Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Help

No, not like the book or the movie.

Tonight, as I watched a movie BY MYSELF on new year's eve while the boys and Mommy Bub slept, I was thinking about when the boys were born. (OK, fine. It was a song on the tearjerker movie that I was watching that made me get all melancholy...)

Anyway, the boys, the NICU, it was hard. Compared to others in the NICU, we had it easy - friggin cake walk. But, the NICU, preemie babies, newborns in general - it's all hard.

As parents, we could identify XX people who could visit the boys in this sterile environment, period. We could identify even fewer who could visit when we were not there.

We had spots that we chose not to dole out. Our permissions went to Granny/Grandpa, Papa/Nana, and Tante Sid. That's it. And, nobody knows that we included Tante Sid. She was the "emergency backup," but between the seven of us, the boys had someone there all hours of the day and part of the night.

So, tonight, I was thinking about how we got through it all. Those adorable, squishy, preemie boys (who, incidentally, still don't bother to sleep in their own beds for the whole night). Those smart and funny boys (who ran around sans pants tonight for no particular reason).

Dr. Cannon, for sure. He was our first pediatrician. And Dr. Pretty-Blonde-whose-name-i-cant-remember. They were amazing. And the nurses. They kept our boys alive - which wasn't really hard - we were just small and some other little problems. Those nurses kept other teeny souls alive whose monitors "went off" constantly. Those nurses were amazing.

Then, there was Rosemary. She was the head NICU nurse. When we didn't like the care they were getting (only twice, BTW), she made sure that those nurses didn't get assigned to our isolettes again. Adorable woman, and I think that she would have scooped up the Peanut in a heartbeat. She adored him.

Next was Tante Sid. She "snuck" in there when no family was present, and she's the one that gave permission for Meatball's blood transfusion when I couldn't get back to town (50 miles away) fast enough and Bub couldn't leave work. Not only did she give the permission (technically, we did, but she "did") she held his medically-induced-sleep hand the whole time. She watched his color come back as the good blood made its way through his itty bitty body.

Then there were the grands. Grandpa refused to hold them until they were "more substantial," but that didn't keep him from being there every day, close by, watching, breathing. Granny had new - SHORT - nails applied so that she could feel their skin and not be forced to wear gloves. Nana took loads of pictures and practically dressed in a hazmat suit just to be able to look at them. Papa, a life long smoker, would shower and scrub before leaving home (again, 50 miles away), not touch a cig, bring a change of freshly laundered clothes, change and scrub again, all for the opportunity to hold a feeding tube for 5 minutes. (He still doesn't smoke in his own house just so that they won't be exposed.)

So, yes. I "complained" about how spoiled they were on Christmas morning. Not a complaint, really, BTW. I don't, however, gush on about how we don't go to daycare or how we don't ever look for (or even consider) a babysitter. The boys have only ever spent three hours away from us when it wasn't one of the "help" mentioned above. (And, even then, it was my uber-responsible day-care provider niece.)

With the exception of Rose (with whom we lost contact with when she changed hospitals), the "help" gets us through. They are as important to us as anyone could be. They are the boys family, their guidance, their people.
Truth be known, they are those same things to us, too. We are indebted to them. The boys wouldn't be who they are without us - and them.

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