Saturday, February 26, 2011

Due Date

At the end of January, the thing that kept me going was thinking, "surely, by the end of February, Ainsley will be home."  Because the canned answer around here about going home is, "right around their due date."  Not that I've ever asked.  I'm afraid to hear their answer.

Now I don't really know what to fool myself with to get through March.  Because I have no idea when this little drama nugget is going to come  home, but it sure doesn't feel like it's going to be any time soon.

Breathe normally?
No, thanks.  But I appreciate the offer.
 February 24 was my due date for Ainsley and Evelyn.  Actually, it was Olivia's due date, too, except two years earlier.  We all knew that I would never carry the girls to their due date.  We knew they'd be early, and we knew that we'd be in the NICU for some time. 

You expect me to come home in this crap weather?
Winter blows a fatty.  I think I'll wait for spring.
We are past our due date, now.  We've been here longer than I ever imagined if I'm being quite honest.  It seems like we're in a constant holding pattern.  First, it was waiting and watching the PDA.  And then the PDA was repaired and things seemed to look up.  She was breathing fast but not as fast as before, and her sats were great.*

But now, we are in this cul-de-sac of breathing drama that just seems endless.  The past few days, her sats are still OK, but she's working harder to get them there by breathing super fast.  I'm sitting in the NICU right now, watching her head bob up and down as she works for every breath.

I just told the nurses this morning: if she's here in June, they are going to have to get me an adult-sized isolette.

You'd breathe fast too if your mom was asking nurses for adult-sized isolettes.
Or if someone shaved random spots on your head in order to poke you with needles.
Get off my tiny back.
 I went back to work on Thursday.  My eight weeks of paid disability is up, and I could either burn my vacation days and then take unpaid time when Ainsley comes home, or I could go back to work and save my precious month of vacation for when Ainsley comes home.  So, back to work.  It's strange.  It's almost like nothing ever happened. 

If you didn't know what happened, you'd think that I was sitting at home for the past three months stuffing my face full of Taco Bell and getting fat and slovenly while watching sophisticated television.  (Keeping Up With The Kardashians?)  Which, honestly, isn't far off, sadly, and also I don't really care if the meat in a beef supreme chalupa isn't really beef because that shit tastes good.  I may not get to bring two babies home, but I do look like I'm having two food babies. **

Sometimes I like to cover my food babies with my real baby.
I wonder if I could cover my awful hairdo with a baby, too?
Or maybe one of those hats with the crocheted ball on top.
"Hello, volunteer lady.  Do you have a free hat that would cover an adult head?  No?
Well, you're useless."
All of her tests are normal.  We are back to the ever-frustrating, "well, she's just got to get bigger."  I suggested beef supreme chalupas, because they seem to work for me, but apparently they are not healthy for preemies and also cannot fit down an NG tube.  She weighs just under 4 pounds, 8 ounces.  Maybe when she hits 5 pounds we can revisit the chalupa suggestion.

I brought her some of her own clothes.
Looking fah-bulous, dahling.
The NICU, obviously, is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  But some babies don't need as much care as others, so as your baby "gets better" it is moved to rooms with other babies who don't require as intensive care.  We've been down the hall for a while now - with a week revisit up the hall after the PDA ligation. 

But last week, we were moved to the intensive side for staffing reasons.  And also for a much-appreciated reminder of just how far Ainsley has come.  I almost forget sometimes. 

While I was there, a mom fresh from the delivery room came in to see her baby.  You're technically not supposed to know things about the other babies, but it's impossible since you're sardined in the room together.  As soon as her husband wheeled her in she started sobbing.  I'm not a hugger, but I've never wanted to hug someone so much in my whole life.  Because GOD if it isn't fucking hard having a baby in the NICU.  Unless it's happened to you, you just don't understand at all.

Well, she's the least dramatic baby in the intensive rooms.  So there's that!
Today, the nurse asked me about my baby B.  "How's she doing?" I've been waiting for Evelyn's autopsy for a long time.  (Captain Obvious, reporting for duty!)  First, the preliminary report was in...but it was lost.  But hey!  Buck up!  The full report will be done any day now!  Which, I guess any day now = in 3-4 weeks, because I haven't heard anything since the very beginning of February.  I asked about it today, but the doctor who is supposed to get it is out of town, and so I have to wait for her to get back...Tuesday.   So there's that to look forward to?  Or whatever. 

It would be nice (or whatever) to have some information about what happened so that we can stop wondering.

* Sats...Oxygen saturation level.  Should be mid-90's.  If it drops below mid-80's-ish, it's called a desat.  And desat = asshat.  Sats tell us if she is getting enough oxygen/breathing effectively.

**You can really go thoroughly fuck yourself if you want to leave me a rude comment over me complaining about being fat.  That's all I'm going to say about that.

