Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holy Crap, I'm the Mom

Sad but true: Everyone seems to have the "holy crap, I'm the mom" moment, and I had mine just a few days ago. There's this one nurse, Chu, whom I would dearly love to take home. She's made it her business to be on with Penn as often as possible and I really feel so comfortable with her. She's reassuring and encouraging and knows how to strike the right tone -- good qualities in anyone, but especially in a nurse working with unsure parents of fragile bebes.

Anyway, I was fretting because the onesie Penelope was wearing had touched dirty laundry. So not a big deal in the real world, but in the NICU, with a kid who'd had a sepsis due to contamination mere weeks before and who has no immune system whatsoeer, it's actually something to be considered. Fret fret fret. I kept asking Chu, "Do I worry or do I just change her? I don't have anything to change her into. What do I do?" And she just didn't have an answer for me.

Because really, it's not her job to have an answer. Her answer was probably "It's fine, for Chrissake!" except that she'd never in a million years say such a thing -- and also, that answer could leave her liable if I left her in the onesie, she got another infection, and I insisted that it was all her fault. Her job is to be ubercautious.

In the end, I changed the onesie -- bfd. But the point of the story is, I just realized, after a while, that Chu couldn't make this decision for me. It was a tiny point and life is going to be full of them and I can't go running to a nurse every time, even though I had a preemie, even though I legitimately needed to know certain things at one point. I have to wean myself off of Chu (and Laurie, and Sarah, and Sue...) the way we weaned P off of the isolette.

It's like the other day, when my friend Rebecca said that even now, with her daughter now a toddler, she wonders who people are talking about when they say "the mom and dad." every time, she gets a little frisson of "oh! crap! they're not talking about my mom -- they mean me! I'm the mom. Right!" Sad as it is, at 41, I still kind of expect to not be the decider. Well, that's over. I'm deciderific.

Anyway. Check out this week's New York Times Magazine -- the woman on the cover is Alex Kuczynski, formerly of Six Milks, my college's comedy troupe. Oddly, this is not mentioned in her bio. Anyway, it's a funny, touching, affecting piece about her becoming a mom via a surrogate. The surrogate is older than me! She's just better at being pregnant! And/but she sounds like an amazing person. I was particularly touched at Alex's revelation that some friends expressed envy that she could have someone else carry her child. I loved being pregnant, I had an easy birth (well, except for the whole "holy shit, is my baby going to survive" stress), but I know how terrifying it is to think of losing control, to know your favorite bits will be stressed, stretched and possibly torn, and to have your body taken over. I wouldn't go so far as to express envy, but I understand both sides. Oh, and she has a kind and thoughtful husband -- just go read it.

Now that you've made it to the end of the blog entry (good for YOU!) you get a little surprise. Penelope's homecoming is imminent -- maybe as early as Sunday, probably Monday. I have a shit-ton to get done before that -- get a cleaning crew in here, finish the changing table, move the bookcase, for three. Go to the garage sale. Get the car seat and have it properly installed by the policemans. I can't think of the rest but i think it's going to be a lot.

ANd then I'm basically stuck here at home for a month. It's feast or famine: either I have to go out every single day just to see my kid, or I am on house arrest hoping to keep her safe. Randy's starting his leave on monday so at least we'll be able to hang out together. oh. oh my gosh. OH wow. So... wow!


Lisa said...

Sunday! Monday!! YAY!!

(My word verification is dorkste. I think your blog is calling me names. MOOOOmmmmm!!!)

Jessica, Mark & David said...

Sunday or Monday? MARVELOUS! Congratulations! And yes, that moment of, "Crap I'm the MOM!" is quite a revelation! We had just gotten home from the hospital, he was four days old and I immediately went to sit with him in the cozy chair in his room for the first time. I can still feel my body vibrating with fear/exhiliration (and maybe vicodin) as I realized, "Holy shit. It is up to me to keep this baby alive. Safe. Warm. Healthy. Well adjusted. Oh. My. God. Man, did I look tired:

Pee Gee said...

haha dorkste is a good online name!

Jessica, you look HAPPY!

parker said...

Oh Amy! Too exciting.
It's weird, I don't always read my Times, but I did read the entire article that Alex wrote - I didn't know you knew her. I'm not sure how I felt about the piece, but it was interesting.
Thanks for taking us along with you on this journey you're taking - I admire that you take the time nearly every day to write! And I check in as often as I can to read.
Michelle (and Buddy, even tho he barks in the bebbe's general direction!)
oh, and my verification is "traho" so, is it calling me a ho?

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