Home Sweet Home.

We were able to bring Ethan home on Monday evening and it was wonderful, save for the fact I was feeling extremely ill about an hour after he came home. Long story short, my absence on the internet can be attributed to my own new slew of health issues. Longer story short, I am "dangerously anemic" (and, for the record, it's really scary when a doctor tells you that) and will require a blood transfusion if these new iron supplements and my red meat diet don't kick in. Not to jinx it, but I'm feeling mostly human tonight (hence my ability to compose this post) and am hoping this means everything is working. My husband has been wonderful in resuming the role of mom and dad to a newborn while I've been busy turning pale and falling asleep faster than a narcoleptic but I am so ready to just be healthy again and enjoy life with my little boy without any hiccups.

Having him home has still been amazing. There is nothing that compares to just holding him or watching him sleep. He turned one week old yesterday evening and I'm finding that so crazy! I heard time flies by but I never realized just how quickly! He's had his first pediatrician visit and totally kicked the jaundice, so that was an awesome update to receive. He's doing great and is the most wonderful little boy in the world!

Bethany from The Momma Monologues came to visit and bring us yummy dinner and baked goods!

Ethan got to meet his GREAT-GREAT GRANDMA! How many lucky little boys get one of those?!


You Are The Yellow Bird That I've Been Waiting For

First Day Of My Life - Bright Eyes

Ethan Nicholas was born on June 22nd, 2011 at 11:54 PM. He weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces and measured 19 3/4 inches long.

Please forgive any obvious typos, grammatical errors or general lack of eloquence as I'm going on last night's one hour sleep, but I wanted to document his arrival into the world here while I can. Considering I have just a few moments until it's time for me to feed him, I'm going to use this time to do just that. (Though I don't doubt this might take me more than day to even complete, but eventually it'll get done.)

On June 22nd in the late morning, I saw my perinatologist for our weekly appointment. My pressure was pretty high and my swelling was hindering my ability to walk properly. I was sure that preeclampsia had officially taken over the battle and was winning it's fight against me. While the doctors weren't too worried because I was supposed to be 37 weeks along on the 23rd, I couldn't help but worry anyway. That's still three weeks early and two weeks earlier than my original July 7th c-section. Sure enough, I left my appointment learning that my OB and perinatologist had spoken and wished to push up my c-section for the very next day -- June 23rd at 5:30 PM. Suddenly I was overcome with this crazy rush of "oh, my god, I'm going to have a baby! TOMORROW!" It was a crazy joy mixed with crazy stress. My friends and I celebrated over the fact that Ethan had a birthday planned! Just one more night of sleep and I could wake up to Ethan's birthday! I opted to have that one final feast that everyone recommends and decided we should spend my last day before giving birth in my most favorite of ways: pizza and a movie night! My mom had ordered pizza and we all sat down to eat. Eat I did, as I stuffed my face with a million slices of pizza and garlic rolls. Right as my husband was queuing up the movie (happythankyoumoreplease, for the sake of documentation), I went to go pee.

As I walked into the bathroom, I immediately felt this flood of warm, wet liquid cover my ankles. It startled me and I pretty much slid across the tile in it, almost slipping. My initial thought was that I humiliated myself by peeing all over myself and then sliding in it to make an even bigger mess...but then the liquid didn't stop. I stood up straight, clutched onto the towel bar and called out for my mom. She and Aaron ran into the bathroom and were staring at me with the most horrified look while I cried and screamed that I think my water just broke. We all just kind of stood there, baffled, and more liquid started pouring out. A phone call to the hospital told us that one of my two doctors who were performing my c-section the next day were on call, so she called the other doctor who went to go join her at the hospital. Within a half an hour of my water breaking, I found myself in triage at labor and delivery being hooked up to a monitor. My parents and sister were already waiting in the lobby and within about an hour, they were joined by my in-laws, my husband's grandmother and our family friends, Karen and Katie. Text messages were being sent about my freak water break the day before my c-section and I was being given IV fluids. I had to get three bags before surgery. My pressures were still high and the problem with the status of my preeclampsia was that Ethan had to come out now, now, now. Why was that a problem? Well, because I had just eaten minutes before arriving to the hospital. Something you're not supposed to do when getting a c-section -- something I wouldn't have done if Ethan would have waited until the next day!

