Saturday, December 3, 2011

3 Months Today

13 weeks.  It feels like these weeks have passed by so fast, but something happened the other day at our neighborhood playground that gave me a different perspective.  I ran in to Danielle's NICU nurse, Debbie, the favorite I had talked about in Danielle's birth story.  It was SO wonderful to see her.  I wasn't sure if I recognized her at first but I could hear her talking to her friend and I was sure that she was the patient woman who had sat and chatted with me while Danielle was in the NICU, offering kind words, knowledgeable advice and a listening ear.  She was happy to see us and she held her tiny patient while she caught up on our family news.  After seeing her I realized that it seemed like a lifetime ago that I was sitting with her in the NICU and it made me see that we have since come so far.  I met Debbie the day Danielle was born, although I don't remember much about that first meeting.  I had been wheeled in to the NICU for a brief visit with Danielle while on my way to a recovery room.  I was a shell of myself.  Empty inside.  In complete shock.  The emptiness was followed shortly after by feelings of  helplessness and fear.  Sadness resided in a place deeper inside me than I even knew existed.  That deep dark whole has since been filled with Love and happiness.  The feeling of helplessness faded with knowledge.  The fear, I don't know if it will ever go away completely.  I worry about the unknown future for all of my children, I think that just comes with parenthood, but I have more hope and excitement than I do fear so I think I'm doing alright.  I am so incredibly thankful for this child that I have been blessed with.  I feel so lucky to be her mother.

Although my heart has been healed, Danielle's may still need repair.  She hasn't yet been symptomatic of her heart defect, but after her most recent echo cardiogram her cardiologist suggested that may soon change.  We are preparing for open heart surgery sometime between Jan. and March.  Open heart surgery is scary, and although I was holding on to the hope that the hole in her heart would close without surgical intervention, I'm optimistic (I guess that's my personality and I'm just now in my life realizing that).  The surgery is a common one, with a very high success rate and we are fortunate enough to live in the DC area where we can have our choice of excellent hospitals who staff talented pediatric surgeons.

Feeding has been an ongoing struggle for us.  Danielle was given bottles while in the NICU.  I tried to get her on the breast after she was off the oxygen but she was reluctant.  I've tried and tried since to get her on the breast with the help from many more lactation consultants than I would like to know.  Modesty has left the building by the time you get to your third child.  More people have seen my boobs in the past 13 weeks than you could imagine.  They've been seen swollen, they've been seen deflated, they've been seen wearing nipple shields, they've been seen being sucked down the barrel of the breast pump, they've been seen squirting milk in to my babies face as she wiggled and fussed hoping I would just give her the bottle already.  "Wheres the payoff?"  I got to a point of frustration, but I continued pumping milk for her.  I came to a feeling of disappointment, but kept pumping.   I began considering defeat, but pumped on.  "Is this ever going to happen for us?"  I finally returned the borrowed breast pump to the hospital last week.  Sianara.  Goodbye and good riddens.  Don't call me.  Do you sense some hostility here?  I had spent too many hours sitting with this machine, I toted it around with me for months... I left it behind and didn't look back.  "Did you think I had given up on nursing?"  NO I didn't give up.  I've always had a stubborn tenacious character.  After almost three months of trying, Danielle and I have FINALLY established a healthy nursing relationship.  It wasn't my tenacity though that had fueled my effort to nurse this baby, it was my conviction.  I dreamed of nursing her since the day we knew we were pregnant.  I look down at her when I'm holding her, with her chubby little face smooched in to her warm mommy drunk from the milk that is made just for her, and I am so thankful to have these moments of closeness.  I wish we could stay like this forever.

Danielle is starting to show us more of her character.  She is very smiley and social.  I think she is going to be a funny little thing.  Maybe a bit of a stinker too, but very sweet natured.  She already seems to be a daddy's girl (how does this happen!?).  He comes home from work and sits with her on the couch while I get the other kids in to bed.  He holds her out in front of him and she smiles and coos telling daddy all about her day.  We love our Dani girl so much!  Happy 3 mos. baby!   

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