Posts Tagged ‘NICU’

Breast friends- Baby, can you get enough?

BREAST FRIENDS. 

It’s been ages since I have written, and I am sorry. I’ve been meaning to write…but it’s been challenging just to get rest and food. I’m running on fumes, but trying to pretend I have a full tank.

I decided to try to breastfeed Baby Jacob for as long as I can. I gave myself a mini-goal of six months, after which I will reacess and see if I can get him to a year. He went in to the NICU when he was born and my supply has never caught up to his demand. I have spoken to doctors and lactation consultants and tried to catch up with him, but I’ve finally resigned myself to being his supplemental food source, rather than his exclusive or primary one.

After all the ego hits of IVF, hospital bedrest and the big stamp of “advanced maternal age,” not making enough milk for my  baby is up there on the ego smackdown. But here’s how I look at it. At least I can offer him quality, rather than quantity. Sure, I am still trying like hell to catch up, but if I can get him to 5-6 months, at least he’s had a constant supply of mother’s milk. And rather than feeling guilty for making less than I would hope to, I treasure the times that we do get to spend together when I feed him. He’s still my little miracle.

I have a dear friend at work who had her second baby girl a few weeks after Jacob. She is a lovely woman, full of vigor and zing. Every time I see her and ask about her kids, she tells my how much milk she’s producing in each pumping (8-10 oz each time!!!). I know she doesn’t mean anything by it, but it reminds me of a guy who brags about penis size, or how many girls he bedded last week. Part of me is filled with envy when I hear her reports, but I try to take it back to center and remember how lucky I am for having a healthy, gorgeous son, a great job, shelter, family, and a hubby who loves me. Milk shmilk! It’s all relative.

 

THE SUNDRESS GIRLS. 

There is always going to be someone who seems to have something you want. When I was on hospital bedrest (for six weeks!) they would wheel me on a gurney down to a daily non-stress test. They’d take me through the part of the hospital that was bustling with out-patient testing. It’s hard enough to be wheeled around in a wheelchair- but being pushed on a BED takes it to a whole other level! Once inside the testing area they would park me in the middle of the hallway. After a while I learned to bring something with me to distract myself, like a book or my blackberry, something that I could look at to avoid the glances of pregnant women who were visiting the hospital for a quick test before returning to the world outside the berm. Since I was not allowed outside, I could mark the passage of time (and weather) by their attire. June and July were “sundress time” in Boston and all the pretty ladies seem to sachet past with their florals and batiks mocking me. When they would look my way I would smile. I tried to wish them well with my eyes. “Don’t worry, I’m not contageous” I thought to myself. Most women, however, would do everything they could NOT to make eye contact, as if my baby and I had some disasterous affliction, and locking eyes would somehow curse them. I know that fear, I used to have a twinge of it every time I heard of a friend on bed rest. “Oh how awful,” I’d think. But here I was, in the hospital for six weeks. On my back. Immobile… At least I was smiling.

As much as I resented the sundress girls, with there billowy dresses and protruding bumps, I knew there was a long chain that linked us together. The grass is always greener somewhere else. What I needed to remember was that we ALL are of great value and beauty. We all MATTER. There is always going to be someone who has something you want. You can spend time consuming yourself with envy and grief, or you can treasure what you do have, and hope for what you want. I try to remember this. 

 

ACTS OF GRACE

It was the founder of Acts of Grace Foundation who send me a small care package while I was on hospital bed rest. She and I will never meet, but her kindness touched me deeply. In honor of one of her twins, Grace, who passed away, I will pay it forward this holiday. I will be making small care packages for the women on bedrest at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. My friends are coming over to help me, and it will also be a great closing of a chapter for me. I will never forget how much I have grown this year, and hope to channel some of that experience into something meaningful for others. (Acts of Grace foundation….http://www.actsofgracefoundation.com/5.html)

WISHING YOU JOY…..

Leave a comment and make a wish for the next person who reads it….

