Monday, September 30, 2013


...I had a 91 year old female patient with dementia who could NOT be contained. She paced the halls with her walker frequently and the staff constantly had to watch to make sure she didn't elope from the facility.  I am pretty green on the acute care scene, but my years of long term care experience before nursing school have given me plenty of tools to deal with such patients and I was not bothered by her at all.  She had sort of a gruff manner about her--one tough little cookie, and I liked her immediately.

ALL day for two days this little woman would go up to staff members and say, "Can you hear that baby crying?  Where is he?  I'm on my way to get him, but I can't find him.  Can't you hear that?  Are they hurting him? He's REALLY crying..."   There was, of course, no baby at all in the entire hospital.  She would get increasingly agitated as the day wore on and the baby's crying continued in her head. We were able to redirect her for a few minutes or so, but then there she was again, asking for that baby.  For anyone not familiar with dementia just go with the flow as much as you can with these people.  You don't remind her that her mother is dead if she asks.  You don't argue with her if she says it's 1954.  So...basically I lied to this woman all day.  This little part of me would cringe on the inside.  I'd say, "Oh, the baby is just finishing his shots.  He's ok.  Can I show you to the waiting room?"  She would allow me to take her back to her room, get her something to drink.  But a few minutes later she'd be back.  Looking for that baby.

An aide found a doll somewhere and tried to give her "baby" back to her.  She looked right at the aide and said, "That's a doll.  I'm looking for my baby."

I commented to another nurse how terrible that must feel for this poor lady.  I mean, if you are a mother you know you can't get to your baby fast enough when you hear that cry.  The pain cry is different than the tired cry, the hungry cry.  The pain cry makes you scramble.  It couldn't be a nice feeling to be unable to locate the baby when you know he needs you.

It wasn't until the end of my second shift that this woman's daughter came to check in on her mother.  When I told her about the woman's constant requests for the baby, the daughter stopped short. "A baby boy?" she asked.  "Yes, always" I replied.  

I teared up when she told me the woman had long ago lost her youngest child, her only baby boy in a family of girls, a month after he was born.  Every time she asked for her baby over the next three days, I would take her hand, look her in the eye and say, "He's ok.  I promise."  Because, what else can you say?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

6 Months!

I know every parent says this...but I CANNOT get over how fast time is flying by.  I wish I could reach out and freeze my children, just as they are, for a moment so I can come back to it later when they are grown and gone from me.  I learned a long time ago--you think you will never forget what it's like to hold your tiny baby in your arms...but it does fade a bit.  The baby gets replaced by a toddler and then a preschooler.  I find that as Tanner progresses through the baby stages, I am remembering things about Roo when she was his age, and I'll think, "Oh yeah, how could I possibly have forgotten that?"  That makes me sad.  Knowing I forget so many little things and I'll never be able to get them all back.  

Tanner is...such a great joy at this stage.  He weighs a whopping 17 pounds now, and he is on the brink of crawling.  He gets into the position and rocks back and forth constantly.  If I get on the floor and call to him, I can just see him thinking about how to get over to me.  He ends up trying to crawl using his hands and feet and then toppling over completely.  I hardly ever see him get frustrated over it, though.  He is always on the move and can get across the living room in no time flat.  He seems content to flop around and play with whatever he encounters along the way so I live in fear of the errant Barbie shoe or toy ring.  He is a happy little dude most of the time, but when he is mad...WATCH OUT!  He seems to be a bit like me in the personality department--doesn't have much of a neutral gear.  He's either really happy or really not.  

In the looks department he is all Jerry.  His eyes are still blue and his hair is lighter than Jerry or I's.

We are just starting to toy with solids and he doesn't have a whole lot of interest, but I'm hoping he'll get the hang of it soon. Because breastfeeding?  Hasn't been all that much fun since I went back to work.  I spend WAY too much quality time with my breast pump.  And then when I get home we have to re-orient to breastfeeding.  I'm nowhere near ready to throw in the towel, but the small break that solid foods will provide will be welcome when it comes.  He's also starting to wake up at night to feed again.  Nooooooo!  We were doing so great at sleeping through the night up until a couple weeks ago. 

I wake up every morning feeling grateful that he is here.  That both of them are here.  The hole Matthew left will never go away.  I know by now that I will always have it.  When I look at my kids in the rear view mirror while I'm driving I always know that one is missing, but I am still incredibly blessed.  When I was pregnant and someone would say something to me that was optimistic enough to frighten me I would say something like, "Oh, I don't count my babies before they hatch."  Gees, that sounds terrible doesn't it?  I loved him from the moment I knew of his existence, but I tried my damnedest to avoid dreaming of taking my baby home.  Because there are no guarantees, you know?  Now as I pass last year's landmarks and remember how scared I was I am just so grateful to be on the other side.  On the 7th, I passed the one year mark of my first ultrasound with Tanner.  I took that little picture out and I just held my baby and cried.  I was 11 weeks pregnant, and I kept my eyes closed until I heard the heartbeat.  He was just a little brand-new being, a little snippet of hope, a year ago and now here I am with a roly-poly little 6-month old in my arms snoring. That just blows me away, you guys. 

I wish the stork would deliver one annually. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

In Case You Thought I Was a Normal Mother...

My 5.5 month old sleeps with an apnea monitor.  Not because he was premature.  Not because he needs it.  Because I need it.  A doctor did not order this.  I alternate usage between the Snuza and the Angelcare monitors, and I CANNOT sleep if I can't hear the beep of his breathing movements.  It can't be set to silent.  I need the beep. 

I also freak out if anyone tries to let him nap on a surface that isn't firm.  I let him have a binky because there is some evidence that it COULD potentially help prevent SIDS.  I would never, ever co-sleep, but his crib is in our room.  I use a video monitor during the day when needed. 

I don't know if this is normal behavior for someone who has never lost a baby?  I feel like it's within normal bounds for my history, at least.  I thought all moms lived in fear of SIDS and apnea.  The T-Man loves to sleep on his belly, too, which only serves to increase my anxiety.  And yes, I know that once they can turn themselves onto their belly it is ok to leave them there to sleep. I still turn him back onto his side or back every chance I get.  Since Jerry isn't one to say much about my baby neuroses, I was surprised when my aunt seemed shocked by my level of paranoia at a recent family gathering.  She seemed to think it was ludacris that I would use a sleep monitor when it came up in conversation.

So I'm wondering...Am I taking it too far?  I do lots of other non-neurotic mom stuff, I swear:  I let him get passed around at family gatherings (and I have a huge extended family); I frequently clean his binky off with my mouth; and if he scoots off his blanket on the living room floor I let him stay on the bare floor for awhile.  Oh, and he frequently naps without the monitors if I am close by.  Totally laid back right?  My concern is that I might not realize if I am overprotective to the point that it is interfering with my children's lives. 

When Roo was an infant I had trouble sleeping even though she slept through the night by the time she was discharged from the hospital.  I woke up constantly to check her breathing.  So with The T-Man I figured--why not?  It doesn't seem to bother him or interfere with his rest.  And it allows me to rest.  I refused to defend my choice to my aunt at the family gathering on principle (you know, the mind-your-own-business, keep-nosy-family-members-at-bay principle).

On a similarly over-protective note, Roo started Kindergarten a few weeks ago (so cute!), and I am realizing that I have waaaaay overprotected her.  I was the ONLY mother still walking her daughter to the morning line-up spot by the second day of school (and no, this didn't make me stop walking her).  Ditto for picking her up after school.  She has yet to ride the school bus.  

See?  I have issues.