Friday, August 13, 2010


In the hospital, Olivia was fed on a schedule: 2, 5, 8, 11, repeat. She is starting to feed ad lib, but we still have to make sure she gets enough to eat, so we use the set schedule as a guideline.

This morning at 1:30am, I heard Olivia pooping and found she had pooped up her back, so after I cleaned her up and changed her clothes, I decided to get her bottle ready.

I have always breast-fed my babies in the past- breast milk is especially important for premature babies- but due to breast cancer and the meds I am on, sadly, I cannot breast feed Olivia. In the hospital, she was fed donated breast milk that is mixed with a bit of formula to increase the calorie content. After doing some research and speaking with my insurance company and doctor/ nurse practitioner, we left the hospital with donated breast milk and a prescription for breast milk from the breast milk bank in Denver, CO.

To be the recipient of such precious gifts is both humbling and profound. It reinforces my deep belief that we all belong to each other. My life has been touched and changed and saved by people who- willingly, generously, even anonymously- send a part of themselves out into the world on behalf of another...

I take Olivia into the living room to feed her, so I can monitor her breathing and color in a brighter light. I sit next to Mark on the sofa and settle in front of the TV. Olivia is hungry and eats quickly. I have to pace her a bit. Then, her apnea monitor goes off. She has stopped sucking. Calmly, I change her position and rub her back. Her lips are turning bluish. She isn't breathing. Her arms and legs go limp. I stand up, pinch her feet, rub her chest... Beside me, Mark's brain flips into emergency management mode.

"When do we start CPR?" Mark asks.

"Wait," I say, stimulating her more vigorously, "In the hospital, they had oxygen."

In his head, Mark is working out calculations. 'How many minutes since Olivia's last breath? It takes four minutes for an ambulance to get to our house- IF there are no trains running over the 2 tracks in between. Sarah is in her pjs and I am in my underwear. Natalie and Larissa are sound asleep in bed.' Calculating, timing...

"Do we call 911 and wait for them OR do I drive and you do CPR?" Mark asks out loud.

"Wait." I walk in front of a blowing fan and Olivia takes a breath. Her little self pinking back up. Her arms and legs moving around.

Mark lets out a sigh of relief, "How many times do we get to do that?"

Olivia lies in my arms, oblivious to the cardiac arrests she was nearly responsible for. I imagine Mark and I laid out on the floor clutching our chests with Olivia saying- in Steve Eurkle's voice- "Did I do that?" I start to laugh, chasing away the tension.

"Guess she wanted a little preview of the pearly gates." Mark said.

"Olivia," I tell her, "you stay away from the light!"

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