Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reclaiming Motherhood: One Shopping Cart at a Time.

As with any family, weekends around our house are very busy. Brian and I wake up each Saturday morning with an agenda. Since Faith is pretty much tethered the her ventilator we have to take turns getting things done and taking care of her. This makes running errands a little tricky. Today we found a way to make it a little bit easier (in a more complicated way).

As we have written before, getting Faith out of the house is an ordeal. Honestly we don't do it as much as we did during the summer. Inspired by my friend Tina, who out of necessity takes her daughter who is trach/vented out by herself all the time, I decided today was going to be my day! So I packed Faith up, changed her car seat to forward facing (which was an ordeal in itself...) and headed out solo.

At first I was going to take her to the grocery store, but then I realized that I do in fact need to buy food and with Faith that may not happen. I remembered we have a couple of weddings coming up so I headed for Bed Bath & Beyond. Getting her in and out of the car is 90% of the battle and once she was in the shopping cart (with her equipment which took up the entire cart itself) I strapped the suction machine to the handle bar and with the ambu bag in tow (which was in my purse, btw), we were on a roll.

Faith did very well for first time out alone. And so did I. The reason why I've never done this before isn't because I'm scared of handling her by myself, it's that the process is...well...complicated. I found strength in numbers, thinking about all the trach/vent moms who do this by themselves everyday and I soldiered on.

I have been looking forward to this day for a long time. I thought it was going to come someday when she is off the vent, I'm glad it came sooner. Every week at the grocery store when I see other moms with their young children I'm reminded again of the limitations my child faces. I can't just throw her into the car and take her to the store like a typical parent would. Once again something that was taken away from me was restored. And something was restored in Faith too. While she has a happy life, I do feel bad that she spends 99% of her time on a 4 foot rug. As an early childhood teacher, I know how a child's early experiences shape their development. Faith hasn't had half the experiences that kids her age have had which makes me feel a little guilty for not getting her out as much as we should. Nevertheless, little by little both Faith and I will get to reclaim those experiences, and relish every minute of them, one shopping cart at a time. :)

Enjoy the pics from our adventure:

Here we go! I think we both can handle this!
The people in the store probably thought I was nuts snapping pictures of my baby in Bed Bath & Beyond, but if I really cared what people thought of us I wouldn't have gone out in the first place. :) And of course I have to document these milestones! (This one was a "mommy milestone")

Faith found her next sleeping arrangement. A butterfly "big girl bed." Oh yeah and the glasses are back! I think Faith was so distracted by everything she didn't even notice they were on. Although she did fling them across the floor of the store several times so never mind!
Always a music lover, Faith's favorite part of the store was the "music medley" display. I didn't notice it at first and rolled right by, but Faith turned around to look at it. It was just too cute! So we took a few minutes and just listened. :) And yes, even though we were shopping for other people I gave in and let Faith "pick out' a place mat. ;) Actually it was kind of nice to be in a store with a toddler who can't vocalize, or point. "You get what you get" takes on a whole new meaning..
All that shopping was exhausting! Time to head home.


Janay said...

YEA Jen & Faith!!

It's such a feeling of freedom the first time you get out alone with your child. Scarey yes but worth every minute of it. If Faith loved riding in the shopping cart as much as Milo does she had a fabulous time. Milo loves the broken bumpy wheeled carts the best even though they drive me nuts. I found the cart was so much easier than a stroller and since the equipment takes up the whole thing you buy less and save money, right? Can't wait to see ya again soon...

Janay & Milo

Rachel Marini said...

Your pictures are wonderful! I have been following your blog about Faith and can relate to your joys and struggles of having a child with a vent/trach. (I had to smile at your line about the process being... well... complicated) I'm so proud of you for taking Faith out alone - I haven't tried that with Gabe yet
We are getting out of the house more during the days though, to the park and fairs and whatnot, with a nurse. Hopefully one day I'll have the guts to do it alone. Congrats on a milestone and a memory!

Karen said...

Dear Jen,

Congratulations! You did it! I haven't had to do the vent at home EVER so I can only imagine the luggage you bring with you on your outings. Again, fabulous job!

