Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another Anniversary

A year ago we brought Lexie home from the NICU. She spent 6 weeks there healing and growing. When she was there, we stayed informed of her status and the minor procedures she underwent, but I didn't get too deep into the details. I just mentally couldn't go there. That's why I don't know for sure about what happened to her in the hours after her birth, and I didn't know for sure what the possibilities were for complications in the weeks after her birth, and I didn't know specific details about how procedures like feeding tube insertions were performed.

A couple of months ago the (in)famous Duggars welcomed a preemie into their gigantic family. I never thought I'd watch that show, but since the arrival of 19th child Josie at 25 weeks gestation, I've been tuning in. I'm not so interested in the family's activities, but I've been watching the NICU footage carefully. I've now seen a feeding tube insertion on TV, and I know how far down it goes (far -- to the small intestine). I've seen this little TV preemie encounter complications that we avoided, but now I understand how they occur, and I realize how lucky we were that nothing serious befell Lexie during her time in the hospital. I now understand that when the nurses said "we're giving her .4 ml an hour of milk, and we'll see how she does," they were watching for a bowel perforation or necrotizing enterocolitis, in which the intestine begins to die. We didn't dig any deeper and just happily accepted it each day when Lexie did well and her feeds were increased.

I'm glad I didn't know that much about it at the time.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Funny Valentine

I don't talk too much about Steve in this space, but in honor of the upcoming cliche'd holiday I thought I'd talk about one of his best qualities, the one that drew me to him and keeps us close even while we seem to spend all our time working and taking care of Lexie. He has lots of great qualities -- he's intelligent, curious, and a great dad, to name just a few. But the quality I want to talk about here is his understated sense of humor.

When we first met, Steve was the ultimate gentleman, and he kept his sense of humor under wraps. It was around our third date that he really made me laugh for the first time, telling a story about how he'd gotten to hold a friendly three-toed sloth in South America, ending with the opinion that it would be the best pet ever. When I asked why, he said, "because it hardly ever goes to the bathroom."

He also re-enacted a later encounter with an UNfriendly wild sloth, which he and his officer friends were trying to poke at while they smoked cigarettes near a pier off the Panama Canal. That sloth tried to claw at their faces. But being a sloth, the attack went in super-slow motion -- snarling face, nasty-looking outreached claw and all.

Steve has a talent for defusing my irritation. A couple of summers ago, he took to leaving his flip flops in the middle of the living room. I finally complained that they were making me trip. He looked at me solemnly: "Me too." I laughed. He started putting them under the couch instead.

When I came home from the hospital last year, the house was pretty dirty. After a couple of weeks (during which I was recovering from an emergency C-section), I pointed out that there were dust bunnies the size of tennis balls under the dresser.

"You think that's bad?" he asked. "You should see under the bed."

Happy V-day, Steve. I couldn't imagine it with anyone else.