICU journey truly is a dance. Two steps forward, one step back, throw in a side-step or an occasion shuffle, and that's our current life. Both girls had made their way to Vapotherm for mild breathing assistance then back to being on the CPAP machine for non-invasive forced breathing assistance this week, and as of 12:15 today they are breathing on their own! (This status could change tomorrow and they could be back on assistance, but for right now we REJOICE and enjoy this moment of JOY!) Both girls were having too many “episodes” and their red blood counts were low, so they have both received blood transfusions- Lenox has gotten two since birth and Knox has gotten one. Since the transfusions their “episodes” have gotten less often and less severe. Praying that their little bodies continue to get big and strong and that the medical team continues to be on top of their care. Also, they are changing their feeding schedules and from what I have been told that is a good step also. After their first couple weeks in the NICU I would have thought the girls would be released by mid-December or Christmas, but now I will hang tight to their original due date of January 13th. But whatever day they graduate from the NICU I want to make sure they are one thousand percent ready to leave, and not a day too soon!
Blank’s NICU is set up in a figure 8 shape and located on the second floor of the Blank hospital. When you exit the elevators you come to a set of double doors that are locked and the receptionists must buzz you in. From their you must sign in as a guest and get a sticker, or as a parent you show them your pretty bracelet that matches your child/children. The station you check in at is located in the center of the figure eight, so a loop of rooms are in front of the desk and a loop of rooms are behind the desk. The patient rooms aline the outside of the figure eight and supply closets, extra monitors and storage rooms are in the center of the loops.
Jealousy: The twins’ room is in the way back corner from the receptionist station, so everyday we walk past 7 rooms to get to our girls. Our first week at Blank, all the rooms were filled, last week all the rooms were empty, this week a few of the rooms are filled again. The room directly next to us and adjacent to the long hallway of rooms seems to be a revolving door. Babies are in-and-out. Some babies stay three days, some stay overnight. But Knox and Lenox…. They have taken up residency for one month… in the same place. Jealousy. Yes, I have a twinge of jealousy. I see the parents as I walk by their room and they are holding their babies in cute clothes. Or picking them up out of an open crib, or getting ready to do their car seat tests, or rocking them in the recliner without any nurses assistance. I see it all. And a twinge of jealousy erupts inside of me! Those parents get to freely pick up their little miracles, they get to try and nurse their babies, they get to freely snuggle them or sooth a tear-filled cry. And as jealousy creeps in to my mind, I have to snap myself out of it and remember I need to be happy for their joy and celebrate my own joy. Joy: These two little girls give me so much joy and happiness. Everyday I get to hand swaddle my girls, I get to change their diapers through a clear insolette, everyday I get to do kangaroo care when the nurses are able to assist me. I GET TO SEE MY GIRLS! As of today I am overjoyed that they are breathing without assistance!!! Everyday I am thankful for them and amazed by the strides they are making. They have changed my world and I want them to know how much JOY they have brought me!
I gave them life... they gave me a reason to live.
In everyday life Jealousy and Joy are all around us. I remember many times being jealous at the gym of the girl that could lift more than me, or the runners who were faster than me. But at the end of the day, I had two legs that got me from point “A” to point “B”. I could workout more or run more but that was not where I was at in my journey. So kudos to that girl who could squat 200 pounds and kudos to the many girls who ran a faster half marathon than me… you guys rock! And kudos to me for working my butt off too! I may not be the strongest or fastest, but I was right where I needed to be and I can set goals to get better, and that journey will be filled with a dance similar to the NICU journey as well.
I had a fellow NICU mom, Allison, reach out to me and what she said really hit home about this journey…. “The hardest part, is that there is also a grieving process to be done. It’s OK to be sad that you didn’t get to take your babies home right away. It’s hard to leave the hospital without your baby. Even though you knew that was going to happen, and you want to be so happy and grateful for these miracles but you’re still sad that they’re not home.” YES! One hundred times over, YES! Jealous, sad, happy, grateful, heartbroken… all in the same day. Emotion overload? Probably. I am somehow keeping it together for right now, someday I’ll probably break. And when I do breakdown, I will thank God even more!! Thank Him that He has been by my side this whole time and when I do have a bad day and I do get jealous, upset, angry... He will forgive me! And I will have to find the peace to forgive myself too.
As you go about your days remember to celebrate your own joys and happiness! Be grateful. We are often too quick to praise others while putting ourselves down. Keep in mind jealousy will steal your joy, allow yourself to be sad and grieve if that is what you need too. Acknowledge your feelings, feel them, process it and move on!