One Year Ago:  Panera's Wi-Fi Loss Prevention Owes Olivia
Two Years Ago:  That's A Real Thing
Three Years Ago:  Hey, It's Cheaper Than Therapy

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Two has had some pretty major significance in our lives this past year.  Two embryos.  Two babies in my belly.  Two girls.  Two days of steroid shots.  Thirty two weeks.  Now, just two daughters instead of three. 

And now?  I have a TWO YEAR OLD!

Yay!  I'm two and got two thousand presents!
We had a pretty huge birthday party for Olivia last weekend.  There were 20 kids and 20+ adults, and we ran out of food but had plenty of fun. 

The Invitations

The Cake of My Wet Dreams

It tasted as good as it looked!

The Decorations
Yeah...I didn't really decorate.
The Birthday Girl

Party at the Step2 Store.
(Yep, that's me, bottom right.  Pretending to be the birthday girl, since she couldn't be bothered to stop and open gifts.)

Some of the guests!

Everyone was running around and having so much fun!
There were a bunch of kids who were blurs in every photograph, including Olivia!

At Age Two, Olivia is soooooo cute and funny.  She talks all.the.time. and definitely has some strong opinions about how things should go.  Today, she went to the pantry to get a snack and said, "Open now, pweeze."  And sometimes, when she wants something really bad, her please is so intense that she makes fists and her little face turns red while she says please. 

Also?  When she says juice?  It sounds like she's saying douche.  "Douche, Pweeze."
When she needs a diaper change, she makes a nasty face and says "poopy stinky."  And then when you're done changing her diaper, she says, "all done poopies." 

She knows the entire alphabet, and I'm not positive but I think she can count to 10. 

When we pull into the garage, she throws both hands in the air and screams "HOME!"  When you ask her if she wants something, instead of saying yes, she says sure.  But it sounds like shore.  Shoooore!

We've gone to so many parties lately that she has started to ask for cake on a regular basis.  When we had her cake on the counter the night before her birthday party, she kept pointing at it and saying, "party time now!"

Cupcakes are acceptable in lieu of actual cake.
Any words ending in "ing" are said ending in "in."  Stackin, dancin, comin, runnin.

She talks about her plans or what happened during the day.  I told her we were going to my friend Michelle's house, and she said to me, "Aidan, Addison, bounce house."  I'm like, OK then.  You've got your evening planned!

Pretty nice little Monday with her BFF Addison and her boyfriend Aidan.

The Alphabet
Mickey Mouse/Minnie Mouse
Special Agent OSO
Word World
Olivia Books

Diaper Changes
Food that isn't carbs

Our new couch does this to her hair.

She hasn't met her (very teeny tiny) little sister yet, but we show her pictures every day.  At night, when we go to bed and it's "Stoy time" we read her a Big Sister book, and she loves it.  I'm sure she will love Ainsley. 

I'm going back to work this week, and I can't imagine how it will be when I can't see her all the time like I do now.  I will miss her silly ass. 

I feel like I should be able to describe her better and write something better for her to celebrate the second year of her life. Something that she might read some day and know that she was the brightest part of all my days.  And I feel guilty that my mind is so scattered from trying to just function that I can't pull something together. 

But I spend all my free moments with her, running and playing and laughing and just generally being madly in love with my little Olivia.  I think that will suffice.


Two Years Ago:  Olivia Audrey Knepper

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Biggest reason she needs to get off the vent.

Because every time someone asks me how Ainsley is doing, I have to say, "she's still on the vent, and they are trying to wean her off." 

It totally sounds like I'm saying, "she's still on the vent, and they are trying to wiener off."

And then I they want to laugh because I kind of said wiener?  Should I point it out?  Or is this person not into wiener jokes...?

I can't handle this kind of stress.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sneaky Woe Spiral

Monday was, like, one of the most ridiculous days ever.* I kept thinking over and over about this blog post on Hyperbole and a Half - The Sneaky Hate Spiral.  Naturally, I have experienced the Sneaky Hate Spiral...a lot.  I don't want to say daily, but close to that.

Anyway, on Monday I experienced a variant of The Sneaky Hate Spiral.  It was similar, but was more of a Sneaky Woe Spiral.

My boobs are hateful, angry bitches.
Mastitis + Thrush + Cracked Nipples + Reynauds = Hateful, angry bitches.

I called my OB and informed them that my boobs are hateful, angry bitches.  So they gave me an antibiotic and told me to suck it up. (Paraphrasing here, slightly.)

Monday morning, Ainsley had surgery.  Heart surgery.  A minor surgery, as far as heart surgeries go, but still.  Surgery.  So it was a stressful morning. 

Right after her PDA Ligation on Monday.
Probably having some really trippy morphine dreams.

Wednesday, two days after her surgery.
Probably having dreams about her upcoming Sumo Wrestling match.
I don't know about you, but looking at this puffy face really reminds me of something...
Hey, hey, hey!  It's Big Fat Steroid Face!

The antibiotic that I got for mastitis got rid of my fever, but did nothing to actually get rid of the infection. My boobs hurt so bad that I couldn't even stand up straight.  I called my OB to let him know that the antibiotic didn't work and to see if I could get something else.   

