Thursday, November 10, 2005
My little man has begun displaying behaviors associated with acid reflux. By "behaviors" I mean that he has a couple bradys near the end or just after a feeding. He is at 8 cc/3 hrs now so it's a lot for his little tummy to take. I have been a wreck all day as a result. All of the nurses assured me it was nothing and in fact, many of the bradys didn't even make it to his book because he self corrected so quickly that it "doesn't count" as the real thing. Still scares the bejeezus out of me (is that a midwestern thing? Getting the bejeezus scared out of you? Or is it more national/global?). Mr. W even asked the doctors during evening rounds and they assured us that it is all quite normal and that he is alright. He is alert, his behavior isn't altered by any of it, he shows no signs of distress, and today he gained 45 grams putting his weight at 1080! We're creeping ever closer to his birth weight of 1210 grams! I think the day that happens I'll bring in a cake and have a little party of relief in the NICU.
I did have a rather bad start to my day. Having nothing whatsoever to do with the lowercase. I got in as rounds were happening in my pod, but it was my team so it was just a matter of time until I got called back for my son. It ended up being even sooner than I had expected, so I didn't get to scrub on my way in. (The results: he's doing great, keep going with the current protocol)
I then had to go back into the scrub room, wash my hands/arms for three minutes (fyi, you will get soap burns from the caustic surgical scrub if you do this multiple times a day. I now have been instructed by the nurses to skip that and use the purell on the wall in my pod for several days to give the welted, bleeding burns on my arms time to heal). Once that was done, I sat on the couch in the scrub room and waited to be called back in.
A woman and her daughter walked in (I will not go into any more description than to say she was extremely ghetto). The little girl appeared to be 5 or 6 years old. The woman told her to sit on the couch beside the lady and then said "You gon' be here a while?"
"Yes, until they're done with rounds and I can get back in to sit with my son."
"You'll watch her for m?"
"Um...ok, but I'll be going in as soon as they tell me I can."
"You just had a baby?"
"There's some serious mess goin' on in this place. They gon' try to take ever'body's babies away. They try to take my boy. They gon' try to take yours. They just ain't no good here. These doctors and nurses....(Miss W tuned out for several minutes)...you know?"
"Um...they've been really great with my son. I haven't had any cause to think ill of anyone here."
"You just wait."
And then the little girl, "They're gonna kill your baby."
"No. No, they're not. They're helping him get healthy enough to come home with me."
Followed by mom's, "If you're lucky. They gon' try to take ever'body's babies away."
The mother goes in to her son's room -- he is not in a pod, but in an isolation room. He looks to be about 3 months old as I have seen him being held by several nurses. His hair is...odd....it has strange bald patches in the middle of his mass of unruly tight curls. It does not appear that these patches are as a result of something medically required. There are no tubes or wires anywhere near his head. I begin talking to the little girl, who at 9:00 am is opening a blow pop and sifting through a large bag of candy.
The little girl tells me that the hospital "done sent people to look at our house. But our house is clean! They ain't got no right. Besides, we're movin' soon anyway, so it don't matter what this house looks like. We won't be there too long."
I couldn't take any more of that, so I changed the subject.
"What grade at you in?"
"..." (accopanied by a blank stare)
"Are you in kindergarten or first grade?"
"I go to kindergarten."
"Do you go in the afternoon?"
"Or do you go all day?"
"I go all day."
"But not today?"
"No, I'm not going today. I might go back Tuesday."
"..." (now I'm the one with the blank stare)
I then changed the subject to ask about the candy and her favorite kind of blow pop. At that point, her mother came back out and my son's nurse came to tell me that it was clear for me to come back again. I said good bye to the little girl and walked inside.
As we walked in to my pod, I looked at my nurse and said, "You know, the daughter's cute, but that mom....well, I'll be nice...she's a piece of work." My nurse looked at me and said, "You don't know the half of it."
I am haunted by that little girl's words. There are so many things I wish I could have said, but I value my life more than that. The mother was easily 3 times my size and I don't think she's above extreme violence (I've seen security guards standing around the doors of th NICU when she's around; when she isn't, which is most of the time, they are never there). The things I wanted to say though?
"Um...I don't think they try to take away everyone's babies...just the babies of women who leave their kindergarteners in the care of complete strangers. Sure, I look nice, but you have no proof that I am."
"Maybe they have a problem with parents who think it's appropriate for their child to be out of school on a Thursday and who 'might' send them back on Tuesday."
"Well, if your daughter's breakfast is any indication of the way you care for your young children, maybe they're right to try to take away your baby."
"You know, bitch, you don't deserve that little boy in the other room and you don't deserve this little girl either. If you have any idea how much so many women who want what you have have had to go through, you'd shut the fuck up, get yourself in order and actually care for these children the way they deserve to be cared for you worthless piece of shit."
That experience alone tainted what could have been an otherwise peaceful day. It just ruined my mood right from the beginning. Still, being with my son, holding him in my arms while he took his feeds...it was the best feeling in the world. One that I just can't get enough of. He is so absolutely perfect. I love everything about him -- including what appears to be a tiny birthmark shaped like a rubber ducky on one of his hips. It's possible that it will fade, but damn it's cute!
I won't be posting much or checking mail for about the next week. My parents will be arriving around noon tomorrow and staying with me until Sunday. On Sunday evening or early Sunday morning, my grandparents will arriveand will be staying with us until Wednesday. I promise to try to post at least once in that time, but I can't guarantee anything.
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