Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I want her back!

Last night I spent a good amount of time putting Emma's oxygen tubes back on her because she just wasn't keeping it on. Each time her alarms went off because her SATS went below 87 I would go back in, hook her back up, and sit with her as she'd calm back down from crying (or maybe it's just yelling at me?). I'd go in there and gently put the cannula back in her nose, wrap it back around her ears and tighten it under her chin... she'd grind her teeth (I'd put a bib up to her mouth so she could grind on that instead), she'd bat at me to push me away, and she'd holler.

I went to bed, albeit a bit late because I was waiting for Mike to get home, then her alarms began again and after a few trips out to her room I took up residence on the bed in the girls' room. One of the times that I got up to 'help' her my heart dropped. She looked at me and started crying. Not because I was holding a syringe or the O2 tubing, or the monitor box... she cries at the sight of those... in fact, I wasn't holding anything. She just knew what I was going to do.

For a parents of an adopted child the whole bonding process is a very significant part of early attachment and family life for the new child(ren). I was so happy the morning that Emma first smiled when she just SAW me and I hadn't done any motion to pick her up yet. She knew who I was and why I was there, she wanted to be held and she was glad to see me. Last night I realized that her medical issues have backed us up. No, she's not very smiley in general right now and hasn't been since her surgery-- understandably, it HURTS. But last night when she saw me and cried, well, that HURTS too.

I put her cannula back in, I gave her some Tylenol (on the off-chance that she really was in pain...) and I scooped her up. She cried. And cried. She breathed quick and with spurts of holding her breath like she does when she is upset at the doctors' offices. She flicked her fingers, popped her knee, attempted to scratch at her face and ears. I bounced, her, rocked her, patted her, held her tightly, held her loosely, rubbed her back, then plopped down- exhausted- on the bed and let her loose to roll off me. She pushed away with force and rolled to face the bedrail.

I knew I couldn't just "give up" and I needed to comfort her somehow. After all, she was upset, and whether she likes it (right now) or not I'm her Mommy. I curled her tiny little body back onto my chest, arranged the pillows so we could sit like that for some time, and I began to massage her little shoulders, back, waist, legs, feet. I did this a few times then used a firm pressure to just rub her arms, legs, back. I laid still but embraced her closely, then loosened my hold and started again- massage, rub, hold. About 5 minutes later when I loosened my hold on her I felt her little arm begin to rest. She was no longer flicking. No longer scratching.

I continued anonther 5 minutes, lessening the pressure of the massage, lessening the intensity of the rub, lessening the hold. It was working. She was relaxing. I woke up about 30 minutes later and laid my sleeping sweetheart back in her crib. She finally relaxed, finally trusted.

No, the medical difficulties and the fact that Mommy has to be the morning/evening and overnight nurse in addition to the caretaker and nurturer is no fun. No, it doesn't help the ability to trust, to bond, to feel secure. But all I wanted was my baby back. The one that smiled when she saw me in the morning and was happy to know that everything is going to be ok. I hope she'll resurface soon. And in the mean time? I'll relish the moments like that 3am snuggle where she decides, once again, that Mommy's arms are a safe place to be.


  1. oh gf...I know this is eating you alive. she knows you love her, shes just scared. It has to get better soon. What about an o2 bed? The kind with a hood thing that covers the entire crib?

  2. oh meredith, my heart sank when reading about her crying at the sight of you too. I'd really check into getting a homecare nurse to come in and relieve you (and emma)even for just a few hours a day. YOU need to get sleep and stay healthy for her and sleep deprivation is not what you need. I know its hard to ask for help and please dont think that it means you are failing but, i think that emma needs her MOMMY back and not Mommy/nurse.. she needs you to be a place of comfort and safety and you just cant be when you are the one who has to do all the mean things to her right now, in her mind (or ANY childs) she thinks you are just being mean.. she doesnt realize that what you are doing is trying to save her life.... hugs to you guys...

  3. What a great mom you are. You are so patient with her and keep trying even though she doesn't want to. Thank God that you are in her life. Get some rest. I know it is hard with four children. But maybe nap time and quiet time. Keep up the good work. I know sometimes we as mother's feel unappreciated, but know that we are all cheering you on with the great work that you are doing.

  4. I second the thought of home healthcare or respite care or something. that is so hard on both of you. I also understand the giving up control of your little one to someone else. That, too, is hard.

    Good luck...I wish I had some great idea to make it easier. right now, you're the 'bad guy' but in your heart you know it is for her own good. Sometimes, that part of being a mommy stinks.


  5. Meredith, I am praying so hard for you! You are an inspiration to us all! They are so blessed to have you. HE is watching over you and will give you strength. You are loved! Terri G.

  6. Well thanks for getting me all teary eyed already this morning! :) This breaks my heart and I hope she jumps the T&A hurdle fast!

  7. This breaks my heart to hear of your hurt. I can't imagine how you could possible feel because I do not have any adopted children, but I do know what you mean about being "mean nurse Mommmy" when your kids are sick. W hated all of his meds after heart surgery. I'm sure having a newly adopted child that you have to bond with it is even harder. Keep up the great work with your sweetie, she will be better soon and this too will be behind you.
    Prayers are with you .

  8. I had tears in my eyes reading this. My heart goes out to you and princess Emma during these hard times. May God be beside you all during these hard times.

  9. Ok you made me cry so I can only imagine the emotions you are having! I am so sorry that this T&A is so rough for your little princess. I am praying that she starts feeling better and that her O2 sats get better.(and that you can get some rest)

  10. Bless you for persevering, Meredith. You are in such a hard place. I will pray for you more dear.

  11. You are on such a tough road, but doing an EXCELLENT job! I know it is hard when you are still trying to secure that bond. Is there any way possible you can get home health? At least part of the day/night??
    I am still praying for you.

  12. Its hard, but I'am sure Emma will come to learn mommy loves her, even when there are yucky things she has to do. Keep on with the holding and snuggling, she come round, who can resist a hug :)

  13. Meredith: My heart aches for you. I know your pain and so does Jesus. Parenting is the hardest job in the world. Keep your head up and keeping loving your children like you do. I will keep you in my prayers.


  14. Meredith, my heart breaks for you. how hard it must be, and how desperate the situation feels. I wonder, can you sleep with her? That has helped me bond with my boys. I know she is five, but still, she is going through a hard time right now, and so are you! I'm praying for Emma (and you!).

  15. I can only imagine how that hurts. :( We're sending prayers for you and for Emma.

    peace and blessings to you all

  16. A bit off the subject, but have you tried putting the tubing behind her head? Put the cannula in, but instead of around her ears and under her chin, go over her ears and cinch it at the base of her head. I used to do that with patients to help them not pull it off.
    Sorry to hear you're going through a rough spot.

  17. cyndij49@yahoo.comJuly 1, 2008 at 8:37 PM

    Good job on comforting, cradling Emma in the week hours of the morning. You reassure her of your love !
    You and your husband are doing a wonderful thing for Micah and Emma !

  18. Doing lots of praying this morning, including for you and Emma. I hate having to be the bad mommy, but have never had to do it for such a long time.

    The home health idea could also be good in that some of the more experienced nurses can come up with some great and creative ideas to make things work.

    Also, maybe you could find some sort of soft tubing that would be safe to let Emma put in her mouth and strong enough that she could chew on it and not destroy it. I don't know what that would be, but sometimes the guys at the hardware store can be very creative too.


  19. My heart is hurting for Emma and you. The poor dear has gone through enough traumatic events in her short lifetime. I pray that she is easily comforted by the love of her mother soon :)