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The Morning Routine

By Tiffany Intal | Published 09.28.2011

I’m a heavy sleeper, so getting up early has always been a challenge for me. During my pre-kid days, I specifically sought out jobs and college classes with later start times just to work around this issue. To my dismay, John wasn’t a morning person, either. Most weeknights we would stay up late simply because we wanted to “hang out.” It felt oh-so-lovely to sleep in! Unfortunately, we lost the luxury of lazily starting our day at 11 a.m. a long time ago. Once we started having kids, we had to get ourselves some good old-fashioned 9-to-5 jobs.

John and I still stay up late, but these days it’s not by choice. Once all the kids have been put down for bed, we spend the rest of the evening cleaning up and preparing for the next day. I have to pack four day-bags. And don’t even get me started on how much stuff I pack for myself to get through the day! While I’m packing, John puts his suit together and irons my scrubs and the boys’ uniforms. Once everything is cleaned up and we’re ready for the morning, we collapse into bed and try to catch up on some much-needed sleep. After a few hours of blissful, sometimes uninterrupted, sleep, John and I take turns nudging one another to hit the snooze buttons in the morning—we set four alarm clocks to make sure we get up.

As it turns out, all our kids have inherited the “sleepyhead gene”—even Noie! (You know it’s bad when a 7-month-old can sleep though the sound of four alarm clocks blaring.) It’s challenging to be a family of deep sleepers. It doesn’t matter how early we put the kids to sleep; it takes everything short of a full-on marching band to rouse them out of bed. I’m sure you can imagine how crazy mornings can get in our household.

Long gone are the days of my tranquil mornings. Back in the good old days, I actually had time to primp myself and enjoy a nice brunch before I headed out the door. These days I’m repeatedly screeching at the boys to wake up while getting the girls ready for the day. Meanwhile, John throws breakfast together for the kids. We’re both in charge of checking in on the boys to make sure they haven’t succumbed to their grogginess. If you add an infusion for Niki to the mix, you’ve got the recipe for a very hectic start to our day.

When Niki was diagnosed with factor VII deficiency, her hematologist told us she needed infusions every morning. John and I knew how crazy things could get with the two boys, so we asked if we could give her prophylaxis treatment in the evening when things were more relaxed. To our dismay, morning infusions were our only option because of factor VII’s very short half-life. Niki’s hematologist felt she would benefit from prophy the most when she was more prone to injury—during the day.

When Niki had a Broviac®, things were easy. We could slip the catheter out from under her shirt and infuse her in her sleep. I could wake up 15 minutes before her infusion was due and still get it done in time. She slept through the entire process. Things got a wee bit more complicated when we switched to the port. Don’t get me wrong—we love her port—but the prepping and actual poking can be a problem. There is nothing fun about waking up a 2-year-old one hour before “pokey time.” She is not a fan of having cold EMLA cream (to numb her chest) squeezed onto her port at 6 a.m. She can tolerate being roused if it’s a good morning, but bad mornings—watch out!

Our “bad days” have been known to consist of a synchronized symphony of four crying and cranky children. Those are the mornings John and I loathe the most, but we learn to roll with the punches ’round here. Niki gets real testy when her beauty rest is cut short, but we’ve found ways to make “factor days” more pleasant for her. Bubbles are our best friend if she’s conscious enough to actually be entertained during “pokey time.” Niki gets prophy every other day now, but it still doesn’t change the fact that she hates waking up early. (Like mother, like daughter.)

Whether it’s a good morning or a bad morning, I still long for the good old days when I could sleep in. You know what gets me through the day? Coffee. Copious amounts of glorious coffee.