In Oaklee’s first month, we learned that our NICU journey would be hard the whole way through. We learned that no matter how well our baby was doing, this part of the journey was still next to unnavigable. We were making progress, yes, but we were exhausting ourselves with both the places we needed to be and the perception of the places we needed to be. We were exhausting ourselves with our responsibilities, our relationships and our minds.
Month: July 2018
For One More Day is about Charles “Chick” Benetto, a product of a divorce, forced to choose between his mom and dad. His thirst for his father’s love leads him to baseball where he has a very short, very successful stint before getting injured, falling into a deep depression, surrendering to alcoholism and, eventually, attempting to end his life. Within the attempt, he enters the space between life and death where he spends one more day with his deceased mother and gets the chance to tie up loose ends and make wrongs right before living to tell about his experience.
People call breastmilk liquid gold, and I was blessed with an overabundance of it, but there are significant problems with a body that produces 8-14 ounces of breastmilk every 3-4 hours. There are especially significant problems when the baby who’s supposed to be taking that breastmilk is only taking less than 1 ounce at a time.
In the baby shower process, I learned this:
There are a lot of things you need. There are a lot of things you don’t need. When you’re in our situation – one that’s abnormal, stressful and unideal – you need the thoughtful, special gifts just as much as the practical ones. Love is never superfluous, and when a thoughtful, special gift embodies love, that’s a pretty important thing.
Three weeks postpartum and our lives are kind of a blur. When I try to recount these days, even referencing my journal, it’s majorly statistics – statistics that most normal parents don’t monitor quite so closely – that I remember. Oaklee weighed this much. Oaklee eats this much. Oaklee’s been on the CPAP this many days…
We’d begun to find our groove in the track no one wants to take, navigating yet another long term hospital stay. We were getting through each day simply to get through each day. Our constants were work, hospital, home and pumping.
You can’t read two books in a trilogy and not the third, so this next book was a search for closure for me. Jojo Moyes captivated me, like many others, with Me Before You. I gave it a 4.5 and was so excited when book two, After You, came out, but disappointed once I read it. It wasn’t going to get better than Me Before You, and I should have known that, but still, I needed to see Louisa Clark’s story out to the end, so I landed here for book 21.
Were we disappointed in a step back? Of course, but we also just wanted our baby to rest. A baby’s overall development depends so much on his/her sleep. In order for Oaklee to sleep well, she needed to not have to work so hard to breathe. Accepting this step back was like giving our daughter a break, telling her to just relax – she has time to get better.
It was somewhere around this date, in the hype of the medical jargon and the chaos of me going back to work, that I realized I needed to tell Oaklee I loved her. While, in so many ways, the doctors and nurses owned Oaklee, being able to provide better care for her than I could, I provided one very important thing they could never provide. Love.
This next one was my June Book of the Month choice and, fun fact, it was also my 100th book since I got married in September of 2014. (I celebrated by buying a book today.) I’m drawn to memoirs and needed a light read after the last couple of topics I was getting stuck on and this one delivered.
Sing, Unburied, Sing is about the struggle to navigate rites of passage amidst varying family and racial dynamics. Jojo, age 13, is becoming a man as his black grandfather helps raise him, his white father is released from prison, his white grandfather refuses to acknowledge his existence and the spirits of important deceased men pay him visits. Meanwhile, his black mom can’t seem to put her children above her drug addiction, his black grandmother is dying of cancer and he’s forced to take care of his little sister, Kayla. It’s a story of generational poverty wrapped up in a time when racial tensions still ran strong in Mississippi.