Good evening His Middle Name fans and friends! I just wanted to let you know in case you didn't already that it's Feeding Tube Awareness Week! If you are the parent of a preemie that was born before 34 weeks, chances are your little one had a feeding tube at some point during their NICU stay. Your child may have even gone home from the NICU with a feeding tube that was your responsibility to clean and fill. Because a premature baby doesn't have the muscle strength that a full term baby does, tube feedings are required until the child develops both the strength to suck well and the ability to coordinate the sucking motion with the reflex to swallow. That's quite a lot of work for a baby that is also working hard to breath on their own, regulate their body temperature and maintain blood sugar levels!
While my son was in the NICU I constantly pumped my breast milk for his nutritional needs. I remember that time with so much fondness and love because I felt it was one of the few things that I could offer my son; one of the few things I could do when so much was out of my control. But if I'm being completely honest, I remember being overwhelmed and completely terrified by the site of my son's feeding tube. Amongst all the other wires and bandages weaving their way around my son, it was the bright orange feeding tube taped tightly to his face that scared me the most. I always found myself fumbling with it, nervous that I would accidentally pull it out and hurt my son, while kangaroo caring for him. It was my nemesis. Like my son, it was thin and delicate; a stark reminder of how precarious a situation we were in. And it took me many weeks before I felt comfortable clasping it and tucking it behind my son's ear when I held him, and later, first attempted to breast feed him. In hindsight, I wish I would have asked more questions and familiarized myself with the feeding tube more so I wasn't so intimidated by it, as it was the very thing that was providing nutritional support to my son when he was too weak to feed himself. In essence, it was a life line. That's why I believe this week is so important. Feeding tubes should be celebrated and looked at as something that works for you and your little one, not against you!
This week marks the fourth annual Feeding Tube Awareness Week, and it's time to recognize the positive benefits that children receive from their feeding tubes. The Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation created and has sponsored this week since 2011, and is dedicated to raising awareness of tubal feeding and educating the public of the positive outcomes and health that is achieved when children are tube fed. It's time to educate yourself, your family, your friends and your care team that it's not a shameful thing to have a child that is tube fed. Feeding tubes provide nutrition that allows children to grow and live a healthy life. Whether your preemie had a feeding tube in the NICU, went home with a feeding tube only to graduate from using it, or had a surgically placed gastric tube, this week is for you!
Happy New Year to His Middle Name fans old and new! I know my well wishes are a tad bit late, but I've had one very busy January on the home front! December was magical with a family trip to Disney and a blessed Christmas holiday, which led to a "back to reality" type of January. While I'm still trying to organize all of my plans for the new year regarding His Middle Name, I did carve out time to list a few things I would like to try to do for myself in 2014. Here they are ...
This year I resolve to:
Say I'm sorry more
Remain faithful and prayerful (even when difficult)
Snuggle up with my family on rainy days
Eat cupcakes whenever I want
Escape on a beach vacation when least expected
Tell more corny jokes
Yes, it may be a simple list but it's just enough to keep this busy mom on her toes! I imagine for some of these real life - school, work, deadlines, scraped knees, laundry, trips to the grocery store - will get in the way and they just won't be possible. Here's hoping I surprise myself in 2014!
I am also hoping that I surprise you too! I have so many plans for His Middle Name that I don't even know where to begin! If I'm being honest, I think that was another reason I didn't write a blog post in January. What would I share? Why would anyone be interested in the musings (actually, the scrawlings and chicken scratch notes) of what I think I can do with His Middle Name? I kept doubting myself, wondering if I had it in me to take His Middle Name to where I know it should be; where it needs to be. I don't remember the exact moment I was inspired to share my story, but I knew that I had to. I had to write it and purge it and get it all out to heal myself. And I wrote it for you too.
FOR YOU. For the preemie parent that is so deeply folded into the NICU and the survival of their precious tiny child that they don't know how they will ever crawl out and rejoin the rest of the world knowing life will never be the same. For you, the one going through the motions and keeping inadequately distracted between NICU visits and hourly phone calls just to "check in" because everything else seems so trivial. For you that harbors a feeling in the pit of your stomach that makes it hard to eat, digest, stand still, sleep. Feeling all alone, even when surrounded by a crowd, family, friends, your partner. Believe me, I have been there.
FOR YOU. For the woman that has bled, has been put on bed rest, has used up all her sick and vacation days at work trying to keep her pregnancy viable. For you, the woman that did everything right, only to miscarry for the third time. For you, the woman that did everything right, only to go into labor weeks and weeks early. That feeling when you know something isn't right and you have to rush to the hospital with thoughts you don't dare speak out loud racing through your head. Believe me, I have been there.
FOR YOU. My hyster sisters. The women that have been hysterectomized whether by choice or not; whether fully informed or not, I am so sorry for your loss. And believe me, it is a loss - the important lifelong functions of a hormone-responsive reproductive organ are permanently gone. Whether it was fibroids, endometriosis, cancer, or a surgery gone awry, the outcome is the same. For the woman that wanted health, wanted another child, wanted to be cancer free. Believe me, I hear you and I have been there.
For all of you - welcome to His Middle Name. Even if you have been following on Facebook for ages or a friend referred you to this page or you just stumbled upon our little community today, I welcome you and hope to hear from you. I hope to steer His Middle Name in the right direction, and even though I'm a bit intimidated, I'm ready for some big changes and big challenges. Here's to shaking things up in 2014!
I’m a southern gal to the core who lives for my family, has a serious weakness for chocolate, a penchant for anything that can be monogrammed and loves to craft and sew. Thank you for your interest and welcome to His Middle Name!