I've been jokingly referring to all five of us under one roof as "the shit show." I didn't realize just how literal that phrase would become.
When Lloyd was a baby, he had digestive issues and would poop once every few weeks. However, these babies poop ALL THE TIME. Every diaper seems to be a "poopy" diaper. Some are just peppered with "poots," which is our new kid-friendly, made-up word for when you think it's just a toot and it ends up being a bit of poop. "Poots" seemed slightly more appropriate that teaching my kid the word "shart."
The poop is at such an incredible scale that during a one-hour outing to boob group, the twins pooped their way through 6 diapers. SIX.
A literal shit show.
And because we Kriegs always enjoy a challenge, we decided to add projectile vomiting to the mix when my son began complaining of a tummy ache Friday night and then suddenly became The Exorcist, covering his whole bed, our living room walls and the entire bathroom floor in his vomit. The toilet however, survived unscathed.
I'll spare you any more details. Let's just say it was a long night for all five of us and there were many types of bodily fluids involved.
But none of this matters.
What matters is that all five of us are home.
When I showed up Wednesday and was told Walter would be going home, I lost it. It was a flood of emotions, but the main one was fear. You see, Walter had been having these incidents where he stopped breathing. The NICU only records them if they are over 15 seconds long. His have mostly been during feeds and during the most recent one, his lips turned blue. They are absolutely terrifying.
I immediately began questioning the NICU team about their decision to release him. I didn't feel he was ready. I wanted my child home, but I also wanted him breathing. Their response was "He's ready. But if you aren't ready we can hold him another 24 hours."
Now, I would consider myself an attentive and competent mother, but I'm not prepared to bet my son's life on my ability to properly identify and handle these "incidents." I'm not a nurse, or a doctor and this whole situation made me uneasy. After another hour of conversations with the staff and their reassurance, we took Walter home that afternoon.
We went out and got Walter a machine that monitors his breathing for our peace of mind. The first time it went off, 13 hours later, I was a mess. I was quietly feeding my son in the wee hours of the morning, carefully pacing his eating and watching his breathing. I was tired. We are all tired. My eyelids were getting heavy and my eyes were struggling to focus when his alarm sounded. That's when I noticed the blue lips. I immediately started pounding him on the back and calling his name loudly. What felt like a lifetime passed, although it was probably only five seconds, then he began coughing and he was back with me.
This has happened four more times over the course of the last three days. Five times in total, two of which happened while he was alone and sleeping in his crib.
I'm told these monitors can give you false alarms and I honestly can't say if the ones with him alone in his crib were accurate or not. I didn't stop to check. I ran to him and began pounding him as quickly as possible. But I'll take a thousand false alarms if it also alerts me of just one real episode.
A couple who are dear friends of ours had a baby in NICU themselves a few years back and could relate to our troubles. They loaned us their Owlet monitor, which is the closest thing to the NICU machines you can get. It measures both the baby's heart rate and oxygen level.
So now we have ALL the alarms on Walter.
As I sit here at 2 a.m., attached to my pump and burping a baby, I can hear it all. The pump gathering my milk, a baby belching on my chest as the other poops in the rock-n-play. Walter’s breathing monitor giving me an assuring click with each breath he takes. My poor husband vomiting in the other room (it would appear he caught whatever my son had). One thing is clear, it's definitely a shit show. I've accepted and even embraced that aspect of our new life as five.
As long as it's not an alarm sounding, it's music to my ears. So, let the shit show continue. We can always buy more diapers. But these people right here... these people are priceless.