Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Big Fat NICU Experience

There was a lady walking around the NICU telling people that there was a March of Dimes free dinner upstairs for NICU parents.  I got the impression that there wasn't anyone there, and Ainsley was asleep, and I love eating.  WIN!

So I went.  And then I remembered why I don't go to March of Dimes things.

You know how it's so nice to talk with people who get what is going on with you?  Like, I made some seriously good friends while I was doing IVF who were doing IVF too and just got it in a way that needed no explanation.  Or, when you have a newborn and you aren't sleeping and your nipples feel like razors and you feel like you'll probably just die?  And then your friend is there to be like, "YES newborns are assholes and nobody tells you that and eventually the cute will outpace the asshole and it will all be OK."

I can't just walk into a group of NICU people and feel like they can understand what this 10 months has been like.  I'm not the first or only person with a super sick baby in the hospital, but it just seems like, at some point you lose that sort of common thread.  All three families that we bothered talking with regularly came and went months ago.  Everyone at this dinner talked about their super long stays of 4 weeks and 10 weeks and you know, maybe even a few more weeks to get the hang of the bottle...and whatever.  45 weeks and counting.  I'd be willing to bet that we won't even be home in 10 weeks.

Someone left me a blog comment once sticking up for me when I was complaining about being sick with the twins.  People who were trying to get pregnant and couldn't were annoyed with my complaints because I should just be ecstatic while puking in my garbage can at work.  And her argument was, "Your cancer doesn't heal my broken back."  And it's so true - my long hospital stay and sick baby don't make it suck less for them but holy hot damn, I just do not want to hear it. 

So I did what any antisocial weirdo would do: I scarfed down my free pasta and I smuggled two cookies into my purse and headed straight back to Ainsley's room to watch a marathon of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

Because this makes me feel normal.


areyoukiddingme said...

Oh yes, there is nothing to make you feel more normal than awful reality TV. This is why I watch Judge Judy as frequently as possible.

And I know I don't know you, but I suspect that what you were avoiding is the pity that would come from explaining that Ainsley seems to like having a bevy of servants that she knows she won't have at home. At least they had cookies...

Jill said...

I just started reading your blog, but I can't say I blame you for scarfing down your pasta and making a graceful exit. You are right, there is no pain Olympics (and who the hell would want to win that anyway?) but it doesn't make your situation any less sucky.

It is totally human to wish you didn't compare your situation to others' situations. But we do. And we can't help it all of the time.

I can't relate to your NICU nightmare. But I did lose a twin and I did go through IVF. So I do feel some sisterhood with you.

Right now I am in the 7th month of a deployment with two very small kids. When I go on FB and see the "OHMGEE my husband is going to be gone ALL WEEKEND! however am I going to handle my dog!!??!" I want to reach through the screen and bitchslap them into reality... Yea, my husband is flying in combat daily, landing on a postage stamp of a ship, with no phone and crappy internet while I sit here with 2 under 2, a dog, a cat, and a house built in 1952".

But I don't. I click the "x" and then flip on a marathon of TRHONJ or some other Bravo masterpiece that I will get the sideeye for watching when my hubby finally does come home.

Sorry for the diatribe. You are normal. Your family is in my prayers.

Amanda said...

I love how completely honest you are in your posts!! You don't hold back and let your soft little underbelly be exposed and not a whole lot of bloggers can say that. We can selectively "put out" there whatever we want people to know or think. Thank you for being so real and sharing with us.

Barbara Jean said...

I love MBFGW, and I love you.

I felt/feel the same way about going to Mommy & Me type things when my daughter was little. After losing 7 babies before her I just couldn't relate to those people. I didn't want one more person to ask me "is this your first?".

I wish you didn't have to deal with any of this. I wish that Ainsley was home and that Evelyn was with her. Sometimes life is shitty, but you handle it with such grace that it blows my mind.

I wish you and your family continued strength.

Solitary Diner said...

