Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Little Closer to Normal

Occasionally, I hear rumblings of criticism about Ryan and me. I should know that a certain amount of criticism comes with being a parent, but it still makes me feel bad. The majority of people have been overwhelmingly supportive and I've been so thankful for that. I think people expect us to be normal. Okay, so we were never really "normal" to begin with. Who else has five guinea pigs, two rats and a storage room full of Halloween props? But, that's beside the point. Do we struggle with depression? Yes. Do we have major obsessive compulsive tendencies? Yes. I think that given all that we've been through. . it could be a lot worse. As Ryan once said: There's a thin layer between being normal and completely breaking down. We do all that we can some days just to get through.

I watched my daughter, bruised and bleeding, struggle to survive. I watched my son pass away without ever getting to hold him. That changes you. We have a duty as parents to keep Olivia from getting a respiratory illness until her lungs are healed enough to handle it. We want to prevent her from getting sick until we're able to handle it. We can't pick and choose what illness she gets. . .so we protect her from everything. . .even if that means disregarding our own selfish desires to show her off to the world. That's tough at times. I feel sometimes that we're judged if we don't take her to certain places. I feel judged if we take her, but don't let people hold her. It's not like we're requesting people to wear scrubs, masks and gloves. We just ask that you don't come near her if you are sick and that you wash your hands before you touch her. I don't think that's asking too much. There have been too many instances where we've been around people who have gotten sick only hours later. Luckily, those people have been amazingly supportive and have respected our wishes. . .and Olivia has not gotten sick.

People tell me that they read my blog because I post exactly what I'm feeling. Well, this is what I'm feeling at this moment. . be it good or bad. I've been so lucky to have such supportive friends and family. Some people ask what they can do to help us. All we ask is that you try to understand so that we don't always feel like the bad guys. The next few months are going to be tough for us. Please keep us in your prayers and maybe someday we'll get a little closer to "normal."


Cristi said...

You are being the best mom for your sweet daughter. You never have to apologize for that. We are experiencing this too but always remember that the things you do for your daughter are for her good, so if it is good for her then what others think really is in the background. Good job mom.

Jodi said...

Thanks Cristi.

Heather @ A Boy, A Girl, A Pug said...

You guys do what you need to do.

You ALWAYS have to think of Olivia's safety.

That is what makes you both such awesome parents.

If you aren't comfortable with it, don't do it.

That is why I love reading your blog. Through this I "know" Olivia.
Thank you for doing such a great job of keeping it updated.

Although I'm not sure what was up the other day with just two pics and no story?!:) Slacker (Tee, Hee)

Jodi said...

I was hoping nobody would notice. :)

Nurse Holli said...

I've said it many times before and I'll say it again...if only all of our NICU parents were as great as you two! Being robbed of your normal motherhood experiences also gives you a different perspective on the little things you DO treasure. For instance, taking home a 23 weeker and not having her be sick even one time in her first year! It truly is a testament to the job you two have done. Keep up the great work.

Amanda said...

The blog that "led me to you" :) Carter and Addisons mom was just like you... and at the beginning she didnt take the kids out of the house.. and then slowly she got out.. and then she told everyone the same as you are doing... and she would "wet ones" down the tables at restaurants... and never let them touch a toy after they dropped it...BUT.. the happy part of this story is that it all paid off! They are now 18 months old, and are in the nurshery at church, adn do all the "normal" stuff! And yeah, at the beginning.. people would think they were "over doing it", but their healthy... and her as the mom thats what she knew she had to do! You are doing a great job! You and your hubby are the ones to make Olivias decisions for her :) and you are doing an incredible job! Dont doubt yourself... Im sorry for whatever got you to this point this week...and Im praying for Olivias eye surgery!

Stacie Watts, MS, LMFT said...

Dear Jodi,

Thank you for writing this post. I know it was therapeutic for you to write it - but it was also good for those of us who read the blog and pray for your family.

Most of us who read your blog have never exprienced the loss of a child nor have we had to experience the agony and stress of watching our child lay in the hospital for more than 100 days.

While many people offer kind advice, those who offer criticism should keep their opinions to themselves. There is no need for you and Ryan to feel like you have to defend your actions to anyone.

I know with all of my heart that you and Ryan would NEVER do anything to harm your child. Nor would you ever intentionally not provide the necessary care for her.

We have been best friends for almost 20 years and I know that you were meant to be a mother. You were meant to feel the love of a child and you were meant to be called Mom.

Don't allow criticism or such to even enter your mind. You and Ryan are wonderful parents and Olivia is blessed to be your child. God chose you and Ryan to be Logan and Olivia's parents. I know how much both you and Ryan miss Logan. But, I know he see's what you are doing with his sister - and he is so proud.

I pray that you will feel peace and not anxiety - comfort and not stress. When things seem tough or you feel like people are being too judgmental - hold Olivia and you'll be instantly reminded of why you do what you do.

She is your everything ... and you do this for her. Just take one step at a time - there is no rush -there is no need for Olivia to be compared to another baby. She is an amazing little girl who is loved very much by so many people. And she has been proving how amazing she is since the day she was born.

I continue to pray for you all.
Call me if you need to talk!
Love you!

Jodi said...

Thanks Heather, Holli, Amanda and Stacie. Thanks Jill for the email. Your comments mean a lot.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jody,
You don't know me but I love reading your blog and I fell like I know you guys, Olivia is an Angel and she's so lucky to have such great parents.

You do what is best for your family and do not apologize for the way you care for Olivia, she will do great things and all starts with the care you and your husband provides for her.

God Bless and remember,
God is awesome:)

Jamie said...

Hey Jodi, I feel the same way. I think some people look at me like I'm crazy because Will and Lindy look healthy. BUT, we just asked our pediatrician this past week about the handwashing and she still said we need to because Lindy is still needing some oxygen at night. So I am the same way. I don't let everyone hold them and I still make everyone wash their hands. And people will just have to deal with it because that is what is best for my two kiddos.


P.S. Thanks for the tip about the maalox. It's been a lifesaver!