There are many little things I will never forget (but this is a nice reminder just in case I do):
How things changed: It's weird to have so many people lifting you up in prayer and through phone calls, emails, and comments on Facebook and the blog, hanging on your every word. And when you are most "popular" is when things are at their worst, but as things get better the interest in your story slips away and people slip back into the woodwork. It's kind of lonely and saddening. This started happening not too long after we came home from the hospital. It is a strange thing how people are so tapped in when things are sad and scary, and like a soap opera, they can't wait for the next episode. I know it's nothing personal. It's just human nature, but it has been a good lesson for me in how I am present in others' lives during the bad AND good. There are many, many people who are still very interested in the well being of Jacob and our family and make inquiries. I am much more aware and appreciative of the effort made by others to see how we are doing and let us know we are thought of and loved. Thank you!
Stinky Blankets-Yes, most people would rather forget such things but Jacob's stinky blankets were special. When he was in the NICU there were only a couple of things that were "Jacob's"-blankets and socks-the only things of his that captured his smell. And let me tell you, for the most part it was yucky, but it was MY baby's smell nonetheless. It smelled of medicine, plastic, and a strange sweat. I would take his dirty blankets back to Ronald McDonald house and snuggle up with one at night sometimes crying myself to sleep imagining holding my baby.
The sounds of the alarms-The alarms of the different monitors and machines sound like little horns and when they all go off at once, it was like a little NICU symphony. Well, at least that's how Andy and I made light of them all. When we hear them on our videos, we always have a little chuckle and in a strange way, it is a comforting sound. I can hardly explain why it's comforting. Maybe because it is the sounds that fill the memories of having a new baby...and of healing. The sounds changed from scary to just the normal sounds of our new "home." We left the NICU on a happy, "healthy" note. I'm sure those sounds are anything but warm and fuzzy for many, maybe even most, but for us they are a good sound. We'll take whatever positive memories we can from there.
Light and the Concentrator-When Andy and I got married, I was highly sensitive to ANY light in the room when we were going to sleep. I liked complete darkness and couldn't sleep with a single light. We had a cover for the alarm clock and I even made Andy put tape over the little light on the smoke detector high up on the ceiling. After we had Landon and Hazel, the cover came off the alarm clock because it provided just enough light for nighttime diaper changes and feedings. By the time Jacob came home, I think I could have slept with the sun itself in my bedroom! First of all, the exhaustion led me to be able to sleep in any condition, any position, and waking me was nearly impossible! In addition, Jacob needed so much monitoring and night time feedings were such a to-do (a pump, stethoscope to check tube placement, syringes, medications, etc.) that we had to have light. We also often had episodes of throwing up or choking. Needless to say a light was always on, usually the closet light. We also had a new sound to put us to sleep...the concentrator. The concentrator was his machine that pulled the oxygen from the room air and formed it into a high concentration. It was used in the home instead of having oxygen tanks. It made a slow whoosh-puh sound that soon became the essence of sleep. Even when Jacob was taking oxygen breaks, I would turn on the machine to take a nap. It became our own version of a white noise machine. I miss it a little but am over the moon to have the space back in my room. And of course, we are most thankful that Jacob doesn't require any supplemental oxygen at all!
This post is long enough so I will stop here and give an update on Jacob's progress in the next post.