January 25, 2013

My Firstborn

Where to start. He's almost eleven years old and almost taller than me. Something is so wrong about that but I've been the same height since 7th grade so I guess I just have to deal with it. He will probably surpass me in height before he reaches 8th grade. Awesome. From day one he's been full of surprises, starting with his birth.

He arrived four weeks early. When you are pregnant for the first time everyone tells you, "First babies always come late!" I recall my OB/Gyn said the same thing to me ... I'm here to tell you that isn't true. And when my water broke that morning, we were not ready. My husband was scheduled for training that morning and I was supposed to work but the baby growing inside my belly clearly had other plans for us that day.

We knew we were expecting a boy and had already decided on a first name ... the middle name was still up for debate. Once I convinced my husband that my water did in fact break and that it meant the baby was coming (he was in complete denial!), we headed for the hospital.

Looking back, my labor was somewhat quick and very productive. Just 3 short hours after arriving at the hospital at 3cm dilated, I was fully dilated and ready to push. I am so thankful I opted for an epidural. Labor is very unpredictable and the next three hours were completely exhausting and I could not imagine going through it feeling the pain too!

Once I started to push, he crowned right away. We were all shocked and amazed at how quick this was all happening ... but something wasn't quite right. When I stopped pushing, he was sort of sucked back in. The doctor figured it was because I was a first time mom and things needed to stretch or maybe he was slightly stuck and needed some time to work his way through. No worries though, they said, we'll give it some time. An hour goes by, still pushing, he's not coming out. Another hour goes by, still pushing, he's still not coming out. Then his heart rate starts to drop and they start flipping me in every direction possible to try to stabilize his heart rate.

At this point, they called in a NICU team and started saying, "If we can't get him out soon, we will have to do an emergency c-section." My husband looked physically ill by this point and I was so exhausted. I just wanted the baby out.

I had been pushing off and on for almost three hours. Forms to sign were starting to fly into the room but the doctor wanted to give it another try ... so we did ... and that's when we realized what the problem: the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck several times, acting like a bungee cord. So when I stopped pushing, it was pulling him back in.  On one final mammoth push, my doctor was able to cut the cord before he was completely out, saving us both from emergency surgery.  The NICU team quickly whisked him away to thoroughly check him. I actually don't remember hearing him cry or how long it was until he did cry ... but by the grade of God he was okay. They brought him over to me for a few minutes but then he was taken to the NICU to monitor his breathing.

He only spent four hours in the NICU.  He was small but a good sized baby for being four weeks early. He weighed 5lbs 14ozs.

We did not have a successful nursing experience and to this day, I'm still angry at the lack of support and information provided by the lactation consultants at the hospital. I was a new mom who gave birth four weeks early. It may have been helpful to know that the sucking reflex doesn't kick in until 37-38 weeks of age. It may account for why we had so many issues and why he'd scream and scream because the poor little guy was hungry.  

After we left the hospital, things got worse and he started to lose more weight. Not good for an already small baby. I had already started supplementing with some formula and tried pumping. He would flat out reject my left side no matter what I did. It was so very stressful. You know how some women say they could feed an entire village with the amount of milk they produced? Not so for me and oddly enough, I had the exact same nursing experience with my second son. I was not meant to nurse a baby!

So anyway, formula it was and we never looked back. He was 17lbs by time he was 4 months old. He drank upwards of 46 ounces of formula a day and never spit up a drop. He was like a hoover. With that appetite, my pediatrician gave us the go ahead to start cereal. 

And so began our issues with food.

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