Beautiful Baby. Empty Arms.

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.

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.

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.

84 thoughts on “Beautiful Baby. Empty Arms.”

  1. Oh Jay, I'm so sorry to hear of MJ's struggles. I can't even imagine how difficult this must be for you and your husband. I will keep all of you in my thoughts and pray that you get to hold him soon.

    Hugs and try to take care of yourself.

  2. Like I said on Twitter, I'm just some random chick that happened to start following you, but damn if I haven't been sick with worry over your little bundle. I think of him several times a day and hope upon hope that everything's going to be okay soon. He fought SO HARD to exist, he's certainly not done fighting to be healthy! *HUGE HUGS*

  3. I'll keep MJ and you in my thoughts. Hang in there. Mathew was born at 36 weeks and went through a similar situation. He was 8 pounds but was sicker than the teeny tiny preemies in the NICU! He is ten now, and a joy in my life. I'm not sure what to say to help. It's been so long since I was in that NICU, unable to even touch my baby as stimulation irritated him and caused him to struggle even more. I guess all I can say to try to help is that life is fucking unfair and this sucks. But the good news is you are SO STRONG and so is MJ and he is good hands at the hospital. I hope you are able to stay nearby. Mathew stayed in Houston and I had to drive an hour each way to see him daily. There was a Ronald McDonald house there but it was full. Anyway, Jay, MJ, I'm thinking of you nearly non-stop and longing for the day when you are able to hold each other tight. XO Angie (myfreemind06)

  4. I am so sorry to hear that! After all you've been through! UGH! I can relate on some levels. Although I concieved my first easy she was born at 26 weeks and spent 100+ days in the NICU and peds unit. I didn't get to hold my daughter until she was a week old and even then I thought I was going to break her in half. It was incrediably hard and then now we are dealing with secondary infertility. It's like when will my uterus just stop being a freakin biatch ya know? lol

    I pray though that you get to hold him soon and he gets out of there ASAP. He's gotta be a fiesty little guy for getting here through so much! You're gonna be running circles around this kid in no time!

  5. Awe hun, I'm sorry :(I know I degree of what your feeling, After 2 yrs of IF, Jacob was born on his due date, but the last two hours inside me decided to poop, which is pretty bad (meconium, which you know I'm sure). The dr had the whole NICU team waiting in my room while he was delivered, and grabbed him the second he was out. He struggled for breathing, never even cried. I got to see him for 20 seconds, kiss him and then he was in the NICU for 3 days. Although not as bad as your poor little one, but watching them try to get him to breathe, blue in color, and then in the NICU with iv's everywhere, needing xrays for fluid in his lungs – I can imagine where you are mentally, I've been there (again not quite as bad). I also had to go back to my room, alone, and hear other babies cry while mine was not with me. No happy hospital room pic with me holding my BRAND new hour old baby, something I know all of us IF's build up in our minds. My first pic was me reaching through the incubator and him out of it with wires everywhere. I know it hurts, and I know your scared, and after everything you guys have been through, you DON'T deserve it. Jacob got better, and Michael will too. And you know what – he is the happiest baby, loves his sleep (at 2 months he was sleeping 12 hrs through the night already), smiles all the time, and loves life. I bet MJ will be the same. You'll get the joy back 2-fold, I promise you. Hey, maybe you'll have easy teenage years then! 😉 Hang in there, and go nuts if you have to! You have that right girly, and don't feel bad or guilty about it.

    Thinking of you all! 😉 <3

  6. Oh, if there was anyone on this planet who deserved to have a smooth birth experience, it is you. Congratulations on MJ. I'll be thinking of him and waiting patiently to see how beautiful he is. Lots and lots of hugs to you.

  7. I'm so sorry to hear your little guy is in the NICU. I couldn't imagine after waiting so long to hold my little one to have to wait and go through the terror of him being sick (I don't know another way to put it.) I wish him all the love and healing powers in the world.

    As for your friend's comment: I believe that not only do infertiles appreciate their babies more but they also complain less. My pregnancy was fraught with issues and terrifying thoughts but other than my husband no one knew because I was afraid to show how scared I was and difficult everything was. I'm sorry your friend was so insensitive.

