Our families were banished to the waiting room and it was time to push. I felt like a marathon runner must feel (I suppose I really wouldn't know... I've never been a runner), focused, in the zone, eyes on the finish line. I'll spare you the gory details, but after only 5 pushes he was here. At 8:55 p.m. our Little K came into the world weighing only 5 lbs 2.8 oz and was 18 1/2 inches long. He wasn't breathing. Immediately the nurses and doctors (who were all heroes that day) started breathing for him. My husband tried to block the view to shield me from what was happening. I yelled at him to get out of my way, I needed to see my baby. They allowed my husband to carry him as he was quickly rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Had I any feeling in my body below the waist, I would have been close behind. Our families (The Worry Crew) were terrified, they had a plain view of the delivery room door, as well as the door to the NICU, but no one could give them any information (thank you, HIPPA).
The Worry Crew
It was several hours before the epidural wore off and I was able to see my baby. It's a very strange feeling to suddenly no longer be pregnant but not be able to hold your child in your arms either. When I was finally strong enough to walk (although still incredibly shaky), we were allowed to go in and see Little K. Those who know us were curious where we came up with his name, which actually is German. We chose it for a few reasons. One, it was unique but not weird; two, I had previously cut the hair of a precious little boy with the same name and fell in love with both the child and the name; three, we wanted to represent both of our names (which begin with K & A) in his initials. We have gotten lots of questions and comments regarding our name choice (some snotty, some just curious), but we love it, and, more importantly, we love him.
A few of our wonderful nurses.
As I mentioned before, we prayed before delivery. I am so thankful for those prayers. I believe that because of our prayers, God was able to blind us from from seeing all of the machines, his sunken chest, his transparent skin. God blinded us, too, from fear. We were only able to see our tiny little blessing, whom we felt was the most beautiful thing either of us had ever seen (even though his face was hiding behind an oxygen mask). In our eyes, he was perfect. We finally understood love at first sight. With tears streaming, we touched his little hands and spoke gently. We let him know that he was going to be just fine and how much he was loved. Looking back at the pictures now, I am not blinded anymore to how scary the situation could possibly have been.
Sleeping that night was difficult, I couldn't shake the feeling of emptiness in my womb. I hadn't been prepared for the intense love I would feel and the longing to be near him always. Three days passed before he was strong enough to breathe on his own. Three days before we could hold our precious gift. We spent nine very long days in the hospital before the doctor finally gave us permission to go home. Just 3 days before Christmas, we could finally take our son home. He was only 4 lbs 11 oz then and looked so tiny in his infant carrier.
One of the proudest moments of our lives.
Ready for his first car ride.
I made sure to give him a tour of our home, before allowing him to rest in his bassinet, letting him know that we did not actually live in the hospital. Daisy was thrilled to see us, and even more excited to meet her new brother. She had already been gifted a blanket with his scent on it, so she wasn't overly nosey with him. An instant love and friendship was formed between my two babies and all my worries dissolved. I was happier than ever before. Motherhood is amazing. People forget to tell you, though, that parenting isn't all rainbows and butterflies. It can be incredibly lonely and scary at first. Life at home with a premature newborn was stressful. I hadn't been able to produce my own milk, so he was eating bottles of formula every two hours. Because of his acid reflux, we were required to hold him upright for an hour after feeding. This meant thirty minutes of sleep before the next feeding began. Also, he was blessed with Colic. On top of this, we were advised to keep the lighting and noise at a minimum so to not overstimulate him. Being continually exhausted and frustrated in a dark quiet house isn't exactly good for the soul. I struggled with a mild case Post-Partum Depression. My husband could not have been more amazing and helpful. And we are both incredibly thankful for the immense amount of support we received from friends, family, and doctors.
Slowly the colic subsided, he grew into and then out of his preemie clothes, feedings became further and further apart, and I was finally able to sleep. Aaaaaaah, sleep. I cannot say enough about how much a few hours of sleep can do for the soul (if you are a new mother, order a pizza and forget about the housework -- if your baby is sleeping, you should be too).
Now my baby is not a baby anymore. He will soon be 18 months old and is constantly on the go. You would never know that he was premature (although he is still smaller than other kids his age). He throws food, gives high fives, laughs with a vigor I've never heard, and has the orneriest little smile you have ever seen. Daisy lets him poke and prod her as long as he continues to feed her when we're not looking. I am always amazed at how quickly he learns and how he has his own sense of humor. He loves music and dances in such an organic manner that makes me smile down to my soul. He wants to read a million books a day and stands at the door begging to play outside. His fits are unprecedentedly fit-ty and his sad face makes my heart break. He is in love with his duck, Billingsworth, whom he calls 'Bee Wee', squeals with delight when he hears a train, and loves wearing mixing-bowl-hats.
Because of Little K, my faith was restored in miracles, in prayer, in hope. I see in his eyes a determination that will take him far, and an orneriness that may make him stumble (and certainly will make us grey). His presence has completed our little family and has made us thankful for all of the blessings, big and small, that God has given us. He teaches me, every day, to laugh and to not worry about the small things (like the one big juice stain my carpet is becoming). I can't imagine not being a mother to this precious little boy, and I know that the season of infertility struggles make me appreciate him even more. I can't wait to see what he will learn tomorrow and the next day, and what our next big adventure will be.
Laugh loud, love vigorously. And remember... you're In Good Company.