That Moment When All the Tubes Start to Feel Normal
I went to the post office today. For the stupidest reason. Because of our hectic hospital schedule, I Amazon Primed a pack of toilet paper. Listen, the only reason someone would Amazon a pack of TP is in cases of emergency, ok. I’m not proud of it.
I ordered it for next day delivery. The next day, while at the hospital, I get an email notification that it’s at the post office to pick up.
So they’ll leave literally everything else I buy at my door but not a pack of TP?! C’mon man, you can tell it must be an emergency. 🚨😫
It’s hard to make the post office’s hours with how much we’re at the hospital so I left it for awhile. Yesterday I got the final notification. If I didn’t pick it up today, it would be sent back to Amazon.
I don’t know what’s worse: having to pick up a giant pack of TP at the post office so everyone knows you must have had a TP emergency, or having it get sent back to Amazon and a customer service rep unpacking that box and thinking, “Why didn’t she pickup her toilet paper? It’s not like you no longer need it…” 🤦🏼♀️ The things I wonder about. Or is this only what the brain of someone with anxiety thinks?
Anyway. There I am, waiting in line with my tracking slip to pickup my big ol TP.
Finally it’s my turn. The post office employee knows me well and we exchange hellos and how are yous. She always remembers me which is nice. She goes to grab my TP and mercifully hands it over without a hint of humour. Like it’s normal to order TP through the mail. 🤦🏼♀️ (Is it? Is this another way we millennials are ruining the world with our avocado toast and Amazon TP?)
But this one encounter lifted my mood which had been sour all morning. I resented having to go anywhere other than the hospital. I resented the delay in getting to my boys. I felt guilty for it, as I very often do.
But sometimes a simple trip outside the hospital is exactly what I need to clear my head and get some perspective.
Being a NICU mom, at least for me, has felt like I’m a failure at everything. The boys have taken full bottles for the nurses but I can only get like 40ml. I don’t know how to make them stop crying sometimes. I had to be shown how to do everything from the beginning, from putting on a diaper to how to hold them to even how to put a stupid onesie over their heads.
I thought I made a terrible mistake. That I didn’t know anything and that my boys deserved a better mother. One who knew how to do things properly.
And now as we navigate especially challenging situations like oral aversion, potential G tube feeding, medical complications and more, I wonder, “Is this what I’m good at?”
I’ve never been squeamish. I’ve had to hold my boys down while they get blood tests or IVs inserted or new NG tubes, and they scream and scream and yes of course it breaks my heart and I hate seeing it happen, but I know in that moment what is happening is necessary and what’s best for them. It doesn’t matter how I feel about it, it simply must happen.
The prospect of dealing with tube feeds and other medical things is daunting, but I know I can do it. I may still be nervous if I’m holding them right, but I’m not nervous about drawing out air from their bellies through a tube or checking a PH sample of gastric fluids before feeding them. I’m not nervous about tube connectors or using a syringe. I’m not nervous about the words aspiration, emesis or rating spit ups in a record book as mild, moderate or large.
I may not be a perfect normal mom, but I know I can be a good medical mama.
This post was inspired by a hashtag I saw on Instagram #medicalmama. So many inspiring women there. I urge you to check it out and scroll through.