  8. Man oh man…can't you catch a break? My heart is aching for you because I can feel your pain in your words. I hope with everything I have that he heals quickly and is able to be held by you and your husband very soon. I'm sure it feels like torture…you poor thing. He's a fighter and he's obviously strong so hopefully he'll turn that corner and never look back. Hang in there, we are all pulling for you. So sorry you are going through this. C'mon little MJ…we are all worried about you…get those lungs going so you can snuggle with your mommy.

  9. Thinking of you and little MJ!!

    I'd say you SHOULD write a little post up about the anecdotal fun moments that surrounded his birth so that when he's older you have THOSE memories to share with him (and not just the scary "you were in the NICU and it was so hard for Mommy" part. It's amazing the awesome little moments you'll start to forget if you don't write them down. Take time to celebrate the little joys as much as you cry over the fears. I can't wait until little MJ is home in your arms!

  10. You will get to take little MJ home. I just know it. It's a great sign that they're lowering his oxygen. He just needed a longer transition from his first comfy home to his second. One of my friends also had her son in the NICU for a little while after he was born and she also could not do the kangaroo hold right away because of too many wires and tubes. But their nurses encouraged her to touch his arm or leg whenever it was reasonable to do so. Any skin contact has a huge help so do know that whenever you do touch him (however it is) it's helping him a ton! I pray for him every evening and can't wait to read your funny, happy post-birth post very soon. Huge hugs to you and your husband.

  11. I know you are and I might sound like a cliche asshole, but stay strong! Your little guy is like that one dessert that needs a bit more time to bake than the instructions say. It will be worth the wait, momma!

    You are doing a good job. Your son loves you. I know you can't have the last five days back, but this sacrifice will yield such an amazing fruit! He'll be in your arms before you know it. I promise.

    Lots of love,

  12. Congratulations on your baby! And i know he'll be home lickety split and this entire NICU experience will be just a memory and a good story to bring up for guilt purposes when he is disrespecting you at around age 15 or so. (((hug))

  13. This is not what I expected to read either. As the days passed with no update, I thought "she must be just genuinely loving the time she gets now with her son and her husband." Praying for you and for your son. I really cannot fathom how much this must break your heart… I just know, it's got to be so hard.

  14. I am so sorry you are having to deal with yet another hurdle. Like you said, us infertiles never seem to catch a break. My husband is a NICU doctor and they really can work miracles! Usually full term, good size babies (like MJ) only have to be on surfactant for a week or so and then they are better. Hang in there!

  15. Oh Jay, I'm so sorry to hear this. I totally agree that, after struggling to get pregnant, the Universe should cut you a break.

    I will keep you & little MJ (also the initials of one of our newly-arrived twin sons) in my thoughts and prayers. Here's hoping his stay in the NICU will be short and he'll be home with you soon.

  16. Oh Jay…I'm so sorry….I hope little MJ gets better soon. As a NICU nurse I know how devastating it is to parents when their little ones are stuck in the NICU when they have to go home. I pray and hold their hands as they say until tomorrow little one. I even have cried with them.

    I think MJ is in the best hands possible if not in yours. I hope you get to hold him soon….keeping you in my thoughts and prayers….

  17. Keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers. My cousin can well understand what you are going through. Her daughter was born at 24 weeks and 9 ounces in weight. She is now 3weeks old and her mom has yet to hold her. So yes, she can well understand the frustration that you must be going through.

  18. Dear God,
    Please send your healing white light to surround MJ (and his mom and dad). Please touch this baby's lungs and heal them quickly so he can take deep, cleansing breaths and be so healthy he can leave the hospital and start his new life with his parents who have waited so very long to meet him, and LOVE him.
    In Jesus' name we say, Amen.

  19. Oh sweetie I'm so sorry you are going through this! How agonizing and unfair! When my son was born at 36 weeks via urgent c-section and had to spend 8 hours in the transitional care nursery I was freaking out I can't imagine what you are going through! Many many many prayers and positive thought to you and Michael.

  20. I'm so sorry. This is meant to be an amazing happy time. Life def is not fair. I really wish MJ a speedy recovery and you get to hold him in your arms soon. Thinking of you all. X

  21. Dear Jay, Sam and MJ,

    my love and prayers go out to you, from around the globe in a tiny country called Denmark. I have been reading your blog for some time, and hoping, laughing and crying with you every step of the way.

    Congratulations on your baby boy, and with you as his mom, and Sam as his dad, I am sure he wil fight his way through this, so you can hold him and take him home, soon.

    Much love and positive thoughts from another woman struggling with infertility.


  22. My heart has been aching for you and your sweet boy…LOVE his name by the way! You have been so much already…you need a break! Praying all the time for his swift recovery and that you can soon hold and snuggle him all you want!

  23. Jay – A huge, huge hug from someone who has been following your story. Congrats on your beautiful son, but I am so sorry to hear that his lungs have some growing to do. I understand (as much as I can) why you feel the sadness you do – not having the "typical" birth story is another loss. Take things one day at a time as best you can. I know the vision of your little boy being supported by wires and tubes must be terribly upsetting but don't forget it – because one day he will be a defiant teenager driving you nuts! Thinking of you and your family and beautiful little M.J. – kerri

  24. A sometime lurker saying that I'm so sorry. I know a bit of where you're at – my son was born at 40 weeks but he was in respiratory distress, sick enough that he couldn't stay at the hospital of birth but had to be transferred to the children's hospital to be intubated. By the time he was ambulanced over, they didn't end up having to intubate him, so our stay was less scary than yours: we got to hold him, and then feed him the next day, and then he got sent back to the original hospital for a fortnight, waiting for him to get his breathing together enough to stay saturated during sleep and carseat position. But he made that up to us by having another round at the hospital 2 months later, this time with a mysterious super-rare liver phenomenon, which was even scarier.

    The point is that I'm now able to look back on that time in the NICU with a much happier outlook, and while I do intend to make him pay for hairdye to cover my future grey out of his allowance, it's just a tiny part of the story of his infancy. Even if beeping sounds from car alarms, microwaves, etc., make me look frantically around for the monitor, still.

  25. *hugs* I'm crying for and with you, Jay. I've been following this all from before your IVF worked, and I can only imagine how hard it is to get so close and yet still be so far away from how you pictured motherhood to be.
    It's tiny in comparison, but after my own IF struggle, my girl was born with hip dysplasia and is now in a brace that has to be worn all the time except for diaper changes and baths (they put her into a 24/7 harness at 9 days old). It sucks seeing her like that. The two thoughts that help a little are that 1) she's not going to remember any of this, that this is my emotional struggle more than hers at this point and 2) eventually her hips aren't going to be an issue at all. This is a completely treatable thing – and it sounds like MJ's situation is similar, although obviously much more severe.

    You can get through this, mama. It sucks and it's hard and you absolutely don't deserve it after everything you've already been through to get him, but know that on the other side of this NICU stuff, when you have him home and safe, you'll look back and know it was worth it to have him with you.

    I'm sending good thoughts your way, for MJ's recovery and your strength.

  26. I have been thinking about you every day and checking for a post on the birth. First of all congratulations on the arrival of your son! He is to be celebrated, I know he is so wanted and loved. I'm sorry he is so sick right now. You don't deserve any more difficulties, but we almost never get what we "deserve" we get what we get. Hang in there, I will be praying for MJ's recovery and that you will soon be able to hold him in your arms.

  27. Don't apologize for what you are feeling or saying at this moment. After all you've gone thru, I'm surprised you are not going on a killing spree in the hospital 🙂
    Look, without a doubt this situation is sooooooo freaking frustrating, that I can't even put it all in words. Especially that you just recently gave birth and all those crazy hormones are working overtime. It's hard, no matter who says what.
    Be angry, say whatever is on your mind, let it all out, maybe that helps a little. Meanwhile, think of the NICU as an extension of your womb. He is a little premature and it's doing whatever your womb would be doing at this time. If he was still in your belly, you wouldn't be able to see him or touch him anyways….so just try to think of this time as if you were still pregnant…except you don't have to pee all the time 🙂
    You had valid expectations and you didn't get them. Plus you are in pain. PLus you just want everything to be over with. And these feelings are completly normal and understandable!
    I really hope and pray that this time will go by really fast and meanwhile keep pumping!!! That's the best you can do for him! Hopefully SOON you will all be home and we can read about how happy and extatic you are! Cuz you deserve it!!!!! And you will have it! It's just the matter of time! Please be strong….not for me, not for us, but for your little baby! He needs you more than anything!

  28. I am sorry that MJ is in the NICU and I'll be praying and hoping for a fast recovery. Hang in there and just know that you will get through this and be stronger because of it. My niece was born 7 weeks early and was in the NICU for three weeks so I hope MJ's stay is short and he can go home soon!

  29. You are in my thoughts and my prayers – as you have been! I cannot imagine how it feels to experience his birth in this way and to ache to hold him as you do. I pray that very very soon you will be able to hold and love your little baby and that you will finally be able to enjoy all that you've worked so hard for.

  30. We call him MJ too! And I'm sorry that idyllic pregnancy comment was made within your earshot; I have a feeling I might know at whose shower that was said…We love you, and are thinking of you guys and the little man all the time. This will pass, but the wait until it does must be tearing you apart. Sending all the positive thoughts we got.

  31. Hugs. I am thinking of your little baby boy. Can hardly wait to hear that he's home, in his loving momma's arms.
    You're not alone, we're all with you and with your baby.

    Zygotta (for whatever reason, I cannot comment while signed in)

  32. Dear Jay.. thinking of your baby and praying for you.. all the way from Italy… must bring good luck.. remember you said that to me a few days ago.. kisses and prayers.. he will be fine soon you will see!!

  33. You know, I just randomly (or not?) stumbled across your blog and wanted to say congratulations on the birth of your son. I also want to say that if you are not feeling like you want to blog, or blog lollipops and roses because that's not going on right now, no one would (should) judge you or expect anything less. Infertility sucks. (11 years). IVF is tough (just did the transfer for my 3rd one today). Pregnancy is HARD. Birth is very rarely idyllic. My first IVF success and perfect son was also whisked away (and then lifeflighted) to NICU with nary more than a touch of his cheek and shoulder. And then he died several hours later. (COMPLETELY different and rare circumstances) Life changed and what I blogged about and with what tone changed and that's just the way it was. I am glad you are focused solely on your little one and am (yes, random stranger but one who can somewhat relate) praying for his recovery and your peace in it all. Write what you feel and don't feel like you have to meet anyone's expectations for what you write!
    Again, prayers and best wishes.

  34. Jay:
    Even in your despair, your writing is beautiful and still full of humor: "Yes, it’s a pity party but thanks to my husband who brings me food often, it’s well catered." I can't wait until this nightmare is behind you and you can laugh and write about it more. I was thinking the other day how, if no one has told you this before, you should definitely turn this blog into a book. Sometimes I sit down to write about what is going on with me, but all I can manage to eke out is an "I'm sad." You manage to write in such a heartfelt, funny style- it constantly amazes and inspires me. Haven't found a blog yet that compares to yours.
    This is all to say, I am thinking of you and definitely keeping you and MJ in my thoughts. Soon this will pass and he will be home and healthy.

  35. Awww. Congratulations on the birth of your son. I'm so sorry he is in the NICU, but those nurses and Drs. are the very, very best and will keep that kid of yours safe until he is ready to come home. It truly is the best place he could be right now. Take time to heal from the birth, and know that you little man will be home soon. He is in my prayers as are you and your hubby. Take lots of pictures even if you think he looks scary. It will help you someday to explain to him why you are grounding him at the ripe old age of 4 until he is 37 for all this worry.

  36. Dear Jay,

    First off, congratulations on MJ's birth! Sending your family all the good vibes I can.

