Friday, December 2, 2016

Happy December + Bennett is 35 Weeks Corrected!

**Please note: I wrote this post on 12/1/16, but now that it's after midnight, it's going to show it was published a day later.**

I can't believe that my little boy is 35 weeks old corrected today (meaning that if he were still in my belly, I'd be 35 weeks pregnant; but as you know, he came 10 weeks ago and we're still 5 weeks from our due date). I am so thankful to finally be in December because, LORD WILLING, we will be bringing Bennett home sometime this month. Finally. The doctors are hopeful that he'll be home by Christmas, however no one can truly say. They think he'll need another good 4 weeks in the NICU, and Christmas is 3 weeks away, so who knows. My heart is telling me that it may be just a little bit after Christmas; maybe we can aim to have Bennett home by New Years Eve. Ultimately, Bennett has to work really hard to figure out how to breathe on his own and eat on his own. More on that in a minute.
Look, I totally get it: people have had *way* longer stays in the NICU than we've had, or are projected to have. Sixty-nine days down, and _(?)_ days to go. But I don't think you can really compare baby to baby; our journey is unique to Bennett Jimmie. There isn't another Bennett. Speaking of comparing, until today, I was 100% oblivious to other babies nearby. I hadn't even given those other precious souls a thought. Somehow, something shifted in me; maybe the monotony of it all. My tunnel vision wasn't as tight and I began to see the larger picture around me.

How is it possible that people can come and go so gosh darn quickly in the NICU while we're still hanging tight? I mean, there was literally one baby at the bedside next to us, then they were gone. The very next day the same thing happened. I was so confused. Did I miss something?

Reality set in and I came to the understanding that my baby boy has a different purpose than their baby. And their baby has a different purpose than the cutie clear across the room. There really is no comparison. The Lord is going to use each baby in the NICU for His glory and I just have to take a sip of that realization without letting the jealousy take over. Yes, I said it. Jealousy. I was feeling jealous and even started crying right there on the spot in my Kangaroo chair while holding Bennett.

It was weird to be hit with jealousy all of a sudden because I wasn't expecting to feel that way. Maybe it was the loud, full-term-sounding baby cry that set me off. Or the fact that I'm running on 4 hours of sleep (rather, "naps") per night and am irritable. Or maybe it's because the enemy knows I'm an easy target. Either way, I felt jealous for the first time in 69 days. No one could've prepared me for the plethora of emotions I would feel while being a NICU mama.

And you know what else I wasn't prepared for? How hard feeding would be. Complete honesty here: I just assumed breathing would be the hardest thing for Bennett. And while he's not 100% on his own, he's very slowly learning more each day. Feeding, on the other hand, is a struggle. Apparently it's all very normal, but I get a little discouraged. The feeding isn't all on him; it's on me too. I have to learn his cues.

It's all very sad that he has to work double just to do something most full-term babies know quite well. When we had Kensington, the thought of, "will she know how to eat" never occurred to me. And for Bennett, he is trying SO hard, and the question of, "will he learn how to eat today?" crosses my mind.

One thing that I've realized is that I am getting to see the beauty in two sides to nearly everything about our kids. One kid was an (obviously medicated) c-section while the other was an unmedicated natural delivery. One kid was born 4 days early, and the other was born 4 months early. One kid was formula fed, and the other kid was breastfed. I could go on and on. I guess the point that I'm making is that I have perspective. A new perspective that I certainly couldn't have understood until this point.

I have good days and bad days (still). Honestly, most days are good days; really good days because of the MIRACULOUS progress Bennett has made. But other days are harder and I resort to buying a cake for my Pity Party of 1. Not literally, but you get the point.

Here's where I'm at: we're on our last lap but I was tired like 3 laps ago. Essentially, I am tired of 1) asking for help, 2) driving 2 hours per day, and 3) worrying sick about my baby boy continually. I need, now more than ever, for others to be patient, supportive and encouraging. Oh and I need others not to expect too much of me right now, because they will be highly disappointed. I am being very selfish with my time, and I'm not willing to give any extra 5 minutes away.

Last thing: you can see by my public Facebook posts & photos of Bennett how happy I've been lately; his progress makes it easy to be happy and hopeful. However, the reality is that I'm not always "good". Please don't take this blog post as a complaint or being a Debbie Downer, because that's not what it is. This blog post is just to show that my emotions fluctuate often (according to my OB and other medical professionals that I've talked to, what I'm describing is very normal for being in our situation), but I'm still holding tight to the promise that Christ gave me.

And now, this guy, because CUTE.

4 comments:

  1. Go ahead be selfish and jealous. In a difficult time like this you need to be able to take care of yourself and if it entails these emotions you never thought would come your way don't beat yourself up over them. You are doing the best you can to hold it all together. I give thanks to God that Bennett is doing well and getting stronger everyday Allison. Be easy on yourself don't ever feel like you are complaining. No one can understand the pain/emotions you are dealing with daily being an NICU mom. Always thinking of you.

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  2. Love you friend. You have every right to be jealous, sad, angry, tired, and everything in between. The thing is, you see that the devil is trying to edge his way in and are actively fighting. Stay strong, but know that its ok to be all of the things you are.

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  3. Girl feel anything and everything you want to feel! I can only imagine how difficult this all is. Be selfish and take care of you, your family and sweet Bennett, that's what is most important right now. Prayers for you sweet girl :) That little smile of his I am sure makes it all worth it and helps your heart I bet.

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  4. When my daughter was in the NICU, one of her doctors (my favorite one) saw how frustrated and discouraged I was over everything. She sat me down and told me that I had to let go of 'expected timelines' and 'normal' and focus on the small moments instead of a 'big picture', because right then, everything was running according to 'Elizabeth time'. Everything they, and I, were doing was focused on providing the support and care and love SHE needed it, in the time and the manner SHE needed it. Nothing else mattered. She was also very much an advocate for me as the mama, making sure that I was cared for (both my myself and others). I am forever grateful to her, not just for giving my baby the most excellent of care, but for her kindness and understanding. Sending many happy thoughts and hopes and prayers for you and your family.

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