Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lahna's Life Lessons: Living Your Left Breast Life

Hi, My name is Lahna and I am 15 weeks old today. I have some life lessons that I'll be sharing with you grownups on mommy's blog.

Today's lesson: Living your left breast life

Background: 
Mommy's left breast is a super producer of milk. It gives about 4x more than mommy's right breast. It's the only thing I want in life. Sometimes she gives me the right breast. Sometimes she changes my diaper. Sometimes she lets me play on a floormat, but none of those things are my end goal. I can speak definitively about meeting this goal because EVERY day, 6-8 times a day (depending on how hungry I am), I get the left breast. 

Three tips:

1. Comparison does not lead to happiness - I have a sister named Joy. We were born on the same day, but I'm older by 12 minutes. I think we're supposed to get the same amount of time feasting on the left breast, but I don't know. I can't concern myself with how much milk another person is getting. My main concern remains: is my tummy full, are my cheeks and thighs chunky enough, can I outgrow all these clothes I have after only one wear? Sometimes, in order to get what you want, you need to focus on YOUR food and not the food of others. There's enough milk to go around, so we can all eat.

2. Do it with gusto - Sometimes when I want the left breast, mommy wants me to talk to grandma on Tango. Or watch TV in her lap (don't tell daddy she let me watch TV). Sometimes she just wants to snuggle with me. And that would be ok IF she wasn't in possession of her left breast. So what "I" do is arch my back, scream to the high heavens and try to head butt mommy until she plops out her left breast. Head butting is not about physical pain - I'm really going for the left breast and as baby, my aim is slightly off. But mommy will reward my effort. If I had chosen to just turn my head slightly towards the left breast or whimpered under my breath mommy might not have known I meant business. She might have tried to play a bit longer or accomplish something productive (that's what grownups do all day. Always a to-do list with them. That's too much.). When going after your goal, it's important for you to outline your expectations: loudly, clearly and then put all of your might into reaching your goal. That's how you get what you want!

3. Enjoy your delays - Sometimes I wake up and Joy is on the left breast by herself. Or mommy has to feed us at the same time, so Joy gets the left and I get the right. I suck the life out of the right breast and when there is nothing left, I kick and scratch mommy until Joy is done. Then mommy switches me to the left breast. GOAL ACHIEVED. Now, I could have just refused the right breast. But I CHOSE to get everything that was coming to me, the meager offerings of the right breast included. I'm only going to spend a few more months as a nursing infant, so I want to to enjoy every single moment as I work towards my goal. So if you're in a right breast moment (a delay), it doesn't mean you're being denied. Take some time to enjoy the benefits of a delay, then get right back to the goal. 

Any questions, send them through my servant, her name is Mommy. I'm going to go take my afternoon nap.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Black Lives Matter - A Communication Problem

As a PR pro, how I view things is often through my lens of communication. I was trying to figure out why so many non-blacks take offense to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Black people say what we mean. In our culture, we are usually encouraged to confront our issues, keep it real, speak up for ourselves. These are things that we just find normal and natural.

It shows up in comedy. Black comedy is usually laced with pearl-clutching profanity and extremely vulgar. Folks are like: if you gone say it, say it. Non-black comedy is a bit more subtle. Folks will chuckle and that's enough. Black people need to be wowed. We need to be bowed over in laughter, crying real tears for us to say someone is funny. Those little Comedy Central chuckles don't quite curl over for us.

It has also showed up for me in the workplace. I was called in to be reprimanded for something and they said it so nicely, so oddly, that I didn't know I was in trouble. Seriously, they said something about wanting me to step up and take a bigger leadership role on the team vs. saying "your current performance is not up to par." I know now to listen to for coded language, but at the time, I was really sideswiped when they came to me a SECOND time and said "we've been talking to you about your performance." My what? WHEN?

So then we have the Black Lives Matter movement, whose job is to assert that Black Lives Matter, so that police will stop killing us. Seriously, simple as day. If you believe that Black Lives Matter, you too, should be a part of the movement. But white people think we mean something other than Black Lives Matter. They think we mean "harm police officers" or "disrespect police officers" or, God forbid, "Black people are more important than white people." We don't mean ANY of that.

But white people are used to be subtle. So they probably wanted us to say something like "Consider each life precious" in order to HINT at the fact that cops should STOP killing black people.

NO!

