I knew how to be pregnant. I even knew how to mother a singleton baby. What I needed help with was how the heck to do it with two babies and a toddler. So since then, my main concerns have been:
- How to tandem breastfeed two babies. If I can't, I'll be feeding them all hours of the day
- How to get them on the same sleeping schedule. Otherwise, mommy will not be sleeping at all
- How to help Zev with the transition. Welcome Nicole: a sense of stability for him and help for me.
- And most recently: how parenting preemies differs from parenting typical newborns. Still working on this one...
Despite the unfortunate circumstance of the NICU, there are some advantages. The girls are already on a three hour schedule. If we can keep them on that schedule, we would be very lucky. And, despite the fact that I am exhausted having to go back and forth to the hospital and that I am getting up twice at night to pump...once they come home I will be even more tired. I 'parent' them for only a few hours a day, and then leave them with a (very expensive) baby-sitter. Most of the parenting is not done by me at this point. So once they get home...things will be even more hectic. Especially for Jason: he's sleeping through the night right now. That is going to change very shortly.
I was over at the hospital twice today: once with Jason, Zev, and my father, and then a second time alone to do some feedings. During that second time, I was with Tzelia who is now in a regular portable crib. I think it was the fact that she was in the crib rather than the isolette: it made her look more like a 'regular' baby (albeit very skinny and small). And I thought: "She's mine. I really do have three children." I haven't had that thought as vividly before since I have been leaving so much of their care to the nurses...it is easy to forget that they are really mine.
And I actually started realizing that they will be coming home soon. And got a little excited about that.
I've been too tired to really be 'excited' about much, as well as too anxious and worried about how things are going. But now it seems that they will be coming home in the next few weeks and some of that anxiety is slipping away. It will be replaced with a different type of anxiety once they are home (having preemies at home is a whole other anxious situation, especially in the winter time: most parents end up isolating and severely limiting visitors due to the risk of flu and RSV), but the health-related anxieties are starting to fade.
And I'm trying to feel 'normal' again. But it is very upsetting to always be in pain and not be able to do the things I'd like to do. I do see my OB on Tuesday and I will see what he has to say. My ulcer pain comes and goes: unfortunately while I was with the girls last night, I had a horrible horrible bout of some kind of ulcer/acid attack and it hurt to breath or move. Which made caring for them difficult. But we still did ok with the feeding. It is the last step in their returning home, so I'm trying to do my best to make myself as available as I can for them... so back to the hospital I go...