This week I finally hit the proverbial “wall”…

March 15, 2012 at 11:48 pm 5 comments

… mile seventeen, right?  You know the one, first your legs start to go numb, then your confidence starts to wane and then finally your brain turns into a big pile of mush (and you start stealin’ Gatorades from the local 7-Eleven).  Based on my experience you usually aren’t able to push through said wall until about mile twenty-two when a guy in a bunny suit starts handing out beers under a bridge in Chinatown.  Granted there is still that damn hill at mile twenty-six. Who woulda thought that last .2 miles would be such a b*tch!

(And yes, for what its worth I have started running again, if you could call twenty minutes at a snail’s pace running.)

In my opinion, our time in the NICU has been completely analogous to my experience with the Chicago Marathon (minus the nasty “Shot Blocks” and watered down Gatorade). Just like I did in Chicago I cruised through the first (many) miles at a sub-eight-minute pace. I didn’t need sleep, I didn’t need food, I…. didn’t forget what I was typing mid-way through a sentence like I just did now…. I felt like I could take on the world.  Then I made that right turn onto Halsted and everything changed for the worst. Clearly I had gone out too fast and now I was paying the price, with a long way to go and no bunny costumes in the foreseeable future.

So yeah, the last week or so in the NICU, for Rex at least, has gone pretty well; for me, not so much. But let’s start with Rex.  Rex has totally mastered the art of breast-feeding, which is great because it now allows me to finally feel as though I have a purpose.  It also means that while I used to average about 5 ½ hours of interrupted sleep each night, I now rack up just shy of four. Don’t get my wrong, its awesome that “the Hoove” has taken so easily to the boob, it’s just that every morning (when I am back at the NICU before the sun comes up) I find myself longing to be placed in a “sleep sack”, swaddled, and stuffed in a crib. Sans the diaper of course.

Rex had started the week with a bit of edema (the result of his VSD) but that has now resolved itself with an extra shot of Lasix.  As a result almost all of his weight gain now appears to be all baby.  Yep, Rex is a bruiser weighing in at a hefty 4lbs, 12.4oz.  Witnessing (first hand) the way Rex takes to his feedings in the same the way that Floyd takes to a chicken jerky wrapped bone, we are all pretty sure that once his fluid restriction is lifted, and his heart is fixed…we’ll have a good little eater on our hands!

As for the day to day, “Hoover” is a pretty chill baby and likes to just take it all in.  As a result he is ‘up’ on all the latest NICU gossip, quietly observing the comings and goings and reporting back to his peeps.  Rex takes the newborn state of “quiet alert” to new levels but the nurses just refer to him, as plain ‘ole nosey.

When Rex decides to wake himself up from a deep slumber (not a morning person) he spends up to an hour just staring at the wall next to his crib (or at the ceiling).  As I do with the dogs, I find myself speaking for him on a regular basis.  Maybe I’m a little delirious at this point but I swear that a normal conversation between us might go something like this:

“Wow mom! I think they have done something new with the walls today. Maybe they made them bit more of an off-white or a cream? And that sign! Has that always been there? The one with my name on it? Fascinating.” 

Wassup Ladies?

Breastfeeding follows a similar pattern.  Rex lies in wait until he has himself an audience.  At that point he likes to show of his moves. Rumor has it he is one of the best “feeders” in the whole NICU, pretty much legendary.  Now, if only he would master the “growers” aspect of the equation we’d all be in business.

Now it’s not all green popsicles and pretzel bagels.  Rex is a man of little words but don’t think you are going to be able to change that diaper of his without him letting you know he is not happy about it. You can reason with him, which will give him pause, but only for a little while. Then he lets us know that while his heart might not be completely up to snuff his lungs certainly are!  My personal favorite meltdown is the one that comes as a direct result of him getting his right arm (never the left) stuck in his own onesie. God forbid.

