The difference between having Moose and Jo Jo is huge. I think about it all the time, how my first “parenting” experience differed from my second.
1. Coming home:
Moose– after 9 hours of discharge instructions at the hospital, I brought Moose home. My cell phone was not working after I dropped it in the toilet. It was 10pm, I had oxygen tanks/humidifiers/pulse oximetry monitors to set up and a bath to give (he was so sweaty and stinky). The stress of his first transition out of the hospital caused his oxygen requirements to go up. He woke up once an hour or more all night. I had to call in to work for the next week in order to take him to appointments and set up childcare. Moose projectile vomited into my face and hair and I got up in the morning with the vomit still in my hair.
Jo Jo- I left work 20 minutes early to meet the CPS worker at my house. My mother was there to help with her first bath and watch her while I ran to the store for formula and diapers. Jo Jo woke up every 2-3 hours that first night and was easily soothed and back to sleep quickly. She appeared healthy except for baby mastitis.
2. The first week:
Moose– Had a pediatrician, pulmonologist, and WIC appointment in the first week, as well as a case worker visit, a trip to DHS for paperwork, and two visits with his parents. He also had to be re-admitted to the hospital for 3 days for increasing oxygen requirements and IV steroid treatment. In the midst of all of this I put on a frantic search for childcare.
Jo Jo– a pediatrician appointment, a case worker home visit, and WIC set-up appointment. I did not have to call in to work at all because my mom was providing free, on site childcare.
3. The next couple weeks:
Moose– visits three times a week with parents, bi-weekly WIC weigh-ins, opthalmology appointments, and once monthly pulmonologist visits. Early on set-up and evaluation. Weekly pediatric nurse check-ins and bi-weekly pediatrician visits for constipation. Prune/apple juice, water, and lactulose bowel regimen started. Cradle cap treatment. Constant skin breakdown from bandaids that held oxygen tubing in place. Equipment failure caused more appointments with medical equipment office. Regular delivery and pick-up of oxygen tanks. Attended court twice in two month period. Sister and babysitter provided childcare three times per week, so that’s 6 trips per week transporting baby, oxygen, and monitoring equipment.
Jo Jo- so far we have an appointment for regular immunizations. Case worker will visit twice per month since she won’t see us for visits at the agency. Court scheduled for next month. We did not attend the pre-trial.
Huge difference. I definitely felt like a round-the-clock nurse/foster parent with Moose. With Jo Jo it’s more like the stork just came and hand delivered me a baby. “Here you go, have a good time!”
I asked about the procedure for taking Jo Jo with me on my California trip in September. Assuming that we cannot get permission from bio-mom, the court will grant me permission to take her. Traveling with a 6 month old… oh joy!