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Balance Smalance: 10 things that go out the window when your child is in the hospital

Augie was admitted to the Pediatric ICU at our local children's hospital yesterday for suspected heart failure. We knew at 20 weeks gestation that he had a heart defect that would require surgical repair. We were told after birth that he would likely remain asymptomatic, meaning show no symptoms, and that he would be operated on between 4-6 months. So to learn he is now in heart failure at 3 months old is a little bit of a shock, to say the least.

But we are in the right place. He's getting the care he needs and is responding well to treatment. So it's all good. Of course, a hospital visit, especially an unexpected one, is disruptive to life. Anyone who has stayed at the hospital knows that there are certain things that just go by the wayside when you are there. Your health, or your loved one's health, is the primary concern. Period. It's not our first time in the hospital, and I assume just like last time, life will become very hectic. There are things that just get thrown out the window until life can resume as normal - this is what it looks like for me....

1. Balance: As the title of the article implies, the first thing to go is a nice balance between all those various areas in life: work, health, family, friends, etc. The only thing that really matters is the health of my baby in the hospital. And that is pretty much it.

2. Healthy, good food: Hospital food...It's not bad, but it's not that great either. Thankfully, the hospital we are at has many options for food, so at least we have variety. But it's not a home-cooked meal. And, it's too easy to get that slice of chocolate cake after every meal! Chocolate warms my soul.

3. Exercise: I have a goal to get 13,000 steps a day. And usually I do pretty well. But being in a hospital room all day definitely limits the number of steps I take. I could make the time to get more, but that would require me to be away from my son's side and right now I don't want to do that.

4. Losing weight: As a new(ish) mom (again), I am still working off a few (ok, more than a few) extra pounds from pregnancy. But because of numbers 2 and 3, this is on hold right now. Like I said, chocolate warms my soul.

5. Privacy: It just doesn't exist right now. There are just too many vital checks, x-rays, labs, doctor rounds, more doctor rounds, resident check-ins, and so forth. This is all very important for my son. It just means that if I want to change my shirt I probably need to go down the hall to the bathroom. If I want to pump, do so with caution. If I want to take a nap, someone will know if I snore.

6. Modesty: I am exclusively pumping for Augie because he eats through his g-tube. His respiration rate is too high for him to eat orally right now, although we hope this changes after heart surgery. But, I digress. Pumping has a different feel for me than breastfeeding. I am a bit more modest about it. That is, until I have 10 doctors and nurses who ignore the "please knock" sign on the door and come barging in while I am pumping. (see what I mean about no privacy) Granted, my shirt was covering a majority of the goods, but here we are having a conversation while my breasts are being drained of milk. And it's quite obvious what I am doing. I have to keep on a schedule as best I can to keep up my milk supply, so I don't have time to be modest. It has to be done!

7. Sleep: I've slept at the hospital as a patient and as a visitor before. It's hard either way. Granted, you aren't there to get a great night sleep - you are there for an illness, injury, operation, etc. Regular vital checks, noisy beeps and alarms, and uncomfortable beds are par for the course.

8. Being passive: I am pretty easygoing. Not a lot gets me worked up. And, I'll admit, I would rather avoid conflict! But in the hospital, when it's my son (or any other loved one) that we are talking about, I'm much more assertive. I ask questions. Often. I question when I don't agree or understand. I push back when needed. I speak up if necessary. Medically speaking, the doctors know best. But I know my son.

9. Makeup: I don't even need to explain this one, right? It's just not important right now.

10. All other commitments: There are some things that still have to happen, but a lot that doesn't have to happen. It's actually a good way to prioritize, weed out the unimportant things, and get out of all those extra commitments you really didn't want to have to do anyway. There is always a silver lining, right?

We are in the right place. Augie is being well cared for -- and that matters most. BUT, I cannot wait until we can go home! And then I can post the EXACT SAME LIST and title it, "Balance Smalance: 10 Things that go out the window when you are a NEW MOM". Am I right?

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My almost 6 year old daughter took this picture of me, hence the unappealing camera angle.  But this is how she sees me, so even though it's not the most glamorous picture, it works.  This is me.

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