Oh my hell.  Apparently being allergic to penicillin and having mastitis has the potential to turn into a really big production.  Because my OB was calling and telling me that, since the one antibiotic I tried didn't work?  I needed to go get a PIC line put in to have some sort of superhuman bacteria killer shot directly toward my heart.  Or something slightly less dramatic but still.  How is it possible that there is no other antibiotic in the whole entire world that I can try before I need a PIC antibiotics?

And guess what I did?  I cried.  I bitched.  I complained.  I acted like Olivia when she wants to put her hands in the toilet and I won't let her.   I got all mixed up in the Sneaky Woe Spiral and the PICC talk was the impetus of my descent into complete and utter self-pity woe and despair.  My baby can be in the NICU for forty five days, and have heart surgery, but you want to give me a PIC line?  Well, that I just cannot handle, kind sir.

* le sigh *

So I called a different doctor.   And got a different prescription.  And got some ice cream.  And when I woke up in the morning I felt so much better, like, you know how you feel when you don't think about cutting your right boob off with a dull knife all day? 

I felt that good.

But now it's Friday night, and I'm hanging out in the NICU with one pissed off little neonate.  They tried to wean her off the vent overnight, and she did pretty well for a while.  But then she decided that, meh, breathing is stupid.  So they had to up the vent settings.  She is just miserable over this tube - gagging, writhing, trying to's pretty awful to watch. 

They are going to try to extubate in the morning.  I'm not going to count on anything.  Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised when I come in tomorrow.  We miss being able to hold her!

*Actually, I started this post on Monday.  Then on Tuesday I crossed out Monday and wrote Yesterday.  Then I forgot about it until Thursday but was too lazy to care.  Then I finished it today.**

**FACT: I rule at blogging.

Monday, February 7, 2011

So far, so good.

Ainsley did very well in surgery. She's back in the NICU resting and enjoying her morphine.

Fingers crossed for a boring recovery!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Patent Ductus Arteriosis

Ainsley has this. Every baby has this, actually, but it usually heals shortly after they are born. But since she is a drama queen was early, hers isn't healing.  Everyone is pretty sure that's why she really isn't making any progress.  She breathes way too fast and doesn't get enough oxygen without help from vapotherm.

So, she's going to have surgery.

I'm really nervous for her.  She's so little.  But I'm so glad that we are finally, finally doing something to help her progress.  She started out kicking so much ass, and things have just stayed status quo for a few weeks now.  You can tell it is work for her to breathe.  They say it will be a terrible few days, and then it will be better for her.  I think about them cutting her to get at her tiny little heart and...ugh.  It just has to be OK, ya know?

I don't mean to sell her short.  Ainsley is really an impressive tiny human.  She's nearly doubled her birth weight.   They've increased her feeds several times, and she tolerates them all perfectly.  She is so NOMable, it's borderline insanity. 

She's gone from this:
2 pounds, 3 ounces.
That's Mark's hand.
Her future's so bright, she's gotta wear shades.

To this:
Must stretch, in preparation of hefting around those adorable chins.
No, mom!  This is my bad side!
Stop trying to put that giant ass paci in my  mouth.
I'm looking at you, Nurse.
Oh, you know.  Just chillin before my surgery tomorrow.


One Year Ago:  Shucky Darn?
Two Years Ago:  36 Weeks: Just the Tip
Three Years Ago:Fun With Drug Paraphernalia

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pump, pump, grump.

Oh hey!  I'm not sure you knew that I was moonlighting as a dairy cow.  Did you?  Well, I was.   As in: Not Anymore The End.

I should rename this post Titty Quitter 2.0.

I tried.  Oh...did I try.  Pumpity pump pump; pumpity pump pump.  Up through the night to make the milk.  Moo.  Etc.  I have a freezer full of milk to prove it.  I have a $70/month bill for a hospital grade titty sucker to prove it.  I have all kinds of other proof, too, as follows:

Cracked Nipples
Raynaud's of the Nipple (Seriously.)
Explodey Head

So basically?  I quit.  I can treat all of this and it may or may not come back.  But you know what?  Chicken Butt.  HA!  Also, fuck pumping.  I am clearly lactionally inept.  Neosure it is!

I'm off to stick my breasts into the freezer and then once they are numb I am going to find a drug dealer who can give me lots and lots of drugs because OH MY GOD MILK, I GET IT, YOU'RE THERE, STOP PLZ.  (Kthxbai.)

I can't wait to see what ridiculous thing happens next.  Maybe I'll lose an eye and have to wear a pirate patch?  Seems plausible, what, with my desire to poke my eye out and my lack of self control exhibited most recently by eating an entire container of Nutella in two days.


One Year Ago: She Walks!
Two Years Ago:  Next Pregnancy Will Be Jimmy Dean's Love Child
Three Years Ago: Oh Miranda, I Relate