Lesson Learned from Month 2 of Parenting 2

Two months ago I was blogging from a recliner seated by Elyse’s bedside while tiny white snowflakes danced around outside the window of her NICU suite. It was a cold and gray time, not only because it was late-February, but also because, although she had been born with an acceptable platelet count, Elyse was being hospitalized for an undetermined length of time due to respiratory distress. Two months ago, Elyse weighed just under six pounds and was an average newborn length of 19 inches. As she lay in her little isolette attached to wires and a breathing monitor, I sat by her and patiently waited for the bradys (remember those moments of really shallow breathing?) to subside so that we could take her home to her sister and two kitties.

Today, two months later, I am blogging from the comfortable black pleather desk chair in my living room. Outside the windows, the sun shines brightly over the freshly cut grass and newly manicured mulch beds of my backyard, the birds are chirping and the air smells of the promise of summer and the good times ahead. Today, Elyse weighs well over nine pounds (nine pounds, eight ounces, in fact) and is now 20 1/4 inches in length. Considering that she was born almost a month early (her adjusted age is really just over a month old), she’s growing very well. On Tuesday, her two-month “birthday,” she received her first round of vaccinations and today she woke up with her first cold (ugh). It has been quite a week for her.

I know that time passes more quickly with each passing year of life, but it seems to speed by even more rapidly when you spend your days caring for and watching your two little ones grow. My dad called me on Tuesday to check-in (he’s really wonderful about checking in with his “little sweethearts” every week) and when I told him that Elyse had her two-month check-up earlier that afternoon, he replied, “Two months already? Wow. That went by fast for me, I’m sure it went by even faster for you.” And, you know, like all great dads, he’s always right. :0) 

So, what has month two of parenting two taught me? Well, I would have to say that I’ve learned to appreciate asking for help — from family and friends — all the more. Now that I’m just about fully recovered from my c-section and am finding it a bit easier to navigate through my days and nights on broken sleep (thankfully, Clara does allow me to sleep until at least 8:30 or 9 on most mornings), Taylor has begun traveling for work again. Since the beginning of April, he’s taken two business trips — a quick trip to Tennessee and New York and a longer one to London. Not being one who likes to ask for assistance if I can help it (I just hate to put that burden on others), I felt okay asking my mom to spend the night so that she could assist me in bringing the girls to a late-morning appointment and was relieved when my in-laws showed up on a Friday night so that I could get dressed after my shower in peace. I am fortunate in that I have so many people who I can call on to lend me a hand (don’t worry, I know who you are…), and believe me, when I need assistance, I’ll call. Otherwise, I try to get things done on my own — sometimes it’s just easier. Besides, I like a good challenge every now and then. :0)

So, asking for and receiving help is one of my weaknesses, but when I was pregnant with Elyse, I was more than willing to take advantage (in the best sense of the word, that is) when others offered to help out with Clara, housework, etc. In addition to a lot of other life lessons, enduring a treated NAIT-pregnancy gave me the courage (and strength) to ask for assistance when I needed it. I guess you really don’t feel as shy about asking others for favors when you are in such a precarious position. Not only did I rely on those who surrounded me for help, but I also looked to my fellow NAIT moms for advice and support. Knowing that I had a face-to-face as well as a virtual support system gave me a lot of comfort. It still does. Even though I’m not carrying a NAIT pregnancy any longer, I regularly look to my virtual family for reassurance during the aftermath of the most challenge experience of my life to date. And while Elyse is doing well and thriving as she should, I can’t help but wonder if all of the treatments, drugs, ultrasounds and stress are going to adversely affect her one day? This is why having a strong support system will always be an important part of my life.

In the meantime, I’ve come to embrace my newfound confidence (thanks to overcoming some pretty difficult obstacles) and feel much more comfortable in my new position as someone who now feels that it’s okay to rely on others for help and support. While the last two months have gone by in a flash, I’m looking forward to the laziness that summer brings and am hoping  to savor the next two months of Elyse’s life even more than the previous two. Watching my girls develop and progress has been the greatest gift anyone has given me. I’ll be forever grateful to all of those individuals (you know who you are and I thank you for reading each week) whose help and assistance has given me the time I need to enjoy motherhood — something I once thought I would never get to experience.

In the spirit of helpfulness and in an effort to pay it forward, I would like to offer up my assistance to a former UCONN colleague. He is now a professor in the Communication Studies Department at the University of Rhode Island. This semester he’s challenged two of his classes to make a viral video on an important social issue, with the caveat that in order to get an A+ on the project, the video has to get 1,000,000 hits in just under one month. One of the classes chose to focus their project on breast cancer awareness and have coined their campaign “Make it Pink.” They want to make tomorrow — April 27th — pink and are asking you to help them out. I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch the video below. Also, for more information about the Make it Pink campaign, please visit www.makeitpink.org. So, DTT readers, let’s all help these students reach their goal: Watch their video and make tomorrow pink!

*NOTE: I’ll be posting up some pictures of the girls from the last month later this weekend. I know that I’ve been slacking on the picture front and will make-up for it in a few days! :0)*

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