Well my dear, I am beginning to see you are a girl who likes to call her own shots. I was pretty darn shocked when my water broke unexpectedly on the evening of 9/26/11 – one day shy of you being 36 weeks along. However, after calling the hospital and being told to come in and be checked out I felt an amazing sense of calm. I didn’t know what was about to happen, but God gave me an overwhelming sense of peace. We got to the hospital and they quickly confirmed that my water broke and informed me that I would not be leaving until you were out. Because you were 4 weeks early, I instantly became “high risk” and was informed that NICU staff would be present at your birth in order to ensure you got immediate attention.
After a long, sleepless, and contractionless night at the hospital my labor was induced at 5:30am. It was far from the “natural” childbirth that I had been rooting for, but thankfully I had a great team to keep me encouraged and help me deal with my back labor: Papa and Nana kept me entertained with conversation until the more intense stuff started, once my labor became something I needed to focus all of my energy on your Daddy and Grandma stayed busy for hours applying pressure to my back, pulling on my legs, and doing anything else they could think of to increase my comfort. On top of my fantastic family support I had an AMAZING nurse, Emmy, who respected my wishes for a epidural free labor, allowed me to be off those annoying monitors as much as possible so that I was free to move around as I need to, and encouraged me when I thought I couldn’t go on any longer.
Then, at 4:17pm on 9/27/11 you made your grand debut into the world to a room full of hospital staff (Daddy and I are still uncertain how many people were in there, we think there were at least 6, but our attentions were focused elsewhere at the time so we aren’t completely certain). You weighed in at exactly 5 pounds and were 16.75 inches long. You were quickly passed from the doctor’s hands to the NICU staff who cleaned you off, took your stats, and assessed your breathing. They gave me two precious minutes with you wrapped up on my chest before they stole you away to the NICU, with Daddy following closely behind in order to get you hooked up to so many machines and make sure you were ok.
That next hour as I got put back together and did all the things I needed to do before I could get into a wheel chair were some of the oddest feeling moments of my life. I knew I had had a baby, but you weren’t with me, it almost seemed like it wasn’t real. But eventually I was able to be wheeled to the NICU where you and I got to be reunited. Daddy and I took a great deal of time looking you over and taking turns holding you. Then we held you up to the window so that all your grandparents, your Uncle Ron, Aunt Harmony, Uncle Chuck, and Cousins Charity and Ronnie could get a look at you. After that you were able to meet your grandparents as only Mommys, Daddys, and Grandparents were allowed into the NICU.
You spent the first 7 days of your life in the NICU. It was by far the hardest week in your Momma and Daddy’s life. On top of the stress of having you away from us and being unsure what was coming next, most days we got around 3 hours of sleep a night in order to pump and go visit you for feedings. But my dear girl, you are so totally worth it.
We had 3 days when your billiruben levels got too high (and you looked orange like you’d had a bad spray tan) that you had to go onto a light bed for the majority of the day, making it so that we could only hold you for 30-45 minutes every couple of hours. I think I cried every time we left you those few days.
Because of your preemie status we learned there were a LOT of things different about you than a term baby with one of the biggest things being eating. At first, you were completely disinterested in eating, and then you were frustrated because you wanted to but didn’t have the muscles needed in order to get your mouth latched, and even after that you were so tired that after a couple minutes of work you would completely fall asleep. Mommy lost all sense of modesty during that NICU week as we met with multiple lactation consultants and nurses until we found the right tricks to make it possible for you to breastfeed.
After a week of growth we were able to take you home. It was by far one of the happiest days of your Mommy and Daddy’s life.
We are so blessed to have you, Peanut. We praise God for this gift! The fact that you are so healthy and strong just goes to show that this was part of His plan for you from the start. It is amazing to be able to spend my whole days with you now that you are home and to see some of the behaviors I felt while you were growing in my tummy. I love your hiccups and how wild you are with those little strong feet and arms of yours. You have your mother’s temper when things don’t go the way you wanted, but you also have your father’s calm when things are finally put to right. You are a noisy sleeper that even as I type this you are grunting and growling along beside me.
I love you Peanut. Thanks for being mine,