Driving past the second of two liquor stores within a half-mile of my house (and literally a few hundred yards from each other), I noticed that the lights were on and the place was open for business.
At 8:27 a.m.
For that busy commuter who just has to get that case of beer and a bottle of vodka first thing in the A.M.
I have a new appreciation for Greek and Roman mythology (not that I didn’t back when I took that course in college) after seeing lightning so up close and personal here in Texas. With all the open spaces, you can really see how amazing lightning is from a hundred yards or several miles.
Because before us humans put up all dem buildings, our ancestors probably took a look at the incredible spectacle of lightning, got really really skeered, and started coming up with stories about it. “The gods are angry at us!” And some enterprising copywriter said, “Yea, verily, it musteth be Zeus, God of Thunder!” (And then some cheesy Roman hack said, “Yea, verily, it musteth be Jupiter, King of the Gods!”)
Speaking of the true sport of kings, let’s turn to baseball. Mike & Mike were talking about Johan Santana of the Mets this morning, and how he’s basically the best pitcher in the game but gets no run support from his offense.
And I’m scratching my balding head, thinking: Jose Reyes. David Wright. Carlos Beltran. Carlos Delgado. How is this team not killing the ball every night and crushing the division?
Because the names after those guys are weak weak weak. And the starting pitching after Santana is mediocre at best. And that allegedly fantastic bullpen that they spent $478 million on last winter? Doesn’t really matter how great your relievers are if you’re losing big.
There’s got to be a way to “beat” the Zip Cash cameras on some of these toll roads. Maybe if I go 88mph, like Marty McFly in the DeLorean in Back to the Future, that’s the perfect speed to fool the cameras.
Now that you’re deep in thought, I’ll take my leave of you.
Worked from home today so we could take the girls – in, naturally, crazyhorrible rain – to the pediatrician for Visit #1.
Went fine – the doc is really nice, and we got some nice “oohs” and “aahs” when walking around with not one but two carriers.
It’s quite a workout, lugging the two carriers. And the kids only weigh about 5 lbs. each, so my trapeziuseseses will be tremendous within months.
Back next week for a weigh-in, set up a few other appointments, but all looks good for our girls.
Drove home and cranked out work the rest of the day – in between changing/feeding/burping times.
That’s pretty much the process:
1. They cry. (Actually, usually just one at a time. My girls are good like that.)
2. Check diaper. If wet or poopy, change. If not, leave alone.
3. Warm bottle, try to keep baby calm until it’s ready.
4. Feeding. Chug chug chug burp. Repeat.
5. Some more burping, to try and avoid spitups. (They’re getting better – but now that I typed that, I’ll jinx it and get spit up on six straight times.)
6. Back to bed. Sometimes crying, sometimes for a half-hour or so. Starting to notice the different types of crying.
Back to work at the office tomorrow. Will be tough leaving the girls. Of course, it might be tough getting through tonight’s change/feed/burps. But Li’l Momma (that’s what I’m calling my beautiful wife now, when she allows it) says she’ll take over tonight and let me sleep.
They’re home! (The two sweetest words in language right now.)
Alexandra came home with us on Friday afternoon, and we picked up Norah on Saturday morning. Having both girls at home – and in the same crib (we’re seeing how that goes – so far quite well) is just incredible.
A few thoughts on things:
FEEDING = It’s crazy. Trying to get them to take a bottle, then when they finally do – look out! They chug like there’s no tomorrow. It’s scary, actually. And then they get out of breath from all the exertion of eating, then fall asleep. Then you try to pull the bottle out slowly, and their reflexes kick in. “Where you takin’ my bottle, son?” And they start chugging again like mad.
BURPING = I have two methods, both of which are “epic fail” at times, super-awesome at others. The “hold them by under the chin but don’t choke them and pat on the back” method that the nurse practitioners showed us is my weapon of choice…but the old standby of “over the shoulder” is pretty good as well.
SLEEPING = I am in a generally paranoid, freaked-out-of-my-mind-at-any-sound kind of state when they sleep. I worry that they’ll stop breathing. I worry that they’ll gag on their spitup. I worry that one will accidentally poke the other in the eye, spawning a rivalry that will last for decades.
