Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March 20 and March 27

Lexie's due date, March 20, passed without fanfare 11 days ago. In a lot of ways she's acting like a newborn, but in a few ways she's a little ahead of newborn skills. She's almost able to hold her head up consistently now, and she tries to hold her own bottle too. I know it will be a long road, but hopefully by age 2 she'll be caught up for her actual age, versus her gestational age (11 days today). Below, a shot of Lexie around her due date. (Note busted swaddle. Don't worry -- we were keeping an eye on her. We're not leaving any loose bedding in the crib or anything like that.)

On March 27, Steve and I went out to dinner for our 5th anniversary. My mom babysat. She was trying to get us to go to a movie as well, but I figured we'd just fall asleep if we sat down in the dark, so we kept it down to just dinner. As we drove down the street away from the house, I wondered if it would be bad form if I napped in the car en route to the restaurant, an Asian fusion place in Old Town Alexandria. I managed to stay awake for the ride, but it wasn't easy.

We had a nice meal, and actually managed to talk about a few things other than the baby. Steve had some hot sake, but I passed on the booze, since I'm still pumping and not making enough to feel right "pumping and dumping," even just this one time. Not to mention the fact that any alcohol at all would likely have put me under the table -- I haven't had a drop since July.

It's been a long time since I went out to dinner. So long, in fact, that as I finished a breadstick I came appallingly close to tossing the last bite onto the floor for my dog. Who obviously would not have been at the restaurant. Luckily I caught myself at the last minute.

That night, Steve and my mom gave me the ultimate gift -- a full night's sleep. I felt like a new woman! And I'm looking forward to the day some months in the future when that becomes the norm once again.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two Weeks Home

Alexandra has been home with us now for two weeks, which marks the first two weeks since November that no member of our family has been in residence at the hospital. I still think of the families there and all the babies in the NICU. This whole experience has brought me countless new perspectives, even just walking around the hospital.

Whenever I'd see women in their hospital gowns being wheeled into the NICU to see their premature babies for the first time, I'd think, "that was me."

Up on the 6th floor, where Lexie lived for two weeks just down the hall from my old room, I'd see glimpses of the women on bedrest and think, "that was me."

When I'd see tired, worried-looking men getting off the elevator with takeout dinner for their hospitalized wives, I'd think, "that was Steve."

When we were finally checking out of the NICU, I saw other mothers watching me and I knew what they were thinking, because that had been me, every day until it was our turn.

My mom is visiting this week, helping us get some extra sleep. Lexie is doing well here at home, although she hasn't quite taken to her bassinet the way she did her NICU crib. She's a great sleeper now as long as someone is holding her. We're trying to get her used to the bassinet, little by little.

It hasn't been an easy road to parenthood, so I'm wired to expect adversity. Because preemies are more likely to die of SIDS, I'm completely paranoid. This probably contributes to my wanting to hold her as much as possible. (Then I can make sure she's still breathing.) I know I'll have to chill out, especially when Steve goes back to work and I'm on my own here at home, but for now this makes me feel better.

Here's Lexie hanging out in her bouncy seat. She's not too sure about it.

Here's a shot of her fluffy hair, post bath, while she chews on my sweatshirt.