We Have a Date

Yes, we have a date. Not the fun kind with romance and flattering lighting and pretty outfits and food and wine. The kind with anxiety and doctors and surgery and Xanax. Le sigh.

Das Baby’s G-Tube placement has been scheduled for next Thursday, September 8. Think good thoughts for us then, please.

I’m trying to see the positives, as in: “Hey, we’re getting it over with,” and, “Now I won’t have to worry that my child is slowly starving,” and “Hopefully this will mean we do more than just try to feed him all day every day.”

But I’m still worried. About everything. The surgery. The change in his comfort on his tummy. A change in motor skills. I mean, come on, how cute was that commando crawling?! How amazing is it that my baby is moving around of his own volition? And what if he stops commando crawling because he’s got this uncomfortable tube in his tum? Or what if he doesn’t stop commando crawling and yanks said tube right out? And then I’m worried that it will be years before the tube comes out (intentionally). That we’re just prolonging his feeding issues. Le double sigh.

Ok, enough mommy/medical logorrhea.

Another kind of date: Something very suburban hausfrau and very, very fabulous happened here today (and no, I’m not talking about a ‘script for Xanax.) I paid people to come clean our house. And it looks and smells shiny and wondrous (with a side of salt and vinegar chips because we like cleaning with vinegar because it’s better for Das Baby). Last night I engaged in the pre-cleaning-lady (although our cleaning folks are a man and lady duo) ritual of cleaning up the house, a process which baffled me as a child (and in which my childhood refusal to participate eventually led to the cleaning lady cleaning every room in the house but mine).

So last night, I put away Das Baby’s nine million baby toys. (Parenting Pointer: have a toy bin in Every. Room. Of. Your. House. It makes life so much easier (and they can be cute and small and decorative, if you like–the bins, not the babies; the babies can be cute and small, but rarely are they willing to be only decorative)). And I tidied the kitchen and put the mail in the office and all of those other little things that I had to do, and then today was rewarded with a squeaky clean home. And this magic will happen every two weeks. Yum. Yay.

This is me. Relishing the trappings of suburbia. And I only feel slightly guilty about it! Your little girl is growing up.

I’ll close with a video of a recent dinner date I had with Das Baby. He really, really likes it when you call him Dirty Dude and then clean him up. Let’s hope this doesn’t develop into some sort of pathology necessitating years of therapy or an understanding partner.

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Disappointments…

Today someone arrived at this blog by Googling “Hausfrau oral.” I have a feeling he (or she! ladies can like domestic porn too) was quite disappointed.

Someone else wanted to know if a hipster’s room should be green or yellow. I vote green. But an ironic bright or pea green. I suggest Benjamin Moore’s Eccentric Lime (but note that I like to choose paints based on the vibe evoked by their names).

Post-useless appointment play in Das Baby's room. Das Baby LOVES Die Großer Fahrt! Danke, Tonka (aka, the Huxtables)!

Today we had incredibly useless G-Tube training. Not: here’s how you will feed your kid through a belly tube, but instead: don’t give your kid a bath for a week after it’s inserted, and be sure to clean the site with a 1/4 hydrogen peroxide to 3/4 water solution, and twist the tube a quarter turn every day, and here’s how to tape it. (Vaguely reminiscent of the training I received after getting my navel pierced in Madrid in 1997.) These instructions seem like things we could have been told while he was in the hospital. I feel like training should have been more about the next bunch o’ months/years, not the one week post-procedure. But apparently the really useful info will come when he’s inpatient after the insertion.

And as for will it affect his motor skills/will it come out when he’s commando crawling (his new awesome baby trick!)? They say it should be ok.  But they also seem to think that a loop of tube that comes two inches off of his belly won’t be a yanking temptation if it’s under a onesie. Clearly, they don’t know my kid. The nurse merely said we should reinforce that he shouldn’t play with it. I pointed out that this was a tough age for getting a tube: he’s old enough that he will definitely notice it, and he’s mobile and curious enough to monkey with things, but he’s not so old that he responds to instruction. I’m pretty sure she shrugged in response. Sweet.

We still don’t have a date for the procedure. But we do know definitively that we’re skipping an NG (nasogastric, or nose to tummy tube) trial, thanks to our pulmo who feels such things are bad news for o2 dependent babes.