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Club Bedd- Acts of Grace

Acts of Grace Foundation

It’s hard to believe that I have been here five weeks. Baby Jacob is now 33 weeks cookin’. Only six more days until we reach the milestone I did not think possible. I can’t explain what has helped us get through this. It was such a hard journey. I believe that we are blessed with an amazing support system and a deep sense of faith. My husband has always been one to help me navigate even the darkest moments. Our exceptional nurses, medical team, family and friends have really offered tremendous support. I have also really enjoyed speaking to the lady Rabbi, who is part of the chaplaincy at the hospital, as well as the social workers trained in dealing with these issues.

And all your blog comments and replies that you have left on my posts have ben wonderful. Thank your for sharing your stories and pep talks!

When I first got here, I thought the best way to get through this was to make use of my time. I surrounded myself with DVD’s, colored pencils, scrapbook crafts and markers. I thought that perhaps I should try to “add on to myself” while incarcerated. Learn a new language, or explore books on tape. But, this is really not about my journey, but Jacob’s. My job at this moment is to be an outstanding incubator and advocate for someone who cannot speak for himself. My hope is that he is in his watery bliss, relaxing and kicking away, with no understanding of this risky outer world.

I have moved from a focus on the self, to the couple, and now to the family. 

The next few months will be all about him. Thereafter, he will remain a primary focus of our motivations and deeds . I think what I have learned from this journey, apart from the benefits of  a good night’s sleep, is that love offers great healing power. I have watched myself “grow up” in this bed.

I see the other women on this high-risk floor and try to do what I can to pass a little good energy around. We cannot leave our rooms, except to go downstairs for testing, so we rarely have a chance to meet. When our gurney’s pass each other on the way to the lab, we grab each other’s hands and say “Good luck!!!!” or “Hang in there!!!”. I think this does wonders for us.

And speaking of WONDER , I wanted to let you know about an organization that does wonders for women on bed rest. It is called Acts of Grace Foundation. I believe that the founder can express her heartfelt motivation better than I can, so with permission, I share her story here. Please feel free to reach out to them if they move you. It’s amazing how small things make such a huge difference….

ACTS OF GRACE

WHO WE ARE

Acts of Grace Foundation is here to serve moms on ante partum units in hospitals.  We serve moms through small, simple acts. These simple acts consist of a floral deliveries, crafts to create, providing toiletry items, goody bags, interaction with other high-risk moms through activity nights, gas cards and meal vouchers to families.  Our hope is to make these moms more comfortable and ease the confinement during their hospital stay by providing them with these simple acts of grace.

Pregnancy is known to be a miraculous journey in a woman’s life.  During this period, one will experience joy and hope when planning for a new life.  Not every woman experiences a “normal” pregnancy.  Some women and their families experience complications severe enough to place them on hospital bed rest.  In certain situations, hospital bedrest can be ordered for the duration of the pregnancy.  The journey now becomes one of disbelief as a mom deals with days, weeks, sometimes months of confinement in a hospital room.  In addition to common new-mom anticipation, a mom must also learn to deal with the fears associated with a complicated pregnancy.  These fears can possibly consist of transferring to a hospital away from her support network, assignment of a new doctor, a preterm infant, a very ill newborn and  the risk of the mom’s own health.  A mom and her family may also have to learn to cope with financial strain, the loss of employment, care for her other children, new medications along with side effects and various other stresses of daily living.

GRACE

Joseff and Marlena Diedrich founded Acts of Grace in November of 2007.  The foundation was inspired after the loss of their daughter, Grace.  The Diedrich Family experienced what many experience during pregnancy: hospital bedrest.  Marlena shares a few thoughts of their experience and inspiration below;

