Hello!! It’s been awhile! The girls have been home a month and I can’t tell you the number of times I have started to write a blog post and stopped. My mind either travels to a million different things to update everyone on, or I am busy…. Very busy and tired…. Very tired.
A step back from the last update, the girls got discharged on Jan 12th… a day before their due date!!! What a blessing. I miss everyone at Blank and that hospital will always hold a special place in my heart. It was a very emotional week leading up to the girls’ eviction. John happened to be in Arizona for work all week and I knew we were nearing the end from talking with the doctors and nurses. I knew they would give me a days notice, so in turn I would be able to give John a days notice… and he would have to get on the first flight home because I was not bringing home two preemie infants by myself. Nope. No way, no how. Thankfully, the Lord was watching over us all and John got home a day before the girls’ discharge. We were able to take our baby safety class Friday, I spent the night at the hospital Friday night, and Saturday morning we were signing paperwork and going over the care plan.
The scary part when leaving the NICU… you are now responsible for keeping your kid(s) alive!! Now that might not sound like it is hard, but when you have lived 74 days by NICU standards, it is intimidating. Every morning I would hear an update on the girls, they would discuss the daily plans and any changes they were implementing. They had their feedings calculated out to the milliliters that was determined by their weight in grams and gestation. So now, we leave and how the heck are we suppose to figure out how much to feed them. They don’t stop by in the morning and weigh them and pull back on their feeding tubes to make sure everything is digesting well… nope, none of that. So we do our best to guess approximately how much to feed them. Yes, that is typical of what a parent would do with a new baby… but when I have had so much science and data to rely on it is hard to rely on your momma instincts. And let’s not forget about the monitors!! At any given moment I could tell you exactly what my daughters heart rates were, oxygen saturation levels, respirations, and body temp just by glancing over at a screen. Now I get to look at their beautiful faces and determine all of that data…. By looking at them!! I can’t even begin to tell you how intimidating that is. I would like to think I’m not alone in this fear; this new-mom of NICU babies fear. And yet, somehow by the grace of God… we are a month out and are all still alive. Praise God. I guess that song is true…
“Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
'Cause fear he is a liar”
The sad part about leaving the NICU…. You get to know these people and you get to know other families. And honestly… as sad and as sick as this is going to sound… the NICU became my social life and work life. Going to the NICU I got to talk to people. I was able to get to know families and staff. I was able to talk through some challenges that other families were going through and also enjoy some adult talk about things not dealing with babies and the NICU. So, as I knew we were getting close to leaving and I was overjoyed to have my babies in OUR HOUSE… I was also sad.
Expectations and Exhaustion.
I know I am not the perfect mom. I never will be. But I will love my daughters and give them a safe place to call home. A few things that I have learned in the short time having the girls home is that I have placed way too much expectation on myself, and exhaustion is no joke!
I don’t know how or where the high expectations came from… maybe my own childhood and how I think about my own mom and grandma. Two of the most amazing female influences in my life. Have they made mistakes and have they gotten things wrong… yes, but I still feel as though they were/are “perfect”. And that is what I have to realize with my own daughters. My expectation of myself is to be the “picture perfect mom”. Social media can feed into this unattainable expectations. But in reality when both of my girls are screaming, or alternating screams in a battle cry sort-of-way, they don’t care if I’m perfect, they just want their mommy. They don’t judge me for not brushing my teeth until 11am (sorry Jen, I really do try to keep up with my dental hygiene… it just isn’t always the most timely!) They don’t care that I have had the same sweat pants on for 3 days. They don’t care that I have zero makeup on and black circle around my eyes. They don’t care that I have some extra fluff around my middle because working out with these two is minimal at best. What they care about is that we give them love, protection, milk… lots of milky, and we advocate for them while they can’t. They don’t even know those are the things they need from us, but in time, they will realize that.
Exhaustion. Wow, this is a whole new level of exhaustion. Being a first-time parent is exhausting. Being a twin parent is exhausting. Being a stay-at-home mom is exhausting. Being a working parent is exhausting. All of it is exhausting. Just when you think things are rock-bottom bad…. They finally sleep a 4 hour stretch and you think you can conquer the world. And we also have days that they don’t sleep AT ALL. A newborn baby… not sleeping?? Two newborns not sleeping… UGH! What the heck? And this exhaustion is different from other types of exhaustion that I have felt. When I’ve been tired before, I knew that at some point I would be able to get home from a long days work and sleep. I’m exhausted now and yes, I do get some sleep, but I am a tad bit of a light sleeper now and hyper vigilant because I’m caring for two babies! I just want to make sure I hear the girls….. Which currently I could hear a cricket fart and I’m awake…. So I should be able to hear the girls.
Another exhausting part of this stage…. Nursing and pumping. What the heck. No one tells you when you’re pregnant that nursing is not a natural thing. That it takes work… like a lot of work. And if someone did tell me that, I wasn’t listening!! To all the new mommies out there, I get it. I really really get it. The hours spent attached to the pump is hard. It's not a vacation or a mental break… It is all so exhausting. And eating…. Apparently you need a ton of calories to keep the milk coming… not always an easy task with two little ones. But what has helped are the amazing meals provided by some of the most amazing people!!! You all are a blessing and so thoughtful. I’ve signed up for a meal train before and have enjoyed blessing others, and now being on the receiving side, all I can say is WOW, Thank you… it is such a help. I will be signing up to help others when I can in the future. The other cool part is you get to try out some new recipes. People… we need to do this more often for other people. Everyone make meals for 5 families and then swap with 5 people. John will be the first to say I make the same recipes pretty much all the time, so this variety is a nice change!! I’m also going to start taking a protein shake every morning so I at least get my breakfast meal in. Hopefully that will take away my headaches from hunger and boost my supply even more!!
Finally, as we recognized yesterday's hallmark holiday of “love”.... Remember that love doesn't happen on a certain day of the month. It happens everyday. With tired burning eyes I look at the faces of my daughters and realize what love looks like. They are my heart beating outside of my body. They make me smile… they make me tired and crazy too… but oh so happy. They also make me realize that we all need to have a little more grace with ourselves. We may not be “facebook perfect moms and dads”.... But we are perfect in the eyes of our children. So stop putting so much pressure on yourself. You are kicking a$$ today and everyday.