Posts Tagged ‘ NICU/Prematurity issues ’

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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Same Team

Monday, February 21st, 2011

I don’t think I took enough time to mourn the loss of my marriage. I know this because overall, as time passes, I feel sadder about it rather than more at peace. Honestly, I am a crier. But I really hardly did any crying over my divorce at all. Tyler, I know, did a lot of crying… and I feel awful about that. In the beginning, he told me, he would wake up in the middle of the night crying, or with his eyelashes stuck together with dried tears.

I’ve cried twice. That’s it.

The first time was during one of our divorce counseling sessions that we went to in order to try to rebuild the pieces of our marriage into some kind of coparenting relationship. We were going through some of the issues that had brought us to that point. One major one was my postpartum depression and post-NICU PTSD, and Tyler’s reaction to it. I was trying to articulate how it damaged me when he insisted that I just get over the whole NICU ordeal, that it was in the past. I tried to explain that it was something that had marked me as a mother, that had changed how I see my child. The counselor jumped on that and asked, “How? How do you see her?” And I cried. The really bad kind of crying, where you look away and desperately try to stop but tears keep pouring down your face. I must have sat there for five minutes, silently crying and unable to speak, until finally I croaked out, “It made me feel like she could be taken from me at any time.”

The counselor looked at Tyler and said, “now maybe you understand a little better, the reasons behind her objections to you taking Caroline to North Dakota for several weeks at a time.” Tyler didn’t answer. He was crying too. After we left that session, we stood together in the elevator, tears still running down my face, and Tyler said “I wish we would have done this counseling a long time ago.”

So did I. But it was just too late.

The second time I cried for my divorce, for my marriage, was last night. It came on suddenly. I had been moping around, thinking about our upcoming court date, and walked into my room (formerly our room) to go to bed. I saw our wedding rings sitting on my dresser. I picked them up and sat on the edge of my bed (formerly our bed) and stared at them in my hand. Thought about what they were supposed to stand for, what we let slip away, what we lost. And I cried.

I think that what I am grieving for is not so much the loss of him, but the death of the dream. The family we were supposed to be. We were supposed to be partners, parents, teammates. “Same team!” I used to scream at him when we would fight. “Same team!!”

We still have to be a team, though. Just a different kind. As they said in my parenting class, if you have kids, divorce doesn’t ever mean a relationship is over– it just becomes a new type of relationship. Even though we failed at staying partners, we are tied together for life, by Caroline. At times I find that almost comforting, in a twisted kind of way.

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28 Hours

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

I calculated this while I was sitting in class yesterday. Ideally, that’s how many hours I think I need in a day. 24 is just not cutting it.

I need 24 hours to do the things I usually do… commute, classes, clinic, commute, pick up Caroline at daycare, make dinner, feed both of us and the pets, clean up around the house, wash diapers, give her a bath, put her to bed, study. (Most nights, Tyler doesn’t get home until she’s already in bed.) Then another hour so that I could spread out my day and not be constantly on the run, or maybe even use my lunch hour to actually *gasp* eat lunch. Another hour to spend with Caroline. Another hour to have some time to myself. And the last hour to SLEEP!

I love my life. I’m glad I went back to school, and the reason I’m constantly racing around is because I’m being productive, and I like that. But I have to admit I’m feeling a little run down these days. I came down with pneumonia last week, and spent the week in bed. Once I stopped feeling like I was literally going to die, it was kind of nice to just lay there and play on the internet and sleep whenever I wanted. Of course I had to pay for it when I finally went back to school on Monday, since a whole week off has caused my schedule to explode in my face, but it was still nice while it lasted. I am pretty sure I went back before I was fully rested and healed, but I couldn’t really justify taking any more time off.

Have I mentioned how awesomely productive I am these days? It is pretty satisfying how quickly things have come back to me after being gone for so long, so quickly after starting clinic. I guess a year isn’t really that much time after all. We get letters evaluating our performance every couple of months, and my latest letter congratulated me on my progress. Which made me very, very happy. I have to admit that it’s not really me being successful, though… it’s been a huge advantage to be good friends with people in my old class, because when they need to give something away to an underclassman (like a denture patient), they think of me first.

Whatever. I am still patting myself on the back. :)

In other news, today is the anniversary of Caroline’s coming-home day! We got to take her home from the NICU exactly one year ago. The nightmare was over, exactly one year ago. I smile whenever I think about that day. We were so nervous to have her away from the nurses and the monitors, but so happy and excited to finally have her home with us. I never really allowed myself to believe that she was coming home until we actually had her in her carseat, and we were walking through the hospital lobby, grinning at each other. It was the first day I really felt like she was mine.

We didn’t do anything to “celebrate”, since her coming-home day is relatively close to her birthday (even though it seemed like years at the time), but I did give her extra squeezes and love today. Even though I’m sure it will be just another day to her, I know I’ll always remember February 18 as the first real day of our life as a family of three.

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Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Caroline turned one at 6:08am today. I cannot believe it.

This year has flown by faster than any other year of my life. I have been thinking all day about how far we’ve come. From this…

To this…

My little sick baby is now a big, happy, healthy girl. February 5, 2009 was full of mixed emotions (joy, excitement, fear, uncertainty). This February 5 had a lot of mixed emotions too (pride, happiness, nostalgia, sadness that my baby is growing up)… I have to say that I prefer this year’s mix!

I miss my little teeny baby, but I love my life with my chatty toddler too. And I’m sure I’ll just keep loving it more and more.

Happy birthday, Caroline! I love you so much, baby girl.

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