In March of 2007 we found out we were having twins.  We were extremely excited and proud, we told anyone we met and everyone we knew!  We spent the next months preparing for the arrival of our two girls.Our due date of October 17, 2007 could not come soon enough!  The pregnancy was going great and I was enjoying every moment of our journey. The girls were developing on target and I was honored to be able to carry our two baby girls.  The morning of August 13, 2007 (30 weeks gestation) I called my doctor due to some concerns of pre term labor.  We were told to meet our doctor on the labor and delivery floor of Sky Ridge Medical Center.  Shortly after our arrival, I was told I was in labor due to complications with our Baby Grace.  We were advised to spend the duration of the pregnancy in the hospital on bed rest to receive a number of IV/oral medications  and for monitoring of our girls.  August 17, I was transferred to Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in anticipation of Grace’s delivery.  I cried all day on that Friday.  I did not want to leave my loving doctor’s care nor did I want to face the reality that I was having a high-risk pregnancy.  I was afraid of being under a different medical group’s care, was fearful of the unknown and was saddened that one of our girls was having life threatening complications.  I thought I was in a nightmare, I could not believe what was happening.  Our first days at P/SL we were visited by a number of specialists advising us of Grace’s poor prognosis and what we could expect at the delivery. The plan was to get me to 36 weeks gestation keeping me on the IV/oral medication to control my labor and continue to assess Grace’s unknown condition through further testing.  This news was overwhelming for us.  We had many fears of the unknown and felt completely isolated.  How could this be happening to us?  After a few days of attending the pool at P/SL, I realized there were other women in similar situations and realized how therapeutic it was to interact with them.   I also realized many of the women admitted to P/SL were completely alone.     

On September 27, 2007 (37 weeks gestation) our two beautiful daughters were delivered.  Grace arrived into this world with no signs of life, we were able to bring her sister home with us.  Weeks after being back home, I could not stop thinking about my time in the hospital.  I also could not stop thinking about the other high risk women with their various situations.  I felt that there was a strong need to reach out to pregnant women on hospital bedrest in the community.

We started providing services in April 2008 and look forward to expanding those services to other communities.

http://www.actsofgracefoundation.com/5.html

Watch our video

http://www.vimeo.com/6187727

Greetings from Club Bedd- Week 30

Greetings all!

I have been in bed rest at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for over 2 weeks. It’s been an experience like nothing I would have imagined. We were at the Home Depot when I thought my water broke at 28 weeks. The Bear took me to the Labor + Deliver Center of our hospital and they admitted me for a “few days.” Things have been up and down since then, and the Dr.’s are trying to keep me through week 34, when they plan on delivering the baby. We are doing well, and Baby Jake’s vitals are wonderful. It’s just hard as heck to be here. 

I feel like a lion chained to a bed.

I’m trying not to get morose, or harbor any undue self-pity. I am in great hands and feel extremely safe here. I am just grieving that what I thought would be our birth story will now be something remarkably different.

No matter when Baby Jake will be be born (week 34 or prior) he will most likely spend the beginning of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I will not be able to hold him for a few days. He will not be able to nurse, but will get my milk from a feeding tube. I can’t write anymore because it’s too hard right now.

If IVF wasn’t challenging enough, this brings pregnancy to a whole new level. I love this baby more than anything, and we will be strong for him. I just need to take it one day at a time.

Our families have been there for us, day in and day out. Our friends have visited and brought lasagna and sparkling ciders and exotic flowers. They have loaned me “girl power” figurines to remind me  to keep going. My best friend even flew up from NYC for a night to stay with me. I feel that we have been exceedingly blessed with support. I just need to hold on.

I’ve cancelled my baby shower. I don’t have “wheelchair privileges” and don’t want to have it in a bed. Plus, baby Jake will be at least a week old, when the original shower date comes, and will will be spending most of our time with him in the NICU. We have decided to have a welcome party for him insted, a few months after he is home.

I am trying to pretend I am at an exclusive luxury spa- Club Bedd. I am trying to transport myself to a place of peace and calm. 

The Bear has been here with me through this. Sleeping on a muppet sized bed the first night, and bringing me “chick flicks” for date night. He’s doing better with it now. But I think it’s been harder for him than for me. I have a job- INCUBATING. But he just feels helpless. He’s eating a lot of junk food, but trying to keep his humor up.

Please keep Baby Jake in your thoughts, and prayers. The notes you have left on this site have really meant a lot to us. THANK YOU.