Sweetest Baby Boy of Mine,
I honestly cannot believe that you are here, and have been in our lives for one month already! It feels like life before you has already become a hazy blur and yet I can remember the day we first met like it was only just yesterday.
We went through so very much to bring you into this world and you are our miracle baby for so many reasons. But most importantly, you are here and you are ours. We had some scares about your health before you were born, and we are certainly not out of the woods yet, but having you HERE, in my arms, makes it all much less scary, yet much more real at the same time. Seeing your little cherub face and kissing your sweet peach-fuzz head makes me feel as if it is all going to to be ok- because there simply isn’t any other option. But then my Mama Bear instincts set in and my stomach turns at the thought of doctors touching your perfect little body. So I guess it’s a Catch-22 or maybe it’s just what we call “being a parent”. But don’t worry, we’ve got you sweet boy and it’s totally going to be fine- even if mommy has to cry her way through each appointment, test, and procedure- you most likely won’t remember a single bit of it.
Anyways, I wanted to tell you a little bit about the day you were born; a day that is just as hazy as it is poignant in my brain- a day I will never ever forget as long as I live.
Your due date was May 11th and knowing you were going to be our last babe, I had my “birth plan” all laid out. I really wanted to let you come on your own time, to go into natural labor, no inductions or schedules. I wanted to experience it all- water breaking, contractions, the whole thing (I know, call me crazy!)
Your sisters were both inductions and such easy births that I guess I took the whole birth experience for granted and thought of your birth with only thoughts of excitement and joy. Well, that all came crashing to a halt when we discovered your kidney issues at our 20 week anatomy scan. After several appointments with fetal care specialists and high-risk pregnancy doctors, we were told that I would need to induce to ensure all the proper doctors could be present at your birth and to try to control the situation as much as possible. I was also told that I was going to be delivering at a different hospital than planned because of the on-site surgical center (in case it was needed) as well as the excellent NICU unit, which we were also told would most likely be needed. I about broke down- but had to quickly remind myself that the most important thing was your health and safety. I can’t even lie to you, Little Man- it was a long and scary few months for us. But they scheduled our induction for May 4th and we braced ourselves for what lie ahead.
Cut to the night of April 26th. Daddy brought your sisters to Q’s last soccer game of the season and I sat home texting everyone about my doctor appointment earlier that day. I told everyone not to worry or rush to get here because I was only at 2cm and you were likely going to make it to your induction date after all. I finished writing in your journal, put on my pjs, and laid down on the couch to watch tv with Daddy. We were in the middle of watching a show when I felt a rush of water and gasped. Daddy jumped up and asked me what was wrong. I just stared at him in total disbelief and said, “I think my water just broke!!!” (Yep, someone up above must’ve been listening because I got exactly what I wished for.) The following 30 minutes would be hard to describe, but it was pretty much what you’d expect a scene in a comedy movie to look like…so much rushing and crying and packing. And water…SO.MUCH.WATER! We called your Aunt Britt to come over and stay with your sisters overnight and I just remember crying so hard that I couldn’t even see what I was throwing in my hospital bag. I kept saying that I wasn’t ready, but I think what I meant was that I was just scared that the time to face the music was finally here. Daddy was just running around smiling and laughing and calling your grandparents to tell them to change their flights and saying to me, “This is good! This is awesome! He’s ready! We’re going to meet our baby boy tonight!! It’s going to be ok!” …while I hyperventilated and waddled around the house in nervous circles.
We rushed to the hospital and arrived around 9:45pm. Once we were there we realized that Daddy was in such a euphoric frenzy that he left his entire suitcase at the house. Luckily, Mommy remembered hers…which was clearly more important! 😉
I got my epidural around 11:30 even though I wasn’t feeling too much pain yet. Luckily I got it though, because the pain set in shortly afterwards…and was pretty intense- even through the epidural! Your Uncle Brendo went to our house to stay with your sisters so that Aunt Britt-Britt could be at the hospital with us. It was a bit frantic trying to get all the right doctors there in the middle of the night! I remember around midnight the NICU doctor came in to talk to us and tell us what to expect. He said that based on my extensive notes from the kidney specialist (yes, mommy is a huge nerd!) they were going to have the NICU team in the delivery room for the birth, where they’d assess you and decide what to do from there. Then there was a lot more waiting while Daddy and Aunt Britt-Britt entertained me with annoying music and crazy dancing.
