17 Nov 2011

Different Shades of Purple

Today is November 17.  It is one of the coldest days in my area of Canada so far and the snow began to fall lightly this morning.

In I went to work, armed with some purple icing covered cupcakes and all decked out in my favourite purple sweater.  In came my colleagues.  Hiding under their winter coats, which have recently been pulled out of the darkness of their closets, were different shades of purple.

We had colours of plum and eggplant, magenta purpley-pink, mauve and even some Barney The Purple Dinosaur purple...and some pink, because that's close to purple, right?? :)

By 9:00 there were several of my colleagues, also my friends, proud to wear purple to support the First World Prematurity Awareness Day.

By about 9:01, there we all were hovering around the kitchen table chowing down on purple coloured cupcakes with baby blue and pink diaper pins adorning them.

By 11:00 as many of my co-worker buddies were rounded up as possible--hard to do when we are scattered throughout the building and doing various things during our busy days--and we posed for a pic.

Through the tough times my family, friends and co-workers stood by me.  My new co-workers who arrived on scene after I made my quick exit from my work duties when my twins arrived 13 weeks early, have come to know my story and support me equally.  It is amazing to have such a support network and I can't say thank you enough.

These are people who went on the rollercoaster with me while my kids were in the NICUs.  My husband and I were sitting in the front seat of the rollercoaster, while my family, friends and colleagues may have been toward the back of the rollercoaster and perhaps not feeling the same impact of the ride, but they were right there for the entire ride with me. Laughing, crying, screaming, praying, hugging and supporting me and my husband until the rollercoaster ride came to a halt.

Then we jumped off that rollercoaster and got right onto a new ride, taking us in the direction of home, which still has many ups and downs, bumps and jolts, but it is where we want to be and it couldn't be more exhilerating!

Not a day goes by that I don't feel thankful for the wonderful work of the neonatologists, the nurses and NICU staff that got us through that ride safe and sound. 

We, as preemie parents, also have to thank organizations like the Linden Fund, here in Ontario, Canada, and the wonderful March of Dimes, that have gone to great lengths to get funding, supports and assistance for premature children and their families.  This can be one of the toughest times a family can face and these types of organizations found all across the world make the "ride" feel a little saner.

Thank you for recognizing and raising prematurity awareness today and every day!

13 Nov 2011

Diaper Backward Spells Repaid...

Diaper backward spells "repaid." Seriously.  I'm being repaid twofold! I must have really put my parents through a lot of crap during my diaper days!

I have been told many a time that as a toddler I used to take off my diapers aftering waking from my naps and would proceed to wipe the poopy ones on bedroom walls at home and the babysitter's.  Oh my! Gross.  I proceeded to teach my younger brother how to carry on the tradition when he was capable.

Talk about karma!  Once the babies were home we were going through about 16-20 diapers a day. It got to the point I was dreaming of diaper change times because that's all it seemed I was doing in the early days.

When it comes down to it, diapers have been a big part of our lives.  I'm not sure that everyone gets excited about the first time a diaper is put on their baby.  I do know that as new parents many are afraid or not sure how to change their baby's first few diapers, but most dive in and figure it out.

When it comes to the NICU experience, a diaper is not always the first thing put on a baby.  Instead it's leads and monitors and sticky tapes, breathing apparatuses and who knows what else? Then the diaper might come.  There may not be a diaper that actually fits this "newborn" baby.

The Stages of Diapers of the Twins: Preemie Small, NB, 1, 2 & currently in 3.
You can see the # "7" written on the Preemie diaper on the left, which I explain in this post.

In all 3 of my cases, my babies were born suddenly and in an ill-prepared hospital without a NICU on site, therefore there were no teeny tiny diapers to put on their tiny new bodies.  In each case, however, the size of the diaper was the least of anyone's worries.

Preemie #1 was transported to an appropriate unit and one of my first memories of him was him spread out on a warming bed in a very big diaper, pretty much swallowing up his lower body and torso.  It was on very loose to avoid irritating his premature skin.

If I thought Preemie #1 was swimming in his first diaper, I was rudely corrected when Preemie #2 and Preemie #3 arrived.  These two were more than 2 pounds less than their big bro.  Finding ourselves in the "wrong" hospital again, they were not equipped with anything less than the standard newborn diapers.

Once the twins arrived at their NICU, on went the tiniest diapers I have ever seen!  Pampers Premature Small.  Wow.  It amazed me that diapers were made this small!  These diapers weigh 7 grams.

