Monday, January 29, 2007

Back to life

Well, things are slowly returning to "normal" around here, whatever that may be. Sadie is doing well now (minus the rotavirus last week and a cold this week), and is basically a normal baby. In fact, next week she's going with me to Portland for a business trip. She's still nursing and I can't seem to get her to want to take a bottle, so I'm taking her and Mom with me.

The days have gotten much easier - Sadie no longer cries for hours at a time, and the colicky evenings are starting to subside. The booger still won't sleep through the night, but she's keeping the wakeup calls to 1-2 per night now, which isn't too shabby in comparison to the past few months. She's starting to "talk" just this past week, and has been practicing saying "mama" in the cutest way ever. She doesn't associate the word with me yet, of course, but it's still one of the best sounds I've ever heard. I've started giving her cereal now, which she prefers to wear rather than eat. Next week she'll be five months old, which is hard to believe. Last week she weighed 14 lbs 5 ozs.

So, with all this good news about Sadie, it's hard for me to understand why I'm now feeling so exhausted and anxious about life in general. I guess I've been running on automatic all these months, and only now is the real impact of what has happened in our family really hit. And man, is it hitting hard. I find myself laying in bed quite a bit, replaying all the scenes from the PICU as I try to fall asleep at night. Last night, for example, I was remembering the first day I was in the PICU with Sadie. I was alone with one nurse, when all of a sudden Sadie's stats plummeted. I sat in the corner, hugging my knees (I was still weak from the whole childbirth process less than 24 hours before that) and watched as the nurse ran out into the hall, frantically pressing the "button" (emergency crash call) and yelling that she needed help. The doctors came running in, and it must have been 5-7 of them surrounding the isolette, working on her. It was scary then, and I knew what could happen, but only last night did it really hit me that I was literally watching her teeter at the edge of death. I saw her life being saved by total strangers, and they weren't even sure if what they were doing would work. I remember them discussing what possible things they could do since they had pumped her with all the drugs they could at the time. (They ended up doing a transfusion and raising her epinephrine drip to the highest dosage possible in order to get her heart pumping.)

It probably wouldn't make much sense to anyone reading this, but in a sense, I feel like I was living outside of it all, watching myself respond as needed - calm and collected. All the while caccooned within me was the helpless woman crying for her baby. And it's like all of a sudden, that woman has decided to surface. I didn't need her then, and I don't want her now that things are clear, but I guess I just kind of repressed it all and now my brain is playing catch-up. I know it's probably normal, but it's not any fun to deal with, all the same. I have always prided myself in being able to control my emotions. Now I can hardly bear to take Sadie to get her shots and I find myself panicking if I think she's in any pain. Like last week, when she started vomiting and couldn't stop for an hour or so... it was everything in me not to rush out to the ER. And I still find myself waiting for the "other shoe to fall" and for things to unravel again.

Thankfully, Sadie's pediatric group is very understanding, and they put up with my frequent calls for any ailment with her. They have gone the extra mile in doing blood work and cultures to make sure the virus she had last week was only a virus and nothing more seriuos. They leave no stone unturned, which I'm more grateful for than I can express. I feel like a bit of a loony-bin every time I take her in, but they never roll their eyes and take every symptom very seriously. One of the nurses there even called me yesterday to see how I was doing, since I'd broken into tears last week after they finally got an IV line into Sadie after trying for 10 minutes to hit a vein. Big props go to Richmond Pediatrics - I'd recommend them to everyone!

Since I'm having a pity-party tonight, I might as well go ahead and admit the biggest thing that has plagued me in recent weeks. I feel jipped. There, I admit it. I feel like I lost out on the first month of happy memories, that the whole "magic" of birth was stolen from me, and just generally that I missed out on a big chunk of fun those first few months. I feel incredibly selfish and completely ungrateful for even thinking or feeling that way, but I can't help myself. I know I should be just be thankful that Sadie made it, that I have her cries to wake me at night, that I have a mostly normal baby now. And I am. But some part of me is still bitter, and the more I ignore it, the more it rears its ugly head. I feel even more guilty of these feelings when I talk to some friends who are still at the hospital with their little girl, only a day older than Sadie, who is facing yet another surgery and will never be able to be "fixed" in the way that Sadie was. It's like a vicious cycle - anger, guilt, sadness... You know, in just writing that down, it dawns on me that those are some of the stages of grief. Maybe I'm, in some wierd way, grieving the time that was lost through the ordeal. Or, maybe I'm just hitting those baby blues that everyone warns about. Who knows. You know me. I love to over-analyze.

Anyway, I needed to vent. I'm having a bit of a tough time right now and generally feeling overwhelmed with the "new" emotions surfacing, not to mention the everyday circus-style balancing act I'm trying to perform in being both a stay-at-home mom and a full-time business owner. The two really don't go well together, but there's no way I can compromise either "job." My typical day begins with an early wake up call from Sadie around 5:30 or 6, is followed by a blend of work and kids throughout the day and goes until after I get the girls to bed at night, work 4-5 more hours, and then hit the bed somewhere between 1 and 2 am (to be awoken within an hour or so to feed Sadie her early-early-morning snack). Repeat daily. I guess that, more than anything, I'm hitting a wall of exhaustion after living for months off of adreneline and strong coffee.

Side note. I realize I didn't mention Katie - she's doing fabulous for the most part lately. She loves that her sister is now more "playable" (her words, not mine) and that she can do stuff with her. She went on a shopping spree with me yesterday and picked out all her own stuff, and I have to say, she has a pretty decent sense of style for a 4-year old. The girl knows her shoes, that's for sure. Her vocabulary is ridiculous - yesterday she told me that she needed some "inspiration" for the painting we had been working on together. She also recently told me she likes "deligous" trees (for the longest time I thought she was telling me they were church-going until she explained that she liked them for their "beautiness" because their leaves change colors and then she can jump in them). She likes to figure out what kind of "hoofprints" animals leave when they walk in mud or clay, enjoys a stimulating "conver-station" with her Daddy and loves to play "hims" video games whenever she is allowed to. Her best stories are often orated while she sits on the toilet and forces me to stay in there with her so she can tell me all of these exciting things.

Monday, January 15, 2007

4 Months Old! (and photo update)

Katie on the Teacups at DisneyWorld over Thanksgiving. Her expression says it all!

Still lovin' bath time!

Last week - Sadie at 4 months.

Katie and Sadie's Christmas Picture

Sadie is now 4 months old! It amazes me that it's been that long since she entered this world. Our family's whole life has flipped upside down, and we're only now putting the pieces back together. I'm thrilled she's 4 months now, but part of me is sad, because I feel like I missed out on the whole infant stage with her. So much time was spent in the hospital with her comatose, or "fighting" to keep her calm and happy, that there are very few of those "magical" moments that I can look back and reflect on. That being said, she's growing and changing every day, and now the fun is really starting!

Sadie's a typical 4 month old - she smiles, occassionally laughs, grabs things, and just tried some rice cereal last night for the first time. She's growing by leaps and bounds, and has become much happier than she was in the early days. She still has quite a temper, though, and we tread lightly, trying to keep her pacified.

Katie is doing well with her ongoing Big Sister role - she is very protective of Sadie, but loves to show her off to her friends. She's back in preschool five days a week now, and it's making a huge difference in behavior. I think she was going as nuts as I was with all the crying.