Archive for the ‘ NICU/Prematurity issues ’ Category

A Goodbye to Blogging, and Many Thank-Yous

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Dear internet,

Well… it’s about that time.

I’ve been blogging for over four years, and for over a year here for Parents.  It’s been an interesting and, at times, a pretty amazing ride.  I’ve written about anything and everything, been on some awesome trips, received my share of hate mail, been published on and linked to from places like Yahoo!, Shine, and Time.com, and corresponded and shared my life with some pretty incredible people.

I have honestly enjoyed sharing my life with all of you.  Opening up about all of my experiences– the good, like giving birth to Caroline, graduating dental school, and finding a job… and the bad, like Caroline’s hospitalization, my postpartum depression, and my divorce– has been exciting, cathartic, therapeutic.  But with my new start here in a new state with a new job and a new home, the time has come for me to move on.

I’ll admit that part of it is that I’m simply burned out on the criticism and hateful email that I seem to get no matter what I write.  It is not easy to share as openly and publicly as I do, and I might just not have the backbone for some of the responses that I get anymore.  Having a job as a “real” dentist also means that I need to be a little more careful and professional about what I put out there on the internet, know what I mean?  I’ve always written whatever I feel about whatever’s on my mind, and if I have to constantly censor myself or worry about what I’m writing, then I’d rather just not write at all… or at least not write so publicly.  I also feel like I don’t have as much to say as I used to, and I really only enjoy blogging when I have something interesting to say.

I guess what it ultimately comes down to is, I just need my life to be a little more private right now.

I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, all of you who have read and loved my blog, whether you’re a new or longtime reader; whether you’ve read occasionally or never missed a post.  Your kind words and support got me through some tough times, your advice helped me make some tough decisions, and what some of you have shared with me, in return for all I’ve shared, has touched my life as I hope I’ve managed to touch some of yours.  My favorite part has been the emails and comments I get from other single parents who have been inspired by what I’ve written to make changes in their lives, to go back to school, to move on, to find happiness again.  I’ve appreciated every word from you, more than you know.

Thanks for laughing and crying with me, everyone.  You might see me again on the internet someday, in a more anonymous or private space…you just might not know it’s me.

With love,

Julia…and Caroline

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Crazy Girl

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

I love my toddler dearly, but she is a handful and a half sometimes.

Caroline was born prematurely, and when she was younger, she had a gross motor delay.  She didn’t crawl until she was 13 months or walk until she was a little over 18 months, and she reached those milestones with the help of physical therapy.  Everyone told me, “be grateful she’s not mobile!  You’ll miss these days when she just sits and plays with toys and can’t move around and cause trouble!” and I always wanted to punch those people in the face because hello that is not P.C. to say to someone whose baby has a delay.  When she finally did walk, I was so thrilled that I didn’t even care how much trouble she got into.

Now, well… I guess I see what they were saying.

Take last night, for example.  I started the tub running for Caroline’s bath and brought her out of the bathroom with me to get her pajamas and diaper.  She raced back, pushed the button on the doorknob to lock the door, and slammed the door shut.  With the tub still running inside.  I stifled a four-letter word (with limited success) and grabbed my toolkit for a skinny screwdriver to stick in the little hole in the back of the doorknob.  As I struggled to pick the lock, Caroline snatched the hammer out of the toolkit and proceeded to try to break down the door with it, yelling “KNOCK KNOCK! KNOCK KNOCK!!” and none of this is made up.

My friend suggested that I tape the buttons on the doorknobs so that she couldn’t lock the doors, and I thought that was a great idea… except I was out of tape because Caro had recently stolen it and unrolled it to make a giant sticky blob, which she had then ever-so-thoughtfully attached to my bedroom mirror.

I am totally writing myself a prescription for Xanax.  (Or a nanny.  Can you write a prescription for a nanny?  Note to self: email the DEA about that.)

Other times her devilish streak has nothing to do with her actions.  She usually comes into my room when she wakes up in the morning and asks to “snuggle wif mommy”, which is adorable.  I pulled her into my bed the other morning and she lay there quietly for awhile before asking, “Mommy?”

Me: “Mmm?”

Caro: “I think I not be good girl today.  I not.”

Me: “Oh?  I think I’m glad you’re going to daycare today.”