Take the term to mean literally what it means. If you disagree with that you are a racist. If you are a racist, what you want to happen is already happening, so why are you even in the conversation? If you are NOT a racist, you're dumb as hell for thinking that one person or group of people asserting their worth is an attack on another person or another group of people.

I wonder if the slogan was Gay Lives Matter to stop violence against gays, how many people would be mad. Or if it was Women's Lives Matter to stop domestic violence, how many men would say "This is a full on attack on men. They are a group dedicated to the killing of men."

But yes, assuming no one is racist, biased or mal-intentioned, this is simply a communication problem from Black Americans, an American-subculture and White Americans, America's mainstream. If mainstream culture took the time to recognize that subcultures exist and have different experiences, we wouldn't even be talking about this. Surely, you must know that your experience does not represent EVERY experience. Surely, empathy is not dead. Surely, you don't think hundreds of thousands of people are making this stuff up.

Surely.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Babies Do the Cutest Things

The stages of baby development happen so fast. As much as I can, I'm going to write down little things they do, so I can re-read it later and remember all the things. Here are a few.

They both took their first train ride on July 18th. 

Joy loved it. She almost got whiplash, looking around from side to side every time a train went by. She was staring at all of the people. She also fell asleep in her Baby Bjorn. Movement does that to babies every time.

Lahna did not like it at all. She would fall asleep from the movement and then every time the train started back up again, she'd cry. She does not like the noise. She acts the same way when her dad runs the nutribullet. No matter where she is in the apartment, she starts to scream. We have to show her: "See, it's daddy. It's just a smoothie, everything's ok." She still doesn't care and will holler until it goes off. I hate seeing her terrified like that.

We took them to my job to show off. I had to change them in a conference room and Lahna HATED the flourescent lighting when she was flat on the conference table. My poor baby is still traumatized by her hospital stay.


Joy is baby babbling. YOU GUYS!!! IT IS SO CUTE!!!! It's especially endearing in the morning. We don't know if she wants to get out of the crib or if she's content just talking to us (or maybe she's talking to her sister, or maybe she's talking to herself.) So we just pause and listen to her coo and gurgle. I want to bottle up all this goodness and sell it. So sweet!

Lahna isn't talking yet. Or if she is (I seriously can't remember), it isn't for long stretches like Joy.

Joy babbles when adults are talking. She wants to join in. She babbles when she's spit up on herself and/or when she poops and is sitting by herself. So she's in her rock n play and she doesn't need to scream the way she would if she was hungry or ready to get up. She's kind of content in the mess, but not really. She's essentially like "look what I did?" or "Somebody come clean me up." or "I have a surprise for you!"

She also smiles and laughs if she poops, pees or spits up on you while you're changing her. And when I see that initial sly smile, I always say "oh, are you happy to see mommy?" because she has such glee on her face. Then 2 seconds later there's an explosion and then she giggles and looks away. She tricks me every time. Such personality, my youngest. 

They are both hitting and kicking the mobiles hanging from their baby mats. Joy kicks at like a 45 degree angle and Lahna kicks straight out. Lahna is better at grabbing for one of the birds on the mobile. Joy doesn't have AS much hand activity, but she does grasp for the objects. It's super fun to just watch them kick and punch. I get so much joy from it. I could seriously watch them moving around in their little baby ways all day.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Baby Milestones - (July 2016-ish)

  • Lahna stopped putting her middle finger up. I wish I would have taken a photo of this when she used to do it. She was a newborn, probably not even 1 month old, but when she went to sleep she was always flipping the bird. Symbols and gestures aren't positive or negative until you assign meaning to them. I wonder if our reactions to her let her know it was bad and she stopped or if she just found better stuff to do with her little hands. 
  • The girls smiled at each other. This happened late in June. I was nursing them on the Z pillow and it was almost like they were having a staring contest, then they both smiled. They also started touching each other on purpose (vs. inadvertently punching each other because I had them too close to each other). They looked like they were trying to hold each other's hands. So cute!
  • Lahna found her tongue. She chews on it like it's a piece of gum. And she sticks it out and laughs. She plays a game with her dad where they take turns sticking their tongues out at each other. I don't even care that it's bad manners. She like 0. We'll teach her about manners later.
  • Joy found her tongue too! (these things happened about a week apart)  
  • About a week before my mom left (so early July) they both were big enough to fit in the Snuggapuppy Swing. That thing puts babies RIGHT to sleep, but it went to fast for them when they were newborns. Now that they have some weight on them, they like it a lot. 
  • The girls used to have to be completely sleep for us to set them in the Rock N Plays. Now they'll sit in it, kick and coo without crying. They still don't love that set up (they prefer to be sleeping in the rock n plays), but it's nice to have another place to set them .
  • They are growing out of the Boppy Lounger. Their little feet are dangling off the sides. 
  • Joy can still wear 0-3 month clothes, but the 3-6 months are not falling off of her. Lahna is solidly in 3-6 months. 
  • Lahna stopped crying when I take boogers out of her knows. It's like she understands after the process that she will be able to breathe better and she's good with it. She's also a very smart baby. She knows what her surroundings are (or at least she think she knows). When she was in the hospital, any time we set her on a flat surface and a stranger approached her she would scream. This was after a couple of failed IV attempts. She knew (or thought she knew) what the new strangers were coming for. She's the same way when we go in the bathroom. If I sit down on the [closed] toilet with her in my lap, she knows the blue snot sucker is not far behind. And so she used to start crying on site. Now, she doesn't.

