Friday, February 24, 2012

One Month New

Benny Boy-

You are here. It's been a month (okay, 5 and a half weeks- I'm a bit late!) and I am still having a hard time wrapping my brain around it. As I type one handed pressing you tightly to my chest, I still don't believe it. Even rubbing your ridiculously soft head which still harbors some wrinkly, loose skin doesn't make it seem real. You are finally here. What seemed like the never ending pregnancy has come to an end and you are here. And we couldn't be happier. Though we definitely could be a bit more rested.

It sounds so cliche', but you just fit right in with our family. We haven't even skipped a beat since that day in mid January when you came into this world. Even when Reagan came to meet you for the first time, she ran into the room, immediately saw you laying on my lap, shouted 'baby!', climbed on the bed and gave you no fewer than 500 kisses. It was as if you were some long, lost friend. She never questioned, just accepted. I'm not so sure I've ever seen truer, more innocent love. To this day, nearly 6 weeks later, she can't keep her hands (or lips) off of you.

We had an absolute amazing first week. It was incredibly low key at the hospital, which we loved. It was mostly just your dad and I, laying around, recovering and soaking you in. We went over all of your body parts memorizing you. We held you close, taking in that perfect, quickly fleeting newborn sent. We listened to the sound of your grunts. Laughed at your goofy, newborn facial expressions. And nursed. And nursed. And nursed some more.

Since you and I were both doing perfectly, we were given the option to go home that night. Seeing as being in the hospital gives you even less rest than having a newborn (let alone combining the two!) we took it gratefully and checked out right as you hit about 18 hours old.

For some reason driving you home seemed so much less of a production than it did with your sister. Please don't take that as a lack of excitement, as we were beyond excited. I think we just felt older, more grown up and more prepared. There didn't have to be so much surrounding us bringing you home because it was exactly what we were supposed to be doing. We created you, brought you into this world and now were bringing you home, tucked just as tightly into our hearts as you were into our car. It isn't that it wasn't special, it just didn't seem out of the ordinary. We walked in to a clean house and take out ribs from Chili's (thanks Ama and Pop-pop!) and kept on with our life. Like I said before, we didn't skip a beat. Once you were here, it was just as if you never hadn't been.

That perfect first week ended, though, and as your 8th day rolled around we had quite the ride ahead of us. You woke up a glaring shade of orange and I knew it was time to call the doctor. You showed slight signs of jaundice at two days old, but they had all disappeared by your 5 day check up. We felt in the clear and were so happy to be not hopping on that bandwagon again. But the weekend came and went and left us with a pumpkin in place of our baby. Unfortunately, our amazing pediatrician, Brenda, was on vacation and so we saw Dr. M instead. He took one look at you and then on a piece of paper on the examination table, wrote down a bunch of numbers and corresponding solutions right next to your orange, wiggly, naked body. It was his guess, and he hoped he was wrong, that you would need to be admitted. He said you looked like about a 20 and anything over a 19.5 and we'd be off to the hospital. We went down to the lab, got your first (of many, many) heel pricks, and drove off, phone close and the ringer up loud waiting for the call.

I did the only thing I could think to do while I impatiently waited for the call; so off to Sonic I went for a milkshake. No more than ten seconds after walking in the door at home, my phone rings. "This is she. Mmhmm. How high? Wow. Yea, we can be there in about 15 minutes." The nurse sounded panicked as she told me the doctor wanted us in the ER as soon as possible. He was on the phone with the docs there and they would be expecting us. Your levels, which they don't like to see go above 20, were 24.6. Ouch.

So we did the hospital thing. And I pray to God we never have to be in there again. We were there for something pretty darn minor, and that was bad enough. That children's wing is hard to stomach, as is seeing your little, naked 8 day old in a jail-like 'crib' with foam goggles and blue lights. Though I must say. you handled the whole situation much better than I did. We were there for about 30 hours, and were discharged when your levels were at 16.1, to follow up the next day. As to not entirely taint the story of your first month of life with the stress and run around of the second and third week, I'll keep it really brief. Your levels didn't continue to go down, as they should have, and instead went back up, which they definitely shouldn't have. They blamed it on Gilbert's disease, which I was diagnosed with as a senior in high school. They ordered us home photo therapy lights along with daily heel pricks and told us we'd be done when your levels dropped to a 12. After a week, they FINALLY dropped to 12.1. We were so excited to see the next day's results and all but packed up the lights knowing you'd be free. Unfortunately it somehow went UP to 13.6. *#&#^#*#&$&$*#!!!! We. Were. Beyond. Frustrated.

Praise the Lord Brenda got home in time to stop the other doctor from having us go on formula and more testing and anti seizure meds (?!) and we decided to do a test run with part time lights. Your levels stayed the same. So we did a test with no lights. Your levels stayed the same. So we put a big old breast milk induced jaundice label on your two week long jaundice stint that should have been put on it long ago. The home care nurses that came to get your blood sample daily said the longest they had seem babies on lights was ten days. We had your lights for a whopping two weeks. Looking down at you now, sleeping peacefully in my arms, I can't see even a hint of yellow. I am oh so very glad that is behind us.

Now you are just your sweet, mellow little self. I can't look at you or think of you or speak of you without associating you with sweetness. Your little man face is just so sweet. Your personality is sweet. Even your tiny little I-really-want-something-but-can-wait-until-your-ready-because-I'm-not-all-that-needy cry is just stinkin' sweet. Your totally random dinosaur squeaks, your over-reactive startle movements, your smell, your freakishly soft skin, your abnormally long feet, your head wrinkles and your all night long goat grunting- even your Yoda ears-; are all seriously some of the sweetest things this world has to offer and somehow came wrapped up in one adorably mellow little package and was given to us. You are the perfect combination of things fit for a second child, with your calmness, your tolerance, your patience.

Your biggest flaw at current is you have realized you like to be held. That the warmth, the sound and feel of a beating heart, and the millions of kisses that are bestowed upon the top of your head is far better than, well, anywhere else. And I can hardly call it a flaw, because honestly, there isn't much that I love more than snuggling a newborn- especially my newborn- either. But seeing as how life doesn't stop and the dishes don't do themselves just because you and I are hanging out in newborn lala land, every now and then, you have to be set down. And when you get set down, you ask to be picked up. And you have discovered that if your sweet, quiet fussing doesn't get the point across that your much more serious, extremely sad sounding "uh-waaaah" cry typically pulls at my heartstrings enough to get you right back where you want to be.

Sometimes when I look at you being smothered by your sticky-fingered 20 month old sister, or woken up with not-as-gentle-as-they-could-be toddler kisses for the 15th time in a row, or while the music blares as we dance to Disney songs or I'm frantically washing chocolate cupcake out of your mouth that your sister kindly 'shared' with you, even though you take it all in stride, I can't help but wonder if God meant to give you a quieter, calmer family. But then as we snuggle every morning after nursing, while Reagan directs that 'RaRa' should lay on my right arm and "Bendent" to lay on the left side of my chest, and she nuzzles your cheek and unpromted, sweetly says " I ov oo Bendent" I know you are exactly where you belong.

I love you little mister and how you somehow made my heart bigger to fit it all this new love in. And oh how I look forward to more of those giant, gummy grins you're starting to give when you catch our eye. That and a whole bunch more of your sweetness.

Your Mama

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One and Two

My sweet, sweet girl-

We are on the very edge of change. As we teeter on this cusp of one and two I can't help but wonder how it will all pan out. You innocently call for "Dabent, out!", freely offering kisses and belly rubs like they're heading out of style. But you don't know; you can't possibly understand. I, myself, can hardly comprehend it. And while we fully intended on filling our house with children, on making sure you had siblings, I would be lying if I didn't admit that a part of me is mourning the loss we'll be experiencing with our huge gain.

You aren't going to be my one and only anymore.

There are times when the whole idea of it kills me. When the guilt hits my stomach hard and all I can do is pray you'll forgive me. That you'll realize the gain will be ten fold. That we have intentionally brought this next child into the world, not just for him or for us, but for you. So you can know the amazing love of a sibling; the stability, the rivalry, the built-in best friend. So whatever happens to your dad and I, you'll never be alone. There will always be someone who knows the same love, who has the same experiences, who no matter how nuts you drive each other will always be connected. A bond that can't be broken; something that anger, hurt or difference cannot sever. So you can learn love and sharing and family like nothing else can teach you.

I have zero doubt in my mind that you will love your brother. We are giving him an amazing gift in you alone. You are perhaps the sweetest spirit ever to grace this Earth and you love wholeheartedly, without abandon. I can't picture a kinder soul and it blows my mind to know you're still months away from age two. Strangers who meet you for mere seconds comment on your kindness, on your gentleness, your good nature. And while I cannot guarantee Bennett from a few battle wounds along the way, I know he is already blessed beyond measure at simply being born your brother. I am excited beyond words to see you fill your role to him as big sister.

What I fear, more than perhaps anything else right now, is how you'll react to me. How you'll handle me changing from yours and yours alone to one you have to share. I can't stand the thought of being away from you during labor, only to have you come back to me to find me with another child. I fear you'll think I have replaced you. That I am choosing someone else over you. And while I find myself telling you a million times a day, I hope to God it sinks in. Nothing will ever take you from me. You will always be my girl. I could have a million more children and not one of them- nothing, ever, could possibly make me love you less. And while our one on one time may become fewer and further between, and while you may have to share my lap every now and then, I can only imagine expanding our family will make me love you even more. That watching you unfold as the oldest child, as a sister, can do nothing but accentuate my adoration of you.

I am not naive enough to believe I will have to split my love. I don't know how it will work, and truly believe it is nothing short of a miracle, but I know without a doubt that somehow, without loving you any less, I will love Bennett just the same. It boggles my mind to think I could love another like I love you, but I know I will. These next few weeks may be tough. You may feel a bit lost in the shuffle or angry with the lack of old. It will most definitely be full of change as we attempt to find our new normal, but you will not be left behind. You will never be left behind. You will still remain at the forefront of our every thought, our every decision. Your dad and I will still love you like nothing else, and even then some. To the moon and back 'thiiiiiis' much.

And while I know you're young and wont even remember life as an only child, I pray you forgive us for our shortcomings as we adjust. That if you feel hurt or wronged or left out that you'll know it is a fluke. That we simply don't have it in us to purposefully put you second, ever. Now or then. Past, present, or future. That you and Bennett with forever, both, somehow always be our number ones.

I love you, Reagan Lee. And I cannot wait to make you a sister.

Your Mama