Before long, I was receiving my spinal and getting used to the crazy feeling of my legs losing feeling. I didn't really handle it well. The pain of the spinal, fine, but the crazy sensation of losing feeling in your body? I just remember my teeth chattering, freezing and me asking if everything was normal ("my fingers tingle. Is this normal?!"). Eventually, they called Aaron into the room where he was all scrubbed in and ready for Ethan to be born. There really was no time to mess around in getting him out of my belly and everyone's determination to get him out now added to my nerves, though the doctors did a great job at asking me if I was happy to meet my little boy and not focusing on the scary matters at hand. Of course, I vomited through my entire c-section. From now on, when people ask me what a c-section was like, the only thing I can even remember was constant vomit. I couldn't function with a bucket due to my lack of physical ability to move, so the anesthesiologist just kept a stack of blue towels by my head. I had puked so much that my hair was saturated at that point and he just kept wiping me off with a towel and tossing it on the floor, leaving the next blue towel ready for use. I definitely had puke over every part of my face at some point and I'm sure the floor had it's fair share, too. Nothing says "pregnant woman glow" like pizza-and-garlic-roll-puke all over your hair, please believe. A far cry from the hair and make-up done c-section that I had wanted for the very next day!

The doctor called out to Aaron, "dad, get your camera ready!" and I remember Aaron standing up and shouting, "oh my god!" The next thing I heard was Ethan screaming and I remember closing my eyes and saying how glad I was that his lungs were functioning so strongly. The nurse then announced he was 8 pounds, 4 ounces! There's no way he was really only 36w6d with these worries of being premature and it looks like he was really just ready to come out on his own! The nurses brought Aaron and Ethan to the nursery to do his measurements and testing and this is when my own life got a little scary. I honestly don't remember much of what happened the rest of the evening or the next day. The last thing I remember before totally losing consciousness was the anesthesiologist screaming to my doctor about my blood pressure and, in turn, my OB screaming to the nurses about pre-eclamptic seizures and needing the anti-seizure medications now. Occasionally I remember them shaking me on the table to staple me up but everything else is so faded. I was given a couple of injections of something and an IV of Magnesium Sulfide. The rest of the evening, like I said, was a blur. I wasn't conscious for most of it and I wasn't able to see (or open my eyes, as they were rolled back into my head) until the magnesium sulfide drip wore off (it was taken out at 11:30 PM on the 23rd).

Spending that first day in and out of consciousness was rough. It was rough because I couldn't open my eyes or see and so it was Aaron tending to Ethan. My dreams of immediate breastfeeding were done because I wasn't allowed to on the medications I was on for the preeclampsia and I was also unconscious for most of the day and evening. I heard Ethan cry and heard Aaron feeding him bottles, heard the nurses teaching him how to feed, change diapers, swaddle, et cetera, and wasn't able to do anything about it. I couldn't hold him because I couldn't guarantee staying conscious and I couldn't open my eyes to see him. I was having a hard time accepting that this is the way it went or that I even carried a child for nine months inside me and was suddenly unable to see him or get to meet him. The nurse I had at the time was extremely unsympathetic and just kept telling me to calm down or she was going to take the baby out of the room and calm down because I have my whole life to look at him. Things that aren't really reassuring when I think it was a legitimate point of being upset, not to mention it's really scary not to see and be on all of these crazy drugs. The bigger picture was that I just delivered a beautiful 8 pound, 4 ounce baby boy who was so healthy, strong and amazing but a part of me was still a little "woe is me" that I couldn't immediately get to know him.

We had many visitors on the 23rd to meet Ethan. Some I remember, some that I don't. It all depends on where I was on the medications and the magnesium sulfide IV drip. My mom took pictures of everyone who came to visit for Ethan's scrapbook. Apparently, I kept asking for my cousin, Michael, over and over again while I was in and out of consciousness and each time the door opened, I was shouting, "is that Michael?!" Eventually Michael came and got to meet his godson. Ethan got to prove that he was so loved already by all of his visitors who came to see him! All in all, it was an amazing day for Ethan and I wish I could have been "there" to experience it.

Something great did happen on the 23rd, though. I was crying over the way the nurse had treated me when the lactation consultant so happened to pop in. She asked me what was wrong and as my mom and I explained, she understood. She asked -- for the first time -- if I wanted skin-to-skin contact with my son. I did. She placed him on me and even though I couldn't open my eyes, she stood there and held him onto my chest so that I could feel him and meet him. See the above picture to this entry? That was during that time. I finally got to "meet" my son, even if I couldn't in my wildest dreams imagine just how cute he'd end up being when I could open my eyes! The lactation consultant will forever win an award as one of my favorite people for making this happen for me and not just assuming because I couldn't see or wasn't conscious that I didn't want to meet my son.

The 24th went much better for me than the 23rd did. I had my catheter taken out and was able to try walking around, which I was surprisingly good at. We had a couple more visitors come and see us as well as working with the lactation consultant pretty much all day. I was cleared to start breastfeeding at 10:00 a.m. on the 24th. I was starting to feel like a normal mommy again though some of the pain medication was making me feel a bit loopy! Apparently I kept begging my mom to sleepover at the hospital and was offering to share my waffles with her, which I don't remember and which makes Aaron and my mom laugh every time it's mentioned. I was able to eat a normal meal on the 24th for dinner although the highlight of the day was that I got to walk Ethan (pushing him in the hospital bassinet) to see his pediatrician when they called for him. I got to try pumping, feeding, diaper changing and being a mommy.