So many new things and they're only 3 months.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rookie Moves

As a new mom there are some rookie moves that I have made. They're all really hilarious:

1. Put the babies down without burping them - They will be up in 5-7 minutes, then stay up for another hour because I skipped this crucial step.

2. Left a poopy diaper on the changing table - I forgot my children are 20 inches long and like to karate kick. Now the baby has a poopy booty AND a poopy foot (or two or four).

3. Removed a soiled diaper without putting the other diaper under the baby's bum. Played myself.

4. Fed a baby without a burp cloth in sight - I usually have them strategically placed all over the apartment. However, when someone tries to be helpful and straighten up and/or when it's laundry day, I get caught slipping. Baby juices all over me and the furniture. Damn shame.

5. Not washing pump parts immediately after using them. It's inevitable that the next time I need to pump, it's going to be dirty. And it's going to be a sink full of dirty dishes that I need to wash or put to the side before I wash and sterilize the pump parts. But more often that not, I'm exhausted after pumping and just say "I'll get to that later." and later involves me leaking milk all over the damn place because my pump parts have to be scrubbed down with dried up milk in them. Womp womp.

What funny things have you done with your baby one time that made you form better habits?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Motherhood Feels Like

The girls made three months yesterday!

Side note: I'm not a fan of the word indescribable or the phrase "words can't describe." Perhaps it would make more sense to say words can't evoke the feeling I'm feeling. I happen to think words can describe a lot more than we think.

Anywho.

Motherhood. It is such a new and different feeling than I've ever felt before. I love my babies, but it's not like I love my mother or how I love a romantic partner. It's that intense, but it doesn't feel that way.

It's like I have an organ, two organs are living outside of my body. So when that organ is happy and healthy, I am happy and healthy. And when that organ is in pain or sad, I am in pain or sad. It feels like the cutting of the umbilical cord was symbolic and not physical.

When Lahna was in the hospital, I had to get a visitor's pass to get on the pediatric floor. I found this to be so strange emotionally, because I FELT like "I" was in that hospital bed. I'm like how do I need a visitor's pass to go see myself.

When I am away from them, I long for them, to get back to them, to hug and kiss them and lay with them. It's sort of how I used to long for my bed after a hard day at work. It's not passionate like a lover's longing. And it's not a familial feeling like being homesick and wanting to hug my siblings. It's this entirely new feeling of wanting to be around people I've never met, who can't talk back to me, who can't do anything for me.

It's certainly unconditional. There's nothing they could do that would take it away from me.

One of the surprising things about my love for my girls is that it's NOT intentional. It's not willful. When I'm in a relationship my love is intentional. I'm thinking about ways to express my love and listen to the love language of my partner. When I think about family and friends, my love is intentional, ensuring that I spend enough time with them or reach out to see how they're doing.

My love for my babies isn't like that. It's not something I have to think about or work at, it just is.

And I know the English language limits us with the word love. I know the greek language has four different words for love and I can hear Baptist teachings saying my love for my girls is Agape love, unconditional, like the love of Jesus Christ. But it feels like that AND more.

It's life changing love. It's earth shattering love. If we go with my illustration of organs outside of my body, then I think of my daughters as two organs I grew at 32 years old that now I can't live without. If anything were to happen to either organ it would damage me permanently, deeply, physically and emotionally.