While Rex continues to entertain us with his antics, one of the biggest challenges is the fact that we still have no idea when he will be able to come home.  How many more days/weeks/months can I, someone with an inability to sit still for longer than three minutes and the attention span of a goldfish, be confined to a chair in a hospital room for 12+ hours a day.  At this point I don’t even find my own stories entertaining, so I’m pretty sure the nurses don’t either. I am confident I have hit the end of the Internet and let’s be honest, I love Subway and all but I think I have eaten there 5,017 times in the last four weeks.  I can deal with the sleeplessness (heck, I have trained for it for years by taking red-eyes for work) but let me deal with it all in the comfort of my own home. Sometimes I wonder if Rex might end up walking out of there with me. (kidding!)

We were pretty sure we would get some time lines (as far as when Rex might go home) when Rexs’ case was presented to the heart surgeons today but it was a no go. The unanimous decision was to wait until he gains another two pounds or so as that will make the surgery easier and allow for a higher success rate. Doing the math, two pounds means another 3, 789 visits to the local Subway. There has to be something better out there.

Another challenge is that I continue to have little luck with any government-mandated process. Last week it was taxes and insurance, this week it was the State of California and their Paid Disability.  I apparently have unknowingly disqualified myself from the aforementioned “benefit” by basically having my baby too early. “Those four weeks can only be taken prior to the birth of your baby. You should have stopped working four weeks before he was born”, said the nasty “paper pusher” of a woman in my doctor’s office the other day.  You do realize I had no idea he was going to be born seven weeks early right I responded? “Not my problem” she barked back.  Total customer service, fail.  Doesn’t she know who I am? I’m a regular around these parts, at this rate there will most definitely be a wing named after either Rex or myself at this hospital with all the money I am spending here. She really should learn to be nicer to the donors. (And yes, I do plan to ask for my $15 processing fee back as a result of her ‘tude)

Yet another issue is the fact that last Monday was the season finale of the Bachelor. Now I have nothing to fall asleep to on Monday nights. Guess I’ll be switching back to Colbert and Stewart. I wonder if Rex will get their humor?

And so that ends another week in the NICU. Rex is a month old now, which means there are only 191 more months until he gets his drivers license, 215 till he can vote (not sure if our man, RP will still be around then but one can hope), and 251 until he can crack open a can of The Simpler Times with mom and dad. Now, if only we can get through the next two.

Thanks again for the continued love and support for our little guy. He’s a trooper!


Entry filed under: Rex. Tags: .

Rex, the Million-Dollar Baby “So long, farewell, Auf Weidersehen, goodbye…”

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jamie  |  March 16, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming…. The kid looks good! Glad to hear he is doing the boob thing. It is amazing to see what that will do for him! Especially with your super powers in the mix.

  • 2. Michael  |  March 16, 2012 at 8:59 am

    What a lady’s man! Rex will be a doctor with a flock of hottie nurses trailing after him…

  • 3. Patty  |  March 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Or he could be a writer, like his mommy. Angela, some kids have baby books – – -Rex will have a fabulous mini novel written about him because of your talents (one of your many talents)! ‘So love your blog – thank you for sharing this. Now if we could only figure out a way for mommy to get the rest that she so desperately needs, and some culinary delicacies for fortification, too. I googled sleeping chairs, but didn’t find anything better than what they currently have – – any ideas out there? Also, you know the “free association game”? . . . When something pops into your mind that sounds good – – (other than uninterruped sleep for hours on end in your own bed – – which your dedication to pumping prevents) you should write it down, compile a list – – food, R&R, comforts, drinks, personal treats, spa, massage – – whatever – – write it on a list, and forward it on to me. Rex has a whole team helping him – – you need one too. Please dream away and let us know – – – Love, hugs, rest, and all that you need is what we wish for you. xoxoxoGrandpa and Grandma

  • 4. Roger (Joger)  |  March 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    ANGELa, seems like Rex is going to be the ladies man ! (Humm, wonder if it’s Lamar or Sticky personality). Let Rex know I have a lot of stories to tell him and can not wait to meet him! Wishing you and your family the best !

  • 5. Sarah  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I know that wall… is there anything we can do to help? send you a shipment of anything not white/creamy? I already know you are doing an incredible job holding this all together, but remember friends are here to lean on if you need to do some leaning xxx


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