This has been quite the whirlwind of a week. Your long-anticipated arrival came early and, as it's not completely ideal, we couldn't be more thrilled.
I am so in love with you already. We have spent so much one-on-one time together and it has been a gift. I've loved every moment.
You came around 5 weeks early (still not 100% sure about the timing) to everyone's surprise. Your brother and sister were "term babies" so having my water break at only 35ish weeks was shocking.
The night before you were born was a warm and rainy Wednesday night. Daddy was gone on OB call at the hospital. I had worked doing hair a lot of that day and the day before and was tired and not feeling great. Mommy and Addi ran errands while Tolman was at scouts. When we got home and were settled with both kids in bed, I watched Big Brother (BEST. season. EVER!), cleaned up and did laundry. I kind of left everything half-done with the intent of finishing the next day because I had nothing going on- or so I thought. You had different plans.
It was 5 am the next morning, September 13th, when I woke to what I thought was me peeing the bed. I was SO MAD and discouraged! Seriously- peeing the bed?! I got up, went to the bathroom to finish emptying my bladder and as I was washing my hands I realized that I wasn't peeing and that my water broke. At first, it was a huge relief then I felt excited then came the feeling of, "OH NO!"
What was I going to do? Daddy wasn't home and it was too early to call a friend or neighbor, but I did it anyway. I first called Carolyn Hanson, whose husband Jeff is in the same program as Daddy, with hopes that Jeff would know how to reach Dad somehow. No answer. I called Joleen Reed. No answer. I called Becky Wooten. No answer. I decided to just try Daddy on his cell phone thinking there was no way he'd answer. Miraculously, he answered!! I told him what was happening and he told me that he'd talk to his consultant and call me back. As I waited for Daddy to call back I called Grammy Shar to tell her you were on your way. She was so excited and later said that I sounded super in shock; I was! Dad called back and the first thing he said was, "are you sure you didn't just pee?" I told him I was sure and he said that he'd be on his way.
Meanwhile, I washed my face, brushed my teeth and got Tolman and Addison up so they could get dressed and ready. Carolyn had called back and agreed to meet us at the hospital to pick up the kids and take them back to her house.
Daddy got home about 15 minutes later, gave me a blessing of peace and comfort, I grabbed (of all things) my make-up bag (and nothing else) and we were off.
On the way to the hospital I started to panic thinking of all the things that weren't ready. The carseat wasn't ready, the house was a mess, we didn't have a single diaper in the house, I was going to color my hair that morning and get a pedicure the next morning. All these things!! How was this going to work?! Daddy reassured me that he'd be able to buy what we needed and that it is most important that you had a loving family and warm house to come home to. He was exactly right but what he was saying didn't really sink in.
We got to the hospital, did the kid trade-off with Carolyn and, in what seemed like no time at all, I was laying in the hospital bed with my IV in.
The Anesthesia team came in (the team that Dad had just left) and prepped me for my epidural. Daddy's consultant allowed him to administer my epidural and, luckily for me (and him), did a great job. I thankfully didn't feel any pain. Emily Sharp, who is also an Anesthesia resident whose hair I cut the day before and who coincidentally happened to be on OB, was the one who held my hand. She was rather surprised to see me there that morning since I had seen her just 12 or so hours before.
Besides a panic episode (after the neonatal team came in to talk to us about possible complications involved with having a pre-term baby), the laboring process was fast and pretty uneventful. Around 9:40 am I was feeling quite a bit of pressure so the midwife checked me and sure enough I was dilated to a 10 and ready to push. I was wheeled down the hall to another room, the midwife and nurses got things set up and when they were ready for me to push, I only had to once or twice and at 9:54 am my little 5 pound 6 ounce, 18.5 inches of perfection was born!!
Daddy cut the cord and the neonatal team took you to the adjoining room. Your first APGAR score was an 8 and the second was a 9. You were doing great so they bundled you and brought you out to me. Words can't express the feelings I felt as I held you for the first time. I was instantly smitten. You were absolutely perfect and you were mine. I felt like the luckiest person in the world and was overwhelmed with love for my new little bundle.
After a little while, they took me to my room and about an hour later the nurses brought you into see me on your way to your room.
You had to stay in the Special Care Nursery because you were pre-term and needed a little extra care. It was sad not being able to share a room with you, but I spent every moment I could with you in your room.
*I was able to watch you from the TV in my room*
Your room was such a special place with a very neat spirit. At first I wasn't able to hold or take care of you when I wanted. I didn't even change your diaper until you were 2 days old. I sat on the sidelines while I watched the nurses do everything. In a way I was grateful as it seemed super intimidating to take care of someone so small and fragile. You were tiny! In fact, I'd pass the regular nursery on my way to a your room from mine and the babies in there seemed so big! When Addison passed the regular nursery the first time she said, "WHOA! Those babies are giant!" You were just a tiny little peanut.
*Daddy brought Tolman and Addison to the hospital later that day to meet their new brother*
*Your brother and sister love you so much!*
After a couple days I got more comfortable holding you and was able to kind of take charge. I changed your diapers and was involved in the decisions. I was only in the hospital for 2 days and you had to stay for a week. Because you had a hard time eating on your own, you had an IV for a few days and a feeding tube for 6.
*the machine that administered your food through the feeding tube*
*as I was attempting to nurse you one night you yanked out your feeding tube!*
*After your IV was removed you got to have your very first bath at 3 days old!*
*I walked in to see this one morning. Could you be any more adorable?*
Nursing took some work but eventually you got it down and were able to go home! It was hard on the family having you in the hospital because I was at the hospital almost all the time. I even slept there a couple nights with you. We had a lot of help from great friends that I will be forever grateful! It was such a blessing, for so many reasons, to finally have you home.
*dressed and ready to go*
*You're so tiny in your car seat*
You've been here for only a short time but have already blessed this home and family with your amazing spirit. There is something about having a newborn in the home that brings an added feeling of love and peace. None of us can get enough of you. We find so much joy in watching your funny and sweet facial expressions, listening to your silly squeaky, grunting or growling sounds and even just watching you sleep. We are mesmerized by you and can't imagine life without you; you have filled a void that we didn't even know was there.
Love you, my sweet Ben!