What an emotional week. So much has been going on, I don't even know how to capture it all. Its important to make it clear that everyone is OK, but emotionally, this week has been a killer.
The past few weeks have been really rough with Irene. She has been acting out a lot. More than usual. I know 5 year olds are supposed to give their parents a run for their money, but Irene has been pushing this too far. I am terrified about what her teenage years will be like. i foresee a ton of door slamming and "I hate you" conversations. Things finally came to a head last Sunday when Irene took things just a bit too far. The screaming sassing backtalking door slamming performance that lasted 3 hours was more than we could take. I sat her down and gently tried to find out what was really going on. Through her tears Irene said the one thing I had been waiting to hear: "I wish Sam had never been born". It was amazing, the moment those words left her mouth you could see the relief wash over her face. She was even more relieved when I told her how proud I was that she had finally said it. She has spent so much time trying to prove to us that she is the perfect big sister who loves having a little brother that she making herself crazy. When I let her know it was OK to feel that way, you could just see something switch in her. Now, I am not saying she is perfect right now and acting like an angel 24/7... but it is better. What is also nice, is I feel her interactions with her brother are more real- a mix of loving, tender care and "would you be quiet" stares.
Also in Irene land, she scored the biggest points with Peter and I last night when she looked up at us and asked if she could have a babysitter soon so Peter and I could go on a date. She pointed out that she has been having dates with each of us, but that Peter and I do not spend enough time together- just the two of us. Such a sweet, observant and caring little girl!
This has been a good week. He has been healing beautifully. In fact, we saw the neurosurgeon at Children's Hospital on Thursday who was very happy with Sam's progress and has released us from his care. He said that Sam's skull did exactly what it was supposed to do- protect the brain. He also pointed out that the skull does most of its growing in the first 6 months of life, so his head should heal and look like nothing ever happened. I asked if Sam would have weak points in his head where the fractures were and he said no. Hallelujah.
Other developments with Sam:
- He is sucking on his hands more and more. Apparently this is a big developmental milestone
- He is staring at his hands. Again, big development step
- Sam has started to scoot. Granted, he is doing this when he has someone to push off of, but he can make some good progress. Apparently with preemies, they have over developed tone in their legs which makes them very strong. We have been noting this with Sam. Our visiting nurse is encouraging us not to let Sam stand or do much pushing off with his legs, but it is hard. He loves to stand.
- Sam's weight gain has slowed a bit. In the past 11 days he has only gained 7 ounces. The nurse has told us not to worry too much about that as Sam looks healthy and is having the right number of wet diapers. Still, I can't help but wonder if history is repeating its self... my milk suddenly dried up when Irene was 6 months old... and Sam will be 6 months (actual) on March 16.
- Social smiling and flirting is now one of Sam's favorite activities. Nothing is better than watching his face light up- and boy does it light up when he is smiling. Think about it- most parents get feedback from their babies after 6-8 weeks. It has taken me almost 5 and a half months to get feedback from Sam. That is a DAMN long time without seeing your baby smile.
So, all in all the kids are good. I, on the other hand, have struggled this week. Between getting over the flu and worrying about my milk supply I have also been overcome with a good bout of postpartum depression brought on by:
- Worry about my milk: I know. I was the milk queen for so many months. I just can't shake the feeling that I am not producing enough milk anymore. Sam is healthy and looks like he is getting enough, but I just feel overwhelmed with fear that my supply will run out.
- Sweet Bennett's hospitalization for breathing issues: It just makes me so sad to know what his mom, dad and sister are going through. Bennett has been in the hospital for a week now, and I don't know when he will get home. His mom has been a trooper, not leaving his side except for the occasional 30 min break to eat. It just breaks my heart knowing how much they have all been through- 90 days in the hospital for Elisa, 60+ days in the NICU for Bennett and now this. I know that he is going to be OK, but it doesn't make what they are going through any better.
- Jennifer Lieberman's near death experience: One of my good friends from my mommy group with Irene spent almost 2 weeks on life support after having the flu turn into pneumonia and then into a blood infection. There was a good period of time that we were not sure she was going to make it and all I could think about was her boys, her husband, and how terrible of a loss it would be for anyone that knows her if she didn't pull through. Jennifer is such a warm, loving and giving person. She was really there for me through my hospitalization and Sam's NICU stay. I owe her... and more that... I realize what an amazing and positive force she is in my life. I am truly grateful that I will be getting a chance to let her know that.
- Realizing all that I missed out on by having a 24 week pregnancy: For some reason, the past few weeks I have been weighed down thinking about all the things I didn't get to experience by carrying Sam to term. I didn't get to feel him really kick. I didn't get to have those classic pregnant pictures of my tummy. I didn't get a shower or any kind of celebration in anticipation of my baby. I didn't get to go into labor. I didn't get to try and deliver him naturally as opposed to a c-section. I didn't get a week off before having Sam to nest and get things ready in the house. I just missed out on so much and that has been making me so sad.
All in all, a very emotional week. To end on a bright note, here are a few photos and videos: