The unfortunate news is that he’s been in the NICU since he was born. I was only able to hold him for approximately 20 seconds before having to hand him over. He’s been in this world for five days now and I haven’t held him again since. I can’t even begin to express how much that has hurt me. I’ve never known such torture.
I’m absolutely overjoyed and proud to share with you that our baby was born on Friday, January 27th in the early afternoon. He weighs 6 pounds, 9 ounces and I swear to you – he really is beautiful. A perfectly round head that would give Charlie Brown a run for his money, deep blue eyes (from his father), dark brown hair (from his mother) and the meatiest most kissable legs you’ve ever seen. My mother said she’s never seen a baby with such cute knees! Who knew a baby could even be complimented on his knees??? Several of the nurses and doctors have even said that he is an exceptionally handsome baby and when I say, “I’m sure you say that to everyone!”, they promise me they don’t. Even if they are lying, I don’t care. I think he’s gorgeous.
Despite the fact that the baby was born at 37 weeks and is a good size, his lungs weren’t quite ready for the real world. He can breathe on his own but it’s a lot of work for him. He has both amniotic fluid and air pressure in his lungs so he’s been intubated (which scared the crap out of me but was necessary), he’s been given both medication and a protein to help him build up his lungs, he’s had a central line put in for nourishment (which also scared the crap out of me) and he’s being closely monitored 24/7.
I had hoped that my first post after having my baby would be nothing but a funny, happy one. I do have a few anecdotes from the day he was born as well as some of the events leading up to it but it feels wrong to share them now as the only thing I care about is getting my baby well and back in my arms.
After spending so long trying to get pregnant, many have said to me that infertiles appreciate their baby so much more because they had to work for it. I was also at a baby shower recently of a good friend who got pregnant after struggling as well and I heard a friend of hers say, “It makes sense that after all her struggling to get pregnant, she’s had such an idyllic pregnancy.” Considering those two statements, I can’t help but feel a little pissed off right now. I went through a lot to get pregnant and no one could appreciate or love this baby more than I do and even after all my struggling, I had a fairly difficult pregnancy filled with morning sickness, gestational diabetes, vertigo, a stress fracture, cholestasis and a rushed C-Section. I would have hoped that the universe would have seen it fit to spare me from now having to see my baby hooked up to a million tubes struggling to breathe. I’ve already learned the ‘life isn’t fair’ lesson. Seriously… can’t any of this ever be easy? Just one part at least? When is enough enough? Yes, it’s a pity party but thanks to my husband who brings me food often, it’s well catered.
I do apologize if that at all seems ungrateful as I truly don’t mean it to be. Every time I see him or get to touch him, the word ‘grateful’ doesn’t even begin to cover what I feel. Nothing is more important to me than him. I have never known I could feel so much love for one little person and the slightest sign from him that he’s ok or that he knows I’m there is one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever known. It’s just that we all have our breaking point to how much strength and humor we can have… and I’m officially close to mine. It’s been a long, crazy road where there have been more than a few times where I’ve had to adjust my sense of what is “normal” and I was hoping to at least have the typical birthing experience where you hold the baby, have him sleep in your hospital room, learn to nurse and bond with your baby while the proud father takes pictures. Instead, I’m bringing people to a room where they see my baby and start to cry because it all looks so scary. I’m alone in my room at night listening to someone else next door comfort their baby. All my pictures of our son, he has a tube coming out of his mouth and he’s sedated. And the worst part, I have to be careful how I even touch him as they don’t want him agitated or it will affect his breathing.
I’ve waited so long for this and dammit, I just want my baby happy, healthy and home.
Many who have known what’s been going on have sent me links, emails, posts and texts about “kangaroo care” and that’s where the mother having skin-to-skin contact helps heal the baby. I just want to say now that BELIEVE ME, that’s not possible in this case. Even though I know people are trying to be helpful, the fact that everyone keeps bringing this up as a possibility just upsets me. The NICU my son is in is considered one of the top ones in the country. They are well aware of this care (which is more for preemies than full term babies) but they have advised me that it would be incredibly difficult especially with the amount of tubes and wires he’s hooked up to monitoring him. Right now, it is what it is and we just have to wait until he turns a corner. As soon as he does, I am going to hold him and probably won’t let him go until he’s off to college.
As of this moment, I’m about to go downstairs and see how he’s doing today. They have begun to lower his oxygen (which is a good sign), they say his lungs are healing and he’s breathing a little calmer so this is all encouraging. That being said though, I’m getting kicked out of the hospital today but he will have to remain here for an indeterminate time. Even though I’m immediately checking into a hotel nearby, I know I will have an emotional breakdown when I leave. Even as I type this, I’m beginning to cry as the thought of leaving without him is almost too much to bear.
So, this isn’t the post I had envisioned but if you’ve been following my blog for a while, this is yet again another challenge I didn’t want or expect but have to deal with. I will post pictures once he’s more presentable and in case you were wondering, we named him Michael Jay (the second name may sound familiar) and from what I’ve been told, all the nurses in the NICU have been calling him M.J. which I think is pretty adorable.
In closing, if you wouldn’t mind, please keep our son in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. It would mean the world to me. And as always, thank you, thank you, thank you for all your love and support. This has been a tough, emotional time and it’s a great comfort to know others are thinking of us.