When Sam and I started dating four years ago, it was no secret that I came with some pretty hefty baggage: a teenage daughter and a tweenage son. And so his first experiencing parenting was something akin to fraternity hazing. Every moment was a surprise. He handled it amazingly well. And when we decided to marry last fall and get pregnant right away...on account of I'm not getting any younger...everything seemed to fall into place.
The pregnancy was a roller coaster ride and in January we gave birth via emergency c-section to the fourth smallest surviving preemie...ever. Kenna weighed in at 9.6 ounces at birth. She was a mere 9 1/2 inches long. She spent 183 days in the NICU, 76 of them on a ventilator. Once again, it was fatherhood by fire and we hadn't been married a year yet.
Kenna finally came home on July 10th, an experience not without its own set of challenges. The biggest challenge, of course, is that she is still on oxygen, she is fed mostly by g-tube via a pump. There are monitors and medications galore that are given at varying intervals throughout the day. This all presents a daily challenge, but every once in a while, the challenge is exacerbated by say...a gassy baby that didn't sleep well, or alarms from monitors going off half the night, or a mommy...who usually does the bulk of the care...can barely function due to exhaustion.
That's what happened just the other week. I was running on fumes. And Sam...stepped in. He assured me that it was safe for me to stay in bed. He would take care of Kenna. I could have a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. And I didn't argue. I didn't have the energy to protest. I trusted that he knew what he was doing, that he had helped out enough to care for her without my assistance, and I took him up on that offer of much needed rest. I woke hours later to bacon cooking, a happy clean baby, a freshly swept floor, and a husband who had a deeper understanding and greater appreciation for that age old question: what do you do all day?
Kenna is going to need special care for some time. And because of that, there will be times that I do, too. Luckily, I married well. We're a team. And I can depend on him to meet my needs, to pick up my slack, to help me out, to be a wonderful giving husband and a loving father. We'll all be just fine.
When was the last time your significant other stepped in and helped you out?
When Nicki isn't trying to squeeze in a few minutes of shut eye, she writes about life, love, family, and relationships on her blog, Suddenly *Not So* Single Journey. Her novels, including one about Kenna, can be found on Amazon.