And so now my life, my ENTIRE life, is dedicated to the upkeep of these organs and it doesn't feel as heavy as it did before I had the organs. It feels normal and regular. It feels like it's always been there although it just arrived on April 12th.

I am a mom and my love lives outside of my body now. That's what it feels like to be a mom.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!

I did the dummy yesterday. I got into a black car in New York that did not have a T on the front. Let me explain.

New York is a big city full of crooks and unsavory characters. Everyone takes cabs or public transportation. When you're in midtown, you can hail a yellow cab. In most neighborhoods, you can call and Uber or a Lyft, no problem. When you're in Harlem or the boroughs outside of Manhattan you can hail or call a green cab. This is most like a Chicago suburban cab to me. The yellow cabs will take you to Harlem or the other boroughs, but they are hard to hail. They usually head back to midtown. Finally, if you need a car service in Harlem, you can hail a black car. The difference between and authorized black car and an unauthorized black car is a T on the front of the license plate. T 1X2Y 3Z4. This is a simple enough rule to follow, which I did, until yesterday.

I was late for an appointment and there were no Ubers in sight and Lyft was 6 minutes away. I hailed the black car. The guy actually passed me, then backed up. The front license said "Car Service" and the back license was a NY state license. I figured it had to be legit. I was trippin.

 I get in the car. It's a Lincoln MKX. There's no NY livery driver license. But the guy had magazines in the back and the air conditioning was good. I think everything is fine. I give him the directions. He's going the right way, no problem.

Then he asks how my day was. Weird. NY cabbies/drivers do not talk. Convo went like this:

Driver: So are you having a good day.
Me: Not really, actually. Paypal took some authorized money out of my account, so I've been dealing with that all morning. I just gave birth to twins and my mom's been in New York with me for 3 months and today is her last full day, so I'm kind of sad. This is actually the last time I'll be able to go out by myself for a very long time, so I'm trying to enjoy the day.
Driver: What kind of fun are you trying to have? Like clubs?
Me: Ha! No, no clubs. I mean like cupcakes.
Driver: You're not a cop are you?
Me: Um, no.
Driver: Oh ok, I have to ask before I tell you what kind of fun you could have.
I SHOULD HAVE HOPPED OUT OF THE CAR RIGHT THEN.
Driver: So are the cupcakes big or small?
Me: Have you heard of sprinkles? Seriously delicious. Medium sized cupcakes with lots of icing. The best $4 you'll ever spend...
Him: So do you work?
Me: I sure do.
Him: That must be hard trying to juggle two kids and work.
Me: It really is... where are you from?
Him: Pennsylvania
Me: Oh ok, I didn't hear a NY accent. Whereabout.
Him: Williamsport.
Me: Where is that next to?
Him: He says the city and it's somewhere I recognize, but I don't remember for the purpose of telling this story.Then he says: where are you from:
Me: Chicago... So has the weather in Pennsylvania been as hot as in NYC?
Him: Yep, it's been about the same... Sorry if I freaked you out asking if you were a cop. I had a cop get in here once and think I was soliciting.
Me: Soliciting WHAT?
Him: Exactly.

I had actually giving him the wrong cross street and notice I missed my destination and I'm like oh, you can pull over right here. How much?

He's like whatever's fair. I run out of that cab so quick, then I take the licencse plate down. I don't know what I'm going to do with it. Report it to the cab association or put out an anonymous tip about prostitution and/or sex trafficking.

An episode of Luther where a girl got in a fake cab and was murdered was on my mind while I was in that car. I also was thinking about the movie Taken where they sold that man's daughter into sex slavery. I also saw the mother of the 5 year old in the sundress who was arrested my militarized police in Baton Rouge. When you're a mom, they never say what you do for a living or where you were from or anything else like that. If it's one child, they say "mom of a XX year old." Two or more, they say mom of XX. Because being a mom is a greater responsibility that any career you have. It jumps to the front of the line in the news reports.

And I didn't think about it while I was in the illicit cab, but they JUST played the Jaycee Dugard 20/20. There are some sick mfs in this world and I could have been victim to one of them. I just kept thinking how I had failed my girls my making this poor decision and how I would fight this man tooth and nail to get back to them.

I also don't know why I finished out the cab ride. He offered me water at one point and I just looked at it in the back seat. I was thinking about how it might be drugged or poisoned and I wasn't dealing with it. I was looking at the locks of the door to determine if I could claw them out with my fingers. I decided that I'd rather be shot and have someone hear it than to be quiet because he had a gun and be driven off where no one could find me. I was wondering how he would move fast enough to stop me from dialing 9-1-1 if things went south. I thought about hopping out of the car at a red light. I thought about making a call to tell someone I was on my way where I was going, so he would know people were expecting me.

