The world’s best dad is getting some quality time in with Aaron so I can write!
Somehow the better part of two weeks has passed since Aaron came into the world. As is the case with most families adjusting to life with a new baby, it has been a whirlwind! It has been joyful, hard, tiring, amazing, and many other things all wrapped up into one. All in all, I am just so glad he is here! He is filling a part of our hearts and home that has felt so empty for far too long. We are so absolutely in love with him, and are just amazed at how strong he is. It has been bizarre to compare our experience with Noah to this; sick baby versus healthy one. With Noah we had no frame of reference as to what is normal or not. Now that we have Aaron here, it has helped us accept the idiosyncrasies of our whole situation with Noah. Hard to do, but wow, of course he was sick. We get that now.
Let me start from the beginning. Last I left off, I had just told the story of Aaron’s birth. He spent the majority of that first night in our room with us. Early that next morning, a nurse came in and told us that they needed to move Aaron to the NICU nursery. They ran blood work right after he was born. Everyone had had a chance to review it and his blood sugar was a bit low for comfort. It was in the healthy range, but on the low end of what was still considered ok. This is the big thing we were watching for MCADD. MCADD is life threatening hypoglycemia. Until his newborn test came back with a final answer on whether or not he had it, we had to watch his blood sugars very closely.
Because of all the testing that had been done on him to date, everyone felt pretty certain that he didn’t have MCADD. The more likely suspect for the low blood sugar was his size when he was born. He was well above average for his gestational age. I didn’t realize it, but big babies tend to have blood sugar issues. It made me feel so glad that I let the acupuncturist put me into labor rather than waiting longer. He would have only grown more, and maybe made this more of an issue.
We always knew that Aaron could very well have to spend time in the NICU nursery because of his risk factors. I had mixed feelings about it going in. After losing Noah, I knew I would likely have separation anxiety around anyone taking Aaron away from me. Or, would I find it comforting to know that he was being watched that closely? Turns out the latter was true. I can’t say that I slept much after having Aaron when we were in our room together because I was so paranoid about every little grunt, noise, movement, or lack thereof for any brief period of time. It was a relief when the nurse wheeled him off and hooked him up to all those monitors.
The culture in the NICU nursery was not at all what I expected. Maybe some of you that have been through it can clue me in on this. Aaron was there for four days, and I hardly saw another parent there with their babies. For me, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else! The nurses almost seemed annoyed by how much we were there, but I really didn’t care. I can see why when they have free reign over all the babies without anyone asking for an active role in the care of their charges. Regardless, we were there as much as they’d let us, mostly around his rigorous feeding schedule. He had to eat at least every three hours, unless he wanted it sooner. Aaron came out being a really great eater (THANK GOD!) so we were there a lot.
Finally, the MCADD test came back. As we had expected, Aaron is free and clear of MCADD. He is not a carrier, so he’ll never have to worry about it with his own children. We were so excited! The news came in while we were in the NICU nursery feeding him. To look down at this beautiful boy and realize that this one is here to stay was a very emotional moment. The staff at the hospital all knew our story and what we have lived through. They were crying and hugging us too. It made them all feel really good about sending us off, knowing that we had really overcome some major hurdles to get here! The extra time in the hospital had given Aaron enough time to get his blood sugar levels stabilized enough that we could finally go home. There was nothing left to worry about. His pediatrician told us to “go home and enjoy him.”
Going home was a pretty nervous feeling for both Chris and I. This was when things had gone downhill last time. Even though we have confirmation that Aaron does not have the same issue Noah did, the physical memory of it all was hard to escape. It was also day four of Aaron’s life. Noah only lived four days so Aaron was soon to outlive his brother. I cried the whole way home. I worried about everything. I arranged with our post-partum doula to meet us at the house to help us get settled in. It was pretty crazy, getting in, getting all our stuff in, getting settled, changing a dirty diaper and feeding Aaron in the middle of it. As crazy as it all was, Aaron really didn’t seem to care. He adjusted to the change beautifully.
We’ve since been settling into a new normal around the house. Chris and I are getting to be a little stir crazy. We ordinarily lead pretty busy lives, so to sit around and watch TV and hang out all day is really not us! It is just what life needs to be right now as we jump to care for all of Aaron’s needs. Now that he is free of all the monitors and craziness of the NICU nursery, we have much more freedom to hang out and see what he can do. He is pretty amazing! He already shows signs of smiling! He’s done it quickly a few times, both in his dreams, and awake as well. I imagine it will be a while before he’ll do it long enough to get a picture. We’ll keep watching. He can also turn over onto his side if you leave his arms free when he lies down. He is really fighting to hold his head up on his own too. He also has really great long periods of being awake. It is so much fun to interact with him. He looks deeply into your eyes. Chris thinks he’s a deep thinker by some of the expressions he makes when you talk to him. He continues to eat really well. He just hit a growth spurt I think. His feeding times have grown from being 15 minutes to being closer to an hour. I will be honest and say that it has me pretty pooped since the burden is all on me with breast feeding! Chris has been a great help and is eager to jump in with diaper changes, or soothing him back to sleep once we’re done. He is such a great father to both boys in how he is just so willing and eager to do anything for them. I love how both kids seem to have such a strong understanding of who their father is. Aaron will hear Chris’s voice and will turn to look for him. I absolutely love it.
Healing from this child birth seems to be a bit slower for me than it was last time (that I can remember anyways!). The hormonal changes those first few days were pretty rotten. I also had mild mastitis for a few days last week. Wow, I can’t imagine the full blown version of that, since the mild version of it was pretty unpleasant! Thanks to my amazing midwife, she got me healed up using herbs and supplements so I didn’t have to take antibiotics. Life is finally starting to feel more like normal. We have been able to get out and go for short walks around the neighborhood the last couple of days, which has been wonderful! Fall has hit Colorado, and I just want to be out in it with Aaron.
Our post-partum doula is working out well. She shows up at 7:30 every morning. It is right about that time after a night full of waking up to change diapers, feed Aaron, and get him settled back down to sleep that we are feeling overwhelmed. She takes the baby. I go back to bed and sleep for a couple more hours. Chris gets up to walk the dog, and have breakfast. I wake up, and she hands the baby to me to feed him. She then goes off to make me breakfast. Then we trade off. She takes the baby and I eat and take a shower. In between, she does laundry, makes the bed, cleans up dishes, feeds the pets, restocks the changing table with fresh diapers, burp rags, wipes, etc. When she leaves at noon, we are in great shape and ready to face the day. I love her.
It’s getting to be time for Aaron to need me again, so I’m going to sign off. Thanks for your patience with us! We have both gotten a lot of calls, emails, and other notes from you guys. We owe you all so many responses back, but life has been more than a little nutty! Please know that all has been received and appreciated! Here’s some more pics of our boy: