Monthly Archives: February 2011

Targeting Faux Pas

Back In Style- Joss Stone

Today, we were informed by the nurses that we should get the nursery ready for our daughter’s return. Their reasoning behind this was that Gracie was taking the bottles on her own and continued doing so with little effort.  She hasn’t accelerated her weight, but has lost five grams. Her heatlh condition has been pretty much on par. Having someone tell you that your daughter may be coming home is a lot like hitting you with a bat. Thoughts and emotions flow through you effortlessly. This was the case with Ashleigh as she panicked over the news.  I told her to calm down and recollect herself as we will make sure the finishing touches are put in place.

The nurse from the previous night gave her a bath and parted her hair while giving her a mohawk in the middle. Gracie had a faux hawk like a Jersey Shore character. Being able to style an infant’s hair is so much fun at this age because they arent able to define their individual style as of yet.  However embarassing these moments may be for Gracie, they are memorable for us.  Right now hairstyling is fun instead of being a daily tedious chore.

At home, the nursery has been completed since New Year’s eve.  Right after we were informed of Gracie’s potential arrival, we went to Target and began to shop. At first, Ashleigh was going to purchase things, but I just suggested that we create a registry and let Ashleigh use a scanner gun. As I set things up at the customer service desk, Ashleigh went and looked for items.  She grabbed a cart and made her way up to the front where I was.  She already had a semi-full cart. It contained outlet covers on clearance. She left the cart and made her way up to me as I approached the customer service desk. The service rep handed me a welcome reusable tote filled with coupons and samples. She then programmed the IR gun and haned it over to us. Ashleigh went to retrieve her cart and it was missing.  I was upset over my missing clearance merchandise. We slowly began our creation of a  baby registry at Target. Ashleigh had previously researched products and knew exactly which products she wanted to add to her registry from home.

Ashleigh felt ashamed for wanting to register after the birth of Gracie, because it is usually a social faux pas. However, I insisted that Ashleigh partake in the some of the fun in receiving gifts for Gracie. It was a right of motherhood to experience showers and such from coworkers, family members and friends.  Gracie’s progress was a well deserved celebration. When Gracie was first born, Ashleigh was teeter tottering between having and not having registries. I suggested she do it, but I didn’t want to pressure her, because it was the least of our concerns at that exact moment.

I did strongly urge that if she was to have a registry then to make sure that all the products she purchased were multifaceted and durable. I encouraged reading multiple reviews and price comparisons with coupon code usage. I personally think that new parents overextend themselves when buying baby items resulting in dead plastic. Dead plastic refers to infant toys and products which sit and gather dust.

The most highly argued product on the registry was the diaper genie. It is essentially a diaper pail on steroids, because it promises to eliminate smell from soiled diapers. It seemed that after extensively reading reviews from different retailers, people either loved it or hated it. My argument was that it took up unnecessary space while not remaining cost effective against used grocery bags.

Although this isn’t the only disagreement Ashleigh and I had, it will be one of the most memorable ones because Gracie’s soiled diaper will be our registries’ litmus test for our planning efficacy.


First Impressions

More than Anyone- Gavin Degraw
My sisters and my mother were getting antsy to see Gracie. The antsiest one of them all was my mother. We had to make sure Gracie was calm, alert and in a good mood that morning because we didn’t want my family members to have the wrong first impression about Gracie’s status. Gracie is slowly improving, but still remained a fragile baby. 

For some odd reason, I ended up catching a cold prior to my family’s arrival. I refused to enter the NICU, although  I showed no symptoms of a fever. It wasn’t something I wanted to give  to staff members or the NICU’s patients.

In order to comply with the “three by bedside” rule, I had to create some sort of visitation schedule . In the morning, we called to check on Gracie’s progress and  were the recipients of the greatest news ever. Gracie took a complete feeding via bottle without her vitals dropping. The nurse observed that Gracie had discovered that she has a mouth and had been experimenting with sticking her hands, blankets and parts of her onesies in there. The nurse washed and saved the bottle for us as a trophy. I wondered if one could bronze a bottle. Gracie’s weight is now 3 lbs 2 ozs.  

With the good news, Ashleigh decided to go down around 9 AM, and I would meet her with the family around 11 PM.  We weren’t able to  leave the house until around 11:30 AM.  As soon as we left, I called the NICU to pass the news onto Ashleigh.

When we arrived, I allowed my older sister and my mother to visit Gracie first and my sisters would rotate in and out.  I allowed my mother to spend about an hour and forty-five minutes with Gracie, because my mother and sisters live in New York and she only visits once a year for about a week. Gracie is her first grandchild.

