Friday, October 4, 2013

It's all fun & games until someone loses an IV site

The silly title of this post belies our true feelings right now.  I'm feeling particularly sad tonight.  Sad that our babies were born early and have to start out life getting poked, prodded, and pricked.  So far all of our babies have had their IV sites infiltrate, meaning the nurses had to find new IV sites.  And it seems that our babies are "hard sticks" and have "spindle-y little veins" which translates into them having to be stuck multiple times to find a new IV site.  This must be hereditary because Michelle was also a human pin cushion this week.  I don't think I told you that it took three sticks to get Michelle's first IV at Mt. Nittany and then took three sticks to get her spinal in on Tuesday.  Michelle has a couple of nice bruises to prove it.  We were gone when Isaiah and Ellie had to get their new IVs, but we were there tonight when they tried to find a new IV site for Avery.  It was heart-wrenching to hear her sad little cry and not be able to do anything about it.  It took four nurses and I don't even know how many attempts to find a viable site.  I put on a brave face in there and left telling the fourth nurse that I had complete faith in her that she would get it and that I was leaving so she didn't feel any added pressure.  (Turns out she got it on the first try.)  But I got back to the room and just cried and am crying again now as I write this post. 

I know in my heart, that all three of our babies are going to be just fine and are going to grow up to be beautiful children.  And in six months, this will seem like ancient history, but for tonight it just sucks.  It sucks to have to worry about 6 or 7 wires/tubes every time you pick up or reposition your babies (3 chest leads, pulse oximeter, and an IV--and O2 for Ellie).  And it sucks not to know how long this will be the case.  Everyone in the NICU keeps saying how well they're all doing.  And I know that is true, particularly relative to soooo many of the other babies in the NICU whose monitors are going off over and over because they can't keep their heart rates and breathing steady.  I think I also feel a little guilty and maybe pathetic for being so sad about our babies when all these other babies are so sick.  One little one who had been in one of the isolation rooms since we got there passed away today and the whole family/friends gathered in the room with that tiny little baby to say goodbye.  So tonight I think I'm grieving for that baby and that family and for all the families in the NICU who are so tiny and so sick.  And I'm grieving for the loss of the "normal" birth experience.  Labor and delivery has gotten really busy today and as we walk to the NICU to snuggle and feed our babies we hear babies crying in the L&D rooms.

And for tonight I think I just need to be sad and let it all out.  Tomorrow will be a new day and will mark our gorgeous babies' third day in this world.  And I will celebrate the little improvements and savor the moments I get to spend with each of them.  I know that they will each move forward at their own pace and that is okay.  I also know that our whole family of five is strong and resilient and each of us will weather this storm and have a wonderful life together full of love.  And that is what I will focus on tomorrow.

Okay, I just realized that it is already 12:30 a.m. so by tomorrow, I really mean today!  That also means that I need to get off the computer and get a little sleep before the 2 a.m. feeding time.  I'm going to go feed Isaiah and we're going to let Avery just rest and get her feed through her n-g tube.  Michelle will also get some extra rest by skipping this feed.  And I'm going to miss the 5 a.m. feeding and Michelle will just decide with the nurse which baby she will nurse, based on their cues.  Nighty night!  Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to get a picture of poor Avery's "IV hunt" bruises and little area of her head they had to shave to try (and fail) to get an IV in as well as the ones on Michelle's arm and add them to this post. 


  1. Everyone calls the NICU a roller coaster ride. Because I love roller coasters, I always thought it was a weird description. I found the NICU to be more like living on a weird little island while surviving a series of earthquakes that may or may not bring tsunamis depending on the magnitude of the earthquake. Having to watch that family let go of their little one makes today sounds like a tsunami day to me. It is so much to expect of yourself to be able to grieve for that little one while at the same time grieve the birth experience you didn't have while all the while keeping perspective on how well your little trio is doing. As banal as it sounds, the only advice I have to give is to keep on truckin along and savor all the moments, good and bad, because they will make you appreciate your daily life at home with the trio even more once you get there. Hugs to you all.

  2. Hugs! I probably could've written this post almost exactly a year ago. I remember spending a lot of time (or at least it seemed like a lot of time) crying because of the experiences I was missing out on, the awful things my lo was going through, the fact that I was sad at all, when she was relatively healthy...
    And now, though, I still baby my preemie, I also know and appreciate her strength. Looking back, and I KNOW this is of no help right now, I also realize I received the gift of focus. I was able to focus almost exclusively on J. because there was nothing else to do. Prayers and positive thoughts your way. We all love looking at your pics. L. is obsessed!

  3. Reading this brought back so many memories. Eric and I always said we wished they had a few rooms right outside the Nicu doors for moms to stay in, as having to walk the entire way through the floor was even more of a reminder of what you didn't have. I remember bursting in to tears in that hallway multiple times... the first being after making the mistake of glancing in a room. Staying positive is the best thing you can do! Preemies are amazing, strong little creatures... which I know you know! It never feels like it when you are there but soon this will be a distant memory and you guys will be home cuddling all three of those little cuties.

  4. What a cathartic, heartfelt post!! It is so good to hear you putting it all out there. Keep using your writing to help process the difficult journey that is NICU life. Day three is a long way from birth day. And in three more days it will be even better. Good to take the sad and bad with the wonderful. Those poor nurses hurt every time they have to "stick" a baby. Many of them have their down moments and need to be reminded they are helping and not hurting their little charges (even the big charges like Michelle). It's hard to live through, Mari. And it's okay not to be strong 24/7. Try giving it 23/7. Take care of yourself and the whole fam-damily!!
    Love to all.

  5. Hi, Mari and Michelle, I echo everything that everyone is saying here and what you said, which is so beautiful and true. This is the time when your mindfulness training will bear its full fruit, because your life will not let you be anywhere but the present moment, in all its wonderfulness and terribleness. Just know that although we can't take the burden from your shoulders, we're all supporting you and listening and being there. We love you. Just keep swimming! xoxoxox, Gina

  6. Thoughts and prayers for all 5 Therriens!


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