Most of all, I thought about how women are the more vulnerable sex. If I'm watching a movie or the news or even reading something about rape, molestation, sex trafficking, sex slaves in war, anything like that it makes me queasy. It feels like a helpless cause. How can a woman who is physically weaker, fight off a man? Ever. And in most societies it's either accepted, ignored or in the case of America systemically protected. It is SO hard to prove rape, yet it's so prevalent that police departments have hundreds of untested rape kits. It makes me so uncomfortable that I just have to stop thinking about it in order to keep my peace and my sanity.

I'm writing this post right now because after the girls' 4 a.m. feeding, I couldn't get what COULD have happen off my mind. And it infuriates me, but also makes me feel helpless at the same time.

I believe in the power of prayer. I was praying like you would not believe in the back of the cab. I also alerted my besties as to where I was and what was going on (via GroupMe) and I know they prayed for me too. Just like I believe Lahna's illness was cured by prayer, I also believe the trajectory of what happened to me today was because of prayer.

I cannot control evil, but I can fight it off with the power of God.

I can also make better decisions. I will never get in an unauthorized cab again.

Finally, I'm working on giving myself the power/permission to change course. It was like once I got in that illicit cab, I felt like I needed to finish the ride out. To be fair to this guy in case he wasn't a creep, to get to where I was going, to not have to be in the same predicament (with an Uber 6 minutes away), to not be later than I already was for my appointment. These things all PALE in comparison to my safety and wellbeing. Something about my personality said, you must finish. That something has to be broken. I must give myself permission to break a lease, or leave a city before I was expecting to, or end a date when I don't want to be there anymore, or leave work on my desk because I have more important things to do when I get home, or GET OUT OF A SKETCHY CAB at the EXACT moment that I need to.

I'll be praying about this for myself.

Thanks for reading this long post and please be safe[r than me] in these streets.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Supermom!

Every day that I cut the girls fingernails, I feel like supermom! Not only did I

1. Remember to do it while they were sleeping before whisking them off to bed,
2. I kept them sleep long enough to cut off 10 TEENY TINY baby nails that seem so small when I'm cutting them, but are responsible for all of the tiny cuts and abrasions on their precious faces. Can we just call it baby microdermabrasion? No?

3. I did not injure them in the process (this time)

Supermom right here! 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Grateful for Infants

I know (or have heard) that you have to cherish every moment of motherhood because it goes so fast. Here are the top 10 reasons I love that my babies are still infants, based almost entirely on things that other moms complain about.

10. They can't talk, so they can't sass me.

9. They're immobile, so they can't follow me into the bathroom. It's like a sanctuary in there.

8. They can't talk, so they can't tell me what they will and won't eat.

7. They can't crawl, so they can't hurt themselves, nor tear up nice things in my home.

6. I'm their favorite person. I know they're going to be pre-teens and teens soon and probably won't be able to stand me. AND I know as an adult I'm going to get on their last nerves (it's what moms do), but right now, their faces LIGHT UP when they see me. I sometimes want to leave the house, just to get back and see them see me. They are the best.

5. Their feet don't stink. Nothing on them stinks. They smell like heaven. They can go days without baths and still smell awesome. Their bibs will smell like death, but their little bodies still smell like the sweet soaps and lotions we put on them.

4. I don't have to purchase any extra food. As long as I eat A LOT of calories, then they're well fed. How amazing is that?

3. I don't have to comb their hair yet. Nope, just wash it in the bath and put some coconut oil on it and they're fresh to death. I don't even brush it (their dad brushes it to keep it cute), but I think it's cute messy. It's the best thing ever!

2. Being fat is not frowned upon at this age. We all know fat kids are ca-yute. Maybe not the healthiest. Maybe a talking point for food companies everywhere, but babies... FAT BABIES ARE THE BEST! And my little sweeties have fat cheeks and chunky thighs and I cannot get enough. YAY BABIES!

1. They have a lot of clothes, but they don't take up that much space. A month's worth of onesies only take up a half of a drawer. Can you imagine how many closets we're going to need when these princesses are teens?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What is Life?

