At last Graham and I are at home! Well, we've been at home for over 7 weeks now, but life with a newborn doesn't allow for much time to blog. He's sleeping right now so I thought I would take a few minutes to update everyone on life! I guess I should start back on Jan 24th, Graham's birthday. They induced me around 5 in the morning but throughout the day things didn't progress as they should. About 15 hours later we finally made the decision to have a c-section. Thank goodness for modern medicine because I don't know if Graham or I would be here if they hadn't caught the preeclampsia or been able to do a c-section. The nurses quickly got me back to the OR and both Jeff and my mom were able to be in the room when Graham arrived. It was such a bizarre and surreal experience. I could feel the pushing and tugging and after a while there was a sweet baby in front of me. I got to give Graham a quick kiss, and then the nurses took him away.
After they delivered Graham, everyone was trying to guess his weight. They all said he seemed like a big baby to be 4 weeks early and to be from a preeclamptic mother (preeclampsia babies tend to not grow as they should). Jeff came back to the room with the news- 7 lbs 13 ounces and 19 3/4 inches. The doctor thought I might have a 6 lb baby, not a nearly 8 lb baby! Can you imagine how big he would have been had he grown for another month. At half a pound a week, your looking at a nearly 10 lb baby!
Initially Graham went to the well baby nursery, but he was "grunting" and was struggling to breathe. Jeff came back to see me and shared the news that Graham was in the NICU. I was a little shocked. Although I knew it was a possibility for any 36 week old baby, for some reason I just had this feeling that Graham was NOT going to the NICU. I guess I just don't have this mother's intuition thing down, because I also was convinced that Graham was going to be a girl before we had the ultrasound!
Though I was in pain and exhausted, it was difficult not to be with Graham after he was born. I didn't get to hold him or go see him until the next day. Cathy, one of the many kind nurses that I got to know, printed out some pictures of Graham and taped them to the rails of my bed. Throughout the night I glanced at the pictures trying to remind myself that we really did have a baby, even if he wasn't able to be with us.
I was a wreck the next few days while I had to be separated from Graham. There were only 4 hours a day when I couldn't be with him, but it still felt like the NICU owned him. I had to go to the nursery and get permission before they would open the doors for me to come visit. During each visit we had to wash our hands and put on gowns before going near the babies. The first few days Graham had an oxygen tube going to his nose to assist with breathing. He wasn't able to eat for a couple of days other that the "Baby Gatorade" filled with electrolytes that they gave him through a line going to his belly button. Even though I was still receiving magnesium to prevent seizures through an iv, the nurse temporarily disconnected me and let me go see Graham the day after he was born. Because of all the cords and wires attached to him, there were several times when we could only touch Graham. I was thrilled when they let me hold him for the first time! He only spent a week in the NICU, but it was the most difficult week of my life.....much more difficult than the five weeks I spent in the hospital before he was born.
While Graham was in the NICU my blood pressure got higher than it had ever been during my pregnancy and they had to closely monitor me. They had intended on releasing me 3 days after Graham was born, but instead I stayed for 6 days until they finally got my blood pressure under control. Unfortunately preeclampsia can last up to 6 weeks post delivery. Although I was eager to be set free and finally see the outside world, I was thankful that I could stay in the hospital and be close to Graham. They took Graham off the oxygen and continued to monitor him for a few days. On Friday night we "roomed in" with Graham. Before leaving the hospital with your baby that has been in the NICU, they require that you spend one night at the hospital with your baby in the room with you. A nurse comes to check on you throughout the night to ensure everything is okay and that you are taking care of the baby as you should. I guessed we passed the test! And then the big day came. A week after Graham was born, we were finally able to go home as a family!
Since then we have just been adjusting to life with the new member of the family. I am enjoying him and loving him more and more. Despite a week in the NICU, Graham is healthy and doing very well. Jeff thinks he's ready to play a little football. After months of life being a little crazy, I finally feel like life is getting back to normal... even life with a little baby!