I wrote this Monday morning, but somehow didn't get around to publishing til now:
I am sitting here, in the wee hours of the morning, waiting for the nurse to arrive.
No, nothing's wrong, it's just that due to Hazel's conditions, her G-tube and oxygen hook-up that comes with so many tubes and monitors, we are entitled, according to our insurance, to 12 hours a day of in home skilled nursing care.
And I mean, it makes sense.
Not just anyone can take care of a baby with Hazel's conditions, and if I had to work all day, someone who knew what they were doing would have to come in and keep her. It's not like I would be able to drop her off at a daycare.
But, I'm not 'working'.
I am at home, pretty much all day, every day.
So, do I need this help?
I didn't know that I was going to get this help when Jimmy and I decided to go ahead and push to get the G-tube for Hazel so that she could come home. I had imagined our family just somehow juggling everything that needed to be done and just figuring it out. And so, when I got the call telling me that we were, according to our insurance, eligible for 12 hours per day of skilled nursing care for Hazel, I hesitated and really didn't know how to answer.
I mean, isn't the reason that we brought Hazel home so that we can be with her and take care of her?
So, is it cheating to have someone else come in and take care of her?
A skilled nurse in the house means that our family can pretty much just live our lives like we did before because for 12 hours, there will be a someone dedicated just to Hazel Grace.
But I'm her mother. I should be taking care of my baby. I should be rocking her, changing her, medicating her, feeding her...
But if I am doing all of that, then when do I have time for the other kids?
What is really fair here?
Jo needs to move ahead in her school work, and all the kids need to be able to get outside to run around, and it's too much to ask Elizabeth to do all of this with the little ones while I am full time with Hazel.
Because it really is pretty much full time. Hazel has 5 medications, 4 of which she must take 2 times a day, at different times...certain medicines need to pair with certain medications, and other ones need to be either before, during or after a feed. Then, she must be fed every 3 hours around the clock. Since she is not nursing fully, that means that I also must pump and in order to feed her, I must hang her feed and be around while it runs, usually over 45 minutes to one hour. I am only allotted one feeding bag a day, so I must wash the bag and tubing after every feed and prime it before every feed while warming my pumped milk and mixing it with the powder that must be carefully measured on a gram scale that fortifies it. Often, her tube needs to be vented as well to prevent gas build up in her stomach, and this is all day and night. And that's on top of all of the regular baby stuff like spit-up from her pretty serious reflux, laundry, diapers and tears. And all of this is while she is connected to tubes and monitors.
So part of me knows that I need this, but the other part of me feels like it's just wrong. It's just wrong to get someone else to care for our baby. It's just wrong to need this help.
I do know that we don't need someone for 12 hours, and we have taken the option for reducing the hours down to 'only' 10 hours a day, but it still just feels weird. I mean, I'm here in the house. I'm here with and for Hazel. It's not like I just leave her to the nurse all day and don't give her a second glance, but I still feel guilty
like I'm cheating.
Am I letting her down?
Or do I need to just stop, and breathe, and realize that as hard as it is for me to hand over my baby, the baby that I was apart from for so many long months, it is the best thing for the family as a whole, and we will have years to come to snuggle on the couch?