All posts filed under: Preemie

Eleven

Eleven. My first born son is eleven years old. Everyone says it goes by so fast. That statement always makes me sad and anxious.  I want to savor moments, take deep breaths, and hold on so I feel and experience the miracle of this child before me. It is true that time can not slow down; and it is also true that time does not speed up. It is constant. None of that changes the fact that Eric is and eager early bird in just about everything. Mornings he is especially bright, cheery, and early. On the morning of his birthday he was so eager to get to school he asked to walk over early and play on the playground (which I can see from my back window). Little did I know that he would head to his classroom where his teacher told him he can’t arrive an hour before school starts. His early arrival in life is just who he is. It certainly has presented challenges, particularly at his birth when he arrived fourteen …

At the Dentist

A funny, and not so fun, thing happens when I take my kids to those dentist appointments where they put the silly-gas mask on their face. When I see them lying there with all these instruments and health professionals my chest gets tight, my heart aches all the way into my mouth, and this horrible sense of dread flashes through my body. In other words, I panic. Today I am here with Noah, my youngest, for a simple but uncomfortable procedure. He is getting sealants on his molars, something I wish my mom had done to protect my teeth. So why the panic? The same experience happened a few years ago when Eric, my older one, went through this. (deep breaths here) I hear him whimpering through the nasal mask, and I see his body squirming. I want to reach for him. I want to tell him I am sorry and that he will thank me later for protecting his beautiful, perfect teeth from the very decay I have to have drilled out and filled …

Endurance Mamas

My bib number is in hand. My clothes, race food & hydration, logistics to getting to the starting line are set. Oops, except my alarm. Pausing here to go set my alarm for ….wait for it…..3:45 am to voluntarily run 31.8 miles (50km) with 7200 ft of climbing and descending. This is about the point before a race that I ask the question “why”? It hurts, is really hard, cold, early, and tiresome.  Yet, here I am toeing the line time and time again. You know why? Because why not. What if it isn’t any of those things or, the smiles, support, camaraderie , community, sense if accomplishment, the beauty, and the simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other so purposefully outweighs everything else. It is funny to me that I never thought this kind of running to be something I could do until after having children.  Getting pregnant, staying pregnant, carrying on daily activities while pregnant, birthing a child out of your body, caring for the child, positively influencing the child, …

A Time for Comfort Food & Running

The smell of fresh baked, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies wafted through the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) every afternoon at  three o’clock. I sat there in the mother’s room expressing milk for my preemie son for the fifth time that day when I first discovered this daily bit of tasty comfort. After completing my milk maid duties, I took great comfort in enjoying two, whole, soft, chewy delicious cookies, and washing it down with a small carton of whole milk that accompanied every cookie delivery. Over our three month stay in the NICU watching our son grow and develop into a full fledged baby, I took comfort in the daily  cookies-milk ritual with no regard for nutrition. It wasn’t about nutrition. Well, maybe it was a little about nutrition. I did revel in the fact that generating and expressing as much milk as possible for my little guy was the only thing I could focus on and my body needed hearty, whole, and real nutrients to do that. My afternoon ritual was literally feeding my …

Crash-course Introduction to the Uncertainty of Parenthood

Ten years ago today my first son Eric, was born.  That day was a crash-course introduction to faith, hope, and love despite uncertainty.  Anxiety, worry, and obsessive compulsive disorder run deep in my gene pool. It wasn’t long after Eric’s early arrival that I realized my mountain of OCD behaviors provided me a false sense of security. They also sucked valuable time and energy away from being present, honest, and available to the people most important to me. Ever since accepting that no amount of hand-washing or towel folding was going to protect me from all the might go wrong, I have faced the daily challenge of taking care of all those scary feelings involved in parenting.  The challenge is more than worth it because on the other side of those scary feelings I have found joy and strength beyond measure, and I want more of that for me and my family. In 2006, Labor Day took on new meaning for me. I was twenty-six weeks into what seemed to be an uncomfortable pregnancy when I …

