Addy’s three weeks old.
She sleeps and eats like a newborn- up every three hours at night. And a lot of times, she insists on being held to sleep. But I’m okay with that; I can’t bear to put her down.
And we are absolutely relishing in every aspect of having a newborn. What some people might take for granted, we’re so excited to be able to partake in.
Yes, we’re exhausted. Yes, we’re worn down. Yes, it’s a little rough with a two-year-old who gets up at 5:30 in the morning.
But really? Nothing is as difficult as having a brand new baby who you don’t take home. Who has serious health issues that you have to call the hospital at 2am to check on. Who you can’t hold whenever you please, and you start to wonder if they’ll ever be able to finish a whole bottle or if they’ll ever come home.
Don’t get me wrong- I know that there are so many families who go through so much more than we did with Piper. I know that. Our experience, however, was not “fun”- but awe-inspiring and eye-opening? Absolutely.
I don’t think I realized how heavily Piper’s ordeals had weighed on me. I was a nervous wreck through this pregnancy. I’m sure that my OB was ready for us to have this baby, too. It was a “first” pregnancy for me in a lot of regards. I had, essentially, no birth experience with Piper. I got a five-minute warning before she was born, and even then I was unconscious for it. I’ve always felt fully JIPPED of that experience.
When we were told that this baby would have to be another cesarean, I was pretty let-down. Having babies “that” way was never on my radar. But looking at it now, I think that it really allowed me to get over Piper’s birth day, too.
We were wheeled into the same OR that we delivered Piper in. With Piper, it was the scariest few minutes I’ve ever experienced. It was a flurry. It was chaotic. I could tell the concern and urgency in everyone’s voice. I was by myself, because Luke wasn’t going to be allowed into the room until the baby was born. This time, the doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists all talked to me, and not over me (everyone was amazing, by the way). And while they were working fast and efficiently, the air was lighter than it was with Piper. Luke was there. And MY doctor delivered my baby.
I got to see the teeny little being as soon as she was born. I could hear her first cry. I wanted so badly to hold her, but I knew I’d be able to quickly. I admit- I was a little jealous that Luke got to hold her first. When the nurse walked over and let Luke have her, she said “She looks great!”, all of my worries vanished. We, finally, had this little girl with us.
The nurses knew that my mom was waiting in the waiting room- one of them went out and opened the door (“on accident”, lol) so that she could see us walk by. She said that she could watch as Luke got to carry Addy to the recovery room. When we got in there, they weighed and measured her. AND I got to hold her. I was selfish- I figured that Luke got to hold her first, so I wasn’t giving her up any time soon. It was delightful.
I couldn’t believe how tiny she actually was. Those of you who had kids in the NICU for any period of time can probably relate- everything should affect their ability to go home. I, of course, jumped to “So what does this change?” I was beyond thrilled to hear that the only thing she had to do was get a few more heal sticks to check her glucose levels (I’m sure, however, that she was significantly less enthusiastic than I was).
While we were waiting to get kicked out of the recovery room, I realized that it was the same recovery room that I was in with Piper, too. Same OR, same recovery room. Only this time, this time things were okay. We had the same joyous baby day that “everyone else” gets to have.
I don’t think I slept more than a few hours total while we were in the hospital. I just couldn’t get enough of Addy. I got to hold Piper a lot while she was in the NICU, yes- but being in the dark, in the quiet, by myself, with no monitors!, for hours on end- it just didn’t compare.
The NICU team always said that Piper had to have been “failing” for the weeks leading up to her birth. At 30 weeks, Piper weighed 2 lbs 15 oz. She was born two weeks later at 3 lbs 6 oz- we were told that she had not been growing adequately, which is probably what led to her full failure prior to birth. Addy, at 30 weeks, weighed 3 lbs 1 oz. Now my OB and the girls’ pediatrician all just say that we “make small kids”, and that’s okay. Piper was probably not in as bad of shape as we were led to believe- which makes me feel a lot better about her, too.
I hated not having Piper HOME- but, ultimately, I wouldn’t change the path we were on. The way she came was the only way we’d have that little girl today- period. And our experience there has forever changed us. And because of that change, I think we more fully appreciate and enjoy this time we have with Addy.
Sometimes I think we all need to adjust our perspective. We need to put on our rose-colored glasses, and be reminded to take advantage of what we have in that moment. And as much as I’ve been able to say that “the only thing that mattered was that we had a baby to take home” with Piper, I think that I’ve let a lot of my insecurities, worries, and (oh, I’ll just say it!) anger about the way she came get in the way of a lot. I didn’t even realize it.
But now, now we’re enjoying every second. Every minute of everything. All of the much-too-frequent night-time feedings, the missing baby wipes at 2am, and the 5:30 wake-up calls from a certain toddler. The ability to hold all we want, when we want, changing diapers without worrying about how much they weigh, not freaking out about how much she’s eaten… Seeing Piper give voluntary hugs and kisses to her sister, watching her face beam with pride when someone asks if she’s the big sister, and watching her sign Addy’s name when she thinks Addy needs something.
Life is so, so good.
…and we are so, so LUCKY.