172 private preschools in Manhattan (I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as public preschool)
12 take infants under 6 months
7 are close enough to my apt and/or public transportation to consider
tuition ranges from $2340 to $26400 per year PER CHILD

I'm about to go play this $504 million lotto

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New Routine

At some point in my babies short lives, they decided that they didn't want to drink from bottles. This makes my life hard because I have to be with them every minute of every day in the case that they get hungry. This makes any caretakers lives hard because they have to deal with hungry, unhappy babies when I inevitably have to leave the apartment.

So yesterday, exactly one month before I go back to work, we decided to start training them to take the bottle. I stayed in the apartment yesterday while it happened and it took 3 attempts. So they skipped two feedings exhausted and just went back to sleep, then the third time they took the bottle. A few things:

1. I knew exclusively nursing was draining, but I have SO MUCH more energy yesterday. Remember I said I could only do 1 thing a day? Well yesterday I did like 3 things and was not exhausted. Although I felt HORRIBLE listening to them cry for me, I think it will be positive

2. A friend counseled me to leave the house when they need to take a bottle. So now, I'm going ot shower and leave the house every day. This is a precursor to going back to work. It's also helping me tackle my massive to-do list and feel like a regular person.

3. I'm so glad we decided to do this while my mom is still here. Their cries are shrill and heart wrenching. If a nanny or someone was going through this process with me, I would swear they were hurting my babies. AND my mom makes me stick to NOT feeding them until they take the bottle. I was like that's enough, I'm feeding them. And she's like go back in your bedroom, it'll be ok. :(

4. Babies are smart as hell. The routine is the first feeding after 12 p.m. each day is a bottle feed, then they can get back to the breast. We'll increase it to two and eventually three when I go back to work. They usually feed for between 10 minutes and 30 minutes every 1 to 2 hours. (Seriously, they do what they want.) So today, they woke up from a nap at 11:30 and nursed for 60 MINUTES! These babies were storing milk for the afternoon stretch. I can't help but to laugh at it.

5. I have no life. My mom told me to go do something yesterday and I'm like do what? Everything I do revolves around them. I couldn't think of a personal errand to run. Then today, I have a list of things to do outside of the house (the biggest thing on the list is research daycare). I stop in H&M, pass all the grown folks stuff and go directly to the kids section. What can I say, I'm a mom.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Money on My Mind

  • My direct deposit didn't hit at midnight. I was at HR's inbox at 12:01a.m. I'm exaggerating, it was 12:20 a.m. By the time they got in, the money was in my bank account and I look like a crazy new mom. Whatevs. 
  • My promo code expired on my internet service. Between the increased price, the cost of Hulu and Netflix, I might as well be paying for cheap cable. With the limited options on Netflix, I might be hustling backwards with this set-up.
  • I ask people for advice on couponing and they send me advice on EXTREME COUPONING. Fam. I don't have time to be clipping coupons every Sunday. I also don't have space to be stockpiling off brand goods in my home. I want to save money on the groceries I BUY with the brands I LIKE. Does anyone have any tips for how to do that? 
  • I did get about $20 off my total at Target with a mix of coupons from Grocery IQ coupons, cartwheel and Target Redcard. I'm seriously not a couponer, so I was super proud of myself for using a couple of apps to make it happen (instead of spending every waking moment clipping coupons)!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Tips For Surviving a Hospital Stay With Babies

Here are my top 10 ways to survive a hospital day with babies.

10. Be a 2 year old and ask why? If they're going to take urine, blood, put an IV in, not let you feed the child, not let you take the child home, whatevs, understand the WHY or WHY NOT. For me, knowing what they were doing and why helped me to do more pointed Google searches and ask better follow up questions.

9. Get every single health professionals name and write down what they said and when - Every time the doctors change shifts they tell your story to the new docs and it's like the worst game of telephone you ever played. I heard them giving the download on my baby's story and they were just dead wrong a bunch of times. OR Resident A would tell me if XYZ happened, I could go home. Then the attending would come by and say "that's not true, who told you that?" Um, 17 mfs have been by here, I don't know their damn names. They won't catch me slipping again.

8. Ask for the working diagnosis. Again, this just helped me have better Google searches. They started on Day 1 thinking it was something that would require surgery and ended up on Day 5 with a completely different diagnosis. It helped me to know what the risks were for each and what people were ruling out.

7. Ask for possible complications of each test and treatment option. This will give you an opportunity to make more informed decisions.