How do I know how much a diaper weighs and why do I know this??  Well, in the NICU a baby's bodily functions are monitored every 3 hours or less.  The nurses in the unit will hand write "7" or whatever the weight of each diaper on the front to indicate how much the diaper weighed before the baby did his business in it. 

My Cabbage Patch Kid "Preemie," Circa 1985.
His leg is the same size as my 2 lbs Preemies' diaper!
The "Preemie" is in a NB size diaper rolled up.
Why would we want to weigh the diaper after the baby has worn it?  To be pretty certain that the baby's fluid intake and urine output are balanced.  Bloodwork and other assessments are carried out too in order to monitor the baby's nutrition, but one of the first obvious indicators of  problems appears or does not appear in the diaper.

When it comes to changing a premature or NICU baby's diaper it can be outright terrifying for the parent.  As premature babies' parents we are facing wire leads, tubing, monitors, machines, sticky things, tape, and a fragile baby connected to it all.  We must stand outside the incubator, putting what are most likely gloved hands and arms through two small access holes to be able to work with the baby.  It sucks learning to change a diaper for the first few times for any person or parent, but throw in an incubator and the awkwardness of manoeuvering through all of the wires and the fear of harming the baby and it can be a pretty terrifying, albeit very memorable experience.

Tonight I'm reminiscing about diaper changing for a particularly good reason.  This month is Prematurity Awareness Month in the United States and November 17, 2011 is the First World Prematurity Awareness Day.  A fellow preemie parent is currently working on "40 Diapers. 40 Days," to help create premature birth awareness and raise funds for a NICU in Haiti.  She is painting 40 diapers and taking donations and a silent auction will be held at the end of 40 days.

I know what a scary and trying time the NICU process is, but can only imagine how much more difficult it would be living in a situation where a NICU is not the norm and most likely unattainable for most babies born too soon.

If you can, please visit her site at http://www.thepainteddiaper.com/ and support her along the way.

This Thursday, November 17, please wear purple to show support and help raise Prematurity Awareness!  It's not talked about enough.

Thank you.

9 Nov 2011

Liebster Blog Award

So after a few moments of thinking about it, I confirmed in my head that, yes, it definitely is Wednesday.  I seriously had to think about this for a few minutes and confirmed it by seeing what was on the T.V. tonight.  If Modern Family is on, I know it's Wednesday.  Unfortunately, I didn't actually get to catch the show, as my oldest son was just settling down for the night at the beginning of the show.

So given the fact that it is Wednesday, I considered making this my very first "Wordless Wednesday" post...BUT I figure my opportunities to get on here to blog have been few and far between since getting back into my full time job (aside from my full time job as Mommy,) so I want to make full use of my time...nevermind that it happens to be Wednesday.  My first Wordless Wednesday can wait!

Then I realized I could have a "Wine Down Wednesday," but there is no wine, so I settled for a hot chocolate and a wordy blog.

Way back on October 7, I received a comment from a fellow blogger, Sharon, at http://mammadoitall.blogspot.com/, who let me know she had awarded me with the Liebster Award for bloggers.  She listed me with four other bloggers, as blogs she was enjoying reading and following.  How nice is that?  It really did put a smile on my face to know that a woman in Manhattan, a journalist, was enjoying my writing and passing it on.  So I am going to pass it on now...but it is going to be a two parter (mainly due to lack of time tonight.)

The following blogs are ones I enjoy reading when I get a chance and I hope you'll check them out too.

Changing Diapers and Taking Names at http://findingbrittnemo.blogspot.com/
This blogger hosts Blog Hops, which I love, as do many other bloggers out there.  Blog Hops for those that don't know are intended to help bloggers find other bloggers within their own niche or other interests/hobbies.  She also has a Mom of the Month tab, on which readers can nominate extraordinary moms. Very cool.

Mom is the Only Girl at http://momistheonlygirl@blogspot.com
This is a fun mother, who makes life interesting for her two boys.  It seems like she and her husband set out to teach their boys something new every day in fun and interesting ways.

A Mommy Blog Design Studio at http://www.amommysblogdesignstudio.com/
This is a business, however, I do like her blog posts on the topics of how to make blogs work, especially for all us mommy bloggers out here.  Not only does she provide good information, but she also has fun designs and blog packages that can be purchased.

I'm going to name two more, but not now...it's 11:30 and I am exhausted!