As a quick recap of my previous post, (found here www.awonderfulyarn.com/blog/getting-the-bad-and-the-ugly-out-of-the-way), our little twins spent 110 in the NICU. They were born at 24 weeks, 6 days. Our full Caring Bridge story is here www.caringbridge.org/visit/samandemharris if you'd like all the details. Last post I dived feet first into the Bad and the Ugly. Now it's time for brighter things: The Good, The Bad(asses), and the Ugly (Ducklings.) Starting with the good, because the good is first in the saying The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!
The people. Period. Hands down the single best "Good" of the NICU. I have never med a more dedicated, caring, kind-hearted group of people. They worked long hours, staying past shift times to help you through, and they knew everything! Everything about my babies, everything about the NICU, and everything about how to find the good in a situation that could leave you curled up in a ball sucking your thumb.
The nurses were our lifelines, the doctors were our anchors. Being in those occupations are as much about taking care of the parents as it is taking care of the babies. Maybe more so. They wrote on our hospital buckets little sayings like "Cuddle Blankets, "Mom's Pump Parts" and "Rub a Dub Tub", as we settled into a routine, we got to know the nurses even more. You couldn't help getting to know them. I talked to them more than my husband most days. We had conversations of all sorts and lengths and depths. We laughed, we cried, we were grossed out by the internet, and we were entertained by simple things like babies kicking.
Time is different in the NICU. Everything is clean and sterile. There are protocols and procedures. Everything is weighed and measured and tracked, and yet you are in suspended animation as the little pink things grow in their warm little boxes.
The first time they got to come out, though, that was definitely a good. They laid Emily on my chest, which I swear was going to burst and get explody bits all over. The nurses handled her like pizza dough, tossing her around like nothing. I never thought I would get to that point. As far as I was concerned she was made of sugar and would crumble or melt if I "held her wrong."
None of those things happened, though. She curled into my chest, and snuggled under that blanket, and my whole world was her and me rocking in that chair. For once the chaos of the NICU stopped. It faded away as I held my daughter. All I could see was her, all I could smell was baby head, all I could feel was her little cheek against my chest, all I could taste were the salty tears streaming down my cheeks, and all I could hear were her little sighs and squeaks.
Then she got the hiccups. They shook her poor little body so hard, we shouldn't have laughed, but we did. It was such a big sound coming from such a little body, and we knew it was a sound all her own. She was henceforth and forever dubbed Mommy's Squeaker Monkey.
Sam was actually a little scarier to hold, even though she had not had any surgeries or had any drains for her bowel. That little stinker didn't wanted to be bothered with the work of breathing. We became very good at gently shaking, or stimulating her to remind her that she DID know how to breathe, she COULD do it, and on top of that, she really NEEDED too. I suppose we should have dubbed her a little smurf something, she turned blue so often, but that seemed in poor taste, and she became my little Mantha Bug instead.
So, my girls count as my Bad(asses), although the nurses, as previously mentioned, are a close second for taking both categories. The babies were/are fighters, whose struggles were theirs alone. John and I could only look on, pray, and hold onto them for dear life. They made it through the needle sticks, and the tests, the tubes and the cares. They came out with flying colors on the other end, and they are the best thing this life has to offer.
Poor little things, though. For the first few months, they were so ugly. They looked like little alien beings with big eyes and heads and these scrawny little bodies. My coworker thought I was awful for saying it out loud, but it was the truth. What she didn't understand was that just because I said they were little aliens didn't mean I loved them less. It actually meant I loved them more- just as they were. They were (and are) my special Squeaker Monkey, and my Mantha Bug. They quickly grew into the most adorable babies, then toddlers, then kindergartners, and now first graders that you ever saw in your life. (No bias, really!) They are my own little Ugly (Ducklings), and I am the luckiest momma there is to be the mom of two (now three) little blessings.
So there you have it, the Good, the Bad(asses), and the Ugly (Ducklings). All of it is, and was, certainly an adventure. It has taken time, but I am able to look back and see the positive people, learning, and care we had in our lives.
Eclectic crochet fanatic & designer. Mpls, Sci Fi, God, JRTs, girls-6,6,3 & hubs=love. firstname.lastname@example.org