Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Let's do the time warp again! ...and again! ...and again! ...and again...?

Everyone who told me I wouldn't have time to do anything as a new parent honestly had no idea what they were talking about. I have time to feed you, pump milk for you (which sucks ass - I am so sick of it, though it's not likely transitioning to nursing any time soon), change you, juggle family members who insist on visiting every damn day and getting full reports on every single thing that has happened to you since they saw you last, call and inform other family members of the same, feed myself, and - here's the kicker - help you through seemingly endless medical procedures or doctor visits in and among all the rest of that. Sometimes you need an echocardiogram, sometimes it's a blood draw, often a specialist needs to look you over, sometimes your nurse needs to change some monitoring device, occasionally a sensor sets off an alarm (despite you actually being completely fine), frequently a med students gets to "practice" listening to your heart or taking your blood pressure, and very, VERY often someone just wants to prod or poke at you for a few minutes. Hours out of every day are spent entertaining medical professionals whose take-away from their encounter with you is "he looks great!" Put simply, I will have unmeasurably MORE time on my hands once we get home, Hudson.

This is our twenty-sixth day at the hospital. I know how all your sensors work. I know where and when to get good food at the two eateries on-site. I know all the residents in two different units by name. I know which nurses are awesome and who needs extra prompting to do what we need. I know who will answer what questions (and who can't, or won't). I know how to monitor everything we need to monitor at home. I can even operate the computer that displays all your vital signs (and I probably shouldn't even have touched that thing - it probably costs more than I make in a year). Not to be too cocky, but between your Dad and me, you basically don't need a nurse for anything other than dispensing medications that are kept in a locked room.

Of course, I still love every second I get to spend with you, but knowing that someone could walk into your room at any moment to do who knows who, and that I have to leave you behind every's agonizing. The worst part through this whole process has been the lack of control. As happens in any complicated medical situation, most of the last three and a half weeks have been spent waiting for someone else to inform us of what is happening to or for you. From the moment you were born onward, we've been in limbo. It was a major victory when we were placed in charge of changing your diapers and feeding you (on someone else's proscribed schedule, granted), and a few nurses have even let me give you your medications. It is a major victory to be able to interact with you as parents rather than as vistors.

I feel like a clinical specimen of a new parent, and while all your doctors and nurses seem to have grown very fond of you (genuinely so, though I imagine they rarely have a chance to spend so much prolonged time with any given patient), it often feels like you are a glorified lab rat. Every day is a new series of experiments, procedures, pokes, prods, and data. While there are certainly new things on a given day, they are all blurring together so much that I rely on nurses, my phone, and the strategically-placed page-a-day calendars scattered around the hospital to know what day - and especially what day of the week - it is. At least your Dad has work to keep time vaguely relevant.

The biggest marker of time for me is hearing you cry. I will never be able to wipe out the excruciatingly clear memories of the two days when you have cried the most (the day last week when they wouldn't let you eat while they were figuring out your allergy, and yesterday, when you were awake for nearly twenty four hours because of the pain from an infection and then upwards of ten failed attempts to place an IV). Everything else just blurs. Of course it sucks that your first month of life has been spent in the hospital, but it also really sucks that so many milestones in that time have been lost in anesthesia, lost to circumstance, or simply misplaced in a haze of other less pleasant things. Sometime in the last four weeks, we've seen you smile for the first time, given you your first full bottle (which translates into the additional milestone of "we taught you to eat"), introduced you to many of the most important people in our lives, changed your diaper for the first time, held you for the first time (we at least have photos of that), and surely more...but I'll be damned if I can put my finger on any concrete memories of those events.

This time warp is definitely robbing us of a lot, Hudson. I know other parents spend less of their child's earliest days, weeks, or months with their kid than we have, but I still feel so massively deprived. Your Aunt Erin emailed me recently to tell me how glad she was that I am still angry. I must admit, this really got me thinking. My brain has actually started to glitch out and skip over details (like the fact that I asked the same doctor the exact same question about the exact same specific thing twice in under twenty-four hours, or entire conversations that I had with your Dad about weird people I saw in the cafeteria), but I am still really pissed off. The fight hasn't been sucked out of me yet, so even if I can't keep things in order particularly well, I'm still keeping track of enough to know when I need to get mad. This also hasn't done a damn thing to damage how I feel about you, which I have to say I'm very grateful for. I can imagine a lot of parents resenting their kids after so much medical drama and bullshit, but it's only made me love and want to fight even harder for you.

We just got even more time added to our stay - again - and this time, it's essentially the fault of having been in the hospital for so long. Your Dad is (justifiably) pissed off that his entire February break is being spent not just in time warp-ey limbo, but that we've missed the chance for him to spend his break helping us get acclimated to life at home. Every day that I pull into the parking garage, I'm falling down the same damn rabbit hole into some shitty alternate Wonderland with zero chance of any fun or magic, other than what you create. I can't believe how strong you are. I wish I was able to remember more specifics to impress the hell out you years after the fact, but know this: you've made it through a shit-ton of miserable crap, and you're only a month old today. 

No comments:

Post a Comment