People ask me this often. I just laugh. Out loud. I know it’s rude, but I can’t seem to help myself.
While our lives changed very suddenly, this “routine” has already begun to feel a bit “Old Hat” (that’s a very strange saying, by the way). Chaos has settled in quite well around here and we’re getting accustomed to the feeling of being out of control. I have made it through the period of existing on Dr Pepper, Coffee, and Granola Bars and am back on the other side, eating regularly and taking care of myself. I’m learning to sleep when Claire sleeps, but still getting substantially less as I don’t get to nap all day. In fact, this is how I spend most of my time:
Yup. Living it up around here, ya’ll. We’ve got some stellar nurses around here and I’ve begun to earn my stripes for being here SO much. I just keep saying that it’s lucky no one wanted to hire me a month or so back when I started applying for jobs! It really does seem to make a difference in how Claire eats to have a consistent person feeding her, so I’m around as much as possible. She’s continues to do great – she’s almost back to her birth weight (Finally!!) and is showing signs of “taking off” – it’s this term that eludes to babies finally realizing that they like eating and growing, thus doing more of it without so much prodding from adults. I’ve heard much about it over the past 3.5 years and believed it was a myth….perhaps such things do happen. Time will tell. No word on a discharge date yet, though. Bummer.
Just for posterity’s sake (long-time readers of my blog will remember that I use it like a Baby Book with TMI), I thought I’d jot down what the daily routine is like here. I am usually rudely awakened each morning by either my “starving” daughter or the NICU doc on rounds (she has a NICU doc, but isn’t in the NICU as she doesn’t require any of the special machinery). As the doc and I have gotten to know each other his rudeness is dissipating 🙂 After groggily discussing how she’s doing and digging around in my cloudy brain for any questions I might possibly have for the next 24 hours, the doc leaves and I am free to brush my teeth, shower, and sort out my laundry for the day. That is, of course, once I can set Claire down. First SHE needs to freshen up, eat breakfast, burp a few times, change a diaper or two, and stare deeply into my eyes with a look that can only be described as Concern. Poor kiddo. When she finally nods off and I’m presentable, I pop downstairs to the cafe for my morning Americano. Cafe coffee is a luxury I had stopped up until two weeks ago, but after having some of the hospital coffee I decided it was time to splurge. $2 well spent.
By the way, my ability to drink coffee, wine, beer, and other No No Consumables is high on the list of Unexpected Reasons Why Being an Adoptive Mom is So Awesome. Also, I have one of the best figures in post-partum unit. If I had the time, I could even go for a lovely stress-relieving jog. That would be nice.
I usually have some time to twiddle around in the early afternoons. I’d like to make phone calls, watch TV, or listen to Pandora, but Claire is pretty insistent on SILENCE while she is sleeping. This won’t translate at home, but I’m picking my battles for now. Instead I edit photos, work on nursery projects, read lots of books (Thanks to Brad for clueing me in about Seattle Public Library lending e-books on the iPhone!), and when I am truly desperate, I plug in headphones and watch season 10 of Top Chef. Hulu and Netflix are great at home, but the hospital internet is subpar.
I grab lunch in the cafeteria after another round of food/diaper/burp/ConfusedFace and then try to get in a short walk. The hospital is in a super fun neighborhood with tons of great places to explore. I don’t always get out, but as we’ve had a bout of stupendous weather lately, it has been mandatory for me. The nurses are awesome and really help me take care of myself and shoo me out the door. Every time I come back, someone is cuddling my girl. I think there is an ulterior motive afoot. 🙂
Once Claire goes down for another nap I try to go home for awhile. This usually involves a bus or two, then spending the late afternoon sorting nursery stuff and playing with my other kiddo. We do dinner when Andrew gets home thanks to my mom cooking, then he takes me back to the hospital either just before or just after Evelyn goes to bed. I try to get here for shift change to chat with the day and night nurses, then we settle into the evening. Claire is already differentiating night from day and cluster feeds in the mornings, sleeping for 5+ hours in the evening, and getting a solid Calm/Awake period in the early morning. It’s pretty awesome, given how the newborn months can be – no complaints here. I’ve even had a nurse the last few nights who has let me sleep on Claire’s schedule rather than insisting on the Every Four Hours feeding schedule. There is nothing more irritating than waking up a sleeping baby at 3am.
There are always changes to the schedule, but that’s the gist. We jockey the one car between the adults, but with the Seattle bus system we’ve never had trouble. Mom has even gotten Evelyn to and from school – by herself – on the bus. That’s pretty great. Andrew and I have taken off a few afternoons to run through Baby Crap Stores and make sure we have the necessities (we do, thanks to our friends & family). We even managed to take an afternoon off from it all over beer and nachos at a BrewPub near the hospital. My mom has taken control over Evelyn’s day-to-day and makes sure she’s slept, been washed, and eaten something besides cheesy sandwiches. She’s also taken a shift at the hospital for me so I could get some work done in the nursery. It’s a giant ball of chaos, but somehow it’s working. Things just seem to find a way of working out.
That said……I’ll be happy to sleep in my own bed again. Poor Claire is in the for the shock of her life, though – I can’t wait to introduce her to the world!