So, Baby M was supposed to come to us on a Monday, direct from the NICU.
I was meeting the foster mom of the respite boys for the handoff on the Wednesday, mid-day.
We spent Monday morning scurrying about, doing everything we could think of that might need to be done in the next week. Caught up on laundry and ironing, grocery shopping done, bedrooms prepped for kids to arrive, pack-and-play set up in our room for the baby. Early Monday afternoon, we got a phone call that the baby wasn't coming today after all. She'd had "a rough weekend," the hospital said, and they would keep her until Thursday, probably not arriving here until early evening that day. (The "rough weekend" was later defined as a drop on one of her monitors, the hospital insisting that it was so short that it wouldn't have even been noticed if she hadn't been on the monitor already.)
Well, that was OK, we thought. It meant the first day and half with the respite boys would be just them. It meant we'd really only have Friday when we would have 6 kids in our home as the respite boys were set to be picked up Saturday at 9am.
The respite boys were a lot of fun. The 3 year old was lots of energy, lots of questions, lots of playing with trucks and trains and blocks and crayons. The 1 year old was cuddly and easy; he ate, he slept, he crawled slowly across the floor to pick up things and then hand them to me. We did some fun stuff on the Thursday -- go to the park, make some muffins, play with Play-dough -- knowing that Friday would be very much a survival day. Unfortunately, the 1 year old had a touch of the sniffles. Not a good thing with a preemie coming into the house....
The respite boys were fed, but not yet down for the night when Baby M came. She is tiny and came with instructions to keep her homebound as much as possible for about 2 months. The agency caseworker who brought her to me informed me that the hospital had made her an appointment with the pediatrician for Friday morning. Could I make that appointment? A moment of panic ensued as I envisioned trying to manage a doctor's appointment with all 3 of these kids. Mr D decided that he could take the morning off of work, so we could divide and conquer. The caseworker insisted that I call her if we needed anything, mentioning a specific person she had in mind who could probably come to the house to help me out if needed.
I posted about how bad I am at asking for help......so, of course, I said I'd be fine.
By morning, I knew I wouldn't be fine. M was eating every 3 hours (whether she thought she was hungry or not), but taking nearly an hour at each feeding. We were both exhausted and the 1 year old's sniffles had added a cough.
We texted the caseworker at 7am, telling her that it would actually be great if that person ("Marcie") could come help out. The caseworker called me about 30 minutes later to talk through what exactly we needed. I told her about the 1 year old's cough and said I was concerned about keeping the germs causing that away from the baby. Mr D would be home until about noon, but then he did need to go to work; I didn't want to be alone with the 3 little ones, so maybe Marcie could lend me a hand that afternoon? Caseworker would call Marcie, figure out a plan, then call me back. Mr D and I discussed the fact that the ideal would really be for Marcie to just come take the two respite boys out for the afternoon.
Caseworker called me back and said that Marcie didn't think she should be around the baby (she was on antibiotics for a sinus infection herself) and she had some errands to run, but she could come take the 1 year old with her and bring him back after her work was done. She probably couldn't have him back here until about 7 or 8 o'clock, was that OK?
Um, yes! I could cope with the 3 year old and the baby. The 3 year old was old enough to wait a minute or two if necessary, old enough to be set up with an activity that would keep him occupied through a feeding, old enough to keep toys out of his mouth! The baby just ate and slept.
So, that was the Friday. It got even more exciting that evening, but this post is already too long....