At least it makes for good stories.  What devilish things do your kids do that make you want to want to simultaneously rip your hair out and laugh out loud?

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Start Here: My Story

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Mom and toddler

Hi!  I’m Julia, single mom to Caroline, age two, who I adore but did not plan for.  I got pregnant with her unexpectedly about halfway through dental school.  I was married at the time.  I continued with school until I went into preterm labor around 28 weeks, at which point I took a year off.  I went back to dental school in January 2010, when Caroline was 11 months old.  That summer, I filed for divorce from my husband, and our divorce was finalized this past February.  I finally graduated from dental school just last week.  My blog is about the challenges and joys of being a single mother and a dental student… and now that I’m done with school, a brand-new dentist.

I’ve been blogging for about three years and just moved all my old posts here to Parents (after much effort and HTML editing and breaking and fixing of tags, which probably would have been no big deal if I actually knew what a tag was, which I don’t). Since most of you reading this are probably new to my blog, I thought I’d put together a list of the posts that summarize my story the best. For the rest of you who already know me and followed me here… a little walk down memory lane. Or skip this post and wait for the new stuff!

Pick and choose and skip at will!

Shock: The day I found out I was pregnant.

The perils of unplanned pregnancy: The start of the troubles between me and Tyler.

Preterm WHAT??: Preterm labor begins at 28 weeks.

Suddenly a stay-at-home mom: Temporarily leaving school and going on bedrest.

It’s a girl!: Caroline is born at 36 weeks!

My birth story will have to wait: NICU trials and tribulations.

Birth story: This one’s self-explanatory.

A paper cut on the eye: Struggles with breastfeeding and pumping.

My “I-will-never’s”: It’s so much easier to parent before you actually become a parent.

See you in 10 minutes!”: I was so not a newborn kind of person.

Life is good: Just kidding, I was so totally a newborn kind of person. That day.

Whose leg do I have to hump to get a referral around here?: Issues with reflux.

Diagnosis: I am diagnosed with postpartum depression and PTSD.

Quitting time: I quit pumping in order to save my sanity.

Single mom’ing it: Tyler’s long and frequent absences take their toll.

I can do this: I return to dental school after my year at home.

Milestone anxiety: Caroline’s gross motor delay and resulting physical therapy.

May 16, 2010: Was once supposed to be my graduation day… but was still a good one.

Overly personal statement: Thoughts on having a baby during dental school.

I think I need to clarify: Explanation of my decision to file for divorce.

Empty: Tyler officially moves out.

Dear Caroline: A letter to my daughter about why I left her father.

“I don’t think she smiles like that”: Finding my happy place.

Off-limits: Struggles with dating after divorce.

Same team: My roller coaster plunges down again, and stories of divorce counseling.

Irretrievable breakdown: Our divorce is finalized.

“How do you do it all?”: Well, as it turns out, I really don’t.

That which angers you, controls you: I struggle with Tyler introducing his new girlfriend to Caroline.

Control freak: Continued struggles and introspection.

Alone: Thoughts on being single.

Prayer for my daughter: Reflections on what I want for my daughter, based on my own trainwreck of a personal life.

DMD… finally: My graduation from dental school… at last.

Whew. Long list. But it’s way shorter than reading all of my past posts. And if the past three years of my life have been anything, they’ve been eventful. Enjoy, and welcome to my blog!

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Well, Frick.

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Caroline’s early intervention appointment was on Friday. We had different people than last time. Nicer people. They always send a physical therapist and a speech therapist. The physical therapist was this girl who couldn’t have been older than 23 or so, and she was super nice and cute and Caroline seemed to like her a lot. So I hope we get her from now on. Because Caroline qualifies for physical therapy, which means she is under the 3rd percentile, a.k.a. “severely delayed”.

Frick.

(I used to use the actual f-word all over the place here and everywhere, but I am trying to watch my potty mouth since I am now a mom of a toddler and all, even if she doesn’t actually “toddle”. A toddler who gleefully repeats any kind of dirty word as if she senses that she is not supposed to be saying it and neither am I.)

Anyway, she qualifies. Technically that is good news. There is no denying that we need some help, because there is no way she will be walking by 18 months without it. It’s also good news that gross motor is the only area of concern. Once you get into two or more areas, you start having to worry that there are bigger developmental problems lurking around.

