We’ve had a big day so far

Thank you all for your thoughts and well wishes. It means so much to Dave and me, and I’m sure Ian feels like a little rock star right now.

It felt like it took forever for me to get down to see Ian. I felt a million times better after spending time with him. He’s pink, he looks relaxed, and he was getting lots of rest. We were able to do his mouth care/temp/diaper routine, which was the first highlight of my day. We never got to do any of that with Jillian, so it meant a lot. He wasn’t a big fan of any of it, and he made sure we knew. His furrowed brow makes me feel bad because he is obviously unhappy when he’s doing it, but it’s so perfect and adorable that I can’t help but love it.

While we were there, one of the doctors from Jillian’s stay came over to say hi. He introduced himself and I mentioned that we’ve met before. He then acknowledged that we had, which made me think he was letting me take the lead on whether we’d address that. He commented on how well Ian is doing and how different this experience will be. He mentioned that they were going to start weaning Ian off the CPAP. That’s obviously a big step, but I also knew it might mean I wouldn’t get to hold him today because we don’t want to overwhelm him. That’s okay though.

While we were there, my peri came in to visit. I’m not sure if she was in the hospital anyway or not, but I was shocked to see her. We talked about the delivery and how much trouble the doctor had removing the cerclage, and then she left. Ian’s nurse’s jaw dropped as my doctor walked out. She said she thought she was my sister or something and that I am a very lucky person to have a doctor like her. I agree. She’s been amazing for the past several months.

We came to my room for some rest and went back down a little bit ago. As we entered the NICU, the doctor mentioned that Ian was doing even better. We got to his bedside and I could finally see his sweet little face because the CPAP was gone. It makes me so nervous to know he’s breathing on his own (even though he’s constantly monitored), but being able to really look at him was amazing. I’m starting to think he actually looks like my other little brother.

Then his nurse asked if I was ready to hold him. Obviously. We got all situated and she placed him in my arms. I melted. He’s perfect. As soon as someone dimmed the lights, he opened his eyes and looked right at my face. It was one of the most perfect moments of my life. He then spent the rest of our snuggle time looking back and forth between Dave and me, and it seemed like he was fighting to stay awake. I eventually had to give him back because we all need to rest, especially because today has been so eventful.

I’m almost afraid to post this because it seems like things are going too smoothly. Obviously that’s a great thing, but Dave and I are both terrified to acknowledge the progress. Hopefully things will keep getting better. We don’t have any idea how long he’ll be here, and we’re both too scared to ask. I think it all depends on how the next few days go. We’ll see.

Ian Matthew

Surprise! The little dude is here. We weren’t expecting him so soon, obviously. My c-section was supposed to happen February 8. He came out screaming his little head off last night, weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces. By the time I got to visit him a few hours ago, he was doing well. He needed a little help breathing, but the doctors said he’s doing as well as they expect a 34-weeker to do, and everyone has commented on his feistiness.

This got really long, but I don’t want to forget a moment of Ian’s birth.

Yesterday started off as a pretty routine day. I had been in my doctor’s office on Thursday, which went from a regular, short appointment to one with two speculum exams, a failed NST, and an ultrasound because my NP thought she saw some fluid around my cervix. They eventually decided I was probably not leaking (but weren’t 100% sure) and everything was great on the ultrasound, so we went home.

Anyway, I went to an appointment with my grief counselor on Friday morning. Ian was being his usual active self. I was just uncomfortable and at one point I said that if he moved any lower, he was going to fall out.

I got home and ate some lunch and tried to get to work on making his mobile. Eventually I was too uncomfortable and decided to take a bath because being submerged in water is the only time I’d felt comfortable in a couple of months. I realized at one point I was really in a lot of pain. I got out of the tub, lay on my left side in bed, started drinking a ton of water, and started timing what i realized were contractions. After several that happened very quickly, I called Dave and my doctor’s office.

They did another NST, which was another failure, but confirmed that I really was contracting. We were sent to the hospital pretty quickly. The on-call doctor and my doctor were about 50/50 on whether to do a c-section or try to stop labor. They decided to try one drug, and if that didn’t work, Ian would have to come out.

My uterus laughed in the face of those drugs. They didn’t even make a dent. I eventually got to the point where, as guilty as it made me feel, I wanted the c-section. Also, a word of advice to any significant others who are reading: like I said to Dave, do not ask a woman if she is having a contraction when she is clearly having a contraction unless you would like some certain body parts wrapped around your neck. Dave, I am sorry that I was so short with you.

Back to the birth story. Once an ER was open, my c-section started. It was nothing like Jillian’s. They were working quickly, but it wasn’t as urgent or scary. Once they started, it didn’t take long for us to hear Ian start screaming. And I mean screaming. Dave later said he sounded like a combo of two of our cats screeching. Even though it’s not a pleasant sound, it’s the most beautiful sound in the world. I happened to be looking at Dave when Ian started screaming, and the look on Dave’s face is one I will never forget.

The doctor held him up over the curtain but it was hard for me to really see him. I just thought he looked big. He continued screaming for a while. Dave went over to him and I could hear him tearfully welcoming him to the world. He scored 9s on both apgars. Dave came to update me and said he was perfect and had more hair than both of us combined, including all over his body. You are welcome, little dude. I take full responsibility for that feature.

Eventually someone brought him over so I could say hello. As soon as he came around the curtain and was being placed in Dave’s arms, my heart caught. It was a feeling I’ve never felt before, not even with Jillian (in sure it’s just because I was so terrified). I couldn’t stop staring at his nose while Dave held him. It’s adorable, bur more importantly, his nostrils were moving because he was breathing. If we had had different experiences before Ian arrived, it’s probably something we would have taken for granted, but last night, it was totally mesmerizing.

He was taken to the NICU for observation. It took an eternity for them to finish me up, and then it took another eternity to get me moved to a postpartum floor, which also meant getting to visit Ian on the way. Dave had already been to see him so he was able to prepare me for where he was: the exact spot where Jillian spent most of her stay. It was weird and difficult at first, but by the time we left, it was comforting. It made me feel like my two babies have a special connection, and I can’t help but wonder if his placement, out of every spot in that NICU, was Jillian’s way of letting us know she’s here with us.

I can’t figure out who he looks like. I did think he looked a little like my youngest brother, but I think it’s mainly because he’s so chunky in our minds. My brother isn’t chunky, but I remember him being born like that, and of course he was also a hairy beast.

I was able to sleep for a couple of hours, but now I’m just willing time away to a better hour so we can go see him. His nurse thinks I’ll be able to hold him this morning, so the next several hours will probably be the longest of my life. We’re scared, but Dave and I keep telling each other that everything will be fine. Hopefully our NICU stay will be short, but with a happy ending this time. I’ll be posting updates, I’m sure.