He’s here!

And with this my 400th blog post, I’m happy to announce that our baby boy has arrived.  Drake made his appearance at 6:44 p.m. on Jan. 30 and weighed in at 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 20 inches long.  He and I are both doing well.  In the nine weeks since he’s been here, we’ve been adjusting to life with another family member.  It’s been both easier and harder than I anticipated.

When I had my daughter, I was induced into labor that lasted 24 hours.  I’m not giving lots of detail, but it was a long and extra miserable labor.  This time around, I really wanted to avoid being induced again.  But, my baby boy didn’t feel like coming, so we scheduled an induction the day after my due date.  This labor was completely different.  Of course there was still misery involved.  Nobody goes through childbirth without misery.  However, I had an incredibly compassionate and helpful nurse who made a huge difference.  I had a shorter labor at only nine hours and I had an epidural that worked.  In fact, when the epidural was put in, it was the best I’d felt in months.  The last trimester of my pregnancy involved lots and lots of pain.  I could have kissed the doctor!

I was excited to welcome my baby boy into the world, but when he was laid on my chest, he was blue. And by blue, I mean blue all over — like a Smurf. He wasn’t crying or making noise.  The nurse quickly whisked him away.  For three minutes he didn’t breathe at all.  A Code Pink was called and all sorts of medical staff rushed in to help.  He got a CPAP with oxygen.  My doctor kept reassuring me that this was normal and not to worry.  I just laid there and prayed and cried.  For so many months I had been so miserable myself but so grateful that my baby boy was healthy and unaffected.  And then here he was and things weren’t going well.  I wished it were still me.  Finally after 20 minutes he was completely breathing on his own and we heard his first strong cry.  I have never been so happy to hear a cry as I was in that moment.

I got to hold Drake for a couple of minutes before he had to go to the NICU for observation for a couple of hours.  I wasn’t allowed to go with him and had to stay in the delivery room for my own recovery for an hour.  With both of our births, my husband and I had talked ahead of time that he was to stay with the baby should anything go wrong.  So, he headed to the NICU with Drake.  I was left processing what happened and being thankful that all seemed to be well with our boy at last.  I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to do the hour or so of skin-t0-skin and try nursing our little guy right away like is standard at our hospital.  I worried that yet again I’d be in for failure when it come to nursing a baby at the breast.

But, within a couple of hours, we were all settled into our hospital room together.  Drake had gotten some formula through a feeding tube in the NICU, but after that, he latched fine.  For the first time, I was finding out what it was like to have a baby who could figure out breastfeeding.

My beautiful boy has made our family complete. We are blessed! (Photo by Catherine Hatton)

In the weeks since, I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to continue to nurse him.  We had a learning curve, but it wasn’t too steep.  We figured it out together.  He’s now in a pretty decent sort of schedule.  The first two weeks were the most challenging because he wanted to eat so very often, but now we’re settled into a routine and pattern.  And we’ve even been able to bottle feed him with pumped milk when needed.  I have all my old pumping supplies still, but my pump was worn out.  I was able to get a new one through my insurance company.  It is sort of an old friend.  The sounds are familiar.  Washing pump parts is familiar.  Putting Post-It notes on milk bottles in the fridge to track when they were pumped and must be used is familiar.  But, it’s so much easier organizing milk and washing pump parts when I’m only pumping a bit by choice.  I feel blessed to have the best of both worlds right now.  I can nurse him most of the time but I have milk for bottles so I can relax about going to see a movie with my husband once in a while or to a doctor’s appointment and leave him with grandparents.

I think Drake and I are getting to know one another even better.  It’s difficult at first because we don’t know each other.  I had to learn what would soothe him, how he likes to sleep and when he’s in the mood to play or sleep.  Now I know that he’s best soothed by patting his back and snuggling him kangaroo style.  I know he likes to sleep slightly propped up.  I know when he makes a certain fussy face that he’s really just sleepy and need to snuggle.  I’ve learned that he’s definitely a snuggler and likes to be held and cuddled lots more than his big sister did.  I’ve learned to identify when his tummy is bothering him and worked with his pediatrician to figure out a reflux issue he has.

Photo by Catherine Hatton

Through it all, though, I’m doing my best to suck it all in.  We definitely have challenging times, but everyday I try to make sure I just stop to enjoy the good parts of having a newborn.  I try to enjoy a snuggle for no other reason than to snuggle — not just because I need him to eat or sleep, but because I want to snuggle and enjoy him.  My heart melts looking into his dark eyes.  I re-energize when he gives me a smile.  These are sweet, precious moments that I’ll never have again.  I don’t want to miss them.  My daughter’s first six weeks were much harder for various reasons.  I’m not sure that I really got to just enjoy her in those early days.  I’m sucking in all I can right now, especially because I now have the perspective of knowing how very fast it goes.  After all, I just blinked a couple of times and ended up with a preschooler and now another tiny baby.

Life is good around here.  I feel so incredibly much better.  In fact, I felt better during my recovery from childbirth than I did in the last month of my pregnancy.  In the early days we were extra blessed with church family bringing in some meals for us and our parents doing extra things as well like bringing food and even cleaning our house.  We continue to be surrounded by love and support as we expand our family and I couldn’t be more thankful or more blessed.

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