    I'm also all too familiar with the "life isn't fair" lesson. After 3 losses and a rough pregnancy, our son was in the NICU for his first 5 days. I know this is incredibly hard for you and I wish I could give you a hug. I just want to say that MJ, like our Tatoe, fought to be here and he's nowhere near done fighting. Someday (hopefully soon) he will be home with you, and you can look back on this as just another example of how incredibly strong and tenacious both you and he are.

  37. This is just unbelievable. I am so sorry that you and your family have yet another hurdle to overcome. I have been thinking of you a lot over the last few days… I know it sounds weird from a complete stranger, but I really feel like I know you. My husband's birthday is also the 27th and I told him after your last post, "Jay is going to have her baby on your birthday!" Ever since then I have been envisioning you in a state of blissful motherhood… I will continue to think of you in this way because it WILL happen for you. It sounds like baby MJ is in excellent hands, and hopefully very soon will be in your arms. Until then I hope you will get some rest and a lot of love and support from those around you and all of us blog followers. Take care, Jay.

  38. Thoughts and prayers, love and strength headed your way 🙂 I remember when you got your BFP. And now your boy is here. Isn't that overpowering feeling of love incredible? I can only imagine how difficult this must be right now, and I fervently hope he is home super soon 🙂

  39. Congratulations on the birth of what sounds to be the most handsome baby boy to ever exist (so far… my two guys are due in July). You are a strong, resilient lady who offers a lot of hope and insight to other women who are fighting their battles right along side of you. I absolutely HATE that you have not been able to hold your precious son for more than 20 minutes- the punches just never seem to cease. On the bright side (as small as it may seem in comparison) you're a mom! You have a son. Doesn't that sound amazing!? I can't wait to see the tubeless pictures of him and hear about you finally getting to bring him home. I'm praying for MJ, you and your hubby.

  40. Congratulations. Stay strong, mama. Unfortunately I can relate – IVF, difficult pregnancy, NICU. It sucks, it's not fair and nothing anyone says can help. You will get to bring him home soon and that will be the best day of your life next to the day he was born. Stay focused on that – and don't forget to eat. I suggest a Snickers bar a day. 🙂

  41. Oh, man! My daughter ended up in NICU and she was only 19.5 hours "early." It sucks. Having someone tell you when and how you can touch the foot of your own child… or if you get to touch that foot at all!… it just sucks. I am sad for you having to go through it. Some day soon I hope you get to the, "Well this *ought* to be a breeze after all the crap I've been through!" phase.

    Love and respect.

  42. I'm so sorry, Jay. I hope your sweet boy improves with each day and is out of the hospital soon. I know you are so, so ready to bring him home and spend hours on end just cradling him in your arms. I am hoping and praying for that moment to come as soon as possible. I believe that it will and will keep the faith for you when yours is waning. Keeping you in my thoughts. Lots of love.

  43. Argh— you will get through this!! I'm wishing you and your beautiful boy a blissful homecoming together ASAP. As a fellow infertile New Yorker, I've been an avid reader your blog for some time now. I know MJ must be a real fighter like his mommy. You guys hang in there! You deserve all the happiness in the world.

  44. Wow. I'm a babyloss mother– having lost my full term son to stillbirth, had a miscarriage, and then went on to have my son a little less than a month after you had yours. I do not have IF, but like hell… I haven't had a perfect journey either. :/

    We delivered at exactly 37 weeks as well and our son was also admitted into the NICU. I had a stressful pregnancy as well, and just wondered why I couldn't just have that blissful skin-to-skin experience with breastfeeding and a doting father taking photos. Our son is now home 13 days now and doing well… but geesh. What a road. We also were kicked out of mother-baby without our baby and refused to leave the hospital and literally camped out in the lobby and let them know we would be sleeping in our car if they kicked us out but absolutely not leaving him at the hospital alone.

    I remember the tubes and feeling like every time I touched or held him that I would interrupt his oxygen levels, etc. I'm sorry you had to endure this (me too!). Let's just hope we can put all that behind us!

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top