Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Support

I woke up this morning feeling a little off.  I just started my second week of c-section recovery, and boy do I wish I could remember how I felt from day to day with the last two.  Some days it's exhaustion, some days it's pain from my insides doing good work to heal, and some days, like today, I think it's more the emotional and hormonal outpouring that's part of having a baby.  At any rate, it's like I woke up this morning with one eye trained on myself, suspecting I might feel weepy for no reason.  I took a refreshing shower, and I didn't actually cry until my old friend arrived, having driven far to visit me. He's the kind of old friend who is such a good listener and kindred spirit that I felt a huge rush of relief when I saw him.  He was just what I needed today, and I think the nurses would agree, so was some fresh air.  We walked and talked and marveled at what a lovely, busy city Boston is.  And talked some more.

Today's challenge was that a little blood clot formed in Tootsie's PICC line.  The clot was mentioned at rounds, and the solution offered was to attempt to flush the line.  Which didn't work.  The next attempt would be insertion of a solution to dissolve the clot--two tries.  I wasn't particularly anxious about this plot twist, trusting the nurses and feeling confident it would work out.  But the first attempt didn't dissolve the clot.  "Think positive thoughts!" our nurse said before the last effort.  The celebration afterward, and the fact that other nurses on the floor joined the high fives, gave away that they were more worried than I was.  We don't have the clot to be concerned about, anyway.  Some kind of crisis averted, I don't need to know which kind.

A physical therapist came to visit Tootsie and watched her kick herself out of her swaddle and into a new corner of the isolette.  She prescribed a starfish, a beanbag shaped like the marine animal, which is draped over her legs and prevents her from coming loose and therefore overstimulated.  I'm learning that preemie babies need a lot of quiet downtime for growing and brain development, which makes sense when you consider that where she should really be is firmly ensconced in the womb, warm and quiet and safe.



The occupational therapist taught me today that many forms of touch we, and children, find soothing--gentle patting, soft circular caresses on the head or back--can actually be noxious to a preterm baby. I watched as she demonstrated "intentional touch" as Tootsie's arms and legs flailed about in her isolette.  She placed one still, firm hand on our baby's head, and one on her legs.  Suddenly, Tootsie became  quiet and watchful.  And she remained calm after the OT released her hands.

A social worker who visited (and entertained) me while I was waiting upstairs came by in the evening to invite me to a parent support group meeting happening at the end of the hall.  I left my friend to watch over Tootsie and went to check out the meeting.  There was one other mother there, a woman I'd seen often in the Family Waiting Area and who I knew was also spending every night.

 I think I'm a big fan of support groups.  I've had similar experiences in my school's Parents' Book Club:  I walk away with more wisdom, more compassion and empathy, and most importantly,feeling more normal.  Tonight was no exception.  My new friend's story was heart-wrenching, and we both found opportunities to reassure each other.  She invited me in to see her baby, apparently ready to go home in two days.  What a gorgeous little girl.

I've had a few teary calls from our girls, having a wonderful time with cousins but missing their mom and dad.  It's going to be a wonderful reunion (and introduction) this weekend, and I'm looking forward to spending the night with them, snuggling.  I'm so appreciative of my brother and sister-in-law, who've escorted them to and from Boston, and enriched their summer.

Speaking of support, thank you for your well wishes, gifts, encouragement, and offers to help.  We come from quite a village, with satellites all over, including Africa!   Love abounds; we feel it.
I'm going to try and sleep now, at least half as deeply as my little roommate.

1 comment:

motherhoodtales said...

“...might be weepy for no reason.” There it is again. Your beautiful optimism. No doubt in the flurry of “what ifs” you’ve encountered, you’re psyche has been playing bumper cars with trauma. I vote let it out and often as you need. Cry, baby, cry. So glad you have your friend there with you. Keep touching and surrounding yourself with support. Thinking of you and sending my love.