The 4th of July is typically one of my favorite holidays. In the past it has meant the usual outside BBQ beer music friends celebration. This year was different. This year we spent the holiday at the hospital in the NICU with our boys. On July 2nd they turned one month old. On one hand the month has seemed slow and tedious. On the other hand, the month has flown by. The actual time we spend with the boys goes by very fast. The time we spend away from them seems to go by both slow and fast at the same time if this is possible. The time moves slow when you take into consideration that they aren't home with us. The time moves fast when you realize there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all the things you want to do before they get home.
I know that I am biased, but our boys are absolutely amazing. They are doing so well. Cade has bounced back from his little stomach problem and is back on mother's milk. Zane is completely off his nasal cannula and he and Cash are both receiving two bottles per day. As of last night Cash weighs 4 lbs 3.5 ounces, Zane weight 3 lbs 15.5 ounces and Cade weighs 3 lbs 15 ounces. This means that they have all gained around 1 pound in a month. The heart rate drops have stopped as far as I can tell. We still have some oxygen drops, but they pretty much recover on their own. We don't even raise an eyebrow at these anymore. Just wait a second and they will start breathing again. The best thing about having them in the NICU is that they are on a schedule and really getting used to that. The plan from the beginning was to get them on a schedule and this is happening in the NICU. I love schedules and plans. These things make sense to me. Every three hours they get changed and fed. They also get their temperature taken and anything that needs done to them is done. They call these things "hands on". At this point they get a bit fussy right before it's their turn. If they are fussy it's pretty easy to make them stop and they all three do exactly the same thing.
When one of them is fussing, I simply place my hand on top of the baby's head. This seems to make them instantly happy. I place my middle finger by one ear and my thumb by the other ear. All three of them instantly reach up and grab a thumb and a finger in each hand and squeeze. Then I place the pacifier into the mouth of the baby and instantly everything is cool. They open their eyes and look up at me. They are extremely advanced and obviously insanely intelligent but they can't speak...yet. However, they look at me as if to say, "Thanks Dad. I was a little scared for a second but if I can hold onto you I'll be fine. By the way, if you can speed up this whole me getting fed thing I would really appreciate it." At this point, getting fed from a bottle is like running a marathon for them. After drinking 1 ounce of milk, they are ready to go back to sleep. They are taking in a pretty large amount of food. One ounce eight times in a twenty four hour period. That's a half pound of milk when they only weigh four pounds. It's a lot of work, so they sleep a lot. That's cool cause I have been re-reading "Lonesome Dove" at the hospital when they are sleeping. On a side note, if you don't love "Lonesome Dove" and the author of this book Larry McMurtry, then we have absolutely nothing in common. The way he tells a story and puts you inside the minds of his characters is amazing. I highly recommend his work.
So....we are in survival mode. The situation we find ourselves in is the strangest thing. It feels like our family is strung out along I-35 between Temple and Austin. You never feel comfortable in the hospital and you never feel comfortable at home. We just try and get through each day. In my case, I cannot allow myself to think of them coming home or think too far into the future. The thought of another month of this is too depressing. I can think about one day, so I try and do that.
Yesterday, we got to put Zane with Cash. Cade still has an IV, so we haven't been able to put all three of them together. I missed putting Cade and Cash together, but I was lucky enough to be there for this. Although they were both tired, you can tell that they feel at ease with each other. It's like they are saying "Dude! Where have you been?"
Cash is on the left and Zane is on the right.
When we showed up yesterday, one of the NICU nurses Jaylee was hanging out with Zane. It's such a comfort to Carrie and I that there are so many great nurses who care so much about our boys. We have made lifelong friends in the NICU, it's one of upsides of spending time there.
Finally, this is me and Cash. I don't know what to say about this one. I do know that it's cool to be a Dad.
I believe that all of this NICU business is taking place to teach Carrie and I a bit of patience. I had determined that together we did not possess a single ounce of patience between the two of us. I think we are getting better. However, the stress of the NICU is getting to us both.
Personally, I have taken all my anger out on the World Cup Soccer thing. I can't believe people watch this. The sport is completely wrong. The crowd makes noise constantly. Every place you go, they have the World Cup on and that annoying buzz the crowd makes me to want to plow my vehicle into the side of a sports bar. A sport where they celebrate a tie is just a celebration of mediocrity. Carrie and I were eating at a place in Temple the other day, and Soccer was on every television.
Mike: I HATE this! How can people watch this?
Carrie: You hate soccer. Maybe they hate baseball. What about that?
Mike: Good! I want people that like soccer to hate baseball. That will make me feel better. In fact if you watch soccer, you shouldn't be ALLOWED to watch baseball. Soccer is Un-American.
It will be my luck that all three of my boys will love soccer, and I will have to support them in this love. I will probably have to spend all of my spare time at soccer games or whatever you call them. However, there will be one upside to this. Carrie will be a soccer mom and in that case we ARE getting a mini-van.