But so far, things are great. They sleep anywhere from 2 to 4 hours at a stretch, sometimes 4.5 if they’re feeling generous (or extra-content).
DIAPERS = I never thought I would pray for somebody else to poop. That day has come. Apparently, bottle-fed babies can poop up to 3-4 times a day…or as infrequently as once every 2-3 days. And when it comes…hoo boy. I’ve been wondering if I can get some of that stuff the FBI used in Silence of the Lambs, that Clarice & Co. put under their noses to block out the stench. But you know what? It’s all good when it’s your kid, and you’re just happy they’re alive and poopin’.
My bloggery is suffering as my daddery and workery are more all-consuming. Sorry, folks.
Norah = doing well; continuous feeds; looks great.
Alexandra = up to 4 lbs. 8 oz.; “nippling” (I love that word – it means drinking from the bottle) pretty regularly; no spitup overnight
Work update: Tough day. A couple layoffs thanks to declining revenues. But big light at the end of the tunnel, according to bosses. In 10 days, I’ll have a person reporting to me for the first time. Psyched about that, at least.
Texan Driving Tip #43: Never ever EVER take Main Street/423 through The Colony and Little Elm during rush hour, in either direction.
Alex visit update: I got to feed her! Yet another of the most incredible experiences ever.
Went to a new IHOP near us tonight for a late dinner. Clearly just opened – boiling hot in the main room, nice and cool in the back room where they seated us. Our server never showed up, so a very sweaty and nervous (but courteous) server whose section we were not sitting in took care of us.
12:25 AM (Phone) updates:
Norah = doing well, sleeping; went right back to sleep after diaper/temperature check. After all she’s been through, lots of sleep is perfect.
Alexandra = doing fine; had her full 40ml bottle at 11PM with no spitups.
9:17 AM Updates:
Norah = sleeping; doing well, having PIC line removed today – no more IV fluids! Down a bit weight-wise, 4 lbs., 6.1 oz., but likes continuous feeding; and we can hold her next time!
Alexandra = really good; nippled at 8AM. took 30/40; sticking out her tongue a lot; awake, just lies there looking around peacefully
Norah = no more lines! no more pulse oxygen monitor!
Alexandra = doing fine; little spitups; nippled at 2AM
4PM Norah visit = I got to hold her for the first time (although with gown and gloves, since I had a MRSA infection like seven years ago). Shannon changed her wet diaper.
5PM Alex visit = all is well.
Dinner at Palio’s Pizza Cafe near the hospital – good. POURING rain outside.
8PM Alex visit = I did her feeding, she took 47/50 ml. Awesome.
Norah = doing well; changed her diaper; sleeping peacefully.
Alexandra = sound asleep.
11AM Alexandra phone update = finished whole bottle at 8AM; starting vitamins; more interested and vigorous
12PM Norah visit = got to hold her again; she took 20ml, and is now nippling every 12 hours
1PM Alex visit = fed her; up to 4 lbs. 9 oz.; changed her diaper!; mid-feed, another poop!; hiccups started after feeding, possibly the cutest sound ever
8:00 PM Alex visit = I fed her; she burped and had a medium spitup; need to get her to 8 bottles a day for two straight days before she comes home; at 3 now, maybe 4 tomorrow
8:45 PM Norah update = doing great, sleeping like an angel
11:48 PM Norah update = doing well; 15-20 minute bottle feeds.
Had to work today, all updates were solid and uneventful.
Visited Alex for her 8PM feeding, but not Norah – since she’s sleeping most of the day except for her two bottle feeds (noon and midnight). Felt incredibly guilty.
All was well for the morning updates.
3:50 PM Updates:
Norah = up to 3 or 4 bottles “if she wants”; stopped continuous feeding for a couple hours before bottle feeds; very good day!
Alexandra = doing good; took entire bottles at 11AM and 2PM; up to 4 or 5 a day, no spitups!