As I waited in the sky walk and attempted to rotate people in and out on a schedule,  my older sister exited with the finished bottle. It was in a plastic bag with a label, date and time stamped. The bottle was given to us and would be one of Gracie’s  biggest trophies. Gracie couldn’t have made me a prouder parent.  It was a great present from Gracie to us and belongs on her mantle. It’s funny how we look at baby bottles with a simplistic interpretation, but us it was a significant milestone, nipple and all.  It proved that Gracie was indeed earning her “feeders and growers”  classification.

My older sister informed me of how my mother reacted in the NICU.  Before her arrival, I asked my mother to buy a book to read to Gracie in the NICU. She didn’t fully understand my request. As my mother walked closer and closer to Gracie, she kept repeating “Gwacie, Gwacie, Gwacie” louder and louder to the point where she may have been shouting at her through the isolette. I knew my mother was going to be excited, but not this excited. Prior to her entry into the NICU, I tried to explain to her that reading her a book was better for her now than touching her because her most developed sense is sound and smell. Voice recognition is vital for her brain development. My mother chose not to read instead she just held and stroked Gracie’s legs. The nurse had to step in to tell her that stroking isn’t a pleasant experience for Gracie.

As much as I wanted my mother involved in Gracie’s life, I also wanted her to understand that Gracie could be overstimulated. As hard as the joy and excitement was to contain, I understood my mother’s emotions because this is all too new for her at an accelerated pace. The NICU is an intimidating environment which brings out both fear and love for first time visitors.


Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Since we couldn’t bring Gracie home for Christmas, the NICU decided to bring Christmas to all of the preemies. This was the first time in 25 years that snow was falling on Christmas in the particular region we live in. This wintry weather was unusual for this area during this season. The weather was bad which translated into very few parents being in the NICU. This is because this hospital serves a rural population. When we left the house the roads were in bad condition because the amount of precipitation was unexpected.

We were told on Christmas Eve that Santa would be arriving around 8:30 AM. We arrived right at 8:30 and all of the babies had a Christmas setup. Every NICU baby was stuffed inside a large red stocking with “Merry Christmas” written across it it. Every preemie also had a red woven hat with a little white ball on top. Suprisingly, Gracie was up and relaxed.

We found out that one of the nurses actually sponsored this event with her own money and a local school helped with personal Christmas cards. The spirit of good will always exerts itself in the most unlikely of all places. It was unsettling to me that this nurse will not get a thank you or a card of some sort from the majority of the parents. I do know that she will do this year after year because it’s the right thing to do.

We originally bought a newborn sized red dress and white hair bow for Gracie to wear for Christmas with the possibility of it being reused again for Valentine’s Day. When we got into the NICU, Ashleigh was determined to make the outfit fit on Graice and all within the stocking.  We knew that the dress was going to be large on her. The nurses congregated around our isolette as we took pictures of Gracie.

 Gracie was in a good mood for about 2 minutes and got tired and cranky over us flipping her and putting her in different positions. I was really surprised at how well Gracie tolerated this shifting and moving.  Her isolette had a white blanket with a red and green border and we took pictures of her elevated on a pillow  and on Ashleigh’s bare chest.

Santa eventually made his way around and he was followed by a female assitant elf dressed in full elf gear with a brace on the left knee and little girl elves in full gear handing out candy canes. . Santa went from isolette to isolette with one elf pumping hand sanitizer before and after each personal picture.  He took pictures with the all the staff members.  One of the NICU nurses asssisted santa with the cords and the handling of the babies. As Santa approached us, Gracie was just getting gavaged so he had to go to the critical care NICU ward and then make the trip back. We eventually saved the best for last and that was Gracie. 

All I wanted for Christman this year was for Gracie’s health to improve. We left the NICU and were behind the head  elf with the knee brace  and her daughter and I asked if I could help with her things. She agreed and carried her  things out to her RAV4 in the slick and snowy environment. I thanked her and wished her a Merry Christmas. On our drive home I opened up Gracie’s stocking and it was filled with a bunch of helpful and creative goodies.

At home, we had my sisters and my mother waiting to celebrate Christmas with us.  Ashleigh and I went to work in the kitchen to prepare them breakfast. I asked them to help me on Christams eve with the wrapping of the presents. On theirs, I just stuck a bow or placed them in bags with tissue paper. I didn’t have much time to wrap other presents, so I basically stuck bows on all of my presents to everyone.  However, I did ask my sisters to help me in wrapping some of the presents to other family members and our mother. I attemped to wrap my niece’s moon sand present and failed twice. I desperately wanted to just put it in a bag and throw some tissue paper on it, but none of the bags would fit. The wrapping of  gifts symbolized my laissez faire approach towards this year’s Christmas.

We failed to decorate the interior or exterior of the house. This was also the first year we have never put up the Christmas tree or Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Our spirit of Christmas was poured into an isolette twenty seven miles away.