Yesterday went well, too. We had more visitors come to meet Ethan (did I mention he's totally spoiled and loved already?) and he's been doing great. I was able to get out of the bed on my own when he cried to pick him up without Aaron bringing him to me which I loved. Aaron not so much, because we're definitely already racing to see who can get him first and fighting over who gets to hold him and take care of him! Crying at 2 a.m.? Yeah, totally a race as to who can get to him faster. I wonder how long that'll last, right? My pressures have been kind of wacky since then but nothing too high that made a nurse want to notify the doctors, so my recovery has been good. It was a rough first couple of days of Ethan's life for my own sake, but it's been great recovering and watching him do so well! We were cleared by one of the OB's at my office to come home today -- 6/26/11 -- though I'm not sure what time we'll be coming home just yet. I'm so eager to get out of this horrible hospital bed and just be home. I can't wait to introduce Ethan to his new surroundings.

There is something totally special, magic and wonderful about Ethan coming on the 22nd, though, that I would like to share with you.

That up there is my Nonno, or my great-grandpa, with me. He will forever be one of the people I love most in the world. Nonno was everything in the world to me and to my family. He was my dad's hero, the lifeline of our family, one of the most wonderful grandparents you could ever imagine having. He passed away in 2005. This past June 22nd (Ethan's birthday) would have also been Nonno's 103rd birthday. Yes, they share birthdays. They also share names. Nonno's name was Nicholas, which is Ethan's middle name.

The story gets better, though. On his deathbed, Aaron and I made a promise to him that we would name our son after him. Everyone in the room asked, "what if you have daughters?" but Nonno insisted that, no, we would have a son. We would have a Nicholas. And somehow, he promised, we would know that he was here with us when this baby Nicholas came into the world. We were 19 years old when we made this promise to him and he squeezed our hands and cried with joy, promising us that we'd know he was there when baby Nicholas was born. I thought that my having a c-section scheduled for the day after Nonno's birthday was maybe nature's way of confirming that Nonno was there with us and that was that. When I stood there in the shower as my water broke, my first initial thought (besides panic) was that it was Nonno's birthday. My water just broke and it was Nonno's birthday -- oh my gosh. Sure enough, Ethan Nicholas was born at 11:45 PM -- fifteen minutes to spare! -- on Nonno's birthday. As I was in and out consciousness there in the OR, I definitely felt Nonno there like he promised. Like always, he came through with his promise that he made all of those years ago: we had a baby boy and he was going to let us know that he was there when that baby boy was born.

It's been an exciting first few days with Ethan here. Perhaps I'm failing at the original mommy rule to sleep when the baby sleeps, but I'm too overcome with excitement and first-time mom jitters to not document his arrival into the world while I still have the time. The nighttime nurse just came to take my pressure (which I have to have done annoyingly frequently) as I was composing this and it was 123/68, which is just another great sign that hopefully discharge time comes early for us. Since I've been conscious, I've definitely gone with no more than two hours of sleep per night, maximum, but I'm okay with that for now. Especially after having to go so long without him, there's nothing I wouldn't sacrifice to hold Ethan and look at him, hold him, feel him breathing -- even a guaranteed night of sleep with eager baby nurses offering to keep him in the nursery overnight.

We just got word now at 6:40 a.m. that Ethan's biliruben is high and they want to keep him on the phototherapy lights for jaundice. We're waiting for his pediatrician to get here, look at him and come talk to us and I'll resume pacing the floors and being a nervous wreck until that happens and he's back here with me. I'm hoping this doesn't hinder any plans on taking him home or us going home as a family today but I'm being told by everyone to not cross that bridge until I come to it. Easier said than done.

This entry has gone long enough (I began it at around midnight and am just wrapping up at 6:15 a.m.!) so here are some photographs from Ethan's journey into the world. Thank you to everyone who took them and sent them!

Yours was the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
I don't know where I am, I don't know where I've been
But I know where I want to go

One of my favorite things to do at my OB office is to browse the birth announcements that patients have sent in. I like to look at the names, the announcement styles and look at the cute baby pictures. There is one right near my OB's blood pressure station that has a handwritten thank you to my doctor that reads "thank you for delivering our world." I always liked the way that sounded so it stuck with me...

...but now I understand it.


Nursery Reveal

I could tell you how today was one of three doctor's appointments in a row or explain in more unsettling depth why I'm sitting on one of these right now and why my new best friend in the world comes in this box but, to be frank, I'm in enough misery and agony that I don't want to rehash any of it. Instead, I'll make a gloomy day better by using this blog space to reveal photographs of Ethan's finished nursery and bathroom!

Nothing does quite an effective job at cheering me up than a cute little nursery (and bathroom!) waiting for the arrival of a super cute little boy. I mean, cupcakes or ice-cream couldn't hurt, either, but I digress.

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