Herr Husband, Le Gigi, and I were all quite stressed out by the day. Das Baby seemed happy that he got to skip a meal while at the hospital, less happy that he missed his naps. Herr Husband and Das Baby decided to go to bed early to mitigate their respective anxiety and fatigue.

Gratuitous photo of Das Baby with smoldering face. Clearly we've been teaching him to play "America's Next Top Model."

I chose a big glass of red wine (yum), reading Motherless Brooklyn (double yum), and a blog sesh (you can rate the yumness) to quell my nerves.

I give this approach a B- for efficacy. Let me know if you have anything better, but keep in mind it has to be safe for lactating ladies and their offspring.

Does he get that look from his mom?

Or from his dad?


I broke down…

No, not a nervous breakdown (Huzzah!). At least not yet.

I broke down and bought the video upgrade because I felt the world (well, my world anyway) needed to see this:

I have no further words, except to inform you that should you covet Das Baby’s hairstyle (and really, who wouldn’t), the secret is to apply copious amounts of oatmeal and bananas, and then wipe out the chunks with a wet washcloth.


Quick Answer

Someone arrived at my blog by Googling the question: “Are Bugaboos for yuppies?”
Yes. Yes, my dear, they are indeed. Hope that helps!

Perhaps as a service to yuppies everywhere, and especially to the yuppie/hipster overlap community, I should create a list of yuppie and hipster baby essentials… Any contributions?

My big one is Kicky Pants bamboo jammies (the ones with the gratuitous butt flap are the cutest!).

Kicky Pants, as modeled by Das Baby shortly after his discharge from the hospital. Herr Husband is also wearing bamboo: Panda Snack brand. How cute are my bamboo boys?


Gratitude

For my first job out of college, I worked as a case manager/counselor at House of Ruth‘s domestic violence transitional housing program. I ran several therapeutic groups for women who had survived almost indescribable horrors at the hands of their loved ones. One of the activities we did in the Positive Power Self Esteem Group was to list things for which we were grateful. Yes, it’s a bit ridiculous: a twenty-two year old kid who’d just graduated from Dartmouth asking a group of women who’d been stabbed, raped, and beaten, who were homeless, jobless, heartbroken, and bright but undereducated, to list the things for which they were grateful. But they all had many things, powerful things, they could list: their lives, their children, people who wanted to help them, a favorite book, a moment to themselves. And listing these things really did make them (and me, for I did the exercise too) feel better. Perhaps it’s a bit too Oprah (but look how well it’s worked for Oprah and the millions who love her!), but it gives perspective, and perspective is important for moving forward.

Family Fun Day! (Description in the very next paragraph!). Please admire the adorable baby, and ignore the giant bag under my eye. Your doing so will give me one more thing for which to be grateful.

I’m so incredibly grateful, humbled, and moved by the support the readers of this blog have shown me: family, family friends, friends from childhood, from high school, from college and grad school, from grown-up life, Das Baby’s nurses and fellow NICU parents (both also known as our friends from CHONY). People to whom I haven’t spoken in fifteen years. You read and you wrote. You wrote beautiful and caring and personal and elaborate or simple things. People always talk about how Facebook actually weakens friendships by fostering a false sense of connection based on a quick click. They say internet gives us a sense of being drawn together while actually pushing us apart. But I can’t agree. There’s something magical about being able to say into the ether: “I need some love,” and then getting it in droves. So thank you.

I’m also grateful that in spite of (or in part because of) the bad news about Das Baby’s growth problems and surgery and tube, Herr Husband and I put together one hell of a family fun day on Saturday. We took Das Baby into Boston, to the New England Aquarium.

Das Baby, enraptured by the big tank. You'll have to take my word for it that that's what he is looking at.

He has a lot of fish-themed toys (swing, Exersaucer, bath squirters), and really enjoys them, so we decided to introduce him to the real thing. They let us skip the (very long) line because of his oxygen, and Das Baby was riveted by the penguins, the fish, and the swarms of people (in this way, being in public is always sort of like a human aquarium for him!). Then we went for a walk around Faneuil Hall, where he did some more people watching and then took a nap. We came back home, played, laughed a lot, and then he danced with his dad until he fell asleep.