I try not to read about what she should be doing because it makes me get all uptight and worried and batshitcrazy (oops, sorry, I had to), so I am not sure exactly what level she is really functioning at. But I will just say that she can pull up to her knees but not her feet, is not at all interested in standing with help (her knees buckle), and it’s only been within the past two weeks that we would go into her room to find her sitting in her crib, or in any position other than lying flat on her back.

It sucked to hear that she is so delayed. I try not to feel like it means that I’ve done something wrong, or not done enough for her somehow, but I can’t help but let those thoughts sneak in. I’m also a little irritated with her pediatricians, because every time I ask about it at visits, they push on her legs and bend her knees and stuff and say that her muscle tone is fine. But the physical therapist said she is low tone, and I know another physical therapist who agrees, and she certainly doesn’t bear weight on her legs very well, so you tell me.

I’m all about the run on sentences, tonight. It keeps me from swearing like a trucker. Sorry if this is unreadable. I’m still a little upset.

I just have to keep repeating to myself, this is good, she needs the help, and we are getting it. That’s what really matters. She’s going to be fine. It’s just the one area. We are doing everything right.

So we’ll be seeing a physical therapist once a week for 45 minutes. It sounds like a good program. Connecticut’s program charges fees on a sliding scale, which means we won’t go broke, and they will even come to daycare to work with her, which means I won’t get kicked out of school for missing a day every week.

This is good, she needs the help, this is going to be fine.

Oh… and I can’t close the post without saying happy Mother’s day to all you mamas out there!

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Milestone Anxiety

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Sometime shortly after Caroline was born, I signed up for about a bajillion baby development emails. You know the ones I mean—your baby week by week, your x-week-old, or whatever. When they showed up in my inbox, I’d read them with a tinge of anxiety, checking up on where Caroline “should be”. I’d watch her during playtime, looking for milestones, or signs that she was about to reach them. Was that roll-over on purpose, or just a lucky accident? Is she lifting herself up enough during tummy time? Oh no… am I giving her enough tummy time? IS SHE GOING TO YALE OR ISN’T SHE?! I’ve got to tell you, I worry way more about this than I ever thought I would.

But it isn’t just me. The moms’ message board I post on is always consumed by posts about development and milestones. And those baby newsletters have to be fueled by some kind of demand, right? We all want to know whether or not our babies are on track, or “normal”.

For us, it’s turned out to be kind of a mixed bag. Caroline’s gross motor skills have always been a little behind. She was diagnosed with a mild gross motor delay at 9 months, and now that she’s a year and still not really crawling and definitely not pulling up or sitting up, it’s more of a full-fledged gross motor delay. We’re in the process of getting early intervention back out to our apartment for a follow-up evaluation, since she didn’t quite qualify for physical therapy at her 9 month visit.

The girl talks, though, like crazy. I hear that’s usually how it goes… if they have one type of delay, they make up for it in another area. When you have to watch what you say around your 12.5 month-old for fear she might repeat it (need I remind you of “ohshish”?), you know you are in trouble. I admit that I now shut off the radio when I pick her up from daycare for fear that her new favorite word will be “crunk”, or worse.

Anyway. It’s hard, when you go to daycare and you see babies months younger than yours walking around, and yours is still pushing herself around backwards on her belly. It makes me a little sad when I see or hear about other babies playing in ways that she can’t, and won’t be able to for a long time. It makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong. And I feel like even if she hadn’t turned out to have a delay, I’d still have been just as anxious about it.

It doesn’t help that when I saw one of Caroline’s pediatricians for a sick visit and mentioned my worries about her lack of sitting and pulling up, he asked, “were you and your husband also slow?” Uhhh… thanks for your sensitivity there, doc. I learned tact in med school. Why didn’t you?

But what I’ve come to terms with is this: that other baby in daycare isn’t better than my baby because he walks and mine doesn’t. His mom isn’t a better mother than me because my baby has a delay and hers doesn’t. It doesn’t mean anything, really. She’ll walk when she’s ready to. And if she doesn’t walk, for whatever reason, that’s okay too. She is who she is, and I love her regardless.

So now when those baby development emails show up in my inbox, I just delete them without reading them. (Someday I will get up the motivation to unsubscribe.) As long as we are taking appropriate steps to monitor her development and help her with her delays, that’s all I need to know.

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