Evening visit updates:
Alexandra = did her feeding, but she was fussy; changed her diaper, then re-started feeding; stopped again, thought she pooped again, went to check; AMAZING poop – all over the entire diaper area; changed, then finished most of the bottle; rest of the visit, she was nice, quiet, checking us out.
Norah = she was awake when we got there! watched some of her feeding (not bottle, this feeding) and Shannon held her for a while.
Can’t figure out who they look like, it changes from day to day. This person’s eyes, this person’s nose, etc. From now on, I just want to let them look and act like themselves and not compare them to other people.
Up for work, and on the way there, I got the:
Norah = doing fine, still spitting up often; one of our favorite doctors was in, and they wanted to try continuous feeding (I did that, and gained 30 lbs.). Had a good night last night, though.
Alexandra = doing great, took 25 ounces at the 8AM feeding through the bottle; trying to increase to 40ml per “meal”
Work was busy, new cubicles put in on the other side of our office. Ours are on the way.
Left work at 6, grabbed a very healthy Wendy’s grilled chicken sandwich for dinner on the road. Met Shannon at Norah’s NICU, so here’s the:
7PM Norah Update = Completely zonked out sleeping, so we didn’t bother her. Hung around for a bit, then headed to:
8PM Alexandra Update = She was being fed via tube, so no bottle try tonight. I held her for much of the feeding, and after it was done, she started to cry a bit. Somehow, my paternal instincts knew that she had a dirty diaper – and lo and behold, when we opened it up, POOP! We changed her, and that calmed her down a bit.
Until, that is, when she spit up a little. As I held her up so Shannon could wipe her little mouth, she let loose with projectile vomit that would make an Arizona State sophomore proud.
We got no help cleaning her up, as most of the nursing staff was caring for a new NICU baby that needed a ventilator. Seeing that bothered us, since we knew what that felt like.
After cleaning her off and dressing her in a fresh outfit, I sang a medley to her: The Alphabet Song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Where The Streets Have No Name, The Luckiest, Yesterday, Sesame Street, Cheers and a couple others. (I do take requests, but she just laid there and stared up at me with those gorgeous eyes.)
One more workday, then weekend hours where we can visit more. YAY!
[COMMERCIAL SIDEBAR: Somebody must buy me Giant Cheetos. Quickly.]
–Slept a little late – working from home today. Called to check in on the girls…
–Norah = Chris at the front desk complimented her name; doing fine, had a good night; weight at 4 lbs., 7 ounces; trying to wean off Fentanyl, but it’s slow going
–Alexandra = drank 20 out of 38 (ounces, ccs, milliliters?) of her 8AM bottle; had a really good night, gained a little weight up to 4 lbs., 5.1 oz.; no new orders
Did work all morning, then left for Remicade treatment just before 1PM. Got lost – 121 changed off-ramps due to construction. It’s always tough to type/work with one hand (the other with an IV), but I manage.
Norah = good day, but spitting up after each feeding.
Alexandra = a couple “spitties” also, but doing really well
Drove home, fought insanely bad traffic on Main Street/423. [DRIVING TIP: When going through The Colony or Little Elm, AVOID MAIN STREET/423 coming north from 121 AT ALL COSTS.]
Shannon made dinner (thanks babe, it was great!) and we headed to see the girls.
6PM NORAH VISIT: Spit up a little bit when she sneezed in mid-feeding (via nose tube); otherwise gorgeous. Shannon got to change her diaper.
8PM ALEXANDRA VISIT: I got to change her diaper – and it was poopy! Shannon then bottle-fed her, and she did OK, but then switched to tube feeding. I got to hold her for a while too. She smelled like popcorn – Shannon reminded me that that was the formula.
Drove home, and here we are. A couple more crazy busy days ahead – going into the office, NICU visits, still trying to unpack a box or two after the move.
[COMPLIMENT SIDEBAR: Big ups to every single healthcare professional working at both of our NICUs: Baylor Frisco and Texas Health Plano. The doctors, nurses and everybody else have been amazing, caring, patient and just plain wonderful. They are miracle workers.]