28 August 2008

Bleary and Disjointed

The house is in chaos, of course; it's iffy in the best of times, but the advent of a newborn with her attendant stuff, added to the getting-to-be-severe sleep deprivation of mom and dad, leads to piles of laundry--clean and dirty--lying everywhere, to books and toys and papers and dishes and cardboard boxes (that used to hold the stuff) scattered over every horizontal surface. And, apparently, to run-on sentences.

Annika is doing well, and Katrina also. Katrina has had way too much TV and computer time, in between running and fetching for a mama with hands full of baby. She starts school on Tuesday and will ride the bus for the first time. Rather, the mini-bus--according to the transport person, there are only 4 children on the bus. Advantages of a small school.

I backed into a parked car last week. I blame the sleep deprivation. It was a beat-up old van in need of a paint job, thank goodness, so the owners were not terribly upset. A few hundred euros and they were satisfied. Good thing, too, since they live right around the corner from us. I was upset with myself. My husband was very tolerant, however. "I'm not mad," he said. "These things happen..."--he smiled just a little--"to you." I had to laugh, because he was right. My spatial perception is just not all that good--particularly when backing up the car. No wonder we've been looking for the smallest car we can get away with that would still have space for two car seats and an additional passenger or two.

So Annika sleeps peacefully...during the day. Her longest and most peaceful stretches of sleep are during the afternoon and then again between about 8 or 9 and midnight. By peaceful, I mean quiet sleep, without grunting and arching her back and struggling to get gas out. Her cleft lip prevents her from making a tight seal on the bottle nipple, so she gets a lot of air in her little tummy while feeding. We started giving her Mylicon drops, but haven't seen much of a difference. She is over seven pounds now, and her cheeks are getting chubby. She looks like a baby now, instead of an old man. When we take her out, people comment on how tiny she is. But to us, she looks ever larger and more solid.

She studies the world around her with dark-blue eyes. She sucks on the bottle and stares up into my face, sometimes with furrowed brow, as if wondering who this person is that holds her. She smiles sometimes, to herself, just a flicker across the mouth and then gone. I think of her as a plugger, hanging in there, trying her best...to suck with a bum lip, to sleep even through tummy discomfort, to live despite a too-early arrival, to figure out this strange and wondrous world, so different from her little incubator.

We saw the lip surgeon two weeks ago. He was personable and confident. He said that he'd like to wait until at least November to perform the surgery on her lip, until she was stronger and bigger. We go back in late October for another check and to decide for sure on the surgery. The biggest issue in deciding is not the procedure itself, which by his description is relatively simple, but in her tolerance for the anesthesia. He will do the least that can be done--sew the muscle around her lip together. No extensive work. Once the muscle is where it should be, he says, we wait and watch. Often the growth of the face with the restored muscle re-shapes the (now-flat) nose. Further surguries may or may not be needed. Orthodontic work may or may not be needed later. She will be in the hospital for a week. I can stay with her.

The surgeon put a dental mirror in her mouth to examine her lip and palate. He pushed gently down, testing her muscle tension. "She has good muscle tension," he said. "Some babies have very little muscle tension--a bit floppy. She's a fighter!"

She sure is.


Angela said...

I love the picture of the girls lying together. I'm so happy to see that Annika is doing well. I pray for you all daily.

Wendy said...

Her face IS really filling out. And is that a little dimple in her chin? Very cute... of course, I'm a real sucker for the chubby-cheeked variety. Literally. They look as if they are becoming very munchable and suckable. Enjoy the time you have to feast on her cheeks while she'll let you...