6. Ask different people the same question, then refer to #9. These mogs are truly just practicing medicine. It doesn't hurt to get different opinions.

5. Get your pediatrician involved. He or she will be a great resource. He or she also has your child's medical history top of mind.

4. Find a way to eat - Fortunately, my boyfriend is a chef and the hospital is across the street from our home, so we took turns going home to cook, shower, tend to Joy or whatever. So many people aren't that fortunate and hospital food is crap. CRAP! You can't be any good to a sick child if you're down on your nutrients, so ask people to bring you healthy food or be about the Grub Hub life, but don't skip meals.

3. Take help - I shared about this experience on Facebook and folks were in my inbox or texts saying: call me if you need to. And I did. And usually when people say "let me know if you need anything." "you've never been in that position before, so you don't know WHAT you need."  So every time someone offered something specific "text me anytime." "Call if you need to." "XXX" I took them up on the offer.

2. Let go of expectations - Every time I expected them to say "Lahna is fine, you can feed her." or "Lahna is fine. Go home." They didn't. Then the one night I was headed to get more clothes to stay 2 more nights, they told us to go home. I couldn't get tied to a timeframe for a positive outcome. I had to just let go in order to find peace.

1. Pray. Pray. Pray. Ultimately, no amount of questions or Google searches are going to change the outcomes. It may change my mental state or make me feel better about the decisions that we are making, but I believe in God and the power or prayer. I believe that prayer helped change the Day 1 she-may-need-surgery diagnosis to the Day 5 we-don't-see-any-problems-on-our-test-go-home diagnosis. If I believed I could change anything without God this experience would have been that much worse and it was truly horrible.

Did I miss anything?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Complicit in Torture

One of the worst things about Lahna's hospital stay is as her mom I felt complicit in her torture. What they do for babies is much the same as what they do for adults in a hospital when they don't know what's wrong.

1. Take urine - As my sweetie pie goes in a diaper, they had to put a catheter in her to get urine. They did this to me sans drugs after my pregnancy and it hurt like hell, so I know she was in even more pain.

2. Put an IV in - If nothing else, you need to be hydrated. In fact, when I had early contractions, it was due to dehydration and they figured this out by putting an IV in me. They poked my child no less than 20 times trying to establish an IV. I know you're thinking "How could you let them do that?" I'm sitting there. She can't keep breast milk down. She's hungry as shit and I KNOW an IV will help her.

Regular nurses tried. The head ER nurse tried. The head pediatric ICU nurse tried. The head doctor in pediatric ICU tried using a sonogram. The head of anesthesiology came down and said he wasn't even going to try because it was too hard. They ASSURED me that all of these people were the BEST of the best. This is the NYC hospital system. I had no idea it would be that hard.

And I had to hold my baby down as they tried and tried and FAILED to get an IV in her system. I felt like, hey, I am you mother and even if it hurts, I know better than you and it'll be over soon. But it was never over and the way that hospitals work, if I had refused care because it was hurting her too bad, my insurance wouldn't have paid for her 5-day, 4-night stay at the hospital. I looked at every possible option. I just felt very helpless.

Next time, I will just say they had a hard time last time and give them a limit. You can try X times, after that, we need to establish another source of nutrients. Period.

3. Take blood. In a perfect situation they will take blood from the same line where the IV was established. Now, go look at #2. So they had to stick her in her wrist to take blood, but she was dehydrated (catch 22), so they couldn't get enough for a test, so then they had to stick her in her foot. My anger, pain, sadness and helplessness had hit what the fuck levels by this time and I was about to choke any health care professional in my path. Still... I couldn't NOT let them take blood. The blood tests were a big part in helping us determine what was wrong with her.

Have you ever had a sick child? Or been hospitalized yourself? Did you feel like a cog in the wheel or hospital processes? I just pray we never had to go through that again.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tea's Must Have Nursery Items

With twins, sharing a nursery with my little ones and limited storage space in a 1BR NYC apartment, I have some very specific needs as a new mom. However, I still needed to create a safe, warm and loving space for my little ones.

Most of my nesting happened after I had the babies. During late night feeding sessions, it became clear what I was missing (a noise machine and dim lights, anyone). I'm happy to say all of the gear in my nursery is affordable, efficient with space and completely functional.

I'm no photo shop guru and polyvore only has clothes, so head to Pinterest to see my top 10 (or more) must-have nursery items.

Be sure to share with any moms making the most of a small living space.

What's your must-have nursery item?