A Story of Supply and Demand

There is no doubt that breastfeeding is the best nourishment for your baby. My own son, now a healthy and happy boy, was born at twenty-six weeks and two days. It was frightening, but at the moment I delivered my body created the perfect food for him tailored by nature specifically to his one pound and fourteen ounce body. As he was whisked off to the NICU the doctor entered my room with a small little tube that could hold only 3 milliliters. He stressed the importance of my ability to capture the first drops of milk, colostrum that would be made available to my son as soon as possible. I am forever grateful for the lactation consultant that spent time with me teaching me to self-express these tiny drops of “pure gold” that would help him to develop his premature digestive system. This was my gift to him and the only way I could put my nurturing instincts to good use. It was then that I truly understood the importance of giving my body …

You Gotta Have Guts

“Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road?” Because he didn’t have any GUTS!” My five year-old tells me this joke often. He puts emphasis on the word ” GUUUTSSS” in way that sticks so perfectly and sweetly in my mind when I am running. You have got to have GUUUTSSS to obtain many of the rewards life has to offer. Whether it is passing someone on the trail, attempting something like the fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail , deciding to start family……you have got to have guts. How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh I could never do that.” when you know very-well they could if they decided they could. Mustering the guts to take a the chance and try that thing you have always wanted to do can lead you to some unexpected and wonderful places. The Bridger Ridge Run has been around since my Aunt Kathy dragged me through my first 5 k. It wasn’t until approaching forty-years old that I developed the guts to run it. After making it …

Would You Run One-hundred Miles?

My work has opened me to the possibility of achieving athletic feats I never new were available to the human body let alone my human body. Most recently I was able to participate in the activities of one of America’s most iconic one-hundred mile foot races, the Western States without actually having to run it. I had the pleasure listening to the scientific community interested in studying ultra-runners while also getting to know some of the leaders in the sport like Nikki Kimball, Stephanie Howe, and Scotto(typo I choose to keep because I liked it) Jurek. Not just these athletes, but all ultra-runners (and many other athletes outside the scope of running) show us that the seemingly impossible is possible. I believe it is this desire for possibility that drives those seekers of challenge. Running one-hundred miles sounds more and more possible despite the fact that my own legs have never carried me more than thirty-one miles at one time.  I get chills when I drive by Auburn on I-80 knowing this is where the …

My Real Baby’s Birthday

When Noah was born and growing from infant to toddler I always thought of him as my “real baby”. To me this meant he was my real and first experience at full-term pregnancy and birth.  Of course, Eric was not full-term (26 weeks of real preemie) and was full-on adorable. But, what I never understood until after experiencing a full-term birth was how truly foreign the experience of a preemie mom is to those whose first child is full-term. It took my second time around and thirty-eight weeks of gestation to a real baby to understand why many people seemed so confused about my precautions and nervousness with Eric. Prior to bringing your preemie baby home you are told to not let anyone else hold him if you don’t have to, or at the very least, make sure the person to hold him has all their shots, no fever, no cold sores, no runny nose, no germ-festing-toddlers in their own homes, and maybe even just ask people to where a face mask just in case. And …

Visit to the Ol’ NICU

Not long ago I revisited the place were hope is born. I went to the California Pacific Medical Center NICU where a friend sat beside her thriving, three pound, thirty week preemies (Yes twins!). I was greeted be the familiar face of a nurse who’s name I could not remember, and then I saw Joe, and then Diane, and before I knew it these nurses were whisking me into the door, giving me big hugs and taking me straight to see Lisa’s precious babies. Before I could say much, there I was, standing in the room with all the isolettes (I hate the word ‘incubators’ because it makes the babies sound like they are sick chickens), the alarms, and flashing lights. It has been a long time since I saw a three pound baby. I held back the tears. I also held back disbelief that these careful angels (nurses) took me straight to Lisa’s babies without her permission. She was doing her deed in the pumping room at the time. The tears  I cried in …