Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ventilators and Vacuum Pumps

The most common reaction I received from friends, family, and coworkers to the news that I would be a dad was "Your life will never be the same." Intuitively we knew this. Our lives as we knew them wouldn't come to an end, they would just require a little more planning, and of course we expected with time our priorities would change. Obviously there would be no more spontaneous road trips or wild benders during football season. We were OK with this. You have to grow up sometime - I guess - no matter how reluctantly. Don't get me wrong - I'm incredibly happy to be a dad. There are just some changes that will take some getting used to. It's not the obvious changes either. They kind of sneak up on you.

This morning one of those changes smacked me in the face as I tried to straighten up our kitchen. The kitchen is one of my favorite places in our house, after the library / office. Cooking is one of my hobbies, and we like to have big groups of friends over for dinner - though sadly that is getting less frequent as more of our friends move away from Gainesville. It is fair to say that Rachel and I have a little bit of a gender role reversal when it comes to the kitchen. On several occasions I have found myself standing in the kitchen cooking dinner only to look out the window and see Rachel hard at work on some project or another with my power tools. It's not for everybody, but it works for us.

So as I stood there this morning organizing the clutter that has accumulated on the counter from days at the hospital and nights of just crashing, I realized what has become of my kitchen. It is now a room dedicated almost exclusively to the pumping of breasts. There are large bags of serving-sized milk bottles, boxes of freezer storage bags, and little test strips so Rachel can check the milk for alcohol - we don't need Ginny sucking down White Russians just yet. The freezer is so full of 5 oz bags of breastmilk that there isn't room for much else. The dairy jokes that were so funny a month ago seem to have lost something with Rachel, too.

I feel bad for Rachel because what should be a special bonding moment with Ginny has turned into something quite detached and mechanical. Her life for the moment revolves around pumping. I'm sure she would be much happier using a power tool other than a vacuum pump. Which leads us to the good news.

While we don't have a date for surgery just yet, the neonatology team did their rounds this morning and are very pleased with our little princess. While we have increased her sildenafil just a bit, she is doing great. She is way down on her ventilator settings and the plan is to take her off the ventilator and remove her tube some time tomorrow. This is wonderful news. We should finally get to hold her tomorrow afternoon, barring another one of her tantrums. Pray that she doesn't throw a fit about having to actually breathe on her own, or the tube will have to go right back in.

I'm trying not to think too much about what the experience of holding her will be like because I'd like it to just happen. Needless to say, the anticipation is killing me.


  1. AWESOME NEWS...you can do it Ginny! Rachael, the dedication you are giving to Ginny is a step above that of what most new mamas must do...but it will be worth it when that sweet moment of of quiet bonding happens for you and your precious baby girl! Jason, you love, understanding and support for both your wife and daughter is amazing and admirable! Love, hugs and prayers for you all!

  2. I'll post for Dina
    Thanks! I tried to post a comment, but don't have an account. You can tell I am not very good at this! Please let them know that the Colantrello's are puling for them and if Ginny is anything like her grandparents...she is a fighter and a winner!


  3. Rachel, You are amazing. You are successfully doing one of the most selfless acts by giving your time, dedication, and sanity to the pumping process. I remember it like it was yesterday, and the struggle to remain positive and steadfast. So soon you will be able to nurse your little bundle the way you always imagined. Keep up your strength for the gift you are giving Ginny is priceless!!! All our love and positive Karma to you, Jason, and little princess!!!! Katie, Jeff, and Kaylee (oh and Cannon - our new pup!)

  4. Jason & Rachel, most first time parents don't go through all you've been through with Miss Ginny. All the ups and downs; you two have kept going when you probably would've liked to close your eyes "just for a minute".

    Those subtle changes in your life? Oh, man, you're going to love them more and more, because there's just something about a baby and all they bring to our lives.

    You have so very much to look forward to.

  5. Rachel you are such an amazing mom already!!!!!!!!! Love you guys and I am so glad you finally get to hold your baby girl. Thinking of you. xoxo

  6. You both are just amazing. Ginny will be so proud of you both. Rach--call me anytime day or night if you need help with breastfeeding--it was so difficult for me at first, but after a few weeks it was second nature. You are such a wonderful mom--pumping around the clock--what an awesome gift you are already giving this precious child! I see where she gets her strength. I am praying for you all!

  7. YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!!! We will be praying for you and your parents tomorrow. We will be there very very soon!!!
    Auntie Cole, Auntie Jen, and RitaMarie

  8. Jason & Rach
    Congrats, holding your baby is so great. O the love of a parent. You can't describe it but now you know.

    J man, funny way to breast feed???

    Love to all

  9. The first time you can hold your baby close to your heart and kiss the top of their head is like no other feeling in the world. We are praying she comes off the vent very soon.

    Kim, John & Gwen

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