I take Quinn on almost all of my shopping trips because he insists on it. He LOVES to go to the grocery store and honestly, he is a great shopping partner. All of the people at the store know us and the folks at the pharmacy are our friends who call us out by name. If by chance we aren't actually stopping by to pick up one of his many scripts, they always wave from over the counter and yell hello to Quinn and me. I think I know more people at our pharmacy than I know on my own street. They even send us a personalized Christmas card every year. You find friends in strange places sometimes!

I have a story to help you feel better if you ever have one of those bad outings that makes you feel like you "don't have it together". (or am I the only one who feels like that ALL the time!)
Early on, I was feeling quite proud that I was taking Quinn and Marty to the grocery store by MYSELF! I had them in the Graco Double stroller (the only way I could travel with them in public when they were babes) and off we went to buy a few things that I could fit in the basket below the stroller. I balanced the gallon of milk on the sun shade over where Quinn was sitting. I continued to walk through the store, feeling quite good about myself, mind you. People smiled, a few gawked, you know...After about 10 minutes, a woman stopped me and said, "Do you know that your milk is leaking?" I went to see and saw Quinn sitting in his stroller seat with milk soaking his head, dripping down his face, in his eyes, yes, probably even in his trach. I think I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. My poor kiddo couldn't do anything to tell me that he was getting a milk shower as I obliviously strolled through the store. UGH! How many people saw me and didn't say anything? Did they think this was normal??? So, if you ever have one of those days, remind yourself that we are all do silly things, even to OUR kids. BTW, I never put milk on top of that sun visor anymore!

Have a great Sunday.


Hope said...

How sweet is that! Congrats on a Mommy and Faith outing. I'm happy for the both of you. I hope you have many, many more! Tell Faith she looks gorgeous in her glasses:) I can't imagine the process to get her ready for a trip, much less the equipment. You're doing an amazing job.

Congrats on your milestone too!

Faith said...

How nice it was to wake up this morning and read comments from my neck breathing buddies!

Janay: I totally know what you mean about the saving money thing. I did limit what I spent b/c I couldn't fit it all in the cart but now that I can take Faith out by myself this might make me go shopping more! Uh-oh. I can't wait to see you and Milo next week!

Rachel: You are better than me about getting Gabe out to the park. I have to admit I rarley do that with Faith anymore. Yesterday's adventure was totally on a whim. Even though I did it, I also have to admit I probably won't be doing it frequently. It was pretty difficult carrying everything by myself. Like Janay said I did find the shopping cart was easier than the stroller (If Gabe sits up). Do you have a lithium battery? We just got ours about a month ago and I don't think I could have done it without that. You have a lot on your plate. I don't know how you do it with other kids- you are amazing!

Karen: Thanks for the story- it did help!!! I can just picture that! Faith was supposed to be getting a feed when I took her out but I selfishly didn't want to mess with it my first time out solo so I made her wait until we got home. This did help me not spend too much because I had to limit time to get her home and fed. I am sure my day will come when I too spill a feed all over a store (goodness knows I do it in our home all of the time!)

Hope- I can't wait for the day when you can take Ava out and not worry about her getting sick. I hope when you do that your moment is as sweet as mine was. :) Hope the power is back for everyone there. Have a happy rest of your weekend!

Dana said...

I loved these pictures. I remember feeling overwhelmed to do it alone as well. I totally understand the feeling of being able to conquer the world after a trip out. It's a long process. I too put off feedings to when we are home. Laneah has eaten late a few times. Good thing she doesn't seem to notice.
FREEDOM it's a beautiful thing. GOOD JOB! She looks good in the cart.
Yesterday I abandoned the suction bag and cart when the boys headed to the bathroom. I couldn't push both the cart and the wheelchair and Laneah and I were finishing our shopping. :)

Ann said...

I love your title. Fun pictures - thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Grandad Blair Wright was excited to see Faith after all this time. So glad she is doing well! Will keep you all in his prayers he says. Lots of love, Libby, Grandad and Beth

Tina said...

I'm so happy for you guys! As crazy as it sounds, it actually gets easier the more you do it. Sure it's always going to be complicated, but just like with everything else in our lives you figure out a system and things run smoother. You might even get to the point where you think, "Wow that was so not dramatic!" He he! Faith looked like she really enjoyed herself, did she even get overstimulated? How did she like sitting forward in her car seat? Congrats on the milestones and here's to many, many more!