And then, Little Man, at 2:46am, after just 3 pushes, I saw your precious face for the very first time. They laid you on my chest and suddenly the crazy, hectic room around us faded away and it was only you and me. I knew in that moment that it was all going to be ok and that you were exactly where you needed to be. You were 7.3lbs & 20 inches of pure perfection. The doctors checked you over and let you lay skin-to-skin with me for 2 hours before they took you down to the NICU.
To tell you the truth, the period of time between them taking you and me getting to see you again was all a blur. I know we moved rooms and that Aunt Britt left to go be with the girls when they woke up at the house. I know there was some face-timing and lots of phone calls. But mostly the spinning didn’t come to a halt until Daddy and I finally got to go to the NICU and hold you again. I’ll never forget the sight of your tiny little body on that bed. I wanted to scoop you up and run away with you, but I knew you were in excellent hands and it was for the best.
Within the first few hours you stopped eating and needed to be given a feeding tube, which was no fun at all for any of us. The other part that wasn’t fun was that your sisters weren’t allowed to come see you…and they were so so excited to finally meet you.
Within a few hours your grandparents arrived from all over the country and got to come in one-by-one to meet you. Unfortunately, only four adult visitors were allowed in the NICU, so your Uncle Dan, who drove 4 hours to come see you, had to wave at you through the waiting room window. I felt so very sad that we couldn’t just have you in the room with us with your sisters and all of our family members, but I also felt very lucky that you were here and doing so well. I had so much to be thankful for!
The next day you started latching and eating again and we were able to remove your feeding tube. (yay!) Then they ran a series of tests on you to assess your kidneys. The tests pretty much just ruled out several options but didn’t really give us any answers. We were left knowing there was a big problem going on inside of you, but having no idea what was causing it or how & when we were going to fix it. That was something your urologist would have to figure out once we left the hospital. With no further tests to be run and you eating again, they finally released you to our room on the final night.
Your Toey and Papa took a video of me & Daddy cheering and crying as we rolled you out of the NICU. It was one of the very best moments ever! We had your tiny crib set up right in the front of our room so that it would be the first thing your sisters saw when they walked in that night to visit. Oh, Max…if only you knew how loved you are! Your sisters’ faces lit up when they saw you for the first time. Q literally squealed with clenched fists and Cubby just kept smiling and trying to pet you like a puppy dog.
The next morning, before we were discharged, we had our amazing friend Liz Labianca come in to take some hospital pictures. It is something I will forever be grateful for! The whole experience was such a blur that even when I saw these pictures a few short days later, they seemed like snapshots of a dream I couldn’t quite remember all the details of. Such a gift to have these, to cement in time these moments I never want to forget. Ok, and now I’m getting all emotional again…
Your birth, my sweet boy, from my water breaking to us arriving back home again WITH you (complete with blue balloons and cheering family members in the front yard) was the most surreal experience of my life. I don’t think there will ever be adequate words to describe the frenzy and excitement; the fear and the pure joy that encompassed your arrival. I cried the day we left the hospital, because I knew we were closing a chapter of our lives- a chapter that I’ve so cherished for the past six years. I cried because I was sad to see my child-bearing days come to an end and I cried because I was so excited that our family was finally complete- because of you. Your birth was a pure whirlwind, Mr. Max- a whirlwind of people and travel, of unknowns and setbacks, of emotions and exhaustion. And these photos along with the memories I do have, as blurry as they may be, will be cherished forever and ever…just like you.
So, welcome to this crazy world of ours.
We love you, our handsome little man.
Our tiny miracle.
*All photos in this blog post are courtesy of Liz Labianca Photography.