November 9-12, 2012
Last time we looked back a year, we recounted JAM'S surgery and horrible recovery.
They guessed it would take only a few days to extubate him - or remove the breathing tube. Instead it took nearly a week to move him from the breathing tube to CPAP.
To see him back on a breathing tube, fighting infections again -- and here he was FINALLY reaching his due date (which occurred on day 118) -- it flooded me with emotions.
I knew he was more stable than he'd been with any of his other surgeries, but I started to have flashbacks to everything that had happened to him before. I was always on edge. I needed quiet or I would find myself about to snap.
I made an appointment to see my OBGYN and a psychologist. I was not above seeking out help.
I went to a second hand sale on my way home from the NICU on his 115th day. It was time to get him a wardrobe. I spent around $40 on clothes and shoes and socks for the next year and a half of Jonathan's life. It was so sweet to be able to prepare for his homecoming. There was nearly no one there, and the people running the sale knew our story, so they helped pick out what they thought would be the cutest of clothes for the micro preemie. He'd make it. The $40 check I wrote out was proof. He had to now. Besides, he was officially out of his gestational age. We had passed his due date.
In celebration of his due date, we also set up his nursery the next day. The girls took sponges and made wall paintings under the pretext of cleaning off the walls of his bedroom. "That is a beautiful sunrise!" Mimi exclaimed to Ella as they painted with water and sponges.
"I know why we're cleaning the walls," Mimi told me, "Because otherwise Jonathan might see the times that I drew on the walls as a baby and, you know... [tilts her head to side and shrugs her shoulders] he might decide it's okay to draw on walls. That'd be bad."
Yes, Mimi. That'd be bad. I'm glad you finally agree.
Mimi was horrible about confining artwork to paper. We'd been disciplining and redirecting and hiding pens and pencils for years. For her pencil drawings were not just an issue of being a baby and not knowing better. She had discovered forgotten pencils and defiantly defiled our walls only months before. She'd gotten smarter with age and the four year old drawings were much smaller and harder to see with the naked eye, but her artistic bent had earned her the privileged of scrubbing the walls more than once in the past year. I can see how she drew the connection.
Ella decided his walls needed to be sponged down to get rid of all the germs.
So as Steve and I assembled a crib, the girls scrubbed sunsets into the walls, with soap and water instead of pencils and pen. They squeeled with delight as their drawings disappeared and then reappeared, morphed into a different scene by their creativity and the yellow sponge.
Just before nap time the girls smothered the mattress in hugs and kisses and we set it into Jonathan's future crib. "When Jonathan goes in the crib and moves his arms and legs a lot," Ella explained, "It means that he's getting our hugs and kisses."
We were getting there. We were almost all set for him to come home. Steve and I put his new used clothes in his drawers and added a changing table as the girls slept.
After nap Ella examined the rest of the room set up. She explained to me that I was wrong to set the rocking chair next to the crib. It was too far away from the outlet. How was I going to pump milk if I couldn't get the pump near the outlet?
I told her I hoped I wouldn't need the pump as much when Jonathan came home.
"Oh yeah," Ella exclaimed, "Because he'll be nursing!" She gave me a thumbs up and a smile, very pleased with herself that this problem had been solved.
The girls analyzed the room and in the end decided it was pretty good. But it was not quite done. It needed their touch. They grabbed a half a dozen baby blankets and got to work piling blankets in his crib and smoothing them down so that they were perfect. They'd spend the next month going into that same bedroom and smoothing those same blankets, waiting for him to come home.