I asked my mother to recount her experience on when she use to come and do night shifts with the girls when they were on their oxygen and monitors. She was one of the many who would come and relive us so we could get a full nights rest. I cherished these nights knowing the girls were in good hands and I could sleep soundly-through the monitors. Here are her words…
Watching the show Rattled has taken me back to the time when Steve and I would often go and stay the night so that Ashley and Tyson could get some sleep. The girls were on a 3 hr feeding schedule and it took almost ½ hour for them to finish their bottles so 3 hr feeding schedule was more like a 2 hr block of sleep at best…and being a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 13 I know that if you can get some sleep, you can handle anything. A few hours of uninterrupted sleep for a new mother is most precious!!!
While the girls were on their monitors, we would have them sleep in the Rock-n-Plays in the family room; I would “sleep” in the recliner and Steve would “sleep” on the couch. We had a system down so that we would take the 1st one that woke up and comfort her trying to hold to their schedule. But when the 2nd one woke up– they all got up and were feed.
We knew we were never to let them be hungry but to try and stick to the schedule as much as possible, with 4 babies… a schedule means sanity!! It always seemed that after that 2nd or 3rd feeding we would finally truly dose off to sleep only to be awakened by a blaring monitor (loud enough to wake the entire block)! It would scare us and we would both be jumping to try and figure out which monitor was going off and what button to push to stop it; and if it was a malfunction (which it usually was) or if it was one of our precious little ones that had stopped breathing. To see us jumping around from baby to baby trying to figure out which one’s monitor was screeching would have been quite comical if it was not for the fact that it could mean life or death to one of the girls.
We had been to an infant CPR class given at the hospital to know what to do if there was a problem and I often would find myself going through the steps of reviving a child to be sure that it was firmly in my mind so that I could be able to perform the steps and not freak out if necessary. How grateful I am that on my watch that it was usually a lead that had disconnected, but by the time we had figured that out, our hearts were racing and the adrenaline was pumping so hard that there was no sleep again for the near future. The next half hour was spent trying to untangle the cords so that we could feed them again in a few minutes! It seemed that those dang cords would braid themselves into knots…it was crazy!
We always felt that it was such a blessing to be able to watch over these little ones and often felt parents and grandparents long gone from this earth watching over them with us. I do so believe in guardian angels and I often felt that both my mother and Steve’s mother were there watching over these ‘tiny in body’- yet- ‘mighty in spirit’ infants that we now affectionately call our ‘durls’. I have always known that the closest I have ever felt to heaven and those that have gone before me (that I love and miss so much) is when I was up in the middle of the night, caring for the needs of my own babies and I have also found this to be true with my sweet grandchildren.
My sweet friend, Susan, came out to visit from Illinois after the babies were born. We have been dear friends for many many years and she stayed the night with me one night. We talked, laughed and cried in between feeding and we both remarked on several occasions how we often felt that the angels themselves were there with us as we kept guard over these little ones. I do believe if you want to feel heaven—it is during those wee hours of the night while loving and comforting a child.
-The Quad Mimi