I think the line "your cancer doesn't heal my broken back" is a piece of brilliance. Thank you for sharing.

Mab said...

*HUGS* I know hugs from a stranger just aren't the same, but it's all I can offer. I can't imagine your frustration - we were in NICU for 62 days and I thought that was forever. I had a time relating to others, too, and I didn't have nearly as good of a reason. I remember rolling my eyes at a girl who said I could call her to talk, because her babies were in NICU for two weeks.

Superstar said...

Sort of like when a newbie infertile would cry and moan about the six whole months they had to do fertility treatments. Meanwhile, I was on my fourth fucking IVF after seven years of trying. Kinda makes you want to smack someone, and yet there's that itty bitty thin common string, so it'd be rude if you smacked.

Joelle said...

Why, oh why, don't your very best friends tell you that newborns are assholes? I did 6 rounds of IVF, and finally gave up and moved to adoption. Somehow, by the grace of god, we adopted twin newborn girls 8 months ago. I tell you, I will never feel that same feeling in my whole life again. Simply amazing.
2 weeks later? I wanted to jump off the GW husband and i would look at each other, and say, "!" So so hard...i called all my friends with kids and said, "why don't you tell people this!?" and after all we had been through, i then felt guilty for feeling like that in the first place!
but now, 8 months later...the cuteness is indeed taking over, and i seriously just want to be with them all day long...just wish i had a little forewarning that i might wish death upon myself.
but you are the only blogger i know that can make me laugh out loud!

Ms. J said...

Everyone else here said it so much better than I could. I feel sarcastically inferior now, and no cookie to console myself with.

I frequently complain about lots of not-so-adorable things about parenthood (adoption and pregnancy), so I find your take on things to be rather warm and fuzzy, like a hand beckoning me in and nudging me to pour a third glass of wine.

Clair said...

GOOD FOR YOU!!! Reminds me of the whole starving kids in China thing that our mom's used to pull on us. Really if I finish my plate, are the starving kids in China going to feel fuller? Whatever!!! (I am sympathetic to the starving kids in china by the way!)

BrandiH said...

I find it funny that the longer my TTC process took after my loss and then the 2nd time being even longer I realized I started to hate myself. I would think "why did I say such stupid things back when I had only tried 6 months" and then that 6 months turned to a year. And now that I have been blessed with my 3rd pregnancy I have to laugh when I see woman posting about "don't complain at least you have a baby/are pregnant..." or whatever the case is, because some day they will be there and feel like an ass for the things they said too.

I really hope Ainsley is able to come home soon!

HereWeGoAJen said...

We just need to find some other long-termers for you to hang out with. I've had a lot of trouble with other people and their "problems" lately.

Dreams and False Alarms said...

when you get outside the 'norm' it just gets too painful to give a crap about others. I hear ya.

DF said...

Forty Five weeks.....not many NICU parents can or would want to know what that feels like. It does seem Ainsley has the tenacity of her mom though and I pray that she gets to play at home with her big sister sometime in the NEAR future!!

I think I would have gobbled up my pasta and scooted out quickly too. MBFGW is some kinda crazy isn't it??

nyanarose said...

I stopped talking to other people once we hit six months. I hated the sad faces other families made when they learned we'd hit 200 days and counting. No one said you had to make friends. But free cookies are always nice.

needsatimeout said...

I love the pain Olympics line in the comments.
I struggled with grieving after losing my 2 babies after all one time it was 8 weeks, and one time it was 11 weeks. I mean after all a family friend lost her daughter at 37 years old. How in the world do I defend myself feeling sad about someone I didn't even meet. Then there is the comment I heard from a new mom/coworker "the labor was the worst thing ever" I shot her a look and she came over and apologized. I love your blog, I love reality tv that make me feel so normal.

Sarah said...

I can't blame you. We did 16 weeks and that's nothing compared to 45! the 3 week families have to be downright painful to listen to.

it's too bad they wouldn't let you take the spaghetti to go...haha!