Family fun on our newly-installed porch swing (thanks, Uncle D!). Awesome.

Doesn’t make the crap go away, but proves that the three of us can be happy no matter what.


Pity Party

Yes, this is going to be a pity party, and you don’t have to come. Really. I’m not just being passive-aggressively self-pitying and saying you don’t have to come when really I expect you to come, goddam it.

Now that you can hardly wait to read on, here’s the story.

Das Baby’s doctors want him to get a G-Tube. That’s right, after all my smugness about “fixing” his eating problems by cutting out dairy, things slowly got worse again. His weight plateau continued (although he’s FINALLY up about half a pound), and his feeding problems returned: screaming, refusing, twisting away from the bottle, etc. By now, you would think that I would know better than to tempt the universe by declaring something resolved, but no, I just had to open my big bloggy mouth about it, and here we are.

So where is here?

Facing surgery (again). This time, he’ll have to be intubated and put under general anesthesia. Which terrifies me.

But before he can even have the surgery, they want to test how he does with tube feedings, which makes sense since he’s been off the NG since February, and to put him through surgery only to find out that he doesn’t do any better with tube feedings would be horrible. But it also means a two-week trial with an NG tube. Now Das baby hated the NG tube when he was one month corrected, and not terribly mobile. He’s now seven months corrected and incredibly active. The tube is going to drive him crazy, and I hate the thought of him being so miserable.

And, just to insert the NG tube is going to require a few days of hospitalization to make sure he tolerates it (no more Hipster Hausfrau and Herr Husband at-home tube insertions!). So that’s more torture for him.

And then it’s the surgery, and that excruciating moment where you have to hand your poor, innocent child over to the doctors (who are of course lovely and talented and trying to take the best care of him, but still…), and watch him disappear behind the double doors. And then you wait, knowing that he’s crying as they’re sticking him, and you’re not there to comfort him. And then, once he’s out, he’s lying there all floppy and vulnerable. And then they intubate him, which is always a bit risky for a pulmonary patient. And then the surgery itself. All while you sit in the waiting room trying not to think about anything, not wanting to ask for an update too soon, waiting for the moment when the doctor comes and you can try to read her face to see if your child is ok. Now of course I have friends who have seen their children through ten-hour heart surgeries (in addition to gads of routine procedures), and in comparison, a little G-tube insertion doesn’t seem like much. But any time you hand over your child to have him cut open is scary in a way I didn’t know I could be scared.

And then once the tube is in, there’s the maintenance of it, the fact that it may make his feeding issues worse rather than better (he still won’t feel appropriately hungry, and he won’t have to eat). It could also worsen his reflux. On average, it’s in for a year, but it could be shorter or longer. And there’s the simple fact that what should have been this important part of our bonding, a mother nursing her child, is instead a woman being hooked up to a pump like a fucking dairy cow so that a separate pump can inject the food directly into her child’s stomach. Herr Husband and I refer to these phenomena as the science fair project, when instead of relating to Das Baby naturally as our child, we have to relate to him technically and medically. I’m sure research has been done on this subject, but I think it’s incredibly detrimental to the parent-child relationship (and frankly a testament to the depth of our love for him that it doesn’t seem to have affected us too much).

The silver lining: I won the science fair in middle school and high school.

So I’m heartbroken and terrified and all kinds of other bad things. But I also want Das Baby to grow, and I have to believe that in fifteen years he’ll be happier to have had the tube he doesn’t remember than to have had a lack of nutrition affect his growth.

Das Baby has obliged my emotional state by taking an epic nap so that I can write this post and perform several rounds of weep in bed.  And ask ugly questions like: Why us? and My water broke almost a year ago. When will this stop? And these are bad questions because 1) everybody has their shit, it’s part of life and 2) they tempt the universe to unleash even more havoc. Don’t do it, universe! I know I have far more for which I should be grateful (like a sweet, gorgeous, alive miracle baby) than about which I should cry.

Thanks so much for coming to the pity party today. I’m not normally one to treat Hipster Hausfrau like a public journal, but I needed to write this one out. If you’ve gotten all the way to the end of this torturous message, and want to leave some love in the comments, I’d be much obliged.

Yup. He's cute. And after reading all that boo-hoo-hooing, you deserve a picture of him.